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Everything that exists has a different density. To take some simple material examples, the two totally different substances wood and jelly: supposing that in a square inch of wood are, say, as many as 1,000 particles, in a square inch of jelly there will be more, for argument’s sake 2,000. Then, as everyone knows, a single substance like linen can itself be of different densities—we talk of ‘fine linen’ and ‘coarse linen’. The finer may be of greater density and so, conversely, the coarser of a lesser density. In choosing a piece of linen we hold it up to the light to see how closely its threads are interwoven, and in this way judge its density.

But in Gurdjieff’s teaching, ‘density’ is applied not to material things but to the phenomena of the qualities of human character, their intellectual and emotional elements. Different people in fact have different densities: one individual. A, has one, a second individual, B, another. In each there is a complex of separate densities, of different categories. However deeply these may be hidden, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, they can be isolated and analysed as if under a microscope by someone who has the skill to do it, and is experienced in the method of ‘condensing’ or ‘rarefying’ them.

For a Guru, on the other hand, all appears clear: he will be able to find the cause of this unhappiness, whether moral or physical. He can isolate, treat and frequently, cure it—just so long as the patient has sufficient will-power to co-operate. To achieve this, one has to understand the hidden structure of man. But at what university faculty is one to acquire the skill to become such a ‘doctor’? The patient may indeed be talented but if the density of his will-power is not intense enough his power of concentration will not be adequate. One needs to be almost ‘possessed’ by one’s favourite occupation, as if by an 'idee fixe'.

~ Anna Butkowsky "With Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg and Paris"



With the evident wish to bring me into the conversation, Sabaheddin spoke about our interest in hypnotism, and asked me to describe the experiments I had been making. Gurdjieff listened attentively, and I felt that he was not so much following my words as participating directly in the experience. I had never before had the same feeling of being understood better than I understood myself

When I had finished, Gurdjieff began a long explanation to which the Prince and I listened with admiration and pleasure. He spoke as a specialist to whom the theory and the practice of hypnotism were equally familiar. Afterwards, when I tried to translate his explanation to Mrs. Beaumont, I found to my dismay that I had forgotten nearly all he had said. Later, this experience was to repeat itself many times, and not for many years did I understand its true significance. In one state of consciousness we see, hear and understand with different faculties from those which are active in another state. When we pass from one state to another, memory does not provide a link, for the nature of memory is to confine our attention to one narrow stratum of our experience; that is, to one line of time.

~ JG Bennett “Witness”



“One thing I heard fascinated me but I did not relay it to her mainly because I would have had to tell her first about "the scale" and Gurdjieff's "Law of Seven" which had excited so many of us as we diagrammed it in our notebooks under Jane's guidance. It was like a cosmic blueprint of the way up the scale of man's possible development from sleeping state to consciousness – all too difficult to paraphrase. As the implications of this Law had dawned on us, there arose in our emotions, as so often but never before quite so sharply, a clamorous desire to know more about the teacher who had formulated the wondrous scheme that hitched man's wagon to a star. And someone had ventured once again the plaintive wish, If we could just see Mr. Gurdjieff, just once when he passes through Paris... why, Miss Heap, do you always discourage the idea?

“I don't remember her exact words. I was too mesmerized to take notes. I recall only the surprise of her opening: Because he might disappoint you, throw you off entirely from his Work ...

“He might, for example, choose on your approach to play the role you detested most in humans (which possibly you yourself exemplified unaware). He would know looking at you which one that was. To a woman flaunting allure (and proud of it) he might imply that the way to learn more from him was via the conjugal bed. To a man displaying self-esteem for intellectual achievements, he might choose to play the ignorant rug merchant with leering look and spots of spilled coffee on his vest. To one whose god was money or material possessions, he might very well convey by words and gestures that the only way to him was through the pocket-book. He could play any role with consummate artistry. He would play the one that would shock you most . . . to test you, of course. To test the depth of your desire to learn more. It was genius screening, obviously. He had not time to waste on dilettantes or, as in our case, on novices still green with illusions and false ideas about themselves. Apparently no one who had ever met him emerged from the encounter unimpressed, one way or another. Nor did any two give similar reports of him beyond of course the exterior description which any camera might record: shaved cranium high and rounded like the dome of a mosque, magnetic dark eyes and "handlebar" moustaches thick and virile, curled up at their ends like a ram's horns. I put a Cossack cap of black astrakhan on the massive head as I pictured it, after someone mentioned casually that that was his winter headgear.”

~ Kathryn Hulme “Undiscovered Country”



“Our further journey was a far lighter burden. Between villages the way was already a well-trodden road. We travelled through woods full of flowering oleanders, deeply touched by such enchanting, gentle beauty after all the rocks. I recall one moment, about two versts from our next halting place: it was midday, the sun scorching hot, the heavy rucksack cutting my shoulders. Walking continued to be very painful because my broken toenail had started to fester. Moreover, both my wife and I now had big blisters on our lower legs, apparently from pushing through some poisonous grasses. But I was in such a state of euphoria and cheerfulness that 1 could go on and on. Even my rucksack reminded me, ‘Don’t forget yourself!’

“Mr. Gurdjieff had told us in Essentuki about real faith — not a dogmatic faith that must be held for fear of the tortures of hell. He said that faith is the knowledge of feeling, ‘knowledge of the heart’. This knowledge burns like a bright light in the crises of life. During this journey we experienced the truth of what he said.”

~ Thomas de Hartmann

 "Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff"

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