Gurdjieff International Review

Facing Mr. Gurdjieff

By Michel Conge

“MR. Gurdjieff”: The sadness one sometimes glimpsed in his eyes was that of all teachers faced with the impossibility of transmitting the truth. At the Prieuré, he seemed like an oriental prince; he was the intractable master. Later, toward the end of his life, years after his accident and the closing of the Prieuré, having finished his work as a writer, he placed himself completely at the service of his pupils and appeared even greater in stature, immense in his simplicity and renunciation. Dependent on all, he served each of them; this was freedom.

Gurdjieff made it clear that there existed a source teaching at the root of what he transmitted: a knowledge having the status of an objective science. He is thus like a bridge thrown down between ourselves and the world of objective reality, and this compels us to realize something essential: that, being the bridge, he thereby escaped being taken by us as the goal. It would be wrong of us, therefore, to betray him by making a god out of him. We must not make his teaching into a new religion. To me he appears all the greater for having known how to remain the one who prepares the way, indifferent to praise and blame alike.

Gurdjieff insisted on the fact that man forgets himself by forgetting the seed that is within him, by turning his back on reality, which is the One. In so doing he increases his suffering, worsens the state he is in, hastens his own downfall and that of his fellow men and adds to the suffering of the Creator, for, in some way, the Creator is he himself.

The only direction is: to connect. Our role, the role of man, is to understand the laws that govern the universe in order not to transgress them and to allow, if not to assist in, the process of transmutation. Shun all that dissipates, go toward what unites; flee from what dilutes, seek what concentrates; shun what degrades energy. Every being, at its own level, should “incarnate” the bridge between what is above and what is beneath itself. Man should find these three levels within himself. “Mr. Gurdjieff” came to bear witness, to remind, to make known, to prepare, to connect, to enable the link to be made.

A teaching is a two-way channel linking Heaven and earth, the invisible and the visible; the “visible” being everything in the universe revealed to us by our sense organs, and the “invisible” being what other, more discerning, organs of perception enable us to perceive beyond the surface, which until then seemed to be the sole reality. To say that a teaching belongs to the monastic way or to the “fourth way” means nothing more than to indicate the form, the particular section, the access point to the channel. Through the channel an influence can penetrate and be conveyed further. The channel itself is of course made up of forms, but even more so of individuals. Forms or conditions or exercises, people of different levels of being forming an unbroken succession—and it is precisely because it is a channel that there must be no interruption. It could also be said that these individuals act as a junction or a link, that they are like neurons joined one to the next to form a circuit, along which a current can pass…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]
Copyright © 2003 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Fall 2003 Issue, Vol. VII (1)
Revision: November 1, 2003