Friday, November 8, 2013

The octave of the four bodies

Most of the movements contain specific information about the Gurdjieff teaching. The ideas which we read about in the books or hear about from the various historical figures are reflected in the movements themselves.

 Today we're going to take two specific examples of movements that have meanings directly related to the teaching. Both of them derive from a specific comment on page 184 of The Reality of Being (Jeanne de Salzmann) which must be pondered at great length in order to begin to understand.

At the end of the essay Degrees of the Octave, we are told,

The octaves are superposed and must not mix. Descent is obligatory if one mixes with vibrations of lower notes.

 As some readers may know, I have been working for many months on a book called The Enneagram and Inner Work. I had to stop work on the book at the beginning of this year because I did not understand exactly what she meant by this sentence, and I couldn't go any further with the considerable material developed from this particular essay till I did so.

 I'm able to report that I do now understand this particular remark; and the book will resume progress in the near future. In the meantime, I've developed a group of diagrams expounding the specific teaching related to this idea, which is a very complex idea but at the same time extraordinarily simple to grasp if one understands what she is getting at.

The exact point is that octaves develop simultaneously. As one begins the first octave on a path to develop Being, under the correct transformational conditions, one completes the first triad re-mi-fa— which is what essay number 85 is all about.

What she is getting at in the end of the notes here is that when one passes to the note sol,  the second triad of this octave is directly related to the beginning of the first note of the next octave.

Thus, as one completes the first triad for the development of the astral body, one simultaneously begins work on the second octave, related to the mental body.  This takes place at the same time that work on the second triad necessary for the completion of the astral body is embarked upon. Each level of development is a mirror image an exact reflection of the level above and the level below it; every single one of them is built on triads that come into relationship with one another.

Octaves for all of the three higher bodies develop in conjunction with one another, but they can't be mixed.

In order to understand this fully, it's important to understand that each triad of an octave actually represents a completed note for the octave above it. And, if you click on this link, you will see that the movement enneagram in question specifically positions individuals at all points which are necessary to physically illustrate this principle. In the diagram, each blue circle represents a person — and there are three at each subordinate octave.

 I'd like to stress that this diagram is entirely incomplete, and the movement is a complex movement with many arm positions and other individuals playing important roles in it. I'm including it simply to illustrate that some of the important principles I'm expounding on here are also precisely reflected in Gurdjieff's movements, which are actually a form of language that contain all the ideas in them, if properly understood.

In another well-known movement which cannot be depicted graphically (and which I am, once again, not giving anywhere near all the details on) two arms circle in front of the participant in opposite directions, at two different speeds—one at twice the speed of the other.  These two arms actually represent the two superposed octaves mentioned in de Salzmann's notes; and the point of the movement is to experience the fact that the two movements are, at the same time, simultaneous and independent of one another; and that they also depend on one another, even though they cannot be allowed to "mix." (If one confuses the arms, the movement collapses.)

 Readers who are feeling ambitious and want to try to understand this material without the supporting text I intend to write are welcome to browse the additional diagrams at the below link.

The diagrams themselves may give some intimations as to exactly what was meant by this one simple sentence, which opens up the door to an extraordinary world related to the questions of inner development.

While this kind of technical information is, as I've pointed out before, objectively unnecessary for inner development, for those who are interested in understanding how perfect the system is, it's a delight.

It may also be fascinating to people, even expert ones, who teach and execute the Gurdjieff movements year after year without considering the significant amount of intellectual content they have. I suspect that all the diagrams attached to this post are ultimately explained in various movements, if one knows how to read them.

May your soul be filled with light.

Master link: The octave of the four bodies
Note to readers: a new post at the microbial octave.

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