For some time now, I've been pondering the extent of this blog and the logical limits of both the medium and the enterprise.
When I established the blog over a year ago, I set out to offer a contemporary record of the Gurdjieff Work from my own perspective--in action within one single life--on a more or less daily basis. I did so because I felt a "public face" to the work of this kind was fundamentally lacking--so much of the Gurdjieff Work is conducted behind closed doors.
That was the summary intent of the blog; the "all and everything," so to speak, behind its raison d'etre.
I think this aim has been accomplished.
Two days ago, a reader left a derogatory comment to the effect that I have a "diseased" wish to be a "teacher." It was accompanied by a command (!) to cease the activity.
This comment probably derived from a superficial reading of the blog's material, which spans over 340 posts to date. In addition, it probably came from a person who does not know me personally--or, if they do, certainly cannot not know me very well.
I'm glad this comment came up. It has provoked a number of useful questions in me about the idea of "teaching" and the role of "teachers" in the Gurdjieff work. And it occurred to me that we're conflicted about this in general. Perhaps, not in small measure, because many people who do set themselves up as "teachers" in this day and age seem to attract a lot more membership than the Gurdjieff work does. Are we jealous? (Should we set out to recruit Eckhart Tolle to the work?)
I wonder. And at the same time I wonder, why this fear and denigration of teachers? What's bad about teachers? ...Just asking questions here, folks.
Before Michel de Salzmann died, he said a number of times that "the community is now the teacher." This appears to suggest everyone in the Gurdjieff work is actively engaged in teaching each other.
Today, people toss the comment off almost casually, but to me, this instruction of his was nothing short of spiritual genius. First of all, it is inherently true.
Second of all, by codifying it, that is, stating it as the current premise of the Gurdjieff Work, he acknowledged the need for all of us, collectively, to take responsibility for teaching each other-- which is what all of life is really about anyway--and to begin the gradual deconstruction of the pre-existing leadership structure by introducing leaderless (peer) groups.
Third (for better or for worse) he directly empowered the whole community with ownership of the tremendous force that has been established within the Work itself.
If we handle that badly, it's our own bad. But we cannot have it both ways. Either we all pull up our pants and collectively teach each other, or we wait for the power-possessing beings in the chairs at the front of the room to tell us how "it" is, and how we ought to be. Personally, and with all due respect, I'm a little too old for that.
We must become our own teachers. In that context, the whole point of the Gurdjieff work-- and of group work in general, as I learned during my membership in AA--is to trust and share one another's experience.
The last time I checked, accusations and demands were not compatible with trust and sharing.
If we don't tell one another about our experience, our effort, our personal insights, where is the group work? Imagine Ouspensky's men in a prison together who agree to escape but then refuse--or are afraid--to share their information with each other? How far can they get, if they need each other, but won't trust each other? Does that concept remind you of anything? ...Your group? ...Your life?
Think about it.
In my own experience, those actually willing to share any truly intimate parts of their own work are rare. We're all fearful, defensive, and stingy most of the time. We spend our time secretly concocting our own private plan for escape, distrusting those around us--who may be, we suspect, devising inferior plans.
How "open" are we, really? Do we just talk "open" or do we do "open?" This question is just as valid from an inner as an outer point of view.
In summary, if the community is the teacher, we're all teachers. And indeed, these days, I try to take the position that everyone I meet is a teacher of mine. Every life situation is a teaching, and I am always learning. When it hurts the most, I am learning more. The more exposed, the more emotionally naked I am, the more I accept what arrives, and the more I am learning.
If I began (or have conducted) this blogging enterprise out of a wish to "teach" people, I'm not aware of it. I set out to share my own personal studies, observations, and opinions, which may or may not be accurate. As regular readers will probably know, I may revise them as necessary.
In addition, every reader can freely come here (and leave) accepting or rejecting as little or as much as they wish. I don't expect any comments; I don't await any praise or accolades; in most cases, I don't even know who reads the blog, or why. What little food my ego gets from this activity (and I must admit this is pathetic) consists of looking at a sitemeter count of recent visitors. Something which I will admit I do rather frequently, and derive some small pleasure from, seedy little human thing that I am.
Aside from this dubious 'payoff' the only benefits I appear to gain from this enterprise are from the regular demands I place upon myself to examine the questions raised by both my own spiritual experiences and the material I read and develop in the context of my own search.
Yes, it's a fact: I present it all as if it were true. But if I didn't think and sense and feel that it were true, it would not be worth writing it down, or worth reading. And every time I publish an observation, I run the risk that someone else will evaluate that observation as crap. So I have to expose myself, to drop my defenses, in order to disseminate.
If this is all an exercise to acquire importance or in a "diseased" way set myself up as a "teacher"--then so far, it seems to be a resounding failure.
My entire life has been one lesson after another in how unimportant I am, and an ongoing process of confrontation with my own inadequacy, arrogance and contentious behavior. Every time I think I have made a little progress, my life rises up to slap me down one more time and make sure I understand my place. Readers who actually follow the blog--as opposed to dropping in on it to make special grand, impromptu pronouncements about my intention and effort--will have read a few posts about those experiences.
Anyway, enough of that. The point is that no enterprise can go on forever, and I believe it would be better to end this experiment intentionally than to let it trickle out.
As such, there is a forseeable end to the Zenyogagurdjieff blog, and--no matter when that end may be--it is, like all other endings, inexorably creeping up on us.
As it happens, I am already considering what "new" type of blog may follow on its heels, something a "a bit different."
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.