S3/E20: R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 9
R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 9
In this episode, continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, we narrate a dialogue between a student and Russell on being intentional, erasing accounts, unifying ourselves, the OM exercise, denying the denying force, taking the blame, lying still for an hour, breathing while eating and kundalini and kundabuffer. 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 narrate a dialogue between a student and Russell covering the topics of being intentional, erasing accounts, unifying ourselves, the OM exercise, denying the denying force, taking the blame, lying still for an hour, breathing while eating and kundalini and kundabuffer.
Student: My exercises are going well. When I lay still an hour, I mostly do my Objective Prayer and perform the Three-Fold Attention Exercise. And recently, the awareness of the Three-Fold Attention Exercise, that is, of being in three centers simultaneously, was incredible. To be able to maintain feeling, sensation, and the counting of my breaths is truly remarkable.
Russell: Excellent. That is precisely the aim
Student: And I realized that everything has meaning and evokes a feeling in me, making it pretty easy for me to be emotional. There is a lot to have tears of joy about.
Russell: To touch the truth often does that.
Student: My thoughts have been mostly joyful, except for a little bit of internal considering. I saw that I have two horrendous accounts with my former husband. I did an exercise with one of my girlfriends last Saturday night. We decided to sit in front of each other and tried to imagine that the person sitting in front of us was the person we had accounts with. I imagined she was my ex-husband and asked him for his forgiveness. When we were done, we talked about it, and I said, my God, that was easy. But I am not sure that I really forgave him. I have such big accounts against him, and yet I still allow him to come over and sleep with me. Sometimes I want to scream at my duplicity. In fact, he was here last evening when you called, which put me in a quandary because I didn’t want to say, well, I am on the phone with Russell, so just sit there by the fire until I’m done because I don’t want to talk to you, I want to talk to Russell!
Russell: I understand. If I were you, I would find a cheap eraser, and carry it around with me.
Student: So I can throw it on the ground whenever I need to?
Russell: No! So that you can erase the accounts you have against him, especially if you plan on maintaining a relationship with him.
Student: Got it. Boy, you know, it looks like I still have a lot more work to do on myself because I thought I had gotten rid of most of my accounts towards him; but apparently I did not. I am just as identified as I ever was, because the bottom line is, I can hear it coming, that is, I know that he feels that I left him for some spiritual wooo-wooo stuff, and that I am the crazy one for putting inner development ahead of him. But, in truth, I know he has never fed me spiritually, only sexually, and because of that I hold accounts.
Russell: I understand. Regardless of why you hold accounts, the important thing is that you see that you hold accounts. Maybe later, when you get a little higher, you will be able to do something about them; but for now, you are doing the right thing because you are seeing them. Most people are blind to such things. They do not see that they have accounts, nor that they are holding things against others. So, you are lucky. The moment that you saw that you had accounts, gave you the advantage of maybe being able to put something against them. But, as I said, first you had to see them.
Student: Okay. Well, I will rejoice in the fact that I have seen them.
Russell: Did you find the bell that you were looking for, so that you can do the stop exercise by yourself?
Student: No, not yet, I am still looking. I am looking for a timer that has two bells, as you suggested. One that rings and another that rings again after a specified time. I went to a couple of consignment shops, but they didn’t have what I wanted. But, sooner or later, it will show up… Russell, don’t send me one, I will find it!! [both laughing]
Russell: Good. How was your recent class?
Student: Well the reading was wonderful. We are in Chapter Seven of Cosmic Secrets. There were some deviations and tangents. But every one in the group seemed to be interested in reading your book again after we are done; and on the second read, to make all the charts, and do all the projects, as you have suggested.
Student: Yes, Sunday’s class is timeless. Wednesday’s class, not so much. Although last Wednesday it was fun, we did some chanting, and some moving exercises based on different types of music, which again was quite fun. However, we normally just sit and read the journals of some people who were in Robert Burton’s group; journals that never tell you how to accomplish anything, only that there are things that need to be accomplished. It is like reading a novel that doesn’t offer you anything but a nice story.
Russell: Yes, ma’am. I was lucky, I never had to read those.
Student: Yeah, one of the students in our Wednesday night class was once in one of Robert Burton’s groups; and, as such, told us that the journals had great insights, observations, and angles about the work. But I heard nothing of the sort.
Russell: Yes, ma’am. I know the scenery.
Student: I have a question about the OM exercise. I was sitting outside doing the OM exercise, saying OM on the out breath, and I thought, “Is this what Russell intended for us to do?
Russell: Yes, ma’am.
Student: So, just let it reverberate in the machine?
Russell: Yes, ma’am. It is like an ‘I Am’ exercise without the I Am. It is done with resonance instead of with an idea. How many ways can we unify ourselves? Can we unify ourselves through an idea; can we unify ourselves through a sound; can we unify ourselves through a feeling; can we unify ourselves through a posture. There are many ways to unify oneself, and the idea with the OM exercise is to unify yourself with a sound. Besides, it’s hard to hold accounts against your EX husband, while you are saying OM on the out breaths.
Student: [Laughs] Okay, I will keep doing the OM the way I am doing it, instead of hating my EX husband.
Russell: Ha Ha. You got it.
Student: I hadn’t tried the OM exercise until yesterday. But you’re right, it does produce a unifying resonance.
Russell: Yes. There are certain vibrations in life that are resonant with the body, and if we are able to sound those vibrations, the body will respond in kind. They are usually very natural vibrations, like the ones that are hidden in the sound of a ‘sigh’. OM is that same kind of a sound [Russell makes the sound of a sigh, which sounds like a soft OM]. It is not a forceful OOOOOOMMMMM, like you are trying to sing something [Russell demonstrates by making a strong manufactured OM sound]. It is just a little, soft sound. It doesn’t have to be a big, loud sound; just a little, soft sound that is resonant with the body. Resonance is resonance. And if you hit a resonant sound, the lower story will respond. The resonant vibrations are a way of introducing the lower story to the idea that, “Hey guys, all of us are here; you and I, working together, waking up.”
Student: And better still, you introduced yourself to the lower story, because, as you showed us, the lower story comprises ⅔ of the parts that are necessary to wake up.
Russell: Yes indeed.
Student: That is, as opposed to the emotional center, the other 1/3.
Russell: That is correct. We mostly live in the two-thirds; and, as such, it is very important to work on where we live.
Student: I got it. It does not have to be a loud, forceful OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmmmmmmm, it can just be the small sound of a sigh. Something, which I can produce, focus on, and be resonant with.
Russell: Yes ma’am. It does not have to be loud and long, and it does not have to sound pretty. It just has to be resonant with the body and cause the body to vibrate.
As long as the neighbors aren’t calling to complain, then it is probably okay. – .
Student: Or I could do it in my residence…right, resonance in my residence. [more laughter] Okey, dokey.
Russell: What other things have you done?
Student: I am still reading Views, re-reading what we read on Sunday from your book, and a bit more reading in Beelzebub’s, probably about 10 pages; and The Mark by Nicoll. I also am reading a book by James Allen, called As a Man Thinketh, Volume 2; it seems to be inspirational and in stride with the Work.
Russell: I know the first four books well, but have never heard of the last book, the one by James Allen, so I can’t say much about his work.
Student: It essentially says that we need to have a disciplined mind, and if a person does not have a disciplined mind, they are considered weak. It says, it is important to discipline the mind, because all of our actions are preceded by our thoughts. So, if a behavior occurs, it is probably not a spontaneous behavior, but rather a behavior that has been germinated, grown, and so forth, in our thoughts. It basically focuses on the idea that how we think determines the way we are going to be. Thus, we should all be focusing on things that are straight and noble.
Russell: Yes, indeed. Sounds right to me. However, if we look at the place of our knowledge, we could actually say that it is not “as a man thinketh so is he”, but “as a man senses so is he, as a man moveth so is he, or as a man feeleth so is he.” That is, since we only use our formatory apparatus, we really never think at all. But, the premise of his book sounds sound, because it is true that the ideas held and repeated in the formatory apparatus, do influence what we are.
Student: Right. That is so right.
Student: Oh, guess what, I was able to observe when a negative emotion was about to crest. That is, right before it became a negative emotion. And I also observed that once it became a negative emotion there was no turning back, that is after it passed the crest.
A similar thing happened with a denying force, that is, it just sat there, and if something positive came in, I could nip it off, but if the denying force was allowed to reside for a period of time, it too passed the crest and began to gather momentum; just like at the top of a roller coaster ride when the car goes over the first hump. That is the place where I need to be at my best, so I can stop the car from going over the first hump.
Russell: Great observation. I learned something very similar in my life. It too was about denying forces, which, in truth, are not actually denying forces; just forces going in an opposite direction. Anyways, when I realized what denying forces were, I said to myself, “Okay, you always seem to run into the same denying forces. So, the next time you run into one of them, why not see how good you can be at denying the denying force. Deny, the denying force. Wow! What an idea. Be your own denying force, and deny what the denying force wants. Then you will become the denier of the denying force, which together will make an affirming force, because two negatives make a positive. So, after that, whenever I wanted to do something, and said I was going to do such and such, and heard a voice come in and say, but I don’t want to do such and such; I would say, okay, here is an opportunity for me to deny the denier, so I would intentionally deny it; and, as such, created a positive, a double denial. It worked great, and kept me from going over that first hump.
Student: I like that, I like that idea.
During the holidays, it was just me and my daughter. However, sometimes I would catch myself thinking about past holidays and how I missed those times; times when the house was full of people, and the family was all together; and when that happened, I would say to myself, “I don’t need to think about that, that is not what is happening here and now”, and I would look at my daughter and just smile. That kind of sounds like what you are talking about; two negatives making a positive.
Russell: Indeed it is, well done.
Have you brought up the idea that no one ever shows up for Christmas, and dealt with that?
Student: Oh, yeah. And, ironically, there is a part of me that likes that idea.
Russell: Okay, what about the idea of people showing up who you do not like?
Student: That is probably where a lot of my accounts come from, because I will have to share my time with people I don’t like. Perhaps I should work more on that one, because things like that certainly happen; for instance, when my EX comes over. Hmm, let’s try some active reasoning: I could say, “You can’t come into the house”, but that wouldn’t be right because his daughter is here. Another good active reasoning might be: everyone else in the world is out there having fun, but because so-and-so is here I am not going to allow myself to have fun? How stupid is that?
Russell: Wonderful. That is what you need to do.
Did I tell you the story about taking the blame?
Student: No, you have not.
Russell: Then, I will now. Prepare yourself, it is a long story.
One thing I try to teach every student is; to take the blame. If you take the blame, you free the person who placed the blame, as well as everyone else. So, if your EX gets into a tirade about you not having insurance? Take the blame. Then, there is nothing to argue about. If someone says, who ate the sandwich I left in the refrigerator? Say, “I did”… even though you didn’t. Take the blame so that it won’t go any further. Afterall, the guy only asked the question because he wanted to place the blame, so place it for him. If someone says, “Who ate my cookie?” Say, since you are free, “I did”, and quickly take the blame, which not only frees them but also the person who ate the cookie. So, take the blame and stop things in their tracks. Say, “You are right, I should have got insurance; yes, it is my fault; I should have done that; I am such a slug sometimes.” Then, what can the Ex say; what can the Ex do? You just called yourself a slug; you just said you were a fool; you just said you were irresponsible. So, what can your Ex say about you then? Nothing. Things are immediately over as soon as someone takes the blame.
One of my students is learning that in her job. That is, she is combining two aspects: externally considering and taking the blame; and, as she does, she is discovering that life is a bowl of cherries. Now, when she encounters some difficulty, she takes the blame and says, “It was my fault”, and the difficulty stops. It does not become a big deal because someone took the blame. But, in life, nobody wants to take the blame, and that is where most of the difficulties come from. So I, here, always take the blame, even when it is not my fault. When I do, everybody is freed. So, walk around all day long, looking for ways to take the blame and see how many people you can free.
Student: Boy, I can use that one in life’s work. That is quite the opposite from the way I usually think.
Russell: Good, it will open up many new freedoms. If you learn to take the blame, you will free yourself, as well as everyone else, because in the big picture, it really doesn’t matter who’s to blame, and as soon as the blame is placed, people move on to more valuable things. If someone asks, “Why aren’t there flowers at the meeting”? Say, “It’s my fault, I should have called so-and-so and reminded them to bring flowers, I am sorry.” Now, it is over, and y’all can go on with the meeting. By the way, the moment that you can do that externally, is the moment that you can do that internally. Do you understand?
Student: Yes. It is amazing!
Russell: Isn’t that what Christ did? He took the blame. He said, “It is my fault; and, as such, I will pay for their sins.” But that is not what people in life do. They are resistant. They want to place the blame on everybody else except themselves; blame her, blame him, blame the neighbors, blame the community, blame the city, or blame the government…etc. So, stop doing that and learn to say, “It is my fault, I am sorry, I need to work more on myself, I can be such a bum sometimes, I just hope that you can forgive me.” Do you think if you do that, that people are going to continue ranting and raving? No, of course not. It’s over; you pulled the rug out from under their feet, poured water on their intent, and did it very neatly by quickly taking the blame. After all, all they wanted to do was blame someone. So, if that is all they wanted, give it to them. Why else would they be ranting and raving. So, learn to raise your hand and say, “It was me, I am the one, it is my fault.”
Student: You, sir, are a genius.
What comes to mind is an association about an argument I had that went on all night long until about 3 or 4 in the morning, all because I was denying that I had done something wrong. And by the end of the night, realized that I actually had done something wrong.
Russell: Ah ha. Do you see how much quicker it would have been, and how much freer everybody would have been, had you just taken the blame?
Student: Yes sir, indeed!
Russell: By the way, it is really important to take the blame when you believe yourself to be innocent, because there is no greater force that will disrupt a man’s inner world than when he feels that he has been unjustly accused of something. Of course, it will disrupt his inner world if he is accused of doing something that he actually did, even though he may deny that he did it. But it will disrupt his inner world exponentially more if he is accused of doing something that he actually did not do; boy, that will send him through the roof. For instance, I can make a student, who is doing the Not Say the Word “I” exercise, say the word “I”. All I have to do is accuse them of saying the word “I” even though they didn’t, which will immediately make them react forcefully and say, “No I didn’t”. So, especially take the blame when you are innocent. Sometimes, something like that happens here at the school, and someone says, “What happened to my cookie?” I may know what happened to their cookie. Heck, I may have watched another student eat their cookie; but I still, quickly, take the blame and say, “Sorry, I did not know that it was your cookie, so I ate it.” And the person who actually ate the cookie, will look at me like, wow, you are so free, you know that you didn’t eat the cookie but took the blame so that everyone else would be free.
Student: I get it, leading by example. I will start doing that.
Russell: I am sure you will have many opportunities. And will be amazed at how fast people become different, because they and the event have lost its force.
Student: It seems taking the blame would be useful with a ‘power’ person.
Russell: It is useful with any person. But most importantly, it is useful for yourself; that is why we do these things because they are useful for ourselves. The world may change. I, however, can not do much to change it; but, by God, I am going to do everything I can do to change myself.
Okay, what else.
Student: Does Walking with Momentum have an emotional element?
Russell: Well, it may, but Walking with Momentum was designed to stop the unnecessary tensions that we carry in our body. When Gurdjieff gave us that exercise, he was trying to help us lessen those tensions by having us walk with momentum. That is, to give a push to our walking and then relax and let the momentum of the push carry us forward. Then, when that momentum dies, to give another push, etc. That may create emotional content, but I do not believe it was its intended purpose.
Student: I noticed how sitting for an hour is painless. Does that mean I should try to put myself in an uncomfortable posture?
Russell: No, that is a different exercise, called the Uncomfortable Posture exercise.
Perhaps, you guessed that I changed the Lying Still for an Hour exercise to the Sitting Still for an Hour exercise, because lying still for an hour often puts me to sleep.
Nonetheless, while I am sitting still instead of lying still, I do the Three-Fold Attention exercise and the I Wish To Remember Myself exercise. However, after remaining in a fixed position for a long period of time, I notice that I do have sensations, but do not have pain, should I change my posture or do something else to create pain?
Russell: No. This is not the way of the Fakir. The idea is to not to feel pain but to not allow the body to move. In fact, you are supposed to try to get into a comfortable position before you start the exercise. As such, it is not a matter of enduring pain, but a matter of not giving in to the impulses of the body that wish to move.
Student: I noticed yesterday, that there was a bit of movement in my head. Sometimes there is this automatic shifting of the head. It tilts up a bit when I look for emotion.
Russell: All natural body functions are allowed: breathing; swallowing; and, if your eyes are open, blinking; etc. And, I suppose, that some slight head movement is natural when your eyes look up for emotion. Just try to quash all the fidgity, scratching, adjusting movements that try to arise.
Student: I performed the OM exercise again, and it may be my imagination, but it seemed like there was a certain frequency sensation in my machine that was connected to the posture of me sitting still for an hour. It seemed, when performing the OM exercise, that the frequency of the energy in me had stepped up; what was usually a lower hum, became a higher hum… is that normal?
Russell: Yes. And, fortunately, there is no penalty for becoming higher.
Student: [Laughs] Good. That has been the only experience with the OM exercise. There are vibrations that seem to extend into the hands, and more sensations in the upper limbs than in the lower limbs. Does that sound normal to you?
Russell: Yes, pretty much. The important question is: Are you more collected after you do the OM exercise?
Student: Actually, yes. My OM’s are quite fun! All the exercises, with the exception of the counting exercise, give me energy, and that includes the OM exercise.
The most interesting event this week, and there have been many instances to play with it, is the model of denying the denying force that you shared with me. That has been quite invigorating; because now, when denying thoughts come in, I simply deny the denying thoughts, which change everything.
I also had that experience when my daughter and her dad watch TV, and comments are being made throughout the program; and, oh my goodness, I have such a reaction. But now I say, “I deny the denying force”, and just wash it away. It is as though, by denying it, it gives me the opportunity to see the magnitude of my negativity. I am so pleased to be able to see the negativity, because I could do nothing against it until I was able to see it. Your denying the denier model gave me that. Yee haw. I like denying the denying force!
I would also like to ask you about taking in first-being food, is there a particular type of attention, other than chewing the food and allowing it to descend down the oesophagus into the upper part of the stomach, that would accent the exercise?
Russell: Yes there is. Take in air. Consciously take in air when you eat; consciously assimilate the air. The most important exercise to do when you eat is to breathe when you eat. That is, to consciously recognize the air. Just through conscious recognition of the air you are taking in, you not only change the air, but also, change the food.
Student: It seems that bringing in emotion in the Three-Fold Attention exercise or the I Wish to Remember Myself exercise, may be similar to that. There is a clear sense that energy is coming from the lower extremities to the upper parts of the body, sometimes to the head; could that be the same thing as the kundalini rising effect?
Russell: It could be interpreted that way. The Kundalini rising effect is an interesting concept, one which Gurdjieff discussed.
Student: Gurdjieff said that Kundalini was imagination… didn’t he?
Russell: Well, yes. However, you have to realize what Kundalini and kundabuffer represent. The truth is: Nature pushes things down to the bottom. So, let’s look at both logically. Kundalini and kundabuffer are synonymous with the bottom. That is, with either pushing things down to the bottom or pushing things up from the bottom.
We find kundabuffer, in Gurdjieff’s work, as an organ that was connected to the bottom of the spine, which prevented man from ever perceiving reality; and Kundalini, in the work of Yogis, as the movement of energies going up the spine, passing through what are called the chakras. But, technically, they refer to the same thing.
Again, the idea is: Nature pushes things down to the bottom. That is her desire. And, the desire to push them back up, is ours.
In Gurdjieff’s work, we are automatic; and, as such, live in our mechanical parts; the place to where Nature has pushed things down. But as men of reason, we see that in order to free ourselves from the organ kundabuffer, we have to intentionally push them back up. So, in a way, both are saying the same thing.
Student: That makes sense to me.
Russell: Good. Any other questions?
Student: No, I am just glad to know that I don’t have to sit in an uncomfortable posture.
Russell: Ha ha, nope. Just stop the moving center. That is the crux of the exercise.
Student: Terrific, I have no other questions. But I will talk to you on Christmas night, what a great time to call you and work on higher things!
Russell: Indeed! However, everyday is Christmas day. That is, everyday is an opportunity to work on yourself, everyday is an opportunity to observe yourself, and everyday is an opportunity to take the blame. Remember, there is always something you can do; and, as long as you remember that, something, will always get done.
Your only concern should be your direction, and in knowing that if you can push, push; and if you cannot push, pause.
It’s pretty simple really; it’s just all pushes and pauses and Santa Clauses.
That ends the question and answer session for this episode.
Thank you for listening.
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