S3/E37: Pamela’s Purgatory
In this episode, we shall offer you something special. It was written in 2006, by Russell’s wife Pamela, in response to a student who asked her about Purgatory. The transcript and diagrams for this podcast, can be found on our website at thedogteachings.com under Resources/Podcasts. Our new 520 page E-book, entitled The Blueprint of Consciousness, is available for download and study – an 8 day journey to awakening with exercises to work on being, and seven chapters explaining the diatonic nature of the universe, with an ultimate exercise to objectively awaken. Available here.
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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.
Russell: Today, I shall offer you something special.
It was written in 2006, by my wife Pamela, in response to a student who asked her about Purgatory.
Pamela: What is Purgatory?
Purgatory in the religious world is defined as an intermediate state, or place after death for purification, to become fit for heaven; a place of temporary suffering, misery, etc.
Purgatory in our work is when we obtain conscience, when the lower centers step up to a greater position, a greater organization, i.e. from cells to tissues or tissues to organs, etc. It is the top of the stairs, when Steward arrives; and from what we observe, we apply the process of purging the lower manifestations in order for the higher to become more dominant; after which, Steward will provide the opportunity for higher-being-bodies to be developed.
Per the structure, per law, it is the overlap of oscillations of our centers, So-La, between the lower and the higher, between slavery and freedom. It can mean struggle, after all, each of our centers is pursuing its own affirmation, but with right knowledge and understanding there is minimal struggle. As with all things, Purgatory encompasses several scales and has different gradations of intensity; our subjectivity determines that. It provides a place for rejoice … a sight unseen. It is the desperate struggle to break free, break free from the grasp of mechanical evolution. Man stands beyond the push from the bottom, man must therefore push independent of the octave, so the struggle ensues. We are very fortunate; Russell’s objective way eliminates the need for physical and emotional affliction in order to become higher; his objective way can sort it out through Reason.
Purgatory gives us that control. Purgatory must be traveled through: to awake, to die, to be born again; a death of self, a death to all. Paul died daily … good advice. Steward is responsible for our new sight and is our inner guide and we cannot get to the Master, to the Kingdom, without Steward; so, Steward has a very important role in Purgatory, and if he is a good Steward, he will never sleep.
According to All and Everything, this holy planet Purgatory is not only the center of the concentrations of the results of the functioning of all that exists, but it is also now the best, richest, and most beautiful of all the planets of our Universe (our inner world). It is the place where higher-being-bodies come for their further existence; to hopefully purge in order to blend with our Most Most Holy Sun Absolute. Our all-loving, endlessly-merciful and absolutely-just creator-endlessness often appears there so that by these appearances of His, He may soothe them, if only a little, in their terrible, inevitable state of inexpressible anguish.
It is a most beautiful place, yet we now have consciousness which means we can see what we really are, a slave to the lower; no independence. This makes Purgatory Heaven and Hell. It is heaven in the sense that we are able to actually see ourselves and thus have an opportunity for change. It is hell in the sense that it is hard to view reality, to see the truth. If we see ourselves, we may have to change, and we are afraid of change; also, we often like what we are, and have justified it, so as to not have to change. Yet death of self, death to all, is a real requirement and cannot be reached without intentional efforts and knowledge … Purgatory.
How do we measure Purgatory? It is subjective for each person. That is why there are no books written about this segment of the journey, it is too customized. Before we awake, we are all the same, we are asleep. When we reach objectivity, impartiality, again we will be the same. Between those two points only similar totalities of time, era, and coincidental events overlap. Our specific coordinates of existence in time and space, intercepted many scales of associative forces inside and outside ourselves, created our individual subjectivity, and thus influenced the formation of our machine, which cannot be the same for all. Every machine is unique, yet the same. Purgatory is unique, yet the same. It is a struggle for all.
What was Purgatory for Pamela / How did Pamela navigate through Purgatory:
I kept my aim before me at all times. My wish was the fuel.
Importance generates all actions. This Work is the most important thing in my life above all things. Above all things. Life provides all we need in order to work on ourselves. Promote integrating this work in everything you do. That makes it easy; and that is what I did.
My objective is to serve the Absolute, to achieve the highest that a man can attain. It is my evolutionary right. I want to become conscious…generated from inner authenticity which permanently modifies my being…to become like an angel representing a higher order of organization. I certainly want to crystallize a higher-being-body to withstand the shock of death, and I must have a clean machine in order to accomplish that; only the finest of vibrations pass through the golden gates.
For me, Purgatory was not Purgatory in the sense of a dreaded doom, I understood what it was. I understood Steward’s function, so after waking up, there was no time wasted in getting on with the task of searching my machine, and purging. I was selfish, I was in a hurry. Also, I was so grateful to be awake; I had received what I had prayed for after so many years and like the story of the talents in the Bible, I was going to profit. Steward began his arduous task with fervor, a strong and tenacious manager, and although Pamela’s Deputy Steward was loyal, made tremendous, genuine, and constant efforts, he had a limited range of sight, he could not provide what Steward can see; Steward has objective eyes, he views from a story above. So real work begins. That involves a lot of things. It involves a lot of processes. It involves change. My new machine had vast uncharted territory, a new life. Yippee, let’s go!
My work consisted of stages and phases, Purgatory if you will, spans many scales and degrees of trepidation and enlightenment. The first search of my machine took about nine months. There was definitely a different Pamela when that was done, a very definite level of peace and freedom was developed. It also meant I had created a good list of things I needed to work on; as well as dismissing several passengers that needn’t stay any longer, they had no place in the house of the Lord. So I noted a great part of what I needed to work on, I vigorously challenged the task. I had all the tools I needed: the aphorisms, readings, direct teaching from Russell, first, second, and third lines of work; and Russell’s exercises, some of which, amazingly, practically did the work for me, which was so marvelous and really convenient – I could do my work everywhere. So, that is what I did.
From my preliminary search I could not know the particular size of the inexactitudes nor the depth of their chains; you cannot view multi-dimensions on a one-dimensional plane. You cannot see how big it is from the front. Even with critical observation it takes time to decipher all the parts of our machine in order to understand the whole. According to law, we must take a machine apart in order to gain thorough understanding – that just makes sense; and we happen to have the most complicated machine in history. So with my aim and wish intact and with my new companion, I began what would come to be known as the greatest journey on earth. I have never quit searching my machine. Peeling the layers: discovering self, letting go of self, becoming like a little child, finding obstacles, discovering new things, hidden things, re-educating self, looking for all the I’s, removing buffers – everything from the softer side of Pamela to the harshest. Some personalities in Pamela were down-right non-Christian, to say the least, worse than the devil himself. Gurdjieff tells us the connections are as important as the centers. I found that to be true. I found a googolplex of distortedness in this machine from observing centers and the connections to other centers. Hallelujah!! I can see. What a gift. One of my largest inner mountains was what others thought about me; mega distance was traveled with that inexactitude, and its connections were far reaching into every crevice, every crack in my machine. Whatever I was a slave to I engaged partkdolg-duty, that is, conscious labors and intentional sufferings. Different forces have different impacts, so for the more difficult ones, I worked harder and longer, sometimes just had a good cry. I worked on whatever I could when I could and tried not to hold remorse or enjoy my suffering, especially for those I was not able to conquer yet, I knew I would eventually be able to. Pamela had personalities with steel cages, that didn’t want to be free, even considered quitting the work; yikes, sleep is so demented. Steward would remind me we are only shown what we are ready to see, which meant I was making progress, so a moment of rejoice. No giving up, just me wanting to run from me. Probably one of the hardest junctions for Pamela was knowing something with my knowledge, and not knowing it with my emotions; ay-ay-ay, such a conflict, such a struggle, with effort and wish I knew I could balance the blending eventually…just keep plowing.
The Absolute has maintained for billions of years, which signifies to me the tenacity of existence, so there must be an underlying force that only experiences Will – truth. Truth conquers all things. Steward represents that part of Truth. Because of the spirit of Steward, I already know who is going to win the battle before the battle begins; I know I will win. Yet I must endure the battle. Purgatory is the death of self. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod (higher emotion) and thy staff (higher mental) they comfort me.” Purgatory is the valley of death.
So I am emptying the wrong inventory in my machine and replacing it with the right inventory. That takes time, wish, and an abundance of effort. Things change. I didn’t really know what a mess I was until I got past the murky quagmire, an investment into the whole. Dying to ourselves sometimes leaves us with a taste of emptiness and because of the way the world has influenced us, feeling empty is sometimes uneasy. You simply fill that space with peace…and then enjoy! There may be a few awkward places along the way, just forge onward; we always fear the unknown, and everything conscious is unknown at first. I always ask myself, is it harmful? It never is, so I observe where it leads.
I simply practiced what Gurdjieff suggested. Here, I won’t list all my arsenals, but a few … to review ideas. I observe myself alone, I observe myself with others while keeping the face and the eyes alive as G advised; I observe my postures, my responses, my mechanicalness, etc. I keep vigilance for leaks; double-check for illusion; watch ego; flag internal considering; monitor thoughts, attitude, attention, and atmosphere, etc. Practice not doing as others do, taking the eight, taking the blame, listening – which is different than hearing. Remembering not to contribute to others’ sleep, not to call a man a slug. Question if it is real I, or some little clever biased I in the driver’s seat, question my accuracy. I experiment with influences using different tactics to see which works best, and, as Gurdjieff said, if one doesn’t work, try the other. The how, is Russell’s book. It is practical work. You only have to apply it.
I observed, observed, observed myself, and others, in order to understand. I wished, wished, wished to become free. I practiced metanoia, occupied my thoughts with the right data. From those efforts, the results reveal a path to freedom. So this is a process that has no end, it simply shifts in energy.
Freeing Pamela from material things, outside things, was the easiest part for Pamela. Because of the history surrounding Pamela’s age, maturity, fate, and life circumstances, she had already done a fair amount of prioritizing, even before finding the Work, so that was a bonus. The manifestation of others and my inner world was truly much harder – trying to escape from me – that is the never-ending journey. You name it, if it exists, it was in my inner world. The depth of my sleep has never ceased to amaze me. In complete sincerity, this work saved my life. By changing the inner world, we see the outer world differently; yet the outside has not changed.
While dying to my inner world, I sensed a strengthening of the essential side of true self, at the expense of the false self; that is beginning will, becoming able to do. I will never forget the threshold between false personality and essence within a particular long-term and demanding struggle; the real I’s finally conquered the false I’s and a new molding; a union of forces joined and began working together. That was invigorating and verification that the machine really does want to work rightly. So now I had even a greater consciousness to continue the war. The efforts become easier. Little by little become freer and freer. Purgatory has less impact. After a while, as the higher is blending with the lower to actualize the middle, the middle is higher than ever before, and the machine works rightly, reaching normal man. By now, the pattern of work is automatic, efforts are a way of life, being conscious is a way of life, even in first-state sleep; the entire machine is working in the same direction with unified efforts.
In my continued reprogramming, I also found good things, things to keep; I mothered them. With my increased army I could now tackle the evil I’s in Pamela, an overwhelming volume, and begin the task of controlling their presence. For Pamela, that was a huge undertaking, she loved those I’s, they had been with her for so long, and they were her fence of safety. Years later, I finally touched the garment of Christ and I no longer wanted those I’s to live. Something in me used the analogy that Christ was a carpenter, a builder, and I wanted to be a builder too. It was a glorious moment – or should I say – a doorway out after long travels. It was an essential foundation in the childhood of Pamela, she was a builder. She looked for the good, she liked harmony and worked at encouraging it…she loved; but, that essence part of Pamela had long been forgotten as the false personality piled its crust, layer upon layer upon layer. Years of excavation brought her back to the surface. I was so afraid of losing this sight of my place in heaven, that for several weeks, I reviewed the path that revealed her to me so I would never forget how to get there. It goes to prove; we must get to our nothingness.
The knowledge of self has traversed many scales. I have permanently and drastically changed. One of the greatest compliments, ever, was when my adult-aged daughter approached me and said she no longer knew me, did not know this mother! Words cannot describe that awesome moment. Glory on High!
Absolute Requirements: Observation and Metanoia.
Guardian Questions: What is necessary at this moment? Where is my center of gravity? Who is in charge? Where is Pamela? How necessary is it?
Purgatory Pitfalls: Time, Justification, Enjoying One’s Suffering, Remorse, Familiarity.
These reminders will assist self-remembering and develop attention. We must develop attention, awareness. A little something to incubate attention: “The sky is all around me, yet I no longer see it; I better make sure that I do.” Reminding factors don’t get much bigger than the sky!
There are several things I reflect on for strength. At times, it was my memory work that bridged the gaps, Daniel in the Lion’s Den is a great inspiration and representation of balance, and another is Gurdjieff’s life, his determination. Pamela is aspiring to reach balance…not to be swayed by the negative, nor the complimentary. An ebb and flow of constant work. Those attempts that I fail are merely stepping stones to success and I try again and again and again until I succeed. Those that were successful are filed to use as needed. It is all a process and multitudes of processes within the process. Purgatory does not hurt, only our false personality labels the misery, the enjoyment of suffering.
We know in our structure there is the appearance of pauses between octaves. Station after station, up, up, infinitum, with occasional pauses in between. Sometimes I would become deadlocked, meet up with a false personality, or a large pause, or an illness…a snag that would prevent me from seemingly making efforts; that is worse than Purgatory, that is zilnotrago. Simply wait it out or make whatever efforts you can. Never give up; never surrender…to the false personality.
Laughter enters my Purgatory forever. Realizing the ludicrous situation of what I had become due to life circumstances and influences…that there really was no me…just remnants of poisoned impressions creating this glob of hypnotized, unaware, chemical robotic machinery that could not even think for itself, had no independence, and was buffered out in illusory perceptions…well, thanks to freedom, that simply made me laugh. I now laugh at all the parts I have not died to. Laughter dwells in my Purgatory.
One of the oddest stages of Purgatory ironically occurs after one has died to most things and has acquired impartiality. There is no more pull, no struggle to break free, because you are free. A different type of Purgatorial struggle occurs. We must choose to continue upward. Now that is the ultimate gift…and test.
This is really, really cool. After a certain stage of my development, experiencing a certain level of freedom, will, and objectivity, another state of consciousness was found present in my machine. The baffling thing is there was no “entering” of it, no announcement. I later surmised that I simply had cleaned my machine enough to finally find it – enough of the rubbish was put out, another order was established. It had a non-emotional and subtle element, a non-recognizable ambiance, non-definable yet nonetheless present; maybe Master, at any rate, another higher order to confer with, which I will pursue with great excitement. This machine becomes spiritually driven by the opportunity man, and only man, has been given. It enlivens my soul. Only man, a small slot in organic life, is awake, has higher opportunity; and I am one of them. My goodness.
Currently my work consists of the last few false I’s, a few inexactitudes, plus little fragments left over from several other things; and I have much, much more building to do. All else is pretty much dead or under control. These specific things are engrained throughout the entire machine; even the chemistry in my neurons is distorted. My machine is in great order, but I still do stupid stuff, just not as often or as intense. I will spend the remainder of my life building my house into a mansion, a worthy dwelling for Master. I may or may not have enough living time to completely die to the last strongholds, but nevertheless I suspect I will still acquire Russell’s rule of 2/3’s to my being-totality before the physical body ceases!
One last token: I humbly give basic credit to our esteemed teacher for all the evolving I have cocooned. I did the work, but with his guidance and years of effort. It is an unbelievable, accidental miracle, in the world of today, to have an objective man for a teacher; one that knows more about the Laws of World-creation and World-maintenance than anyone on the planet earth, perhaps even the solar system Ors. Which makes him the leader. The real issues underlying Life, and our Work, and the possibility of continuance into another scale of octaves are The Laws of World Creation and World Maintenance, and no one tops him at that…no one. This particular knowledge makes our teacher a genuine Master…not because he has data about it, but because he has UNDERSTANDING about it. He has applied these laws to his being as well as his knowledge and ultimately has evolved into a guide. But not just any guide, his understanding has the possibility of changing all of mankind. Think about that. He obtained his information, to achieve that rightful pedestal, righteous and unique accomplishment, from reading the core books; then, on the other side of his Purgatory, after obtaining objectivity, he brought that information into this era, expanded it for all to use, grew the unknown out of it, unlocked the keys of the Universe. We have all the external tools needed to accomplish our great task. And as Gurdjieff states, we have everything inside that we need. You can have objective consciousness and peace too – anybody can with right knowledge, a constant aim, and a constant wish.
Well, that is a glimpse of how Pamela navigated through Purgatory; one inexactitude at a time.
Russell: Then, just recently, when a student inquired about certain parts of her Purgatory, she wrote the following:
Pamela: Dear impressive sir – you are the epitome of “I love him who loves work” and you have a critical mind…Bravo!!
In regards to the objective states, you asked, “How do I confirm that these are really my deepest, strongest and most genuine wishes.”
Actually, they may or may not be your deepest, strongest and most genuine wishes. If they are, your work will enhance them, and if they are not, your work will build them. Due to our deformation from life, there will be those I’s that are strong and there will be those I’s that are weak.
Through the years of work on myself, I did run into those I’s that simply were not ‘on board’ with the plan, they were not a part of the original decision; but, I knew they were false I’s and I did not take them too seriously, rather, I kept working on my aim, and the rogue I’s ceased to have force. You may or may not run into opposing I’s. Some of my false I’s actually had me retreating at times, but my higher I’s knew that it was just me running from myself, so, onward I kept and eventually those I’s that did not know about consciousness gave up and disappeared. Work on self is definitely a journey and each machine is crusted over in various, unique, independent ways; some more than others, some not so much crust…that is subjective to each person. That is why there are no books on this part of the journey, it is too individualized because each machine was developed differently and uniquely through life’s twists and details.
Once I found Russell and the fourth way, my work began. I was with Russ before The Objective Exercise was discovered, so I did a lot of practical work based on fourth way readings. I did things to try to break habits, like not saying the word ‘I’, not allowing myself to indulge in favorite things; I only did these things for short intervals, just to break my mechanicalness. For example, I used to eat lots of chocolate, so I did not allow myself to have chocolate for 3 days. Once my 3rd day was accomplished, I went one extra day, just to let the machine know I was in charge. Chocolate has never had the force it once had. Another example was in thinking I had to make my bed a certain way, so I didn’t make my bed at all for a few days; or thinking I had to rotate my clothes to wear, so I simply grabbed something to wear without thinking it through, sometimes things didn’t match (of course I did this on the weekends, not at work). Remember this work is practical and we don’t want to bring the wrong attention from others, people that would not understand. So, if you are doing an inner, personal ‘breaking of the machine’ exercise when others are involved, it gets modified or ceases; and we do what is necessary for the moment. And this work is not about hurting oneself, so nothing extreme.
Once the objective exercise was in place for me, REAL work began, Steward could show me areas of my house that I would probably never have seen on my own, or maybe, would have seen, but it could have taken years; but Steward showed me crevices. Steward made it quick and a complete and thorough cleaning; this was not overnight, but the preliminary cleaning was swift, then on to the inexactitudes, which are just lingering residues. With the fourth way knowledge, Steward, and Russell’s brilliance and understanding, it was a game changer. His beautiful, incredible models and the use of objective math, rather than a belief, made it touchable, verifiable, and was driven by good sense. His knowledge and models gave me insight for the potential everyone could be, and when I saw and understood those things, I wanted to be a part of that remarkable opportunity. I wanted to fulfil my potential! Like Russell, seeing truth gave me purpose and Russell’s way gave me a way of achieving it.
In the Views From The Real World passage (pgs 56 – 59) that Russell suggests, I memorized that many years ago, and in so doing, it touched my being deeper and deeper, as most memory work will. In part of it Gurdjieff warns:
“Bear in mind that your sight has the property of presenting distant objects as though they were near. Beguiled by the nearness of the aim toward which you strive, blinded by its beauty and ignorant of the measure of your own strength, you will not notice the obstacles on the way; you will not see the numerous ditches across the path. In a green meadow covered with luxuriant flowers, in the thick grass, a deep precipice is hidden. It is very easy to stumble and fall over it if your eyes are not concentrated on the step you are taking.
“Do not forget to concentrate all your attention on the nearest sector of the way; do not concern yourself about far aims if you do not wish to fall over the precipice.
“Yet do not forget your aim. Remember it the whole time and keep up in yourself an active endeavor toward it, so as not to lose the right direction. And once you have started, be observant; what you have passed through remains behind and will not appear again; so if you fail to notice it at the time, you never will notice it.”
I do not know your machine and perhaps it is cleaner than most, only you can discover that, either way, focusing on the nearest sector is best, putting your attention on the first signpost that leads you to the ultimate destination. Your destination may be closer than you think, it may only take a little shove here and there, a little cleaning here and there, but you will not know that until you begin taking it apart. This is subjective to each person. Some people will have to overcome many things, some big, some small; others may not have to overcome much, just work on fine-tuning. With every effort you will gather the necessary nutrients to crystallize an astral body; a right machine produces higher bodies…it is a natural by-product.
And to be thorough about your question, I am not certain you can confirm these wishes. Some students have had those wishes, earnest wishes and after waking up, a few months/years later, they decide to return to the church, or to pursue another avenue. Yet, in the beginning, they truly thought their wishes were sincere, were their true desire, gave it all they had, then something changed. But many more students never turn back, they stay the course. So, no matter how genuine you may or may not be, only time will tell. It is like some marriages, when two people are deeply in love, then down the road, one of them falls out of love even though in the beginning it seemed so real and genuine. Time and effort are the only factors that will answer your question, and no answer will be wrong, you must follow the path that draws you.
In regards to your question…How to find the place in you that will answer the questions most truthfully, not just as I’s from the Intellectual Center.
Your tenacity of efforts has proven your desire exists; you have already tipped the scales on that. I would say you have already found that place. It may only look intellectual to you, but you do get emotionally touched by certain events, certain thoughts. Gurdjieff tells us this work is about ‘being’. Many will come that have to work on their intellect, get it out of the way, they will have to encourage and create the right emotions. Others will already have the emotions necessary, they will simply need to weed out the negative or false ones; and, they may need to work on creating more power in the intellect, work on understanding the laws better, etc. Our moving center is easy, simply work on unnecessary muscle usage, observe, etc. You could do Russell’s Higher Feedback exercise on this question and allow whatever there is to be revealed. Whatever you discover, it is acceptable and nonrestrictive, it is just knowledge for you to work with. There are no judgements here in this place. Everyone must choose their own path, whatever it is.
Right being is our main goal, being balanced. How do we know that we have accomplished that? It is about controlling the machine. Doing by not doing. This is a journey, a lifetime journey. Full of wonder, discovery, excitement, love, enlightenment, soul searching, peace, living to the fullest, and being here and now. If you fear your work is intellectual only, then encourage things that will build your emotion, things that will touch your being. But from what I have read in your emails, although you are extremely intelligent, I believe you harbor many right emotions; you were touched by the Karate Kid!! Find beauty in a tree, in a bug, in the convenience of a door knob, or stairs. Feed those emotions with all that is around you. Once you have experienced this place and any new places you encounter, you will be able to read where you are in yourself, you will sense your being, you may even sense your astral body.
I hope I have answered your questions at least a little. Keep going toward the nearest sector.
With genuine sincerity, I Am, Pamela
That ends this podcast regarding how Pamela navigated Purgatory.
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