Thursday, April 3, 2014

How thoughts form, part 3: the three servants

Our three centers are like three servants in the kingdom where the king has gone on a leave of absence.

Each one of the servants is essential; one of them is in charge of administration, the second one in charge of the physical and environmental condition of the kingdom, and the third one in the happiness of the people.

But the administrator, has taken over; and he has no respect for the other two servants.  They are given little or no place in the day-to-day administration of the kingdom; and because things are disorganized, the King does not come home. He sees that the environment is in poor shape and his people are unhappy; but he cannot rule the kingdom on his own. His administration is essential, and it needs to be balanced before he can step in and exercise his rule.

In the same way, our intellect has little respect for the mind of the body or the mind of the emotions. It sees them as subservient elements to be ordered around, not as peers with an equal right of participation in life.

When the body-mind and the emotional mind are alienated in this manner, they become irresponsible and run off on their own to seek their own pleasures. They are not, after all, organized rationally in the same way that the mind is; and although they have distinct and mature, completely developed thoughts of their own, those thoughts cannot organize themselves properly without the participation of the intellect, who has become an abuser instead of a cooperator. In the meantime, the types of thoughts that these two parts have are quite different than rational thought; our understanding of what thinking is is limited to the organization of rational arguments, associative elements, and strings of words and concepts. The understanding that sensation is a form of thought, and that feeling is a form of thought, escapes us, because our conceptual framework has extinguished these understandings, which were much clearer to ancient peoples.

Consequently, we don't really suspect that the mind of the body can consciously participate in the experience of life. The body and its mind seem to be relatively inferior tools, great for playing guitar or tennis, or providing pleasurable sensation through food, wine, and song and so on, but otherwise to be subjugated to a rational life plan. Sensation isn't, after all, going to get us through Harvard.

Or even the state University.

I wish to be present to my life; but I always think I will do this through the mind of the intellect. It has, after all, initial and subjective command of all the senses; even senses distinctly belonging to the body alone such as touch. And I don't suspect that my body has an organic ability to perceive that exceeds that of the intelligence of the mind.

That ability to perceive is entirely different than the faculty of the intellectual mind; the body perceives through sensation. Yet the manner in which sensation can be truly awakened is unknown. Gurdjieff said this was possible; nonetheless, despite decades of instruction and study, the subject remains obscure to most people who encounter it. Perhaps the best we can say is that sensation is awakened once enough suffering has been undertaken; and that is a complicated matter, because even though we are told that we ought to suffer intentionally, in reality, we do little or none of this.

In the end, my great wish is to be more present to my life; and the first place in which that greater presence can arrive is through the sensation of the body, that is, a much deeper organic sensation that is alive and at the very least organic, if not durable or permanent.

 One of the points of self remembering, of separating myself from the various processes of the inner centers, is to be able to see more precisely exactly how each one of them operates. Taking one step back from the process of inner identification and seeing these processes as separate things is an essential point of work in terms of self remembering. Self remembering is not just coming back to myself in my life, seeing that I am there, and saying "I am" to myself for a brief moment. The interaction of self remembering in which there is the self which steps back from and sees the various centers in operation is a much more concise definition of inner work, and a far more comprehensive and in-depth way of viewing the question.

This cannot, however, be a psychological activity conducted by the mind of the intellect. Being must form within the body; that is to say, a real Self must be born which can do this kind of work. And there are no magic formulas to guarantee that kind of birth. Many years of exercises can certainly help; but again, no guarantee.

Someone asked me today what can awaken sensation. My reply to them was that if we knew this, we would know everything. In the end, I believe, this only takes place after much advance payment and a great deal of suffering; and even then, only according to the karma of the individual who is working.

To date,  in my own experience and reading, the very best record of what might work was provided by Jeanne de Salzmann; and The Reality of Being is the closest thing to a manual on this question in all of the world's esoteric literature.



  1. YES, and she is not shy about talking of how to construct an astral/planetary body, or the sexual centre...etc... good reading...but at the end of the 'silver age', there was v. little theory at all...the challenge remains that without meeting someone like that it is difficult to get the right vibe...there are sooo many disastrous paths to follow n'est-ce pas?
    Especially if u claim to follow her, like the Paris foundation, which u have encountered... = french arrogance

  2. 'karma, advance payment...suffering'...forget books...hope and pray that u meet someone who might possibly be a witness to something...or maybe god's grace if u are v. lucky...I guess that's need to blog Lee

  3. Actually, my first comment is v. ambiguous...I didn't mean that you, Lee, were like many people in the Paris foundation...I meant that there is a real sense in which the Paris foundation, which claims to follow Mme, is not on the right track somehow. And Mme did ultimately set the whole thing up and run it strictly according to her vision...Strange really...there is an old saying about the worst coming out of the best...Corruptio optimi quae est pessima...Something that Illich saw happening in the Church.

  4. Also interesting that RoB was ever published....I wonder who decided on that....perhaps the grandson :)

  5. Paul, I am sorry that I do not know you, but you seem to be the only other active commentator aside from myself on Lee's blog. And why?

    Why do you feel the need to comment on your own comments?Three unresponded to declarations, because, Mr Bains, Because you seem to declare yourself as someone who has discovered something important that is desperate to "get out". To myself, we all live on the crust of this dinky planet in what is literally a loony tunes pain factory. Paul, your second comment is damn nervy. I would be ashamed, as I often am.

  6. thanks rinyc. I don't know why I am the only other active commetator (good question)...I commented on my own comments becos they were rushed and unclear...sorry about that. Not ashamed to comment and get it wrong v. often...and I have the greatest respect for Lee and his blog/work

  7. Not the only other active commentator ;)

    Paul, it would help if the site had an edit function wouldn't it? I find myself constantly revising my own responses on various sites/forums/etc. Also, I am curious as to how your interest in Gurdjieff's work relates to your academic interests (Deleuze, Deely, etc). Perhaps we can discuss this in private.

  8. Paul, perhaps i sometimes get "ahead of myself" by rushing such that i cease to exist, not knowing that I have become a 'shade', from the same root as hades, the christian limbo where the one thing is missing, and it is presence.

    I sit with Lee's posts and I may wish to respond, yet it may take me an hour before touching the keyboard, or overnight.

    I am very cautious about commenting on this man's demonstration of one who truly wishes to work not just for himself, but for his neighbor. And he sweats over this super effort which has continuously given unabashedly for more than 7 years!

    I too must stand back from it's edifice and respect that I do not wish to mar the pristine clarity Lee sometimes is capable of providing; that he has "opened HIS books; he has turned himself inside out and allowed us to SEE him.

    I do not think as Paul does, that I am allowed to rush and get in my own way and stumble as if drunk on urgency..

    It is good to be struck down again and again to let the fool in us learn to stand back up thereby.

    The Work is not "for us". It is not for Man, but Man is for The Work. If I dare say that I AM in The WORK, the key is that i am IN the work. I neither possess it nor own it and to be frank, I do not really know what the work is; where it goes; where it may lead if I gather myself for the I follow a master, not as a comrade but as the unworthy servant, and one who knows it.

  9. YES, I was going to actually make another 'comment' to say exactly that! We can edit FB that we are not commenting on our comments...:) I am happy to discuss my 'academic' interests...but the truth is they don't really relate at all

    1. Please grant me a direct answer to the following question:
      What prompted you to mention that you were planning on saying "exactly that"???

      Frankly, Academia moves at a "Snail's Pace" and I do not belong there,so you can be assured of my not probing you.

      I am however "Interested in Interests" and often ask people what they might be interested in, which I can then take as a starting point for a potentially mutually beneficial exchange. I never want to talk about "ME or "YOU". Even if I have to.

  10. just for the hell of it one more 'comment'. In my 2nd comment I said 'hope and pray that u meet someone...''' I was not referring to Lee (!!!!)...I should have written 'that one meets someone''...Anyway, I apologise for these comments :)

  11. Richard, I value your comments and I would agree that Lee has done us a great service with his work; a service we can only attempt to reciprocate by sincerely applying what we 'understand'..

    Paul, I gathered that; which is why I am curious as to how you manage to 'balance' them or put each into their own proper perspective (academia being a labyrinth within a labyrinth.. etc). Most people who would be drawn to one would often not be drawn to the other.

    Lee's claim about The Reality of Being is certainly a strong one, but I've also surveyed a lot of the world's 'esoteric' literature and is certainly the book I value most. From pg. 83:

    "In working in the quiet, I learn to separate myself from the multitude of thoughts and come to the sole vibration of a single question: "Who Am I?" As I try to attune myself to it, a silent, continuing perception of "I" appears behind the wave of thoughts. Then I am no longer agitated by their vibrations, and remain indifferent, expecting nothing from them. Who am I? I stay with the shock of the question until all other thoughts come to submission. It is not easy, but I do not allow myself to be discouraged or afraid. Nor do I cling to the idea of becoming conscious of myself. The aim of concentrating on this one question is to lead me to consciousness."



  13. Active commentator checking in...

    Thank you, Lee. Your three posts on how thoughts form are a superlative gift.


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