Fourth Way Perspectives


Selected questions and responses from The Gurdjieff Legacy Foundation group meetings.

"You're Stupid!"

Question: Several times I had the experience of seeing this "I" appear that said I was stupid and couldn't get anything right. The total sensation in my body changed from a feeling of lightness and openness to one of heaviness and chaos. It felt mentally and physically unhealthy. I was upset because I couldn't measure up. The more pressure I put on myself the worse it got. I had the feeling that someone was going to start yelling at me or I would be shamed in some way. For the better part of the next day I felt a disharmony from this. Could not stop the tape. I knew I was operating from faulty perceptions. But in spite of recognizing that, I knew everyone on my team knew I was the stupid one. As I was writing in my journal this morning, I had an insight that I often say I can't do this or that to protect myself from failure. It has something to do with my early childhood and school experiences. It feels like I am at a point where I have to revisit my demons, face them.

Response: We only think we live in the present. The past is living us, only we rarely recognize it. When we practice being-Partkdolg-duty the gradient between the waking consciousness and the subconscious lessens and a shock on the surface can strike deep into the depths and let us see the origin of our reaction. So we don't go tinkering around as psychologists do trying to plumb the subconscious but all the time supporting the notion of the person. Instead, we work on the surface to be as present as possible as often as possible. Our manifestations, inner and outer, are observed and felt—felt because we are not just in the head but in the body, in the instinctive center, and possibly, if the sensation is strong and sustained enough, in the feeling center. Then the impressions are direct, not filtered, and the power of the shock in a context of self-remembering takes us deep into our origins. In this way, we clear out or integrate the subconscious so we can get to what is really of value there: conscience.

MaryJane, Acid & Suffering

Q: I did a lot of MaryJane and acid before. I was able to experience such calm and beauty. Now it is all suffering. There is a part of me that says, "Why suffer?"

R: Drugs create imagination in higher emotional center. Whatever your stuff is, whatever is in the subconscious, is going to be projected. There are 'good' trips and 'bad,' but, other than allowing us to realize there are many degrees of consciousness, they trap us in the dramatic and give us a false sense of ourselves. But let's say you could take that little pill and you would be conscious. You'd miss out on the entire adventure of learning about yourself, about your centers and how they work, their dysfunctions, etc. You'd be a stupid saint. And after awhile people would get tired of your holiness and how good you were, and you'd probably go into one of your messianic roles, you'd want to save them, save the world, right?

Q: Yes!

R: So welcome to the real adventure!

Ancestral Anger

Q: Recently I had an episode of great anger, where I went into a rage. As I was ranting, I was watching myself in disgust. I was repulsed by the way I was behaving, but I had no control or ability to change my venting of anger. It was like a hurricane sweeping through me, and I could only watch as it swept over me. I had to allow it to complete its course. Then, the next morning my mother called and she was in a very bad mood, complaining and blaming and being full of self-importance. I found I was repulsed by the way she was being, but I also saw how her attitude was so similar to mine. I see that I am both attracted to being angry in that same way and repulsed by being that way. I see that it is an ancestral pattern that I am acting out, and I am unable to affect it.

R: We live such fragmented lives that it is always a relief to become unified. Anger, blame, suffering, even depression—unifies! I am no longer living in uncertainty, scatteredness. Now I know what the score is! Feel the power, the certainty, and, yes, the godhood, of the Knower.

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