S3/E18: R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 7
R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 7
In this episode, we continue to narrate question and answer dialogues with Russell A. Smith. We discuss the astral body, atmospheres, affirmation, the nature of things, internal considering, nothingness, a center of gravity, arrogance, and making one thing your God, and Hasnamusses. The transcript for this podcast, can be found on our website at thedogteachings.com under Resources/Podcasts. Our unique 400 page E-book, entitled Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets – The TEACHING GUIDE 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.
Continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, in this podcast, we discuss the astral body, atmospheres, affirmation, the nature of things, internal considering, nothingness, a center of gravity, arrogance, and making one thing your God.
Q. Man has two substances: active elements in the physical body, and active elements of astral matter. Is this something we already have – because I was under the impression that we have to acquire the astral body.
A. Yes, we must first accumulate and then crystallize the astral body, which means… we must already have astral matter in us for us to be able to crystallize it. However, as it is, it is in an uncrystallized form.
Q. Is the astral matter something we are born with or does all of it have to be acquired?
A. Good question. The middle story of our three-storied factory represents the entrance of astral matter into our lives. And what is in the middle story… emotions and intelligence. So, astral matter relates to our emotions, to our belief structures, whether or not we love our neighbor, and to the registration and accumulation of those emotions.
Q. What does it mean that two atmospheres are sympathetic?
A. It means that they agree with each other, that is, they are in harmony with each other. Imagine that there were two Jesus’, and if there were, they would have sympathetic atmospheres. They would not be in competition with each other. One of them would not say, you got it wrong, let me tell you how it really is.
Q. It also says that astral material always opposes physical material. On the other hand, it says that the two substances, one of the physical body and one of the astral body, form a new substance by mixing. So how can they mix if they oppose each other?
A. Another good question. This Universe is permeated with astral matter, but it is not yet organized, crystallized, or fixed. When it becomes fixed, it has a resistance to physical matter. Perhaps that is why Jesus rose after death, because his fixed higher body was opposed to physical matter. It is the same with emotions, and conscience, which usually oppose the slavish impulses of the lower story; and, as such, are not pulled by sex and food like the lower centers are.
Q. It says that we can control our atmosphere. Would that be like self-remembering, not expressing negative emotions and so on?
A. Yes, that’s correct.
Q. It says that there are positive and negative non-wishes. I understand what wishes are that are positive and negative, but what are positive and negative non-wishes?
A. Wishes imply that there was a conscious choice. Non-wishes are simply the mechanical desires of the machine; and, as such, were not made by conscious choice.
Q. I heard myself say, “I can’t remember.” Is that negative affirmation in the emotional center, and is it important for us not to contaminate our emotional center like that?
A. Yes. We become what we believe. So, if I say, “I don’t have a good memory; that I can’t remember names.” Then, I program my machine to not remember names; and the machine says, “Okay, if that is what you want, that is what we will do. We will not remember names.”
Q. Does hypnosis help a person to overcome things, like addictions, or is it better to struggle with them on our own? I sometimes cannot sleep at night.
A. That is a hard question to answer. Certainly, it does not hurt to try new things, to try chemistry, to try hypnosis. Sometimes, it is just the nature of things. For example, researchers took a bunch of people and put them in a place that had no clocks nor windows. As such, there was no way for the people to know what time of day it was. The researchers kept them in there for quite some time. When the people were tired, they went to bed; when they were hungry, they ate. Nobody had any idea how many days they were there or how much time had elapsed. After the test, the researchers discovered that a certain percentage of the people naturally went into a thirty-two-hour cycle; that is, their bodies responded as if there were thirty-two hours in a day and not twenty-four. Most of the other people were still twenty-four. So, there can be things like that… where the rhythms of the body change.
However, hypnosis is different. Hypnosis is nothing other than a mental belief structure. Suggestions are made to receptive people and they respond accordingly.
As to sleeping at night, you must learn to quiet your thoughts and quickly disconnect your centers… and to keep them disconnected, so that you can sleep deeply; and then, in the morning, quickly reconnect them.
Let’s start with thoughts. A good way to quiet your thoughts is to think about something that has little meaning so you will lose interest in it, like concentrating on what is in the silverware drawer, you won’t be able to hold that thought for long before it fades away and you fall asleep.
A comfortable bed is also a must. One that allows you to physically relax, so that you can virtually stay in one position most of the night… thus, there will be less tossing and turning.
Ear plugs can also be helpful, so that sounds will be less likely to awaken you when you enter one of the 3 or 4 light stages of sleep that we pass through every night. Then, after 5 or 6 hours of solid sleep, you will be able to reconnect your centers and get up.
Q. I am struggling with not being able to get past being overlooked in the workplace. I have tried to rise above it, but every time I get my paycheck I get upset.
A. The model is, we internally-consider. We do things because we want our due. It would be great if we would just do things just because they were the right things to do. That is, if we did things just because they were the right thing to do, we would not expect a reward, nor a thank you, and would be humbled when someone did thank us, because we were not doing it for the thank you; we were doing it just because it was the right thing to do. As to your workplace, if you do not like to do the work that you are doing or do not like the wages that they are paying you for doing it, either confront the boss and request a raise… or start looking for another job; one that will pay you more for what you do. You must become actively involved and try to remedy the situation, rather than just be upset about it.
Q. When a conscious person feels their own nothingness, can you tell me what they are seeing, feeling?
A. To come to one’s own nothingness is a big thing. People often define themselves by what they have done or what they have acquired, for example: “I have been to 9 different countries!” “I have 3 cars.” “I have never missed a soccer game.” Or they adorn themselves with jewelry or wear the latest fashions. And, all the while, they think that such things define them. But they are not defined by those things. Imagine an empty room that has been cluttered with Christmas trees, colored lights, and various other kinds of illusory things. In truth, those things do not define the room, yet we measure our lives by what has accumulated in the room; but, at some point, we must come to realize that it is just an empty room.
Q. You were talking about having a “center of gravity” in yourself. And, if you do, you do not need anything from the external world to maintain it. Is that right?
A. That is correct.
Q. How does that relate to the scale of us? We get so far and then external help is needed? Is that something different?
A. They are kind of both the same thing. The idea of having a center of gravity in yourself means that you have passed two intervals and have three united forces; and, by so doing, you are whole. As such, you possess conscience and reason, and are fulfilled from the inside; and do not need a Christmas tree in order to feel complete.
Having a center of gravity means that you have all three forces united in yourself and that you have overcome the gaps; and, because of that, you are whole. Therefore you do not need to go outside of yourself to seek fulfillment.
Q. I am no longer working but, instead, I am staying at home. Therefore, I am not getting impressions from other people, but instead can feel myself being influenced by plants and animals.
A. It is very good that you can feel yourself being influenced by plants and animals. As such, you do not have to impress other human beings so that they can tell you how good you are. We have a model that says, most people do not have their center of gravity inside of themselves, but rather, have placed it in others, or in things outside of themselves. That is, in the feedback they receive from others, or in the material things that they have accumulated; and if they do not have someone outside of themselves to impress, they will seek them out.
Looking back at my life, I can remember doing that; I would be in my car, driving for forty-five minutes from one side of Cleveland, Ohio to the other, in order to go hang out with the guys at the fraternity, because I felt alone. I spent most of my life with my center of gravity outside of myself; always driving to be where others were, in order to seek their approval. Then, thank the Lord, I finally united the forces inside of myself and developed a center of gravity, and now I am at peace. As such, I no longer need to interact with others, nor feel the need to impress them so that they will tell me how good I am. Thus, I no longer need to be with others in order to feel whole. The wholeness is now within me, which is a great place for it to be. And yes, plants and animals are a great source of impressions; because neither will judge you nor will need to be impressed.
Q. You mentioned that you have your center of gravity inside of yourself, that something came in, but you did not say what it was that came in.
A. What it was, was the awakening of my higher emotional center. That occurred because I found an objective way to unify my lower centers, and an objective way to pass the gaps. When it happened, it happened instantly, but before it happened, I spent many months accumulating the right knowledge, because nothing gets built instantly. Thus it was built piece by piece and day by day.
Fortunately, I made massive efforts; and, as such, became the architect of my own inner world. And as time passed, I found that the more I did, the more I could do, and that there was always room to do more.
Here is a model; a story that I like to tell about a professor who takes an empty jar and puts some large rocks into the jar until the jar is full. After which, he asks the students, “Is the jar full?” and the students respond, “Yes, the jar’s full.” Then he opens a bag of small pebbles and starts pouring pebbles into the jar; the pebbles roll around the large rocks and fill the spaces in between until the jar is filled to the top with small pebbles. At which time, he once again asks, “Is the jar full?” Everyone says, “Yes, the jar is full.” So he gets out a bag of sand and starts pouring sand into the jar; he pours a whole bunch of sand into the jar, and once again fills the jar to the top and says, “Now what do you think, is the jar full?” and the class says, “Yes, it is now most definitely full.” After which, he gets out a quart of water and starts pouring water into the jar; he pours the whole quart of water into the jar, and once again fills the jar to the top. Then he asks his students, “What is the lesson?” And, as they are kind of uncertain, he answers the question for them, and says, “You have to start with the big rocks because if you start with pebbles and sand, you will never get the big rocks in.”
Which is kind of like saying, “You have to start by making big efforts, and then you will be able to add little things. That is, if you work every day towards your aim and make massive efforts, something like the big rocks will be created and you will fill your jar to the top.
Not to mention the fact your sand can easily be blown away, and your water will eventually evaporate, but your big rocks will tend to stay. Then, when your jar is full to the top with big rocks, you can go back and start putting in the little things, refining things, and will be able to fill your jar with them. That is how you do it. You start, by making massive efforts. I started, by reading 16 hours a day, which quickly made big rocks. It is like anything else you do in life, if you do it a lot, it will become easy. And, when it becomes easy, your being will begin to rapidly change… which will give you ample time to add the sand and water to your jar.
Q. You talked about starting with big rocks and then adding sand and water, could you talk more about that model?
A. The idea of taking small things and making them your God is where you begin. That will accumulate something in you that soon will become big rocks. There is Gurdjieff saying, “If there is no glue nothing will stick.” By the way, massive efforts are the glue that makes the sand stick together and turn into big rocks.
Q. How can I make one thing my God and keep my intention going in that direction? How can I make it big enough so that I have to do it?
A. That’s a good question. The dilemma is, we do not have will. As such, it is hard for us to come up with a big enough reason to do what is needed to create that will. That is why we need help from outside. We need someone to stand in and provide that will for us… to provide a big reason, because it is all about having a big enough reason. As such, we have to either subjugate our will to someone who has a greater will than us, or find something, which is so important, that it creates a big enough reason. Qualifying for the “Master Exercises” created a big enough reason. Getting the “Double or Nothing Exercises” created a big enough reason. That is, when you received them, they became a driving force in your life. But, before you acquired them, how did you create a big enough reason to pursue them? Perhaps, it was because I showed you how to wake up. And before that, because you, yourself, sensed that there must be something higher in life; and, as such, chose to look for it. For me, it was understanding the Rules and Laws. By figuring out the Rules and Laws I wanted to apply them; and I wanted to apply them massively! As I did, I developed momentum, which made applying them even easier.
So, either seek out someone who can direct and create conditions for you, or keep reading and reading, like I did, until the plight of man makes so much sense to you, and the idea of escaping becomes so important to you that it finally provides you with a big enough reason to start getting it done.
For example, take something like losing weight. What is it going to take? Will it take a drill Sergeant, or will the reality of needing to fit into that wedding dress be a big enough reason?
So, the bottom line is, do you really want to acquire reason and impartiality? If so, I can show you how to attain those too.
Q. I get a lot of friction thinking that something that has happened should have happened differently.
A. I understand. First you need to realize that things that happen are just things that happen, and once they have happened, they cannot happen differently. That is, they cannot unhappen. Say, you planned a party, and it rains. Well, that sucks. However, if you had considered, when planning that party, that it might rain, you could have rented a tent; but it is too late for that now. So, why be upset? Rain happens. Life goes on the way it goes on… but you can be different. You do not have to be influenced and affected by the rain. All work is on you. It is not on life, and not on others. It is on you doing or not doing; it is not on the rest of the world. All work is about you, regardless of Republicans or Democrats, Christians, or Jews. Life goes on the way it goes on. To worry about it or to get upset about it is meaningless. In the big picture, it is all meaningless. All that matters is that you develop a center of gravity in yourself which allows you to not be affected by externals. As Gurdjieff said, “We allow ourselves to get hurt.” So, don’t do that anymore.
So, just let the things that happen, happen; and, instead, become a participant in the things that you can change. Then, work tirelessly towards changing them.
It is similar to learning a new language. Ouspensky said that if you only learn a few words a day, you will never learn the new language because nothing will stick. Learning a new language is not something that just happens; it takes effort. And, without effort, there will be no big rocks.
So, we must make efforts to fill our heads with Work ideas. We must stop inner-considering and quit looking for our due. We must cease trying to impress others. Instead, we should try to impress ourselves. Then, when we go to bed at night, we will lay there and say, “I am so impressed with myself; I learned 1,001 words of that new language today. I am so proud of myself; I actually did something that allowed me to become a participant in my own journey.”
Q. Sometimes we are asked to share our accomplishments with others, but to me, that seems arrogant.
A. Truth is never arrogant… unless it is not true. If you bring five charts to class in order to explain something, you should never feel arrogant about it… because that is what you needed to do in order to accomplish your aim. But if you made the charts because you wanted other people to know how thorough you were, or how good you are, then, maybe, that would be arrogance… because you did not make them for you, you made them for them. However, if you did make them for you, and other people look at them and say, “Wow! Look at those charts, that must have taken you a lot of work.” Well, that’s cool; because you know that you did not make the charts for them, you made them for you. I used to not be that way; I always did everything for them. In school, when the teacher asked a question, I would raise my hand, not because I knew the answer, but because I wanted everyone to admire me because they thought I knew the answer. But now, I do not do that anymore. So, for me, it is no longer arrogance. It is just the way it is.
Q. I have a question about Hasnamuss people and the certain qualities they develop in themselves. Can you explain?
A. Hasnamusses, in external life, are lunatics that have pushed their lunacy on to others. For example, Saddam Hussein and Hitler became very powerful. Was it because they developed certain qualities in themselves, or was it because they possessed wealth, and from that, got power? Probably, the latter, as you will not find much impartiality or humbleness in a Hasnamuss.
Q. Can Hasnamuss be a man number six?
A. If we looked at all of the Hasnamusses that have ever been in the world, we would see that some of them certainly have had interests in higher things, but… were they conscious beings… with objective reason? I find it hard to believe that a person who knows the truth of everything, that is, a man number six, could be in the position of being a Hasnamuss. Because, if they knew the truth of everything, they would see that they were a Hasnamuss, and would change it.
It is a tough model. Let us take Saul of Tarsus from the Bible. You know the story about Saul of Tarsus, he became Paul the Apostle, but before he became Paul the Apostle, he was Saul of Tarsus – a man who decided that Christians were no good. So, he got some letters from the authorities, which let him go kill Christians. I guess that is kind of like a Hasnamuss. He ran around the country with his letters of authority hunting for Christians to kill. Wow!
And then God looked down and said, “There is my leader. That guy goes all in. I am going to choose him to be the leader of my church.” And, of course, he was converted; He was knocked off his horse with a beam of light and was blinded; and later, had the scales removed from his eyes and said, “Things which I once hated, I now love, and things I once loved, I now hate.” So, I guess, God saw the potential for Saul to become higher; and, as such, facilitated the process. Thereafter, when Saul became Paul the Apostle, he no longer was a guy who wanted to go out and kill Christians. Thus, I don’t think we have to worry too much about a man number six or a man number seven or even a man number five becoming a Hasnamuss.
Q. I am wondering what the model is for a Hasnamuss?
A. Gurdjieff gives a list in Beelzebub’s Tales of ten marks of being a Hasnamuss, and of what they imply. But for our Work, we have to understand that those marks are more about what is in ourselves than what is in others. That is, we all have the entire gamut of them in us. For instance, we all have Good Householder I’s in us – I’s that are fair and responsible. We all have Tramp I’s in us – I’s that have no values. We all have Lunatic I’s in us – I’s that have sacred cows… and who believe them. And we all have Hasnamuss I’s in us, that is why if people are in a theater and there is a fire, some people will trample others to death in order to get out, that is, they will kill somebody else in order to escape. They have “I’s” in them that say, I am going to escape no matter what the cost. And, of course, there are people who would not do that. So, even in ourselves – in certain circumstances – we may have I’s in us that put their existence over others. So, we should take a survey of ourselves to see if we can identify the Good Householder I’s, the Tramp I’s, the Lunatic I’s; and, out of the Lunatic I’s, which ones may be on the cusp of becoming Hasnamuss I’s.
That ends the question and answer session for this episode.
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