For the Week of June 2 - 8: Pause and Review

Illustration by Keith Buzzell, Reflections on Gurdjieff's Whim

Straight and narrow is the path,
Waste no time.
Gloria in Excelsus Deo!*

The earth is the Lord's and all it holds, 
the world and those who dwell in it.
For the Lord founded it on the seas,
established it over the rivers. 
Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?
The clean of hand and pure of heart,
who has not given their soul to useless things, what is in vain.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
be lifted, you ancient portals
that the king of glory may enter. 

- Psalm 24:1-4, 7

And thus, we come to the end of our series, "Relating Body" exploring three-centered relatedness within a framework that is cosmic, universal and interconnected in its structure and workings; we too, as is the great Whole, are subject to laws, have duties and unfolding possibilities, in relationship to All that is. And, further, if we desire to play our part, to take our place as a consciously intentional self-developing organism, we are called to be a unity, albeit a relative unity, a sort of microcosm of the larger cosmos. It thus behooves us to understand the workings of both the megalocosmos of which we are an integral part and ourselves, as a microcosm of the Whole. Our communication and harmony are garnered by awareness of inter-being. 

Joseph Azize explains that there are four insights that give context and are fundamental to understanding our place and our Work:

"1. The universe is a creation.

"2. The creation [is] a dynamic movement from the cosmic [living] Whole into the cosmic plurality of phenomena, so that intelligent creatures are ultimately the products of higher intelligence, not chance developments from lower forms.

"3. The purpose of the universe, and all that is in it, is that the plurality should maintain the cosmic Whole by transforming coarser substances into finer, and thereby have the chance to itself evolve into a higher form.

"4. The highest purpose of humanity is consciously joining in the process of maintaining that Whole through the conscious transformation of received substances, and so developing objective reason, and evolving to serve higher purposes as a higher form of life" (Gurdjieff: Mysticism, Contemplation, & Exercises, p. 53). 

Building on this foundation, let us briefly summarize the Work of these last six weeks:

Law of Three: Reconciling Force

We began with exploring dimensions of the Law of Three in the context of a full three-centered embodiment and were encouraged to read and ponder once again one of what the Work calls the two universal laws applicable to ourselves, all aspects of everyday life, the workings of the entire universe and all its details. We were reminded that we all suffer from a tremendous drawback: the working of our centers is dominated by polarity, so that everything we look at, everything we think and feel and sense is usually experienced in terms of two forces and not three. For us, three forces are higher-dimensional, and Gurdjieff expressed this by saying that "Man is third force blind." Further, not only are we third-force blind, we are usually first-and-second force blind as well because we do not remember the Law of Three, nor that we are a three-story house, each story dominated by its own "brain" though each story is also to work according to the Law of Three.

We were encouraged to embark upon an experiment: that is, while we are experiencing one state, to also call into our awareness its opposite; while we are agreeing with an idea, to also experience disagreement with it. By doing so, we can come to understand the lawful, indispensable workings of resistance, the second force, the denying force. A useful Work exercise was given: when making plans for any new undertaking to "anticipate second force." That is, to consider: Where is second force – push back – likely to arise? How can I anticipate it? Thus, second force can be factored into our plans and intended creations.

From there we moved to conscious awareness of the possibility of third force which J. G. Bennett reminds us that this understanding properly belongs to World 12, in which it is possible to see things as they really are: the essence of All That Is, existence itself. There is something apart from both affirmation and denial which is a source of freedom and wholeness. 

Three-Centered Love, Communication, Conflict and Resolution, Devotion and Relatedness to Material Objects

Then, in the ensuing weeks, we turned to five practical applications of three-centered relatedness in a world under the Law of Three. Developing these skills, embodying a conscious way of relating to and in the world, is to be grounded in each of our three centers. We have many Work ideas that address and invite us to become more aware of our habits and manner of communicating, loving, speaking and listening, our affect and gesture, tone and disposition, inner states and outer expressions – recurring as they do in like circumstances and/or with familiar people – most particularly, our own family, work associates, anyone with whom we regularly relate. 

How do we cultivate conscious communication? A quote from Maurice Nicoll's Commentaries* was cited and gives practical guidance on the importance of cultivating a certain passivity or peacefulness to any event, which could be hearing someone say something to you, or while experiencing conflict or hurtful communication. That is, the orientation is toward making personality passive.

The power of these ideas is in the doing, so we were encouraged to apply them, as it relates to our own communication with others. It is worth repeating the passage from Dr. Nicoll:

*"On Additional Means of Self-Observation," May 29, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 19

So, if we ask ourselves what our life consists of, we can verify in our own experience that it consists of states rather than merely of events or encounters with other.. 

A Call to Consciousness

When we see the world/s as a sacred whole, we enter a different realm of seeing and, ultimately, a different state of being. Jeanne de Salzmann explains: "We … open the door to what is hidden in us and pass beyond. It is necessary to submit entirely to an inner voice, to a feeling of the Divine, of the sacred in us … The sacred manifests as inner consciousness. The Divine, God, must be found within. Truth, the only truth, is in consciousness.

"Everything that exists is constituted of three forces. They can be represented [allegorically] as the Father, the active force; the Son, the passive force; and the Holy Spirit, the neutralizing force. The Father creates the Son. The Son returns to the Father. The force that descends is the one that wishes to return, to go back up.

"In man it is the mind that is opposed to the body. The neutralizing force is the wish that unites them, connects them. Everything comes from the wish, the will. To represent God, it is necessary to represent these three forces. Where the three forces are reunited, God is. Where our attention is, God is. When two forces are opposed and a third unites them, God is here. We can say, 'Lord, have mercy on me.' We can ask for help, to come to this in ourselves. The only help is this. Our aim is this, to contain, to unite these three forces in us … to Be. … This evolution calls for conscious effort and for seeing. Knowledge is knowledge of the whole. … When I begin to see, I begin to love what I see (The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, pp. 8, 23, 27).

Seeing Wholeness

We will close our review with what it would be to move deeply into experiencing this luminous Presence in all echoed by David Hawkins: "All things radiate forth an intense aliveness. Each [inherently] is aware of every other. The luminous quality of the radiance is overwhelmingly Divine in nature. It completely includes everything in its total Oneness so that all things are interconnected and in communication and harmony by means of awareness and by sharing the basic quality of the essence of existence itself. … Nothing is excluded from the Allness which is all encompassing, total, complete, and lacking in nothing. All is of equal value because the only real value is the divinity of existence. [I]ts presence is the essence of existence itself. It is equally present in all objects. There is no emptiness anywhere as the Presence fills all of space and the objects in it. Every leaf knows how it is being experienced by everything else and shares in the joy of the divine Presence.

"All things are in a state of silent rejoicing that their consciousness is an experience of Divinity. Unique to all things is a still, ever-present gratitude that it has been granted the gift of experiencing the presence of God. This gratitude is the form in which worship is expressed. All that is created and has existence shares in reflecting the glory of God" (The Eye of the I: From Which Nothing is Hidden, pp. 3-4, 6).

How do we come to this seeing? Well … we’ll have to wait until our next section wherein we will step into silence, grace and energies. For now, we pause, rest, and allow what has been received so far to be further digested and integrated into Being.

*Dedication page, David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD, The Eye of the I: From Which Nothing is Hidden


  •  Choose one of the Scriptures or prayers quoted in these past six weeks, or one of the images, and engage in a Lectio Divina or Visio Divina practice in addition to your morning Centering Prayer or other silent meditation time. 
  • Ponder especially the prayer "Lord, have mercy." Try embodying this prayer and being third-force, the holy-reconciling force in your day, opening to the heights and the depths, the length and the width, enlarging your worldview with gestures of spaciousness and inclusion. 

  • Return to the third-centered "Grounding in Gratitude" practice speaking the affirmations aloud while doing the practice first introduced in March 4, 2021:

June Practice: Kneeling in Nature 

One summer long ago, a poet walked through the forest and came to the edge of a great grassy field. The poet was feeling sadness, wondering what to do in the face of disappointments. Then, the poet wrote: "I gripped the black humus soil and cupped its scent to my face. What was the scent I smelled? All time felled and made beautiful. Summer light now fading with cinnamon lights and cool lands, moist to my breath from which it comes and to which it goes."

There is much we can learn from getting in close contact with earth. This June, we are all invited to explore the practice of kneeling in nature. You might also try lying down on the earth. Feel the energy. Drop out of your head space and enter more fully into the being of your body in contact with the earth. What do you experience?


There is no Thursday class this week as we take an early summer break; rest; class will resume Thursday, June 9.

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