Foundation – Ron

Ron Mohel, Switzerland
Gurdjieff - Transformation
Vishnu as Tortoise, fragment from Beng Mealea Temple, Cambodia

A few weeks ago one of my children started first grade. I attended a few classes and it was nice to see his teacher’s approach to the children. The teacher decided to teach them slowly, taking time to establish a firm foundation for their future learning and life. However, this early strong foundation will soon be buried under the many other things that my son will attract during the course of his life.

Everything we do has its own unique foundation, the “Do” of a new octave that is given to us. Mechanical life will soon overlay this original note. Our efforts are to keep the remainder of the octave on its proper foundation so it can develop properly.

When I began working in a Fourth Way school, the first thing I noticed was that I did not speak the “work language,” and felt as if I did not perceive the depth of things said, as if I were lacking the basis to do so. It was obvious, for example, that someone hearing about an astral body for the first time had less understanding than those already familiar with this idea. Another realization was that words I already knew now took on a completely new meaning. I did not have the proper foundation, and thus lacked a proper understanding on which to learn and work as I wished.

The part in me that desired to reach higher and to experience presence for more moments decided to start to fill the missing gaps. Without doing so, I felt I would only be able, at best, to imitate the external manifestation of the Fourth Way, and would be performing an act rather than making a real internal change in my state.

I started to go over everything I had learned. There was no point in abandoning it, as it had brought me to where I stood thus far. I needed to work through these difficulties, and did so mostly by spending time with more senior students, in order to dig under the old foundations of my understanding. This included repairing and replacing what was needed, on the one side, and adding new parts, on the other. I began to construct a new whole, on more profound foundations, by gathering understanding about what it is that I wish to change as well as how and why: new foundations able to hold all that will come in future on my new spiritual path.

This has proven to be a unique process of change. After a while I noticed that the old foundations were still there, and that I had to pay attention, whenever acquiring something new, to make an intentional effort to place it on the proper foundation, so as not let it fall or get lost. Slowly I started to work on a smaller scale. I examined my efforts, on the scale of the moment, to see what my efforts were based on. I noticed there were times I was trying to remember myself mainly because I was surrounded by people who were supposed to be, and probably were, trying to do so as well. In some cases I noticed I was trying to show I could remember myself very well, mainly by acting it, in order to impress someone else. In all those cases where the efforts were growing on the wrong tree, their fruit did not ripen and simply fell to the ground.

Understanding more deeply why I wished to be present to my life helped diminish these incidents and allowed a simpler kind of work, less tied to the mechanical rules around me. Something opened up; I was doing the same work as before, but my efforts now were more concentrated and gentle, as they were growing from the right place. Interestingly, when I verified the place I was working from was the correct one, I noticed it was only after I was already there, and realized it was not chosen by thinking, but by something higher in me which came to my aid.

A man must first of all understand certain things. He has thousands of false ideas and false conceptions, chiefly about himself, and he must get rid of some of them before beginning to acquire anything new. Otherwise the new will be built on a wrong foundation and the result will be worse than before. – George Gurdjieff