“The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ … of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.”
Perhaps there is no more striking and apropo statement by Steve Jobs than “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
John Amaral was born in Long Beach, California, raised by Catholic nuns, and trained in Electrical Engineering and Music. He has studied Gurdjieff with students of Mr. Nyland, Mrs. Staveley and Mrs. Popoff, and began to attend the A&E Conferences in 2003. “Perhaps the most useful aspect of the Conference for me has been that it has helped me to develop a more inclusive perspective about ways of Working. It has also opened for me new vistas of interesting inspiring contacts.”
In February 2002, Dushka Howarth brought a very special audio recording to a celebratory meeting at Lillian Firestone’s apartment on the upper West Side of Manhattan. It was a recording of the talk that her father, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, had given at Christmas time many years earlier, in a hotel suite when he was visiting New York. Hearing Gurdjieff’s own voice was mesmerizing and galvanizing.
In broken English, he gave the people assembled there a Christmas cadeau, a special holiday gift. There is a “point” in the heavens, Gurdjieff said, to which universal prayers were addressed, where the collective efforts of countless saints and sages were stored over the eons. From this special location in the heavens, a striving person could “suck, borrow, or steal” a finer substance, and with it coat one’s inner bodies through the “I Am” exercise, through selfremembering.
Where could this point in the heavens possibly be located? That is a most absorbing journey from Pythagoras himself, to Plato, thence to Cicero, and finally arriving at Macrobius, who reveals that the Gates of Heaven lie at the intersections of the path of the Planets (along the Zodiac) and the Milky Way, which was seen as the heavenly abode of souls.
Have you seen the Milky Way recently? Have you seen the Zodiacal Light along which the Planets construct the stairs to the heavenly abode (Parabola Fall 2011, p. 74), and which intersects the Via Galactica at the celestial gates?
It’s quite a thrill, which reveals Gurdjieff’s connection to Plato’s X (Chi) in the sky, and through Plato to Pythagoras himself, who paved this ancient road.
And the coins of Roman emperors bear witness to Plato’s celestial intersections over hundreds of years, from Domitian to Antoninus Pius, to Marcus Aurelius, to Licinius and Constantine, etc.
Articles I’ve written:
Parabola (Spring 2011, ‘Intentional Suffering’)
Parabola (Fall 2011, ‘Dionysos: The Mysteries Made Visible’)
The Celator numismatic magazine (June 2011: ‘Celestial Symbols on Roman Standards’),
Coin News UK (‘Plato’s X on Roman Coins,’ to be published)
Books available on Amazon.com:
The Greek Roots of Gurdjieff’s Esoteric Ideas
Visible Celestial Gates in the Pagan Skies
In chapter 45 “Electricity,” Beelzebub presents the elements of a dilemma, the answer to which is of vital interest to each of us. The circumstances surrounding chapter 45 are important to note. Beelzebub is on his way back to Karatas, having received his full pardon. We are close to the end of The Tales, with the final stop on Saturn the conclusion of his time in the solar system. The Toof-Nef-Tef, the ‘king’ of Mars, is perplexed because he is unable to understand why in his subjects there is “a proportional diminishing of the intensity of their potency for the possibility of active mentation.” His appeal to Beelzebub concerns beings of higher Reason and the fact that, in his return journey to Karatas, Beelzebub will meet such beings and that an answer to his dilemma might be forthcoming.
A number of essential questions flow from this dilemma. How does this dilemma concern each of us? What is the ultimate cause discovered by Beelzebub? What is ‘Mars’ in our individual ‘solar system’? What is ‘Saturn’ in this metaphorical image of our individual solar system? And, most importantly, what is the solution to the dilemma of the Toof-Nef-Tef and how does it apply to us?
In our exploration of this mythical representation, we will posit a way of viewing our individual ‘solar system’ and the role played by the Earth, Mars and Saturn. The dilemma of the Toof-Nef-Tef will be placed in the context of our individual lives and we will make an effort to identify the critical efforts in the pursuit of ‘higher Reason’ that can resolve what is a very personal issue for each of us.
Dr. Buzzell is a 1960 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is presently a member or the staff of Northern Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Bridgton and of clinical Medicine in Beddeford. Dr. Buzzell speaks from a broad perspective deriving from his life as a musician, musicologist, author, teacher, researcher, and physician. He is presently in Family practice in Fryeburg where he also serves as Medical Director of Hospice of Western Maine. He met Irmis Popoff (N.Y. Foundation) in 1971 and formed groups under her supervision into the 1980’s. Dr. Buzzell met Annie Lou Staveley, founder of the Two Rivers Farm in Oregon, in 1988 and maintained a Work relationship with her up to her death. He continues group Work in Bridgton, ME.
Title of Paper: Gurdjieff’s Concept of the Function of Sexuality in the Evolution of Consciousness
Gurdjieff, as far as I can tell from his writings and statements he is quoted as having made, believed that a healthy sex life is of fundamental importance for the process of spiritual evolution. He is quoted as having said, for example, that those whose sexual lives are governed by “constantly working buffers, fears and strange tastes” must eliminate them if they wish to get far in the Work. He says that the sex center plays a crucial role in creating a “general equilibrium;” is central in the formation of a “permanent center of gravity;” and that when it works properly, the sexual function represents the chief possibility of Liberation.
My paper will focus on how, according to Gurdjieff’s understanding, this process works. Because Gurdjieff often speaks of the evolution of higher consciousness in terms of the formation of “higher-being bodies,” the paper will explore how the proper functioning of the sex center relates to the formation of at least the Higher Emotional Body and so will include a discussion of such ideas as Gurdjieff’s concept of sex energy, how it relates to formation of this body via what he called “the Second Conscious Shock” and how this relates to his concepts of energy density, vivifyingness, buffers, identification and a number of other ideas that he discriminated. The paper will discuss what it means for the sex center to function properly and will argue that when it does so, it brings in impressions, or “third-being food,” that is required for crystallization of the Higher Emotional Body to occur.
My research indicates that Gurdjieff himself did not explain this process in other than symbolic terms and there is very little in the literature on it. For this reason, and because I am interested in trying to understand this process more concretely, I have attempted locate the relation of sexuality to the formation of higher being bodies within the realm of contemporary scientific investigation via the work of Wilhelm Reich, one of the few researchers who has attempted to study sex energy. At the end of the paper I will touch on this topic.
The paper is a condensation of some of the ideas that I explore in my book “Reich and Gurdjieff: Sexuality and the Evolution of Consciousness”
David Brahinsky is a professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religion at Bucks County Community College in Newtown Pennsylvania. He has been a student of the teaching of G.I. Gurdjieff and the work of Wilhelm Reich since the mid 1960’s and is the director of the Akhaldan School for Fourth Way Studies. He holds a Masters Degree from Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. from S.U.N.Y. Binghamton and has been teaching since 1969. His Masters thesis was on the Verifiability Criterion of Meaning and his Ph.D. thesis is entitled “Metaphysical Generality and The Principle of Ontological Parity: An Examination of the Metaphysics of A.N, Whitehead and Justus Buchler.” He has written a number of reviews and articles and his main published work is a book entitled “Reich and Gurdjieff: Sexuality and the Evolution of Consciousness,” published by Xlibris. He is married to Naomi, a retired social worker and professional potter and has two children, Rachel and Joshua, both of whom are soon to receive their doctorates from the State University of California.
Title of Paper: The First Page of Beelzebub’s Tales
This paper is a commentary on the first page of Beelzebub’s Tales, and it is an attempt to uncover the deeper significance of what is hidden in that page. But rather than simply elucidating the meaning the three remarkable paragraphs on this initial page, I try to take the reader though my own process of coming to a totally new understanding of what is buried between the lines, and also through my process of searching for those “entirely new principles of logical reasoning” that Gurdjieff affirms is necessary to “fathom the gist” of his writing.
The themes that are woven through this first page concern the reliability of “indubitable convictions,” the nature of belief, the law of three, and of course the sacred invocation:
“In the name of the father, and of the son, and in the name of the holy ghost, Amen.”
This latter “definite utterance” itself is an expression of Triamazikamno, which I discuss, and also has practical implications for one’s own inner Work.
There are clues that the first page sounds the note “Do” not only for Beelzebub’s Tales, but for the 2nd and 3rd series of his writings as well.
Irv Givot has been studying and practicing the teachings of Gurdjieff for over 25 years. He worked with the groups at Two Rivers Farm in Aurora, Oregon for fifteen years under the direction of A. L. Staveley, the last five years of which he was given the responsibility, along with Michael Smyth and a few others, of leading groups, presenting themes, etc. His first book, Seven Aspects of Self-Observation, was published last year. He currently works with a small group in Bend, Oregon.
Tirtle of Paper: Beelzebub’s Tales and the Work
“If you have not by nature a critical mind your staying here is useless.”
Aphorism inscribed above the walls of the Study House at the Prieuré.
The Aim of the Paper
The aim of this paper is to examine in details why Beelzebub’s Tales, a book Mr. Gurdjieff wrote for humanity, cannot find its way into humanity through what is known in the Gurdjieff Community as the Gurdjieff Work or, simply, the Work. Several are the reasons that are given in order to fulfill this aim.
Structure of the Paper
In order to establish a corresponding parallel with Beelzebub’s Tales and to follow operation of the first cosmic law, the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh , the paper is structured in the form of six descents into the Living Teaching and the so-called Gurdjieff Work. The following is an outline of the six descents:
First Descent: Where I come from.
Second Descent: The Living Teaching.
Third descent: The Help from Above:
Fourth Descent: Why the Living Teaching cannot find its way through the Work
Fifth Descent: the Work in opposition to the Living Teaching
Sixth Descent: The Future of the Living Teaching
Statement of Mission
The paper then concludes with few remarks in relation to a statement of my mission for the future of the Living Teaching and its spreading to humanity, as Mr. Gurdjieff asked us to do and that the so-called Gurdjieff groups and Gurdjieff Foundations are not doing.
Will Mesa received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Florida. He spent three years with a group led by Henri Tracol in Paris, and six years with the groups of Nathalie Etievan in Venezuela, followed by four years with the New York Chan Meditation Center. He pursues a lifelong interest in the investigation of certain aspects of the Omnipresent-Okidanokh and the practical application of the Teaching of Ashiata Shiemash. He has published thirteen papers on Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. He is the author of A Treatise on Cosmic Engineering: A Book on Initiation and Transmutation Written According to the Law, a yet unpublished book.
This paper will address three interlinked psychological strands that G. I. Gurdjieff presents in All and Everything. In the first strand of this weaving, I examine deeper psychological repercussions of the introduction into humanity of an organ represented by Kundabuffer. We need a more complete understanding of the inner psychological trauma produced by Kundabuffer. Gurdjieff presents the foundational negative behavioral changes he observes in humanity due to Kundabuffer. However, there are important psychodynamic repercussions to be explicated that can help us understand the impressions we receive in our self-study. The second strand is the unexamined relationship of the psychological trauma produced by Kundabuffer to the subsequent design of religions or “ways” to correct for unexpected negative changes following Kundabuffer’s removal. The third strand involves the inadequacy of these “ways” to foresee, understand, or compensate for the psychological, homeostatic dynamics created by Kundabuffer and the inherent difficulties of trying to correct humanity’s negative, violent emotional behavior through “ways.” We need to better understand the interactive mechanism of these three strands. A new approach to working with our negative emotions is needed and I will outline this in my presentation.
Dr. Russell Schreiber has been involved in the Gurdjieff work since 1968. He studied with Willem A. Nyland from 1968 till Mr. Nyland’s death in 1975, and was active in the Nyland group until 1980. He met Annie Lou Staveley in 1982 and was in contact with her until her death in 1996, visiting her on a regular basis. He has led and worked in
groups since the 1970s. He currently teaches and works with a group in northern California.
Dr. Schreiber is also a California Licensed Clinical Psychologist at the Lomi Psychotherapy Clinic in northern California. As a staff psychologist, he supervises and trains psychologists and psychotherapists. He works with individuals who wish to unfold their full potential and who have either current or past material that is blocking them. To do this, many different psychotherapeutic modalities are useful and must be integrated in a manner that fits the unique needs of each person. He specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and depth psychology for individuals. He combines cognitive behavioral therapy, depth psychology and exposure therapy to treat social phobias. Dr. Schreiber focuses on treating the following disorders: depression, covert depression in men, life transitions,
PTSD, bipolar disorder, dissociative disorders, social phobias and OCD. He is also certified in somatic psychotherapy. He has been involved in individual and group process to develop the deeper aspects of human potential for over 40 years and helps individuals achieve integration of mind, body, and spirit.
Degrees granted as follows: B.A. Psychology, UC Berkeley, M.A. Counseling Psychology, Professional School of Psychology, Doctorate Clinical Psychology: Meridian University.
Professional Licenses held: Clinical Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist.
Seminar 1 – BT Chapter 34
Seminar 2 – Meetings Chapter 8
Seminar 3 – BT Chapter 35