S3/E34: R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 23

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R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 23

In this episode, continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, we narrate a dialogue between Russell and several of his students, covering topics such as: to know all, sacrificing suffering, Fears — identification, man cannot do, measured existence, false emotions, the second striving, and affixing the wrong labels. 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.

Continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, in this podcast we narrate a dialogue between Russell and several of his students, covering topics such as: to know all, sacrificing suffering, Fears — identification, man cannot do, measured existence, false emotions, the second striving, and affixing the wrong labels.

Let’s begin:

Student:  Can we experience consciousness without Steward? 

Russell:  Any time the lower centers become unified, whether you are bungee jumping, or fleeing from a mad dog, you will most likely be awake, and as such, your Steward will be present. However, people quickly fragment, and their centers go back to being separate, and they lose Steward. 

Student:  Thank you Russell, that is very clear.

I have another question. Some countries have been at war for decades, what causes such hatred? 

Russell:  Well, I suppose the basic question is, why are there wars? Wars often begin as a quest for resources. Your country has something that my country wants, and the only way for us to get it is to take it from you, but you do not want to give it to us, because you need it … so, we go to war.  

But wars are also caused because of varying belief structures. That is, you think that your religion or your belief structures are better than ours; and as such, you want us to believe in what you believe. So, you try to impose your beliefs on us, and when we resist, there is a war.   

Student:  Yes, I see that now. Thank you.

Student:  I have a question. When I started this work I thought I understood it. Then, after studying it for some time, I realized that my understanding was interpreted by false I’s, or suggested to me by false teachers, and as such, my interpretation was wrong, is that correct?

Russell:  Yes, but it applies to more than just the Work. 

That is, after I awoke, I realized that I too did not understand much about anything, which gave me the real possibility of understanding a great deal about many things. 

And, as to those false teachers … they are just like you, they too interpreted the work with their false I’s, or had it suggested to them by other false teachers, so we cannot blame them for interpreting it wrongly.

Student:  I get it. I am sure that is why, after studying with you and waking up, so many things in the work and in life, now make perfect sense.

Student:  Russ, I wanted to ask you what Gurdjieff was referring to when he talked about the “four quarter maintainers.”  Can you elaborate please?

Russell:  That is a good question. But in truth, I do not know what the “four quarter maintainers” are. 

However, if the Universe is a whole, and the whole is divided into four parts, then I guess it would need “four quarter maintainers” to oversee those four parts; but as I do not want to indulge in speculation, conjecture, and guess, I suggest that you become one of the “four quarter maintainers,” and then you can come back and tell me what they are!

Student:  Laughing … Okay I will!

Student:  My question is about being ‘free.’ How do we know if we are free from something? 

I used to get upset at my children if they left their bikes in the driveway because I would have to get out of my car and move their bikes in order to get into the garage. I worked on that, and finally came up with this, whenever I get home and see their bikes in the driveway, I say, “Ah the kids are home, they are safe,” which freed me from being upset. 

But knowing if I am free from other things is a bit trickier, and I do not want to deceive myself. So, my question to you is: Is there a way of knowing when I have freed myself from those things as well?

Russell:  That is a great question, and a great model of reasoning concerning your children; one, which every person should be using. 

Now, to free yourself from the others, simply apply the same kind of reasoning that you applied to your children, and ask yourself, “What model would nullify them?” 

Student:  Wow, that is so simple. I can do that.

I have another question. I remember reading something which said, the only way to know was to know all. However, I do not understand what that means. Does that mean that we literally have to know ALL. Because, as enticing as that sounds, it is very confusing. How can anyone ever know ALL? So, my question is: what does “to know all” mean?

Russell:  I like your question. To answer it, I will first quote from Ouspensky: “There is a certain book of aphorisms which says: To know means to know all. To know a part of something means not to know. It is not difficult to know all, because to know all one has to know very little. But in order to know this little one has to know pretty much. So, we must start with ‘pretty much’, with the idea of coming to this ‘very little’ which is necessary for the knowledge of all.” 

That being said, I will now simply add this:

Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets, is the “‘very little’ which is necessary for the knowledge of all,” and The Blueprint of Consciousness methodically walks you through the chapters of Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets, step-by-step, until that ‘very little’ becomes your ‘pretty much.’ Then, equipped with the ‘pretty much,’ you will be able to understand, and apply, the ‘very little,’ and as such, will gain the knowledge of all, which afterwards, will allow you to awaken!

Student:  Okay, from this day forward, The Blueprint of Consciousness shall be my Bible. 

Student:  I have a question. It is about people enjoying their suffering. I acknowledge that people see a lot of horrific things, such as wars, car accidents, etc., and that they often have revolving thoughts about them; thoughts which they can’t keep out, thoughts that lead to depression, to PTSD, and to them living in fear. So, I am not sure what it means when it says that people enjoy their suffering. 

Recently, my mom died, and seeing her mal-nourished, broken body was frightening. Am I supposed to enjoy that?

Russell:  No, of course not, and I am very sorry to hear about your mom. However, I am glad that someone finally asked me about the ‘work’ idea, of how people enjoy their suffering; so I can dispel that nonsense once and for all, because it is not true.  

However, I can see why someone would say that. That is, after watching people repeatedly do unpleasant things, the higher-ups would have to conclude that people must really enjoy doing those things, and therefore, really enjoy their suffering. 

But, again, that is not true. 

The truth is, we need to sacrifice our suffering, not enjoy it. That is, to find a way of making efforts that eliminates that suffering. But, as we are lazy, and do not like making efforts, we don’t. If we did, our sufferings would quickly cease. 

As to having revolving thoughts: in the last podcast, we discussed how easy it was for people to let the outside, get on the inside. Which sometimes remained in there for days, weeks, months, or even longer, which accounts for the dilemma of people having revolving thoughts, and revolving fears. 

I will quote some of what Gurdjieff said in Views From the Real World, in the chapter: Fears — identification, to help you understand this idea.

Gurdjieff:  “Sometimes a man is lost in revolving thoughts which return again and again to the same thing, the same unpleasantness, which he anticipates and which not only will not but cannot happen in reality.

“These forebodings of future unpleasantnesses, illnesses, losses, awkward situations often get hold of a man to such an extent that they become waking dreams. People cease to see and hear what actually happens, and if someone succeeds in proving to them that their forebodings and fears were unfounded in some particular instance, they even feel a certain disappointment, as though they were thus deprived of a pleasant expectation.

“And this is so in ordinary, normal times but, at such times as we are going through now, this all-pervading fear becomes clearly visible.

“It is no exaggeration to say that a great part of the events of the last year are based on fear and are the results of fear.

“Unconscious fear is a very characteristic feature of sleep.

“Man is possessed by all that surrounds him because he can never look sufficiently objectively on his relationship to his surroundings.

“He can never stand aside and look at himself together with whatever attracts or repels him at the moment. And because of this inability he is identified with everything.

“This too is a feature of sleep.”

Russell:  Does that answer your question?

Student:  Yes, sir, it does, thank you.

Student:  I also have a question, Russell. I realize that identification means getting lost in the moment, but what I want to understand is the stark contrast between identification and the lack of love. What I mean by that is this: we often spend more energy on things we are identified with, than on letting people know, who we care about the most, that we love them.

Russell:  That is so true, and as such, is a sad state of affairs. 

But that is a great question. And to it, I shall offer this answer:

One happens automatically, and the other happens by choice. 

The first happens, as I said, because people let the outside, get on the inside; whereas the second happens, when people choose to let the inside, get on the outside.  

Case in point: after every meal I say to my wife, “Thank you for feeding me.” Do I really need to say that after every meal? Probably not, but I want her to hear it, and I want myself to hear me say it, so that we are both reminded of the value of her efforts.

I also take post-it notes and write down little “I love you’s,” “you are important to me,” “where would I be without you,” “you are so special,” etc., etc., and then I hide them all over the house, so that, as my wife goes through her day, she will stumble upon them. That way, if I forget to tell her how much she means to me, or how much I love her, the post-it notes will.

Student:  That is a great idea. I am off to buy, and hide, some post-it notes as soon as this class is over! 

Russell:  Terrific! Such efforts will serve you well. 

It is amazing, yet law-conformable, that little things can have big impacts. You will recognize this to be true, after you hear the missus squealing in delight, when she finds the one that you hid in her purse.

Student:  She will. She most definitely will; I can hear her now.  

Okay, I have another question. 

Please expand on the idea that “man cannot ‘do.’” 

I mean, I am an educated man, I have a successful career, I have raised two awesome children, and although some of that was luck, or just good timing, it is hard for me to comprehend the idea that I did not do those things. Please help me understand the concept that “man cannot ‘do.’”

Russell:  Yes, I will try. 

I do understand your dilemma; the idea that man cannot do, is one of the most difficult concepts for students to comprehend. 

But, in truth, things just happen. 

Consider this: when things happen the way you want them to happen, you often take credit. However, if they happen in a way that you did not want them to happen, you often justify. 

That is, you take credit for the things that worked, as if you did them, and explain away the ones that didn’t, as if they just happened. 

I often hear stories, from students, about how someone did something to them, or about how they did something to someone else. 

When I hear such stories, I simply remind the students that only a conscious person can ‘do,’ and then I ask them if they actually think that the person, who they believed did something to them, was a conscious person? That is, a person who, after conscious deliberation, decided to intentionally do something to them? Does that sound like the deliberations of a conscious being to you? 

Or that they themselves consciously decided to do the things that they have done?

When I say these things, the students usually begin to comprehend the idea that ‘nobody can do,’ which stops them from blaming their parents, blaming their friends, blaming their neighbors, and blaming themselves for the things that they believed that they had done, or that others had done to them … because nobody did or does anything; it just happens!  

One student, who was also struggling with this idea, said, “Give me another word to use instead of saying ‘do,’ and I will use that word instead,” and I said, “Do you really believe that if I give you another word to use that you will be able to do that?” That is, to use that other word?

She laughed and then said, “I am starting to understand that I cannot ‘do.’”

Student:  I also get it, Russell. Thank you very much.

Student:  I have a question, or I should say a quandary. 

I try to stay in the ‘here and now,’ and I most certainly try to keep my center of gravity inside myself, and as such, I no longer feel the need to go here or there, talk about this or that, or see some movie, or read some book. With that being said, it seems to me that time now flows much faster, and as such, that life is passing me by. 

I mean, the earth will be gone someday, and all that was, will be lost; all the beauty, and everything that supported it, will have evaporated … and possibly, never remembered, which is a daunting thought, and sort of a frightening one. 

Other than creating or crystallizing a soul which can live forever, is there nothing that can be done to preserve the rest of the Universe? 

That is, not only is my life passing before my eyes at a hastened pace, but all that I see is someday going to perish, which almost makes life seem meaningless, empty to the fact that only the soul survives, and souls cannot acknowledge the beautiful things that are found in the Universe. 

How do I deal with that?

Russell:  That is quite a question. 

Perhaps that is why, at present, all the matter in the Universe is fleeing away from all the other matter in the Universe, so that in the future, no one will be close enough to hear others express how much they miss the beauty that has fled. 

But all joking aside, let me say this: firstly, be happy for the Universe because the sun is going to exist for another 5 billion years. Secondly, be sad for the Universe because you are only going to exist for another 80 years. Finally, rejoice for the Universe because things in the Universe are very fortunate. That is, the Universe is so designed that all things have measured existences, and as such, they all have ample time to reach their full potential, which is a good thing. 

It would be a bad thing, if orange trees needed 100 years to make oranges, but only lived for 60! 

So, to overcome your concerns about the Universe disappearing, simply comprehend the idea that the sun’s existence affords ample time for the sun to fulfil its potential, and that you too have ample time to fulfil yours. 

That being said, we at THEDOG are very fortunate because the journey to awakening only takes 8 days, which means that even if we start late in life, we will have ample time to complete the journey. 

You too, are also very fortunate because you can acquire The Blueprint of Consciousness, which contains everything you need to rapidly take the journey as well. 

Besides, who said that souls cannot acknowledge the beautiful things that are found in the Universe? After all, they once were in it. Perhaps, as souls, they are better able to remember its beauty, and as such, will be able to collectively share that beauty with everyone. Not to mention the fact, they may be able to add the beauty “found in the world of souls,” to it, which perhaps is a hundred times more beautiful than the Universe.

So, do not fret. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Student:  Oh my God, Russell. You have such a way of explaining things, I must tell you that your explanation has washed away all my fears, and though I am very grateful, I find it very hard to express the true depth of my gratitude.

Student:  I agree, Russell. 

What you are giving to the world is ineffable. 

Here we are in a room with twenty people, who have all individually gone to Sanger and awoken. How is that even possible? We have all been in the work for many years, some of us for decades, and we have all had many teachers; yet not one of them, was ever able to show any one of us how to advance in our work; and to think that you were able to show every one of us, how to awaken in just 8 days … is truly remarkable. So yes, we are all very grateful, actually we are beyond very grateful, for what you have given us! 

Russell:  I am humbled by your words, but I am just fulfilling my obligation of sharing with the world that, which for each of us, is our God given right. 

I apparently, as the first guy to figure it out, am under an obligation … one, which I gladly accept. Thus, it is effortless.

Student:  We understand that Russell, we really do. But that does not make it any less of a miracle. 

I know I speak for all of us when I say, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Student:  I would like to second that as well. 

In addition, I would like to ask you another question. One about how movies, tv programs, and journalists have tried to instill in us the emotions that they believe we are supposed to have, and how those emotions are usually false emotions. 

Because of this, it has become easy for me to recognize false emotions. So my question to you is this: Is there a way of recognizing real, authentic emotions as well?

Russell:  First of all, it is worse than you think; it is the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, not just the movies, the tv programs, and the journalists, who gave us false information and created false emotions in us. In fact, everyone we ever encountered has most likely tried to convince us of their beliefs. Why? Because if we accepted their beliefs, they would feel better about what they themselves believed. 

I know this to be true … because I myself used to do it. 

In The Blueprint of Consciousness I say, “You must understand, before I awoke, I was eager to share my beliefs with others, to let everybody know what I was doing, what I found, and what I liked. I would tell them, ‘You should read this book, watch that movie, come to my church, or be interested in this or that.’ Then, if they did read that book, watched that movie, attended my church, or became interested in this or that, it validated my beliefs. And, the more people I persuaded to like what I liked, the more valuable what I liked became.”

“But after I awoke, I no longer needed my beliefs to be accepted by others, for them to be valuable. They were valuable. Being awake was valuable. Being able to stop thoughts was valuable. Having reason, impartiality, and inner silence was valuable. My awakened state needed no validation. For the first time in my life I was outwardly silent and did not need to convince anybody to do what I was doing.”

In addition, the ‘second striving,’ the striving to have a constant and unflagging instinctive need for self-perfection in the sense of being, also condemned us, because the ‘second striving’ caused us to ask, what are we supposed to be? And the moment we asked that question, someone walked up and said, “You are supposed to be Christians. You are supposed to be Jews. You are supposed to go fox hunting, or to protest against fox hunting,” and as a result, we ended up with all kinds of crazy models that have nothing to do with reality. 

However, it is in our nature to seek truth, and in our nature to question what we are supposed to be, which made it easy for people to come along and give us wrong information … and we believed them!

So firstly, discard the wrong information that created your false beliefs. And secondly, learn to recognize good common-sense information when you hear it. Information that does not try to tell you how you are supposed to be, but instead models the truth in such a way that you yourself will recognize it, and choose to become it … and as such, will be able to undertake the objective journey.

Thus … real, authentic emotions will have the taste of common sense.

Does that answer your question?

Student:  Yes, it does; it most certainly does, thank you. 

Russell:  You are most welcome.

Student:  On the subject of emotions, are the 7 stages of grief real?  

Russell:  That is a very interesting question. Labels are easy to make. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, it will probably take some time for it to heal. And, I suppose, after some observation of the healing process, I could deduce that there are 7 stages of thumb-healing too: firstly, it goes through the pain stage, where you hop around and curse the hammer; then it goes through the throbbing stage; then, through the black and blue stage; followed by, the I-can-hardly-bend-it stage, etc. So, I suppose that any loss, which causes you to experience what we call ‘grief,’ will itself, have stages, which means that the 7 stages of grief, may actually have some validity. However, the definition of those stages, may or may not be accurate. 

But such is the nature of man. Man loves to speculate, conjecture, and guess. 

He loves to make up stories about why things are what they are; and as such, he has even tainted the purity of the Enneagram, from being a symbol regarding how things work, into a symbol of body types and essence types, as if those things really exist. 


I’m surprised that he has not conjured up an Enneagram of animal types … saying, “Some guys are elephant types, they are strong. Other guys are fox types, they are sly.” 

If he had, the fox types would say, “Yes, I am a fox type – I am sly,” and the elephant types would respond, “Well, I am an elephant type – I am stronger.” 

Oh my God, the terror of the situation is that people would have believed it.

I love telling the story of how, many years ago, Astronomy (the study of planets) became Astrology – the belief that planets control our lives. 

In fact, astrology became so popular that many colleges added courses in astrology to their curriculum. 

Enthusiasm was high. 

One Professor told his students that he personally knew a professional Astrologer; one who had very impressive credentials. He had made astrological charts for several famous people, including royalty; and as such, the Professor asked him to make astrological charts for everyone in his class … so that his students could see, for themselves, the veracity of planetary influences. 

The Professor then informed his students that he had given his friend the relevant information regarding their birth, and that his friend was in the process of compiling very detailed astrological charts for them all. 

When his friend had finished, he returned to the classroom carrying a very large stack of astrological charts. Each one, describing with great accuracy the attributes of every student: their likes, their dislikes, what they loved, and what they feared; all based on planetary alignments. They even included predictions about the future. 

The Professor then passed them out to the class and instructed the students to read them thoroughly. 

After they had finished, the Professor asked them for a show of hands … saying, “How many of you found that your chart was a true, accurate objective model of you?” 

Every one of the students raised their hand, and most wanted to comment, saying things like, “Absolutely incredible,” or “This guy really knows what he is doing,” or “Oh my God, this is exactly me,” or “It was so accurate, I almost wanted to cry,” or “It was almost as if I was watching a movie about my life,” or “Just amazing.”

The Professor then told the students to pass the charts around. 

So they did. 

And, after passing the charts around the students exclaimed, “What the heck, every chart says exactly the same thing. They are just carbon copies of the same chart.” 

The students continued to whine … saying, “We were all given carbon copies of the same chart, and we believed that the chart we were given was only about us, and nobody else. Oh my God! We feel so stupid. We thought astrology was real.”

Sad but true: it is easy to trick people into believing “the not real,” is real. 

Here is how. Just give everyone the same chart and tell them that their chart was written exclusively for them by someone who really knows. 

Thus, just as astronomy became astrology, and the Enneagram became something that it is not, perhaps the 7 phases of grief are also just labels without substance, but I do not know; nor can I say. 

All I do know is that my thumb is finally in the “I-can-now-bend-it” stage.  

Student:  That is a terrific answer. I love the meaning contained therein; and, the humor at the end.

Russell:  I am glad that you liked it. 

As it is getting late, I will call class complete. 

Student:  Thank you again from all of us. See you next week.

That ends the question-and-answer session for this episode.

Thank you for listening.

If you have any questions that you would like answered, please send them to [email protected], and we will endeavor to answer them and include them in future podcasts.  

And if you would like to know more about the subjects and exercises, we have been exploring, including the book and guide that underpins it all, which is also available for PDF download, you can do so, by going to thedogteachings.com.

That’s T H E D O G teachings DOT COM.

There, you will be able to obtain Mr. Smith’s diagrams, models, videos, and listen to other talks, as well as learn all the mathematics that supports them, and much, much more.

But most importantly, you will have real time access to the materials we are discussing.

That’s thedogteachings.com

Goodbye until next time.

Teachings based upon the works of R. A. Smith and G. I. Gurdjieff.

All material © 2020 THEDOG Publishing

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