Russian Esoteric Philosopher
P.D. Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky
Russian Esoteric Philosopher
Although in many respects these ways are very efficient, the characteristic thing about them is that the first step is the most difficult. From the very first moment you have to give up everything and do what you are told. If you keep one little thing, you cannot follow any of these ways. So, although the three ways are good in many other respects, they are not sufficiently elastic.
He is still a man, but he already knows much of what is inaccessible even to Gods. And the incommensurableness of the small and the great in his soul constitutes his pain and his golgotha. In his own soul appears the gallows on which he hangs in suffering, feeling that he is indeed inverted. "He chose this way himself. "For this he went over a long road from trial to trial, from initiation to initiation, through failures and falls. "And now he has found Truth and knows himself. "He knows that it is he who stands before an altar with magic symbols, and reaches from earth to heaven; that he also walks on a dusty road under a scorching sun to a precipice where a crocodile awaits him; that he dwells with his mate in paradise under the shadow of a blessing genius; that he is chained to a black cube under the shadow of deceit; that he stands as a victor for a moment in an illusionary chariot drawn by sphinxes; and that with a lantern in bright sunshine, he seeks for Truth in a desert.
Madame Ouspensky said we always have time for a love affair. This is the human condition.
The first idea of superman pictured him in the past, connected him with the legendary Golden Age. The idea has always been one and the same. People dreamt of, or remembered, times long past when their life was governed by supermen, who struggled against evil, upheld justice and acted as mediators between men and the Deity, governing them according to the will of the Deity, giving them laws, bringing them commandments.
Therefore in order to observe and study habits one must try to struggle against them. This opens up a practical method of self-observation. It has been said before that a man cannot change anything in himself, that he can only observe and ?record.? This is true. But it is also true that a man cannot observe and ?record? anything if he does not try to struggle with himself, that is, with his habits.
What has he in the bag? I inquired, not knowing why I asked. And after a long silence the voice replied: "The four magic symbols, the sceptre, the cup, the sword and the pentacle. The fool always carries them, although he has long since forgotten what they mean. Nevertheless they belong to him, even though he does not know their use. The symbols have not lost their power, they retain it in themselves.
An unexpected vision appeared to me. A circle not unlike a wreath woven from rainbow and lightnings, whirled from heaven to earth with a stupendous, velocity, blinding me by its brilliance. And amidst this light and fire I heard music and soft singing, thunderclaps and the roar of a tempest, the rumble of falling mountains and earthquakes.
Hints towards the solution of the problem of Eternity can be found in the various symbols and allegories of ancient religions and in some of the modern as well as ancient philosophies.
Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels ? all this happens . . . But it is one thing to understand with the mind and another thing to feel it with one?s ?whole mass,? to be really convinced that it is so and never forget it.
The first step in acquiring consciousness is the realization that we are not conscious.
Therefore, desiring to know anything, we shall before all else determine WHAT we accept as given, and WHAT as demanding definition and proof; that is, determine WHAT we know already, and WHAT we wish to know. In relation to the knowledge of the world and of ourselves, the conditions would be ideal could we venture to accept nothing as given, and count all as demanding definition and proof. In other words, it would be best to assume that we know nothing, and make this our point of departure.
What is the best way to look for one?s chief feature, someone asked. Simply see yourself. I do not know how to explain it better. It is possible one may find something -- chief feature of the moment. It is imaginary personality; this is the chief feature for everybody.
And I saw another man. Tired and lame he dragged himself along the dusty road, across the deserted plain under the scorching rays of the sun. He glanced sidelong with foolish, staring eyes, a half smile, half leer on his face; he knew not where he went, but was absorbed in his chimerical dreams which ran constantly in the same circle. His fool's cap was put on wrong side front, his garments were torn in the back; a wild lynx with glowing eyes sprang upon him from behind a rock and buried her teeth in his flesh. He stumbled, nearly fell, but continued to drag himself along, all the time holding on his shoulder a bag containing useless things, which he, in his stupidity, carried wherever he went. Before him a crevice crossed the road and a deep precipice awaited the foolish wanderer. Then a huge crocodile with open mouth crawled out of the precipice. And I heard the voice say:-- "Look! This is the same man." I felt my head whirl.
Humanity in the face of the idea of hidden knowledge reminds one of the people in fairy-tales who are promised by some goddess, fairy or magician that they will be given whatever they want on condition that they say exactly what they want.
Mind is the greatest thing we have ? excuse me, we do not have it. It is there. How do we find access to it?
The greatest barrier to consciousness is the belief that one is already conscious.
These small things happen according to certain definite circumstances which control them. You think you control them, but in reality they happen. We cannot 'do' because we are asleep. How can sleeping people 'do'? It is necessary to be awake; when one is awake, one can 'do'.
When I first went to Mr. Gurdjieff?s apartment, I couldn?t bear the thought of where he was living. After I was there for ten minutes it was the whole world.
And then I saw a man in terrible suffering, hung by one leg, head downward, to a high tree. And I heard the voice: ? "Look! This is a man who saw Truth. Suffering awaits the man on earth, who finds the way to eternity and to the understanding of the Endless.
I mean that you always know what results will come from one or another of your actions; but in a strange way you want to do one thing and get the result that could only come from another.
My body knows what it wants, not what I want. I must teach all of my parts what I want.
The higher thinking center, working with hydrogen 6, is still further removed from us, still less accessible. Connection with it is possible only through the higher emotional center. It is only from descriptions of mystical experiences, ecstatic states, and so on, that we know cases of such connections. These states can occur on the basis of religious emotions.
Think about death. You do not know how much time remains to you. And remember that if you do not become different, everything will be repeated again, all foolish blunders, all silly mistakes, all loss of time and opportunity - everything will be repeated with the exception of the chance you had this time, because chance never comes in the same form. You will have to look for your chance next time. And in order to do this, you will have to remember many things, and how will you remember then if you do not remember anything now?
When I lifted the first veil and entered the outer court of the Temple of Initiation, I saw in half darkness the figure of a woman sitting on a high throne between two pillars of the temple, one white, and one black. Mystery emanated from her and was about her. Sacred symbols shone on her green dress; on her head was a golden tiara surmounted by a two-horned moon; on her knees she held two crossed keys and an open book. Between the two pillars behind the woman hung another veil all embroidered with green leaves and fruit of pomegranate. And a voice said: "To enter the Temple one must lift the second veil and pass between the two pillars. And to pass thus, one must obtain possession of the keys, read the book and understand the symbols. Are you able to do this?" "I would like to be able," I said.
Another illusion is that we are awake. When we realize that we are asleep we will see that all history is made by people who are asleep. Sleeping people fight, make laws; sleeping people obey or disobey them. The worst of our illusions are the wrong ideas among which we live and which govern our lives. If we could change our attitude towards these wrong ideas and understand what they are, this in itself would be a great change and would immediately change other things.