Friday, June 21, 2024
Methods of Work
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The main goals of the International Gurdjieff Club are:

  • The preservation and the development of Gurdjieff's teaching,
  • The support of the Gurdjieff Work in various cities of Russia and Ukraine,
  • Projects of joint work with leaders of Gurdjieff groups in Europe, USA and Canada,
  • Organization of conferences, seminars and workshops,
  • Inviting prominent instructors from abroad and
  • Participation in the international conference "All and Everything" and other international meetings and conferences.

Read more: Methods of Work

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I propose to talk this morning about conscious labor and intentional suffering – being-Partkdolg-duty. The phrase, in either form, recurs throughout Beelzebub’s Tales, and it is a key concept in Gurdjieff’s presentation. But I believe it has to be much more than an idea for us. Gurdjieff, through his alter-ego Beelzebub, makes two things crystal clear.

  • The first is that being-Partkdolg-duty is an obligation for all three-brained beings and
  • Second, that our planet is in dire straits precisely because we are not actualizing it.

If that is the case, and if we take Beelzebub at all seriously, we need to understand what is meant by conscious labor and intentional suffering in theory, and how we are to actualize it in practice.

Read more: Conscious Labor and Intentional Suffering – Being-Partkdolg-Duty

The Future of the Work
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After a six-week Intensive in the Gurdieff/JG Bennett Work and a period of reflection, I see that this Work has a further and necessary step to take in order to remain valuable and to fulfill its purpose in the world. The Work, as with every teaching where the initial teacher has died, must keep evolving (as did Gurdjieff himself) in order to remain responsive to the changing needs of the world.

This utility is the key to the parable of the ‘Sower and the Seed’. Man has a necessary role to play, that both of sower and ground, stony or otherwise. The ability and necessity to read what is called for in the moment, to know what form of growth is required is the part and parcel with the parable. Good farmers maintain the land. We have all seen what happens when people either become fixated on the past, when Gurdjieff was alive and perpetuate the form without the shock of change that Gurdjieff was constantly introducing.

Conversely, some pursue, without knowledge of what is required in the moment, whatever appears new and glittery or just adulation of the latest guru come to town. We all recognize why these forms are repeated; they provide energy and the illusion of progress, when, in truth, such behavior does nothing to serve the future. There is a need to reflect seriously on the intent of the Work, what it is for, not just in light of our personal desires for a “Kesdjan” body but what those in the Work should instinctively need to do for the planetary good.

Read more: The Future of the Work

A Western Way
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While the ways of the East are not closed to Westerners, and the ways of the West are not closed to Easterners, there is much more difficulty than may be commonly realized in adopting another way.

As has been pointed out, for example, a Westerner studying an Eastern teaching like Buddhism often comes across the idea of "nothingness" as a desired state. This, of course, is ridiculous East and West. This word, so dutifully translated, really means "no-thing-ness". More properly translated with a Western term such as "unity".

Also, the idea in the East of, as it is translated "detachment", is better approached fresh, and is the fourth way's action of "separation", or "non-identification".

Read more: A Western Way

  How I began "the Work"  

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The conditions of life in which a man is placed at the beginning of his work, in which, so to speak, the work finds him, are the best possible for him, at any rate at the beginning of the work. These conditions are natural for him. These conditions are the man himself, because a man's life and its conditions correspond to what he is.

Any conditions different from those created by life would be artificial for a man and in such artificial conditions the work would not be able to touch every side of his being at once.
– P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, p. 55

For more about my understanding as well as links to more conventional definitions of what is "the work" see here.

For me, what brought me to the work was an experience I had when I was 20 years old. I had lost my draft deferment, and was in the process of trying to obtain a Conscientious Objector deferment (CO). At the time, I really did not expect to get this deferment, but it was my last hope, other than moving to Canada, as I was not going to be drafted. I've always been non-violent, and strongly opposed to killing and war.

It was the Saturday night before the Monday morning which I was scheduled to appear before my local draft board in Concord, NH. A friend from high school had come up earlier in the day from Boston to lend moral support.

Read more: How I began "the Work"

Fourth Way

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