Thursday, June 30, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff
Thursday, June 30th, 6:30 - 8:00
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
  
Disc­ussion: "Where Our Attention Is"

I wish to be conscious of myself. Yet, as I am at this moment, can I know myself, can I be conscious of myself? I cannot. I am too scattered. I feel nothing. But I see that I am asleep, and I see the symptoms of this sleep. I have forgotten the sense of my existence, I have forgotten myself. And at this moment I receive a shock: I am awaking, I want to wake up. Then, having scarcely felt the shock, I feel myself taken again, held back by the elements of my sleep—associations that turn around, emotions that take me, unconscious sensations. I feel myself fall back into forgetfulness.
We do not realize how passive we are, always pulled along by events, people and things. We begin an activity with great interest, fully aware of our aim. But after a certain time the impulse weakens, overcome by inertia. Our understanding diminishes, and we feel the need for something new that will restore the interest, the life. Our inner work progresses like this in stages, and always depends on new forces. It is determined by laws. We must get rid of the idea that progress is continuous in a straight line. There are stages where the intensity diminishes and, if we wish not to fall back, a force must appear that is more active.
The passive “man” in us, the only one we know, is the one we trust. But as long as we remain passive, nothing new can appear. We must become active in relation to our inertia, the passive work of our functions. If we wish to change, we must look for the new “man” in ourselves, the one who is hidden. This is the one who remembers, who has a force that can only be brought by our wish, our will, and must grow degree by degree. It is necessary to see that a more active state, a greater intensity, is possible.
I need to recognize that in my usual state my attention is undivided. When I open to the outside, I am naturally interested in it. My attention goes there. I cannot prevent myself. If my force of attention is entirely taken, I am lost in life, identified, asleep. All my capacity to be present is lost. I lose myself, the feeling of myself. My existence loses its meaning. So, the first step is a separation in which my attention is divided.
Our effort must always be clear—to be present, that is, to begin to remember myself. With the attention divided, I am present in two directions, as present as I can be. My attention is engaged in two opposite directions, and I am at the center. This is the act of self-remembering. I wish to keep part of my attention on the awareness of belonging to a higher level and, under this influence, try to open to the outer world. I must make an effort to remain related, an effort of attention. I try to know truly what I am. I struggle to stay present, at the same time with a feeling of “I” turned toward a better quality and with an ordinary feeling tied to my self, my person. I wish to see and not forget that I belong to these two levels.
We must see where our attention is. Where is our attention when we remember ourselves? Where is our attention in life? Order can be born in us only if we enter into direct contact with disorder. We are not in the disorder. We are the state of disorder. If I look at what I really am, I see the disorder. And where there is a direct contact, there is an immediate action. I begin to realize that my Presence is where my attention is.  

                                              - Madame De Salzmann,  "The Reality of Being"

Meetings will be on hold for several weeks.  Check back for updates.

Monday, June 20, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff
Thursday, June 23rd, 6:30 - 8:00 
Panera (meeting room)
5430 Center Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Discussion: "I Do Not Know Myself"
Who am I? I need to know. If I do not know, what meaning does my life have? And what in me responds to life? So, I must try to answer, to see who I am. First, my thought steps back and brings suggestions about myself: I am a man or woman who can do this, who has done that, who possesses this and that. My thinking volunteers possible answers from all that it knows. But it does not know what I am, does not really know me in this moment. Then I turn to my feeling. It is among the centers most capable of knowing. Can it answer? My feeling is not free. It has to obey the “me” who wants to be the greatest, the most powerful and who suffers all the time from not being first. So, my feeling does not dare. It is afraid, or doubts. How can it know? Then, of course, there is my body, the capacity to sense my body. But am I my body? In fact, I do not know myself. I do not know what I am. I know neither my possibilities nor my limitations. I exist, yet I do not know how I am existing. I believe my actions are affirming my own existence. Yet I am always responding to life with only one part of myself. I react either emotionally or intellectually or physically. And it is never really “I” who responds. I also believe I am moving in the direction I want to go and that I can “do.” But in fact I am acted upon, moved by forces that I know nothing about. Everything in me takes place, everything happens. The strings are pulled without my knowing. I do not see that I am like a puppet, a machine set in motion by influences from outside. At the same time, I sense my life passing as if it were the life of another person. I vaguely see myself being agitated, hoping, regretting, afraid, bored . . . all without feeling that I am taking part. Most of the time I act without knowing it and realize only afterward that I said this or did that. It is as though my life unfolds without my conscious participation. It unfolds while I sleep. From time to time jolts or shocks awaken me for an instant. In the middle of an angry outburst, or grief or danger, I suddenly open my eyes—“What? . . . It’s me, here, in this situation, living this.” But after the shock, I go back to sleep, and a long time can pass before a new shock awakens me. As my life passes, I may begin to suspect that I am not what I believe. I am a being who is asleep, a being with no consciousness of himself. In this sleep I confuse intellect—the thought functioning independently from feeling—with intelligence, which includes the capacity to feel what is being reasoned. My functions—my thoughts, feelings and movements—work without direction, subject to random shocks and habits. It is the lowest state of being for man. I live in my own narrow, limited world commanded by associations from all my subjective impressions. This is a prison to which I always return—my prison. The search for myself begins with questioning where “I” am. I have to feel the absence, the habitual absence, of “I.” I must know the feeling of emptiness and see the lie in always affirming an image of myself, the false “I.” We are all the time saying “I,” though we do not really believe in it. In fact, we have nothing else in which we can believe. It is the wish to be that pushes me to say “I.” It is behind all my manifestations. But this is not a conscious impulse. Usually I look to the attitude of others in order to be convinced of my being. If they reject or ignore me, I doubt myself. If they accept me, I believe in myself. Am I only this image that I affirm? Is there really no “I” who could be present? In order to respond, I need to know myself, to have a direct experience of knowing myself. First, I have to see the obstacles that stand in the way. I must see that I believe in my mind, my thinking—I believe it is I. “I” wish to know, “I” have read, “I” have understood. All this is the expression of the false “I,” my ordinary “I.” It is my ego that prevents me from opening to consciousness, from seeing “what is” and what “I am.” My effort to awaken cannot be forced. We are afraid of emptiness, afraid to be nothing, and so we make an effort to be otherwise. But who makes this effort? I must see that this too comes from my ordinary “I.” All forcing comes from the ego. I must no longer be fooled by an image or an ideal that is imposed by the mind. I need to accept emptiness, accept to be nothing, accept “what is.” In this state, the possibility of a new perception of myself appears. 

                                                              - Madame De Salzmann,  "The Reality of Being"

Next Meeting: 
Thursday, June 30th (6:30-8:00 at E. Liberty Carnegie Library)


Sunday, June 12, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff
Tuesday, June 14th, 6:30 - 8:00
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206 

Disc­ussion: "The Life Force"

We wish to live, to be in life. From the moment we are born, something in us seeks to affirm itself in the outside world. I want to be heard and seen, to devour the world. At the same time, I do not want to be devoured. I want to be first, always. But all too soon I encounter the resistance of the world, and the basic impulse of self-affirmation has to take others into account. My affirming often assumes curious, even though common, forms such as self-pity or a refusal to express oneself.
 
I wish to live, I agree with life. I do everything to live, and this same force maintains the life of my body. I wish for something or to do something, and when the wish appears, this force is here. It impels me toward manifestation. Throughout my life, in everything I do, I seek to affirm this force. There is no act, however small, that is not an affirmation. If I speak to someone or write a letter, I affirm this force, I affirm my intelligence. Even if I merely look at someone, it is this force. If I hang up my coat, it is this force. Behind this unbridled affirmation, there is surely something true. This force in me is irrepressible. At the same time, I do not know what the affirmation is based on. I believe I am affirming myself. I identify with this force. Yet even though it is in me, this force is not mine. And in affirming it as my own, I do not see that I separate myself from it. In wanting to attribute its power to myself, I cut off its action. I create an inner world that is deprived of the action of this life force. My sense of “I,” of my self, is heavy and inert.
 
We need to see our childishness in relating to the life force, always wishing to have more. The child wants to have, the adult wants to be. The constant desire for “having” creates fear and a need to be reassured. We need to develop an attention in us that would relate the whole of ourselves to a higher force.
 
There is only one source of energy. As soon as my energy is called in one direction or another, a force appears. Force is energy in movement. There are different directions, but the source is the same. The life force, the force of manifestation, is always in movement. It has to flow. And I am entirely taken by it, I am swept along. I begin to suspect that I will always be taken if I do not also turn toward another, unknown part of myself.
                                                           
                                                        - Madame De Salzmann,  "The Reality of Being"

Upcoming Meetings: 
Thursday, June 23rd (6:30-8:00 at Panera, 5430 Center Ave)
Thursday,  June 30th (6:30-8:00 at E. Liberty Carnegie Library)

Monday, June 6, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff
Tuesday, June 7th, 6:30 - 8:00 
Panera (meeting room)
5430 Center Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
  


 Upcoming Meetings:  
Tuesday, June 14th (6:30-8:00 at E. Liberty Carnegie Library)
Thursday, June 23rd (6:30-8:00 at Panera, 5430 Center Ave)
Thursday,  June 30th (6:30-8:00 at E. Liberty Carnegie Library)

Friday, May 27, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff
Tuesday, May 31st, 6:30 - 8:00 
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206


I exist without knowing how. My existence itself is a question to which I am obliged to respond, whether or not I so wish. My response is in the way I exist at the very moment, and the kind of action in which I am engaged. At every degree of awareness my response is strictly conditioned by my state of being. The challenge in the question is always new. It is the response that is old, creating a separation from the question. This is because in the response the ordinary “I” is in play.


                                                        - Madame De Salzmann,  "The Reality of Being"

Upcoming Meetings: 
Tuesday, June 7th (6:30-8:00 at Panera, 5430 Center Ave)
Tuesday, June 14th (6:30-8:00 at E. Liberty Carnegie Library)
Thursday, June 23rd (6:30-8:00 at Panera, 5430 Center Ave)
Thursday,  June 30th (6:30-8:00 at E. Liberty Carnegie Library)

Monday, May 9, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff

Like what "it" does not like.

Monday, April 25, 2016

MEETING & DISCUSSION
The Search for Inner Freedom
Saturday, April 30th, 3:00 - 4:30 
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Liberation leads to liberation...by liberation is meant the liberation which is the aim of all schools, all religions, at all times.  This liberation can indeed be very great.  All men desire it and strive after it.  But it cannot be attained without the first liberation, a lesser liberation.  The great liberation is liberation from influences outside us.  The lesser liberation is liberation from influences within us.