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The Second Conscious Shock is one of the more obscure areas of the Work. It is surrounded by an aura of mystery and secrecy, and as a result, this has led to various interpretations as to what it involves. The problem has been compounded by the fact that Gurdjieff's own teaching and terminology in regard to it seems to have changed over the course of his life. In this talk I would like to trace the development of the concept and bring out into the open what I have come to understand to be Gurdjieff's final teaching on the subject. The Second Conscious Shock is not discussed very deeply in the literature about the Gurdjieff Work. Why is this? Is it because the teaching of the work is based on an oral transmission from teacher to student? Is it because it has been deemed impossible to transmit the method in written form? Does the secrecy exist to protect the novice student from a potentially dangerous practice, such as the transformation of sex energy? Lets do a quick review of what people have written on the subject. The first widely available written accounts of Gurdjieff's teaching about the Second Conscious Shock came from Ouspensky, who said in the Fourth Way: "It is the transformation of negative emotions into positive emotions. It is possible only with long work on self-remembering, when you can be conscious for a long time, and when higher emotional center begins to work." (TFW228) He goes on to say that the results of the Second Conscious Shock assist in the transformation of the energies of sex, air and impressions, which leads to the growth of the higher being bodies, and to contact with the higher centers and their associated higher states of consciousness. I quote: "The higher thinking center, working with hydrogen 6, is still further removed from us, still less accessible. Connection with it is possible only through the higher emotional center. It is only from descriptions of mystical experiences, ecstatic states, and so on, that we know cases of such connections. These states can occur on the basis of religious emotions." (ISOTM195) This early writing lays out an arduous, sequential process that builds up step by step and note by note around the enneagram, and any stepping
This aspect has not been mentioned by Ouspensky. One of the most significant incorporations is the idea of Conscious Labour and Voluntary Suffering. selfimposed or intentional. one of the difficulties in understanding Intentional Suffering is the use of various words to describe it. both of which are explicitly equated with the Second Conscious Shock. a much more organic process is indicated and there seems to be much less concern about coordinating the shocks with particular practices in a fixed sequence. However. This line of thought is echoed by many Fourth Way writers. man is criticised for his succeptability to the disease of tomorrow. that is. by Orage. and on the octave. Gurdjieff had a different meaning for . In many respects this book recapitulates the views of Ouspensky. by C." (ISOTM378) When we come to Beelzebub's Tales. where it is between Si and Do. as far as I can recall. A good example is Orage's use of the word Voluntary instead of Intentional. air and impressions are mentioned.indeed. Conscious Labour and Intentional Suffering.for tomorrow . it is my opinion that Conscious Labour includes many more practices than just Pondering. words such as conscious. It is by this practice that we transform the cosmic substances of third being food required for the coating of our highest being body. our soul. voluntary. Here also the term negative emotions is replaced with the references to the suffering caused by the consequences of the organ Kundabuffer and the desires of the planetary body. as well as companion terms such as aiesiritoorassian contemplation. such as those practices related to the first Conscious Shock.out of line is cautioned against. Daly King. We should look briefly at another aspect of the Second Conscious Shock mentioned in the Oragean Version.the direct experience and understanding of the nature and Source of existence. intentional contemplation and active mentation. Orage's view of the Gurdjieff teaching is presented in a very interesting book called the Oragean Version. So. Gurdjieff stresses the importance of this practice constantly throughout Beelzebub's Tales by the extensive use of the word Pondering. These substances are the basis of Objective Reason . In contrast. the same results regarding the transformation of the energies of sex. Gurdjieff of course used the expression Conscious Labour and Intentional Suffering to refer to all the ways that we use to Work on ourselves. Gone is any mention that this practice is reserved for the future . but it also incorporates some of the later ideas presented in Beelzebub's Tales. Rather one gets the impression that he is much more concerned with the simultaneous practice of all aspects of Being-Partkdolg-Duty in order to effect a balanced development of our Being. This adherence to structure is curious when we consider what Ouspensky thought about the discrepancies between the placements of the Second Conscious Shock on the enneagram. or Pondering. This aspect is called Conscious Labour. but now the method of their transformation is called Being-PartkdolgDuty. where it is between Fa and Sol. Listen to what Ouspensky concluded: "This signified that there was no wrong place for a "shock" at all.
for he had translated the word "intentional" by the word "voluntary. This would be the type of suffering that we incur because of our unreasonable attitudes and expectations towards others. the expectation of something unpleasant. In other words. the destruction of the 'shock. war. irritation. and not for any personal gain." As I attempted to explain the great difference between the voluntary and intentional suffering of man.both of these words and he did not use them interchangeably. Voluntary Suffering and Intentional Suffering. and second. this would be the kind of suffering that we take upon ourselves in order to accomplish an impersonal or altruistic goal.. or what Bennett has called unnecessary suffering. or a student who labours to get good grades." (ISOTM198) . This would be the type of suffering that we take upon ourselves in order to accomplish a personal aim. the force which alone can change the situation. Bennett distinguishes four types of suffering ." (ISOTM308) But when it comes to the Second Conscious Shock.. as is usual in such cases. disease or death. Bennett assumes that this is what Gurdjieff meant by Intentional Suffering. hatred and rejection of others. worry. Lets have a look at each of these to see if they can help our understanding: The first is Unnecessary Suffering. doubt. Ouspensky speaks of negative emotions such as: "Bad moods. suffering arising from our self-importance. disaster. first. And finally we have Intentional Suffering. There is a good example of this distinction in Life Is Real. in the translation. fear. there arose a general philological discussion.Unnecessary Suffering. Third. we have Voluntary Suffering." (LIR) In Talks on Beelzebub's Tales. The second is Unavoidable Suffering. from doubt. This would be the type of suffering that comes to us by accident or from events beyond our control. "intentional suffering. destroying a whole series of perceptions for which man exists. such as an athlete who disciplines himself to win a race. possessiveness. Ouspensky certainly seems to recognize the general necessity of suffering. both Ouspensky and Orage seem to only discuss it in terms of negative emotions." I interrupted his reading.' that is to say. According to Bennett. where Gurdjieff says: "When he came. to the expression used by me. from our ill-will. one that is directed more towards service to others or to the Work. such as interpersonal conflicts. Unavoidable Suffering. as indicated by this remark from In Search of the Miraculous: "To destroy suffering would mean. a feeling of injury. arrogance and self pity. For example.
lying. annoyance. arrogance. in reality at all times strictly corresponded in its duration with the length and quality of the. jealousy. Gurdjieff goes on to say: . jealousy. Pondering is the beginning of Conscious Labour.719) This is about as far as we can go with the accounts of Ouspensky and Orage about the Second Conscious Shock." (TOV) One thing we will immediately notice is that the negative emotions just mentioned are all very similar to Gurdjieff's 'desires of the planetary body' and 'consequences of the organ Kundabuffer'. beyond any doubt. self-conceit. since they had ceased to have any direct contact with Gurdjieff in his later years. egoism. pride. "degree of contact" between my consciousness and the suffering proceeding in me on behalf of my mother and my wife. offensiveness. hatred." (LIR) Gurdjieff was perplexed by the effect of this automatic suffering on himself." Self-imposed suffering is Voluntary Suffering as described by Bennett. Gurdjieff recounts certain realizations that he had at Christmas in 1927. Daly King summed up his understanding of what Orage had taught about the Second Conscious Shock: "The suppression of the organic symptoms of negative emotion is the beginning of Voluntary Suffering. bragging. my labour-ability. we have to turn our gaze to Gurdjieff. These realizations were about the value of what he calls the "automatic — that is. Here is how they are described in Beelzebub's Tales: ". as well as my productivity. to see if it can take us beyond the Oragean Version and shed some new light on our understanding." (TOV) As we see from this statement. partiality. the Oragean version can only give us the preliminary aspects of the exercises. fear." (BT512. imagination. self-love. swagger. Listen to what he says about this: "And this time. cunning.And Orage says that: "Examples of such emotions are anger. passive — experiencings of suffering". the need to provoke astonishment in others.. I again established that during the first three years of my authorship. the vice of eating. hate. And it is during those years that Gurdjieff's understanding of suffering may have matured. Neither of them constitute the end or the completion of their respective exercises.. and vanity. envy. so to say. wishing the death or weakness of others. Lets take a look at an account of his own suffering. In Life is Real. To see beyond this point. But they do constitute the end of the discussion and of the subject so far as concerns the Oragean Version. exasperation and so on. self-enamoredness. Previously he had been convinced that "to attain any selfimposed aim it can only be done exclusively through Conscious Suffering. Here is how C.
(BT147) He tells us that the other two forces of the Triamazikamno. in this case the death of loved ones. already in our foundation. And it was impossible to explain because in this particular case I suffered unconsciously. was a practice that had assisted him in the authoring of Beelzebeb's Tales and could possibly help him to achieve other aims in the future. The Reconciling Force is the transformed result which feeds the growth of our higher being bodies. Here we can see that Gurdjieff's understanding about the nature of suffering expanded at this time. Out of suffering . we have to wonder if Ouspensky was ever privy to this new conception of Intentional Suffering? We can now turn our attention to Beelzebub's Tales and the teaching that is given there about the nature of the Second Conscious Shock." (LIR) In other words. He recounts that this powerful realization evoked in him an intense experience of selfremembering and joy. by such an objective possibility was utterly impossible. he did not choose this suffering . He realized that conscious or voluntary. It also helps to decrease the suffering of His Endlessness by assisting in the process of world creation and maintenance. He saw that the intentional enduring of the unavoidable sufferings which are a part of all existence." (BT372) Gurdjieff expands on this idea throughout the Tales and he informs us that our planetary bodies are fromed from the crystallizations of the second part of the Omnipresent-Okidanokh. which is realized when we oppose our Denying Forces with an Affirming Force.and he allowed himself to experience it rather than suppress it. only suffering. are. are localized in the head brain and the emotional brain. such as an intentional Wish to Be. What we learn from Gurdjieff is this: "the-whole-of-us” and the whole of our essence. The fire. the Holy-Denying Force. that results from this struggle and blending of forces will actualize the Reconciling Force. while this process proceeded in me automatically in accordance with my typicality and the accidental crystallization in it of corresponding psychic factors. the Disputekrialnian-friction (BT802).it was unavoidable .joy! Since Gurjieff and Ouspensky had parted ways by this time. the Holy Affirming and the Holy Reconciling. of Conscious Labour and Intentional Suffering. and that this is the source of the forces and desires which give rise to our suffering. We are told that there is a very practical aspect to this triadic structure."To explain my case. This interaction of the three forces is called Harnel-Miaznel and is codified in the Legominism: . and must be. self-imposed suffering was of limited value but that the intentional enduring of the unavoidable suffering arising from the automatic experiencings of his nature was a much more powerful practice. however.
cements. This fire is suffering." So we see that instead of suppressing or eliminating the emotions of unavoidable suffering. crystallizes. Remind yourself of the aim. Holy Denying equals our inherited mechanical "myself" manifested by our habits. and indeed connot. another student of Gurdjieff. Suffer by your defects. we must not. Without prepared suffering there is nothing. hope. one of the things that happens as we become more conscious. feelings and actions in sleep. for by as much as one is conscious. We learn bear the unpleasant manifestations of others and to accept with equanimity many of the trials and irritations that are a part of all existence. For my Being. joy and awe. to repay by conscious work. 1941. By self-observation we learn to recognize accurately our Holy Denyings to which we then eventually apply our Holy Affirming. Yet on the other hand. instead of what Gurdjieff called Self Calming. compassion. love. then we may find the strength and humility that enables us to 'gird up our loins' and suffer gladly. is that we begin to sacrifice many of the sufferings that arise from our Denying Force. . Holy Reconciling is the resultant of them both leading automatically to a Transubstantiation." Now. completely eliminate suffering. You have a duty. thoughts. You owe to nature. in your pride. One must prepare. an obligation. Holy Affirming is our conscious effort to accept. faith. Only you can prepare. endure and to meet with objectivity all our Holy Denyings. The food you eat which nourishes your life. DOES. in your egoism. traits. suffer without suffering. And out of this fire may arise conscience. nothing. must know what will make one suffer and when it is there. make use of it. as well as a lawful expression of the Triamazikamno necessary for the coating of our higher bodies. without which it is impossible to create anything. we must actively and intentionally endure the fire that arises from the experience of suffering. You must pay for these cosmic substances. makes the fire which cooks. (BT752) Here is what Paul Beidler. This is truly a transubstantiation of the suffering into the higher positive emotions. there will never be anything. Transubstantiate in me. When we realize that this patient enduring of suffering is an act of service to His Endlessness. In it I have found what I call the Holy Equation which provides us with a basic pattern for most of our work. there is no more suffering. Without fire. Holy-Reconciling. for without suffering we have no fire for transformation. intentional suffering. when he said: "One needs fire. has to say about this Legominism: "This is a prayer given to us. This was made abundantly clear by Gurdjieff in a meeting on December 7. That is why with your conscience you must prepare what is necessary. Holy-Denying. only you know what makes you suffer. No further process.Holy-Affirming.
One might call this Conscience . My yoke is easy and my burden is light. gradually leading to Holy Affirming in our daily activities. In conclusion.that paradoxical. something other than it being the means of our self transformation? Gurdjieff indicates that suffering is part of the cosmic plan. Many of us were first drawn to the Work in the hopes of alleviating the suffering we experienced in ourselves. where the Holy Denying force is an essential ingredient of all energy transformations. superior. Can we see that there is a higher purpose and value to this suffering. for harmonious development. But as we have seen. companions or apostles? "It is different in these times. For as long as we exist. part of our very essence and is thus inescapable. The necessity of suffering is also plainly evident from the law of three. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the reapers are few and now it is even more so like that. The needs of the world are very much wider and there is a task that can no longer be performed by a few. Another misconception about the Second Conscious Shock that I hope I have dispelled is that it is a secret practice reserved only for the later stages of the Work." And strangely." (TOBT) So we have been called to suffer . Pondering and Intentional Suffering are vital elements in that process. Many people are needed. bitter-sweet state wherein we experience all our conflicting emotions and thoughts at once. a peace that passes understanding. The harvest is enormous — the whole future of mankind. it is necessary to Work on all our centers simultaneously.So. From a purely practical point of view. there can arise a joy. well thought of. we have come a long way from Ouspensky's vague hints about the Second Conscious Shock and negative emotions. the automatic and unavoidable sufferings that are a part and parcel of our being. followers. there are other types of suffering from which we will never escape. it is a Doing which lightens the burden of His suffering. admired. wealthy or .as Jesus said: "Take up your cross and follow me. out of the bearing of our allotment of suffering. J G Bennett expresses the immediate need for this kind of Work when he says: "Is it that Conscious Labour and Intentional Suffering is only for the special rare ones or their disciples. Our highest being body also has its own internal law of three. we will be enmeshed in the Denying Force. I would like to end with a few well chosen words from my Teacher: "Conscious Labour includes the performance of all recommended exercises requiring conscious effort. Intentional suffering is an act of service to His Endlessness. useful. Even the beings who have reached Purgatory are still struggling with their suffering." "We understand the ordinary pursuits of our lives responding to desires to be educated.
co.The Oragean Version. "fear" or "depression".spiritual. Gurdjieff ISOTM .endlesssearch. Gurdjieff BT . I." "Intentional Suffering is the intentional acceptance of all suffering which is a part of all existence. C. D. G. G." References: LIR . such as "anxiety". It is sometimes useful as a preparation to induce selfimposed suffering but this is to be abandoned when we learn how to meet the normal lot of humanity's suffering. We try to meet these denyings with our conscious efforts in our search which we call Holy Affirming. Ouspensky TOBT .The Fourth Way. 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. as examples of Holy Denyings. Daly King The audio version of this talk is available at www. .Life is Real. I. J.uk . P. D. especially those forms which are overlooked or moved into different catagories. Bennett TOV . G. Both are of equal substance and importance. Then.Beelzebub's Tales.In Search of the Miraculous. Only When I Am. Ouspensky TFW .Talks on Beelzebub's Tales. P.
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