Why do I need a Group?

Why can’t I develop my spiritual search on my own?

‘A Man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake’

G I Gurdjieff

This aphorism feels full of a deep essential meaning but how are we supposed to interpret it?  Surely we are already ‘awake’?  How else could I function as I go about my daily routine?

Gurdjieff introduces us to the notion of various states of ‘sleep’.   At night in bed we experience both a deep sleep and a lighter sleep during which we may dream.  In the morning as we begin our day, we find ourselves in a ‘waking state of sleep’, capable of performing all our outward responsibilities  – but only in an automated and mechanical way.  In this state we can be anywhere between daydream and a more alert mode.

We can also, from time to time, ‘wake up in a flash’ – a moment of self remembering.  This is a fleeting event connecting us to something higher.  Initially I am mildly amused by this state and simply accept it as part of my life.  However there comes a point when I get a taste for this vivifying moment.  It somehow feels authentic and I gradually acknowledge that I wish to know more.  How can I hang on to and extend this moment?  Where does it come from and why does it go away so quickly?  I become increasingly curious.  I want to know why the hypnotic effect of life pulls me back into my waking state causing me to feel dull, directionless and without purpose once again.  I am no longer content with the status quo of my life. I have the beginnings of a search.

Help is at hand!  I can discover testimonials of those who have gone before, sacred books and spiritual paths.  Beware however since this risks remaining a purely intellectual exercise. Information from books is not the same as Self-Knowledge or deep personal understanding.

I can only go so far on my own.  I have a need to share my curiosity with others but I find that my immediate circle of acquaintances is not entirely receptive to my apparent self-centred musings.  I need to find others who resonate with my own experiences – not just one or two but a group.

A Group has a history, a structure and an aim.  A Group has a leader(s) who has travelled further than me on a particular path.  The leader gives the Group direction.  I bring questions related to my search.   I get a response which is tailored to my immediate needs and hints of a future direction for me.  I hear and watch others in the Group, which helps to confirm and identify a shared path of discoveries, dilemmas and difficulties.  Group activities serve as a constant reminder of my ‘sleep’ and invite me to ‘wake up’.  I cannot be my own constant reminder to remember myself.  Only by beginning to remember myself can I awaken. The ‘wake up’ call must come from outside myself.    This is the purpose of a Group.

To return to the aphorism above: to Awake, to Die, to be Born.  To awake from my ‘waking state’.  To die to the misleading reactions we normally mistake for life.  To be born again to the higher potentialities of life – the real purpose of our presence here on Earth.

The next Café Gurdjieff event in Central London on the theme of “Why do I need a Group?2 will take place at 11am on SAturday 12 November. See our Meetup Group for more details.

Café Gurdjieff – London

London, GB
44 Members

A community of people with enquiring minds who seek inspiration and a more real understanding about practical aspects of our lives. There are some Café members who are activel…

Next Meetup

“Why do I need a Group?”

Saturday, Nov 12, 2016, 11:00 AM
2 Attending

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Reflections on Working with Attention

‘Every human being, at birth, receives a certain quantity of this vital force, and, in the course of his or her existence, it will be the integrator of all things within and of everything manifested’.

Henriette Lannes. This Fundamental Quest. P 58.

Attention is a type of ‘inner focussing’. Concentration is when one of my centres, usually my head, is focused on one single task at hand– often to the exclusion of my other senses. The result is that when I am concentrating, often I don’t hear sounds, feel sensations or notice things going on around me. I am active in one centre only.

Attention can be consciously divided, between oneself and the outside world (which we call self-remembering), or between two or more centres. For example, I may feel a habitual emotion and, at the same time, consciously bring some attention to bear on a certain part of my body or on my breathing. The emotion loosens its grip on me and I gain a certain sensation of being grounded, being ‘lighter’ and more open to my inner world and to what life is offering me in that moment. I become aware of a finer energy at my disposal. I sense a vivifying force at play. . I am now active in two centres.

These moments are fleeting – even though the possibilities are always there. However, it leaves a taste and a wish for more. If I am awake, I can intentionally find that sensation again. Even when I am asleep or daydreaming, a moment of real attention can be gifted to me and jolt me out of my slumber. Before I know it though, life’s chloroform effect has put me back into a state of waking sleep. It becomes a question for me and I develop a curiosity about this extraordinary phenomenon.

How can I extend these moments of gathered attention? Do I really have to wait for them to come to me or can I be more proactive in seeking them?

Attention is like a muscle. It gets stronger the more it is used.

A state of Attention has a special quality which can be perceived by others. It can call the other person’ to action’ – if only briefly – and leave a lasting impression. In a Group meeting James Moore once said: ‘The most valuable thing you can ever give someone is your Attention’ – but most of the time I am asleep to that possibility. My task is to wake up!

The next Café Gurdjieff event on The Power of Attention will take place on Saturday 18 June at 11am in Central London. Details here: http://www.meetup.com/Cafe-Gurdjieff-London/events/231652005/