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“From the most ancient times down to our own epoch, throughout the ages of its life, humanity as a whole has been yearning for a knowledge of this oneness and seeking for it, pouring itself out into various philosophies and religions which remain, as it were, monuments on the path of these searches for the path, leading to the knowledge of unity. These searches radiate to the path just as the radii of a circle join at the center, getting closer into contact with each other, the nearer they get to the center. The goal itself determines the direction of the paths and brings the wanderers on the paths to a knowledge of the oneness which reaches the depths where that knowledge becomes a reality to the knower and can be communicated to another who has not reached the same stage of development. The words and notions of conversational language become dead and empty, conveying nothing to him who does not carry such knowledge within himself. In the same way as the sensation of toothache cannot be imparted to one who has not experienced it, and just like the difference of colors cannot be conveyed to one blind from birth, and the wealth of auditory sensation cannot be communicated to the deaf, similarly you cannot tell or relate in words the depth of knowledge which has become part of a man's being. The words and notions of different epochs change according to conditions of place and time – unity is eternal and immutable. The Laws, acting in us, and producing the plurality assumed by us, are everywhere the same. From the most ancient times humanity has understood this, and by utilizing the language of symbols and formulae, more perfect than our contemporary language, has gone on handing its knowledge down to the succeeding generations. And everybody approaching the symbol and possessing a complete understanding of it, possesses a perfect synthesis of it, speaking figuratively he has this symbol within himself.”

~ “Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931”



‘Gurdjieff then says... "you have too much mind on this – must have attention. What is attention? Attention is working together of association of thought with association of feeling. Memory working together with sense makes attention. But feeling have two centers – solar plexus feeling, solar plexus brain and spine brain. Must have attention which means memory and sense working together on it. But must not philosophize – very dangerous philosophize. Be simple like monk, a monk given a task. You do with faith, not try knowing (with head) but sure-ing. (Gurdjieff touches his solar plexus region.) Not knowing, but sure-ing”.’

~ "Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope"



“When I entered the other Phillipoff’s I saw a man [Gurdjieff] sitting at a table in the far comer, wearing an ordinary black coat and the high astrakhan cap that Russian men wear in winter. Signs of Greek ancestry could be discerned in his fine, virile features and in the look that pierced right through you (though not in an unpleasant way). He had an oval-shaped head, black eyes and an olive complexion, and wore a black mustache. His manner was very calm and relaxed, and he spoke without any gesticulation. Even to be sitting with him was very agreeable. Though it was not his native language he could speak Russian fluently, in a manner not quite like ours, more exact and very picturesque. Sometimes he would speak in a ‘lazy’ voice, and you felt that each phrase was being carefully and specially put together for that particular occasion, not at all like the ready-made phrases which we would normally use in conversation, devoid of creative power or individuality. You quickly grasped that he had the gift of assembling words expressively. And here I sat, and I felt that I was at last in the presence of a Guru.

I said, ‘It is you that I have looked forward to meeting with such joy.’

‘But you do not know me,’ this man replied. ‘Perhaps I shall bring some evil on you. What you are saying is mere empty courtesy.’ I sensed in his words, as well as some truth, a touch of ephemeral lightness.

‘No,’ put in Ouspensky, defending me. ‘Anna says only what she feels. She is young but she is sincere, and is devoted to seeking the right path.’

‘The path to what?’ Gurdjieff interrupted. ‘And how can she want what I can give her when she doesn’t know me, or my ideas, nor what I say or how I say it?’

I spoke again. ‘But to live the way I am living now seems to me very shallow, and I am not satisfied.’

Then he asked, with a note of benevolence in his voice, ‘Is it so unbearable?’

‘Yes! Perhaps that is the best word to define my state.’I repeated: ‘Unbearable!’’

At this Gurdjieff immediately became more interested. He said, ‘Then if that is so, it is better than I thought. Come! You will find me here every day from twelve o’clock onwards, at this table.’

‘Thank you. I will certainly come.’

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

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