August 2020

We observe our inner landscape through the lens of the Labors of the Month. Our first August workshop introduced the symbolic labor of threshing wheat. The farmer separates the seeds from the chaff. We discussed how this could apply to our intellectual function; how to separate the useful kernels of thought from the chaff of daydreaming and mental association? We presented a method of sharpening these few helpful kernels into brief commands that can be intoned in strategic moments. During the second August workshop, we explored methods of turning everyday occurrences into “alarms” reminding us to Be. We also shared examples of practically applying the aforementioned commands to focus our awareness and reaffirm our aim. Our third workshop revolved around the topic of voluntary suffering. We spend much of our time in some form of negativity. The principle of voluntary suffering invites a small adjustment in our attitude; from experiencing ourselves as victims of circumstances, we introduce a voluntary element and thereby embrace our friction. In this context, we explored the Hindu myth of The Churning of the Milky Ocean. This story portrays the mechanics of an internal tug-of-war. The heat of friction arising from churning transforms the state of cream into butter, and likewise by pulling against the expression of negativity we crystallize finer energies in our being and raise our state of consciousness. In our fourth August workshop we shared experiences from the previous week’s exercise of inner churning. The final August workshop was a Question and Answer session.

Inner unity is obtained by means of friction, through the struggle between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in man.
Gurdjieff