In Search of the Miraculous – P. D. Ouspensky – Notes

Pages 1 – 15

 

 

  • ‘Beyond the film of false reality exists another reality’.

 

  • Nothing could be found in Europe – a world of obvious absurdities.

 

  • Impossible that life led nowhere.

 

  • Attraction to India and the East – but secret hidden. Looking for a School.

 

  • Existing Schools: Half religious/ devotional; Sentimental/ Moral; Schools demanding too much.

 

  • Looking for another type – rational – where one knew where one was going/ existing on an earthly plane.

 

  • Meets Gurdjieff (G). Speaks. G ‘disguised’ – ‘completely out of keeping with place and atmosphere’.

 

  • gave fuller answers than expected.

 

  • describes work as ‘psychological…and chemistry plays a large part’.

 

  • G – 2 ways of using drugs: either to strengthen the functions of certain centres with the requisite drug; or to become clever/ strong for a time. The second often led to death or madness.

 

  • G’s pupils – ‘poor intelligentia of Moscow’.

 

  • G’s pupil reads a piece. Begins with the ballet ‘The Struggle of the Magicians’. The piece is called “Glimpses of Truth’.

 

  • wants to publish it, but it is too long.

 

  • wants to tell of impressions of a young man but stops himself.

 

  • wants to work with G. but it is 1000 roubles per month.

 

  • was not to spend his own money on the work.

 

  • ‘people weak in life were weak in the work’. Need to get house in order before beginning work.

 

  • ‘People do not value it if they do not pay’.

 

  • accepts O. anyway.

 

  • wonders if he can keep a secret as he is a journalist. Like on issues of time and space. G; says he must not talk too much: some things are for disciples only. Rule: only speak of an experiment if you can do it yourself.

 

  • No conditions for work – there cannot be. At the beginning, man does not knowhimself – he is not. A man who does not know himself cannot promise or commit.

 

  • A man must knowhimself – must be.

 

  • India is not the answer – everything can be found here.

 

  • Philosophical schools – India; Theory – Egypt; Practice – Persia, Mesopotamia and Turkistan.

 

  • You do not know what I mean by Philosophy, Theory and Practice.

 

  • Where are G’s companions: some dies; some working; some went into seclusion – monasteries.

 

  • threw me words which would interest me.

 

  • What O. wrote on India, G. gave to his pupils: to see what you are and therefore what you would be able to find out. You see what you are.

 

 

 

pages 15 – 30

 

  • O asks G about the Ballet, Glimpses of Truth; he says it is an interesting and beautiful spectacle.

 

  • The Ballet offers a mechanism of the Solar System. It includes Sacred Dance of the Struggle of Magicians. White and Black magic. The same performers must do both. They therefore see both parts of themselves.

 

  • Men are machines but we can work on this with the proper mind. Mechanisation is not dangerous – being a machine can be. People are machines.

 

  • Art, poetry, thought are of the same order.

 

  • O: people are different. G: all are machines but there is the possibility of ceasing to be a machine. Machines for machines; psychology for humans. To stop being a machine, you need to know you are one. A machine that knows itself stops being one. A man is responsible; a machine is not responsible.

 

  • O: Is it worth reading occult literature? G: Yes! But, you do not understand what the word understand means. To know something well: words have an ordinary sense and a wider sense.

 

  • G: There is nothing to do: first get rid of false ideas, conceptions.

 

  • G: Man’s first illusion is that he can do; everything just happens. External influences – impressions.

 

  • Man is a machine of words, thoughts, convictions, feelings, opinions, habits. It all just happens. To establish this, get rid of 1000 illusions.

 

  • Man does not love, hate, desire – it all just happens. People think things should be done differently. But, they cannot be. Everything is being done in the only way it can be.

 

  • People need to be different. Necessary to learn another language. One must learn to speak the truth. To speak the truth, one must know the truth.

 

  • O: Facts. G: There will be facts but other things are necessary first.

 

  • G: Man – people take advantage because he considers them. If he did not, they would be different. O: Consider has many meanings. G: No! only one meaning – consider – inner slavery/ dependence.

 

  • War happens because of planetary influences. If people become close, they become tense. Same with planets – if they come close, there is tension. The moon plays a big part. Everything is generated from outside. Impossible to become free of one influence without becoming influenced by another. We must choose our influence.

 

  • The planets are living beings: the Moon is not dead but growing. Sun is divine. The earth may die having attained nothing.

 

  • There are different levels even though they look the same.

 

  • G: I do not call art what you call art. In your art everything is subjective – the spectator perceives not what the artist intends/ wished to convey, but what the forms in which he expresses his sensations will make them feel by association.

 

  • In real art, nothing is accidental. Mathematics. Calculated. Known. Artist knows what he wants to convey. Here, everyone has the same reaction. Different impressions on people of different levels = Objective Art. Everyone sufficiently prepared has the same reaction.

 

  • O: Do such people exist? G: Of course. In such a figure, one grasps thoughts, feelings.

 

  • Subjective and Objective Art.

 

  • O: Everything G said is connected.

 

  • G: The group is the beginning of everything. To escape prison one needs the help of escapees. But, first, one must realise one is in prison.

 

  • Liberation = Labour, effort, conscious effort – Towards an Aim

 

 

pp. 30 – 45.

 

  • Difficulty in making meetings – held at last minute. The chief principle was not to make things easy. Ideas valued by overcoming difficulties.

 

  • Man machine has no life after death. For there to be afterlife, there has to be crystallization – independence of external influences. Not all men have an astral body. It may be reincarnated or live on.

 

  • People heard different things or completely misunderstood.

 

  • Inner unity: obtained by the friction of Yes and No. From this, permanent traits appear. Can go wrong. Then, things have to be ‘melted down’ again. Suffering.

 

  • Sacrifice is necessary – nothing is possible without it. With crystallization, sacrifice, etc. is not necessary.

 

  • : simple, no affectation, personal interest.

 

  • acting and carpets. Carpet design as related to music.

 

  • G: life: lived in Asia Minor in remote village. Met strange people. Passed years in legends and fairy tales. Journeys to the East. Tibetan monasteries. Mount Athos.

 

  • The knowledge is not concealed but it cannot become common property.

 

  • Knowledge is material – definite quantity. Obeys the law of quantity and effect. So, high concentration gives big results. If everyone gets it, the effects are small. Most do not want it anyway. Men can turn into complete automatation – eg. Wars. Collection of some depends on the rejection of others.

 

  • Slavery of man is based on fear. All cannot become intelligent even if they wish it. Still, no one conceals anything. Knowledge comes with effort.

 

  • Independent effort does not work – man must obtain from those that possess it.

 

  • Immortality? A word we ascribe for something most do not understand – like individuality, consciousness, will. To understand man, one has to understand what he can be/ attain.

 

  • Man as four bodies: Carnal Body (‘Carriage’, Body/ Physical Body); Natural Body (‘Horse’, feelings, Actual, desires); Spiritual Body (‘Driver’, Mind, Mental Body); Divine Body (‘Master’, consciousness, Causal body).

 

  • The consciousness manifested in the fourth body has full control over the first three bodies.

 

  • Man is not born with finer bodies and need to be cultivated. Astral body is a luxury.

 

  • The physical body works with the same substances of which the higher bodies are composed. Only they are not crystalised in him/ do not belong to him.

 

  • With a man operating only at the physical level, everything emanates form here; with a higher man, things emanate from the higher body.

 

  • Automation depends on external influences only: I want, I like, etc. Thinking is mechanical – Will is absent. In the higher man, there is one ‘I’. Individuality. Will issuing from consciousness. Free Will. The second body fuses individual elements so there is no separateness. This happens through friction.

 

  • With further work, new properties are given to what is formed. The Third Body. New Knowledge and powers.

 

  • The properties of the three bodies can be fixed and made permanent. This gives the fourth body. This is the ‘true man’. He possesses immortality.

 

  • Three ways generally to gain immortality: the way of the fakir, monk and yogi – struggle of physical body (here, emotions intellect are undeveloped).

 

 

pp. 46 – 60

 

  • The fakir is the way of struggle with the physical body: Physical will – power over the body. But, the emotional and intellectual remain undeveloped. He acquires knowledge but not enough for self-perfection.

 

  • The way of the monk: faith. Religious emotions. Feelings. Developing unity. But thinking and physical body remain undeveloped. Monk has to become a fakir and a yogi – few get that far.

 

  • The way of the yogi: knowledge. Mind developed but not body or emotions. Knows everything – can do nothing.

 

  • Fakir – No teacher; Monk – duty to teach – duty to love god; yogi needs a teacher.

 

  • All renounce life to follow their path. Die to the world.

 

  • Difficult to develop; necessary against the world and against god. Opposed to everyday life.

 

  • Man does not see that development requires effort. Possibilities remain undeveloped.

 

  • Fourth Way: Acquired in everyday life. But, first, has to be found. Conditions – the man himself. Easy at the beginning. Work on three rooms at once. Principle demand is understanding. Satisfy himself of truth.

 

  • Fourth way principle – doing something in one room and the other two simultaneously. 3 directions at once.

 

  • Will in fourth way is control of body, emotions and mind. It is the ‘sly’ way.

 

  • A fourth way person knows what substances he needs for his aims. These can be acquired – suffering.

 

  • People do not see the fakir, yogi and monk are on the way to evolution whilst developed western man is not. G says it is because people believe in progress. There is none. Modern civilisation is based on slavery and fine words. People are machines. Conscious effort is needed.

 

  • No unity in man – no centre of gravity.

 

  • Organ functionality consciousness exists but is relatively harmless. But, many ‘I’s.

 

  • Everyone must see it is useless to rely on others or console oneself with others’ thoughts.

 

  • Astral Body: can be seen under certain conditions; seen by its functions.

 

  • Must concentrate on the body; error to think it is all about the mind. It is controlled by several minds with separate functions and spheres.

 

  • Added instinctive and sex centres. All centres rob the sex centre of energy.

 

  • The three centres of the lower story – sex, instinctive, and moving – work as three forces: sex centre acts as neutralising force of other two (instinctive-active, moving-passive).

 

  • Centres: positive and negative parts. Each centre divided into 3 stories.

 

  • Evolution: development of powers and possibilities.

 

  • Evolution of mankind corresponds to the evolution of planets. Planets evolve in long cycles of time. Humanity exists on earth for the purpose of earth. We do not need the evolution of the masses – but of a small part. Beyond a  point would be fatal. If men were too intelligent, they would not want to be eaten by the moon.

 

  • Evolution has to take place in the interests of the man himself and against the interests of the planetary worlds. No compulsion – nature does not need it.

 

  • Consciousness cannot evolve consciously. Instinct knowledge of machine is not enough – it must be studied and known.

 

  • Man cannot have a single ‘I’. He changes as quickly as his thoughts. Thousands of ‘I’s. The many ‘I’s are the results of external influences. People make decisions and do not carry them out.

 

  • Man searches for a Master, and sometimes he has a temporary one. But, he must realise his possibilities, and have a strong desire for liberation. A willingness to sacrifice everything. To risk everything. For the sake of this liberation.

 

pp. 77 – 89

 

  • On why the Absolute does not reach us.

 

  • To understand, we must look at the transformation of the Unity into Plurality.

 

  • The fundamental way of doing this is the Law of Three. Three principles/Three forces.

 

  • Everything – from an atom to a cosmos obeys this law.

 

  • One or two things can never produce a phenomenon – a third force is required.

 

  • Active/ Positive: Passive/ Negative and Neutralising.

 

  • They appear like this only in relation to each other.

 

  • The third force is not easily seen by human because of the limitations of their perceptions.

 

  • Example: desire/ initiative = active, inertia = passive. The third force that enters is New Knowledge.

 

  • We cannot see the world in our subjective state, so we cannot see the objective world in terms of three forces. Things do not happen when the third force is lacking. *

 

  • The three forces are active in the Absolute, but as one whole: full and independent, full consciousness, full understanding.

 

  • The three create a series of worlds containing them to varying degrees. In each world, the three forces act. But, they are not now one will but three wills. Each of the forces contain within it the three forces.

 

  • In second order worlds, there is not one will but three wills. The absolute creates the second order wills but does not govern their creativity.

 

  • The forces of the second order create the worlds of the third order. Three forces – three world order. There are then six forces in the third world order which create the sixth world order. And, so on….

 

  • As the number of worlds increase, they are further away from the Absolute.

 

  • These worlds are reflected in the levels of universal being: ! – Absolute; 3 – All worlds; 6 – all suns; 12 – the Sun; 24 – All planets; 48 – earth; 96 – moon.

 

  • The number of forces in each world are the number of laws to which it is subject.

 

  • Each of these worlds feeds the lower world. So, the earth feeds the moon to become a planet; the sun feeds the earth to become a sun, etc.

 

  • In the Absolute, there is only one force/ law, will. On the moon there are 96 orders of law.

 

  • As orders of law increase, the Absolute has less and less opportunity to manifest itself. In world 3, a general plan is created for all the other worlds. As worlds increase, so does mechanicalness. The Absolute cannot manifest itself except according to this plan.

 

  • On the earth we are far from the Absolute – very mechanical – and subject to 48 orders of laws. If we could liberate ourselves from half of these laws, we would be in world 24 – Planetary. If we liberated ourselves from half of these laws, we would be in world 12 – starry.

 

  • **So, there is the possibility for man to free himself in stages from the mechanicalness.

 

  • One can only study the world 48 laws by studying them in oneself.

 

  • In our system, the end of the ray of creation – the growing part – is the moon. The energy for new growth and developments goes from the Earth to the Moon, where they are created in joint action with the Sun.

 

  • There is a giant accumulator of energy in the centre of the Earth. It is all organic life on earth which feeds the moon. The moon is a huge living being feeding upon the lives which grow on the Earth. The moon is also a huge electromagnet.

 

  • The growth of energy on the moon is thus connected to the lives and death of things on earth.

 

  • Souls that go to the moon with a certain consciousness, are put under 96 laws – mineral life: transformation then proceeds according to evolution.

 

  • The moon is at the extremity – the ‘Outer Darkness’.

 

  • Man cannot tear himself free from the moon – all his life and action are controlled by the moon.

 

  • **The liberation that comes from the growth of mental powers and faculties of liberation is liberation from the moon.

 

  • The mechanical part of our lives comes from the control of the moon

 

  • The next important point to understand is the materiality of the universe, which is taken from the ray of creation.

 

  • Everything can be weighed and measured – even the Absolute and God.

 

  • But, everything is relative: just as there is man number 1,2,3, etc. there are seven ‘planes of materiality – created by the ray of creation.

 

  • One needs to appreciate the difference between material and energy. The world exists in a state of vibrations and matter – or of matter in a state of vibration, of vibrating matter.

 

  • In the Absolute, vibrations are the most rapid and matter least dense. In the next world, vibrations are slower and matter denser – and so on.

 

  • The worlds consist of atoms according to their density: world 1 is one atom; world 3 is 3 atoms; world 6 is six atoms, etc.

 

  • So, seven worlds, seven orders of materiality. Each level, the materiality is different.

 

  • We tend to see materiality in terms of worlds 48 and 96 – even in world 24, the matter is too rarefied to be regarded as matter from a scientific point of view.

 

  • All these planes are not separate but intermixed. Matter is comprehensible, therefore, in terms of several states: density, solid, liquid, gaseous, radiant energy, light, magnetism.

 

  • Everything in the universe is permeated by all the matters of the universe.

 

  • Man is, in the full sense of the word, a ‘miniature universe – all the matters of the universe exist in him. But this is only really so if it is a ‘complete’ or ‘evolved’ man; otherwise, an incomplete man is an incomplete / unfinished world.

 

  • Therefore, the study of oneself must go with the study of the fundamental laws of the universe. They are the same everywhere. The study of laws and planes is the study of relativity.

 

  • Relativity is important: the place of everything in the cosmic order.

 

  • We are on the earth and depend on the laws of the earth: everything that comes by itself or is obtained easily in another place, is on earth only acquired through hard labour. It must be fought for.

 

  • Some get a legacy but not those in the work – we are all equal here – beggars!

 

 

pp. 89 – 104

 

  • Ordinary science does not know how to study matter taking into account cosmic properties;

 

  • Cosmic properties of each substance depend on its place and the force acting on it – at any given moment;

 

  • Any substance can act as any one of the three forces – active, passive, reconciling/ neutralising;

 

  • Every substance has a separate function;

 

  • The four aspects or states of every substance: Carbon (Active), Oxygen (Passive), Nitrogen (neutralising). No force = Hydrogen.

 

  • The forces are 1,2 3 and the substances are C, O, N, H.

 

  • They correspond to the alchemical elements: Fire, Air, Water, Earth. Also connected to Tarot – three into four. * Force and Matter. 3 is force and 4 is matter.

 

  • G promised to explain the names but never did.

 

  • One in the audience asked, ‘is man immortal?’ G: That depends – something of consciousness remains after death for a short while. That while depends on whether man has become real: what level he has reached: Carnal, Natural, Spiritual and Divine. But, even God is not immortal.

 

  • G spoke again about the analogy of man and carriage: horse (emotions), driver (mind), carriage (body) – and the Master of the Carriage. This time emphasising the connections between them: shafts, reins, and voice. The driver must hear the Master’s voice; must know how to drive the horse, the horse to obey the reins. Horse must be harnessed. Man must work on body and connections.

 

  • Work begins with the driver – mind. He must be awake. Driver must learn language of the mind. But, must also be able to look after the horse. Mind must learn to control the emotions. The emotions must learn to pull the body. Driver’s understanding unites him to the Master – must learn to act accordingly with the reins/ horse.

 

  • Things can be in order with a man with one body and still happen by accident – ie. Not organisation. A man with two bodies – physical and astral – is able to control the first by the second.

 

  • A man with a third body – the mental body/ consciousness – has power over both.

 

  • When there is a fourth body – it has control over the other three. I take it this system applies through the other ‘man’ levels: 5 – 7. Each is a different situation. The highest level body lives the longest – is ‘immortal’ at this particular level. The fourth body is 6 laws – all suns; 3rdbody – sun (12 laws); 2ndbody – all planets (24 laws); 1stbody – earth (48 laws). This means that a man possessing a fourth body is immortal within the limits of the solar system.

 

  • The moon is like a weight on a clock. It is the gravity of the weight which turns the hands of the clock. The moon is a colossal weight from which the organic life on earth hangs. The motion. Whatever we do depends on this motion. O interested in place: size and velocity determine place, and place determines size and velocity.

 

  • Universal language: depends on knowledge of language and being. 3 universal languages: 1. Can be spoken and written within limits of own language (people understand each other in it); 2. Can be spoken and written and the same for all – figures and mathematics – they speak in their own language and understand each other in ordinary language but not in the universal language; 3. same for all – written and spoken – difference disappears here.

 

  • Is this the same as the Pentecost? G explains the meaning of Last Supper. Ordinary meaning has been subverted by retelling. What actually happened is that Jesus shared his actual body and blood the way people do when they become ‘blood brothers’. In this way, something of the astral body is passed on and lives through generations. So, communication happens at a distance. So, the Last Supper was a magical ceremony.

 

  • Aim: it is important to have a good aim. Define your own aim. Man can only begin ‘to do’ when he has defined his aim. O: my aim was to know the future. Other aims: to know about life after death; to understand the teachings of Christ; to help people; to stop war. The only aim that G liked was to ‘be one’s own master’. To know the future all you have to do is know the past and present. What happens to us can depend on accident, fate, or will. Most of what happens is pure accident. We do not have fate or will. Fate actually corresponds to type. You cannot foretell the future of machines. Only real men can know their future through conscious work. To know the future you must first know yourself. To know the moments and act according to the knowledge.

 

  • Question about ‘how not to die’. For this, it is necessary ‘to be’: something that is independent of external influences. This can live by itself – see above. A permanent ‘I’ can survive death. A man who becomes Master of his life becomes Master of his death.

 

  • Question: how to become a Christian? To live according to Christ’s precepts. How to love enemies when we cannot even love our friends? To be a Christian is ‘to be’ – again, to be Master of oneself.

 

  • What is the relation of Christianity to G’s work? It is ‘esoteric Christianity’. Of all desires, the one most right is the desire to ‘master’ oneself. So, to help others one must first help oneself. If man looks at himself as he really is, he will be ashamed, he will not think of helping others.

 

  • To do what is difficult, one must first do what is easy.

 

  • Question: how to stop wars? Impossible. War is the result of slavery in which men live. If men were ‘real men’ and capable of ‘doing’, they would not relish killing each other. They would resist the influences. People have tried to stop war from the beginning of the world, and yet they increase. They cannot be stopped by ordinary means. Men do not want to think about themselves – about changing themselves – they want to change others. Men are what they are and cannot be different. Only if men become free can they be free of influences on them.

 

  • Freedom/ liberation must be the aim of men. Liberated from slavery. Man cannot free himself from outer slavery without first freeing himself of inner slavery. So, in order to become free, man must gain inner freedom.

 

  • The first reason of inner slavery is ignorance: above all of himself. Without understanding the functions of his machine, he cannot be free. Cannot govern himself. This is why all ancient teaching begin with liberation as ‘Know thyself’.