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For the Week of September 10 - 16: Scale
The Theophany (Baptism) of the Lord, Mosaic in the Cathedral of San Marco, Venice, 13th century
"Who can fail to perceive the great symbolic gesture of Baptism in the general history of matter? Christ immerses himself in the waters of Jordan, symbol of the forces of the earth. These he sanctifies. And as he emerges, in the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa, with the water which runs off his body he elevates the whole world."
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, p. 80
God gave me sound knowledge of what exists,
that I might know the structure of the universe and the force of its elements,
the beginning and the end and the midpoint of times,
the changes in the sun's course and the variations of the seasons,
cycles of years, positions of stars,
natures of living things, tempers of beasts,
powers of the winds and thoughts of human beings,
uses of plants and virtues of roots –
whatever is hidden or plain I learned,
for Wisdom, the artisan of all, taught me.
- Wisdom 7:17-22
Work-Idea: Things are on different scales
and Christ is in all
In our studies of this wondrous Universe, we can understand that the energies at work in the upper parts of the Ray of Creation are exponentially finer than those acting in the lower parts. All beings, all things exist on different scales. This is true down to the minutiae of our lives: for instance, our personal grievances and trials are on a different scale from the national difficulties of the country we live in.
Apprehending scale can inspire feelings and states of awe, wonder, humility and oneness. Therefore, scale, when applied to oneself, can be a tool for Self-remembering – for seeing and feeling from a different level and thereby neutralizing identification.
At the same time, as Kathleen Speeth said in The Gurdjieff Work, "[quoting Ouspensky] 'Man is … a miniature universe; in him are all the matters of which the universe consists; the same forces, the same laws that govern the life of the universe, operate in him; therefore in studying man we can study the whole world, just as in studying the world we can study man.'"
Though scale, as illustrated in the Work teaching of the Ray of Creation, shows us that we are at a very low level of being compared to the level of planets, galaxies and the level of the Absolute, due to the presence of the side octave, we can awaken, evolve and rise to the level of the Sun/Son – to Christ-consciousness.
"Everything in the Universe, visible and invisible, known and unknown, is at some point in this vertical line. Everything is inevitably at some point in this vertical scale, for everything finds its own level in it, according, as it were, to its density, like objects floating in the sea. All evolution, in a real sense, is to pass from one point to a higher point in this scale. Scale means ladder. In all the diagrams …, this idea of the Universe as a ladder or scale is found, and that is why it is so necessary to gain some preliminary conception of the significance of this vertical direction, that does not lie ahead of us, in the future of time, in next year or the next century, that does not lie either in space or in time, but lies in another dimension – namely, above us. In a limited way, we all know of the existence of this vertical line, for we all know better and worse states of ourselves. …
"Man is born as a self-evolving organism. He can rise from one level to another in this vertical scale. And that is why there is such a thing as esoteric teaching. All the knowledge belonging to this system is about the possibility of man's undergoing an inner transformation and rising in the scale of being. …
"The Universe is a series of stages, of levels, of degrees, extending vertically from the highest to the lowest, and everything is at a certain point in the Universe. The chair you are sitting on is at a different point in the Universe from yourself. … Man, as a child of the Universe, as a product of it, bears in himself the stamp of the Universe – that is to say, Man has scale in him."
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Commentary on Effort, Vol. 1, pp. 102-104
Further, with a sense of scale, we each have a point in the Work, a means of making conscious choices, ordering our lives, and selecting the influences we wish to be under. In other words, living life on purpose.
"The ideas of this Work are to build the mind up in the right order so that everything can be related aright. In the center of the mind stands the Ray of Creation – that is, the Scale of Being. From the highest to the lowest, all things fall into their places. But unless the mind is changed by the Work, it continues to think that all its thoughts are real and true [and represent reality as it is]. The mind is then like a tent laying in a heap on the ground without a central upright pole. All its parts are touching each other wrongly. They are not stretched out by means of the training of the Work … [When] learning to think from what it teaches, a man begins to be able to distinguish between right and wrong thinking. He begins to learn how to think on the right scale, and how not to mix scales, and so on. All this helps him not to identify with all his thoughts. It gives a center of gravity to his thinking."
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Internal Considering and External Considering," May 15, 1943, Vol. 1, p. 290
"Now it is this feeling that the visible world – the minute part of total creation opened to our limited senses – is not the sum total of reality, that makes it possible to do this Work in a spirit of understanding. For those who say that visible nature created itself, it is impossible to do this Work. Why? Because they have something upside down in their minds. …
"All esotericism begins with the idea that there is something higher. … this 'something higher' is in you – not outside you in the visible world – but within you as a higher possible and existing level of yourself, not yet attained, but there already. So Christ said: 'the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.' …
"[T]he Ray of Creation can give rise to many thoughts that belong to the development of a new way of thinking. … Now, among many other things, learning to think in terms of scale is to think in a new way. To do so puts the mind in right order. To start with oneself puts the mind in wrong order. For example, if you put the Work first, as something greater, and yourself after, than you will get help. Vice versa, you will get none. Why? Because things are the wrong way around in your mind."
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Commentary on Scale," February 19, 1949, Vol. 4, pp. 1275-1276
"Immersion and emergence; participation in things and sublimation; possession and renunciation; crossing through and being borne onwards [upwards] – that is the twofold yet single movement which answers the challenge of matter in order to save it.
"Matter, you in whom I find both seduction and strength … you who can enrich and destroy, I surrender myself to your mighty layers, with faith in the heavenly influences which have sweetened and purified your waters. The virtue of Christ has passed into you. Let your attraction lead me forward; let your sap be the food that nourishes me; let your resistance give me toughness; let your robberies and inroads give me freedom. And finally, let your whole being lead me towards Godhead." Amen.
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, pp. 80-81
Go out one clear starlit night to some open space
and look up at the sky,
at those millions of worlds over your head.
Remember that perhaps on each of them swarm
billions of beings, similar to you
or perhaps superior to you in their organization.
Look at the Milky Way.
The Earth cannot even be called a grain of sand in this infinity.
It dissolves and vanishes, and with it, you.
Where are you?
- G. I. Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World, p. 58


- "There is a saying in the Work that we should make important things important and unimportant things unimportant. Everything that keeps us awake is important and everything that puts us to sleep is unimportant in relation to the Work." (Beryl Pogson, Centenary Fragments, pp. 195-196) Ask: What is important and what is unimportant in my life? Are my daily choices in keeping with my Real Aim?

- Please enjoy this recorded reading by Journey School student Taylor Bates, one which beautifully describes scale (it is a little more than one minute in length).

Attend tonight's class: 7pm Central Time via Zoom only. 
  1. Click on this link and Zoom should open automatically on your laptop or tablet, or
  2. Open Zoom, click on Join Meeting and enter this meeting ID: 996-101-9778. When prompted for a Passcode, enter: CCH.
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