S4/E02: R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 27

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R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 27

In this episode, continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, in this podcast we will narrate a dialogue between Russell and several of his students concerning start and stop octaves, placing the three bodies on a food diagram, and why grass is not green, as well as, question the actions of a student teacher; and, help a student better understand depression. The transcript and diagrams for this podcast, can be found on our website at thedogteachings.com under Resources/Podcasts.

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Three Bodies Diagram

Food Diagram Mathematical

Food Diagram Mathematical
Food Diagram Mathematical

Video – Powers of 10 (TM)


Click to view Podcast Transcript

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 will narrate a dialogue between Russell and several of his students concerning start and stop octaves, placing the three bodies on a food diagram, and why grass is not green, as well as, question the actions of a student teacher; and, help a student better understand depression.

Let’s begin:

Student:  I have a question concerning Chapter 6, page 121 of Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets. This relates to a sentence that states: “… since stop octaves always precede start octaves…..”.

Russell:  Yes, the idea is wherever there are Supreme octaves, which contain start vibrations, the Universe must have stopped just before that, and thus, was compelled to start again 🙂

Student:  For the first Supreme Octave, the 1s, its two elements are split between the New Beginning column and the Big Ending column.  Why?

Russell:  Well, it is because the 1s octave is both a Start octave and a Stop octave. Hydrogen is on the left side of the periodic table and Helium is on the right, Hydrogen starts the first row and helium stops it.

Student:  Ah, I see, thank you.

Okay, let me ask you this: for the first Supreme Octave, the 1s octave, there is no preceding stop octave. And, after the final “stop” octave, the 7p octave, there is no following Supreme octave. Taking that as true, it dawned on me that those missing stop and start octaves could be reconciled if the whole cosmic weave was a looped three-dimensional circle, where the last octave bends back and touches the first. That way, 7p octave would precede the 1s octave, which would cause the last octave to end and the first octave to start.

Russell:  Wow, that is a clever idea. But, probably not applicable. Time and causality are linear. The 7p octave is not a Stop octave because the 1s octave, nor the 8s octave, follow it. Supreme octaves do follow Stop octaves, but the 7p octave, technically, never stopped. The 7p octave only manages to create 5 elements, not 6. Thus, column 7 on the periodic table (Gurdjieff’s Inner Ansapalnian Octave) contains the first element #1 Hydrogen and the last element #117, which I labeled Gurdjine. That is why I predict that the last stable element in the Universe will be Element #117, not element #118.  Besides the 7s octave is the last octave to contain a vibration of the 1s octave, so it is fitting that there is no 8s octave following the 7p octave. And as to the 1s octave, things have to start somewhere; but, if they stop, and you are not done, you better start them up again. 

Student:  Thank you for that explanation. I realise that Chapters 6 and 7 have the most complexity, and thus, there is much to be gained. 

I have another question about the Three Bodies. I have heard, since they represent three forces, that they could be placed on the Diagram of Nutrition in place of Food, Air, and Impressions.  Is that correct?

Russell:  Yes. The three forces in the Diagram of Nutrition depict the same placement and interaction of the three forces found in other models. 

An idea for understanding the correlation of the food diagram and the 3 bodies is this:

Make a new diagram, which I have, but instead of labeling it Food, Air, and Impressions, label it Physical, Astral, and Mental. 

You can also witness this in the Three-story Diagram, which shows 3 levels of sensation, and 3 emerging personalities.

Student:  Thanks Russ. Taking your directive, I looked at the Three Bodies, with a view to correlating them against the food matrix. However, I could not find a link with the Three-story Diagram. 

Russell:  The Three-story Diagram contains Three Forces, just like the Diagram of Nutrition contains Three Forces. The Three-story Diagram does not individually show the octaves of Astral and Mental, which are in it, but each story represents their entrance. 

Consider this: An octave only goes DO-RE-MI then stops; and, at the point where it stops, another octave enters and also goes DO-RE-MI, then it too stops. In addition, at a certain point, a third octave enters and goes DO-RE-MI. But, because these three octaves merge with each other, they allow the octaves that went DO-RE-MI and then stopped, to evolve further. 

Thus, it appears that – from the first octave’s point of view – it goes DO-RE-MI-FA-SO-LA-TI-DO… although, by itself, it only went DO-RE-MI. The Three-story Diagram shows the DO’s, RE’s and MI’s of the Three Forces that begin each story. The lower story contains the instinctive and moving aspects of Physical matter. The middle story contains the instinctive and moving aspects of Astral matter. And the upper story contains the instinctive and moving aspects of Mental matter.

Student:  That is fantastic Russ, I see it. It gives me more insight into the Three-Story Diagram.

In addition, let me ask you this. From a section in the Archive on the Master Exercises, there was a piece which drew my attention; since then I have directed some attention towards it. It was about how trees and grass reflect what they are not (green). Does that apply to everything? For example, I saw a beautiful flower tonight and something in me said, “It is reflecting what it is not.” – I got a mental picture of me shining a torch onto an image of me in a mirror, and of me complaining that “the guy in the mirror” was shining a bright light in my face. So, with the flower, I decided to see it as ugly, and also as whatever I could randomly associate with the phrase “not beautiful.”

That being said, if I see a “rude sod,” is that person reflecting the thing that he is not, and if I assert “rude sod” (which right now appears to be labels of the intellectual centre – carrier waves of intent), is that how this works? 

If it is, that brings up a more serious point, about me not labeling anything particularly well.

I wanted to address this with you, because, since you implanted that idea in my brain, I have been asking myself, “Why am I labeling this that way, when it is not that way?” 

In addition, your idea “kick started” the exercise in me of Viewing Without Verbalising. That is, when I asked for a guy to come up and label stuff, so that I could negate him, no-one spoke. I even tried looking around at things, in hopes that I would prompt one of them to say something like “nice tree” or “bare lawn,” but no one did. It was like I was a teacher saying, “Right, who wants detention? First one to speak gets detention. I was Viewing Without Verbalising, without even trying to view without verbalizing. Which, in and of itself, is pretty funny.

Russell:  Terrific stuff sir!

I pointed out the model that trees and grass were not green because trees and grass do not use green, and as such, they reject it and reflect it. Yet we say, “Grass is green,” which applies only to its color, that is, to what food from the sun it does not want.

On the other hand, our determination of a person’s manifestation, like, “rude sod,” is not a reflection of what they are not, but rather, a reflection of our biased personality; one, which we must negate.

The good news is, if realizing that trees, grass, and other things, reflect the colors they are not, has helped you see the world differently, that is, not be so quick to label things, then bravo … the medicine is working.

Only he, who can stand separate from his labels, can see the truth.


By the way, I like your detention model.

Student:  I have one more question. It’s kind of a touchy question. Why won’t the fellow who is teaching me, when I asked him about the FA, LA, DO, MI, SO, TI, RE sequence, not let me look at one of your charts that explains that?

Russell:  I am not sure. I will ask him.

Note:  I did ask him, and then admonished him for doing so.

Russell, to the student teacher who had refused to share one of Russell’s charts with a student:  Sir, if that student had asked me about the FA, LA, DO, MI, SO, TI, RE sequence, I would have given him the chart that I gave you when we did the Chapter 7 worksheet.

Although, I do not know why you did not share it with him, I do know, in the past, that you have not given out various charts and diagrams to other students as well. Which begs me to ask, “Why not?”

Student Teacher:  I understand and sympathize with your concerns: maybe we’re suffering from the number of cooks relative to the broth!   

I will offer an example relevant to the apparent difference between our ways of teaching: The same student asked me, “I do not see the sense and significance of why the sequences exist in the way that they do.”

Student teacher to me: That sir, indicates that if I gave him your chart, he would do more than make Formatory use of it. 

That being so, I try not to push a student’s Knowledge beyond their Being; I wait until they are clambering all over the topic, and as such, are ready for the answer. Then, I give it to them.

Russell to the Student Teacher:  There may be some truth in your logic. However, Work ideas like, “Your reach should always exceed your grasp;” “To know in order to be and to do;” or, “Knowledge trumps being;” suggest that we have to lead with knowledge, and allow that knowledge to stimulate their growth of being. To hold back knowledge, on the pretense that a student has to “qualify” to be worthy of receiving it … has the taste of secret societies, which all promise to indoctrinate the initiate, “when they become worthy”.

In my experience, such promises are made by those so-called schools because the truth holders, in them, hold no truth.

Gurdjieff’s advice of, “Do not do as others do,” prompted me to freely give the knowledge, which I had discovered, to all who wanted it. And as such, I created a teaching based on the idea of never placing obstacles in the path of students, nor holding anything back from them.

It was only, many years later, when I received the Master Exercises, that my higher said, don’t give these to others without some form of qualification (thus, memorizing 1,001 words of Work memory work) … So, I did not give the Master Exercises to you, even though you believed you deserved them … because you had been in the work for so many years, and as such, you too had to memorize 1,001 words. But I was not holding anything back from you, the qualifications were known.

And later, when I formulated the Double or Nothing exercises, I did not hold them back from you or anyone else either, on some pretext that you had to be “clambering all over the topic” before I gave them to you.

My method of teaching, and the spectrum of knowledge, has always been, and always will be, free for the asking. 

Therein lies the difference between you and I, which has nothing to do with the number of cooks in the kitchen; but rather, that some cooks want to keep the recipe a secret, even though the master chef gave it freely to them. How absurd, which, I guess, by holding such things back from students, they gain power and control over them.

I say, show them the picture on the box as soon as they indicate that they wish to solve the puzzle.  

That is the fastest way to completion.

My teaching has stayed the course, has proven to be objective, and has, again and again produced the desired results. There is only confusion when others, such as yourself, have deviated from the path, i.e., have changed the teaching, have inserted their “12 step program,” have added their own exercises, have rewrote the rules to the Conscious Board Game, have decided to charge a fee, or have held back the recipe.

I held nothing back from you. 

You have all the diagrams. Some of which, you probably do not yet fully comprehend. However, you have a much better chance of comprehending them if you can stick them on your wall and contemplate their creation. 

Reflecting back on my learning … I find that I always did best when the answer was given with the problem, which allowed me to discover how to arrive at that answer … instead of just guessing at what it was, wasting time on improper formulation, getting it wrong, and then imagining that I got it right, and thus, as Gurdjieff said, put blue in the place of red.

I looked at your student’s email, and asked myself, why would you make him stumble? Why didn’t you just give him the picture on the box?

I seek no glory, I lose no income, I need no sympathy, I am not in competition with anyone, I have no ego that needs salving. I just have truth to give away. Some may take it, and by having it, will find their way.  Some may take it, and by having it, will think they already possess it. And some may take it and reject it. But none will ever have the excuse of saying that I did not freely give it to them.

In closing: if everyone had all the diagrams that I gave to you, and nothing was held back, there would be no uncertainty. 

If everyone stuck to the script and followed the same recipe, the broth would always taste the same … and, there would never be any bad soup.

Indeed, students may fail … but it will not be because I failed them. I gave them every tool known to man. 

I say, become Saul of Tarsus, and then Paul the Apostle. Charge ahead and hold back nothing. Never restrict their growth, keep their reach ahead of their grasp. Prescribe the medicine the way it was prescribed to you. And avoid bringing in past remedies that, in the past, failed to provide a cure.

You have a great task to heal the afflicted in Europe. 

I have given you the recipe … make good soup.

Why in the heck would you choose to do otherwise?

Of course, you have the right to do whatever you deem best for your students. You can provide them with my diagrams, or you can hold them back.

But, be aware, if they call me, email me, or come to me, looking for my diagrams, or for the answers, I will provide them.

Quit being a bully!

His students did start coming to me looking for answers. After which they abandoned his, “I need to control you,” abusive, way of teaching.

It is amazing that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him teach things the way they are supposed to be taught.

Russell continues: Here is an email from another student, which was sent to me, as well as, to other students in his hometown group:  Hello My Teacher, and Fellow Work Students/Friends…

While my participation in our class meetings has been sparse to non-existent for quite some time now, I find my Work is at a place, which I feel is very much part of the fabric of my Being. The Work remains integral to my self development, and is the bedrock of my life. In fact, I feel deeply connected with The Work, as I have seen how it has changed my being.

I consider each of you instrumental in my journey, and for that I am grateful.

My preamble is intended to honor our friendship and to acknowledge your assistance over the past several years. Please forgive my need to state that I am still a “part of the group,” as I do not want anyone to think otherwise.

The motivation for my email is to inform you that in the past few weeks I have been experiencing feelings of despair, confusion, fear and sadness, which has been quite unexpected and, at times, seemingly unbearable. I am going to make the assumption that you have had, at some time in your life, similar feelings.

Since my early teens, I have “suffered from” depression and have been “in therapy” several times; and, have taken medication. After going to Sanger and working through The Objective Exercise, my depression vanished. I have been depressed on only three occasions since then, one just recently, which is something that I  am currently working through. To me, this Work is a blessing/gift/victory, and remains something I am eternally grateful for. For me, the Work literally changed my life and continues to do so.

My observation is that I am enveloped in a fear that I cannot understand nor move away from. In the past I have found solace in the exercises, meditation, and in visualizing being in The Round Red Room at Russ & Pam’s house, as well as talking with another of his teachers.

Right now, I can’t get through a day without tears (some bouts are really dreadful). Over the past few days, I have been experiencing a terror and internal discomfort that is far more intense than I have felt in many years. I am struggling and have found very few moments of clarity. It is disturbing and utterly confusing. It is affecting my relationships, my job, and my “sanity.”

I do not expect any of you to “solve” this for me. One of the things, which took me a long time to discover, is that this is a path of self-discovery. I must use this Work to work on myself. But, if you have any insights, recommendations, or methods that you have found successful, I would cherish your reply. 

I have put forth the aim to continue my journey, at all costs, and find freedom in this lifetime. That may be grandiose, but I will not give up, nor give in. I know that the Work works because I have experienced it, repeatedly, over the years since my first visit to Sanger. However, the situation I am in right now is larger than I am, and I need your help.

Thank you for your presence, and the opportunity to be able to share this with you all.

Russell:  Got the funk, eh … and, you do not know why?

I have a theory about depression. That is, about the funk, and I will share it with you, but I need some information first. I need to ask you, when does/has/did the funk occur?

When in your teens, if you can remember, did it start?

Was there any particular event, which you can recall, that is associated with its occurrence? If so, what was it?

And when during your teens did it reappear?

Can you give me the dates, or months, or the season of their appearance … and perhaps, even the dates or months when they faded away?

While you are gathering your memories to respond to my request, watch this video several times, and at the end, when it zooms back-in to the earth, imagine it zooming in to where you live, and imagine it finding you.

Student:  Hi Russ,

I’ve put the answers to your questions below.

Russell: Terrific. I put my responses below your answers. And, to keep it a common thread, I labeled them Question:, Answer:, and Response:

Question:  When does/had/did the funk occur?

Answer:  It started in my teens and has been cyclical since then, until I did The Objective Exercise and woke up.

Response:  Ah, that shows us that attaining a higher state of consciousness mitigates your depression, which is a very good thing, and indicates that it may be more psychological than physical.

Question:  When in your teens, if you can remember, did it start?

Answer:  As stereotypical as this sounds, my parents split up when I was 12 and after living with my mom’s parents for a little while, my mom, my two brothers, and my sister moved to San Antonio. The next year my mom married my step-father, and we became a “blended” family, with his two sons, and my family, making a family of eight.

Response:  The trauma of divorce, thinking that one is in some way responsible, and the upheaval of moving away from friends, as well as, from familiar, recognizable places, is a great candidate for depression.

Question:  Was there any particular event, which you can recall, associated with its occurrence? If so, what was it?

Answer:  I have a memory that stuck with me, when I considered your question. I see myself up in the tree, in the front yard of the first house we moved to, in San Antonio. The day was cool, and I think it was fall or winter, because I see the tree has no leaves. I had a pocket knife, and I was cutting my name into my forearm. It is a strange memory, but a vivid one. I recall that I felt so lost and alone.

Response:  Oh my, the need to reestablish oneself could support etching your name on your arm. “I am Sparticus.”

Answer continued:  I don’t recall any other event, but when we formed our new family, I remember it being a very difficult time, and eventually, (about a year later), I moved in with my father. It was just me and my father, living together for grades 8-10.

Response:  Again, upheaval and change. Perhaps, prompted by your family, trying to provide some stability for the little boy who was so traumatized that he cut himself.

Question:  Can you give me the dates, or months, or the season of their appearance, and perhaps even the dates or months when they faded away?

Answer:  I’ve pondered this a bit, and I’m struck by how difficult it is to find times that I was not feeling lost, overwhelmed, fearful, and depressed. I returned to college when I was 27, some of those years were also tumultuous, yet looking back, I consider all of them to be “the best years of my life.”

Response:  Yes, I understand the last part. Gurdjieff said, “Looking backwards, we only remember the difficult periods of our lives, never the peaceful times; the latter are sleep, the former are struggle and therefore life.” (Prieuré, August 12, 1924) 

So, there is no doubt that you had many moments of self-remembering.

Further Answer:  To turn the question around, I would experience some of the worst bouts during the holidays and came to dread the period between Thanksgiving and New Years. My birthday is Jan 6, and for many years, I considered that to be the line of demarcation, and would say, “If I can just make it to my birthday, I will be okay.”

Response:  That is logical, as holidays are the time of family, or in your case, the time of remembering the loss of family.

Great losses or repeating changes create what I call an “unknown discontent factor,” which I discovered after interviewing thousands of folks and reading their applications for employment. I noticed how many of them changed jobs in certain months, at certain times of year, or every 4 years. And, after some inquiries, and logic, I finally realized that they did that because of events which happened in their lives. That is, it was just after their anniversary, just after the start of a new year, or just when the school year began. Or it was based on the repetitive nature of changing schools every 4 years: from middle school, to high school, to college; where they were expecting things to change, or they were prompted to contemplate their life, and as such, became motivated to change. So, when I discovered when their “unknown discontent factor” was, I would promote them, send their wives flowers, put them in charge of some project, etc., which would get them past the “unknown discontent factor.” After which, they would be loyal, hard working employees, until the next “unknown discontent factor” appeared. I offer this, because, if your depression has some connection to the month, or season when your parents got divorced, you may find that by treating yourself just before that occurs, you might get past that period without feeling depression.

In addition, we know that, after you performed The Objective Exercise and woke up, your depression went away. Since that is the case, perform The Objective Exercise the moment you have a slight sense of depression, you are approaching the holidays, or know that the time of your known discontent factor is approaching.

Student:  Ah, that is awesome Russ, I will do all of those things. And, by the way, thank you for sharing that video. I remember my feelings of awe when I watched it in the past. What a great reminder of my nothingness and how awesome Everything is.

On a final note, during the last six months I have encountered what I feel to be a “major shift” within myself. There have been many changes (moving back to the US, new job due to layoffs, new apartment, new relationship) and while I’ve made so many excellent discoveries, I’ve also felt quite lost and overwhelmed.

Russell:  You always did quite well when you were sitting in my living room. And as such, if you had closed your eyes then, and right now closed your eyes, both would look exactly the same. So, my friend, simply close your eyes and imagine that you are sitting in the chair right next to me. 

Perhaps, that will help.

Student:  I will! 

Thank you for your support, care, guidance, and input. I look forward to talking with you later today or tomorrow.

That ends this question-and-answer session.

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 purchase as a new hardback, or as a 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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