I bury the bone so deep that the dogs have to scratch for it. — George Gurdjieff
Who writes a book that can’t be understood? Some masters work in mysterious ways. George Gurdjieff’s state of understanding was hard-won. He used to say that one had to steal wisdom from others. His magnum opus, All And Everything, is cunningly convoluted. Much of it is senseless of course, and yet for the attentive student there are hidden gems to be found. Gurdjieff wants you to work for your enlightenment.
Gurdjieff once locked his disciple in a house and tasked him with repeating his name non-stop for three months. Nothing else was said. How many of us have the discipline to do this for even 5 minutes? His student was successful. After three difficult months, he left the home and walked around. Robots, he said – they all look like robots. Not a single person he met seemed present. They were all lost in their thoughts.
“The development of self-discipline and the ability to exercise restraint wisely represent growing achievements in The Way of Knowledge. Instead of being driven by passions and desires, compulsions and needs, you begin to function outside of them more and more as you enter into the depth of your own reality. This represents freedom, power and self-determination.” — Wisdom from the Greater Community Vol II, Chapter 34
Discipline and work seem like radical notions to certain spiritual seekers. In some circles, spiritual practices have become unfashionable. The argument goes like this: everything is One, including me, so I’m already enlightened if I just accept it. Why bother with a practice?
George Gurdjieff would not have had any of that. He said we were automatons programmed by the cultural space we inhabited. It took sometimes arduous work to undo all that programming. Only then could one open themselves to the true reality of existence. There was no other way.
This is appropriate. A spiritual practice will build up your capacity. Your spiritual nature will not shine through unless it knows you are ready for it. This is for your protection. Some that were not ready have crashed and burned or gone completely insane with what they’ve discovered. Your purpose is too important to take any chances here.
George Gurfjieff used to say that men and women did not have a soul unless they became enlightened. Of course this is not true, but his point can be illustrative. Our true nature — what some call Spirit or Higher Self or Knowledge — must be experienced. If you believe you have a soul but have not shared in this experience, then you are merely adopting an idea. You don’t actually know.
Within you is the thirst to have this experience. It has driven you to this website. While unique masters like Gurdjieff may not be around to show the way, serious spiritual practices exist to get you to the point of Knowing. Gurdjieff’s hard work and tenacity are his greatest teachings.
George Gurdjieff was well-known for organizing events showcasing sacred dances.