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For the Week of February 17 - 23:
Harmonizing Centers: Emotional 

Hilma af Klint, Group IX/UW, The Dove, no. 9, 1915

God said, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you."
Solomon answered: "Give your servant … an understanding heart 
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong." … 
So, God said to him: "Because you have asked for this – 
not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches … 
but for understanding so that you may know what is right – 
I do as you requested. I give you a heart … wise and understanding … 
In addition, I give you what you have not asked for, … 
riches and glory …

- 1 Kings 3:5, 9, 11

 

"A man may have some knowledge of truth, but unless he values it, unless he feels some delight in it, it cannot affect him. It cannot act on him, for a man unites with truth only through his love, as it were, and in this way his being is changed. …To do a thing willingly, from a delight in doing it, will effect a change in you. … A person who has a too-mechanical affirmation from the intellectual center will say 'Yes' but that belongs to his thought – not to his will. The basis of the will is in the emotional center and the emotional parts of centers]. … It is valuation – the emotional center – that is decisive."

- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Letter to Bush," April 27, 1941, Vol. 1, pp. 10, 83


We now turn to harmonizing the emotional center, colorfully described by Beryl Pogson, Maurice Nicoll's long-time secretary, as a "rogue elephant."   We spent all of last year observing, studying, working on purifying the emotional center. You could review the email archives from last year to refresh yourself on these topics.  It goes without saying that the deleterious effects of a wrong-working emotional center are manifold. Negative emotions can impact the instinctive-moving center (illness) and the intellectual center (compulsive, agitating thoughts). The peculiar characteristic of negative emotions is that they go on and on by themselves, even creating fresh negative emotions, long after the original cause is removed: "When the emotional center works for another center, it brings with it its sensitivity, its speed, its intensity and above all an egocentric quality. When it works instead of the intellectual center, it produces nervousness, thoughtless and unnecessary haste, when measured judgment is appropriate. When it works instead of the moving center, it produces impulsiveness and a tendency to be carried away rather than making the right movement. In the place of the instinctive center, it produces exaggerated effects and too much or too little activity" (Jean Vaysse, Toward Awakening, pp. 104-105).

Three-Centered Being

According to Gurdjieff three forces enter into every cosmic formation and then strive to re-blend. It is this that gives every new formation its own chance to evolve to serve its cosmic function. Through Work that is understood and applied, one can arrive as having all three of the separately spiritualized parts awakened and, thus, to become Balanced Man, the true measure of an awakened human being. J. G. Bennett explains: "Thus, although thinking, feeling and moving are all equally functions, nevertheless we can call the thinking center the very representative of will, the feeling center the very representative of being, and the body center the very representative of function. They are able to bring the universal reality of the three worlds of function, being and will into an individual reality. This individual reality is … his 'own I,' his wholeness. The wholeness of man is equally the singleness of his will, the coherence of his being, and the harmony of his functions. The unity of function, being and will is the inherent 'divine spark' essence] which is within us. We can as well say that this unity … is to be 'discovered,' as we can say that it is to be 'made.' In either case, there has to be a removal of the veils that hide from us our own reality, but this is a concrete action that is more than a mental change" (Deeper Man, pp. 68-69). 

As we gaze upon Bennett's illustration, it is not difficult to discern that much of our Work is about discovering and releasing what is largely hidden from our view and activating the perceptive apparatus – in order words, the lifting of those veils. This is Work, Work of a lifetime as Jeanne de Salzmann quotes Gurdjieff: "'All the parts which constitute the human being must be informed – informed in the only way which is appropriate for each of them – otherwise the development will be lopsided and unable to go further.' The ideas are a summons, a summons towards another world, a call from one who knows and who is able to show us the way " (Views From The Real World, pp. vii-viii).

Image adapted from "Levels of Function," Deeper Man, p. 69

Integration, Transformation and Wholeness

The Work on harmonizing (spiritualization) of centers is vast and we could speak a year on just this topic. Throughout the natural world, especially the plant, animal and human realms, everything that exists seeks to grow and unfold in its fullness. It may be thought of as inherent cosmic duty and for human beings is the conscious evolution of their inherent potentialities. Then the psychic centers are balanced and fully participate in life, a stable foundation is established, and the activity of the centers can be directed toward a conscious aim – to serve and help others activate a higher level of being. If we are to develop beyond the point to which physical evolution has naturally brought us, the Work is to be intentionally and consciously done. Out of reason and thought, we arise to conscious awareness and fully embodied life. Out of emotionally diverse and unstable wishes and reactions, we develop will and Being. Out of our instinctive personality we manifest effortless actions in harmony with the whole. In other words, real personhood. Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff's esteemed pupil called this Work a "science of being." The summons – as she declares it – is to be a bridge between higher and lower in order to take our place and serve a higher purpose as sending/receiving stations of energies. 

Mr. Bennett summarizes the possibility: "Then, on the conscious level, true self-observation becomes possible when all three brains operate together and we can experience ourselves as a whole being ... under the initiative of our own 'I' and we can then become a being capable of self-creation, called by Gurdjieff Man Number 5. The balancing of centers is therefore a very great thing that can lead us beyond this material world into higher worlds … As we come closer to unity, the nature and meaning of our lives changes. Not only our perception and understanding change but how we can live. We do not exist in a vacuum. Our own development serves to bring us closer into contact with other beings, and also to bring us under the influence of what lies beyond existence altogether. As we become more real, we are more able to communicate with reality" (Op. Cit., p. 70).   And so it is.

Holy-Affirming,
Holy-Denying,
Holy-Reconciling,
Transubstantiate in me
For my Being.

Mr. Gurdjieff's Prayer for Three-Centered Being

 

Some practical exercises on harmonizing the emotional center

This week, as we focus primarily on harmonizing the emotional center, we outline just seven of many practical ways to work with its harmonizing: 

  • Wake-up every day giving glory to God as your first utterance of the day: This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it (Psalm 118:24)! "All the background of the Work, all the teaching about the Cosmic Ray, the Sun-Octave, and the significance of man, can give this vision, if you know it well mentally and then imagine it so that it better connects with the emotional center. … Then you see your life as a miraculous adventure – that ceases to be so once you identify with it. … With this attitude we gain the sense of being in life, not of life or caused by life, and this is a preliminary to that form of Self-remembering where the three factors, (1) the seen object in outer life, (2) my observed reaction to it, and (3) I myself, constitute a triple simultaneous consciousness – a full triad – that is, a being conscious in three forces at the same time. … -- a vision of the Work that lifts us … in short, this Rope which we have to catch hold of. Hold this Rope, when you catch it" (Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "A Note on Effort," November 30, 1946, Vol. 3, p. 972).  
     
  • Practice Centering Prayer, noting its first guideline begins with sitting comfortably with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God's presence and action: By choosing this settling and silence of being, this consent to God, twice a day, you are intentionally inhabiting the present moment, releasing tensions, constrictions, self-will, small anxieties and the undigested emotional material of the unconscious – thus, nurturing and in-forming our being-bodies and preparing them for the receipt of higher influences and consent and receptivity to all life.
     
  • Practice the Welcoming Prayer, known as "consent-on-the-go" in the activity of ordinary life: Again, by choosing this practice as a walking-around consent to God, Yes to life, to all being, moment-by-moment, we are relaxing our body-minds, stabilizing our emotions and elevating all aspects of our being. You can find out more about the Welcoming Prayer here
     
  • When experiencing a negative emotion, take a three-centered picture of yourself: "Margaret Anderson, in her book The Unknowable Gurdjieff, recalls how she was angry and rebellious about everything that Mr. Gurdjieff asked her to do. 'Conscious labor' was too difficult, 'voluntary suffering' too unendurable to undertake. And then, in one enlightened moment, she had a picture of herself, her state, and its cause. She rushed to the Rue des Colonels Renard, to Gurdjieff's apartment and said, 'Mr. Gurdjieff, I see now that it was because of my vanity and self-love that I was so angry'" (John Fuchs, Forty Years After Gurdjieff, pp. 58-59). Taking this picture offers awareness; from awareness can begin change.
     
  • Wish: "Wish is the ultimate expression of prayer. The Work tells us it is the most powerful force in the world. Through wish, vibrations are created which increase the function of our centers to their highest efficiency. But first, let us be, 'I wish' is not 'I want.' In our usual state, wants come only from personality, from the part that either likes or dislikes, the part that is filled with duality and contradictions. 'It' wants one thing one minute and something else the next. Wish is on a much higher level – I would almost say on a cosmic level on which higher forces work of which we have no concept. Planetary forces influence our lives. These are forces our magnetic center can attract and transform. They can act on essence. … My prayer, my wish, must come from a deep inner need. … Say your prayers wishes] out loud, have them reverberating through your whole being. Ask with every part of you all three centers] … ask … three times. Repeat it day after day. The answer the fulfillment] will come, not in your time, but in God's time. … Help is available" (Ibid, pp. 22-23, 25).  
     
  • Prepare a sacred space within your home: create a small altar with your "sacred objects" to symbolically represent and remind oneself of the wish for transformation, scale and the desire for understanding, for heart coherence with your aims. Symbols are the language of the emotional center.
     
  • Nourish the senses: Attend to beauty, to order, to placement, to smells, how and what and where you eat, touching, what you listen to. Senses are the windows into essence

 

I AM ∙ I WISH ∙ I CAN WORK

 

Homework

Embody these ideas:

  • Choose one of the practical exercises for this next week. At the end of each day write a "journal entry" of what you discovered. 

 

February Practice: Baking Bread

The invitation this month is to bake bread. Have you done so yet? It is three-centered experience. Notice how the senses are nourished. Try it. 

 

Attend The Journey School Thursday Class Tonight: All are encouraged and welcome to attend tonight's class for a review of these teachings and, importantly, to produce a container of beings seeking to be more conscious and whose efforts assist one another:  7:00 pm Central Time via Zoom only.

  1. Click on this link and Zoom should open automatically on your laptop or tablet: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9961019778?pwd=aVFLZVQwNGZSNkQ4TDRTUW9yU1Ywdz09, or
  2. Open Zoom, click on Join Meeting and enter this meeting ID: 996-101-9778, passcode: CCH
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