Monday, August 11, 2014
Commentaries on transcripts: the first transcript, part II
— transcripts of Gurdjieff's wartime meetings, 1941 – 1946, page 5
The organic sense of being makes you independent when you are with other people.
What this means is that one does not have a definite sense of "I" — of real Being — until this develops. The whole aim of inner work is, first of all, to develop this real "I", and one cannot have a real sense of self until at least one other mind is awakened.
That being said, it must be pointed out that the feeling mind cannot awaken before the organic mind of sensation awakens, because the hierarchy of consciousness works according to laws. The three centers have to awaken in order if they wish to find conjunction and act in harmony; so feeling can't awaken on its own, or with any functional stability, in the absence of a connection between mind and body, simply because the functional relationship between the three is built on a range of harmonics that reinforce one another. There isn't enough strength for feeling to enter if intellect and sensation aren't already acting in concert together.
The understanding of this is quite distinct and very different from an understanding of the way the lower parts of the ordinary centers act — that is, intellect, the physical body, and emotion. These three properties belong to the material, or right side, of the enneagram, and their manifestation is what the alchemists called a relationship of coarse substances. Only the enlivening property of a higher energy can inwardly form the awakened consciousness within each center that is necessary for a conjunctive harmony between awakened centers to develop; and the progression is a logical one, based on law, not a random collision of hopes, beliefs, and wishes.
This is why so many decades are spent building an intellectual foundation, which event has to be translated into sensation of the body, first through effort and suffering. Then, once sensation becomes a living thing that is awakened, a prepared ground comes into existence—into which the awakened manifestation of feeling can manifest.
There are varying degrees and levels of sleep, as Gurdjieff pointed out; and they, as well, have distinctive hierarchies that can be identified. A man can be asleep in his intellect, or asleep in his emotion, or asleep in his body, or asleep in all three, as is, in fact, very common, in fact routine and almost the default. And there are degrees of sleep within that; they, too, are formed according to law, and I will simply give the most obvious initial explanation, that is, the intellect can be asleep in its intellectual part, its emotional part, or its physical part. Those who study and ponder these questions will begin to understand that it is not too difficult to see which parts are asleep in people if we understand that each center has three parts... and so on. These matters operate according to sciences which are nowhere near as obscure as those who insist on mystifying the Gurdjieff practice would have us believe.
In any event, an awakened intellect — that is, an intelligence that has come into direct contact with higher energy through effort and suffering — can assist in effort to undertake more suffering, up until an awakened organic sense of being arrives. I've said before that I don't think exercises can do this; and an astute reading of the first transcript verifies that exercises are not the point. It is the suffering that plays the central role in the acquisition of Being; and it is suffering that always and forever plays a central role in the awakening of the organic sense of being.
This goes some way towards explaining the unusual role of physical suffering in monastic and yogic practices; yet these are quite limited in their effectiveness, because physical suffering alone can be tolerated, and one may even learn to enjoy it, as masochists and sadists so amply demonstrate. It is emotional suffering, above all, that has to be engaged in; hence the practice of the non-expression of negative emotion, which has a direct effect on this area—unlike mechanical demands on the body, which look very impressive and cause great anguish, but have considerably less effect.
The harmonious interaction of intellect and sensation, if awakened, leaves an opening for feeling, but its arrival is not guaranteed. This once again takes years of effort and suffering, although a prepared ground is far more likely to receive the benefit of the feeling parts.
When these three parts act together, the transformation of Being begins. I say it begins here, because there is a difference between the acquisition of Being and the transformation of Being.
The acquisition of Being only makes the transformation of Being possible; and it is not guaranteed. So the creation of real "I," which seems to be such a vital aim in inner work, is merely the beginning of any real inner work for a human being.