Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Balanced Work

There are times when the master buries the bone deep.

There are other times when he implies he has buried the bone deep, causing all of his pupils to race around furiously digging holes, when actually, he left the bone right on the kitchen table.

One of the most essential principles in the Gurdjieff system is that an inner work must be a balanced work. Not only did he refer to his organization as the "Institute for Harmonious Development," he repeatedly emphasized the need for three centered work, a work in which all of the centers were balanced. And his protégés—most notably Jeanne de Salzmann—spoke about the need to balance inner work many times. For example, de Salzmann speaks in The Reality Of Being of getting the three centers to work at the same speed—something they don't do under ordinary circumstances, as Gurdjieff explained to Ouspensky in In Search Of The Miraculous.

Let's pause here for a moment and examine all of this information in the context of what Gurdjieff told Ouspensky about the wrong location of the second shock in the enneagram.  The shock, he said, lawfully comes between the notes “Si” and “Do.” The diagram, however, "wrongly" locates it between "Sol" and "La."

Aside from his cryptic remarks about the fact that the wrong location indicated the type of work that was necessary for the second shock, Gurdjieff never elaborated on this. Longtime readers of my material may recall  that in the past, I've offered a few possibilities for what he meant by that remark.

Today, I'm going to offer what is perhaps a simpler and more obvious one.

 Before you read any further, please take a look at the following diagram  of what the enneagram looks like when you locate the shock in the correct place.

Let's take a brief excursion into what symbols are for. Symbols are meant to represent abstractions of principles; they are not literal, but, literally, figurative interpretations of ideas. Symbols commonly undergo manipulation in order to more effectively express ideas that cannot be expressed literally.

 The simplest possible explanation of what Gurdjieff was trying to get Ouspensky to understand when he talked about the shock being located in the "wrong" place on the diagram is that the type of work that is necessary to pass from "Si" to "Do" is a balanced work. The placement of the shock, in other words, creates a symmetrical and balanced diagram that properly represents the law of three functioning in a balanced way, instead of indicating one-sided or lopsided development of centers.

 One sees the symbol is worthless if you draw it literally. It isn't even a symbol anymore: it's a mish-mosh which conveys gibberish instead of harmony. So there is no choice in the matter: in order to create an effective symbol of inner work that is harmoniously balanced, the shock must be located where it is. There are no special esoteric secrets connected to this; the esoteric secret is right here on the kitchen table, where no one notices it—exactly like every other real truth in life.

I suppose some may think it a bit sad to have to take this mysterious question and reduce it to such a simple point of view—especially those on an endless quest for secret magical knowledge— but it's actually not simple at all. The most essential problem we all have in our work is that we aren't well-balanced. We aren't harmonious. And we need to keep that question in front of us at all times.

Seeing our lack is, in part, observing that imbalance up close and first-hand.

 I respectfully ask you to take good care.


  1. In my understanding, the enneagram is a symbol of the universe as musical. The laws of music are at the deepest level, the major scale, and the cycle of fifths/fourths. The enneagram uses the solfeggi, i.e.: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. And there is required a shock between Mi (The third note in the major scale) and Fa (the fourth).
    Because of the missing semitone between Mi and Fa, the introduction of outside force in the form of a shock turns our perception of the fourth into the second note in a new scale, which then places the first conscious shock between 5 and 7 on the diagram. Musically it is a step-down process which is part of the exit less magic circle we find ourselves in, to wit: here is a major scale with dashes for the black keys:

    1--2--34--5--6--71 and so on....

    This means that the first shock at three causes itself to sound as DO. 4 becomes Re and 5 becomes Mi, and we need a new influx or shock to continue, so Fa becomes a flatted seventh. Continuing this step-down movement we slowly flat ALL the notes - the previously flatted AND the introduction of a new flat, in the following order:

    b7, b3, b6, b2, b5, b1 = this is a descending order of sadness and an additional structure of increasing mechanical suffering through the musical modes:
    Lydian in a semitone lower key
    Ionian, in this new lower key. This continues and denotes an increase in entropy which never reaches an end. The only end is when the tones become too low for human hearing.

    For those who understand this process, each new Do can allow for the scale to continue unabated, which means that it will LEAVE THE CIRCLE and move out into space beyond the circle itself. This would be easier to show with diagrams but the description will have to suffice. With the deviation caused by mechanical forces entering as DO at 9, 3 and 6, NOTHING CAN BE DONE AND THE MECHANICAL INCREASE IN SUFFERING CANNOT BE OVERCOME, whereas, if a sufficient amount of INNER higher hydrogens are brought to MEET the new DO, we begin to DO, an analogy to the launch of a spacecraft, which requires 17,500 MPH in speed and velocity to escape the Earth's gravity.

    We are also subject to a gravity, not just in the physical body, but gravity also pulls the emotions and mental activity down, to the level of ordinary man.

    Using this visual of the descending deviation according to law as shown in the Enneagram, one can see why "Super-efforts" are required for growth of being, as one needs to achieve an escape velocity, which only can be achieved through WORK, and a hell of a lot of it at that. Most who find the work are neither prepared properly, nor do they WORK... just sit year after year, toggling between the same barriers, or self-calming through "spiritual consolation"--- which only should occur when the conscience has been completely excavated and cleansed of gunk, soil ands buffers.

  2. Unfortunately the first attempt to show new scales beginning with the entry of outer force at 3,6 and 9 did not translate, but looks as if I simple placed three identical scales right under each other. Not at all... there is a NEW scale starting at each of the points of the triangle, which move the semi-tones around the diagram, with notes flatting like dominoes. I am sorry that this comment format doesn't allow for that to be shown properly, but it can be imagined.

  3. My insight into the reason of the “wrong” placement of the second (conscious) shock refers to its nature. Something must happen between SI and DO, but for it to happen, I must pay in advance, between SOL and LA.
    I will speak from my own experience.
    This second shock is described as the “non-expression of negative emotions”. Non-expression has two completely different sides to the stick. One is called “repression” and brings forward a complete set of malfunctioning into the machine, causing anything from physical disease –much documented in the literature of psychosomatic diseases- to the complete numbing of the emotional center. Nothing is expressed because nothing is felt.
    The other side is the “standing in front” instruction given in Groups. I feel the emotional energy yet I am not identified with it, it is not me, it is something that moves in me. This is an effort of a completely different quality, not easily undertaken. It can easily turn into repression. Or it can bring forward the illusion of being present, yet identification is taking place in a more subtle level.
    The second shock is sometimes formulated as “intentional suffering”. I have experienced this intentional suffering as a renouncement to the complete set of illusions sustained by my emotional center that create the world I live in.
    In my world of illusion, to which I am so attached, I “like” and “dislike”. From these likes and dislikes I relate to impressions coming from the outer world. I experience fear, or attachment and manipulation. I experience envy and pride. Or anger against those who “do me wrong”. Or sorrow for losses that are not real, yet I experience as true. It is my own personal mad world full of imaginary suffering.
    So how could I suddenly decide, in the midst and mist of the dream I live as true, that I will not identify with what is reacting inside of me? How could I overcome the forces of sleep (I could also say of the ego) standing inside sleep (fighting from the same ego)? It is a riddle that cannot be solved when I am already there. Something is to happen between SI and DO, but for this transition to occur between a lower and a higher octave, previous work must be done. I have to pay in advance.
    I need a lot of previous work to deeply understand the nature of what is going on when an emotional reaction takes place inside of me. All this previous work could be the “misplaced” shock between FA and LA. I need to see my inner traps, see my lack, recognize how I am a reacting machine, with nothing real with which to respond. And I need to suffer from that vision.
    So I can experience freedom … later.
    I also need to see the two natures of my emotional world. On one side it is the commander of my chief feature, dense and captivating, that also has allowed me to survive in a wild world. On the other, when it is free of negativity, it can experience a higher order of vibrations.
    An invisible yet real transition can take place when the dilemma of the SI is posed. Any daily life dilemma will do, like when somebody criticizes my work, or I find out I have lost my favorite sweater. Of course there are harder trials, and many times exterior circumstances demand an exterior answer.
    For my inner experience I can choose either to go down in a cycle of negativity, or I can let go, recognizing the pull, yet opening to higher influences. I am captive, but I can decide to listen because, (translating from Spanish) “Lord, I am not worthy that you come into my home, but you only need to say one word and I shall be healed.”
    I do not choose my circumstances. Life places them in front of me, facing me over and over with a portal of higher or lower possibilities. If I have worked for that moment, if I have already paid and paid enough, when the tide of emotions come I will be ready to surrender to a higher voice.

  4. While I endorse the previous comments... and, as readers know, have offered some rather sophisticated explanations of this matter myself in the past... the whole point of the post is its topical accuracy and inherent simplicity. Occam's razor shaves a metaphysical face as close as a scientific one.

  5. Lee, while I appreciate your statements about the practical, the entire point of my seemingly technical post is that in order to "do", one must LEAVE THE CIRCLE. The Inner Circulation and outer patterns ARE the perfect example of the "EXITLESS MAGIC CIRCLE".

    One aspect of this for me is that the SHOCKS needed to avoid endless repetition and to let the scale LEAVE undeviated requires a HEFTY shock. Not the kind we are likely to receive on our own OR at the Foundation. HEFTY, like the death of a dear one or a radical change in the circumstances of one's life.

    All the so-called "technical talk", which you know as well as I, from a slightly different perspective, I wrote to show ONE POINT. And it is of such practical value as to be born of NECESSITY, the Ancient God, not the word as it is used these days.


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