Source - from Ouspensky Book "In Search of Miraculous"
Note - Below shared article is taken from Ouspensky book
where he is narrating Gurdjieff views in his own words.
Ouspensky - On one occasion, at one of these meetings,
omeone asked about the possibility of reincarnation,
and whether it was possible to believe in cases of
communication with the dead.
"Many things are possible," said G. "But it is necessary
to understand that man's being, both in life and after
death, if it does exist after death, may be very
different in quality. The 'man-machine' with whom
everything depends upon external influences, with
whom everything happens, who is now one, the next moment
another, and the next moment a third, has no future
of any kind; he is buried and that is all. Dust returns
to dust. This applies to him.
In order to be able to speak of any kind of future life
there must be a certain crystallization, a certain fusion
of man's inner qualities, a certain independence of
external influences. If there is anything in a man
able to resist external influences, then this very
thing itself may also be able to resist the death of
the physical body. But think for yourselves what there
is to withstand physical death in a man who faints or
forgets everything when he cuts his finger? If there
is anything in a man, it may survive; if there is nothing,
then there is nothing to survive.
But even if something survives, its future can be
very varied. In certain cases of fuller crystallization
what people call 'reincarnation' may be possible after
death, and, in other cases, what people call 'existence
on the other side.' In both cases it is the continuation
of life in the 'astral body,' or with the help of the
'astral body.' You know what the expression 'astral body'
means. But the systems with which you are acquainted and
which use this expression state that all men have an
'astral body.' This is quite wrong.
What may be called the 'astral body' is obtained by
means of fusion, that is, by means of terribly hard
inner work and struggle. Man is not born with it. And
only very few men acquire an 'astral body.' If it is
formed it may continue to live after the death of the
physical body, and it may be born again in another
physical body. This is 'reincarnation.' If it is not
re-born, then, in the course of time, it also dies;
it is not immortal but it can live long after the death
of the physical body.
"Fusion, inner unity, is obtained by means of 'friction,'
by the struggle between 'yes' and 'no' in man. If a man
lives without inner struggle, if everything happens
in him without opposition, if he goes wherever he is
drawn or wherever the wind blows, he will remain such
as he is. But if a struggle begins in him, and particularly
if there is a definite line in this struggle, then,
gradually, permanent traits begin to form themselves,
he begins to 'crystallize.' But crystallization is
possible on a right foundation and it is possible
on a wrong foundation. 'Friction,' the struggle between
'yes' and 'no,' can easily take place on a wrong
foundation. For instance, a fanatical belief in some
or other idea, or the 'fear of sin,' can evoke a terribly
intense struggle between 'yes' and 'no,' and a man may
crystallize on these foundations. But this would be
a wrong, incomplete crystallization. Such a man will
not possess the possibility of further development.
In order to make further development possible he must
be melted down again, and this can be accomplished only
through terrible suffering.
"Crystallization is possible on any foundation. Take
for example a brigand, a really good, genuine brigand.
I knew such brigands in the Caucasus. He will stand
with a rifle behind a stone by the roadside for eight
hours without stirring. Could you do this? All the
time, mind you, a struggle is going on in him. He is
thirsty and hot, and flies are biting him; but he
stands still. Another is a monk; he is afraid of the
devil; all night long he beats his head on the floor
and prays. Thus crystallization is achieved. In such
ways people can generate in themselves an enormous
inner strength; they can endure torture; they can get
what they want. This means that there is now in them
something solid, something permanent. Such people can
become immortal. But what is the good of it? A man of
this kind becomes an 'immortal thing,' although a
certain amount of consciousness is sometimes preserved
in him. But even this, it must be remembered, occurs
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