I started analyzing today why I feel the work of Gurdjieff has made such an important foundation for my own work, but before I do, I must admit that it has taken me a lifetime of reading and studying this stuff before I could – I hope – put words to the concept that are worthy of the concept.

(1) The starting point is the self. The principle of Gurdjieff’s method is self-study. It begins with self-awareness, extends to self-observation, and leads to self-remembering. I need to remember myself, and then a little while passes and I realize I have forgotten my self, so I must begin again, to collect myself, and then hold on for as long as I can the state of self-remembering. Something happens in my human organism when I practice this. My attention strengthens, and my process is no longer mechanical and automatic, but deliberate. My focus sharpens. My mind holds greater clarity. I remember that “I AM,” and I begin to gain a state of mind where I am conscious of myself and my location.

(2) Gurdjieff places the study of humanity within the Cosmology of the Great Cosmos. It is not man who is the central figure of creation, but man is an important creation within the Triad of Sun, Moon, and Earth. Gurdjieff gives knowledge for me to puzzle out to understand my position as a person who walks upright between Earth and Sky. The beautiful poem, Desiderata, states that we are no less than the trees and the stars. Within Gurdjieff’s cosmology, I understand that I am an integral part of all that is, even as you are, the plants and animals are, the rocks, mountain, rivers, oceans, and so much much more. I have a place, which is both humbling and empowering.

(3) Gurdjieff does not claim that all people automatically have a soul. In fact, his system is intended to guide people to grow one. Gurdjieff teaches that the lower centers often function incorrectly, and that this “wrong work” of our centers prevents the clarity of our higher emotional and higher intellectual center from reaching our waking awareness. Thus people may have occasional bouts of mystical experience, but until one’s “channels” are clear, one cannot be in continuous communication with one’s higher centers. This is what the “work” is designed for, to help us to clear our lower centers through right work to correct the mechanicalness of our human “machine.” Much of the “wrong work” of the human machine in Gurdjieff’s terms is spent on negative emotions; by not giving energy to those negative emotions, a person can instead utilize that energy into growing the astral and mental bodies that will sustain the spirit-soul complex after the death of the physical body.

What I see in common with G’s metaphilosophy and the work with the Runes and their Master, is the (1) starting point is the self; (2) the worlds are placed within the Cosmology of Yggdrasil; (3) Odin directs us to the Rune path, which helps us to grow a soul.

The foundation I have built in my life from the Gurdjieff work is a foundation I can now apply to my work with the Runes and the Norse Pantheon. Both paths have a teaching of the Triad and the Octave. While the terms Gurdjieff gave to things are not necessarily the same terms that the Norse give to things, we can see traces of the laws within what has come down to us through the Norse mythology in the AEtts of the Rune Rows and the Triads of the Gods. For example, in his book Uthark, Thomas Karlsson notes three Triads of three Gods as holding the powers of Creation (Odin, Vili, Ve), Destruction (Hela, Fenris, Jormundgand), and Being (Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld). These correspond directly to Gurdjieff’s Affirming, Denying, and Reconciling Forces.

While I do NOT claim Gurdjieff’s work is the same as the legacy of the Norse pantheon, I have found an interesting connection between Gurdjieff’s Sarmoung Brotherhood and the location of the eastward migrating Vikings between the Black and Caspian Seas in the 7th century. Therefore, it is possible that Rune masters or Wise Ones among the Vikings met the similar teachings as Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff brought the symbol of the Enneagram to the West, and the Vikings brought back the Valknut. Both are nine-sided figures and both illustrate the nine-fold law. I spent a lot of time exploring this, and intend to post more upon it as this blog evolves. I was able to match up the meaningfulness of the Rune flow to the flow of the Enneagram, and both fit. Again, I intend to publish my findings here as this blog evolves.


4 responses to “The Importance of Gurdjieff”

  1. […] that the more personal force I can bring to self-remembering (see my previous blog on Gurdjieff here), the less “identified” I am, it is still restful to have a break from always needing […]

  2. How would you define or describe self-remembering?

    1. There are many ways to describe self-remembering, but I like the way Ann Kelly described it to me the best. “Center yourself, draw your energy into yourself, ground yourself and hold that state.” It’s the feeling you get when you take a moment to focus and say to yourself, “I AM.” It’s a state of attention to the self in a moment of Presence.

    2. Our memories are always recording our experiences via sensations and perceptions, right? This is simply a matter of bringing attention to it, remembering to be present to yourself, paying attention and not identifying with thoughts or feelings, but just observing and witnessing where you are. Does this help?

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