Question Everything

    Verify Everything


Remarks by students of Gurdjieff's Buried Dog II    

The following remarks come from students of Gurdjieff's Buried Dog II who not only studied the full text of the book but who also attended a Practicum, where they received actual physical instruction in the exercise, and practiced for several days under supervision, to the point where they could then "take it home" and continue to develop their skills. 

It is not a simple exercise, which, coming from Gurdjieff, is only to be expected.  In many ways it resembles early reports of Gurdjieff's "sacred gymnastics," otherwise known as "the movements;" only this exercise is a bit more complicated and demanding, not only physically but also in terms of the mental struggles the participant will encounter.  This exercise was not taught to the "movements" groups, and no trace of it is to be found in such groups, neither in their literature nor in their current repertory.  Rather, this exercise was buried deeply by Gurdjieff and reserved exclusively for those of later generations who would eventually discover, and by serious study learn to comprehend his third series.  The main body of the exercise will be found expressed, or demonstrated in picture-form language in a peculiar section of "Beelzebub's Tales," with some of its more important details and explanations covered in sections of "Meetings" and "Life is real." 

So, peruse the following accounts of the personal experience of three students of Buried Dog II, which accounts will give you some small idea of what they have experienced and what you might expect to experience; and then, if you have questions, you may contact me at hendmail@aol.com.

                                                                                                                                        The Author


From Everett Siegel

 

For me, it all began with reading Buried Dog ["Hidden Meanings"] in 2010.  I somehow found out about the book, definitely by “accident”, and began reading it during the most difficult time in my life.  I was reading it in my son’s room as he was dying of cancer.  I say this detail to convey how much the book meant to me as a source of inspiration and hope.  Although I had attended a Gurdjieff group for a number of years over a decade ago, I was disappointed in the group.  The leaders and members were nice, and the group reinforced some of the Gurdjieff’s ideas, but I did not have any experiences at another level than ordinary life with that group.

 

Soon after starting Buried Dog, I immediately felt  something new and significant had finally burst forth.  The book gave me hope during a dark time that there was a path available and that Gurdjieff’s teachings were indeed valuable, though hidden in a dense forest of words.  The way Buried Dog referenced Gurdjieff’s (and Nott’s) writings reassured me; I could verify for myself Buried Dog's startling claims.

 

I am a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and I work at my craft every day.  I am used to working with texts, either verbal or written and trying to understand other meanings in them.  In the past, reading Gurdjieff’s books was like trying to touch my shadow, I knew something was there, but I couldn’t quite touch it.  So I read Buried Dog at least twice, and reread all of Gurdjieff’s works.  I even emailed John Henderson a year after my son died, thanking him for the book and for the hope it gave me.

 

Meanwhile, I was practicing the exercise indicated in Buried Dog.  The first time I performed it for fifteen minutes it I felt a sense of clarity and self-remembering that I never had felt before.  It’s a memory that is vivid even today, over four years later.  Believing and knowing there was more, I gradually practiced for longer periods, in a way that augmented my life and easily fit in the fine cracks of my day.  Over time, I could feel some changes in my sensing of my brain.  Something was happening, though it was subtle, but I was in it for the long haul.

 

I heard back from John. He emailed an announcement for people who had read Buried Dog that there was going to be some sort of follow-up.  As it evolved over time, we were given an exercise that took up relatively little time, but that produced some additional small but definitive results.  Being trained in traditional medicine and practicing at a conservative institution has given me a healthy dose of skepticism about subtle energies and changes that can’t be measured, but on the other hand I can recognize and know something valuable and “real” when it dances before my eyes.

 

So, John invited me to his Practicum.  He had decided to hold the Practicum because of some new discoveries he had had made, and they are partly described in his new book.  They will be obvious in their general outline if you read BD II.  Again, John provided notations that indicated just where the relevant passages could be found, so I verified everything I could.

 

On the first day of the Practicum, I arrived in a mountain cabin, which I shared with two other “pilgrims”, while John and his family stayed at the cabin next to us.  Being rather particular (fussy?), and used to privacy and having had “traumatic” experiences of roommates in a confined space (and even house dogs) snoring, I wasn’t eager to share my cabin with two unknown people (and as nice as they were, let’s try a hotel next time John).

 

The practicum taught the new material.  I want to say that the whole experience was really enjoyable; it included being with a group of people who cared about the Fourth Way and being taught by a man who clearly had more knowledge and being in the Fourth Way.  There was a sense of fellowship that I have rarely experienced, as well as some wonderful home cooking and non-Fourth Way conversations and walks. The time at the Practicum was plain fun and stands out in my mind as unique to my life.

 

It was also personally very exciting.  First I must make a fair and open disclosure.  Everyone agreed that I was the least adept at learning and practicing the exercise, but even given that limitation I sensed something special from what John taught, a fine sort of energy coming into my body.  I must add that my roommates were quite kind about my lack of skill in learning what I was taught, and John kept his laughter to a minimum – actually, John kept the atmosphere light and fun, while presenting serious material.  John was quite kind, and I didn’t feel pressured from anyone to learn more quickly than I was able to.

 

I think I finally got somewhat proficient by the end of the Practicum, and I left it eager to practice.  What I have to offer is persistence.  People in therapy don’t change overnight, so why should someone trying to achieve certain work goals achieve them immediately?

 

I experienced subtle and obvious changes almost from the first day of practicing the exercises.  At home after the Practicum, I reported them to John and he gives me continued feedback, in a way that invariably helps and guides me.  The experience of continuing to communicate with John frequently has been a gift, and his help has ranged from pointing me to relevant references in texts, to pointers on how to perform the tasks more efficiently and effectively, to how and when to practice them to maximize the results, to helping me with “side effects” (mild) from the exercises, and to share my joy when I’ve noticed some more changes and to challenge me to go further.  The hardest part for me is to tame my own self-criticism and worrying, and it is mildly challenging, but not even real difficult to insert the practices into my day.

 

And, as I’ve said above, I have noticed changes.  I have particularly noticed more energy in my brain/body, and these energies stay after the exercises are over.  I’ve also experienced a difference in my emotional center, as it is hopefully evolving.  These were the type of results I would have only dreamed about when I was in the Gurdjieff group in the 90s and reading Gurdjieff’s writings on my own.   And what’s great, is that when John points something out, or I review the text, it’s all there in Gurdjieff’s writings.  Yes, there is hope for the future.


Everett Siegel



From Kurt De Prins

 

Before I met John I wasn’t very serious about the fourth way. I had read, and reread (but not studied) Gurdjieff’s books and I had tried to remember myself when I had the time (which was not very often).  After a few years I realized that I needed help to decipher Gurdjieff’s writings. So, naïvely, I went looking for authors who would explain All and Everything from a to z. There weren’t many around.  I read a book on BBT by Benett and a book by an author called Keith A. Buzzell. With all due respect for both of them, they didn’t seem to have a clue. 

Finally, I came across a book called Hidden Meanings and Picture-form Language in the Writings of G.I. Gurdjieff: (Excavations of the Buried Dog). I didn’t think much about it when ordering it  (what’s new)  but the title sure sounded great.  From the first page I knew I had struck gold. This guy, John Henderson, sure knew how to write, he knew what he was talking about and, more importantly, it was obvious that he knew much, much more.

I finished the book, found the exercise, put it into practice and started rereading BBT. I was sure I would finally, with the tools and ideas given in Hidden Meanings, decipher all of the mysteries hidden by that great master, mister Gurdjieff. That didn’t happen of course. But my understanding had grown. Sometime later, ‘by accident’, I sent John an email. To my great fortune he took notice of me.

In April 2014 I found myself in a cabin in the woods of Alabama, with two other guys, attending John’s practicum.  We were given that ‘little something’.   During those three days my outlook on life and myself changed. Really changed.

When I got back home in Europe I made a terrible mess of it all of course. 
My son – who is into war movies – often cries out while playing (in Dutch): ‘There is an enemy at the gates!’  Now, when I hear him ‘say’ that, I smile, because he is right. And we do need advanced weaponry and damn good tactics to defeat him. I’m glad I got my hands on both of those. 

When judging my own progress, and at the same time, the help I received and the efforts I have made, I try to answer three simple questions: do I remember myself more; do I understand myself, other people, and Gurdjieff”s writings more; do I live more in essence?

I am slowly learning that I have to trust other people, in many ways, with my life, or I will loose it. It’s important to go looking in the right place of course.


A warning.  If you believe, like I did, that understanding will come, by itself, as if it were some kind of magic, if you just keep reading on, well, it will not. Not even if you keep on reading for a thousand years.

Finally, I want to share one more result. The biggest truths are really relatively ‘small’ things. We just don’t see them or experience them.  When I was struggling with ‘that little something’ John once wrote, “Just be a good servant.” That helped, and it is true, always and everywhere.

 

Kurt De Prins

 

 

 

 

 

                                                             From N. Wilson

PRE PRACTICUM
In 2009 I purchased and carried the book “Hidden Meanings” around with me for a couple of years after reading the 3 chapters made available on the Buried Dog webpage. I would retire in the evenings looking forward to my 1 hr. train commute through London in the mornings, the longer the better. It gave me chauffeured time to immerse myself in the intricacies of this find and a level of work that had clearly prised open Gurdjeiffs hard to fathom writings in a completely new way. The author had thought about things deeply, and more importantly, he had followed the master’s instruction and was passing this onto me through his book. After more than a decade of on again, off again frustration, this was a valuable find, which was only to get better.

My commutes became an anticipated and extended “exercise regime”.  Wearing glasses, I put into practise various combinations of coordinated silent counting, tapping and breathing rhythms while practising extensively the gem Gurdjeiff had buried within his first book “Herald”.  At times the glasses were unnecessary as I observed fellow commuters in their mechanical paper and phone routines.  Encouraging results were to follow which led me to further concentrated study of Gurdjeiff’s work and personal experimentation with new sensations and states of being. Over the next few years some experiences unquestionably confirmed for me states of higher or greater being.

In 2011 I noticed an update on the Buried Dog page that included the email address of the Author, “at last” I thought, time to get in touch.  Not long after a response came and I, along with others, was invited to respond with any insights or discoveries I had come across from reading “Hidden Meanings”. I put these into words as best I could with the eventual result that I was invited to attend a group practicum with the author in April 2014.  For me this was instinctively something worth placing at the top of my list without hesitation.  Gurdjeiff did say work on oneself was of such seriousness it should be placed first in one’s life.

The plot thickened as it became even clearer to me that the author JH was himself a deeply committed seeker and diligent student of the Gurdjieff's teachings.  It seemed he was to publish yet more of the hard won knowledge he was digging up in his quest for Gurdjeiff’s buried dog.  A new book was to be released for those sufficiently prepared, committed, and responsible enough to deal with the content it contained.  I was being offered the hand of instruction that would lift me to the next step in my own personal development  and I wasn’t about to refuse.

Emails, documents, passwords, and advice were exchanged, and of course flights were purchased.    John Henderson’s newest book “Gurdjeiffs buried dog 2” was a Game Changer.   A product of his further studies within Gurdjeiff’s “third series”, it contained the background and context that would lead the alert reader to an ancient, esoteric exercise, discovered and modified by Gurdjieff, and then inserted into his writings. I continued to study in earnest.

The day arrived when I made my way to the airport to board my flight to good old America, there to be met at the airport by JH himself and driven to a group of cabins in the nearby forested hills to meet with his family and a few others who had committed to the journey thus far.

PRACTICUM
For 3 days our small group studied, talked, and  practised.  That was the purpose of the journey; it was a 'practicum'.  We learned, as Gurdjeiff had intended, under the careful guidance and instruction from one with years of relevant experience with an exercise the master artfully embedded within his writings. We listened, learned, and  practised in order to take the exercise with us on our return journeys home and continue our practise there within the context of our daily lives. 

POST PRACTICUM
Once home, and as one usually learns from an instructor, “not to expect roast chickens to fly into your mouth,” we were to continue the exercise regularly, diligently, correctly, and  to do what has always been asked of all students of the 4th way, Observe.   To this was added the benefit of detailed personal and ongoing guidance via email with JH himself. If ever there was a time since 1949 when Gurdjeiffs teaching was really alive and effective, this was it.

Now, 3 months post practicum, as I continue to work, practise the exercise, study and observe it is clearer to me that the supremely wise and clever Gurdjieff thought things through using a telescopic point of view, and with his deep understanding of human nature created a long term plan for the individual instruction of those contemporary beings (you and me) who would choose to follow his teachings.  He worked long and hard to uncover this ancient exercise, and then to mould it into a more powerful form before embedding all the necessary details within his series of books “All and Everything”.    Surely we are obliged to respond.

So. when that little voice inside calls, one would do well to listen without doubt or delay and sincerely ask, “What really have I got to lose”?  For those who are ready the answer will be perfectly clear. 


N. Wilson

citizenwilson@yahoo.co.nz

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