JANUARY 17 — GEORGE GURDJIEFF QUOTES
I RECOGNIZED HIM AS THE GREAT ONE I HAD ANTICIPATED
“Throughout my childhood in Switzerland and Germany in the early part of the twentieth century, I lived with an expectation that one day I would meet a great man. I imagined finding him in exotic circumstances—in the Himalayas or at Fujiyama. In a sense, I was waiting for I knew not whom. I stayed away from people. I didn't crave the world.
“Then there came a period in New York City when my childhood ideals became dim. Striving to make a place for myself in the world seemed to be paramount for me. I held two jobs. I was drawn into the social life of glamorous New York. Only material possessions seemed worth working for. I wanted to find a millionaire.
“Yet the expectancy remained that I was to meet a great man one day. The fulfillment of this expectation came, not where I had dreamed, but here in America in 1929 when I met George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. He called me to serve him and his mission. I recognized him as the great one I had anticipated. And everything changed.”
~ Louise Goepfert March “The Gurdjieff Years”
HE HAD ALSO DONE IT TO TIRE HIS BODY
“One morning in Child's we reminisced about the motor trips he used to take, excursions out from the Château at Fontainebleau to the various parts of France. By all ordinary standards they were wild reckless daring exhausting trips. I had always wondered precisely why he took them as he did. Already I knew that while his body was occupied with driving he composed his writing. Now he explained that he had also done it to tire his body so that his body would rest and thus enable him to rest his mind, which otherwise might have burnt up from ceaseless overwork. Said I, "I thought you did it, created all those difficulties, in order to generate energy." "That too," he replied, "Many different combinations all at the same time.”
~ Jean Toomer
PD OUSPENSKY TELLING ANNA BUTKOWSKY ABOUT MEETING GEORGE GURDJIEFF
Suddenly he appeared at the table, showing an emotion that was very unusual for him, and without pausing for a formal ‘Good morning’ or even stopping to sit down he said, ‘I think this time we’ve really found what we need! I must tell you all about it. I have found the Miracle!
‘You remember I told you, that time I went to Moscow, about a painter who everyone thought was eccentric— half mad! And when I was there he took me along to see someone else, with whom I had a couple of interesting conversations. Well, that man is here now, in Petersburg. I’ve just come from him this moment, and that is why I am so late. I knew you would forgive me for it, and understand how important it was!’
‘Of course I do,’ I replied, ‘but tell me—tell me!’
‘This man’s knowledge goes beyond mere theory,’ said Ouspensky, plunging on. ‘He really can teach, and give the answers to much of what we and so many others in different lands and times have sought. But he’s very sparing—mean, almost—in communication! Still, he has told me two things which I never yet succeeded in learning from any book or from any esoteric society, or from any other person whatever. They are just short phrases, crystallised, condensed, so that I, who as you know am inclined to make long “dissertations” about even quite ordinary subjects—well, I was absolutely amazed to find this means of expression that is so clear and simple.
~ Anna Butkowsky "With Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg and Paris"
VERY IMPORTANT YOU KNOW BODY AS A WHOLE
SOLITA: In this work, it's difficult for me to be aware of my body as a whole, it seems the center of gravity for me is always in the solar plexus and so I am more aware of emanation from that part of the body.
GURDJIEFF: Very important you know body as a whole, for this work, very important. If divide attention then not good. What you do is this: imagine center of gravity on shoulders – theenk it there.
~ "Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope"
IT IS FIRST OF ALL NECESSARY TO LEARN AND TO BE ABLE TO LISTEN
“Pure knowledge is not transferable, and by being expressed in words, is veiled by them, but whoever wishes and is able to see this all, will find it transparent. And in this sense it is possible to speak of the symbolism of speech, but it is not everyone who can understand even merely this symbolism. To understand the spoken inner meaning of the thought and its spirit is possible only at a certain stage of development and with an effort on the part of the hearer.
"In those cases where a person is simply disputing in the ordinary sense of the words, by merely contending for his own opinion, he wastes is time in vain without acquiring anything new. In order to be able to understand speech when it is used symbolically, it is first of all necessary to learn and to be able to listen.”
~ “Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931”
OUR STORE OF ENERGY IS SUFFICIENT FOR OUR ORDINARY MECHANICAL LIFE, BUT NOT FOR WORK ON OURSELVES
“Another question: ‘What part does conscience play in the acquiring of an “I”?’ ‘In the beginning,’ replied Gurdjieff, ‘conscience helps in that it saves time. He who has conscience can be calm; he who has calm has time which he can use for work. Later, conscience serves another purpose. With an ordinary man most of his time is occupied with considering; one association stops, another begins. He goes out in the morning glad, in a few minutes he becomes sad, another few minutes and he is resentful or angry—he is at the mercy of hundreds of useless associations; the machine works all the time. The energy collected during sleep sets our daytime associations flowing. All day the expenditure goes on in us. Our store of energy is sufficient for our ordinary mechanical life, but not for work on ourselves. If, for example, we compare the energy that is expended by a 15-watt electric bulb, the energy expended by active work corresponds to a loo-watt bulb, which very quickly consumes the available current. If we use our store of energy in useless associations—anxiety, resentment, worry, and so on—we shall have only enough energy, say, for the morning, and none for the rest of the day; and without energy man is only a lump of flesh. What we have to do is to learn to spend our energy economically. Nature formed us so that we could have enough energy to do both kinds of work, ordinary life-work and work on ourselves. But we have forgotten how to work normally, hence the waste of energy. The energy produced by our dynamo and stored in our battery is used up by our movements, emotions, sensations, and manifestations. We spend it not only on what is necessary but on what is unnecessary. For example, when you sit and talk you need energy for this, but you gesticulate as well. This may be necessary for emphasis; but no energy is needed for the legs and other muscles, yet all the time you sit tensed up. You cannot help this, even if you know it. Your mind has no power to give orders. A long period of exercises is needed to free oneself from unnecessary tensions. However, the body does not use as much energy as associations do. All the time we have thousands of useless thoughts, feelings, and experiences, pleasant and unpleasant; and they all take place without “I”. ‘The energy used in conscious work is converted for future use; that used unconsciously is lost for ever’.”
~ CS Nott “The Teachings of Gurdjieff — A Pupil's Journey”
SHOULD CONSTANTLY SENSE AND BE COGNIZANT OF THE INEVITABILITY OF HIS OWN DEATH
“The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ... of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as of the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests.
“Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them that has swallowed up the whole of their Essence and also that tendency to hate others which flows from it—the tendency, namely, which engenders all those mutual relationships existing there, which serve as the chief cause of all their abnormalities unbecoming to three-brained beings and maleficent for them themselves and for the whole of the Universe.”
~ George Gurdjieff "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson"