Real and Fictive Consciousness
Do I believe in consciousness ? - Is there something beyond consciousness?
Mr. Gurdjieff wrote in many places in The Tales of how important it is for us to access what he called "subconsciousness" - also because it is the seat of what he called "Objective-Conscience". He also advised us to get in touch with "our unconscious parts" every day at sunrise. Silencing the body, thoughts and emotions in the morning can put me more in touch with my unconscious parts.
What can take place is that new "ideas" start entering into what I call consciousness. For example I can wake up in the morning with a sense that I have come in contact with something in myself, but this is often very difficult "to remember" - often I can not catch it, remember it, and the sense that I have received something, seen something, is so frail that if I am not able to put it in some words and approach it that way, I quickly lose it. Moreover this “idea” does not repeat itself (at least I have no such case to report). A new sense of receiving something is every time new.
I am fairly sure that the above mentioned ”ideas” come from my unconsciousness and that in this way the unconscious is so to say "knocking my consciousness" to wake up to what it can convey, to the messages it is sending.
This brings me to the idea of the higher centers; emotional and thinking. In the light of what I have seen the word "higher" in relation to these centers is perhaps misleading. Mr. Gurdjieff said that they are continously working, but that we are not aware of it. The higher centers work in the unconscious (meaning that we can not access them with our consciousness) and as a consequence this "deeper" knowledge can not become our own.
For tens of years I have found it difficult to understand what is meant with the higher centers, but it could be that the direction where they can be found, uncovered or discovered, is the unconscious.
One of the difficulties arising from trying to remember the experience of the contact and arising “idea” is that as soon as I manage to remember it the power or energy of the “idea” gets lost. This put a big question on the importance of what I understand with the word “conscious” and “consciousness”.
Is it so that whatever I can remember has perhaps not the same content as what I have seen? When my memory has already taken over, as it does with everything it can take over, then the only way that remains is going to silence.
I wrote an article on this a couple of years ago in which I called this ”idea” a ”flash”. It starts with:
One night last week, just before I fell asleep, I had a “flash”. Sometimes, often before I fall asleep or on waking up an idea reaches me out of nowhere and like lightning seems to happen in a fraction of a second. It is this type of idea that I call a “flash”; in other words an idea is flashed in me.
The flashed idea is not my thought or emotion; my thoughts and emotions can only be responses to the ”flashed” idea. I am not the originator of the ”flash”; I do not make it or manufacture it in any way, neither do I make the idea that appears in the “flash” – they come when they come of their own force (and with their own energy) independent of what I do.
An idea that reaches me in this way is always very fresh. I would even say that it is alive. One aspect of this aliveness is the connection that the flashed idea has to many other ideas to which it is linked in a mysterious way.
When I can remember the idea and follow the links it has I find that these links are to ideas that are somehow all about the same thing, they all lead towards the source of the idea, or give an idea of the whole, like a flash of lightning can reveal the whole landscape for a short time.
Somebody commented this article by saying:
The vessel of memory cannot contain the experience, the mind cannot describe it, you cannot re-create it; let it go and something else will come.
Link to the article:
My own aim with these flashes is to try to find out what they say, but then also let them go; in this way I can see how what is in the subconscious can tell me something.
These flashes contain information that I can not reach through what Mr. Gurdjieff called the "fictitious" consciousness. It is also very diffiicult to express them in words, but when I succeed they seem to be telling something of reality, i.e. they can be called realizations.
The flashes do not look like dreams to me, but I must add that I can not see how to explain this; without similar experiences you will not be able to understand what I am saying.
I happened to see on the Beelzebub-thread on a Forum saying that two paragraphs were left out of the 1950 edition of The Tales; they are on the chapter on Hypnotism. The first of them is:
“So, my boy, when the hypnotist, by modifying the tempo of their blood circulation, temporarily suspends the action of the localization of their false consciousness is now the ruling master of their common presence – the sacred data of their genuine consciousness can blend freely during their ‘waking’ state with the entire functioning of their planetary body; and if then he rightly assists the crystallization of data evoking in that localization an idea contrary to what has been fixed there, and directs the action of that idea upon the disharmonised part of the planetary body, an accelerated modification of the circulation of the blood in that part can be produced."
The reasons why I consider it important to find out more about the workings of my "unconscious" are briefly that the whole of The Tales are full of mentions of the "real" and the "fictitious" consciousness in us. Moreover the "Divine Conscience" is buried in the Real Consciousness, which is also the seat for genuine Faith, Love and Hope.
There are only open questions left, something like this:
Did Ouspensky really understand the teaching? My immediate answer partly due to the disturbing influence of Stanley Nott is that he did not have a clue. Ouspensky had exactly the same problem that I have: he was too much in his head. Still, it is only my answer.
Does "an expanded state of awareness" bring us closer to the "subconscious"? I have understood that Mr. Gurdjieff's medicine to getting the "subconscious" to take part in our "waking" state is to practise Partkdolg-duty, i.e. conscious-labors-and-intentional-sufferings. Have I practised these intesively and long enough to have anything to say on the subject?
In spite of my efforts the "waking" state behaves as it does and does not care a hoot about the "subconscious". The only feeble connection is the impossibility to put into words what I have seen in half-awake states.
Is there any trick? Or is my task just to do the exercises and not expect any results whatsoever from them? Do I need a shock from the outside? Anyway, I can not wake up without someone waking me up so who is there to do this "Karapet" on me?
I do not think that the way to the "subconscious" is a continuation and expansion of the "waking" state - a quantum leap is necessary.
After I wrote the above last line about 16 hours have gone. What happened from that time until now is a whole world!
This is the story: I was convinced that the answer to the main question, the connection to the "subconscious" is something I know about, but that I need to rub like Aladdin rubbed his lamp to have a clue to what it is.
I first went through the PDF version of The Tales and searched on "subconscious"; there are lots of references. Of the longer ones first of all Ashiata Shiemash, whose aim was to bring the "subconscious" into the "waking" state. Then I read the chapter on Hypnotism from The Tales. I do not know how many times I have read it; I bought the book in 1963 and it is rather worn by now.
It was in this story about hypnotism that I noted Beelzebub mentions the cause of our "waking state hypnotism" (my term) to have a close connection with egoism, which again is due to the wrong education etc. In other words the "waking state" is a form of "hypnotic state", which I can not avoid, because that is the result of my education. This is in fact the prison that I need to get out of to be free.
I then discovered that a couple of years ago my friend Will Mesa had written an article which he called "Two Direct Ways of Penetrating the Subconscious", link: Will Mesa , and the examples he gives seem to be fine, but are they the solution that I am looking for? This does not look like the "quantum leap" I am looking for.
After all this going on, exercising as usual, and talking to Agi (my wife) it suddenly dawned on me that what is needed is "the death of myself in the waking life"; could it be that the Sufi saying “to die before I die” has this meaning? I have faced this situation long enough, but can I "leap to death" myself or do I need to be pushed? The answer is very simple!
It is killing me to see every day many times how “unprofessional”, or “not responsible”, “amateurish” etc I really am! I do not wish to continue to exist and stay alive "in my waking state"; after all it is “sleep”.
I opened Beelzebub from the beginning and discovered the meaning of the First Series: "To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world."
Is that not a direct reference to the death of "the waking state"?