Situated as man is in a universe in which everything is affected by everything else, it is impossible for him to insulate himself from his surroundings and ejoy what he calls “free will,” for he must inevitably be controlled by what is stronger than himself. But he has been given a small measure of choice. He can select the influence under which he prefers to live and can place himself under the power of something higher or of something lower.

But if a man has the desire to form part of something higher he must first be suitably prepared for this change.

” ‘I do not boil you because you are hateful to me: nay, ’tis that you may get taste and savor,

So that you may become nutriment and mingle with the spirit.’ “

. . .

The real problem, Ouspensky said, was not whether prayer was or not efficacious, but whether one was able to pray. “There are many different kinds of prayer,” he continued, “but the commonest kind is some sort of petition. When such petition prayers are examined, more often than not they take the form of a request that two and two shall not make four. Certain actions of the petitioner have been followed by certain inevitable results, and he prays that this sequence of cause and effect shall be averted. This is a kind of prayer that can give absolutely no results, for causality reigns in the world within us as well as in the world without. What a man sows, that also shall he reap. The truth is that one must learn to pray just as one must learn to do everything else.

. . .

In his earlier lectures Mr. Ouspensky had discussed the different methods of development possible to man. He had talked to us about the way of the fakir, who by means of terrible physical sufferings eventually gained will over the physical body; he had described the yogi as traveling by the intellectual way, that is to say by the control of the thinking mind. He had contrasted these two methods with the religious or emotional way. The monk worked primarily on the emotional center, by means of prayer, meditation, and strict obedience to his religious superior, the abbot. All of these three paths to evolution demanded of the disciple obedience to authority and retirement from life, but in the fourth way, the way which Gurdjieff taught, retirement from life was unnecessary. Life provided the pupil with the material he needed and, unlike the fakir, the yogi, and the monk, the traveler by the fourth way worked on all three centers simultaneously.

Advertisements