• December 3, 2022

    Culture is trash, said a group member. True if you think of some of our current music and entertainment…lighting up genitalia, twerking and the like. But culture also encompasses our greatest achievements as humans, reflecting the highest use of sensitive energy to create the beautiful.

    Consider reading Doris Lessing’s Marriage of Zones Three Four and Five. Zone Four is a culture based on rules and thinking. It is known for its rigidity and lack of imagination. Its inhabitants do not look up to the mountains. They follow dictates. Their highest form of organization is the military.

    Zone Three is the creative use of sensation. Zone Three does not ultimately lead to the fully conscious experience of the mysterious Zone Two but its life is elevated by subtlety and communication.

    The difference between Zones Three and Four is visible in something as simple as serving a cup of tea. In Zone Four, the cup is plunked down while the mind goes on to the next thought, the next task. In Zone Three, The gesture is completed by taking into account the server, the served and the tea and the placement is an exchange between their gestures and postures.

    One artist can be interested in learning technique while another wants to explore the sense experience of the materials, the light in the studio, the placement of the easel.

    Fourth way work tends to be too much Zone Four. Most of the questions I get are literally senseless.

    Voluntary sensing is Gurdjieff’s World 24. Still impermanent, but it touches on World 12 where feeling enters from the miraculous realm of the infinite. Better to cultivate sensing than thinking. Use attention. Let mentation follow along the rails of sight and sound. This way lies consciousness and World 12.

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  • March 15, 2017

    Observing myself, I find that I generally operate in two different ways. One way is automatic. I move and breathe and even speak and act without noticing what is occurring. The other way is sensitive. I am aware of my movements, my speech, my surroundings. I am aware of my sensations.

    The difference in these states is reflected in the operation of attention. When I am operating on automatic, attention is unanchored; it is attracted by bright, shiny things in the environment, interruptions, associative thinking, fantasy and day dreams. In short, it is not usefully engaged because it has no ongoing content to attend to. Mr. G called this world 48.

    When I am in a sensitive state, attention is somewhat anchored in sensations and I am aware of myself and my surroundings. This is world 24. Sensitive energy is at work, enabling engagement in my life. Attention on sensation allows me to enter the present. Attention on sensation also makes possible a transformation in which the higher (attention) mixes with the lower (sensitivity) to create the middle (consciousness). As I become conscious, I am able to think, sense and feel in a coherent way. This is world 12.

    Each of these worlds has a different ‘I’. At the automatic level, I means a series of fragmented identities that consist of bits and pieces of conditioning, habit, associative thinking and self-imagery. As I do one thing, I am thinking of another. At the sensitive level, I is centered in the head brain but it is able to notice and question its behaviour. Nonetheless, I remains divided; body and mind do not easily function together and the heart is not receptive to feeling. At the conscious level, I is no longer centered in the head brain but rather is able to occupy body, mind and heart in a coherent manner.

    In the sensitive state, I is full of intentions. In the conscious state, I has the power to be appropriately responsive to needs as they arise because all of its capacities are working; intentions become intent.

    Now, all of this may just be useless conceptual blather to you. Or it could be useful if it helps you to distinguish for yourself the different states you inhabit. You experience all three, of course some more than others.

    The key is sensitive energy which is the bridge to consciousness. Oppose automatic habits and you will experience more sensitive energy. This is the ‘inner friction’ that the work talks about. Do not suppress conflict but also do not indulge in expressing it, which is likely just discharge. Do not suppress your emotions; allow yourself to experience them for the sensations they generate but, again, learn to refrain from unnecessary discharge in which the energy is lost. Do this not to become a ‘better’ person but simply to become more available to the spontaneous arising of consciousness.

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