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Quotes

"The ability to perceive the relationship of our own personal existence to the greater needs of the world to which we belong is called by Gurdjieff the 'Sacred Impulse of Divine Conscience', and I have no doubt that a right understanding of the role of Conscience in human life will be the master-idea that will regenerate the spiritual existence of mankind."

"We are passing through a period of passivity, disguised by the desperate busyness with which people engage in outward affairs but that conceals, nevertheless, an apathy that goes deeply into the roots of our present life. Such apathy and the bewilderment that accompanies it are the inevitable consequences of the forms of thought by which man has lived for thousands of years."

"[Gurdjieff's doctrine of reciprocal maintenance] will compel people to seek help and guidance in the process of transformation by which they can discover their own Conscience and with that discovery, begin once again to accomplish, as befits men [and women] worthy of the name, the task for which they were created."

"To uderstand that we have a task to perform on the earth and to see for ourselves something of the consequences of neglecting this task, is to have recognized the new direction that human striving must take."

John G. Bennett, The Crisis in Human Affairs

The Crafted Life
In 1974, I was introduced

Self Remembering

A life unobserved is barely a life. We attempt to become self-aware as a foundation for further work on ourself. Without experiential observation of how we behave, there is no chance that our behavior can ever change. This comes about through divided attention, in which we are aware of both what we do and of ourselves doing it. Knowledge about ourselves enters the experience and is available as increased consciousness.

The Crafted Life

With self-awareness and sound knowledge as a base, we begin to create the life we intend. Often this involves very small efforts, especially to begin with, but change is actually possible. Then the question becomes - what do we want to change? Often we only replace one habit with another. Real change is only possible within one's self. Attempts to change others are only diversions. To direct our own change, we also need to understand the world we live in.

The role of craft in personal evolution has been demonstrated in the Sacred Societies and Guilds of ancient times. These societies had at their heart a greater Sacred knowledge as to how human beings can move into new, higher realms of existence. First someone must want to make that effort. Then they must find their own sources of Truth to bring to bear on their lives. Searching the web has made this much easier today than it was in the past, although the web has its limits in terms of serious study and practice.

Whatever craft or art we practice, we can turn it into our personal spiritual evolution. Here are some simple techniques to get started:

• As you work, mind your attention - see how and when it wanders and where it goes, but without judgement. See that when you lose attention, you cease to be in your work or even present at all. This knowledge will aid you. See how the quality of your work reflects the quality of your Being.

• Set realistic challenges for yourself and make commitments to them. Most of our life is spent drifting and taking the line of least resistance. If we never commit, we never know how we will deal with the resistance and denial, and thus we never know our own potential.

• Study other works in the area of your expertise. Try to determine why you like some and not others. Become aware of your own responses - thoughts, feelings and senses. Thinking is slowest and comes in words; sensing usually relates to tactile or visual response; feeling comes much faster, and only later gets put into words. Try to grasp the fleeting experiences of sensation and feeling and separate them. See if you can give them names. Texture. Brilliance. Coherence. Wonder. Luminescence. Beauty. If you can't come up with names. create similes - blue like slate or like water on a cloudy day, or a feeling like when I miss someone or like my Mother's style.

• Rather than letting your mind wander when you work, use the time to ponder something positive and meaningful to you. Start a diary or notebook that you keep at your work desk to help you remember what ideas you came to when doing this.

The Laws

All life operates under laws. These are not the same as rules, but instead are more like the laws of physics. Ordinarily, we can no more bend them than we can levitate out of gravity.These laws originate at the Source of Life and descend through all the worlds, becoming more multiplied and rigid as we leave the Source. Gurdjieff spoke of two main laws: Law of Three, in which action can manifest, and Law of Seven, which shapes process.

The Worlds

We live in multiple interpenetrated worlds. Just as we know that we have an animal life and human life, we also have the range of existence from atom to spirit existing in us at all times. Bennett defines twelve realms available to human beings. Gurdjieff said: the truest thing spoken in the Bible is that you are made in the image of God. Thus we have the potential to span all the worlds if we can only find our way to that state.

Sources

What is "the Work"?

"The Work" is a name given to both the teachings and the practice brought by G. I. Gurdjieff. It is not a religion, but rather a new way of understanding ourselves and the universe we live in. Rather than deny or contradict faith, the Work may lead one back to the true heart of one's own faith. As I have come to understand it, there is no teaching more comprehensive in existence. I find repeatedly that instead of needing to be clarified, the Work clarifies everything else - religion, philosophy and science.