The real world is full of magic
“The chapter on Art of Beelzebub’s Tales (BTTHG) repeatedly speaks of what is called lawful “otherwises” (pages 465,475, 482, and others). What is a lawful “otherwise”? It is a moment or an event in the Law when some form of knowledge or understanding is given to us. We all have had these moments when we understand something knew and we know that is real understanding because it moves us in a certain direction, maybe even a totally new direction. We must pay attention to these moments because they are very important in our work on ourselves. Everything is according to law or law-conformable says Mr. Gurdjieff. So, a lawful “otherwise” is some moment in the law when we are given an extra edge.
These lawful “otherwises” exist in all of us, buried in the subconscious where all that we need is presently intact, all the data necessary and sufficient for our self-perfecting is there and we do not need anymore than that. This is the Great Hope of this Teaching Mr. Gurdjieff brought to us. It is indeed a Great Hope because there is absolutely no way we can create anything. Only our COMON FATHER ETERNAL CREATOR can create. We are created beings. So, everything we need is already there. What we call evolution is nothing more than a return to what already exists in us. The way that goes is the way that returns. But because of operation of another law known as the law of correspondence what is inside us is also outside us as well. If it is true that as above so below, it is also true that as inside so outside. So, these lawful ‘otherwises’ also occur outside of us. We can call them signs from the Real World. By Real World we mean the world that exists outside of us and that we do not fabricate. We cannot create this world but we can listen to it. But how do we contact these sings from the Real World? Actually, they contact us. All we have to do is to be in a state of questioning, seeking, asking, and knocking. Then they will appear one way or another because everything is according to law. This fact has been known in all the great teachings and has been formulated in many different ways. I particularly like the way the Divine Teacher Jesus Christ formulated it:
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Mr. Gurdjieff has another very interesting formulation that I really love. Here is taken from the book “Undiscovered Country” by Katheryn Hulme (I am quoting the entire paragraph):
“Gurdjieff might “make something” for my mother. This was why I had pressed so hard on IRO for a January leave to coincide with his New York sojourn. This was an example of the “conjury” he had once declared operated in individual lives, operating not as magic, but as something you do which will be god for you (but for no one else) because you do it. I looked in the notebook that always traveled with me. It was on the Rivera trip in February of ’37 when he had spoken so cryptically about “conjury. ”Wish or not wish, conjury you must believe because all life consists of conjury.’’ We had had one on the etymological discussions so dear to the master’s heart. Conjury—con, with; jure, to swear—“with swearing” the Canary had suggested hopefully but Gurdjieff said no, that was not the conjury he meant. (later, pursuing the old Latin root of jure or iut, we discovered for ourselves that one of its original meanings was “a religious formula having the force of law.”)”
We can see two things in Mr. Gurdjieff’s formulation. It is a religious formula implying some form of praying but not praying in the way we commonly understand it but in the sense of seeking, asking, and knocking. And it is something one makes for oneself and not for others, although others may benefit from or even participate in the conjury.
I would like now to give two concrete examples of recent conjuries I have had in my life. I have to say that I can fill pages after pages of conjuries in my life but these two are the best I have had in recent time.
I was traveling on train from New York to Baltimore where I was heading to give a talk to a small Gurdjieff group in Baltimore. Trains have always been for me a place of Magic. I will never forget my experiences when a child in Cuba travelling in the train my father worked for. While the train moved smoothly I was reading the chapter “The-Terror-of-the-Situation” of Beelzebub’s Tales which was the topic I had chosen for my talk to the group in Baltimore. At one my moment in my concentrated effort, the train conductor came walking the aisle of my wagon yelling: “Philadelphia! Philadelphia!. At that precise moment I lifted my eyes from my reading and looked through the window. What I saw was three streets converging on a main street. Then in a flash I remembered what Mr. Gurdjieff had said while giving a talk to a group of disciples: “The ways of approach are different, but all must get to ‘Philadelphia.’ The limits are the same.” It was then, in a rapid moment of illumination, that I really understood what he had meant by “Philadelphia.” The train finally left the station and the city of Philadelphia was left behind but my essence-understanding has remained with me since then. That was another true moment of conjury or magic in my life.
Months ago I was having lunch with a friend in the Living Teaching. I meet with this friend once a month and since she is into BTTHG like me we have found an interesting way of working together around the book. We take the book to our lunch and we open it at random and then ask questions about the material we read. That day she opened it on the last pages of the chapter on war and we began to read about the way beings from Atlantis separated other beings into three groups and constructed buildings for these groups. One group was male beings, another was female beings and the third groups were those called “middle sex,” which consisted of both males and females. Those of this middle sex were recognized by a series of symptoms, the most important being that these beings had hemorrhoids. When we got to this point my friend made a comment in the sense that once again Mr. Gurdjieff was pulling one’s leg. But I told her that in everything we see in BTTHG there is always some meaning and some teaching, even the funny remarks of the Mullah. So, as we always do, we began to search for the hidden meaning of the hemorrhoids. But not matter how hard we tried we could not make anything out of it. We went into something else. That day we were having lunch at the beautiful café at the New York Metropolitan Museum, which is located at one corner of Central Park. Diagonal to this corner is the building where I teach. So, I decided to walk through Central Park on my way to my evening class. It is a two miles walk through isolated places which favors something I love to do and that is to think while walking. I walked with my burning question about hemorrhoid in my mind. At one very isolated place I came across a man younger than me and we both looked at each other quite intensively. After we crossed each other I turned around and he too turned around. He then waved his hands and exclaimed something that I understood like “seat.” I asked him “What?” He then said: “Sitting like sitting down on a chair.” For a moment I thought he was one of those insane people one meets in New York. But before I had taken five steps and in a flash of understanding I had the answer to my question. The thing is that one of the main reason males beings of the middle sex were placed in these buildings is, as it is said on page 1110: “were already entirely deprived of the possibility of ever consciously contemplating.” Then, in flash of insight I saw that for contemplating one must sit but that it is very difficult to sit if one has hemorrhoid. Every thing in BTTGH has a meaning, even if it is much hidden. I felt good and went and gave an extraordinary lecture, which by some “coincidence” that day was on the topic of extracting a signal from a noise or finding the intelligence of a signal through separation from noise, exactly what I has taken place with my conjury.
Yes, Wish or not wish, conjury you must believe because all life consists of conjury. All life indeed consists of Conjury.