Given the inherent difficulty of Mr. Of particular note in this regard is P. Gurdjieff brought, but a guide to their practical application as well. Yet Fragments is written in refined and rather philosophical English.
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Given the inherent difficulty of Mr. Of particular note in this regard is P. Gurdjieff brought, but a guide to their practical application as well. Yet Fragments is written in refined and rather philosophical English. Fortunately we have published appraisals of Fragments from several sources including some of Mr.
In a discussion of the Gurdjieff literature, Dr. There is now only one book, except for the books of Gurdjieff himself, which can be considered, without prejudice, really useful for followers of the teaching. This is In Search of the Miraculous by P. The feat of memory is all the more remarkable when one realizes that note-taking was rigorously forbidden.
In Search [his reference to Fragments ] was written and meticulously revised by Ouspensky over a period of at least ten years in order to give as honest and objective an account of the teaching as possible. Probably his achievement will never be equaled.
In any case it was intended to preserve the teaching in as pure and impersonal a form as possible. We also have accounts by several people of the circumstances under which the decision to publish Fragments was made.
Sometime later he gave me a typescript to read, saying that he was writing down all that he could remember of what Gurdjieff had said to him. Later in the same book, Nott describes the situation in the winter of when Gurdjieff first received a copy of the Fragments manuscript.
Gurdjieff himself visited Mendham to see Madame Ouspensky, though he would never stay there. Madame had presented him with the complete typescript of Fragments of an Unknown Teaching , and Gurdjieff, hearing it read, said that Ouspensky in this respect was a good man. He remained undecided about the latter for some time, pointing out when he heard it read aloud that certain of his ideas were far more clearly and strongly expressed in Beelzebub.
He finally agreed on condition that it should not be published in advance of his own book. Gurdjieff frequently complained that Ouspensky had ruined his pupils by his excessively intellectual approach, and that he did better with people who came to him with no preparation at all. On the other hand, he praised Ouspensky for the accuracy of his reporting. Once I read aloud in front of him an early chapter of In Search of the Miraculous.
This very exact, he tell what I say. Louise March kept a journal during the visit and her recollections were later published by one of her students, from which the following is drawn:.
The ritual of the toasts to the idiots still accompanied every meal. The only table decoration was a glass filled with tarragon, dill, and spring onions. The herbs, along with all kinds of smoked fish, were eaten with the fingers when the Armagnac was poured. Gurdjieff never permitted flowers as table decorations. Gurdjieff himself still went shopping, as he had done on his previous visits, at the fresh meat and vegetable markets.
As before, melons were served regardless of the season. Now, on this last visit, every meal began, after the obligatory fresh herbs, with avocado halves served with salt and pepper, and sometimes with olive oil as well. Ouspensky had sent it to Mr. Good memory. Truth, was so. Lost something.
Gurdjieff returned to Paris in February of and resumed meetings in his apartment. Apart from these small deletions, the manuscript is untouched. We would go to lunch at midday. The reading would last for one or two hours and then we would go to the dining room for lunch. We went back to the flat at for dinner. We read Fragments. Bell and Miss Crowdy, Mr. In the evening he listened with great enjoyment to the reading of Fragments , leaning forward with his elbow on his knee and his cigarette-holder in his hand, his eyes snapping, shaking with laughter at the references to himself.
We went on till midnight, when we started dinner. This was French night, and Page began to read at His patience was remarkable. Gurdjieff had a Russian rendering of it read to him, declared it to be an accurate account of his own teaching and gave instructions that it should be published forthwith. However, later in the same book, Dr. Walker provides additional perspectives on the teaching as transmitted by Ouspensky, one that sheds yet another light on Fragments :. I realize that far too little emphasis was placed by Ouspensky at this time on preparation for self-remembering, and it was only after we had met G many years later in Paris that we understood how necessary this was.
The first step to self-remembering was to come back from our mind-wandering into our bodies and to become sensible of these bodies. We all know, of course, that we possess limbs, a head and a trunk, but in our ordinary state of waking-sleep we receive few or no sense-impressions from these, unless we happen to be in pain. In other words, we are not really aware of our bodies. These exercises became of immense value to us and were particularly useful as a preparation for self-remembering.
At a very much later date the great importance of the faculty of attention in our work was again brought home to us. We were told to direct our attention in a predetermined order to various sets of muscles, for example, those of the right arm, the right leg, the left leg and so on, relaxing them more and more as we come round to them again; until we have attained what we feel to be the utmost relaxation possible for us.
We all know, of course, that we possess limbs, a head and a body, but in ordinary circumstances we do not feel or sense them. But with practice the attention can be thrown on to any part of the body desired, the muscles in that particular area relaxed, and sensation from that region evoked. The exercise can, if required, be rendered still more difficult by counting backwards, by repeating strings of words or by evoking ideas at the same moment that the relaxing and sensing is being carried out.
There are three reasons for doing such exercises as these: the first is that it is excellent training for the attention; the second that it teaches a person how to relax; and the third that it produces a very definite inner psychic change.
This change can be summed up in the statement that the exercise draws together parts of our mechanism which previously had been working disconnectedly.
But external descriptions of these valuable exercises and of the results obtained from them are quite useless. They can only be understood by personal experience of them, a fact which emphasizes once again the impossibility of imparting knowledge of this kind in a book. All special exercises of this kind have to be taught by word of mouth, and, so far as I know, they have never been committed to writing.
It is for this reason that my description of them has deliberately been left incomplete. Another account of being with Mr. Meredith Thring in London in , from which the following is extracted and very slightly edited for clarity :. The point was with Ouspensky, it was in effect philosophical knowledge we got really.
And we had all the diagrams that are in In Search of the Miraculous and there was quite a lot to go on, but somehow it was all hopeless. It was like a world where you were free of all that. You were just concerned with the Work. We started doing the movements, and I am hopeless at the movements because I am totally un-musical but I got enough of them to realize what kind of work, what kind of control of attention, complete control of attention in all the centres, is necessary for that.
So I got a taste for what that means. The most important thing I got from Paris was the idea of sensing your body, and also sitting quietly and sensing your limbs and so on. And even then I got the sense of opening oneself and freeing oneself from the thoughts that go on all the time and the associations in the moving centre and the associations in the intellectual centre, being free of these.
So I got a taste of what it is all about. And I got hope, there was a message of hope, always. The impression I got of Mr. Gurdjieff was entirely different from the impression I had from Ouspensky and Bennett.
It was the impression that I can only describe as Universal Benevolence. He really wanted you and me, everybody to be influenced towards developing themselves as a result of being in contact with him and his emanations.
This was very, very strong and it has been with me ever since. In To Live Within , an extraordinary account of her time with Sri Anirvan, she compiled material from his letters and notes of conversations with him, which he revised before his death in The following extracts are from that material:. Tantric teaching demonstrates that all life is born from the Void, including the gods and goddesses and the higher and the lower Prakriti.
The Void is the matrix of universal energy. One has access to it by four stages. In his book In Search of the Miraculous , Ouspensky speaks about the first two stages. He remained silent about the last two because he had left Gurdjieff. In all of his subsequent personal teaching, which is very important, he tells of the development of these two first stages and of his experiences with his Master.
The writings of Gurdjieff, on the other hand, open for us the frontiers of the two last stages. These are cleverly hidden in his mythical narrations. Gurdjieff had this lightly tinted whiteness. He never stopped playing with all the colors of life; that is why fools cry out against him. Ouspensky, who was a philosopher, tried to stay in the whiteness he had discovered; but if you are the disciple responsible for the kitchen, your duty is to prepare the food.
If you refuse to do this, you will be sent away by the Master or you will leave of your own accord and your refusal will be a weight that will burden you for years and possibly even crush you.
All spiritual experiences are sensations in the body. They are simply a graded series of different sensations, beginning with the solidity of a clod of earth and passing gradually, in full consciousness, through liquidness and the emanation of heat to that of a total global vibration before reaching the Void. The road to be travelled is long.
Ouspensky, Gurdjieff and the fragments
Reading it changed my perspectives on life! Every day was a wonder and each paragraph Read full review. Back when I was a callow youth, attending university and living unconsciously, I took a course at the university where this book was assigned as suggested reading. I never did read the book at that
In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching
Ouspensky which recounts his meeting and subsequent association with George Gurdjieff. It is widely regarded as the most comprehensive account of Gurdjieff's system of thought ever published. The book is basically the author's recollection of his first meeting and subsequent association with George Gurdjieff and the teaching that Gurdjieff imparted to him; a teaching which still exists today in various forms and which Ouspensky would himself teach to various groups from — Throughout the book, Ouspensky never refers to Gurdjieff directly, only using the single initial "G. The book begins with Ouspensky returning home to St. Petersburg from his recent excursion to the East, where he journeyed "in search of the miraculous", as he put it.