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The Holy Equation Exercise

The Fundamental Key To Inner Work

Attention Exercises
Sensing Exercises
Intentional Suffering Categories
Enneachord of Suffering Exercise
Breathing Exercises
Impressions Exercises
Self Remembering
Reminders Exercises
Self Importance
Role Playing Exercises
Will Exercises
You can take force from your animal and give it to Being.
(Gurdjieff to Kathryn Hulme)

The Holy Equation Exercise

The Fundamental Key To Inner Work
The Holy Equation is the basic pattern of all Inner Work and is based on
the Law of Three - "The higher blends with the lower to actualize the
middle, which becomes lower for the next higher or higher for the
previous lower." The middle is the Reconciling energy which is coated on
the Higher Being Bodies. This process is spoken of by Gurdjieff early in
his Teaching career in the unpublished Enneagram Lecture, which was
the basis for Chapter 14 of In Search of the Miraculous by Ouspensky :

"A great dispute, if it is not purposeless, must give a result, a conclusion

and an effect, and then four elements will be available: yes, no, dispute,
result; that is, the transmutation of the binary into the quaternary. That
is the first half of the formula. The second part of it speaks for itself and
thereby points out the direction of the solution."

Gurdjieff makes many references to this process in Beelzebub's Tales.

Here is one of them :

In other words, every wish of the planetary body is taken as undesirable

for their higher divine part which has to be coated and perfected, and
therefore all three-centered beings of our Great Megaloscosmos
constantly carry on a relentless struggle against the wishes of their
planetary bodies so that there should be formed in them, in this struggle
from the what is called Disputekrialnian-friction, those sacred
crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is
perfected in them."

"In this constant struggle of theirs, the equilibrating harmonizing

principle is their second being-body, which in their own individual law of
Triamazikamno represents the neutralizing source; and therefore this
second being-part always remains indifferent to their mechanical
manifestations, but for all their active manifestations it always tends
according to the second-grade cosmic law Urdekhplifata to unite with
those desires of which there are more whether in one or the other of the
two mentioned opposite being-parts.

This is the Holy Equation, also known as the Holy Affirming Prayer, from
Beelzebub's Tales :

Transubstantiate in me,
For my Being.

"This is a prayer given to us. In it I have found what I call the Holy
Equation which provides us with a basic pattern for most of our work.
Holy Denying equals our inherited mechanical "myself" manifested by our
habits, traits, thoughts, feelings and actions in sleep. Holy Affirming is
our conscious effort to accept, endure and to meet with objectivity all our
Holy Denyings. Holy Reconciling is the resultant of them both leading
automatically to a Transubstantiation. By self-observation we learn to
recognize accurately our Holy Denyings to which we then eventually
apply our Holy Affirming."

"We understand the ordinary pursuits of our lives responding to desires

to be educated, well thought of, useful, admired, superior, wealthy or
spiritual, as examples of Holy Denyings. We try to meet these denyings
with our conscious efforts in our search which we call Holy Affirming.
Both are of equal substance and importance."
(Paul Beidler)

"Try to understand that resistance is according to law. If there is no

resistance, there can be no struggle; there can be no new energy. Without
production of new energy, there can be no possible contact with higher
levels in ourselves. Struggle has to be accepted as the only means that we
have for producing energy. Each time that we have a little new possibility
is that a spark of another kind of energy has linked us with a different
level of ourselves. Every moment of our asleep life we are like a man shut
in the basement of a very big house who has no idea there is anything else
than that dark, bad smelling basement he is used to. As soon as that
spark of energy is used up, he is bound to find himself again in that
basement. Struggle is necessary - there is resistance - and then I affirm
more." (Inside a Question: Works of Henriette Lannes, Pupil of G.I. Gurdjieff, p.200)
Step by Step Explanation
1. Observing a Holy Denying force of desire or suffering : During our
daily life we will experience situations and desires that cause suffering.
The basis of suffering is the Holy Denying Force of the planetary body, as
manifested through its urges, instincts, desires, wishes, and psychological
and social drives. Some of these are attributable to Kundabuffer or our
inherent and acquired egoism and personality. Other Denying Forces may
even derive from Essence. Some examples are given above and on this

When, by Self Observation, we notice or recognize the manifestation of a

Holy Denying suffering or trait in the course of daily life, we need to
acknowledge its presence by naming it, such as 'this is anger' or 'this is a
denying force', etc. We need to Sense its energy in our body. We need to
feel its emotional expression. We need to observe the thoughts that
accompany it and justify it. In the beginning we may need to allow the
Denying force to express itself in action in order to observe all its
characteristics, but the ultimate goal is the non-expression of the

We are a living representation of the Law of Three and by this first step
we are experiencing one of the expressions or terms, the Denying one, of
the holy equation of energy transformation according to the Law of

2. Holy Affirming of the energy spent by the Holy Denying force of desire
or suffering : There are several aspects to this step of the equation, which
involves bringing in the second expression or term of the equation, the
Affirming one.

One way of Affirming this Holy Denying suffering is to acknowledge that

the Holy Denying force is a law conformable and necessary aspect of the
universe created by His Endlessness.

Another aspect of Affirmation of the Denying energy is to channel the

energy into another activity. We can use the energy to exercise
self-restraint to prevent the manifestation the Denying force. We can
accept or bear the suffering without complaint. We can employ an
Affirmation exercise such as Sensing a part of the body or repeating a
mantra or verbal affirmation as suggested on the Affirmation Exercise
3. Holy Reconciled Transubstantiation of the energies of Affirming and
Denying : This step is the third and final part of the equation of the
transformation of energy according to the Law of Three. This step yields
the Reconciled result of the blending of the higher Affirming with the
lower Denying.

The result will depend on whether the higher and lower forces were
equally balanced. If the Affirmation is not strong enough, the Denying
force will predominate and we will be captured by our Identification with
the suffering and its manifestation will proceed to varying degrees,
depending on the strength of the Affirmation. In other words, the
Reconciling energy will become higher for a succeeding lower purpose,
that of allowing the physical manifestation of the denying force.

If the Affirmation is strong enough to counter the Denying force, a

balanced impartiality will be the outcome and some of the Reconciling
energy will gravitate towards the center of gravity of our higher being
bodies. In other words, the Reconciling energy will become lower for a
succeeding higher purpose of coating the higher being bodies.
Attention Exercises
All the Gurdjieff exercises, all exercises from any tradition, require
Attention and in the course of doing the exercises, the Attention and
Concentration are developed as a matter of course. In the beginning,
before ones tries to develop divided attention, it is good to practice
focusing all of ones attention on one thing. As one gets more proficient,
one needs to work on developing divided or global attention.

These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to
discover and add new categories and specific situations relevant to their
personal situation.

Focused Attention Exercises

l One of the classic attention exercises is to watch the flame of a candle.
l Ouspensky suggested watching the second hand of a clock.
l One can pay attention to the sensations in one part of the body.
l One can attend to a particular sight, sound, taste or smell.
l One can attend to ones thoughts, or emotions.
l One can attend to ones breath

Global Attention Exercises

l On entering a room, one can attend to the placement of all objects in
the room. When re-entering the same room one can attend to all the
changes that have occurred since last in the room.

l One can attend to all of the sights, sounds, and smells in ones
immediate environment.

l One can attend to all of ones thoughts, emotions and sensations.

Impartial or Neutral Attention Exercises

These are associated with assimilating Third Being Food. They can be
practiced sequentially or simultaneously.

l Sensing - One can attend to all the sensations in the body, taking in all
sensations without identifying or labeling the impressions as pleasant
or unpleasant.

l Sightless Gaze - one attends to ones total visual field as one

panoramic field of light, taking in everything without identifying or
labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad.

l Soundless Sound - one attends to ones total aural field as one

panoramic field of sound, taking in everything without identifying or
labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad.

l Smelless Smell - one attends to all odors taking in every odor without
identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or

l Tasteless Taste - one attends to all taste impressions, taking in

everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or
actions, good or bad.

Gurdjieff's Attention Exercises

l Soil Preparing Exercise #4 (LIROTWIA 120)

First, all one's attention must be divided approximately into three

equal parts; each of these parts must be concentrated on one of the three
fingers of the right or the left hand, for instance the forefinger, the third
and the fourth, constating in one fingerthe result proceeding in it of
the organic process called "sensing," in anotherthe result of the process
called "feeling," and with the thirdmaking any rhythmical movement
and at the same time automatically conducting with the flowing of mental
association a sequential or varied manner of counting.

For this fourth preparatory exercise explained by me today, first of

all it is necessary to learn with what exists in you now only as a
substitute, so to say "fulfilling the obligation" of what should, in real man,
be "self-willed attention" and in you is merely a "self-tenseness,"
simultaneously to observe three heterogeneous results proceeding in you,
each coming from different sources of the general functioning of your
whole presence: namely, one part of this attention of yours should be
occupied with the constatation of the proceeding-in-one-finger process of
"sensing," another with the constatation of the
proceeding-in-another-finger process of "feeling," and the third part
should follow the counting of the automatic movement of the third finger.

l Second Assisting Exercise (LIROTWIA 145)

Well then, I am now sitting among you, as you see, and although I am
looking at Mr. L. yet I am intentionally directing all my attention, which
you are not able to see, on my foot, and consequently any manifestation
Mr. L. produces within my field of vision I see only automaticallymy
attention, which at the present moment is one whole, being in another

This whole attention of mine, I now intentionally divide into two equal

The first half I consciously direct to the uninterrupted constatation

and continuous sensing of the process proceeding in me of my breathing.
By means of this part of my attention I definitely feel that something
takes place in me with the air I breathe.

I first clearly feel that, when I breathe in the air, the greater part,
passing through my lungs, goes out again, and the lesser part remains
and as it were settles there, and then I feel that this settled part is
gradually penetrating inward and is as it were spreading through my
whole organism.

In consequence of the fact that only a part of my attention is occupied

with the observation of the process of breathing proceeding in me, all the
mental, feeling and reflex associations automatically flowing in my
common presence still continue to be noticed by the free part of my
attention, and hinder that first part of my attention intentionally
directed upon a definite object, but already to a much lesser extent.

Now I direct the second half of my attention to my head brain for the
purpose of observing and possibly constating any process proceeding in it.

And already I am beginning to feel in it, from the totality of

automatically flowing associations, the arising of something very fine,
almost imperceptible to me.

I do not know just what this is nor do I wish to know, but I definitely
constate, feel and sense that this is some definite "something" arising
from the process automatically proceeding in my head brain of
associations of previously consciously perceived impressions.

While this second half of my attention is occupied with the aforesaid,

the first half continues all the time uninterruptedly to watch, with so to
say "concentrated interest," the result proceeding from the process of my

I now consciously direct this second half of my attention and,

uninterruptedly "remembering the whole of myself," I aid this something
arising in my head brain to flow directly into my solar plexus. I feel how it
flows. I no longer notice any automatic associations proceeding in me.


Pondering on Attention

l What types of attention do we have?

l What captures my attention at various times?
l What captures my attention in social situations?
l Where does attention go during sleep?
l Who pays attention? Who attends?
l What do I avoid Attending to?

Sensing Exercises
Sensing Exercises are pre-eminently associated with Gurdjieff. Many
Seekers in the Gurdjieff tradition will be disappointed to learn that
Sensing exercises are previously known in the Hindu tradition as the
Tantra practice of Nyasa. Nevertheless, it is an obscure tradition and
Gurdjieff's introduction of it to the West is a welcome and extremely
important development. In fact, it may be one of the most important
things he introduced to the West, and it is an essential element in all of
Gurdjieff's teachings. Proficiency in Sensing is one of the most
fundamental tasks to accomplish in the Gurdjieff Work. The Movements
are quite often accompanied by sensing exercises.

Sensing refers to the ability to take in Impressions generated in and by

our Physical Center. These include the sensations of touch, pressure,
heat, cold, position and balance of our physical Being. Modern science has
identified about 21 different types of nerve receptors (see the table on
the right) that relay consciously perceivable information to our
Instinctive brain.

The Sensations for every part of our body occur in a region of the brain
called the neo-cortex. This area has been dubbed the Homunculus. When
we learn to Sense we are exercising our brain and learning to control the
flow of energy and consciousness. Learning to Sense our body is an
essential and basic task of the Gurdjieff Work. All of the Work exercises
require Sensing the body all of the time. Sensing is the quintessential
exercise for including the physical center in all three centered exercises.
Get to know it well and strive to include it in all your Work on Self

The Basic Sensing Exercise

To start with the experience Sensing, take a comfortable position and
become aware of your feet. Imagine that you are being filled with a warm,
thick, honey like liquid and that it is slowly filling your body, starting
from the feet and moving up to your legs, then pelvis, then torso, then
arms, then chest, then head. Be aware of the sense of gravity pulling your
body towards the ground. Be aware of the position of your limbs. Strive
to maintain an awareness of Sensing in the whole body. This requires
your whole Attention.

The Great Heart Sensing Exercise

Simply be aware of the sensations of the heart beating within the chest
and the pressure of the pulse throughout the body, arms and legs.

Partial Sensing Exercises

When Sensing is combined with exercises that involve physical action or
involvement of the emotional and intellectual centers, sometimes it is
desirable to limit Sensing to a particular part of the body in order to free
up Attention for other tasks. In those instances one may limit Sensing to
one or another part of the body. For example, while washing dishes, sense
the hands; when walking, sense the feet; when writing, sense the fingers;
when reading; sense the buttocks; when talking, sense the face. Many
variations are possible, limited only by your imagination.

Sequential Sensing Exercises

Sequential sensing exercises involve sensing various parts of the body in
a particular order. These are good when doing repetitive tasks and help
keep the intellectual center quiet and focused on maintaining the
sequence. Prayers or verbal repetitions can be combined with the
sequence, such as I Wish, I Can, I Am or the AIEIOIUOA.

Sequential Sensing Exercises can be as simple or as complex as you want

or can handle for the task at hand. The more complex patterns are
probably best used as preparation for meditation. Bennett had one called
the Sixty Point Exercise. Some of the Movements include sequential
sensing exercises.
Advanced Sensing Exercises

60 Bone Exercise
Direct the Attention to the three bones of each of the fingers and toes in
the following sequence 3 times while repeating the Holy Affirming Prayer.
One line of the prayer with each finger and toe; one complete prayer for
each hand and foot. Total sequence = 4 prayers x 3 sequences = 12

1. Right hand beginning with Holy-Affirming,

the thumb.
2. Left foot beginning with Holy-Denying,
the little toe.
3. Right foot beginning with Holy-Reconciling,
the big toe.
4. Left hand beginning with Transubstantiate in m e ,
the little finger. For my Being.

10 Bone Illumination Exercise

Direct the Attention deep into the marrow of the major elements of the
bone structure in the following manner. Whenever the force of Attention
permits, Visualize a brilliant light emanating from the marrow of the
bones where magnetic center resides. The Seeker is encouraged to
research what is presently known by the medical community about the
structure and function of the bones and bone marrow. The Seeker may
also repeat the following prayer in conjunction with each bone : Holy God,
Holy Firm, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy Upon Us.

1. Lower right leg bone. 6. Spinal column and skull.

2. Upper right leg bone. 7. Upper right arm bone.
3. Pelvic bone. 8. Lower right arm bone.
4. Upper left leg bone. 9.Upper left arm bone.
5. Lower left leg bone. 10. Lower left arm bone.
12 Joint Exercise
During some physical activity the Seeker will continuously bring the
Attention to the main joints of the body in the designated sequence while
repeating the Holy Affirming Prayer.

1. Right wrist. 7. Right ankle.

2. Right elbow. 8. Right k n e e .
3. Right shoulder. 9. Right h i p .
4. Left h i p . 10. Left shoulder.
5. Left k n e e . 11.Left elbow.
6. Left ankle. 12. Left wrist.

Situational Sensing Exercise

"When walking, the practitioner is aware, 'I am walking'; when standing,
is aware, 'I am standing'; when sitting, is aware, 'I am sitting'; when lying
down, is aware, 'I am lying down.' In whatever position one's body
happens to be, one is aware of the position of the body. When one is going
forward or backward, one applies one's full awareness to one's going
forward or backward. When one looks in front or looks behind, bends
down or stands up, one also applies full awareness to what one is doing.
One applies full awareness to wearing the robe or carrying the alms bowl.
When one eats or drinks, chews or savors the food, one applies full
awareness to all this. When passing excrement or urinating, one applies
full awareness to this. When one walks, stands, lies down, sleeps or wakes
up, speaks or is silent, one shines his awareness on all this." So said the
I AM Exercise
This exercise is given by Gurdjieff in his book Life is Real. It is actually
quite simple, yet profound.

One intones out loud or silently, depending on the situation, "I AM", and
tries to Sense a reverberation or flow of energy in the solar plexus.

Another variation is given by Ouspensky :

On one occasion, in connection with the description of exercises in

concentration and bringing the attention from one part of the body to
another, G. asked:

"When you pronounce the word 'I' aloud, have you noticed where this
word sounds in you?"

We did not at once understand what he meant. But we very soon began to
notice that when pronouncing the word 'I' some of us definitely felt as if
this word sounded in the head, others felt it in the chest, and others over
the head--outside the body.

I must mention here that personally I was entirely unable to evoke this
sensation in myself and that I have to rely on others.

G. listened to all these remarks and said that there was an exercise
connected with this which, according to him, had been preserved up to
our time in the monasteries of Mount Athos.

A monk kneels or stands in a certain position and, lifting his arms, which
are bent at the elbows, he says--Ego aloud and drawn out while listening
at the same time where the word "Ego" sounds.

The purpose of this exercise is to feel "I" every moment a man thinks of
himself and to bring "I" from one center to another.

(Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, p. 304)

I Wish, I Can, I Am Exercise
This is similar to the I Am exercise. One repeats silently or aloud, "I
Wish, I Can, I Am" and tries to Sense a reverberation in the head, the
heart and the solar plexus, respectively. Each phrase should be done with
a fresh breath.

Pondering on Sensing

l Who is Sensing?

l What is Sensation?

l Why is Sensation important?

l Can I live without Sensation?

l How many types of Sensation are there?

l What Sensations do I dislike?

In the river of life suffering is not intentional.
In conscious life suffering is intentional and of great value.
To bear the manifestation of others is a big thing.
The last thing for a man.

Intentional Suffering Categories

Intentional Suffering is the intentional acceptance of all suffering which
is a part of all existence. To prepare us for this type of Holy Affirmation
in our daily lives we are assigned special exercises, including seeking out
or welcoming suffering in all its forms, especially those forms which are
overlooked or moved into different categories, such as "anxiety", "fear" or
"depression". It is sometimes useful as a preparation to induce
self-imposed suffering but this is to be abandoned when we learn how to
meet the normal lot of humanity's suffering. (Paul Beidler)

The essence of the idea of Karma-Yoga is to meet with unpleasant things

equally with pleasant things. That is, in practicing Karma-Yoga, one does
not seek always to avoid unpleasant things, as people ordinarily do. Life
is to be met with non-identifying. When this is possible, life becomes one's
teacher; in no other sense can life become a teacher, for life taken as
itself is meaningless, but taken as an exercise it becomes a teacher. It is
not life that is a teacher, but one's relation through non-identifying
makes it become a teacher. Nothing can change being so much as this
practice - namely, to take the unpleasant things in life as an exercise.
(Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, Vol. 1)

The following list of Holy Denying Sufferings and their Companions is

intended to be used in conjunction with the exercises based on the Holy

These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to
discover and add new categories and specific situations relevant to their
personal situation.

l anger - agreement
l irritations - equanimity
l impatience -patience
l annoyances - placid
l fears - courage
l depression - happiness
l anxieties - resignation
l vanity - modest
l jealousy - trust
l hate - like
l lust - prudence
l envy - contentment
l pride - humility
l hunger - saiety
l pain - pleasure
l discomfort - comfort
l fatigue - energetic
l laziness - motivation
l greed - sufficiency
l avarice - sufficiency
l sorrow - joy
l grief - happiness
l self-pity - self-satisfaction
l self-loathing - self-acceptance
l smugness - equality
l resentment - impartial
l justification - responsibility
l self importance - humility
l apathy - ambition

Self-imposed sufferings

making super efforts

enduring pain
enduring discomfort

Pondering on Intentional Suffering

l Who is Suffering?
l Why is Suffering necessary?
l Why does His Endlessness Suffer?
l How can I alleviate the Suffering of His Endlessness?
l What is my most disliked Suffering?
l What Sufferings do I habitually indulge in?
l In the practice of tolerance, is one's enemy the best teacher?
Enneachord of Suffering Exercise
This exercise is an elaboration on the Heptachord of Suffering Exercise
but is based on the Enneagram rather than the octave.

0. Life experience of a personal Holy Denying suffering, followed by ...

1. citing or naming the personal Holy Denying suffering, followed by ...

2. a Holy Affirming of the energy spent in the suffering, enabled by the

shock of ...

3. applying a Holy Affirming, resulting in ...

4. a Holy Reconciled "impartiality", making it possible to ...

5. curb the suffering's manifestation by...

6. diverting the energy saved ...

7. to the expression of a companion characteristic such as joy, followed

by ...

8. a savoring of a transubstantiated comprehension between the

suffering and its companion, leading to ...

9. a coating on an inner-being embryo often surfacing as intellectual

deprivation, a quiet mind.

Step by Step Explanation

0. Life experience of a personal Holy Denying suffering : During our daily
life we will experience situations and desires that arouse suffering and
negative emotions. The basis of suffering is the Holy Denying Force of the
planetary body, as manifested through its urges, instincts, desires,
wishes, and psychological and social drives. Some of these are
attributable to Kundabuffer or our inherent and acquired egoism and
personality. Other Denying Forces may even derive from Essence. Some
examples are given above and on this page.
1. Citing or naming the personal Holy Denying suffering : When, by Self
Observation, we notice or recognize the manifestation of a Holy Denying
suffering or trait in the course of daily life, we need to acknowledge its
presence by naming it, such as 'this is anger' or 'this is a denying force',
etc. We need to Sense its energy in our body. We need to feel its
emotional expression. We need to observe the thoughts that accompany
it and justify it. In the beginning we may need to allow the Denying force
to express itself in action in order to observe all its characteristics, but
the ultimate goal is the non-expression of the negativity.

We are a living representation of the Law of Three and by this first step
we are placing or entering one of the expressions or terms, the Denying
one, into the holy equation of energy transformation according to the Law
of Three.

2. Holy Affirming of the energy spent in the suffering : There are several
aspects to this step of the equation, which involves placing or entering
the second expression or term of the equation, the Affirming one.

The first aspect of Affirming the Holy Denying suffering is to

acknowledge that the Holy Denying force is a law conformable and
necessary aspect of the universe created by His Endlessness. We can
accept or bear the suffering without complaint.

Another aspect of Affirmation of the Denying energy is to oppose the

Denying energy with another activity, called an Affirmation, to interfere
with the manifestation the Denying force. We can employ an Affirmation
exercise such as Sensing a part of the body or repeating a mantra or
verbal affirmation as suggested on the Affirmation Exercise page. At this
step, one resolves to apply the Affirmation.

3. Applying a Holy Affirming : (Shock Point) This is where the Affirmation

is actually exercised. For example, if ones chosen Affirmation was
Sensing ones hand, one would actually commence the Sensing here.

4. Holy Reconciled "impartiality" : This step is the third and final part of
the equation of the transformation of energy according to the Law of
Three. This step yields the Reconciled result of the blending of the higher
Affirming with the lower Denying. We will experience this Reconciling
energy as an inner state of impartiality or non-identification with the
Denying force.
The strength of the result will depend on whether the higher and lower
forces were equally balanced. If the Affirmation is not strong enough, the
Denying force will predominate and we will be captured by our
Identification with the suffering and its manifestation will proceed to
varying degrees, depending on the strength of the Affirmation. In other
words, the Reconciling energy will become higher for a succeeding lower
purpose, that of allowing the physical manifestation of the denying force.

If the Affirmation is strong enough to counter the Denying force, a

balanced impartiality will be the outcome and some of the Reconciling
energy will gravitate towards the center of gravity of our higher being
bodies. In other words, the Reconciling energy will become lower for a
succeeding higher purpose of coating the higher being bodies.

5. Curb the suffering's manifestation : If the previous step of the equation

had a balanced or positive output of Reconciling energy, we will have
succeeded in transforming its energy and thereby curbing or stopping the
expression of the Denying force by entering a state of impartiality or
non-identification. Some of this Reconciling energy is now available to be
diverted into a new second equation of the Law of Three as the Denying
term. Note that this Denying energy of a higher quality than the original.
It has become the lower for the succeeding higher. The succeeding higher
is the next Affirmation that we apply to the new second equation by
diverting the energy thus saved.

6. diverting the energy saved : (Shock Point) Because we have entered a

state of impartiality or non-identification, we now have the ablity to
divert the Denying energy for another use. This step requires a conscious
intention to redirect the Denying energy into an affirmative, positive
expression. This Affirmation can be of several types as suggested above
for the first Affirmation, plus the addition of another type of Affirmation,
that of expressing companion or contrasting characteristic of the Denying
force or suffering or of Evoking one of the Higher Emotions, such as
Faith, Hope, Love, Compassion. A companion characteristic could be joy,
generosity, acceptance, laughter, tenderness, etc.

7. Expression of a companion characteristic : Here we actually apply the

Affirmation chosen in the previous step and which serves as the second
term of the new second equation. For example, if ones chosen Affirmation
was Evoking Compassion, one would actually attempt to feel Compassion
in the emotional center.
8. Savoring of a transubstantiated comprehension between the suffering
and its companion : This step is the third and final part of the new second
equation of the transformation of energy according to the Law of Three.
This step yields the Reconciled result of the blending of the higher
Affirming with the lower Denying.

This step will yield a state that could be considered as a manifestation of

the Voice of Conscience, wherein we experience the contrast and
contradictions between the Affirming and Denying forces in us. It will
help us see ourselves and others more objectively and will contribute to
our level of Objective Reason or Reason of Understanding.

9. Coating on an inner-being embryo : The resulting Reconciling energy

will gravitate towards the center of gravity of our higher being bodies and
add a new coating on them for the growth of our Being.

One indication of a successful application of the Enneachord of Suffering

will be an inner state of Being characterized by a calm inner silence,
unaffected by the whirlwind of life and our atmosphere of Denying urges
and desires. We should savor this state as long as possible. This would be
a good time to Sense our body and take in Impressions using the
Sightless Gaze exercise.
Breathing Exercises
This is a delicate area. Gurdjieff did not advise doing exercises that
directly altered the tempo of our breathing unless they were well
integrated with other appropriate activities such as the Movements or
hard physical work. According to Gurdjieff, altering the tempo of our
breathing could disrupt the functioning of our centers and cause harm to
our already malfunctioning organism. On the other hand, a lot of us don't
breath properly to begin with, usually breathing to shallow and only into
the top part of the chest, whereas deep abdominal breathing is natural.
This can be corrected if one is very careful and methodical. Our
emotional states are intimately connected to the way we breathe. Proper
breathing will modulate the functioning of the emotional center and
prevent or diminish overly emotional reactions to certain situations
where we tend to become too Identified. Before one proceeds to
normalize ones breathing, one needs to observe ones habitual breathing
pattern in many situations, especially those when one is overly emotional.
One needs to notice the situations where one breaths deeply or shallow
and the emotions and thoughts that accompany those situations. Observe
how you breathe in different emotional states - Fast? Slow? Gasping?
Holding? Deep? Shallow?

Air is second being food. Thus awareness of breathing is more important

than any particular breathing exercise, as long as one breathes properly
to begin with, that is, deep into the diaphragm. Simply following your
breathing during your daily activities and after eating will greatly assist
in your efforts toward being present, especially when combined with
sensing and taking in impressions consciously.

Normal breathing is diaphramatic breathing deep into the solar plexus. If

you are a shallow breather you can work at normalizing your breathing by
consciously initiating diaphramatic breathing several times a day until it
becomes more natural. Don't over do it and don't force it as it may take
some time. You are slowly reprogramming you autonomic nervous system
from years of unconscious abuse. This will also help to normalize the
functioning of your emotional center.

During meditation the breathing naturally tends to slow down and

become quiet. It has been said that the ultimate breathing exercise is the
complete cessation of breathing. You will only approach this state during
deep meditation. During normal meditation or Sitting, one may simply
follow the breath and its associated Sensations.
During Movements, your breathing will be altered in various ways
depending on the Movement. Some of the Sufi dances are very powerful
as is the Fourth Obligatory because they involve very vigorous breathing.

Sufi Zikrs and Yoga Pranayama can also be very powerful but should not
be practiced without some supervision as hyperventilation can result.
Hyperventilation can produce states of euphoria, but these are of limited
value unless combined with certain other practices. The value of these
states is questionable. Extreme cases can lead to painful spasms in the
hands and feet, over-emotional reactions or the expression of repressed
or unconscious emotions and memories. Nevertheless, a little experience
in this area is beneficial. In that spirit I offer the following Sufi Zikr.

The Silent Zikr

There are two variations of this exercise. The first is silent and can be
done anywhere, any time and the second is the more vigorous and is done
sitting down.

The first version can be done anytime during the normal course of the
day. It is done silently and without obvious external manifestation or
major alteration of normal breathing.

The basic pattern involves a count of eight, each count of an equal length
that is comfortable and normal. Start with three out breaths, then one
pause and finally one long in-breath to a count of four. This is done for
twenty counts whereupon one makes an out-breath from and holds it for
a count of eight and then inhales by relaxing the diaphram and holds it
for a count of eight. The sequence repeated three times and after a short
break may be started again.

The second form has a similar breathing pattern but the breathing is
much deeper and more vigorous and it is done sitting down cross-legged
with hands resting on the knees.

The basic pattern involves a count of eight, each count of an equal length
that is comfortable. Start with three sharp, forceful, loud out breaths
from the diaphram, then one pause and finally one long, slow, relaxed
in-breath to a count of four. The in-breath is done by simply relaxing the
diaphram, not forcefully expanding it. This is done for twenty counts
whereupon one makes a deep out-breath from the diaphram and holds it
out for a count of eight and then inhales deeply into the diaphram and
holds it for a count of eight. The sequence repeated three times only and
then one sits quietly for five or ten minutes while doing a Sightless Gaze
and Sensing and holding the emotional center in a neutral state. The final
out-breath and in-breath can be held for longer than the count of eight if
it is comfortable. The counting can be kept with the hands by touching
the thumb and fingers together sequentially.

Pondering on Breath

l Who is breathing?

l Why is breathing necessary?

l How does breathing help His Endlessness?

l Why do I breath differently in different situations?

l How does breathing affect my emotions?

l Why did Gurdjieff recommend attention to breathing after eating?

For use with Intentional Suffering and other manifestations of the Holy
Denying Force.

"We understand the ordinary pursuits of our lives responding to desires

to be educated, well thought of, useful, admired, superior, wealthy or
spiritual, as examples of Holy Denyings. We try to meet these denyings
with our conscious efforts in our search which we call Holy Affirming.
Both are of equal substance and importance." (Paul Beidler)

"In other words, every wish of the planetary body is taken as undesirable
for their higher divine part which has to be coated and perfected, and
therefore all three-centered beings of our Great Megaloscosmos
constantly carry on a relentless struggle against the wishes of their
planetary bodies so that there should be formed in them, in this struggle
from the what is called Disputekrialnian-friction, those sacred
crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is
perfected in them."

Only these sources can have this independence which transform the
active elements which must serve for the Holy Triamazikamno as the
affirming' or active principle.'


"...whatever the mind tells you, you are not that. It would be good to
become more aware of those false voices so that they could become a
reminder for us. It is useless fighting them or trying to stop them. What
is possible is to make a small stop at the very moment of hearing a mind
voice of this kind, then to collect ones attention and make an
affirmationaloud when alone, under the breath if with others. An
affirmation should be made many times every day. It becomes a source of
strength, especially if I practice sensing at the same time. Only the real I
can know me. But it needs to be called, the I needs to awaken. No one
can do this for me." (Mrs. A. L. Staveley)


Affirmations can be intentional thoughts, attitudes and postures

accompanied by Sensing.
The thoughts can be Aphorisms, Prayers, Repetitions, Ponderings,
phrases, exclamations, exhortations that foster an affirmative enduring
of the Suffering.

They should acknowledge and accept that Suffering is a lawful

manifestation of the Holy Denying Force and that it is the lot of everyone
to experience Suffering. Although much of our suffering is mechanical
and can eventually be eliminated as we lose the egoism and Self
Importance on which they are based, some forms of Suffering will remain
until we die, such as the loss of loved ones, sickness, war and crime.

Affirmations for real Suffering should acknowledge its inevitability,

indeed its necessity in the scheme of things as a means of developing

Affirmations for mechanical suffering should stress their uselessness and

waste of energy and their basis in egoistic self-love and Self Importance
and all the other traits of the organ Kundabuffer.

Affirmations should be of equal intensity or force to the degree of


Note : These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are
encouraged to discover and add new Affirmations relevant to their
personal sufferings

Affirming the small pleasures that lull us to sleep. Pride in our work,
completing a task, picking up a small child - acknowledging that it is
difficult to remember that these pleasures too can be a manifestation of
Holy Denying.

l Applaud when certain distasteful tasks must be done.

l Affirm - Open up! Calm Down! Work! Live! Die!
l A joyful filling up of inwardness, illuminating a glowing marrow.
l Affirming (three steps forward) Holy Denying (one step back)Holy
Reconciling (step sideways and back to place).
l Imagine sun's particles in the bone marrow.
l Affirm with the small muscles of the facethen relax your whole body.
l Affirm with an inner smilethen relax your emotions.
l Affirm by visualization you own place in the universethen relax your
thinking center.
l Watch the breath.
l Affirm it with a calm, humble, humming affirmation.
l Relax the face, Sense the sole of the feet, Sense the hands ,Sense the
base of the head, Sense the little finger of the right hand and the big
toe of the left foot, Illuminate the bone marrow.
l Affirm Suffering with an inner smile.
l Affirm with peals of amused chuckles.
l When aware of thinking or judging, generate, from the center of the
head, faith of Presence.
l When aware of feeling good or bad, generate, from the heart, love of
l Affirm by asking - Is this True Integrity?
l Deep within the seeker notices a corresponding Trinity.
l Affirm the Disease of Tomorrow by immediately doing whatever
planned/needed/postponed task that comes to mind, especially an
unpleasant task, with conscious participation.
l Affirmatively engage our own pressure of acquisition.
l Affirmation may begin with recognizing the subjective way with which
laughter is usually considered justified.
l Affirm that you cannot be changed by what someone says to you.
l Affirm that you cannot be changed by anything outside you, but only
by what you begin to see internally about yourself.
l Affirm with a Prayer : "Oh Source of everything that exists, help us to
avoid the pitfalls of knowing, judging, concluding and finding. Oh
Conscience, help us to remember to feed our Being".
l Affirm with a Repetitionuntil the suffering subsides : Po Do Bo Ly Zo
Va Ny
l Asking the question: "Why must I suffer?"
l Affirming prayer sensing the bone marrow, while taking in
impressions consciously and in prescribed sequence.
l If preparing food visualize processing these annoyances, for example
cutting them up, as an Affirmation while chanting and inner prayer.
l Affirm any annoying regret for all the inner work not attempted, or
pride of accomplishment ,by feeling a gratefulness for being allowed to
be here in the present moment.
l Visualize a connectedness to the three being foods; air, food-water,
sense impressions.
l Extend a feeling of connectedness outwards to those whom we wrongly
accuse of causing our suffering.
l Affirm a satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the visualization of
yourself as a corpse.
l When talking with others imagine that you are that person with all
their good and bad qualities as you perceive them.
l Affirm each suffering with an audible "yes."
l Affirming a trivial pleasure be conscious of your imminent death of
body and other future possibilities.
l At the end of the day note your most trivial satisfaction and ponder
its triviality with 3 centers.
l Affirming by repeating the prayer : Holy Affirming, Holy Denying,
Holy Reconciling, Transubstantiate in me for my Being. Also
remember our ancestors: parents, grandparents and beyond and lastly
remember co-seekers.
l Let no annoyance slip by without letting it alter the self image. Affirm
it with a calm, still, poetic humming affirmation.
l Affirmed by an attitude of Love to everything that Nature has
l Affirm Suffering by saying : "I welcome this discomfort" or "I welcome
this frustration."
l Float above the rut of habit.
l We are machines and react to react to external influences.
l We live a script that has already been written.
l Affirm that boredom exists.
l Be surprised and amused that you've been taken aback by the
appearance of dislike.
l Affirm by putting attention to the seed of Being in your solar plexus
area to help it to grow.
l Affirmative enduring to this lawful circumstance.
l Affirm by "eating" any peculiar habit and emit an inner essence glow.
l Affirm by considering the alternative, namely death. Repeat the
mantra "Dust to dust".
l Affirmative enduring of the suffering that harasses explorers may be
reinforced with vivid visions of a muddy bilge of envy, fear, pride, and
egotism whenever it roils up in fervent Sorrow.
l Affirming effort to let go of Suffering and relax Awakening to
Sensations. Become conscious of Tensions and Negative Emotions,
Passive and Reactive, Identified and Dispersed. Evoke associations
affirming a cosmic transcendental involvement in Being.
l When faced with the irritation of too much to do, look around and
realize life's impermanence. See the fleeting nature of achievement.
See the hidden reality around you.
l Trust everything that happens, even Suffering, is Affirming a cosmic
transcendental involvement in Being; imagine your Suffering is the
beginning of a musical score. The keys and strings are your
movements, postures, gestures, facial expressions.
l Realized that you work surrounded "by mysteries beyond
l Target or pinpoint your most frequent annoyance, aim directly for it
with the affirmation that it has awakened Being.
l Affirm annoyances by praying : Great Spirit! Thank you for those
small annoyances that help me Remember Myself.
l Affirming the organism's haphazard frenzy of, I am this, I am that,
this I did, that I was. The Seeker strives for a full sensing of "myself."
Not, I am this that, but "I am."
l Affirmation "Faith of Being is Freedom." Sense the faith as emanating
from different areas.
l Affirm your pervasive suffering of conditioning by asking : "I am
Jesus, I am Buddha, I am Gurdjieff, I am (insert name), which one
invokes less amusement?
l Affirm your Suffering by feeling all the energies within and without,
their sameness and points of connection. Visualize all life-forms as
conduits for the magnificent currents of energies connecting all and
l Affirm the suffering of ego by periodically assuming the posture of a
peacock, spreading an imaginary tail.
l Affirmation of petty attitudes - invoke a sense of gratitude for what
we have been given, both of spiritual and ordinary nature.
Attitudelessness and a connection to the greater things in life replace
petty attitudes.
l When Suffering a remorse and continually murmur "AIEIOIUOA"
while longing for a glimpse through the fog.
l When disagreeing with other's convictions, Affirm it by exercising a
l Affirm that "I" has taken one step further from birth or one step
closer to death. Simultaneously place an emphasis on existence of
"now", by appreciating the uniqueness of each moment at each step.
l When your Beliefs conflict with other's, Affirm them using the
following 5 steps. 1. Identify the belief. 2. Be present to it. How does it
feel? What centers are affected? 3. Consider that belief as another
lawful product of the organism,of the same order as feces, urine,
Carbon Dioxide. 4. Laugh at the belief, especially those that seem
"true" or "important". 5. Envision for a moment an inner space of
profound quiet aloof from the beliefs of the organism.
l Affirming the force of a new Presence that observes, remembers, acts,
is remorseful, endures, has aim, and lives.
l Ask "Who am I?" and visualize your spine and skull radiating light.
Scan the body for areas of tension then direct your breath there.
l Affirm by asking : How far can I trust this emotion to lead me?

Heptachord of Enduring
This is similar to the Heptachord of Suffering Exercise

Affirm the Holy Denying Force with seven steps :

1. recognizing the inner distress as a Holy Denying. (eg. pleasure)

2. naming it.
3. accepting it.
4. using it: using affirmations. (eg. Sensing plus sightless gaze, 3 deep
breaths, repeating a mantra, etc.)
5. believing it to be a required function.
6. knowing that it falls on everyone.
7. peeling it from an inner core like the petals of an artichoke by
recalling or Evoking its Companion. (eg. pain)
Neither food nor air can be changed. But impressions, that is, the quality
of impressions available to man, are not subject to any cosmic law.

Impressions Exercises
One of the biggest sources of higher energies for the growth of Being is
the taking in of the energies of Impressions. The two biggest sources of
Impressions for us as humans are the senses of sight and sound. Smell,
Taste and Sensing the body are also good sources of Impressions. Sensing
is a particularly important exercise and is described separately on this
web site.

The energy which triggers a sensory nerve never actually gets into the
brain, it simply trips a switch, so to speak, which releases pre-existing
energy in the nerve to initiate an ionic chain reaction and its
accompanying electromagnetic field to transmit an 'electrical impulse' to
the brain. The higher brain centers are receiving 'information' about a
change of state of our internal electromagnetic environment, not any new
energy from the outside world, like the food and air octaves. The
information is represented by different shapes and sizes of electrical
impulses. The interesting thing about information is that it can be
represented by almost any kind of medium. For example, these words
appear on your computer screen by illuminated phosphors, they may
then be printed on a piece of paper with ink. They have been transmitted
to you with binary digits of 0 and 1's represented by pulses of
electromagnetic energy. I could scratch these words in the sand with a
stick or spell them out with stones. In other words, information exists on
a different level of reality than the matter/energy used to represent it.

We 'eat' the information from impressions by moving electrical impulses

that represent the information around the brain to certain places where
that information is stored in another form of medium, possibly various
combinations of proteins. Memory is a mental accumulator of
information. The more attention we pay to our incoming information, the
more of it gets stored in our accumulator.

Dr. B: I would like to ask a question about the relationship between work
and fatigue. It seems to me there is a difference between work efforts
and automatic efforts. Outer work takes energy. Inner work is the
opposite - it should accumulate energy. It should even be restful if it is
done correctly. But for me it is the opposite. At the moment of making an
effort something believes that the gates through which energy escapes
will close automatically. But it's the opposite. I become tired. I lose my

GURDJIEFF: Consciously, we eat the electricity that is in the body and

transform it. This establishes in us a force. In ordinary life you
automatically lose this. But here it's not the same thing; it's not the same
kind of fatigue. This other fatigue has a future. It's tiring but it brings
you a substantial result. It refills your accumulators. If you continue, a
certain substance will refill your accumulator. Today, the more you tire
yourself, the more your organism will produce this substance.

Impressions Exercises

Exercises for these modalities can begin with a relaxed three centered
state. In the most simple form of this exercise, one sits quietly in a
meditative position and allows the five senses, sequentially or
simultaneously, to impartially receive and record the arrival of sense
impressions at the respective sense receptors in a non-judgmental and
non-discriminatory way. This means that the Formatory Center is not
allowed to label or categorize the various sense impressions and thus
they do not become associated with our habitual emotions as they pass
through the emotional center. These exercises are associated with
assimilating Third Being Food.

One can perform these exercises whenever one is sitting, walking, lying in
bed, driving the car or doing in any number of mundane tasks where the
senses can be allowed to roam free, unhindered by the constraints of the
task at hand.

l Sensing - One attends to all the sensations in the body, taking in all
sensations without identifying or labeling the impressions as pleasant
or unpleasant.

l Sightless Gaze - one attends to ones total visual field as a panoramic

field of light, taking in everything at once without focusing on objects
and without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or
actions, good or bad.

l Soundless Sound - one attends to ones total aural field as a

panoramic field of sound, taking in everything without identifying or
labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad.

l Smelless Smell - one attends to all odors taking in every odor

without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions,
good or bad.

l Tasteless Taste - one attends to all taste impressions, taking in

everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or
actions, good or bad.

l In recognition of the importance of Impressions, explore their

absence. Cut off each of the sensual impressions when conditions
allow. Close eyes to curtail sight. Open mouth to curtail taste. Close
up ears to curtail sound. Pinch nose to curtail smell.

l Listen to others during the day without our usual careless and often
distracted attention.

l Listen to what is really being said and not to our rapidly forming

l Listen with the utmost respect.

Pondering on Impressions

l Who is sensing impressions?

l Why is sensing impressions necessary?

l How do impressions help His Endlessness?

l Why do I sense impressions differently in different situations?

l How does sensing impressions affect my emotions?

"There are moments when you become aware not only of what you are
doing but also of yourself doing it. You see both I and the here of I am
hereboth the anger and the I that is angry. Call this self-remembering
if you like."
(Gurdjieff, Views From the Real World)

Self Remembering

Self Remembering is a global envelope of consciousness that encompasses

all things.


"We are "harmonized" when our three centers are coordinated in unison
rather than "in chaos" when each center acts independantly of the others
(our usual, normal, mechanical condition). We approach harmony when
the three centers are each relaxed because then they are comfortably
related to one another. In meditation we try to be as physically relaxed or
loose as possible, to which is added a neutral emotional condition, to
which is added a quiet mind (no thought). A goal is to do everything with
the three centers harmoniously related."

"We must work toward a constant state of self-observation where we

become more and more connected with the observer who is objectively
observing "it" (the observed). Self-observing requires conscious effort; the
observer is the rememberer, who becomes the doer, who becomes." (Paul
Reminders Exercises
Reminders are little tricks and triggers, such as people, places, events or
things, that we use to remind ourselves to Stop and observe our inner
state and remember ourselves. Each Reminder should be accompanied by
explicit three centered Inner Work and a Sensing exercise. One should
change Reminders often, as they tend to become mechanical otherwise.

Note : These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are
encouraged to discover and add new Reminders and Inner Work relevant
to their personal situation.

Suggested Inner Work

Always include a Sensing of your whole body, a part of the body or parts
of the body in a sequence.

l Use the Holy Equation

l Ponder a particular question.

l Observe which center is predominant.

l Observe ones thought, emotions and sensations.

l Observe which I, Trait or Role is active.

l Observe tension in the body.

l Observe ones posture.

l Observe ones breathing.

l Remember yourself by bringing Attention to all three centers.

l Remember yourself by doing the I AM exercise.

l Quite the intellectual center by stopping thoughts.

l Intone a Repetition or Prayer, verbally or silently.

l Perform a ritual, such as making the sign of the Cross or take a
particular posture or a Movements position.

l Suggested Reminders

l On awakening in the morning.

l Feet touching the floor in the morning.

l While washing in the morning.

l While eliminating waste water and solids.

l Beginning of a meal.

l Opening the refrigerator

l Answering the telephone.

l Walking through a doorway.

l Opening the car door.

l Whenever a certain time is shown on a clock.

l Turning on your computer.

l Switching on a light.

l Whenever you say "I", or some other word.

l Whenever someone else says "I", or some other word.

l When a certain sound occurs, such as car horn, dog barking, bird

l Meeting a certain person.

l Entering a certain building or store.

l Whenever a commercial comes on TV.

Self Importance
Along the way towards developing Real I, efforts at overcoming our
Egoism and Self Importance are necessary. Failure to do so will will
result in the creation of a type of person Gurdjieff called a Hassnamus.

Self Importance is a consequence of the organ Kundabuffer. Other

properties of the organ Kundabuffer are : arrogance, the need to provoke
astonishment in others, bragging, cunning, the vice of eating, egoism,
envy, hate, imagination, jealousy, lying, offensiveness, partiality, pride,
wishing the death or weakness of others, self-conceit, self-love, swagger,

A traditional method of overcoming Self Importance is submitting

yourself to a good Teacher, one who is able to see the core of your Self
Importance and impose "tasks" or Intentional Sufferings that may help
you destroy it. This involves humiliation and one has to have enough
trust and foresight to see the benefits of being humiliated and the
fortitude to see it through to the end. Many Teachers end up being
reviled for their efforts simply because their students don't understand
the intention that is behind their being humiliated. Their ego ends up
becoming even more inflated and they ascribe all sorts of evil intentions
to the Teacher who caused them so much existential pain. No wonder
good Teachers are hard to find; try to do someone a favor and all they do
is hate you for it. As Gurdjieff says :

"Such is the nature of man, that for your first gift - he prostrates himself;
for your second - kisses your hand; for the third - fawns; for the fourth -
just nods his head once; for the fifth - becomes too familiar; for the sixth -
insults you; and for the seventh - sues you because he was not given

Self Importance Exercises

These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to
discover and add new categories and specific situations relevant to their
personal situation.

l One exercise that can help us overcome Self Importance is the

constant realization of our own inevitable Death.
l Another exercise is to do anything that anyone asks you to do, with
unquestioning obedience.
l Role playing is also a useful exercise to help combat Self Importance.
Take the Role of someone you dislike or that expresses behaviors
opposite to your Chief Feature.
l Either agree with or desist from arguing with people when they
express an opinion contrary to yours.
l Always tell the truth.
l Never justify or explain away your actions.
l Accept blame or responsibility for events that you have no control
over or for actions that were committed by someone else.


Pondering on Self Importance

l Who is Self Important?

l Why does Self Importance exist?
l Where does my Self Importance originate from?
l How can I overcome my Self Importance?
l What is my chief Self Importance?
l What types of Self Importance do I dislike in others?
l What types of Self Importance do I dislike in myself?
Role Playing Exercises
"And they were able to do this not only because they possessed the
being-property of 'ikhriltatzkakra,' but also because, like all the learned
beings of the planet Earth of that time, they were well versed in what is
called the 'law of type,' and were well aware of the twenty-seven quite
distinct types of three-brained beings on their planet, and even of what
the beings of each type would inevitably perceive in this or that situation,
how they would perceive it, and what would have to be their reaction." (5)


Role playing exercises are useful for getting beyond or free of our
Identification with our Chief feature and our Self Importance. Our Chief
Feature is the legacy of our Essence as it manifests through our
Personality. Our Chief Feature has positive and negative manifestations
which may help or hinder us on our search for Being. Most of us find it
very hard to bear the Suffering and pain involved with trying to step
outside of our habitual roles in life. Many of us tend to value honesty and
playing an uncharacteristic role can make us feel uneasy when interacting
with others. Role playing is valued in some areas of life, such as by
con-artists and intelligence agencies and politics, and thus many of us
may find it distasteful with its connotations of deception.

In the context of the Work, we should set these feelings aside and
consider what benefits to our Being will accrue if we attempt to play
Roles temporarily in life that will help us step outside the mechanical
constraints of our acquired Personality and our Self Importance. In the
Gurdjieffian sense, a well rounded person is not Identified with their
Personality and not consumed by their Self Importance, rather, they
should be able to be all things for all people, as indicated by the quote
from Beelzebub's Tales above.

Of course, Gurdjieff never delineated the 27 types mentioned in

Beelzebub's Tales or in his list of Idiots, which were toasted at his Paris
dinners. Never the less, we can approach this subject by considering that
the Law of Ninefoldness (the enneagram or the law of seven plus the two
shocks) multiplied by the three types of man (physical, emotional,
intellectual) gives us 27 basic types. A controversial typology based on 27
types has recently arisen and become popular under the name of the
Enneagram of Personality. Neither wishing to promote nor disparage
that system, I simply wish to point out that it may be of some benefit to
some people in the Work who wish to explore the dynamics of their
Personality and Essence further. It has close affinities to the character
traits outlined by Carl Jung and his protg Maurice Nicoll. Rodney
Collin also had a typology based on the seven planets of Astrology. Thus
there is a precedent for this type of endeavor in the Work. The
Enneagram of Personality is a great tool for giving insight into our Chief
Feature and into the features of other Types that we may wish to use as
models for Role Playing.


Role Playing Exercise

Choose a Role, any Role. Choose a Role corresponding to a personality
type that you dislike or that you admire. Seek out a social situation
where you can exercise that Role. Prepare for the Role playing by
studying the characteristics of the type. Use your powers of Visualization
and Imagination to construct the outward behaviors and inner attitudes
of that type. Wear clothes and groom yourself in an appropriate manner.
Set yourself a time limit within which to perform the role. Prepare
Affirmations to use during the Role playing that will encourage you to
continue with the Role at those times when you feel yourself being
overwhelmed by the demands of the Role and want to beat a hasty
retreat. When you have returned to a safe haven, evaluate your
performance. Repeat as necessary.


Pondering on Roles
l Who is playing the Role?
l What is my preferred Role?
l Why am I afraid to take other Roles?
l What Roles in others do I dislike?
l What Roles in myself do I dislike?
Will Exercises
Thanks to this sacred process, intentionally actualized by our
All-Foreseeing Common Endless Father in the three-brained beings of
these planets, it has been foreseen that during the action in their
presence of the fundamental holy cosmic law of Triamazikamno, the
excess of its third holy force, namely, the 'Holy Reconciling,' obtained
during the assimilation of cosmic truths of that order, should by itself
crystallize in them the data for engendering that 'something' which is
called 'egoaitoorassian being-will.

l Plan do do something at a specific time or times and then endeavor to
perform the planned action. You may use your powers of Imagination
and Visualization to formulate the specific task.

l Plan to do a specific Work Exercise at a specific time or in a specific


l Spend half the day agreeing with everyone and half the day
disagreeing with everyone.

Pondering on Will
l Where does our Will originate from?
l Who Wills our actions?
l What is Self-will?
l Is Will different in the three centers?
l Is there a difference between Will and desire?
l Is there a difference between my Will and the Will of His
l What is the Will of His Endlessness?
l What has His Endlessness Willed for me?
l Can Self-will coincide with the Will of His Endlessness?
Eating Exercises
There are many exercises that one can use related to eating First Being

The easiest is to say a prayer of thanks to His Endlessness before or

after eating.

One can employ Sensing exercises, Repetitions and prayers in the

preparation of the food.

Other exercises involve being aware of ones physical sensations while


Heptachord Before Eating

1. Relax all three centers.

2. Attend to the sight or presentation of the food on the table and plates.

3. Attend to the smell of the food.

4. Attend to the taste of the food by taking a small sample into the

5. Attend to the sounds accompanying the meal situation.

6. Attend to the touch or physical sensations evoked by the food and


7. Intone the phrase from Beelzebub's Tales - aieioiuoa.

This exercise is to be done before eating. Each step may be accompanied

by the inhalation and exhalation of a breath and the Repetition of a

Heptachord During Eating

This exercise is to be done while eating. Direct the Attention to the
designated points on the face and body.

1. Eyes while looking at food as it is lifted towards the mouth.

2. Nose while smelling food before putting it in the mouth.

3. Mouth while chewing food.

4. Throat while swallowing food.

5. Chest while food descends.

6. Solar Plexus while food arrives in stomach.

7. Breath into the Navel when the meal is finished. Sense the energy
radiating to the extremities.


Pondering on Eating First being Food

l Who is Eating?

l How does eating help His Endlessness?

l What do other beings think about my eating them?

l How do I feel about eating other beings to keep me alive?

l Why did His Endlessness create the Trogoautoegocratic process?

l What foods do I dislike and why?

The present study begins with notes of an exercise given by Gurdjieff In New York (which he
describes in his Third Series of Writings) , which is reproduced after our commentary. The reader
can then see for herself whether our analysis holds water. Our purpose is to delineate the essential
characteristics of this exercise to serve as a guide to other exercises, such as those developed by John
Bennett in later years from Gurdjieff's. Gurdjieff himself explains many things about 'attention', 'I
Am' and so on in his Third Series of writings and we come to some of these explanations at the very
end of our discussion.

Gurdjieff refers to this exercise as the "compromise" exercise. In this exercise, attention is
divided between the breathing and the head brain and the results of this are gathered into
or concentrated in the solar plexus. Gurdjieff says that this will enhance the sense of 'I AM',
which he couples with what he calls 'active mentation'.

Attention & Associations

In describing the exercise, Gurdjieff makes a number of statements about attention.

1. For 'real men' there is an attention that can be divided into two directions.
2. There are three kinds of attention
3. The attention of a real man can be free of associations.

The attention of a real man would be 'conscious'. The pragmatic test is that such an
attention can be divided. The three kinds of attention are referred to by Gurdjieff as 'to
sense, feel and constate' - which we might know more abstractly as sensing, feeling and
thinking. Associations go on by themselves and Gurdjieff says they not only go in our
sleep, when we dream, but even after death! In describing (conscious) attention, he says
that it can be concentrated away from such automatic proceedings. In the course of
describing the exercise, he tells his pupils to concentrate their attention on specific aspects
of their (experiential) organism. In everyday life, we would not do this. Though not
specifically mentioned in this description, we should bear in mind the kind of ideas he put
forward in the beginning of his teaching about man as a 'factory', taking in raw materials of
food, air and impressions and transforming them (see in In Search of the Miraculous by P. D.
Ouspensky). Part of this transformation goes automatically, by itself, but there are stages
that require conscious work. This is where the attention of a real man comes in.

Both at the beginning and at the end of his description, Gurdjieff warns against auto-
suggestion. He also warns against excessive zeal and 'self-enthusing'. In contemporary
colloquial language, we might say that if someone is 'getting off' on this exercise, then it is
going wrong. Gurdjieff is emphasising that doing this exercise should have nothing to do
with generating emotional experiences. The real results accumulate gradually through
repeated practice. In modern times, inner exercises of various kinds have been taken up
precisely because they give rise to emotional experiences. It is forgotten that, for example,
in Buddhism Mara the 'evil one' was the name given to bliss experienced in meditation!
Gurdjieff is also following the core tradition of mysticism in Christianity, which tended to
reject 'experiences' as distractions. He makes the exercise seem like shovelling coal! In a
technical sense, 'bliss' (as in the ananda of the Hindu sat-chit-ananda - being-
consciousness-bliss) is always a descending phenomenon, which means that a higher
energy is transforming down into lower energies. Gurdjieff's exercise appears to have the
intent of an ascending process. Flying in the face of his repeated assertion that 'man cannot
do' he claims that this exercise will enable his pupils to "do", which may be to build up a
substance giving the possibility of doing. Here we will simply remark that John Bennett
described such a possibility in terms of his own language, drawn from science, of 'potential
energy'. Energy withdrawn from actualisation, from anything happening, enables real
choices to be made, or voluntary action taken (see his series of lectures recently republished
under the title Making a Soul).

Assimilating Air
In this exercise, Gurdjieff says, the attention is divided into two parts. The first part
concentrates on breathing: becoming aware of the air coming into the lungs and then
leaving, but not entirely, since some of it is assimilated. The air that is assimilated 'flows in
my presence'. Now, it is likely that Gurdjieff was not referring to oxygen here as the part of
the air that is assimilated (there is a tantalising passage about the active ingredients in the
air, which is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, in the Third Series). In later years,
John Bennett would explain that there is an 'active substance' in the air - he even at one time
said that it derived from the sun - and that this active substance can only be assimilated
into us if it is taken in consciously. The underlying reference is to the theory of the 'food
factory' we mentioned before: in order for the second-being food or 'air' to be transformed it
requires at a certain point assistance from (intentional) impressions - i.e. conscious
attention. It is widely known that awareness of our breathing changes our state. But the
idea that it can produce a certain substance in us is very much Gurdjieff's alone. John
Bennett speaks of it as prana - a Hindu term that is usually translated as something like
'life- force'. Needless to say, there is no evidence whatsoever for there being such a
substance, besides the changes in state that are subjective and we are even warned about by
Gurdjieff himself.

The Mental Component

By concentrating on the breathing, the pull of mental associations has become weak.
However, next 'the other half' of the attention is put onto the 'mind' or, as Gurdjieff also
calls it 'my head brain'. He says that with practice we can detect something arising there
from our associations, at first faintly. Nowhere does he say what this 'something' is. He
even says that "what arises in the brain is not important"; instead he says that there should
be a flow in to the solar plexus. The austerity of language should be remarked. In this case
it is most fitting since, in general, the substance of the head brain is taken as abstract.
However, there is a sense in which we can take what arises and what flows as in some way
being the 'substance underlying associations, thoughts or knowing'.

Solar Plexus
What flows in my presence from the air and what comes from my head brain combine
together in the solar plexus. Gurdjieff does not say that they blend together or make any
statement about their conjunction. The location of the solar plexus is only explained
indirectly when Gurdjieff says that the exercise increases the strength of his 'I AM'.
Someone who actually does the exercise can see what this means for herself. Speculations
based on the chakra system tend to be totally misleading since Gurdjieff never used this
system or made reference to it. Nor does he make use of other Asian concepts such as the
'stove of the belly'. What is striking is that the Desert Fathers practised bringing their
thoughts into the region of their navels (hence the origin of the phrase 'navel-gazers') and
readers of the immensely influential Philokalia may recognise the similarities. In Gurdjieff's
own system, it is fair to say that 'I' would be most associated with the head brain and 'AM'
with the solar plexus.

Proceeding Automatically
More than once, Gurdjieff says that the exercise or part of it is proceeding in him by itself or
automatically. It is worth taking note of this. While Gurdjieff is talking, the exercise is
building and proceeding in him. But, how can it proceed automatically when the whole
emphasis has been on concentrating the attention? It would confuse the clarity of the
exercise to say very much about this; but it seems to us that it is important to observe that
concentrating the attention is not really a matter of effort. Nor is it a matter of 'I am doing
this'. There is more a sense of an impersonal act proceeding by itself. One intends
something such as a flow from the head brain to the solar plexus and then one has to allow
it to happen as it will: it is no good 'doing' anything to try and make it happen. It is as if the
act of seeing creates what is to be seen. Trying to describe and explain what happens can
generate metaphysical sickness, and a stark simplicity is called for in the doing of the
exercise. However, it is important to grasp that what Gurdjieff calls 'automatic' has two
sides to it.

Intended Results
Gurdjieff says that the practice of this exercise by his pupils is "only a preparation to have
an 'I'" but in his own case it provides 'food' for his 'I'. The task for the pupils is to recognise
the two sources - the flow from the head brain and the assimilation from the air. We have
already mentioned that he also said it would enable people to 'do' or have the possibility of
doing as well as the wish to do. We want to draw attention here to a common feature of
Gurdjieff's methods, which might be expressed as: first detach, then divide and then unite
into a new whole. What can be taught or imparted is something about detachment and
division. But the new unification cannot be taught. As long as people remain followers of
the instructions, they remain divided. No one can tell them to unite themselves, to 'make' I
AM in themselves. Gurdjieff suggests that he unites himself and then leaves it there. His
almost final statement about the exercise is that it will enable his pupils to have 'real active
mentation'. This may be the key to the whole thing. The very idea that inner exercises
should be devoted to something that is akin to thinking is anathema to most so-called
'spiritual' seekers at the present time. It is also a side of Gurdjieff that has been strangely
neglected by those professing to follow his ideas. Though Gurdjieff's active mentation is
not just our usual 'thinking' it is still conscious, willed direction based on understanding
and is what thinking ought to be. Another way of regarding active mentation is as
'thinking with the whole of oneself'.

Essential Feature
It is useful to make a summary of the essential features of this exercise. Readers may differ
with us on our choices and interpretations. Such a summary may also be tested against
other exercises (as we will do in the following essay). At the outset, we have to state that it
is our contention that such an exercise is integrally connected with the rest of Gurdjieff's
teaching, particularly with his theories of human structure and process. We believe that his
account of the assimilation and transformation of the three 'foods' of food, air and
impressions is of paramount importance. The general inference from this teaching is that
conscious attention can affect the process of transformation; in particular, to produce
'substances' that would not otherwise be made. These substances share in the characteristic
of enablement: if we have them, we can 'do' and if we do not then wanting to do is just
wishful thinking. In a word, these substances turn our view of ourselves as free, whole,
creative beings from fantasy into reality. We spoke of 'wishful thinking' and might consider
that such substances when added to the equation produce a real result: thinking + wish +
substance = real doing.

1. The purpose of such an exercise is to produce an enabling substance (or energy) that
can make life more real
2. It depends on exercising a free attention that can be divided into at least two parts.
3. There is an energy or substance that can be assimilated or made available to us by
bringing attention onto our breathing.
4. In a perhaps similar way, there is an energy or substance that can be released from the
thinking process or head brain by careful attention.
5. Such energies can be combined together to produce a new sense of wholeness or 'I-

The 'sense' of new wholeness that is posited at the end of the exercise is the most important
'proof' of the efficacy of the exercise. But, as we commented, it is the most problematic - not
least because it has to be self-defining. However, during the course of the exercise, it is
possible for us to test out and explore the meaning of points 2, 3 and 4. These features give
us a chance to struggle with our convictions. We just have to come to terms with how
things work out in us when we try to follow the instructions. We have to decide what is
real in our experience. There is no way of knowing whether what happens to one person is
the same as to another. Each will describe their experience in different terms. We have
adopted the method of 'experienting' to take account of this, which has the advantage of
providing mutual support without the imposition of any one person's models of the
experience. Experienting also follows the situation exemplified by Gurdjieff himself in
describing the exercise, where it is clear - and even stated by him - that the exercise can be
working in him as he speaks about it [see below on 'Transmitting Exercises']. In
'experienting' every participant is encouraged to articulate the process going on in her or
him while it is taking place. At first this feels like an added difficulty and an immense
distraction. But it facilitates detachment from emotional experiences (see Gurdjieff's
warning) and can also assist in the end, through practice, in attaining the condition
indicated by Gurdjieff of the exercise 'proceeding automatically'. The five essential features
we have listed all belong to what can be called a 'psycho- cosmology'. It is difficult to
establish whether knowing about this is an integral part of the exercise or not. One
imagines that Gurdjieff's pupils were well aware of the background to the exercise they
were being shown. The exercise can be done without knowing anything about the 'food
factory' model but would it be the same? Gurdjieff gives the essentials without any appeal
to theory but it would be hard to put it all together without some theoretical support.

We tentatively, then, add a sixth feature:

6. To constate and reason on the purpose and meaning of the exercise, with the provisos
"don't imagine things" and "don't be the slaves of the data you have within yourselves for
THE EXERCISE AS GIVEN BY MR. G (with some minimal
editing) this version differs slightly from the text given in the Third

The totality of man's attention received from the whole of him, from
all his spiritualised parts, he can divide into two directions. For real
man there is one attention. Only this attention can be divided into two
directions. In general if the sources of man's attention are taken into
account, there are three kinds of attention. You must first understand
and then recognise the difference. When this attention is concentrated,
then our associations are 'in galoches'. Associations can never stop. If
they would stop, men would die. Associations always flow. Even after
death they continue to flow by momentum. Only when attention is
seriously occupied, associations are not constated; all the same they
flow automatically. Even in sleep they continue and are sometime
remembered - this is what constitutes dreams. Those who remember
their dreams were only half asleep. If a man really sleeps, his attention
also sleeps. Real man has one attention. When this is concentrated
seriously somewhere, whether on his body or on something outside,
and all the forces of his attention are concentrated, his associations do
not hinder him. For example I am now looking at L., and my attention
is directed on my right foot; so although I look, I see only
automatically, my attention being elsewhere. I will now show you that
new exercise, the one to which is attached the risk I spoke of, the
"compromise" exercise.

It is a serious experiment; many of you have such data in you for auto-
suggestion that impressions may be obtained which will be the result
of some kind of self-hypnotism.

If you are now a nonentity, you may become a thousand times more
so. You might, if you will excuse my using this word, "stink". Be
careful with the experiment. It is not quality that is necessary, but
quantity. Do it often. Don't try to get absolute results. Make repeated
efforts. Then only little by little, can you actualize results. Then only
will you be able to "do". And parallel with wishing to "do", there will
arise in you the possibility of "doing". Do this without excessive zeal,
without self-enthusing, which is a very harmful property. If you repeat
this exercise often, your auto-suggestiveness will diminish.
This is the exercise.

Outwardly, at the first glance, this exercise is simple. For instance, you
see, I sit here in my usual posture. I am dividing my attention. But no
one can see this inner process. I divide my attention consciously into
two parts. With one part I now sense, feel and constate simultaneously
with one conscious concentration. Now I breathe. I feel that something
happening to the air that I breath in. Part of it goes in, part goes out,
and a part remains. My organism, that is my lungs, take a part, then a
part leaves and a part remains. I feel what is happening in my lungs.
When I breath in, part of the air is assimilated and I feel its flow all
over the body. It goes everywhere. I keep my attention fixed; I feel, I
sense how this air is being assimilated in me and how It flows in my
presence. It is not necessary to find out where it goes, it just flows in
my presence.

One part of my attention is occupied with this - breathing, assimilating

and flowing of the air. Already my mental associations are very weak.
I notice them sometimes, by the way, because part of my attention is
free, and is able to notice mental associations.

Now I will concentrate the other half of my attention on my mind, my

head brain. I feel that in my head-brain something arises from the total
of the flow of associations there. I don't know what is taking place
there, but there is something, and with my half attention I notice this
very thin something arise, so small, so light, so thin, that nobody feels
it the first few times, not until constant practice gives the feeling. I
know this subjectively because I have practised it. I feel, I sense, I
constate, that something arises in my head-brain. All the time, of
course, the other half of my attention is occupied with the breathing
process. Even while speaking, this exercise is being automatically

Now I direct my attention to help this something in my brain to flow

towards my solar plexus. What arises in the brain is not important.
What is important is that the something that arises there should flow
into the solar plexus. Now I feel how it flows.
My attention is fully occupied and I don't see any more associations
All my attention is occupied with feeling, sensing, and assimilating the
flow of air, and also with this arising in my head-brain. This flow of
assimilated air, and this something which arises in my head brain, I
specially, consciously, with my wish, concentrate to let it flow into my
solar plexus. Now, by the way, I feel and constate that I breathe , I
assimilate and that this flow goes to the solar plexus. And all the time
the flow from the air I breathe and the flow from my head-associations
go to the solar plexus although they issue from different sources.

For me personally, at the same time, I feel very strongly that I AM. I
feel that I AM ten times stronger. My "I" takes in this food more
intensely, but for you, at the present moment, do not do this exercise in
order to be stronger. For you this exercise is only a preparation to have
an "I" and so that you should constate the two sources from which this
"I" can arise. For me it gives food to my "I". It makes it stronger, so that
now I am not "tail of donkey". I AM.

But you can not yet use this exercise to make yourself stronger; you
must first learn and constate the two sources from which this
possibility can arise, to have a real " I" - from air and from mentation,
even automatic mentation; and then , when you will have practised
this exercise a great deal, you may be able to have possibilities for real
active mentation. And then with real active mentation, the " I" can
become stronger.

Enough. I stop and let these processes proceed in me automatically.

Now, without titillation without philosophizing and manipulation, try
to understand the total of all this and formulate it according to your
subjective understanding, according to whatever kind of idiot you are.
Then do [it].

Don't imagine things.

Don't be the slave of the data you have in yourselves for

autosuggestion, but try very hard.
We have at hand another report of an exercise dictated by Mr Gurdjieff, this time dated
to 1939. It is instructive to read this account in the light of our previous discussion. We
add some comments afterwards.

EXERCISE BY MR GURDJIEFF From hand-written note 1939

Fifteen minutes relax. Break tempo of ordinary life before doing


Breathe in - 'I'. Breathe out - 'am'. With all three parts do. Not just mind.
Feeling and body also. Make strong! Not easy thing.

When breathe out, imagine part of air stays in and flows to

corresponding place. Where flow, how flow, that is its business. Only
feel that part remains. Before beginning exercise say: 'I wish to keep this
substance for myself'. Without this conscious and voluntary labour on
your part nothing at all will be coated. All in time will evaporate. Just
this small property in blood makes possible very big result if done with
conscious labour. Without this, one month you must work for such

When doing, must be careful not to change exterior. It is inner thing. No

one need know. Outside keep same exterior. Inside you do. Not hold
breath. Just breathe in and out. Of course, to change thinking will take
time. Automatically breath will adjust. To be able to do exercise not
lopsidedly you must whole attention on it.

To arouse feeling, interest and attention, for co-operation you must

think following before beginning: 'I am now about to begin this exercise.
With full attention I will draw in my breath, saying "I" and sensing the
whole of myself. I wish very much to do this in order that I may digest

To arouse body to co-operate, take corresponding posture. Inner tension

of forces. Mobilise your centres for working together for this aim.

In breathing, imagine something flows, like when inhaling cigarette. I

am now about to begin this exercise, which I have been fortunate
enough to learn from Mr. Gurdjieff, and which will enable me with the
aid of conscious labour, to coat higher bodies in myself from active
elements in the air I breathe.
First of all, it is clear that this exercise constitutes only a part of the one we reviewed before
(the 'compromise' exercise as Gurdjieff called it). This part concerns awareness of breathing
and, in particular, of part of the indrawn air being assimilated and flowing to its
'corresponding place'. It is important to note that these exercises had a somewhat modular
character in that more simple exercises could be combined to form more complex ones.
Though he does not use the same words - sense, feel and constate - that we encountered
before, the intent is exactly the same: "with all three parts do". He emphasises wish in this
exercise, and speaks of "feeling, interest and attention" instead of just attention. An
important word in this description is "imagine". Of particular interest is his comments on
preparation and disposition. These include:

1. Fifteen minutes relaxation "to break the tempo of ordinary life"

2. Taking a "corresponding posture" for the body to co-operate [as we learned this from
John Bennett, it was to sit with erect posture with the hands on the knees, in balance and
not slouched]
3. Having a clear mental intent to do the exercise and realise that it is for the conscious
'digestion' of the air that will make a "coating" for an inner body. [Gurdjieff also implies
there should be a feeling of gratitude towards himself for providing the exercise].

In our essay on 'Inner Exercises' we spoke of the three stages of preparation, concentration
and realisation. Here we see preparation pointing to the engagement of the whole of
oneself in the act of concentration. In this instance, the preparation includes an intellectual
understanding of what the exercise is for. In our previous comments we left this open as a
question: Is it necessary to know the 'theory' behind the exercise? Now we see that the
answer to this question is 'Yes'. It is for the person doing the exercise to decide whether
what is happening in connection with his breathing is 'just' her imagination or whether this
imagination is simply the means of realising what is taking place 'because of' imagination.
In his teaching, John Bennett used to caution against using the concept of 'just imagination'
implying that imagination was not necessarily indulging in fiction but a real action that
could produce definite results in us. The supposed result of the exercise, however, is
something out of sight. As far as we know, no one supposes that it is possible to observe
'coating' - which would be tantamount to observing the formation of one's soul. It is in the
realm of being or 'what is' and cannot be seen as a process. In our analysis in 'Inner
Exercises' we equated it with samadhi for the reason that no observation is possible. The
dilemma then is that we have to take this result on faith because there is no way in which
we can know it directly for ourselves, which contradicts the basic foundation of these
methods on verifying for oneself. John Bennett appeared to have claimed that he could
perceive such results. We remember him once remarking to a lady that she now had her
kesdjan body, which was much to her surprise since she had no sense of it herself! We
should emphasise that the use of breathing advocated by Gurdjieff did not involve
changing the breathing in any way. The breathing tends to change of itself and this should
be allowed to happen in a natural and easy way. Gurdjieff was against altering the natural
tempo of breathing, instead emphasising the supreme importance of awareness and
attention as changing the very substance of the air itself in us. In the next section, we look
at other features of the exercises which have come down to us over the years. We also take
into account some of the material to be found in Ouspensky's book In Search of the
Miraculous. Needless to say, attempting any of these things at random is of little
Bennett's Struggle in Paris
In the book written by his widow, Elizabeth, Idiots In Paris, we can read of John Bennett's
struggle with a basic exercise apparently given him by Gurdjieff. Though we cannot
presume to know the whole of this, he does provide an outline of what it entailed. Very
simply, he would kneel with arms out sideways, fixing his attention on a fixed spot on the
wall. The accumulating sensation (even pain perhaps) in his arms would establish 'Am' and
the mental focus would provide 'I'. Gurdjieff seemed to have been consistently concerned
with 'I Am' exercises. Readers of In Search of the Miraculous may remember his account of
monks in Mount Athos who would pronounce the word "I" while noticing where it
'sounded' in them (see loc. cit. page 304). For some it would be in the chest and others in the
head - or even above the head. He also mentions that they would adopt a certain posture,
such as kneeling with the arms lifted and bent at the elbows. "The purpose of this exercise
is to feel 'I' every moment a man thinks of himself and to bring 'I' from one center to

One of the reasons for discussing this exercise is that it makes very clear that Gurdjieff was
not at all concerned with what is now generally called 'meditation'. John Bennett always
made it clear that the exercises derived from Gurdjieff were active, while meditation was
essentially receptive; a distinction that is discussed in his book The Sevenfold Work. We
would do the active exercises in the morning and the receptive ones at night. If we were to
attempt a single simplistic formula for the Gurdjieff exercises, it would be To realise 'I Am'
including the generation or accumulation of energies enabling 'I' to 'Am'. In doing an
exercise, the person would have to draw on the whole of themselves. Thus, Gurdjieff
would speak of integrating the impulses of 'I can, 'I wish', and 'I am' as can-wish-am. This
was nothing but a direct application of his teaching that man consists of four personalities.
These are now only crudely understood in terms of body, feelings, mind and 'I'. Behind this
model stands the model of the food factory, and the implications stemming from
correspondences such as: body-food, feelings-air, mind-impressions.

Relaxing and Filling

From the early days in Russia, Gurdjieff taught relaxation and sensing (see In Search of the
Miraculous pp. 350-1). There he initiated the practice followed more or less since of
beginning relaxation starting from the muscles of the face. He also showed how to 'feel' (i.e.
sense in fact) any part of the body at will. The exercise in 'circular sensation' shown around
1917 became Bennett's 'Six Point Exercise' used at Sherborne more than fifty years later. It is
not documented when Gurdjieff explicitly introduced the practice of 'filling', though it
became 'The' exercise for many after his death. In 'filling' we bring sensation energy into
the body. Starting with the feet. Thus, relaxation goes from top to toe and filling from toe to
top. The head is the last thing to be filled with sensation. The deliberate sensing and
movement of sensation is at first an astonishing thing. As far as we know, no one besides
Gurdjieff has drawn attention to this as a fundamental practice of voluntary experience. It
predates biofeedback by half a century. It is also intriguing, as Ouspensky points out, that
none of this to be found in yogic practice. In teaching about relaxation and filling it was
always emphasised that attention should never be drawn into the inner organs such as the
heart, liver, spleen, etc. This advice is echoed in e.g. autogenic therapy. The reason for it is
that unskilled attention can alter the tempo of functioning or other features of the organ. In
general, Gurdjieff was against any altering of diet, chewing, breathing, etc. Bennett's arms
out sideways (a practice that certainly came from Gurdjieff) will inevitably produce
sensation! It must be emphasised over and over again that Gurdjieff taught that we do not
need to get beyond the physical because we are not in it yet - and the first step is to attain
the physical!
Besides keeping the body still, there was also taught a way of having an inner stillness as
well. This concerned two things. The first was the 'balancing of the three centers' and the
second was 'non-emanation'. The 'all-three-centred-balanced-state' was as it sounds,
bringing the three centres into equal attention. [As an aside, we might refer to the Samkhya
system in which the primal nature or prakriti consists of the three gunas in equal
proportions. In this condition, nature no longer obstructs or hides the 'witness', the spirit or
purusha. Samkhya is the closest equivalent of the Gurdjieff system in Asian teaching, as
was pointed out by Sri Anirvan in Lizelle Reymond's book To Live Within (readers should
attempt to find the Coombe Springs Press edition since the current one is lacking some
material).] The non-emanating state is alluded to in the exercise of the Immovable Point
discussed in our previous essay. In this, we imagine that our psyche is like a cloud
surrounding the physical body through which 'vibrations' come and go. In the non-
emanating state this flow of vibrations is calmed down and diminished. A more modern
description would be 'containment'. The state is relaxed but not distracted. The two -
'balanced' and 'non-emanating' - amount to the same thing in practice (at least, we have
found so)

Conscious stealing
One of the many things that Gurdjieff taught was that there were concentrations of energy
that included higher energies - we might also say now, that included information. He even
suggested that there were such concentrations on the scale of the solar system, embodying
'images' of the higher principles. On Earth, he said that there were concentrations of energy
around places associated with sacred individuals. The four usually referred to were: Lhasa
(Saint Lama), Mecca (Muhammad), Benares (Buddha) and Jerusalem (Jesus). It was possible
to 'download' we might say from such concentrations into ourselves for our own work.
This was associated with the concept of 'conscious stealing', which postulated that we could
just 'take' something if we could really make use of it. How we might contact and draw into
ourselves substance from such concentrations cannot easily be described here. Suffice it to
say that we have to visualise such concentrations and connect with them by means of a
'thread', whence we bring their substance into locations in our bodies. This linking with
concentrations of energy associated with places extended to deliberately bringing higher
energies into 'non-sacred' places such as London. This we did only once with John Bennett.
It is mentioned here to emphasise this side of the exercises: making connections with places
and energies outside of ourselves.

Sacred exercises
How the exercises developed with John Bennett is largely unknown. He introduced
material from Sufi, Hindu and Taoist sources, though it is our contention that he remained
true to Gurdjieff's method. We speak of sacred exercises here because as he developed or
taught them, some of the exercises were religious in character. In 'The Eye of the Needle'
exercise, for example, we were to realise what it is of us that can pass into the sacred realm.
We have no evidence whether Gurdjieff taught an exercise similar to 'The Master'. In this as
in some other exercises, the attempt is made to connect with the 'Real "I"' employing means
that treat this 'I' as a sacred image. There are demanding tasks of visualisation involved.
Transmitting Exercises

In the Third Series (Life Is Real Then, Only when 'I Am') Gurdjieff explains:

". . . I was convinced of the impossibility of exactly explaining and fully formulating in
words the various fine points of the procedures of any intentional experiencings and
exercises for the purpose of self-perfection . . .knowing at the same time of the existence
among our remote ancestors of a special method which was then called the 'principle of
illustrative inculcation' for the purpose of better taking in new information, I therefore
introduced this method also in general program . ."

Illustrative inculcation means taking people through the exercise while doing it oneself, so
that the person teaching the exercise is in actual contact with what happens in it as he
speaks. Besides making the explanations more authentic, there may be a biochemical factor.
It seems from recent research that the action of peptides in one person can affect those in
others who are near. The peptides are critical for the intercommunication between the three
main physical systems: limbic-digestive; respiratory-circulatory and neural-brain.
Similarly, the instructor may be able to tune in to his audience and adjust what he says to
suit their level of experience.

Final Comments
We propose that there is a basic Gurdjieffian 'I Am' exercise in which the subjective (I) and
the objective (am) are fused. No one else has this basic exercise. Ramana Maharshi's 'Who
am I?' is not the same thing. To fuse I with Am we have to bring into play the three realms
that are roughly indicated by thought, feeling and sensation. This bringing into play also
minimises distraction from mental associations. The exercises are done while sitting still.
We do not know whether Gurdjieff taught them to be done with eyes closed or open. The
exercises require preparation and right disposition to begin, including some background
understanding of what they are for. The exercises are not concerned with generating
emotional experiences but with 'making a substance'. This substance is characterised
somewhat as an 'ableness', such as in being able to "do". The exercises are embedded in
deep views of reality, or psycho-cosmologies. The latter term means an understanding of
the world that also makes account of human experience and possibilities. Gurdjieff
connects his exercises with active mentation. This might mean that it is possible to 'do' them
while 'thinking' as long as there is sensation as well. They are also related to some kind of
practice 'in life'. Gurdjieff seems to advocate 'returning to oneself' - like touching base again
- in his well known but obscure self- remembering ("to feel 'I' when he thinks of himself").
A typical experience of self- remembering is like a clean wave of energy sweeping through
oneself that it is difficult to sustain without turning it into something of less value. There
can also be a sense of the body that is very new and different from usual. The exercises can
become very complex, but everything depends on being able to become aware of energies
or just 'something' - and to locate and direct them. Sensation, wish and attention are key. If
anything, attention is the 'Philosopher's Stone', by which the enabling energies are

Extracts from a section on 'Attention' in John Bennett's book Deeper Man

"To be effective, the will needs an energy that is like itself. Man has been given such an
energy and with this he can set himself free. "Many people believe this energy to be
thought or consciousness; but it takes very little to realize that something deeper stimulates
thought and that consciousness does not initiate anything. Neither thought nor
consciousness are a true beginning. In every act of will there is a beginning of something
new and the only thing that corresponds to an act of will is creative energy. . . ."At the
moment of bringing attention to something there is no effort; effort only comes in when we
try to sustain our attention. . . . "Work with attention enters into all work on oneself. It is the
ground on which a great deal is based. If we cannot tell the difference between voluntary
and involuntary attention, we are living in a dream world." (pages 34-6)
Gurdjieff on the possible transmutation of the physical body, from In Search of the Miraculous

"The whole of the physical body, all its cells, are, so to speak, permeated by emanations of
the matter si 12. And when they have become sufficiently saturated the matter si 12 begins
to crystallise. The crystallisation of this matter constitutes the formation of the 'astral body'.
"The transition of matter si 12 into emanations and the gradual saturation of the whole
organism by it is what alchemy calls 'transmutation' or transformation. It is just this
transformation of the physical body into the astral that alchemy called the transformation
of 'coarse' into the 'fine' or the transformation of base metals into gold." (page 256)

Gurdjieff on attention, feeling and sensing, from Life is Real Only Then. When "I Am"

" . . . it is indispensable first to learn to divide one's entire attention in three approximately
equal parts, and to concentrate each separate part simultaneously for a definite time on
three diverse inner or outer 'objects'. "For the possibility of a practical achieving of this
aim, in the same mentioned detailed program [of G's Institute] were indicated a series of
exercises under the name 'soil preparing'. . . . "First, all one's attention must be divided
approximately into three equal parts; each of these parts must be concentrated on one of
the three fingers of the right or left hand, for instance the forefinger, the third and the
fourth, constating in one finger - the result proceeding in it of the organic process called
'sensing', in another - the result of the process called 'feeling', and with the third - making
any rhythmical movement and at the same time automatically conducting with the flowing
of mental association a sequential or varied manner of counting. . . " . . you Americans . . .
totally lack any understanding of the difference between two entirely distinct impulses of
an average man, namely, between the impulses of 'feeling' and 'sensing'."

After connecting feeling with the solar plexus and sensing with the spine, he goes on to urge his

". . . to understand the sense and significance of this exercise [exercise 4 in a series], without
expecting to obtain any concrete results." And he speaks of these exercises as "required
for the acquisition of one's own individuality". (pages 112-5)

On the solar plexus

". . . a man who already has his real I, his will . . . pronounces aloud or to himself the words
'I am', then there always proceeds in him, in his, as it is called, 'solar plexus', a so to say
'reverberation', that is, something like a vibration, a feeling, or something of the sort. .. . .
without this even if only imagined experiencing of the reverberation, the pronouncing
aloud or to oneself of the words 'I am' will have no significance at all . ." (pages 134-5)

The Gurdjieff Experiment: Part 1 (16th January, 2007)

A magical colleague, for a long time, has expounded to me the virtues of George
Ivanovich Gurdjieff's esoteric teaching. Although some of the platitudes he
spouted seemed interesting to an extent, I could never really grasp the bigger
picture. In terms of practicality, what constitutes the Fourth Way (one name
amongst many for Gurdjieff's approach) ? My interest was piqued so I decided to
investigate the man further. Wary of any 'interpretations' of Gurdjieff's work,
I avoided the vast library of books written by his students, and picked up the
first book in Gurdjieff's All and Everything series, entitled Beelzebub's Tales To
His Grandson (Gurdjieff, 2000) . If you've ever tried to read this book, you'll
understand when I say I couldn't understand a frigging word. Apparently,
Gurdjieff wrote the book in an intentionally obscure and difficult style in order
to make the student work for his teaching. Bollocks. Why teach but hide the
teaching? This pissed me off no end, so I gave up on the Fourth Way. That was
last year. This year, my friend still rattles on about Gurdjieff, but this time he
has a book to recommend: Gurdjieff Unveiled (Ginsburg, 2005). It's a little slip
of a thing compared to the rotund monster that is Gurdjieff's first book, so I
recently acquired a copy and quickly worked my way through it. I cannot
recommend this book enough. The book outlines Gurdjieff's core teachings, but
more importantly, the actual exercises taught in his institute. It recommends
practising the exercises every day, joining a Gurdjieff group, and reading
Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. Daily practice is fine by me. I once tried
contacting the Gurdjieff group in London (as has my friend, on many occasions),
but they've never replied, so sod them. But in the cause of actually understanding
the method behind the madness, I'm willing to read Gurdjieff's magnum opus.
Whether or not I'll actually read it three times, as Gurdjieff suggests, we'll have
to see. So on the 12th January 2007 I began the Gurdjieff Experiment.

The General Principle of the Gurdjieff Exercises

The idea is that unless we are actually 'aware of being aware' we are
'sleeping'. Most people, although they believe they are thinking, decisive
beings, are in fact slaves to reaction and conditioning. Eventually, being 'aware
of being aware' will lead to the experience of what Gurdjieff called Endlessness,
or the infinite godhead. The aim of the game then is to remain in a state of
being 'aware of being aware' at all times, as a means of reducing our
identification with these reactions and acting in a decisive manner in accordance
with our actual will, and as means of moving closer to experiencing our true
identity, which is unity. An example of a Gurdjieff exercise is to pick a random
part of the body, and retain the awareness of that body part at all times,
regardless of what we are thinking, feeling or doing.



Chose my left hand, and sought to keep it in my awareness all day. I've done
better than expected; of course, I forget to maintain my awareness frequently,
but when Ido, it lasts for approximately 10 minutes or so, and it' s never longer
than an hour before I remember I'm not doing the exercise.


It's remarkable: I make hardly any conscious decisions whatsoever; nearly every
action I find myself doing is a result of habit or reaction. When I am conscious
of this, I stop myself and make an effort of actually deciding what I want to do. I
can see the possible benefits of continued work in the Fourth Way in regards
to addiction. Today, I chose my left foot. Irritatingly, I find my awareness wants
to go to my other foot instead, although after a certain amount of repeated
effort, this dissipates.


Right hand, sometimes right foot. Those rare moments when I'm able to maintain
my awareness, I find myself becoming incredibly lucid in everyday
consciousness. It reminds me of dhyana. The practice has had an impact on my
meditation.1 By going into my meditation maintaining awareness of a body part
(I must stress this is not concentrating on a body part to the exclusion of all
other sensations - you simply 'split' your attention), I found I could drop the
body part and remain in the state of lucid awareness. The awareness seemed
to spill out of my body and into the room. At this point I used wu wei, and
found my legs and lower back disappeared. Strangely, this caused my
breathing to become laboured, almost as if I were drowning; this was
physiological, rather than the result of any emotional state.


I'm finding 1 can move my awareness around my various body parts a lot easier
than I could before the outset. I'm also catching myself 'remembering' who and
what I am (as in being a human on a planet doing stuff), which makes me laugh,

1 I already meditate every day, and Gurdjieff also recommends meditation whilst carrying out The
almost as if at certain points during the day I'm identifying with the body part
more than my 'personality' (i.e. my reactions and habits). I also keep having bursts
of 'feeling good'. How much of this is down to the Gurdjieff practice? And how
much of my previous work has gone towards success using the Fourth Way?


Woke up and immediately became aware of my right leg. However, my effort

today has been weak; not only have I frequently forgotten to do the practice,
but when I remembered I didn't really put in as much effort as I have done
previously. I've also skipped meditation. Perhaps I shouldn't have got drunk last

The Gurdjieff Experiment: Part 2 (23rd january 2007)

Results 17/01/07 22/01/07

I think the initial period of beginner's luck is well and truly over. I need to
make much more of a concerted effort to maintain the same level of awareness
of a specified body part throughout the day. I'm also having difficulty being
aware of the body part for the following reasons:

1. I suddenly discover that I am actually aware of an imagined version of the

chosen body part, as opposed to the real thing; and
2. I cannot find the chosen body part - it disappears !

I have encountered three phenomena that I believe are a direct result from the

1. For the last four days, I find approximately five to ten minutes after waking
that I feel really, really good, and for no apparent reason. I remember that I used
to feel like this when I was a child, up until the age of about sixteen or so.
2. The experience (mentioned in part 1 of this experiment) of suddenly
'remembering' I am a person and finding this absurd and amusing has now
become an experience of 'remembering' I am 'trapped' within the experience of
being a person. This isn't so funny.
3. A number of emotional habits have become less engaging or vivid.I think these
three results validate the idea that by splitting the attention, the habitual
identification with the mass of complexes we call 'the self' is greatly
reduced. Result number 1 begs the question to what extent would I identify with
'the self' by the time I was seventy, if 'the self' appeared to take up my complete
attention by the time I was sixteen? No wonder old people are weird and cranky.
The Gurdjieff Experiment has also had an impact on my meditation practice,
the most notable results being:
17/01-1 'saw' what appeared to be the 'inner' equivalent of the rising sun.
18/01- What I normally experience as the limits of my total awareness became
two horizontal vibrating 'bars' or 'beams', at the top and bottom of my 'inner'
20/01- The everyday experience of being a separate entity is a mental construct or
nothing more than a habitually experienced idea.
22/01- I experienced a degree of absolute nothingness, but I was still aware of
myself much like a shadow on a wall.

Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson

I am currently reading Chapter 12, which is page 98 out of 1,238. Almost

finished, then... Although the first chapter is irritating and far too long, this
book, even with its weird literary style, is a lot easier to understand than I
was previously led to believe. It is also very funny, both within the actual
storyline and due to the unshakeable feeling that Gurdjieff is pulling your leg.
The most interesting idea I've come across within the story is that there is a race
of aliens that live on the moon that look like giant ants; they are very
industrious and have completely hollowed out the moon; and they feed off the
energy generated by human activity. In other words, the alien 'greys' are etheric
entities that live inside the moon, and periodically put humans through
abduction experiences in order to extract sustenance in the form of the emotion
that is easiest and strongest to provoke: fear. Holy shit! I bet Gurdjieff was
acquainted with LAM! (See below, p. 204.)

Well, Gurdjieff did say the aim of his book was to destroy, without mercy, any
existing beliefs and views the reader might have about the world. Which brings
me nicely to my dreams: for the last two nights I've dreamt about existence in
completely Gurdjieffian terms, feeling as though I completely understand the
universe. Needless to say, I can't remember just how it all fits together, but I
can definitely say that this experiment is certainly having an effect behind the

The Gurdjieff Experiment: Part 3 (14th February 2007)

Results 23/01/07-11/02/07

During this period I implemented three additional Gurdjieff exercises: two

supportive 'stop' exercises, to facilitate my continued split-awareness practice;
and one 'new' exercise of adopting the perspective of every person I meet. The
two 'stop' exercises involve a conscious reminder to include the body (or a
body part) in my awareness whenever I eat (Gurdjieff maintains the Christian
practice of 'Grace' is a corruption of this ancient esoteric technique) and whenever
I go through a doorway. To be honest, I thought the two 'stop' exercises would
be easy, as I've had no real problem with remembering to split my attention most
of the time . However, I failed spectacularly. For three days straight I would
remember to 'stop' halfway through a sandwich or three seconds after shutting
my front door. I only managed to succeed with these exercises twice.In addition
to my 'stop' shame, I made a very weak attempt at the third exercise - I only
kept it up for a day or so. Despite this, the usual split-attention practice has
become somewhat habitual. Although not continuous, I would frequently wake
up with a body part already in my awareness. Infuriatingly, as easy as this
came, it seemed to take far too much effort to sustained it. For at least a whole
week, I would say that I really wanted to stop the experiment altogether.


The only thing that swayed me from doing this was the results from my daily

27/01/07 - During this practice I encountered a very curious phenomenon. The

darkness 'behind my eyelids' became spherical and was both immense and tiny
at the same time. I'd experienced this once before (sometime last year), and it
made me feel very strange.
31 /01/07 - Straight after my meditation I fell into a 'trance of wonder'; everything
appeared miraculous.
01/ 02/ 07 - It seemed that existence was very much like a stencil, and my
consciousness was at either side of that stencil or 'outline' . Between the 2nd and
8th I generally encountered the Buddhist Formless Realms, and entered a state of
nothingness. I must stress that there was still experience, but an experience of
absence. By nothingness I do not mean 'emptiness'. (For more on this, see below,
p. 50f.)
08/02/07 - Meditated 3 times (30 minutes each). Encountered the strange spherical
phenomenon again, except this time the bottom half of the sphere appeared to be
inside out.

No one told me about this

09/02/07 - I meditated three times (30 minutes each). The second time something
terrible occurred: I found myself going through a number of trances Ghanas or
dhyana) when suddenly I 'popped' into a trance and the physical world began
to 'shear' in half. This was horrible. I tried to apply the technique of 'noting'
the fear that welled up, but I was eventually overwhelmed and I fell out of my
asana in a state of absolute terror.
Excuse me?

The day before this experience, I was reading Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson.
I was up to Chapter 18, where Beelzebub recounts his involvement in an
experiment with his bird friend from Saturn. They both enter a special
contraption that pumps out all phenomena, leaving the two experimenters, both
wearing special suits, to observe the fundamental forces of the universe 'from
the outside' . His bird friend ends up floating around, above his chair, 'like-a-
puppy-who-has-fallen-into-a-deep-pond' (Gurdjieff 2000, p.165).This was because he
'had made certain parts of his planetary body more tense than was necessary' .
We then have this very curious passage:

Having said this with a smile, Beelzebub became silent; a little later he made a
very strange gesture with his left hand, and with an intonation not proper to his
own voice, he continued: 'While I am gradually recalling and telling you about
all this concerning the events of a period of my existence now long since past,
the wish arises in me to make a sincere confession to you... in spite of it all,
my essence allowed to creep into my being and to be developed, side by side
with the strange experiencings, a criminally egoistic anxiety for the safety of my
personal existence. 'However, my boy, in order that you may not at this moment
be too distressed, it is not superfluous to add that this happened in me then for
the first and also for the last time during all the periods of my being-existence.
(Gurdjieff 2000, pp.165-6.)

Looks like someone wanted me to know what the hell I was about to
experience !After remembering what I had read only the day before, I went
'back in', after a ten minute breather, intent on nutting annihilation into next
week.Meditation number three revealed that death only exists 'here'.We
experience it in life; the 'other side' (what we usually assume is the beginning of
death) is neither life nor death, but something which is greater than both.

Beelzebub told me to do it

The terror never appeared again, and up until today I've been enjoying the
feeling of dissolution. I've been charting my magical progress using many maps,
from alchemy to Buddhism to the A: .A:., but in terms of actually dealing with
this absolute terror, and describing what can be expected, I find nothing better
than the passages quoted above. What Gurdjieff appears to be implying, which
is borne out through my own experience, is that absolute terror is not uncommon
before the first experience of what he calls Endlessness; and, if terror does occur,
it will only happen once. Interestingly, there is an entry in Crowley's magical
diary John St John (Crowley 2006, p. 74) where he records a very similar incident of
fear of dissolution, which again only happens once.