We are two-natured beings! Let your attention move in both directions at the same time–toward the periphery, toward thinking, feeling, and sensing, in which discernment and naming are the norm, and toward the unknowable center, toward the nameless silence and stillness that make the experience of all things possible.
Copyright 2013 by Dennis Lewis
“Man never on any account wants to pay for anything; and above all he does not want to pay for what is most important for him. You now know that everything must be paid for and that it must be paid for in proportion to what is received. But usually a man thinks to the contrary. For trifles, for things that are perfectly useless to him, he will pay anything. But for something important, never. This must come to him of itself.”–G. I. Gurdjieff, quoted in In Search of the Miraculous, by P. D. Ouspensky
Some 20 years ago, during a visit to Russia, I was invited by the head of a team of consciousness researchers, scientists, medical doctors, and alternative healers at the Russian Medico-Military Academy in Saint Petersburg to speak on my understanding of the Gurdjieff Work and give a demonstration of Chi Nei Tsang, a Taoist healing modality involving internal organ chi massage and breathing, which I had learned in the Healing Tao and practiced in a well-known acupuncture clinic in San Francisco, even working on people with AIDS. The person I worked on with my hands and conscious intention gave his impressions in Russian to the rest of the group as he lay on the massage table.
At the end of my three-hour presentation to the 10 people who were there, the leader, a big bear of a man, gave me an enormous hug, intentionally readjusting my spine as he did so (I was tired, and he noticed and wanted to help). When he finished hugging me, he said–with a huge, engaging smile–something like: “here in Russia we are not parochial; we go beyond our training and specialities; we welcome and integrate all approaches and understanding.”
We then continued to talk (his wife spoke good English and functioned as the interpreter, as she had for the presentation), while one of the team, an energy healer, sent me energy from across the room using all sorts of novel (for me) movements and gestures. Here was a group of people who were open to influences other than their own, a rare occurrence in today’s world. And they really seemed to listen, not just to my words, but to my very emanations.
I think of these researchers often when I see the ways in which we in America treat our own frequently narrow, reductionist approaches to knowledge and understanding as somehow sacrosanct. We have paid a heavy price in many areas of life for this reductionism. Though I have spoken to numerous people and groups over the years, the great openness I felt among these Russian researchers was both rare and inspiring. We had a vital exchange on many levels.
Copyright 2013 by Dennis Lewis
Sometimes you have to take sides! Remember, though, that when you do you create division. If division will help you solve the conflict confronting you, then, by all means, take sides. But if you know it won’t–and many conflicts cannot be solved in that way–then you will need to position yourself at the very center, where the opposing forces meet, and welcome both sides into your awareness. Once you see both sides clearly, you can see what connects them. It is through what connects them that you can often find an integrative solution.
Copyright 2013 by Dennis Lewis. First published on my Facebook fan page on October 10, 2013.
Many of us practice unhappiness; we train ourselves to be unhappy. We slump, we frown, we judge, we criticize, we express anger, we hold our breath. And the more we do these things and identify with them, the more we train our brain, muscles, nerves, and all the other living tissues and energies of the body to maintain these habits. But seeing how deeply conditioned we are by them, and thinking clearly about this truth, can be very helpful. It means that we can also train ourselves to be happy. We can remember to stand straight, pay attention, smile, think healthy thoughts, practice self-restraint, be kind to ourselves and others, and so much more. We can begin a new kind of training, a more honest and compassionate way of relating to ourselves and others. Of course, for this to happen, we must have the courage to be happy, and we must do the necessary work.
Copyright 2013, by Dennis Lewis
People frequently speak of passion, sometimes in a very dispassionate way. But I tell you now that, whatever your age, it is time to go after what you really want. Your time is not limitless, and our planet is in dire straits. Don’t just believe those New Age guru marketeers who tell you that everything will be fine because people are becoming more conscious. Are they? Look around. Find out for yourself. When you really look and listen and sense, you will see that there is much to be done–and it begins with each of us.
When I went on a Freedom Ride in my early 20′s it was something in which I passionately believed, and the many thousands of us who did so made an enormous difference in the United States. You can make a difference, too. Perhaps you already have, but this is no time to stop. The politicians and others will eventually follow your lead–but YOU must lead before it is too late. Which means NOW! And in order to lead, in order to make a difference, you need to know what you really wish for and what actions you wish to take.
When I started the Dennis Lewis FB fan page, which indeed arose from my passion, there were some old friends (and still are) who didn’t and don’t understand. They thought/think it had to do only with ego. You know why? Probably because if they were to do what I am doing it would have been. The judgments they made were based on their own unseen process of ‘projection,’ a process with which I have had my own very personal, even dark, experiences over the years. Each of us needs to see this process in ourselves if we are to become free from its powerful grip.
Friends, if anything is to truly change, we need to grow up and do what our minds and hearts and bodies–motivated by passion, real intention, and consciousness–guide us to do. That’s how inner transformation takes place! That’s how the world changes! It’s a risky business, of course. Things never happen exactly the way we imagine–fortunately! There are so many forces at work, most of them unseen. But as we become more conscious, and more open to our passion, we discover who we really are and know what we must do. I wish you many great discoveries, and actions that matter, beginning right now.
Next time you catch yourself rushing through your day on the way some place other than where you are right now (and this can be a mental or emotional “rushing” as well as a physical one), sense your entire body and pay particular attention to your breathing. What does your breath feel like? Does it feel open and spacious? Most likely it feels small and cramped. Ask yourself if this is really how you want to live your life, always tensing toward something to be done or enjoyed (or something you believe will be better) in the future. Yes, the future is important and we all have plenty to do on its behalf, but what’s the point of all this “doing” if we don’t actually feel and appreciate the miracle of our aliveness, our being, right here and now? What’s the point of all of this activity if we are not open enough to receive and appreciate the life force flowing through us and others and the rich scale of impressions and perceptions that come with it?
Copyright 2010-2013 by Dennis Lewis