S4/E14: A Meeting of Remarkable Men - Part Two
Published September 30th, 2021
A Meeting of Remarkable Men - Part Two - with a song
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 the second half of a dialogue between Russell and five of his students, which took place in a recent Zoom call, wherein each student reported their understanding about some facet of the work.
They include the Three-Fold Attention Exercise, creating reminding factors, assisting octaves, the DOGTALE “Understanding trumps Knowledge,” the five Obligolnian Strivings, assisting octaves, and sleep.
Continuing Jerry’s dissertation of assisting octaves (which began with Russell’s description of the ‘third assisting octave’ - also known as the Second Conscious Shock - which is more about it being a conscious shock than it is about it being an assisting octave, wherein TI sees the DO, which causes the DO to pull TI to completion: just like when an olympic marathon runner sees the olympic stadium and gets infused with energy, enabling him to finish the race).
Okay, lets begin:
Jerry: Having completed the third assisting octave, what about the other two assisting octaves. The first actually begins in the interval between Re and Mi, which Russell has labeled as the father’s Aoot or the Fate Aoot; and although I didn’t put the kitchen together, it is full of pots and pans and Tupperware and bowls and knives and utensils and all kinds of neat little gadgets, like can openers, cherry pitters, and cheese slicers. It has dozens and dozens of little gadgets that make the preparation of the food possible.
It reminds me of Hassein, in All and Everything, where he becomes aware of the efforts of previous generations who created all the tools and inventions that make his life easy. His observation has helped me to realize that I have sort of fallen in love with my moving center.
My moving center is my most inventive center; I just sort of stand aside and watch it invent all kinds of things.
The thing that I marveled about today was putting on my compression stockings. I have swollen legs and when my doctor recommended that I wear compression stockings, I had a heck of a time of getting those things on, it would take a good 10 or 15 minutes for me to get them on, and it would be a real struggle, by the time I finished, I would be sweating; it was arduous.
Now, I can get them on in just a few seconds. And that all happened because of my moving center. I could probably do a video on the different techniques I have found for putting them on.
It would be astounding!
And more amazingly, I was not involved at all. I just watched it on the monitor. I observed it. It was all done by my moving center.
So, in my mind, the first assisting octave has a lot to do with using tools, and creating inventions, which all happens in the moving center.
What are those tools psychologically? Probably many things, but one of the things that I see as the tools, are the exercises that we get from Russell’s work. There are 48 of them; 12 for the intervals between each state of I: there are 5 states of I, and there are 4 intervals between them. And there are 12 exercises for each one of those intervals. So, the first assisting octave involves using the tools.
Russell reminded us of reminding factors; reminding factors are, in a sense, the tools that assist us in the process.
The second assisting octave puzzled me for a long time; but cooking really helped.
Because of Covid, we subscribed to Blue Apron. So every week the packages arrive with all sorts of the ingredients; and, guess what, there is a recipe.
Oh, my God, we are talking about the Fa-So interval, the intentionally-actualized-results-of-a-denying-force. Within which is the preparation of the food and the ability to follow a recipe.
And the recipes that they send us are gorgeous, they are 8-1/2 by 11 inches, with photographs; even I can understand what they are telling me to do. Talk about an assisting octave, those recipes are amazing.
Well, guess what, psychologically, we have an assisting octave in the recipes that we get from Cosmic Secrets, which is its knowledge.
When Bill was talking, and gave his marvelous description of achieving understanding by connecting the chunks, we find that the recipes in Cosmic Secrets do something similar, they enable us to put the chunks in the right order, which gives structure to our awakening.
The Blueprint of Consciousness is named really well, as it is all inclusive. It pins the model down specifically, step-by-step.
The complexity of it is just astounding.
So, to be able to hold the basic recipe in your mind, at least for me, gives me the vision of how something goes from its beginning, to completion, to its end.
Those are my thoughts on the assisting octaves.
Bruce: Can I ask a question?
Bruce: So, I am getting, for the first assisting octave, that your thoughts are about the tools and inventions which assist the facilitator, and for the second assisting octave, that your thoughts are about following a recipe; a way of manifesting a structure, like a framework, which if you follow it, it will produce the desired results. But the third assisting octave, which pulls things through the Ti-Do interval, I am sort of trying to put a descriptor on it, in a similar kind of way. I heard you point to it, but I didn’t hear you go into its character in the same way that you did with the other two.
Would you address that please.
Jerry: Sure. For me, it’s a feeling.
With making the bed, a cycle is completed, and as such, I have this feeling of completion.
When I went through the Sanger program with Russell, one of the things that really struck me was that I felt complete and whole after I finished the program; and then, guess what, I got to start the process of working on myself all over again! Which was actually wonderful, because I now understood the process that I was going to go through, and that at the end of the process, I was going to again be complete; afterwhich, in some way, by working on it, when I got to completion, that too would expand my understanding.
My understanding was going to grow each time I reached completion, or helped someone else reach completion.
So, I now see that the ending Do is what was pulling me.
Russ talks about seeing the Oasis, and seeing the finish line. For me, seeing those things ... comes with a feeling, and it is a glorious feeling, the feeling of completion. The feeling that a cycle is about to complete itself.
Also, it has a dual nature, right?
The completing Do, the top Do, the higher Do, is soon to become the lower Do; the Do of the next cycle, which explains so many things to me.
I am also thinking of Russ’ story, about being lost in the wilderness. It is like, at each step in the wilderness, you find water, you learn how to catch a rabbit, you learn how to skin the rabbit. And, with each cycle, you are more likely to survive, right?
Jerry: That’s how I see the assisting octave in the Ti-Do interval, which is why I like cooking: the meal is prepared, it is served, and then it gets eaten, but it’s not really complete until the kitchen is restored to its former state.
Bruce: Good, good. Thank you. That is very helpful.
Russell: That was great Jerry.
What a great model of pushing the reset button.
Imagine cooking dinner and not cleaning up the kitchen. If you did that everytime you cooked, what would happen to your pots and pans and dishes and knives and utensils?
Jerry: [laughs] Well, you know, I had years and years observing exactly just that, because the few times that I did cook, I never cleaned up, and the reset button never got pushed!
Russell: I did something just as bad. I used to take my daddy’s tools off the wall above the work bench, where he had them hung with drawings around each of them to show him where they went! Who puts a drawing around a hammer? But he did. They were all labeled and organized.
Of course, when I used them, they all ended up in the woods. And the next time he went to use them, he couldn’t find them, because the reset button had not been pushed.
You and I have this wonderful step called sleep, which lets us reset ourselves every day. It allows us to rejuvenate at night, which resets us for the next day.
That being said, what is more important, the next day … or the reset?
Probably the reset.
So, what a great model, Jerry. It allows us to comprehend the third shock, as well as to cogitate on the idea of having a reset button, and places the joy, on both making the meal, and on resetting the kitchen.
Jerry: And that is what was surprising, the joy. Because prior to Sanger, it would fall, sort of, in the drudge category, of something that I had to do; but now, you would have to restrain me to keep me from doing it, because it is just so much fun. It’s fun!
Russell: Well, speaking of fun, I would like to throw this in if I may? I got to experience the thrill of today. That is, I got to witness the growth of my assisting octaves: of guys who so eloquently speak from understanding. Which, for me, is a joy beyond belief, and as such, you all deserve a very big thank you.
Rick: Yeah, well, thank you!
Bob: I can imagine your joy, Russ; but yeah, the thanks goes to you.
Jerry: Yes, thank you Dog.
I certainly wasn’t this way until this weird, skinny guy from Texas lured me into the Texas Badlands!
Bruce: I agree. The pleasure is all ours. I know that you thanked us, but believe me, the pleasure is all ours.
Bill: Ditto, thank you Dog.
Jerry: I would like to add that when Bob was sharing the striving regarding the welfare of your neighbor, there is no better model of that than you. You have basically dedicated your life to the welfare of your neighbors. So again, Russ, thank you big time.
Russell: Well, I am greedy.
Gurdjieff said, “He who can take care of what belongs to others may have his own,” and, I want it all!
Students: [All Laughing]
Jerry: There you go!
Actually, I get that. Yeah, you are really a wealthy guy.
Russell: Indeed, I am.
Rick: Well, I guess it is my turn.
My topic was sleep. It is such a huge topic. In contemplating it, I made some connections that I hadn’t made before, so I will share those. One of those, is that the minor oscillation is related to sleep in that we get stuck, and just keep cycling and cycling through the same moods and events in our lives: the same patterns because we don’t have the idea of assisting octaves, which, if we did, we might get out.
Before Russell’s work, we didn’t have any tools to help get us beyond ourselves. So we got caught in those oscillations, and after a while, we got so sick of the smell of the same patterns recurring in our psychology and in our lives, that we started hungering for something more, which eventually drove us to read a workbook like The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, and to keep looking, like I did, for 47 years, hoping that someday I would meet someone like Russ who could show me the way out.
During those 47 years, I kept thinking and saying, there has to be a way to get out of the stuck places I always get into.
And now, there is.
If we look at the structure, half of the octave is not in an oscillation. Which is pretty interesting.
What happens is this. If we take the octave of our lives, we find the first bit of our non-oscillating existence in the time of our childhood. There, we didn’t feel stuck, did we?
That's was when, in the fairy tales, the young boy has the golden ball. He is whole and complete, he loves his life, he is playing, and if he is a lucky fellow, he has a decent home and is well taken care of. He is sort of a free being, and is learning every day.
Then, slowly, as the patterns of life close in on him, he becomes less and less free.
He gets another chance at the end of his life, when he, as in Russell’s story, is no longer the hunter.
For so many years he has brought home the deer and fed his family. Now he is tired, and is too old to successfully do that anymore; but there, he has a chance of a new freedom, which, hopefully, his grandparents, or somebody else, will remind him of.
Jerry: Like “Grandpa Dog.”
Rick: Yes, like Grandpa Dog.
Grandpa Dog reminds him that there is a new freedom possible. And then he actually becomes like a child again. He recovers the ‘golden ball,’ and a new opportunity appears; and, with Russell’s work, it comes to life.
But the thing about sleep is, it’s not a one-time deal, it’s continuous.
He falls asleep moment by moment.
That is why he needs reminding factors.
He needs to use the proper tools to wake him up.
He needs the proper recipes, and the proper understanding to pry himself out of the habitual patterns that have kept him imbalanced, which have been so prevalent in his life.
It is actually a scale-1 octave, in that, he does not just go through it once.
He gets an opportunity every day to watch the process repeat and to catch himself doing the same darn things that he always does.
He needs to use those glimpses to remind himself to do things differently.
We ... are trying to be aware of ourselves just like he is. To be here-now at every breath. To have a thicker ‘now’ in which we can remember our aim, remember our tools, and remember what is going on, so that, hopefully, we can keep getting better at it.
And so, it is like what Bill was saying about coming back to the furnace on 3 different days, except, for us, work on ourselves is every day ... and hopefully, soon, every hour.
Then, when we catch ourselves doing the same things that we always do, we will try to do them a little better. Until, we ourselves, can put on those elastic socks in just seconds.
I had an experience like that just the other day. I had a nail gun that wasn’t working, and man, it was so satisfying when somehow my machine figured out how to re-put it back together so that it would work. It was very similar to what Bill was describing about the furnace, none of the parts fit, and I actually had to invent something.
It had two springs that held the nail brads in place and they kept coming out. I couldn’t hold the springs in when I tried to put the next part on. I tried to hold them in and put the piece on, but the piece would pop out, and then the springs would pop out. It was just … geez!
Finally I realized, oh, I need a tool. It was not a conscious thought, it was just acknowledging that I needed thinner fingers, which sparked in my mind the idea of using the putty knife. The putty knife would hold those springs in place while I put the other part on, and afterwards, I could just slide the putty knife out. And by God, it worked.
That was just a little tiny octave.
Fortunately, what we have learned in Russell’s work is to make those tools internal. That the proper tools can not only make us work better, but also stop us from making the same mistakes that we make every single day.
In addition, I like what Russell said about sleep being a reset. We’re inevitably going to go to sleep; we can’t be awake all the time, but we can start to see it as an opportunity.
Every time we screw up, it is an opportunity to understand a little bit more about our mechanicalness.
So, yeah, even our mechanical sleep can, in a sense, become the same sort of reset that our nightly sleep is.
I guess that’s all I have to say for now.
Jerry: Yes. Thank you.
Bob: I wanted to add that the thing that is most interesting to me about The Blueprint of Consciousness and Cosmic Secrets, is that, with them, I do make progress. Without them, like Jerry said, we had 47 years of self-observation but never got anything … there was no pay-off. We just observed the same stuff going on; but now when I do an exercise, or am aware of myself in a conversation with another person, or doing some project, or whatever, I do make progress.
That is really good! I mean, that makes sense to me.
You know, it's like, oh, let’s not do this for another 47 years and not get anything out of it, let’s not do that again. But now, after finding Russell’s work, I am actually getting results, which is quite exciting.
So, that is a big step. It is great to get results.
Jerry: It reminds me of the guy who saw an advertisement for a chainsaw, about how it would increase him getting more firewood. It said that in a day, you could get like 10 cords of wood. Oh boy, he thought, “I can only get 1 cord of wood with my regular saw.” So he goes out and buys one. A week later he comes back saying, “This doesn't work. I paid a lot of money for this, but I actually cut less wood now than I cut before. My regular saw works a heck of a lot better than this.” The dealer takes the chainsaw and says, “Let me take a look and see what’s going on.” Then he pulls the handle and starts it up ... and the guy jumps back and yells, “What’s that noise!”
The reason I am saying this is that you are right Bob, we spent 47 years observing, and like Rick said, it started to smell! Then, when Russ told me that I could pick a center, I went, “What’s that noise!!”.... I can pick a center? What!?!? Oh, my God, I can actually pick a center?
I also really enjoyed what Rick had to say about sleep. What it reminded me of was a realization that I got from Russell’s wife, Pamela, that the states of consciousness, which Ouspensky identifies as sleep, waking sleep, self-consciousness, and objective-consciousness are not sequential, but are additive.
One of the things I noticed, as my own state of consciousness expanded, is that the other states of consciousness are also there; I now see sleep in an entirely different way. I don’t know how to describe it, except to say that it is no longer a problem, it is law conformable, it is a part of ‘what is.’
It is wonderful not to be stuck in only one state of consciousness. It’s nice to have other layers, where, if I am asleep, I am not stuck in a nightmare, or like, what Rick was saying about being trapped in a loop. With consciousness, we are able to go beyond the loop. But it’s not like the states of consciousness disappear, they continue to be a part of our experience. We just need to have reminding factors to not get trapped in waking sleep.
Bob: That’s a good point.
Jerry: So, I am really grateful for having had the opportunity to learn the laws of world-creation and world-maintenance. Because of that, things, which 5 years ago were incredible problems for me, are no longer problems for me.
The model I use is the Solar System.
On the planet Earth, I am subjected to night and day. But when it is nighttime, the sun is still shining, which helps me understand the idea of permanent consciousness. In me, the sun is still shining. However, there is another part in me, an Earthly part, if you will, which cycles between day and night, even though the sun keeps shining.
And, with the Ray of Creation, I can take it a step further. This goes back to my light switch model, in which when I turn on the light, I cease to see the stars. They are still there but they are obscured by the light.
So, if we take the stars as representing objective consciousness, the sun as representing self-consciousness, the Earth as representing waking sleep, and the moon as representing sleep-sleep, we have a really good model of seeing how all of those things are simultaneously going on.
Bob: Oh, that is so good, I like that a lot!
Bruce: Yes. That is really a useful image.
Jerry: Well, it helps me.
Russell: It’s a great model.
Jerry: I spent my whole life with my back to the sun. So, thank you Russ for turning me around!
Russell: Well, you are most welcome Jerry.
It is really amazing. When I first heard that you guys were having a weekly Zoom meeting, I thought that if I sat in, I was going to have to correct stuff. But instead, I find that there is nothing to correct. Which, for me, is quite pleasurable!
Jerry: One of the things I learned about great coaches and great teachers is that great coaches always have great players, and great teachers always have great students.
So, I guess, that makes you a great teacher. Congratulations!
Bruce: Yes it does.
Russell: Well, actually, I’m not.
It is the truth that is great; I just happen to be the guy who unexpectedly stumbled upon it, and afterwards, figured it out.
But that is the beauty of it, because that means everyone can have it. Therefore, it is not about me being a great teacher, but about everyone finding the truth.
Bob: That is a really good point.
Bruce: Um hmm. Yeah, how many people can be Einstein? That's a bit tough. So you are not Einstein, but you sure have placed the truth in my understanding.
Russell: Isn’t it wonderful that truth now resides in your understanding, and not just in me as the understander.
Jerry: There you go. There are so many things about your work that are so wonderful, like higher centers being the unification of lower centers.
Oh, my God, what a truth. A truth that everyone should experience.
Fortunately, with The Blueprint of Consciousness, they can.
I cannot wait to see how the world will change, after that truth gets in their hands.
Well, I guess that wraps things up for this week. See you all next week.
Russell: Thank you Jerry, and thank you everyone. Love to you all.
That ends this question-and-answer session.
And today is a special one. It’s Russell’s birthday today. So, happy birthday Russ. May one of your best presents be seeing your work get into as many hands as possible, and making a real difference to them, and this world.
And for a real treat, here is now a song, written by Alison Balano, in honor of Russell, his birthday, and his work. It’s called The Proper Seat
The Proper Seat
For Russell A. Smith
How are you today?
I saw you moving in the sky
When I take the proper seat,
I begin to see all that’s in front of me
Vision with new clarity
And I say what I do and I do what I say and I say what I do
I saw a butterfly walking on light
then a golden beam and a green leaf
A moment, a blip of lucidity
When I take the proper seat,
I begin to see all that’s in front of me
Vision with new clarity
And I say what I do and I do what I say and I say what I do
Music & Lyrics © Alison Balano, 2021
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Goodbye until next time.