Gurdjieff's teaching: for scholars and practitioners

G. I. Gurdjieff's teaching, research, books, conferences

THE EYES

Joseph Azize Page

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Part One
The eyes, like most organs, have several functions. That means, they possess a multiple importance. My own view is that if the eyes are damaged or lost, other organs can, to a certain extent, perform the more subtle work which they perform. To an extent, we have other organs or faculties which can even see: Jacques Lusseyran bore testimony to this, stating that even after he had become blind he could see. But it is sight of a different order, and not all blind people have Lusseyran’s experience. Further, no other organ can do the work of the eye nearly so well as the eye: their substitute work is rather like walking on one’s hands.

So what are these other functions of the eye? The eye is an accumulator. Gurdjieff mentioned that we have two accumulators attached to each centre. In fact, as Ouspensky remarked in A Record of Meetings, Gurdjieff’s fuller teaching is that we have many more accumulators: the teaching recorded in Miraculous is abbreviated in order to allow the essential details to come out more clearly.

Now Jane Heap also added that the eye performs the same function for each of the bodies, and is the only organ which does so. That is, the eye is an accumulator for each of the centres. This explains why the eyes are such excellent indicators of a person’s state: they tell us how much energy is in each centre, what the quality of the energy is, and which centre is predominant. Reading the eyes correctly is an art and a science.

I repeat, the eyes can tell a person who has learnt how to read them, which substances and energies are active in a person, and what is taking place within the other. The fact that the eyes are accumulators is useful for a person who knows how to relax the eyes, and to bring consciousness to them. It means that the person can use the accumulators more intelligently, and, with a little further knowledge, gain access to the large accumulator, because the eyes have an indirect connection to it.

Mr Adie always wanted to commence a study group to research the eye in art. However, limited time and ill health prevented this. He used to tell us that the posture of the eyes was important, and in the preparations, he would teach us to relax the eyes, to feel them soft in the sockets, not hard like marbles. And of course, one can relate the relaxation of the eyes to the relaxation of the entire skull, especially, the sensing of the Eustachian tubes and the skin around the eyes, nostrils and temples.

Part Two

Many habits are related to the eyes, and knowledge of these is of benefit in the preparation which Gurdjieff brought. Here is a quote from Mr Adie on 15 November 1978.

“The question arises, how in fact do we close our eyes when we start our preparation? Open them for a moment. The closing has to be an act. It has to be an act. Otherwise, what do you close your eyes for the in the ordinary way? You close them to sleep.

“The action of closing the eyes is extremely powerful – it has a very big influence upon one.

“Preparation is my big possibility, but so often one sits down without any clear idea. The whole of our work depends upon the power of acquiring intention, fulfilling it, having it and fulfilling it.

“Yet, perhaps I cannot have a clear idea, for I am coming from dreams. But I am aware of this. So at least, when I sit down, when I close my eyes, I close them with intention to awake. I close them with intention to work. I don’t close to go into a delightful trance.

“I cannot expect to step straight into a peaceful, ordered state. If I expect that, it shows that I don’t understand. I go to fight, I go to give combat to my dreams. But I don’t fight my dreams according to the ordinary concept of a fight. Direct opposition is the very worst weapon against dreams.

“No, I dissociate myself from them. But for that I have to have the intention, and I can make a connection between the intention to dissociate from dreams, and the act of closing the eyes.”

Let me reiterate this. I am adding emphasis to Mr Adie’s words: “I can make a connection between the intention to dissociate from dreams, and the act of closing the eyes.” Mr Adie continued:

“It must not be automatic. I must never have automatism entering into my possible conscious moments, my possible conscious act. We have to act – and we have to understand what an act really is, how it is tied to a finer time, how an act takes place in the merest flash.

“This is creation. This act precedes all. Automatic events are not acts, they proceed from real acts by a very long chain of law. An act of creation includes all time: it includes before, now and forever. You know how it is said in the Gospel of Saint John, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. What is the Word? In the beginning?

“It is a question – what is the Word? When I start my work, I am god – a doer. I have to be god or there’s no work. I start with “I”. I start with an act. And how can there be an act unless it is an intentional act? All of this comes into this moment, a moment which certainly cannot be expressed in any words.

“You see, there’s every kind of trap in conscious work, every kind of trap because my life consists of a labyrinth of paths already trodden, like grooves, and at any moment I can fall from one into the other. That is the level of my understanding, I understand grooves, I don’t understand this vital second which is new. I am not prepared for a new birth, a new life, yet that is what is there for us.

“There is idealism. We came, many of us, with ideals. Very high ideals, belief in something very high. It brought us our best. But then, in the ensuing period of months and years we find that we are brought down to earth. We find that our being must grow in order that any of these ideals be realised. The ideals gradually get misted over, and rather dim. They seem so impossible that they almost cease to lead us. But we are actually in a very much better position, because now we have some facts, and we need to go to facts.

“I mention this idealism because if we could realise what heights we glimpse, and the elevated level which is our way, then we would realise how much an act is necessary. We would understand too, how could not possibly stumble into an something sacred like an act with half closed eyes.”

Part Three

Personally, I find that if when I am sitting quietly, I open my eyes, delibrately draw them closed again, and then, gently lift them to accept the impressions, the impressions come in to me quite differently the second time. This is a technique which I learnt from Mrs Adie. It never ceases to work for me. The first time I open the eyes, it seems that I am receiving impresisons, but by comparison with the second occasion, I see that somehow something in me was going out to them.

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Joseph Azize has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies. His first book “The Phoenician Solar Theology” treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The third book, “George Mountford Adie” represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.

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