Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Series of Discussions:
                  The Teachings of 
           G.I. GURDJIEFF
                       and the 

 Struggle for a Meaningful Existence

Inner and Outer Life

  • July 11 · 6:30 PM 
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
    2nd Floor Meeting Room
    130 Whitfield Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 
We have scheduled one more discussion on July25th.  This meetings will also be on Tuesday evening (6:30-8:00) at the East Liberty Carnegie Library.

Many indications, which impartial observation can soon transform into conviction, lead us to feel that there are two natures in us. One of them is personal or individual, is relatively accessible to our usual means of perception, and is both organic and psychic (or animal and animated). The other, much less easy to perceive, is experienced as our participation in something far greater than the individual. Thus we call it spiritual, even universal; and, in fact, we hardly know how to speak about it. The attention paid to it varies a great deal from person to person and at different moments of life: almost everybody, however, will recognize that, at least at certain moments, he has felt, alongside an egocentric, selfish tendency, this need for something infinite or “absolute.”

From the moment a man turns toward himself like this, questions himself, and struggles to understand both what he is and what he could be, it becomes clear that he can turn in either of two ways and have two kinds of so-called “activities,” two kinds of life going in different directions. One is entirely oriented toward the outside . . . The other way to turn, the other kind of “activity,” concerns the inner life: it is centered above all on the “realization” of the latent possibilities contained within the individual. . . if a man wants to be fully himself one day, the re-establishment of the lost balance between his two natures and his two ways of living is certainly the first work which is necessary. 

                                                                                    -- Jean Vaysse,  "Toward Awakening"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Series of Discussions:
                 The Teachings of 
             G.I. GURDJIEFF
                           and the 

Struggle for a Meaningful Existence

How to Understand Self-Study?

  • June 27 · 6:30 PM 
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
    2nd Floor Meeting Room
    130 Whitfield Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 
We have scheduled two more discussions on the following dates:  July 11th and  July25th.  These meetings will also be on Tuesday evening (6:30-8:00) at the East Liberty Carnegie Library.

THE MEANING OF SELF-STUDY

A soon we begin to question ourselves about our own identity and nature, either as a result of shocks in life or under the influence of exceptional moments, the question arises as to whether, instead of giving ourselves up more or less completely to events and thus to a course of evolution which we cannot control at all, there might not be in that evolution something which depends on us and could be influenced by us.
Thus it becomes obvious that the wish to be fully himself will not leave a man completely unaffected, and his first necessity, which is as urgent as the organic need to eat, should be to-find out if something in this direction is effectively possible for him, and in what way.
We can look outside us for the answer in books, philosophical systems and doctrines, in what the religions say-and, for a while, these answers may satisfy us. They satisfy us so long as life has not seriously brought us to question their effectiveness. Put to the test in life, the most solid religious faith in revealed truth is finally shaken, if it is not supported and confirmed in lived experiences. And, furthermore, we are so made that we rely indelibly and unshakably on what we have lived and verified for ourselves, in ourselves, by ourselves.
If we question ourselves deeply about ourselves and our possible evolution, we see it is within ourselves and through ourselves that we shall ultimately have to find the answer. And if we ponder what is the meaning of this world around us, it is again only in ourselves and through ourselves that an answer can come that we recognize to be our own, and in which we can have faith. In addition, self-knowledge has from the beginning of time been fundamental in many doctrines and many schools. Not an exterior analytical knowledge, such as modern western science has been pursuing for so long, avoiding as the inner questions or trying to reduce them to purely materialist explanations, but rather an inner self-knowledge wherein, to avoid distortion, each element, each structure, each function, as well as their relationships and the laws which govern them, are not looked at only from the outside, but must be experienced in the whole context to which they belong and can only be truly known “at work” in that totality. This is a completely different attitude from that which modern science has accustomed us to, and the one does not exclude the other. But, for our possibility of inner evolution, one thing must be clear. What is required is not intellectual knowledge, which, properly speaking, is mere information. Such information may be necessary, but is absolutely inadequate in our search. For this search, the self-knowledge we need is above all an inner experience, consciously lived, of what we are, including the whole range of impressions of oneself which one receives.
A man cannot attain knowledge of this order except at the price of long work and patient efforts. Self-knowledge is inseparable from the Great Knowledge, objective Knowledge. It goes by stages, the first of which may appear simple to start with; however, even for one who recognizes the need of it, it soon comes to seem an immense undertaking with an almost unreachable goal. Little by little an unsuspected complexity is revealed.
It gradually becomes clear that the study of man has no meaning unless it is placed in the context of life as a whole and of the whole world in which he lives. The study of man is inseparable from a living study of the cosmos. Thus, obstacles never cease to arise, and this search, which at first may appear straightforward, opens up finally onto horizons of which a man could hardly have had the slightest idea when he began.
To have any chance of reaching his aim without going astray or getting lost, a man needs guidance for the study of himself here as elsewhere, he must learn from those who know, and accept to be guided by those who have already trodden the same path. Real self-knowledge cannot be found in books, which can give only theoretical data, mere information, leaving the whole of the real work still to be done - transforming the information into understanding, and then the understanding into self-knowledge.
In the beginning, the only thing that can be asked of a man who engages in this search is that he should understand the necessity of making his way tirelessly along the path whatever happens, and that he should understand that nothing but self-study, rightly conducted, can lead him to self-knowledge and the great Knowledge.

                                                                           -- Jean Vaysse,  "Toward Awakening"


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Series of Discussions:
               The Teachings of 
           G.I. GURDJIEFF
                      and the 

Struggle for a Meaningful Existence

What is Work On Oneself?

  • June 13 · 6:30 PM 
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
    2nd Floor Meeting Room
    130 Whitfield Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206
We have scheduled an additional three discussions on the following dates.  All of these meetings will be on Tuesday evenings (6:30-8:00) at the East Liberty Carnegie Library.

• June 27th
• July 11th
• July 25th

Previously, we began with the topic The wish to be myself; then, To be myself begins with self-knowledge; and lastly, Self-knowledge begins with work on oneself.
On June 13th, we'll continue this line of development with What is work on oneself?
Work on oneself has a number of aspects.  The realization of our possibilities first depends upon our active participation.  Intentional effort is necessary, as we open to the question, what is required?

I do not know myself. I begin to feel I must come to a moment of Presence that is more complete. What I need above all is to have an impression—as deep as possible—of myself. . . .
We need to see what is in the way, and we need to understand why receiving an impression is so difficult. It is not because I do not wish to receive it. It is because I am not able. I am always closed, whatever the circumstances of life. At times, maybe for a flash I am open to an impression. But almost immediately I react. The impression is automatically associated with other things and the reaction comes. The button is pushed and this or that thought, emotion or gesture must follow. I cannot help it, first of all because I do not see it. My reaction cuts me off from the impression, as well as from the reality it represents. This is the barrier, the wall. In reacting, I close. 

                                                            - Madame De Salzmann,  "The Reality of Being"

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Series of Discussions:
               The Teachings of 
           G.I. GURDJIEFF
                      and the 

Struggle for a Meaningful Existence

Topic:   Self-Knowledge Begins with Work on Myself
                               Tuesday, May 30 at 6:30 PM 

Meetings will begin with a brief presentation of the topic, and then open up for discussion.  We'll intend to finish each meeting with some practical exercise to illustrate the kind of effort required.
                
Next Meeting:  To be announced


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
A Series of Discussions:
               The Teachings of 
           G.I. GURDJIEFF
                      and the 

Struggle for a Meaningful Existence

Topic:   To Be Myself Begins with Self-Knowledge
                               Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 PM 

Meetings will begin with a brief presentation of the topic, and then open up for discussion.  We'll intend to finish each meeting with some practical exercise to illustrate the kind of effort required.
                
Next Meetings:  Tuesday May 30th at 6:30 PM    (Topic to be announced)


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Series of Discussions:
                 The Teachings of 
           G.I. GURDJIEFF
                      and the 

Struggle for a Meaningful Existence

Topic:  I Wish To Be Myself                Tuesday, May 2nd at 6:30 PM 

So many different ways to say this, but everything begins with a wish of some sort like this ... a wish to be myself, or, maybe a wish simply to be, to be present, or, a wish for a more authentic existence.  First is the wish, then the question: How to realize my wish?  How can I actualize this wish 'to be myself'? What is necessary? 

Meetings will begin with a brief presentation of the topic, and then open up for discussion.  We'll intend to finish each meeting with some practical exercise to illustrate the kind of effort required.
                
Next Meetings:  Tuesday May 16th at 6:30 PM
                            Tuesday May 30th at 6:30 PM    (Topics to be announced)


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206