In Search of the Miraculous: Finding a Teaching (2)

I have a search.  I know that because I feel a lack and disquiet deep down – a sense that ‘I have missed the point’.  I respond to a gentle call to action.

I am attracted to ideas and groups who seem to be offering to fill the gap.  I am put off because the ideas appear to be ‘off the mark’, lightweight or even downright preposterous.  Perhaps I simply don’t resonate with the type of people following these ideas.  I use my inner instincts to weigh up the inherent value of each one – to ME.

I know I have to carve my own path.  I take responsibility for finding my own way.  I don’t want ritual or someone else’s philosophy.  I am an independent seeker.  I narrow down my options.  I’m looking for help, a guide or teacher who has been down that road before me and can shed some light on the next step(s) to take.  I become more discerning and develop a taste for what is authentic and what influences can help me in my search.

I know it immediately when I find it.  It touches me to the inner core and I am eager to know more.  I have reached the threshold.  I stand poised to take my first step.

Next event: 11am on Saturday 4 February in Central London. See our Meetup Group for details.

 

In Search of the Miraculous: Finding a Teaching

“Life can have moments of vividness – the miraculous. However, day-to-day I make my life mundane. My search is to find ‘in myself’, moments that are more real, alive and vivid. I’ve found I can’t ‘do’ this on my own, and there’s no workshop solution. I need to be with an active group of people, studying a serious Teaching which has a history and a transmission of ‘something’.”

Where do I find something authentic in my life? I have reached a crossroads where I need to find more meaning, I feel hungry for something true. Where do I search for it?

I’ve looked around trying to find glimpses of truth. I wanted it to be real, beyond doubt. 

I’ve found a lot empty things, without meaning. How do I cope with all this when I feel I need something else to feed my being? 

Is there still something miraculous to be found in this life? Do I have to withdraw from the world to find it, or is it hidden in plain sight in the hurly-burly of London?

We will explore these questions at our next Café Gurdjieff Meetup.

“The ‘miraculous’ is very difficult to define. But for me this word had a quite definite meaning. I had come to the conclusion a long time ago that there was no escape from the labyrinth of contradictions in which we live except by an entirely new road, unlike anything hitherto known or used by us. But where this new or forgotten road began I was unable to say. I already knew then as an undoubted fact that beyond the thin film of false reality there existed another reality from which, for some reason, something separated us.”

In Search of the Miraculous by P D Ouspensky

Next event: 11am on Saturday 4 February in Central London. See our Meetup Group for details.

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

Check out this Meetup Group →

 

Essence and Personality (2)

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Continuing with the theme of “Know thyself!”, in our next event we would like to explore a crucial aspect of Gurdjieff’s teaching, which is that in us our essence and our personality are two different – though related – entities . This fact, if true, changes everything we think we know about ourselves, everything  we think we know about psychology and everything we think we know about our possibility for a spiritual evolution.

“Essence in man is what is his own. Personality in man is what is ‘not his own’. ‘Not his own’ means what has come from outside, what he has learned, or reflects, all traces of exterior impressions left in the memory and in the sensations, all words and movements that have been learned, all feelings created by imitation—all this is ‘not his own,’ all this is personality.”

G I Gurdjieff

In most people living in civilised society, essence remains undeveloped. In one fascinating experiment with two members of his St Petersburg Group in 1916. Gurdjieff temporarily “put to sleep” their personalities so that their essence could interact with the other people. One of the two, known for playing the fool and for failing to see the wood for the trees, became quite serious and direct. The second of the experimentees, a man quite opinionated with much to say on all sorts of topics, became suddenly taciturn. When asked to say what he would like, he could only respond, “I think I should like some raspberry jam.”

If one can have a good, successful life with one’s centre of gravity in personality, what does it matter about essence?

“A man’s real I, his individuality, can grow only from his essence. It can be said that a man’s individuality is his essence, grown up, mature. But in order to enable essence to grow up, it is first of all necessary to weaken the constant pressure of personality upon it, because the obstacles to the growth of essence are contained in personality.”

G I Gurdjieff

Once this distinction is appreciated, even though not yet understood from one’s own experience, much else begins to make sense.

Then legitimate questions arise.

“How to connect with essence?”

“How is essence fed?”

Join our next Café Gurdjieff meeting at 11am on 28 May in Central London.

Details from enquiries@gurdjieff.org.uk

Food for the Moon?

Saturday, April 23, 2016
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
The British Library, First Floor Café

My father, when I was growing up, sometimes used to say “these people are food for the moon” when, for example, we were watching TV showing some ‘cheap’ programme with mindless chatter and ‘trivial acting’ or behaviour.

The expression ‘food for the moon’ shocked me then as it does now. It challenges the commonly held view that we humans are the centre of everything – anthropocentric (Greek ἄνθρωπος, ánthrōpos, “human being”; and κέντρον, kéntron, “centre”). It introduces the idea of humans being connected with planets.

As the native American Chief Seattle said ‘The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth. This we know…’

But what about things we don’t know?

What is the connection between man, the Earth, the Moon and other planets?

What is our role in the Cosmos?

Are we just food for the moon?

It seems obvious to me, instinctively I feel that man is connected with nature, the earth and the planets: ‘Everything is connected’.

At the same time, it disturbs me because it implies that we, as humans, are powerless in front of the forces of ‘great nature’. How does the moon influence me?