1. Joined
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    24 Jan '06 03:02
    http://www.gurdjieff.org/

    Gurdjieff, not widely known in his day, was one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. He was one of the first to render esoteric teachings in a practical light for Westerners. He called his teachings, "esoteric Christianity".

    He travelled far and wide from around 1890 to 1910, visiting Tibet, Egypt, Siberia, and central Asia. He was the consummate seeker. As such, he is a great example for modern day "armchair seekers" who seem to be content with Google and Boogle for their sources...
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    24 Jan '06 03:22
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    http://www.gurdjieff.org/

    Gurdjieff, not widely known in his day, was one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. He was one of the first to render esoteric teachings in a practical light for Westerners. He called his teachings, "esoteric Christianity".

    He travelled far and wide from around 1890 to 1910, visiting Tibet, Egypt, Siberia ...[text shortened]... rn day "armchair seekers" who seem to be content with Google and Boogle for their sources...
    Welcome back! Don't know a lot about Gurdjieff; did he not purportedly learn a lot from the Sufis?
  3. Standard memberNemesio
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    24 Jan '06 06:24
    Welcome back, Metamorphosis.
  4. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Jan '06 12:16
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    Gurdjieff, not widely known in his day, was one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. He was one of the first to render esoteric teachings in a practical light for Westerners. He called his teachings, "esoteric Christianity".
    As a lazy armchair Googler, I don't know too much about Gurdjieff (reading now) but "esoteric Christianity" sets several bells a-ringing, one labelled "Gnosticism". Any connection?
  5. Joined
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    24 Jan '06 20:451 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Welcome back! Don't know a lot about Gurdjieff; did he not purportedly learn a lot from the Sufis?
    Shalom, Stephen and Nemesio...unfortunately a full plate these days precludes my being "back" in any real way. But yes, Gurdjieff was likely influenced by the Naqshbandi Sufi order, if John Bennett is to be believed ( he being a student of G. who traveled throughout central Asia researching G's "sources" ).

    As a lazy armchair Googler, I don't know too much about Gurdjieff (reading now) but "esoteric Christianity" sets several bells a-ringing, one labelled "Gnosticism". Any connection?

    There likely is. There were a few key people and factors in the early 20th century who/that led to the introduction of certain ideas which suggested a particular "system" in which it was possible to undertake a training leading to an awareness of deeper realities.

    Gurdjieff's sources were mysterious and he never talked about them in detail, which led some to dismiss him as merely a fertile mind, or worse, a huckster. However anyone reading Ouspensky's magnum opus, "In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching", which chronicles his years with Gurdjieff, would soon realize that these ideas are beyond what a "huckster" would find time to cook up. Ouspensky himself was a formidable intellect, having authored several books on philosophy, and was no mental pushover. He devoted the rest of his life to systematizing G's ideas.

    Like many "crazy wisdom masters" G. was given to unpredictable behavior, and he certainly didn't fit the stereotype of the chaste and pure Oriental guru. He smoked, drank, ate meat (and was a superb cook), had mistresses, could be volatile and autocratic, and was at times given to suddenly dropping spiritual discourse to engage in the telling of crass jokes. In short, he was fully human, and made no pretentions otherwise. (Being half Greek, half Armenian didn't exactly hinder that).

    But he was also something more, as is clear from the reports of those close to him, and from his writings and ideas. His search for truth was exhaustive and took him to remote regions on the planet that in his time (late 19th, early 20th century) was difficult to do without exceptional resolve.

    By "esoteric Christianity", he claimed to have uncovered the "secret teachings" behind Christ's work, and in there, there was a connection to the Eastern Orthodox traditions and the old desert fathers, but also to the Sufis and in particular, to ancient Egypt. The key distinguishing idea in all that was that humans are not automatically "given" a soul, or higher spiritual bodies, they rather have to earn them. And they can only earn them via conscious efforts and appropriate sacrifice.

    The idea there is that we can't begin to wake up to our deeper spiritual essence if we're not first willing to give up what doesn't help us in that regard -- we have to literally "sacrifice" the useless attachments and obstacles in our life, the small things that keep us in a spiritually contracted state.

    Along with that, it's necessary to cultivate a certain inner friction between "yes" and "no", that is, a willingness to move against the grain, so to speak, of our personal habits that contribute toward keeping us spiritually asleep.

    Gurdjieff's great starting point is the idea that human beings are essentially machines, sound asleep, and existing in a fragmented state of multiple "I"s (sub-personalities). This is why everyone is so inconsistent in life -- today I like green, tomorrow it will be yellow, yesterday I liked red, perhaps Saturday it will be purple. So the "Work" (as G. called it) entails developing a rigorous internal honesty in which we begin to self-observe and note our sheer inconsistency with mostly everything.

    Of course, this is a difficult task, the business of self-observation, and most people are not interested. We are conditioned to look outside of ourselves for fulfillment, and this is part of the collective trance condition that humanity has existed in for a long time.
  6. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    25 Jan '06 17:07
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    By "esoteric Christianity", he claimed to have uncovered the "secret teachings" behind Christ's work, and in there, there was a connection to the Eastern Orthodox traditions and the old desert fathers, but also to the Sufis and in particular, to ancient Egypt. The key distinguishing idea in all that was that humans are not automatically "given" a soul ...[text shortened]... earn them. And they can only earn them via conscious efforts and appropriate sacrifice.
    Did Gurdjieff leave any practical techniques, or is he to be classified under inspirational reading?
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    25 Jan '06 23:411 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Did Gurdjieff leave any practical techniques, or is he to be classified under inspirational reading?
    His work was almost entirely practical. There was some "out there" cosmology, but this was usually considered secondary to the practical component.

    Chief tool he used was self-observation, or self-remembering as it is sometimes called.

    The idea there is that most people go through their lives in a kind of trance or "waking sleep" state. There is little or no sense of presence...rather, things simply "happen", in a continuous barrage of external circumstances.

    You've heard the expression "there's no one home", the antidote expression being, "show up!"

    When we "show up", then we're present to some degree. When we're operating on autopilot, via mechanical reactiveness, then effectively we amount to little more than a machine that is governed solely by cause and effect.

    G. taught that to live a life that is entirely at the effect of external forces is to inevitably "die like a dog". It was his expression for living a life without a center of gravity, and without the capability of truly doing anything substantial.

    He further taught that a person is only really capable of love, in the true sense of that word, if they are capable of being present, and thinking and acting independent of external forces. Prior to attaining such a basic level of awakeness, what passes for "love" is more usually sentimentilism or attachment, which all too easily can turn to hate when the object of our attachments does not properly reciprocate our "love".

    So unconditional love cannot be known if we first do not learn to be truly present, and this is accomplished via cultivating self-remembering and the ability to impartially observe one's own mind.
  8. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    26 Jan '06 21:421 edit
    Splash
  9. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    27 Jan '06 09:17
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    So unconditional love cannot be known if we first do not learn to be truly present, and this is accomplished via cultivating self-remembering and the ability to impartially observe one's own mind.
    What was Gurdjieff's take on Jesus? My guess being that G. would have seen J. as someone who had attained "the supreme personality of godhead" (to appropriate a catch-phrase from His Divine Grace A.G. Bakhtivedanta Swami Prabhupada) rather than the literal SoG.
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    28 Jan '06 01:36
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    What was Gurdjieff's take on Jesus? My guess being that G. would have seen J. as someone who had attained "the supreme personality of godhead" (to appropriate a catch-phrase from His Divine Grace A.G. Bakhtivedanta Swami Prabhupada) rather than the literal SoG.
    Bosse, this article here addresses the issue of G's view on Christ...

    http://www.gurdjieff-legacy.org/40articles/christianity.htm
  11. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    30 Jan '06 08:241 edit
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    Bosse, this article here addresses the issue of G's view on Christ...

    http://www.gurdjieff-legacy.org/40articles/christianity.htm
    I'm glad I asked that question.

    I suspect Gurdjieff had Bogomil blood (at least, they also used the Lord's Prayer as a mantra) ...Apart from a few esoteric terms I don't pretend to understand, this article is clear and stimulating. Let me set about earning my soul...
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