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An interaction with one of Gurdjieff's chief followers

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  • medit8ionsociety
    One day, I asked Madame de Salzmann a question that gnawed at me constantly, for it was connected to all my major decisions in life. On the surface, all seemed
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 8, 2005
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      One day, I asked Madame de Salzmann a question that gnawed at me
      constantly, for it was connected to all my major decisions in life. On
      the surface, all seemed balanced and harmonious, and I certainly had
      no right to complain. But, deep down, nothing could quench a sense of
      meaninglessness, both in my own activities and in the world around
      me—yet to solve this by breaking away or dropping out seemed arrogant
      and futile. It was a personal version of the ancient dilemma of
      determining what belongs to Caesar and what truly belongs to that
      "something else." "I have an inner search that I cherish and respect
      but also a work in life for which I am grateful and cannot despise.
      Both seem valuable, but in different ways," I said. "What can help me
      to assess how much I should legitimately give to each, so as to
      maintain a balance?" She looked at me for a moment, then answered
      quite simply, "Come back at nine o'clock tonight." When I returned, to
      my bewilderment it was not to resume our conversation but to find
      myself included with others in a session that she guided, leading step
      by step to a complete silence.

      I had expected something to be said that would clarify my question;
      only as time went by did I see how precise and practical her seemingly
      indirect answer had been. It was the answer of direct experience. It
      became clear that it is the quality of silent wakefulness, informing
      and uniting the organism from moment to moment, that gives meaning to
      each choice and to every action. On an ordinary level of awareness,
      all choices will suffer from one's lack of true vision, and as I had
      so often painfully experienced, we torture ourselves with decisions
      that in fact we are in no position to take. The purer the inner state,
      the clearer the vision. That evening she led us step by step to taste
      what that state might be and how in it contradictions can be resolved
      and priorities become real. In a cruder state, all arguments are valid
      because all choices are the same. The enigma is how to discover what
      can lead us to another, deeper, truer state. I still believed that
      somehow or other I could fabricate this state for myself, and I had to
      face the awkward truth that even this natural desire can become the
      greatest of obstacles; even the sincerest of wishes can block that
      special opening toward which all aspiration tends. Effort only has a
      place if it leads to a mystery called noneffort, and then if for a
      short instant one's perception is transformed, this is an act of
      grace. Although grace cannot be attained, it may sometimes be granted.
      One has to let go of the leaf to which one is clinging, but it takes
      no more than another leaf to blow by for one to drop again into the
      usual state of confusion.

      Copyright © 1998 Peter Brook

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