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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Come Together One & All

Another one that I came across in the Times of India, Bangalore. It speaks of a person called Gurdjieff. Anyone heard about him? I plan to do some research about this guy later...but if anyone knows something about him in the meantime, please let me know. So, I was reading it, and it seemed to make a lot of sense in terms of life in general; all the things that I saw happening around me. Check it out.

Form Groups, Rouse Each Other from Deep Sleep
by K. Harish

A central idea in Gurdjieff's philosophy was that man is in deep sleep. He is an automaton and each of his actions, thoughts and feelings are just passive and mechanical responses to stimuli. Things just happen, with no true independent thought or action. Without self-knowledge, Gurdjieff says, man will always remains a slave, a plaything of the forces acting upon him.

Gurdjieff considered human beings incomplete, but endowed with an ability to develop potential. The way is self-observation, the beginning of a long journey of self-discovery. In the process, your deceptive sense of self becomes apparent. Gurdjieff calls them I's. The I's are false personalities that appear and disappear at will, to which you are continually enslaved. Your deeds or emotions are determined by the peculiar characteristics of each 'I' - a schizophrenic existence that seems to tear your life, swinging you from polarities of happiness and sorrow.

Another feature is 'identification'. We are constantly identified with what people think of us, how they behave with us, evaluating whether we are given the respect that is our due. Constantly affected by what people say about us, we assume that everything has been specifically arranged for our own convenience.

Gurdjieff's appraoch is to bring all these dispersed I's in a single 'I' - thereby creating a conscious and objective Will. The old mechanical self dies and a new conscious Will emerges.

The purpose of this journey is neither esoteric nor for personal enlightment. It coincides with the concept of service in the great Bodhi Sattva tradition. Gurdjieff emphasizes man's special role in the universe. He is a special instrument who can maintan the connection of this planet with the universe. Each time this connection is threatened, a Messiah is born to restore the balance. The Bhagavad Gita talks about this in Chapter IV.

Gudjieff's teachings divide man into three centres - the moving, thinking, and emotional centres. The moving centre is responsible for physical work, thinking for logical reasoning and emotional centre for emotional states. We need to harmonize all the three centres equally. But most of our lives are limited to one or at best two centres. The intellectual enjoys a piece of art with his mind, reasoning why he liked it. In those whose emotional centre is stronger, emotional decisions are taken where logical decisions were needed.

Our lasting memories are ones where our physical, emotional and thinking centres have combined to create a complete experience. Man cannot do this myself. e must work in a group with like-minded people. To overcome their sleep, they can wake each other up. The Sangha in Buddhist tradition lays emphasis on combined group energy as against individual energies.

The end-purpose of this path is to serve the universe. "This teaching is not to make angels out of us, but to make us human beings," Gurdjieff says. This happens when the harmonized human being performs his role in the great dance of nature, from a source of pure motives and true action without attachments, and as a sacrificial offering.

Additional Information:
Gurdjieff - Link 1, Link 2
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4 - Link 1, Link 2
The Concept of Sangha - Link 1
The Bodhi Sattva Tradition - Link 1

Well, it seemed to have a lot of ideas in it that just struck me as being so obvious, and readily apparent. In fact, the first part about human beings as 'automatons' (automaton (n) 1: a mechanism that is relatively self-operating; especially : Robot. 2 : a machine or control mechanism designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to encoded instructions. 3 : an individual who acts in a mechanical fashion) I was reminded of the concepts that the Matrix brought up. Pretty intense stuff that. But a lot of this just made so much sense. I mean, after all, we're all in this together aren't we? So how is doing things the 'right' way by ourselves and for ourselves going to solve anything? Laissez faire is a thing of the past methinks. Is it so hard to see, or is there something that blocks us from understanding such a fundamental realization?
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