S5/E04: Right Questions Deserve Right Answers

Published May 12th, 2022

S5/E04: Right Questions Deserve Right Answers

Right Questions Deserve Right Answers

In this podcast Russell will share with you questions that every student should ask, and answers that every student should know, about Kundabuffer, about what is self-remembering, about what is the second conscious shock, about what Gurdjieff meant when he talked about 3 types of men, and about how our centers can possibly communicate, because right questions deserve right answers. In addition, I will also share with you phone calls between Russell and three of his students, concerning unexpected talks with their Master, how to properly perform the Not Say the Word ‘I’ Exercise, and the Slow-Eating Exercise, as well as, how to get out of one’s own way, so that one can better savor the taste of freedom.

Welcome to a series of talks about objective consciousness, an objective Universe, and an objective way to awaken, expanding upon the works of George I. Gurdjieff and Russell A. Smith.

In today’s podcast, I will share with you questions that every student should ask, and answers that every student should know, about Kundabuffer, about what is self-remembering, about what is the second conscious shock, about what Gurdjieff meant when he talked about 3 types of men, and about how our centers can possibly communicate, because right questions deserve right answers. In addition, I will also share with you phone calls between Russell and three of his students, concerning unexpected talks with their Master, how to properly perform the Not Say the Word ‘I’ Exercise, and the Slow-Eating Exercise, as well as, how to get out of one's own way, so that one can better savor the taste of freedom.


Let’s begin:


Student:  What is Kundabuffer?

Russell:  Gurdjieff said that Kundabuffer was an imaginary organ that was placed at the bottom of our spine that prevented us from seeing reality. 

Most likely, it was Gurdjieff’s way of signifying that Nature pushes things down to the bottom. 

In Gurdjieff’s work, we are automatons; and as such, we live in our mechanical parts; the place to where Nature pushes things down. However, as we are also men of reason, we must intentionally try to push things back up.


Student:  Could you expand on why nature wants to push things down? That is, why is it her desire to make things mechanical - is it to save energy? 

Russell:  That is a great question. The answer to which is quite simple. Nature wants to shove things down, because by shoving them down, they have a better chance of surviving. That is, if a horse is born and does not get up onto its feet almost instantly, it will most likely die. The quicker nature can make life mechanical, the better chance it has to survive, which in lower life forms, usually happens very rapidly. Whereas, in more complex life forms, it takes guidance and protection. The quicker you can tie your shoe, the quicker you are able to escape. 

All things start in the intellectual part of centers and then get passed down to the emotional parts, and finally, to the mechanical parts, which nature attempts to do very quickly, because if you have to think about it, you’re probably dead.


Student:  What is self-remembering? That is, from the point of view of the work, how can self-remembering be done properly? From what I gather, every time I go against myself, I create energy for self-remembering. Is that true?

Russell:  Well, almost. Self-remembering is about being present in the moment. Normally in life, you are never present in the moment, except for dangerous moments. However, all of you will be present at those moments. 

Recognizing that you are not present in the moments in between those moments, will bring you to self-remembering. That is, it will cause you to become present in the moments in between.


Student:  What is the second conscious shock? And how can we approach it in a practical way?

Russell:  The second conscious shock is the transformation of negative emotions into positive emotions. That is, into emotions that cannot become negative.

For example, in my story of eating oysters:

Many years ago, I discovered that I was repulsed by oysters. Eat oysters? Yuck! They looked like snot on a shell. 

If I was at a restaurant and somebody at a nearby table ordered oysters, I was not able to eat my meal … and most times, had to leave the restaurant. 

Oysters were disgusting!

I needed to transform that emotion; so I found an oyster bar and ordered a dozen oysters on the half shell, “Do not fry them, do not bake them, just give them to me raw.” I grabbed the first oyster and slurped it off the shell. I almost puked. It was horrible. But I chewed it up and swallowed it. 

How revolting. 

I ate the whole darn dozen, fighting back the inclination to barf at every slurp.

The next night, I went out and ordered a dozen more. 


But I did it. 

The next night I ordered a dozen more, and the next night, and the next night, and the next night. I did that for an entire month. I even got a few bad ones along the way and had terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea, but I survived.

After 30 days, guess what? I liked oysters. 

Now, if I see someone eating oysters, I might just order a dozen. I can never have a bad reaction to oysters ever again. I transformed that negative emotion into a positive emotion. That is, into an emotion that can never become negative. 


Student:  One question. I've been reading The Herald of Coming Good, wherein, Gurdjieff points out that there is a center that rules all the other centers. What center is that?

Russell:  I have no idea. Gurdjieff instructed us to not read The Herald of Coming Good, so I did not. Apparently, there were things in there that had no value, and as such, there was no need for me to pollute my brain with them. 


Student:  Can you help me better understand what Gurdjieff meant when he said there are 3 types of men. 

Russell:  Sure. Actually, it is really quite simple. Basically, we have three proclivities: to manifest either physically, emotionally, or intellectually. 

Sometimes, we do one; sometimes, we do another. For the most part, we change constantly. However, in the big picture, one that considers all of man’s manifestations, we would be hard pressed to find someone who manifests exactly 33⅓% from each. More likely, one proclivity would dominate over the others: maybe a little, maybe a lot. That being said, whichever one occurred more often than the others, would lead us to conclude that that person was either a Physical Man, an Emotional Man, or an Intellectual Man. Easy, peasy.


Student:  I have another question. How can centers communicate with each other, can you give me some examples? And how can we intentionally make one center observe another? 

Russell:  At present they cannot; they can only talk to each other through the formatory apparatus. 

And, as to the second part, how to make one center observe another? A good example would be the Hands in Motion Exercise, which is as follows:

The Hands in Motion Exercise is an exercise that causes the Moving Center and the Intellectual Center to see each other. 

To do it properly, you simply take your two hands, hold them in front of your chest, and rotate them over and under each other in a circle. 

But you don’t try to do it with just your Moving Center, you also try to do it with your Intellectual Center. That is, you try to have your Intellectual Center participate in the movements needed to lift one hand up and drop the other hand down, and the movements needed to push one hand forward and draw the other one back.

And of course, you start your rotation very slowly, otherwise the mind will not be able to participate.

If you do it correctly, it is almost as if the Moving Center says to the Intellectual Center, “Hello, I did not know that you were here. Oh my goodness, you are doing this with me. We are both here, moving our hands. I am doing it, and you are participating. I am making the movements and you are seeing all the movements that need to be made, and as such, if I ever blink out, you might be able to do the movements for me. Wow! We are both capable of rotating our hands. Cool!” 

And when you know that they are both there doing it, you slowly speed it up, to see how fast you can go and still have the mind participating. 

Of course, there will come a speed where the mind can no longer participate, as the Moving Center is much faster than the Intellectual Center. But, at a slow speed, the Intellectual Center will be able to participate.

It is an awesome feeling when the Intellectual Center joins the Moving Center and both perform the movements.




Student:  My Master started talking to me. I didn’t want to tell you until I was sure that was what it was. It is really quite phenomenal.

Russell:  Well, congratulations!


Student:  Thank you. You know, when he speaks, he almost leaves me no choice. In a slight way, it’s almost as if you have to obey, as his voice is strong.

Russell:  Tell me about it.


Student:  He told the body to sit down and memorize something. Then, he told the driver to do it. It was quite demanding.

Maybe my horse was bucking, I don’t know. 

The voice just came. 

It was really kind of a strange thing; very, very authoritative. 

Russell:  That is glorious. 


Student:  I hope I don’t destroy it by talking about it.

Russell:  Naa, you won’t. You can talk to me about anything.


Student:  Yeah, I figured. 

I will need to call you back on Thursday, as tomorrow will be very hectic. Perhaps, we can talk more about it then.  

Russell:  That will be great. Give me a holler on Thursday, and we will talk about that, as well as the memory work you have been doing.

Love you man.


Student:  I love you guys too, especially you, Russ.




Student:  How are you?

Russell:  I’m terrific, how about yourself?


Student:  I am terrific too.

Russell:  Wonderful, tell me about your terrific.


Student:  About my terrific? Well, I’ve been working really hard, and I am feeling great, and as such, I clearly see the path on which I need to put my feet.

Russell:  What more could anyone ask?


Student:  Ha! To get there quicker.

Russell:  Well, if you keep making the efforts you have been making, the moments of ‘feeling great’ will come more often and will last longer.  


Student:  Yep, that is what has been happening. I push hard, and then I relax in the joy of everything that comes in between, which makes for a very good life.

Russell:  Wonderful. 

Any Higher Feedback since we last talked?


Student:  Oh yes, it told me to do the Not Say the Word ‘I’ Exercise.

Russell:  Terrific!

I gave one student the ‘Not Say the word I Exercise,’ and they asked me what they should say instead of saying ‘I’?

What do you say, instead of saying ‘I’?


Student:  I say my last name.

Russell:  Good, that is what I told them. 

Then I said, in reality, you should probably not say your last name. Instead, you say the name of your neighbor, your brother, your mother, your father, your teacher, and your friend, etc., because that is who you are. 

So, the next time you do the exercise, single out one ‘I’ and ask, “Where did that one come from?” If you do, you may be better able to see where your belief structures originated.


Student:  Oh, I see. Great idea.

Is that one student still sending you emails?

Russell:  Well, after the long one I sent to you last week, it has been pretty much constant. Here is the latest one. It said, “Hello my dear friend. It is so wonderful to feel so positive all the time, regardless of how one’s corporeal body feels. Today was an especially good day to be alive. I went to get my car fixed and was only charged 3 dollars, the bargain of the year. Then, I took the afternoon off and went to a local coffee shop. The sun was hot, but not too sticky. Then, my husband called, and we had a great talk; his two weeks in San Francisco is just about up. It will be good to see him when he returns. I am still very busy, as I am in the middle of a 10-day teaching run, but the students are really nice, and very easy to teach. Saturday should be fun; I have been invited to attend a Gurdjieff movements class. We’ll see if the folks there are interested in my awakening, are just curious, or have no interest at all. And I also memorized 10 aphorisms today. Well, time for a cup of tea and a slunk. All my love to you.”


Student:  Wow, ten aphorisms in one day? That’s terrific.

Russell:  Indeed it is.  

Speaking of spouses, how is your wife doing?


Student:  She is finding Cosmic Secrets very stimulating. She got to the math and realized that it was not that hard to do. It turns out, when she went to High School, that she had trouble doing fractions, but that fizzled away after she blew through the math in your book. Currently, she is in Chapter Three.

Russell:  That is wonderful. She is lucky, as she has you to lean on; a good, strong, intelligent human being, which is a bonus.

Have you been doing the Three-Fold Attention Exercise?


Student:  Yes sir. 

Russell:  The Objective Walking Exercise?


Student:  Yes sir.

Russell:  Your ‘I-Am’s’?


Student:  Of course.

Russell:  How about breathing when you eat?


Student:  Well, I did that once, as it is one of the hardest ones for me to do, because, once I put my head in the trough, boy, that’s it!

Russell:  No problem. To facilitate that exercise, do the Slow-Eating Exercise at least once a week. That should help you to remember to breathe when you eat. 

Do you recall the Slow-Eating Exercise?


Student:  Yes, I do.

Russell:  Great. The words you say are what?


Student:  “So and so and so I must, do not eat until I bust. - G. I. Gurdjieff.”

Russell:  Terrific. Just remember to put down your fork and finish chewing and swallowing the current mouthful before loading up another. Then, when that’s gone, load up your fork, look at it, think about it, smell it, listen to it, and then say, so and so and so I must, do not eat until I bust. - G. I. Gurdjieff, before eating it. Do that once a week, and you will soon be remembering to breathe when you eat.


Student:  Okay. I will.

Russell:  By the way, do you eat breakfast?


Student:  Uh ha, about half the time.

Russell:  Okay, once a week, do it at breakfast.


Student:  Yeah. That should be easy, as breakfast is usually a light meal.

Russell:  Correct.

Any other questions?


Student:  I have an observation. I read the two chapters in Making a New World on pentads.

Russell:  Oh, yes.


Student:  What Bennett said about pentads was really clear.

Russell:  Indeed.


Student:  It sent a chill up my spine.

Russell:  Perfect.

And where do you think the twelve essence classes come from?


Student:  Come from?

Russell:  Yep.


Student:  Ummm, I am not sure.

Russell:  They come from the twelve fundamental points in scale one, the (DO, SO, MI, RE), the (DO, SO, MI, RE), and the (DO, SO, MI, RE). 

Whenever you get a group of twelve things, I don’t care what they are, they are most likely a reference to the fundamental points. Just as there are twenty-one stopinders and twenty-one gradations of reason.


Student:  Good stuff. I will study that all week. See you next Thursday.





Student:  Hello, Russ.

Russell:  Howdy.


Student:  Sorry I missed your call, someone else called just before you, and it kicked your call to the answering machine.

Russell:  Oh, that’s okay, I thought maybe you were out and about somewhere.


Student:  Oh, no sir, I make a point to be here when you are scheduled to call.

Russell:  Well good. 

How was your week?


Student:  Oh, lots of stuff happened.

Russell:  Like what.


Student:  Oh, I saw a lot of stuff, and had a lot of objective feelings.

Russell:  Terrific.


Student:  I guess the big one was, I was doing what you told me to do. That is, to witness that I only do half as much as I am capable of doing. 

Having that happen, really debunked the picture I have of myself about me being a powerful healer. 

And then, when I asked the woman who was the model for my first tv-show, if my Massage was better than her other Massages, as I wanted to stroke my ego a bit, she said, “No, it wasn’t different at all.” After which, I started reflecting on how my Massages haven’t changed since I finished Massage school, and yet, I believed that they were getting better, and that I was getting better.

As such, I told my wife that I was a zig-zag idiot. To which she responded, “You mean like you are always trying to get free?” I said, “Yes, can’t you see that? I am trying to get free from everything.” When I told her that, she said, “I can. I can see that you are getting free.” I was like, “Ah, geez; thanks honey.”

Russell:  Well, if she can see it, it must be true.


Student:  I think so too. 

Well, that’s what’s happened this week. I have seen stuff that I am actually starting to get control over, which is great.

Russell:  Terrific! Are you ready to rejoice?


Student:  Yes, indeed.

Another thing I saw when I was having a lady do a manual lymph drainage on my arm who was also trying to show my wife how to do it, was that I jumped on my wife like a predator, and started bossing her around; my tone was very harsh. After which, I was very remorseful.

Russell:  Seeing the truth of yourself is a powerful thing.


Student:  Indeed, it is.  

Russell:  Keep making those objective views of yourself.


Student:  What did you think about the email I am planning to send to my sister? It is still obviously tainted, but I don’t want to dissect it too much or I probably won’t send it.

Russell:  I think it is just fine. You are still ‘you’ you know? 

Which is what we are trying to work against; trying to get rid of the ‘you’ that is not you. The ‘you’ that does not have to save the world, but instead, can just be present in it.


Student:  Yes, indeed. 

Another thing happened; my last grandparent died Sunday. I wasn’t close to her. In fact, I kept my distance. 

It started when I was about 15, I was supposed to write thank you notes to the people who sent me a Christmas present, but I didn’t write any. However, my brothers and sisters did. Then, when my grandmother wrote us back, she said something like - since I didn’t write her a thank-you note, she wasn’t going to send me anymore presents. So, I wrote her back and said, well, if that is the only reason you sent me one, then I don’t want any. So, for the rest of the time, all my brothers and sisters got presents, but I did not!

Russell:  Sorry to hear that. 

To some extent you were lucky; you received firsthand knowledge as to what internal considering is. That is, how people do things in order to get their due; like, “Either send me a thank-you card or I’m not sending you any more presents.” 


Student:  Right, yeah. It was definitely that. 

However, although it happened 28 years ago, it still bothers me; it still keeps getting in the way.

Russell:  Well, did you sit down 28 years ago and decide that it was going to get in the way?


Student:  No, not at all.

Russell:  You didn’t do that? You’re kidding me.


Student:  No, it was an automatic reaction.

Russell:  Then, you can’t take credit or blame for it, can you?


Student:  No, I guess not. So, as of today, I shall erase that from my inner blackboard, and as such, I will be free from it. 

Russell:  That’s terrific, just terrific.

Okay, my friend. Have a great week, I’ll see you in a couple of days.


Student:  I will, Russ. I love you.

Russell:  I love you too.



That concludes today’s podcast.


Thank you for listening.


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