I have tasted it, not just thought about it. As a psychologist with both practical and theoretical knowledge of the human mind, and as a person who has learned a little in my attempts to seek the light, I know that Gurdjieff's formulations of the human condition and many of his techniques for working on oneself are accurate, ingenious, and effective. Different types of people profit from different types of path, even though the ultimate goal is the same. Light is a good metaphor for it, a metaphor that is literally true in some ways. If you cannot use your will and awareness to do this simple, emotionally neutral exercise, what can you do in the real stress of real life? You have to continually struggle against the social current, of course: people who go within are dangerous and unpredictable, so society distrusts, discourages, and often punishes them. Currently a Professor of Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, as well as a core faculty member of the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, Tart has authored more than 250 articles in leading professional journals. For over 25 years it has represented the cutting edge of research into powers of the mind.
My wife felt the same way, as did every other person in the audience with whom we later spoke. I am sorry that so much of this book will focus on the causes and exact nature of human foolishness and suffering, but the aim is to prepare for cultivation of the light. Since we usually take ordinary waking consciousness as our standard of comparison, a state such as nocturnal dreaming is thus an altered state. The pattern of a state of consciousness deliberately maintains its integrity in a changing world. The altered state that most impressed me early in my research career, though, was hypnosis, and it can serve briefly to illustrate the enormous power that altered states have to change what we perceive as reality. I know how useful it has been to me, though, and since there must be many other people who are like me in important ways, what I understand of this path may be helpful to them. Tart clearly presents the evidence for how deeply asleep we are and identifies its consequences, then describes methods for becoming more awake, less asleep, and less mechanical, allowing us to realize our full potential.
Just seeing it as a totally-incomprehensible-to-us end point, with no intermediate steps, does make it difficult to talk about, and difficult to do anything about. Gurdjieff's work does lend itself to abuse, as we shall discuss in Chapter 22. Series Title: Responsibility: Charles T. The structures operative within a discrete state of consciousness make up a system where the operation of the parts, the psychological structures,. A state is an altered state if it is discretely different from some baseline state we want to compare things to.
It will make you more, not less, effective in the ordinary world, and allow you to give more genuine at-tention, care, and compassion to others. As a practical consideration, though, we should keep in mind that just because something seems obviously true in some altered state doesn't mean that it necessarily is. In spite of the number of times I have seen it, a test procedure we called anosmia to ammonia still amazes me. As adults we sometimes have brief glimpses of the light, which motivates us to seek it. I shall provide information to demonstrate that your will is largely a mechanical reaction based on your conditioning, that your intelligence is severely limited compared to what it could be, and that there is no true self controlling your life from a state of genuine self-consciousness. I try to avoid getting entangled with disputes about this kind of doctrinal purity, though, and I make no claim to purity in presenting Gurdjieff's ideas myself.
Do they fit in your personal experience? Similarly, the person who has directly experienced certain kinds of knowledge in an altered state has much more understanding of it than the person whose mind has never functioned in that mode. There is an awakening of your mind possible that will indeed make ordinary consciousness seem like a state of sleep. With this caution in mind, let us go on and consider some aspects of what enlightenment is, and later see how altered states fit in with it. We are far too automatic; indeed, we are automatons, another point this book will focus on. It details how lucid dreaming can enhance your psychological well- being and perhaps influence your Have breakfast with Socrates, go to work with Nietzsche, head to the gym with Foucault, then have sex with Ovid or Simone de Beauvoir. The personal recognition of this condition can be very depressing, or can start a journey of discovery: There was a time when meadow, grove and stream, The earth and every common sight Did seem to me Appareled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. I have also deliberately avoided the scholarly style of using numerous references to back up every point: I want you to test the things I say in your own experience, not to be impressed by distant authorities.
A more scholarly style might produce intellectual conviction about what happens in other people, but if that were all that reading this book produced, I would be disappointed. If I remember correctly, Tart, like Gurdjieff, said we are all in a concentric trance due to our conditioning. Concentration isn't enough, though, as this book will show. For those like Tart who light the candle will be consumed in its fire. Gurdjieff, this book offers both a diagnosis and helpful prescriptions for addressing the fundamental yet unrecognized problem of humankind: we are not truly awake, aware, and making use of our full capacities.
This book is my sharing of some understandings that have helped me see why we are cut off from the light, and a sharing of some tools that have helped me and others see enough glimpses of the light to travel toward it. Gurdjieff, this book offers both a diagnosis and helpful prescriptions for addressing the fundamental yet unrecognized problem of humankind: we are not truly awake, aware, and making use of our full capacities. Gurdjieff intimated that the core of his work was based on the deliberate efforts of a secret school of wise men, a school some have claimed to be the mythical Sarmouni Brotherhood. A part of my mind is highly amused that I plan to write about the nature of enlightenment. A note about footnotes: Footnotes are numbered in this text in this format: 00 and are listed in numerical order at the end of the book.
Based on the ideas of rogue philosopher G. Born in Alexandropol in the Caucasus, somewhere between 1872 and 1877, he traveled through the East at the turn of the century, when such travel was a heroic undertaking. A state of consciousness is a dynamic process; aspects of it are constantly changing in their particulars even while the overall pattern remains recognizably the same. You will find much detail on our problems that allows specific actions to be planned for correcting them. I emphasize, as did Gurdjieff, mindfulness in the midst of everyday life, not a monastic retreat from life. After listening, the friend, who had seen the man's yard, was compelled to give him some advice: Your ultimate aim is very good, but I've seen your yard. We have to work on the external reasons for conflict, but if we want lasting external peace, we must work for it from a solid, inner foundation of personal peace.
It may have a strong emotional impact on him, and afterward he may tell his friends that the symphony was beautiful or deeply moving or full of sound. They were clear, incisive, and very practical. Gurdjieff died in 1946, but his work is still carried out by many people. The musician has far greater understanding of a specialized kind of the symphony than the untrained listener. The parts or aspects of the mind that we can distinguish for analytical purposes such as memory, evaluation processes, and the sense of identity function are arranged in a certain kind of pattern or system. In a sense, they are about the same topic, a how mindless we can be in ordinary life, b the useless and unnecessary suffering resulting from such mindlessness, and c basic practical procedures for becoming more awake.