The First Initiation by Madame de Salzmann

Alada

The Living Force
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

go2 said:
Alada said:
He doesn't have the whole banana re. Mouravieff/Amis, ironically missing the point that they were interested in the 'Royal Road' of the inner tradition, not external Orthodoxy, but worth the read nonetheless.

Hi Alada,

I have read and studied Mouravieff’s Gnosis and Gurdjieff’s All and Everything. It is certainly true that William Patrick Patterson’s work doesn’t have Mouravieff/Amis’s whole banana. They have added wisdom by the acre. It is my impression that Gnosis is an intellectual tract contrasting with the intellectual, emotional, and physical demand’s of All and Everything for transformation of the inner being of the reader.

If you wish, could you post your sources for the above quoted statement,”… they were interested in the ‘Royal Road’ of the inner tradition, not external Orthodoxy?”

Hi go2,

There is reference to the "Royal Road' here in the preface to Robin Amis' A Different Christianity. The 'Royal Road' Amis describes seems to be akin to the Work, a practical means of transformation.

A small excerpt below:

Robin Amis said:
In fact, all the individuals listed above were in some sense direct followers of the early fathers of the church. Nearly all of them, (as well as certain others who will appear later,) referred at some time to something known as the Royal Road or Royal Way. The significance of both these facts will become increasingly apparent the further we read into this book. Saints are made, not born. When I asked my original question, I turned the question towards the audience as individuals, asking them another question which every sincere seeker should ask himself. I asked them then as I ask you now, which of you who think of yourselves as Christians has not asked the catch question: how can I be more Christian than I am now? Or to put it another way: How can I free myself from my own bad habits? How can I learn to live to my own highest principles? How might I feel growing in my own heart the qualities described in the Sermon on the Mount? How can I learn to turn the other cheek? How can I love my enemies? Behind this is a basic answer given by my researches. If people understood what my researches have confirmed - that saints are made holy, not born holy - then it would be possible at least to begin to answer these other questions, and that in such a way that we could understand how we ourselves could change if we want to. Saints are made: with the help of our Lord, certainly, but made, not born holy. Never forget that. Never let your children forget it. A generation forgot it, and where are they now? All the great religions of the world have a tradition that exists just to answer this question, a therapeutic tradition; a means of making saints. Hinduism has its Yoga. Islam has Sufism. Buddhism has a number of meditation traditions including Zen. Only Christianity, at first sight, lacks such an 'organ'. But that is not so, Christianity has its ways, an almost forgotten mystical science, the science of metanoia, sometimes called the Royal Road, akin to psychological means of therapy yet more than merely psychological in character; and this ancient and forgotten science is not only a process parallel to these eastern traditions, but it is entirely Christian in character. As the Abbot of an Athos monastery wrote recently: "When the monk possesses the grace of repentance he knows the true God, not some idea of God." In actual fact, as my researches have confirmed time and again, the Christian esoteric or inner tradition is in every respect a true tradition that is the equal of the great inner traditions of the East but, due to certain accidents of history, to the fact that this idea appears to conflict with humanist and scientific world-views and with the intellectualism of modern man, this tradition has been largely forgotten and partially lost. Finally, having been diluted to the point where it lost is power to produce results, it has proved an embarrassment to churches who wanted to appear 'scientific', wanted to be accepted in circles that also appeared scientific, and so it was 'swept under the carpet when no-one was looking.' However, it was the strength of psyche this part of Christian tradition gave to many individuals that explains the way the early martyrs of the church made such an impression on those who saw them, so that the Christian church in its early centuries - before it became divided - almost entirely supplanted competing faiths. The outer effects of the early church were the direct result of its inner power to transform the individual.

go2 said:
I also wish to confess this post is in response to a perceived innuendo of your statement that Fourth Way orthodoxy is somehow deficient and not of the inner tradition. The language “whole banana” and “ironically missing the point” reflect this bias. It seems to me an unnecessary impulse to diminish Mr. Gurdjieff’s Work, but I could be wrong.

Well that would be poor communication on my part, there was no intention to imply that Forth Way orthodoxy was deficient. Gurdjieff's Work is invaluable. Let me try to be more precise.

It seems to be that Patterson is missing something in his impressions of Mouravieff/Amis. There's an irony in Patterson's perception of them, that within an essay discussing Gurdjieff & Christianity he so swiftly sweeps them aside. Amis seemed to be trying to find the roots of the system, which led him to Mouravieff and ultimately to contact with monks on Athos who still retained the inner tradition. One problem perhaps is that this tradition exists only in oral form, Patterson won't find the paper trail proving authenticity.

From brief contact with Amis, he gave the impression that Mouravieff and his family also had contact with monks on Athos, that the information was coming from a direct source. This is partly the reason why Amis went there to find the source for himself, which he claimed to have done. But again the problem is that what he found was effectively hidden and in oral form only.

Patterson may well be right to describe Mouravieff as only having an intellectual understanding. I think the Cs described him something along the lines of being a carrier of the tradition not a master, and Laura has also discussed problems with some of his interpretations. But for all that, to toss it aside is really to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It seemed that Patterson in his dismissal was only perceiving the external part, he saw religion where that was only a gloss, a deliberate blind perhaps. 'Not having the whole banana' meaning that Patterson failed to see that the ideas spring from the same well, not that fourth way ideas were of lesser value.

go2 said:
Taking with the Left Hand-William Patrick Patterson said:
p. 123
The editor of Mouravieff's writings and founder of an organization, Robin Amis' Praxis Institute puts out a correspondence course on esoteric Christianity, including monographs and other materials in support of its assumptions. The publisher was greatly influenced by Jacob Needleman's nonfiction work Lost Christianity (Doubleday & Co., New York, 1980) which he mentions in his introduction to Gnosis, Vol. 3. He never seems to have realized the identity of Father Sylvan, the book's central figure.

Yes….Who is Father Sylvan? Could it be Mr. Slyman?

I've not read Lost Christianity, it would be interesting to read with that question in mind.
 

go2

Dagobah Resident
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Hi Alada,

Thank you for your clear and through response. It helps me see how the source of Christianity appears hidden or to exist only in oral transmission. I have heard the Truth hides in plain sight. It lives within the beings of men and women who have paid for their existence with “conscious labor” and “intentional suffering” as Mr. Gurdjieff so succinctly describes the method of transformation. Apparently this universal Truth is hidden from the understanding of those who have not paid the price.

I saw Laura recommended Jacob Needleman’s Lost Christianity on another thread. I checked a used book store yesterday and found a old paperback copy for three dollars. It has the patina of age and has never been opened until now. I can’t put it down. It places the Fourth Way teaching at the living heart of Christianity. FOTCM and The Cassiopaea Forum’s work is squarely in the center of the ancient source of assistance in the struggle for Truth and Liberation. I look forward to further discussion of Lost Christianity.

Edit: I would like to post a few paragraphs from Lost Christianity which seem to bear on this thread.

Lost Christianity--Jacob Needleman said:
Anthony Bloom is Metropolitan of Western Europe, the Russian Orthodox equivalent of archbishop. …

He continued, speaking softly and deliberately, “The exercises you ask about originated in this way, from the Fathers observing what happened to them when they were in a state of prayer.”…

Christianity does not offer itself solely as an explanation of things but as a means of making things different, making man different. I may think great and true thoughts, I may have absolute integrity in my intellect, and yet at the same time I may not be able to live my life according to what I know is true or right…..

Somehow, the intellectual grasping of a great idea is accompanied by the conviction, a sort of unconscious vow that I will live according to this idea. It seems that no matter how often life proves us wrong about our powers in this regard; we continue to fall under the sway of this illusion. Thoughts, perhaps especially thoughts about the greatest truths, have this property of absorbing all our awareness, leaving us blind to the actual quality of the emotional and physical impulses that govern the whole of our everyday lives. In the language of Christianity, though begets pride….

And as for the question of the origins of Christianity, the early practices, the “lost” tradition, must we not say that these, too, are matters that cannot be settled by either the ordinary intellect or the ordinary emotions of man? Is not the question of the origin of religion itself a religious question---in the sense that it cannot be approached without at the same time seeking for the “origins” of Christianity within oneself. Could it be that the roots of Tradition can only be known in a specific inner state….
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Laura, I want to thank you mucho for recommending Jacob Needleman's book "Lost Christianity". This is probably the first book I've read that I can actually validate the reality of what is being written from page one from my own experience (so far, anyway). I understand now why you mentioned it.

For example, I have fairly recently discovered the Roman Emperor's Constantine's role in Christianity, suggesting in one of my blog posts as the origin of Christian 'militancy'. I wrote this directed at a 'traditional Christian' audience:
_http://stuffnsuch.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/gentle-jesus-the-warrior/
Needleman refers to this period as the beginning of one of the streams of Christianity.

I've also recently discovered Simone Weil's work, having started with this post with reference to her manner of being present with her full attention and letting the realities of this world fully penetrate her awareness.

After the experience I mentioned in this thread, I had realized the necessity of toning down my day to day emotional expressions, preferring instead, to assume a quieter, more 'listening' mode, emotionally speaking, where I hope to be able to discern more of the finer, more subtle "B" influences and such. This seems to have placed most of 'me' in a position similar to the state Needleman describes as an 'in between' state - neither spiritual, nor worldly, yet pulled by both: a state voluntarily chosen; the state of friction wherein one experiences his or her 'own-ness' as a matter of personal choice.

Needleman has mentioned all of the above plus Gurdjieff's "voluntary suffering" within the first 69 pages (chapter 3). I can hardly wait to see what is to come!
 

Ollie

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Hi Bud
After the experience I mentioned in this thread, I had realized the necessity of toning down my day to day emotional expressions, preferring instead, to assume a quieter, more 'listening' mode, emotionally speaking, where I hope to be able to discern more of the finer, more subtle "B" influences and such. This seems to have placed most of 'me' in a position similar to the state Needleman describes as an 'in between' state - neither spiritual, nor worldly, yet pulled by both: a state voluntarily chosen; the state of friction wherein one experiences his or her 'own-ness' as a matter of personal choice.
In addition to the above, by taking this 'quieter, more 'listening' mode' path you may also 'be able to discern more of the subtle "A" influences as such', from internal dialogue, or not.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Bud said:
Laura, I want to thank you mucho for recommending Jacob Needleman's book "Lost Christianity". This is probably the first book I've read that I can actually validate the reality of what is being written from page one from my own experience (so far, anyway). I understand now why you mentioned it.

Yes, it's always helpful to have material where other people describe similar processes and one can have a sort of confirmation as well as have some idea of where they are and what is going on.


<snip>

Bud said:
Needleman has mentioned all of the above plus Gurdjieff's "voluntary suffering" within the first 69 pages (chapter 3). I can hardly wait to see what is to come!

It's definitely one to add to the required reading list, yes? Though should be read only at the point it is needed and not necessarily in advance.

What I see in there are hints of the deeper PaleoChristianity that predated the whole Jesus thing by many thousands of years - the religion of the Cave Painters. I found Needleman's few comments on symbols to be of great interest in that respect.
 

slowone

Jedi Master
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity


I want to say a big thank you as well for recommending this book.

Bud said:
Laura, I want to thank you mucho for recommending Jacob Needleman's book "Lost Christianity". This is probably the first book I've read that I can actually validate the reality of what is being written from page one from my own experience (so far, anyway). I understand now why you mentioned it.


After the experience I mentioned in this thread, I had realized the necessity of toning down my day to day emotional expressions, preferring instead, to assume a quieter, more 'listening' mode, emotionally speaking, where I hope to be able to discern more of the finer, more subtle "B" influences and such. This seems to have placed most of 'me' in a position similar to the state Needleman describes as an 'in between' state - neither spiritual, nor worldly, yet pulled by both: a state voluntarily chosen; the state of friction wherein one experiences his or her 'own-ness' as a matter of personal choice.
For the last couple of days since beginning this book I too feel that I have found a state of observance. A kind of in-between as Bud says neither spiritual nor exactly as I was before, just more able to be quiet and observe what comes up. It feels like progress, a step in the direction towards being more aware of my programmes and I's.

Something has become more clear for me about the nature of the work being inward, of myself, but it's not concrete enough for me to say what exactly yet.

This book was great timing for me I think. Thank you again.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Trevrizent said:
by taking this 'quieter, more 'listening' mode' path you may also 'be able to discern more of the subtle "A" influences as such', from internal dialogue, or not.

Hi Trevrizent. Yes, it has been a help there as well. It's also a bit easier to notice the internal responses from what appears to be the external 'prompts' from those things that normally hook my attention and stimulate internal desires.


Laura said:
It's definitely one to add to the required reading list, yes? Though should be read only at the point it is needed and not necessarily in advance.

I agree. It's sort of like some of Gurdjieff's stuff in that respect. In other words, some things he's said I didn't understand until I had already 'got it' from a different angle or direction, indicating I wasn't ready for it until I reached a particular frame of mind. (Some Sufi tales work in that respect also)


Laura said:
What I see in there are hints of the deeper PaleoChristianity that predated the whole Jesus thing by many thousands of years - the religion of the Cave Painters. I found Needleman's few comments on symbols to be of great interest in that respect.

I'm glad you said that. I had already formed an impression of a 'bridge' into PaleoChristianity. Nice to see that confirmed. :)
 

RedFox

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Laura said:
Bud and Redfox (and others), may I suggest that you get a copy of Jacob Needleman's "Lost Christianity". I think it is the right book at the moment. I was gifted with this book by Black Swan a couple months ago and have been reading it at odd moments with some astonishment. Here is a mainstream professor of philosophy who is basically talking about The Work in a religious context, describing things we know about here, very well, but from a particular, normative perspective. He tells little stories that illustrate his ideas in a way that I think both of you will find very comforting.

I will also suggest that Approaching Infinity, Keit, and a few others might be needing this book at the moment.

Thanks Laura, I some how managed to miss your reply at the time. Sounds like a good book from what has been posted about it. I will order a copy when my pay check comes in on Wednesday.
I must admit that I find it pretty amazing there are so many of us going through near identical (yet individualised) processes at the same time :)
 

daveOS

Jedi
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Thanks for bringing 'First Iniation' to attention Gandalf. I've often reflected on that quote from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"...

[quote author=William Blake]
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.
[/quote]

... and Coleman Barks translation of Jelaluddin Rumi's 'Clear Being' ...

[quote author=Coleman Barks]
I honor those who try to rid themselves of lying,
who empty the self and have only clear being there.
[/quote]

... and Mme Jeanne de Salzmann provides so much more substance to absorb!
 

annp

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

I bought the "Lost Christianity" this weekend. Must confess - I needed some immediate inspiration, so ordered it direct to Kindle. Have only been able to read a few chapters (while resting between packing boxes :() -but am really enjoying it so far. I highly recommend this book! Thank you so much for suggesting this, Laura - it is just what I needed right now.
aleana
 

ana

The Living Force
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

I am also reading it and it is a great work, a refreshing new water wich realy make sense.
 

Smallwood

Jedi Master
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

I've been reading a lot about psychology, healing the inner child and so on lately. It seems that this is making my predator really angry. It distorts my view with just about every kind of dirty trick there is like "all those normal people got so much a better start than you that you don't stand any chance, you are so different from them, you are a freak, God doesn't love you". I'm convinced that It has a mind of it's own. The worst part is that for a little while I entertain these thoughts as valid and productive, perhaps because I just see no other option. It's true that I don't really love anyone, even myself. It is that the growth of my being probably ended around year 2 and that I really have a lot of catching up to do.

It feels so backward. I know that I need love to develop yet I can't allow myself to love myself.

I don't know if it is wise at all in my current psychological condition, but I really want to See myself again. It's disgusting to see how lies are used to twist me out of my shape and divert me from my goals and ideals. And most of all I want to See that there is something Real in me, something to live for.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Smallwood said:
I've been reading a lot about psychology, healing the inner child and so on lately. It seems that this is making my predator really angry.

That has happened to me too.

Smallwood said:
It distorts my view with just about every kind of dirty trick there is like "all those normal people got so much a better start than you that you don't stand any chance, you are so different from them, you are a freak, God doesn't love you". I'm convinced that It has a mind of it's own. The worst part is that for a little while I entertain these thoughts as valid and productive, perhaps because I just see no other option.

You are not alone there. I know for a fact that others here, and myself, have also experienced this kind of attack from the predator's mind. Notice the two different points of view. The Real You is the one being addressed by that type of thinking. So, 'who' do you think is doing the addressing? Try and think in terms of those automatic thought streams originating from someone else, because if they were yours, they would be different. This might allow a bit of detachment.

Smallwood said:
It's true that I don't really love anyone, even myself. It is that the growth of my being probably ended around year 2 and that I really have a lot of catching up to do.

In this Work, that's not something to be ashamed of. Most of us grow up not knowing what Real Love is anyway, so it stands to reason that we might have to admit it some day.

Smallwood said:
It feels so backward. I know that I need love to develop yet I can't allow myself to love myself.

Do you do the EE program regularly?

Smallwood said:
I don't know if it is wise at all in my current psychological condition, but I really want to See myself again. It's disgusting to see how lies are used to twist me out of my shape and divert me from my goals and ideals. And most of all I want to See that there is something Real in me, something to live for.

When I read your post in its entirety, I see someone who can describe what's going on within himself and see the actions of the predator's mind. I think that's Real, but it sounds like you need a way to maintain some detachment in the face of negative thought loops. Do you have a specific Aim?
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Smallwood said:
I've been reading a lot about psychology, healing the inner child and so on lately. It seems that this is making my predator really angry. It distorts my view with just about every kind of dirty trick there is like "all those normal people got so much a better start than you that you don't stand any chance, you are so different from them, you are a freak, God doesn't love you".
Hi Smallwood,
It has been my experience too that dealing with childhood issues and the inner child results in a lot of anger. But I think a lot of this anger comes from the inner child which is hurt and still lives in the past. The predator's mind feeds off this genuine emotion of anger and runs negative thought loops with its energy using the intellectual center. In trying to distinguish between what belongs to the child and what is the contribution of the predator, my current understanding is that the child is concerned with simple emotions and needs and is not interested in extrapolating it into a broader context or making judgment calls. So thoughts like "you don't have a chance" or "God does not love you" definitely comes from the predator which is feeding off the anger and sadness of the child - osit.

[quote author=smallwood]
It's true that I don't really love anyone, even myself. It is that the growth of my being probably ended around year 2 and that I really have a lot of catching up to do.
[/quote]
This is a devastating realization that I think one has to go through as a process of growing up. I am in the same boat and find the burden of this realization very heavy to carry around while I play the roles society and family requires of me. It is here I think that faith needs to come in. I do not always find this faith and hope - but it stays somewhere in the background shining its light in the darkness when it seems unbearable. With the help of DCM, we will hopefully be able to progress on this path and eventually find the meaning and the ability to express true love.
fwiw
 

Smallwood

Jedi Master
Re: The First Initiation and Gurdjieff and Christianity

Thank you both for input, it really hit the spot. I will take note of what emerged me from my slumber this time, it was allowing let the feeling arise and move in me. It motivated me to put it to some good work like self-observing.

When I look at Laura and the whole Chateau team at the same time I see so much innocence, inspiring power of mind and wonderous joy of participating in creation that I really wish I could be a part of it somehow. And in a way I am through the Fellowship. It's only that I am really losing the joy in life and wish there was more time, after all I'm only 21.

When I asked myself what I am doing the Work for, why am I even trying, I realized that it isn't for me. Like anart said, it is for others. For others I must try to do all that I can. Only that way I can ever really love myself, others and the world. Maybe I've not yet reached the point where I can be absolutely sure of that but it gives me still a good enough reason to keep on peeling more layers of the onion. I know I have ways to go, and maybe tomorrow I will be once again that person who just wallows in emptiness of his life. But one thing is perhaps starting to change slowly, I no longer react like a victim, atleast all the time. I'm starting to see that living with mental illness is not perhaps the end of your life, though certainly poses difficulty.

Bud said:
Do you do the EE program regularly?
Yup, trying to. I've tried to work on my technique both on belly breathing and pipe breathing (I may be finding the right approach after following the introductory video very closely). No major zoning outs during meditation which I find slightly odd since I do it regularly and try my current best. Maybe I just haven't done it for a long enough time in one go.
 
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