by Dr. Derek Lamar
It was only a matter of time that I had to face the fact that life was more than simply my own problems. In some of the Fourth Way classes I learned that Gurdjieff discussed "three lines of work." As Thane taught it: 1. Work on oneself, 2. Work for the School, and 3. Working for children yet unborn. "The Work," means, not just labor, but the process of inner change where consciousness is altered. I had been volunteering my time for the school, and also getting some "work-off" credit toward classes, but it wasn't until this period when I began to understand it in an esoteric way.
(Right: G.I. Gurdjieff, mystic and founder of Fourth Way Teaching)
When you are busy working on yourself it is hard to suddenly become selfless and work for others without it having a direct affect on making your own desires come true for you. It turns out that doing for others does not always require that it be a chore or something uncomfortable or a suffering proposition. Sometimes you can do what needs to be done and enjoy it. The thing is everything is connected. I suddenly was doing more work at the school and I was working with other students helping them to understand the material. At the same time I became involved in the theatre group within the school and we began performing a stage show for others which forced me to interact with people with whom I never would have come into contact.
(Below: Streaking fad of the 1970's)
One of the soloists within this group had a boyfriend who was legally blind. Oh, he could see, but technically, if he had wanted to walk around with a white cane with a red end on it he could. He wasn't totally blind but he didn't always see what was going on. Remember, this period is the 70's and one of the latest fads at this time was streaking. Well Mark decided that he and two other friends would streak the local Norm's 24 hour restaurant on La Cienega Blvd. They had a plan. They would go in the front door, streak down one aisle, and then back up the other aisle and out they would go. Well they got undressed, including Mark's thick glasses and ran inside. They ran up the first aisle but two of the guys chickened out and just ran out the front door. Mark, blind as a bat, sees nothing and continues up the other aisle as planned, only alone. The customers applaud and amidst the cheers Mark realizes he is standing there by himself. He exits as planned but perhaps even more quickly. (FYI: All those involved were Fourth Way Students.)
(Below: Norm's Restaurant - 24 Hour coffee shop for the day & night customer)
When I heard this story I burst out laughing. I think it was a nervous laughter because the thought of running through a restaurant nude was never one of my secret ambitions. But being exposed like that symbolized the vulnerability one experiences when they really have to look at themselves. It is a form of psychological suicide because you have to die to who you thought you were as you are born into a new awareness of yourself. This is what doing the "Work" is really all about. It is a process of conscious suffering that has nothing to do with mindless devotion to personal pain. It is the giving up of all of the pains and anxieties that haunt a person in order to be liberated and realize who you are for the first time. The suffering which religious practice encourages is their version of enduring pain like they think Christ endured pain. But that is a warped understanding of what has become a mystery in metaphysical circles. The esoteric knowledge of suffering is merely the facing of your own pain and letting it go. Those who do not face their own pain are never able to let it go and they suffer forever. But those who are willing to face their pain can end it once and for all. That is freedom. That is liberation. That is enlightenment.
Much of the apocryphal writings by the Essenes and the Gnostics, which was unearthed at Nag Hammadi (Left: one of many books containing these discoveries), convey the mystery of "suffering." Subsequently it has been translated extensively over the years. One famous section, which was used in a rare Gurdjieff book called "The Teachers of Gurdjieff," by Rafael Lefort, gives an account of the mystery of the dance and the ritual symbolic play between Christ and his students as they engage in the learning of esoteric knowledge. This is very similar to the sacred dances that Gurdjieff taught his own students and the study involved in Fourth Way Training. It was stated: "Gurdjieff insisted on unquestioning obedience and utter discipline." This is very difficult for people today. More often than not we do not understand that to achieve freedom we must have discipline. Most people who do what they want all of the time do not do what they want and do not even know what they would do if they could. Sometimes it is what you do not do that becomes a discipline. This was much of the Gurdieff work. Sometimes just sitting still without moving becomes a meditation which forces one to come face to face with their own nervousness, their own distractions, their own discomfort with themselves. This doing of "nothing" becomes a sort of death which can bring life. (Right: Nag Hammadi parchment)
(Below: Sacred Dances performed by Gurdjieff students)
One of the dances is described in the Acts of John and the chants that accompany them go like this: "I would be saved, and I would save. I would be loosed, and I would loose. I would be wounded, and I would wound. I would be born, and I would bear." The writings give an accounting so unbelievable and so strange that only an advanced student of esoteric information and ancient mysteries might understand those words as Christ says: "John, it is needful that one should hear these things from me, for I have need of one that will hear. This cross of light is sometimes called the Word by me for your sakes, sometimes mind, sometimes Jesus, sometimes Christ, sometimes door, sometimes a way" etc. "And by these names it is called as toward men: but that which it is in truth, as conceived of in itself and as spoken of to you, it is the marking-off of all things, and the firm uplifting of things fixed out of things unstable, and the harmony of wisdom" Christ goes on to explain the concept of the "cross" and how it relates to this spiritual side to letting go and how the misunderstanding of this mystery would become a dark side to what today's religion has become. He said: "Nothing therefore, of the things which they will say of me have I suffered: no, that suffering also which I showed unto you and the rest in the dance, I will that it be called a mystery. For what you are, you see, for I showed it to you; but what I am I alone know, and no one else. Suffer me then to keep that which is mine, and that which is yours behold through me, and behold me in truth, that I am, not what I said, but what you yourselves are able to know, because you are like this." He went on to reveal that "You hear that I suffered, yet I did not suffer, that I suffered not, yet I did suffer, that I was pierced, yet I was not struck; hanged, and I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me, and it flowed not; and, in a word, what they say of me, that did not happen, but what they say did not happen, that I did suffer."
(Right: Whirling Dervish dancers honoring the teaching of 13th century Sufi Master: Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi)
This perhaps seems confusing in a world of matter and movement, of time, space and change and yet as in the understanding of Quantum Mechanics and a Holographic Universe there is a mystery which eludes us just as conversations of Einstein befuddled a world which did not understand when he said that "nothing is solid, it is all atoms and molecules" and how science began to relate to us that this world of substance, of fire and ice, was not solid matter at all but a form of electro magnetic illusion taunting us with the belief that something else altogether different was going on all around us even as we heard those words. We were to let the belief of the existence of matter die and let a new understanding of a fluid reality be born. And so we see then out of death comes life and though we might suffer, though we might find it difficult to let go of things we have believed for a long time, in the end, liberation would be the final conclusion. Out of ignorance, darkness, would come true knowledge, thus light and again, the realization or enlightenment of knowing the difference between what appearances have told us versus what we would then know.
(Above: Jesus Christ aka Yeshua as honored Ascended Master)
Saga continues: Suicide, Homicide, Genocide
© Copyright Derek Lamar 2005
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