Purgatorial Suffering

NOTE: This post is an edited version of my post of November 1 with the title “Purgatory Suffering.” I dropped some material, added new one, and tried, as best as I could, to improve my poor English. I am res-posting now in preparation for my next post with the title “The Joy of Leaving Holy Purgatory Behind.” This next post will be the third post in a series of three posts designed to share with others my inner odyssey using Beelzebub’s Tales as  the “Pole Star.” 

All throughout Beelzebub’s Tales we find the expression intentional suffering, as one of the two aspects of Being partkdolg duty, the other aspect being conscious labors. On page 242 of the book we are told that “the greatest intentional suffering can be obtained …..if you compel yourself to endure the ‘displeasing-manifestation-of-others-towards-yourself.’” The Living Teaching Mr. Gurdjieff brought us also speaks of voluntary suffering and it emphasizes the difference between this kind of suffering and intentional suffering. Voluntary suffering is passive while intentional suffering is active. In voluntary suffering there is submission while in intentional suffering there is intent. The Living Teaching also speaks of a third kind of suffering designated as mechanical suffering. We are told that this kind of neurotic suffering must be sacrificed as soon as we understand its low nature.

I claim, based on my own experiences and my own understanding of the chapter Purgatory of Beelzebub’s Tales, that there is a fourth kind of suffering which, because of its own nature, can be designated as purgatorial suffering. The nature of this suffering is described in the opening pages of the chapter Purgatory of Tales. On page 745 of that chapter, we find the following three paragraphs:

OUR COMMON-FATHER-CREATOR-ENDLESSNESS appears there so often only because this holy planet is the place of the existence of the, in the highest degree, unfortunate ‘higher-being-bodies,’ who obtained their coating on various planets of the whole of our Great Universe.

“The ‘higher-being-bodies’ who have already merited to dwell on this holy planet, suffer, maybe, as much as anybody in the whole of our Great Universe.

“In view of this, our ALL-LOVING, ENDLESSLY-MERCIFUL and ABSOLUTELY-JUST CREATOR-ENDLESSNESS, having no other possibility of helping these unfortunate ‘higher-being-bodies’ with anything, often appears there so that by these appearances of HIS HE may soothe them, if only a little, in their terrible inevitable state of inexpressible anguish.

These three paragraphs immediately dispel any reasonable doubts that the kind of suffering experienced by the higher-being bodies in purgatory has anything to do with voluntary or intentional suffering, let alone mechanical suffering. We are here in the presence of a different and distinct kind of suffering. In fact, and because of the operation of the law of vibrations, purgatorial suffering is higher than voluntary and intentional suffering. These two forms of suffering belong to earth, while purgatorial suffering belongs to purgatory. But purgatory, in the scale of vibrations, is higher than earth, making purgatorial suffering be higher than voluntary suffering and intentional suffering. It should be noted here that both earth and purgatory are not places out there but inner states of being.

But not only purgatorial suffering is higher that voluntary suffering and intentional suffering, it is also of a different quality. The quality of voluntary suffering and intentional suffering is self-initiation. These two kinds of suffering must be self-initiated. The quality of purgatorial suffering is Grace. Once the souls or higher being bodies arrive in Holy Purgatory, after having put themselves in the position of others and having attained through conscious labors and intentional suffering the sacred Ischmetch, they are subdued, by the Grace from Above, to a particular kind of suffering that is not self-initiated. This is purgatorial suffering for the souls in purgatory. This is “their terrible inevitable state of inexpressible anguish,” mentioned in the three paragraphs above quoted. And it is because of this suffering that our ALL-LOVING, ENDLESSLY-MERCIFUL and ABSOLUTELY-JUST CREATOR-ENDLESSNESS often appears on that planet.

Purgatorial suffering, by its own nature, resembles the kind of suffering entailed by the awakening of the Divine Impulse of Objective Conscience. The nature of this suffering is described on page 372 of Beelzebub’s Tales:

“‘In all three-brained beings of the whole of our Universe without exception, among whom are also we men, owing to the data crystallized in our common presences for engendering in us the Divine impulse of conscience, “the-whole-of-us” and the whole of our essence, are, and must be, already in our foundation, only suffering.

It must be noted that the suffering mentioned above has nothing to do with voluntary suffering and intentional suffering. It is a kind of suffering that is related to the struggle in us of the confrontation between the manifestations in us of what is called “desires” and “non-desires.” It is in this sense this kind of suffering is similar to purgatorial suffering.

Purgatorial suffering is the suffering involved in the purification of the so-called “sins” of the body of the soul. These “sins” are not of terrestrial origin and they have nothing to do with our actions on Earth. They are the result of the contamination of the emanations of Holy Sun Absolute or Theomertmalogos resulting from the cosmic calamity known as the Choot-God-Letanical period. A good explanation of this cosmic catastrophe is given in the chapter Holy Purgatory of Beelzebub’s Tales. It was after this universal calamity that the planet purgatory made its appearance in the Universe. All this, of course, is allegorical and must be related to our inner world.

Purgatorial suffering is beautifully described in one of the many provocative indictments Mr. Gurdjieff made to his disciples (this one to a lady who wanted to know if he still worked on himself). Here is:

“Come to my room at 2 AM, and you will hear wailing and the gnashing of teeth.”

Wailing and gnashing of teeth at 2 AM! That is purgatorial suffering that has nothing to do with either voluntary suffering and or intentional suffering. I know what Mr. Gurdjieff meant because I have lived it.

I have made the commitment of posting here in my blog a series of three posts related to my work with the chapter Holy Purgatory of Beelzebub’s Tales. The first of this series of this series of three posts is my previous post with the title Hell in Purgatory. The second one is this post. The third will be my next post with the title The Joy of Leaving Purgatory Behind.

Until then, hoping your residence in Purgatory is a healthy and smooth one, and wishing you avoid the terrible sleepless nights accompanied by great remorse I had to go through. Never forget that the souls existing in Purgatory, the most beautiful planet in the whole Universe, live in caves.


Will Mesa




About willmesa

I have been studying and working with the ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff exposed in his Opus Magnum Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. The intention of this blog is to share these ideas with people around the world. For more information about me, please search in Google for Will Mesa
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11 Responses to Purgatorial Suffering

  1. Patrick says:

    Your last post Will seemed as if were meant for certain individuals who’ve experienced a great loss, how does grief fit in to your experiences with Holy Purgatory? On October 24th of last year my family lost our son Sam, who passed away suddenly at the age of 27. Grief of this magnitude doesn’t have a history or a reference point, there is no language contained in a shock like this, and the pain doesn’t seem to have a bottom. It’s like being thrown into a passageway of unfathomable depths. For months I wept, an endless weeping that now comes and goes with no rhyme or reason. Since the mind can’t handle a pain this great it creates all sorts of machinations to try and protect itself, but they are mostly just old ghosts of guilt, mostly survivors guilt. Now when the pain comes I focus all my attention on my son and Christ, this form of prayer opens up something new inside, the tears still fall but they contain a measure of healing within them. I belong to a group and I still attend the sittings and some workdays, although a lot of the exercises feel like a waste of time. I did take a break from the group for a few weeks but returned just recently. This thing we call grief seems to contain what so many men these days run from. Maybe facing all the loses that come to us when we get older are too difficult to understand, too much for our ego-complex to bear, but isn’t working with grief just what is needed? Thank you as always for your heart-felt posts.

  2. Gregory says:

    “Never forget that the souls existing in Purgatory, the most beautiful planet in the whole Universe, live in caves.”

    Between the years 1992-1994 a wedge of life was removed from my existence.
    Sixty-five people from the person I loved the most to the man who weekly packed my groceries died. Not only were their being-presences removed from me but I was “robbed” of The Being each and I had created in tandem: RELATIONSHIP.
    Since then it has been an endless free fall through space whose increasing velocity — for the fall never ends —- enforces cleansing through BURNING.
    Since then there is no “self-identity” as I had previously known it for the previous mirror reflections that APPEARED to secure it are gone, evaporated.
    In replacement, there is scorn from others — as if somehow I made this all happen —- and there is an unavoidable NOTHING which continuously remains “as is”
    Entering Groups quickly became a joke. And not a particularly funny one. Depth was nowhere to be found — not the Depth my situation needed to meet — because at best an Understanding of Pain and its articulated usefulness seemed well nigh non-existent. In its place: An Ever-evolving Hypnosis which precluded even the most basic of pain recognitions.

    From my particular vantage point forged in the ongoing immolation of the last 23 years:
    Most Groups, if not what I suspect is “All Groups”, no matter what that Groups’ self-stated Authority for It’s Being and Existence, formulate, construct and maintain through one collective and one collective only —–
    Fear of Death.

  3. Patrick says:

    Is the fear of death the lie that is constructed to avoid what is staring us in the face?

  4. Gregory says:

    In my nearly life-(60yrs +3 days) long-considering-of that-point-opinion,

    • Gregory says:

      You should know from me, Patrick, that when the above-described tragedy took place ( and “tragedy” I define as an insistent, horrible “something” you can’t do anything about) I made a vow to myself to stand firmly within the arena of Pain until ??? When “help” did not materialize from what I now perceive as the lack of Wisdom (“broad life experience Culled and Compassionately Understood “) of Groups and Individuals, something interesting happened which I could have never once guessed: my perceptions changed incrementally and permanently. In a word, they have never once returned to what they were before and now that I am in a very real way “on my own” they appear to continue to alter and adjust. Those changes take place it seems in direct relation to 1) my willingness to continue my Fall as 2) I continue to recognize my increasing Invisibility (also known as My Presence).

      While I don’t wish to make too much of this (certainly not to the point of inciting disagreement and argument —- actually I WON’T engage in that out of a foundational self-respect) — the above describes FOR ME a condition commonly referred to in these neighborhoods as “self-remembrance”. It isn’t The Definition, it is My Found Definition. And it will inevitably transmute.

  5. Patrick says:

    Your replies have been most accurate of anything I’ve read or heard, and have penetrated my being. Thank you, Gregory.

    • Gregory says:

      Continue with your prayer work, Patrick, concerning Christ and Your Son.
      Wait for, and then follow its lead. You will know.
      All Best Wishes and Many Thanks.

      • willmesa says:

        To both Patrick and Gregory. I agree with everything you have commented here but for me now the most essential thing is to leave Purgatory behind. That is why my next post will be entitled “The Joy of Leaving Holy Purgatory Behind.” I think it is possible and I have more or less done it. Thanks for all your comments and your personal exchanges which I have found very sound and to the point. Will.

  6. Patrick says:

    Looking forward Will, as always to your posts and Gregory hit the mark, authentic and real.

    Best Wishes to both, Patrick

  7. Gregory says:

    As always, I look forward to your further posting Will.
    Thank you and Patrick for the opportunity(Needful Thing) afforded me here.

  8. Hi Will: Thanks for this great post!

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