Category Archives: Gurdjieff

Hafiz or Guardian

There is a term in Arabic: Hafiz, and it’s meaning is that of guardian or memoriser. It is a term used by Muslims for someone who has completely memorised the Qur’an.

The Qur’an is divided into 114 Surahs (chapters), containing 6,236 verses (comprising some 80,000 words or 330,000 individual characters). This process generally takes between 3 and 6 years part-time together with schooling.

There are many Hafiz all over the globe. Those noble among us who spend their time focussing on and memorising the Holy Scriptures.

We now have a specific list of the Worlds various lineages and their works. And we have all of the worlds Scripture to draw from.

Where would you begin? The Qur’an, The Gospels, Psalms, Phaedo, Bhagavad Gita? The list is endless. We can’t memorise them all, but it is clear that we can certainly memorise one. Where would you start?

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Filed under Buddhism, Gurdjieff, Language, Pythagoras, The Mind, Words

Fragments of Fragments

In this Vlog I will share how Fragments of Fragments came to be, how I came to the name, and where I intend to go with it in its new video format.

Link to YouTube

Hello again and welcome to Fragments of Fragments with me Lewis Kirk. Firstly, thank you to everyone who got in contact about the first video with your feedback, ideas, encouragement and criticism, it really means a lot to me. And a special thanks to those of you who felt moved to share it with your social network. This gives others the chance to see this who otherwise would not. The one main criticism that I got from a few of you was that the video was a bit long. I will take this on board and ‘try’ to keep this one to a more manageable 10 mins or so. No promises.

So, how did Fragments of Fragments begin? Between around 2010 and the start of this blog in 2012 I became very interested in reading. This had progressed from an interest in golf and reading biographies of the worlds greatest golfers, until one day I found a reference to Deepak Chopras ‘Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ In Nick Faldo’s autobiography ‘Life Swings’. This was the first of many connections I would make in my reading life that were akin to synchronicity or serendipity. Reading autobiographies is a great way to gain life experience sitting in your arm chair. I learnt many life lessons just by reading lots of biographical works.

From Deepak Chopra I read ‘The Secret’, and after that, Joseph Murphy’s ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’. From these books alone, and I’m pretty sure I’m missing some out, I became aware of a different way of thinking to anything I had ever heard before. No one in my life to that point had ever told me about the power of positive thoughts and affirmations. No one had told me that I can gain control of my emotional responses and the way I react to people and the world around me. Why not? Why had no one ever given me this valuable advice and told me I could change my life for the better!? Because very few people knew about it or were interested in this sort of thing. It is more available today, what with the growing popularity of mindfulness, but when I first contacted these ideas it was a great mystery for me why no one was using these techniques to benefit themselves.

This was the entrance to the proverbial rabbit hole, which I fell into like Alice and was down for a good few years. The thing that pushed me in fully was when a good friend of mine recommended two authors, one named George Gurdjieff, and the other Peter Ouspensky. There are several posts about Gurdjieff and you can find them all in the category section down the right hand side of the website. Now, I thought Chopra, Murphy and The Secret were thought provoking and inspirational, but Gurdjieff and Ouspensky had a different flavor altogether, one that moved beyond positive thinking and inspiration and reflected a mirror directly into my being and caused me to see who I really am, behind all the roles I have to play in life, and all the desires and aversions that I have become accustomed to. These two men stripped all that away, and left me open without anything to hide behind. These men and their works was the beginning of a new life for me.

It had never occurred to me standing at the entrance of the rabbit hole what was waiting for me when I would come out. No one warned me, and it was never something I thought about, the consequences of shutting myself away and reading books of this nature for hours a day, for days at a time. I was so curious and interested in these two characters Gurdjieff and Ouspenky that I immediately brought their most famous works and read them. From there I read everything they had ever written, and after that read all the books their students and followers had written about them. For around two years I would digest all these books never reflecting on what was happening to me. Someone with more sense might have taken a moment at the entrance of that rabbit hole and asked: ‘Whats down there?’, ‘what will the experience do to me?’, ‘is it safe?’. But not me. I knew I wanted what was in there and so in I went.

This is a good segway into why I called the blog Fragments of Fragments. Even in trying to tell you about a few books that I read early on, and the impact they had on my life, words are insufficient to describe to you what I experienced. How can I tell you about Gurdjieffs Work and philosophy in a short video? How can I tell you about the power of positive thought and the effect affirmation can have in your life in 10 minutes? I cant. I cant even share a Fragment of these philosophies. But I can share Fragments of Fragments.

During this time of study and introspection I became passionate about ideas, concepts and philosophies, specifically the way they can have a positive impact on life, to the point where I created a blog to be able to share them more widely. This was always my aim, that I might be able to make people aware of something they did not know of, and for them to be interested enough to look into it, and by this process improve their life.

Some of the headings you will find in the category section running down the right hand side of the home page are as follows. In alphabetical order as they appear in the list:

  • Astrology
  • Buddhism
  • Gurdjieff
  • Harmonious Development
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Mulla Nasrudin
  • Mythology
  • Ouspensky
  • Positivity
  • Philosophy
  • Pythagoras
  • Symbolism
  • Tae Te Ching
  • The Mind
  • Universe
  • Yogananda
  • Zen

To give a good you example of a whole being made up of fragments, or parts, lets take Mythology. Mythology would be the whole field of knowledge. The fragments of it being the different cultures of mythology: Greek mythology, Norse mythology, Roman mythology, Celtic mythology, Aztec & Mayan mythology. And a fragment of a fragment would be a specific god within a specific mythology. Say Zeus in Greek mythology, Odin in Norse mythology, or Mercury in Roman mythology. I would find a Fragment of a Fragment of some larger body of knowledge and share it hoping people might find it as interesting as I did.

That was how the blog began, and how I came up with the name for it. Now to finish I will speak a little about where I am in my life now, and what is important to me after all this reading and practice. It is clear that there are many fields of knowledge and information that we can choose from and pursue. From flower arranging to baking. From banking to politics. Different languages to learn. The list is endless. But it is my opinion that the most important knowledge that is available to us and of the most interest to me is that which removes suffering and produces happiness. This aspiration of the end of suffering can be a current within anyone’s life, and it wont impact in the slightest if you are a baker or a florist or a banker, apart from make you a more kind, compassionate and mindful one.

The clearest example of this can be found within Buddhism. They have the teaching of the four noble truths. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.  I would consider this teaching a fragment of the school of Buddhist thought. A quick google search will help you to learn more about the four noble truths.

I am not claiming that by watching one Vlog your suffering will be removed and you will live in a transcendental happiness forever. What I am hoping to share can be considered tools for life. Ill give you a blunt knife, but it is your responsibility to sharpen it, to learn how to use it and to keep it safe.

I will end with a thought experiment. You have two choices, like the red and blue pill in the matrix, but not whether you stay happily plugged in to the matrix, or wake up and come out of the simulation. My choices are a little different. One pill will give you entertainment and excitement for 5 hours but will increase your suffering once the effects ware off. The other pill will produce silence and boredom for 5 hours but will reduce the suffering you experience in your life moving forward. Which pill would you take? And why?

Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel. And if you haven’t already like the Fragments page on Facebook you could do that to. See you next time.

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Imperturbability 

It is widely thought that the world around us and our current circumstances dictate our state of inner happiness, or lack of. This is one of the greatest misconceptions. 

Pain is anything that rouses displeasure or dislike. Pleasure is that which causes attraction and liking. It’s easy to think that pleasure is better than pain. Both of these states however, are fleeting and will come and go. The best attitude is to practice indifference to these influences; neither becoming happy with good circumstances, nor becoming depressed with bad happenings. This is the road to true happiness! 

One of the first pieces of information I received in regards ‘spiritual wisdom’ is that we have a choice in the way we react to things. Before this I thought that insults require retaliation, acts of violence need to be revenged and so forth. With a little practice I soon realised that this is not the case. 

If someone insults you, you have the free will to smile and say, ‘why thanks very much.’ This is real strength. Jesus teaches us that if you are struck on the left cheek, offer the right also. This inner resolve and inability to be effected is what is required to stay centred in this fast paced world. 

Try it for a short time. Decide that you won’t be effected by anything that comes your way. That you will be indifferent to both pleasure and pain. Soon you will see that we have the ability to take complete control of our lives. 

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Filed under Gurdjieff, Harmonious Development, positivity

Black Friday

Black Friday is a term which the media has created. It is ‘a day of bargains on the busiest shopping day of the year.’ Huge sales, massive discounts, hurry, deals, will end monday. All this language has a huge influence on those receiving it. Just check out the news story’s that were delivered yesterday and you will clearly see how people become effected and influenced by the media and consumerism.

George Gurdjieff says that; ‘Man is a machine and is completely controlled by external influences. All the people you see, all the people you know, all the people you may get to know, are machines, actual machines working solely under the power of external influences.’ Any of you who have seen any ‘Black Friday’ footage will be able to verify instantly that those individuals who partook of the retail madness were completely under some external influence, that being the media and the giant corporations who want their money.

The above paragraph may seem cynical and pessimistic but I assure you it’s not. Black Friday is an extreme example, a clear indication of what control the media has over those who allow it. I have spoken before about this and many are trying to help people see whats happening in the world today.

So where do we fit into all this? If you waited for a shop to open because of the huge sales, rushed in to grab something that you don’t really need and assaulted someone who tried to grab your stuff. Then you are under the influence of the media and Black Friday. If you have heard before that individuals are influenced by the world around them, by people, by planets and stars and many other variables then you are aware of the situation.

KNOW THYSELF is one of the simplest pieces of spiritual advice one can receive. If you don’t know that you are under the influence of the world around you then how can you do anything to remedy it. If you watch adverts on T.V and find yourself half dazed walking to the shop and buying something you don’t need, then you will struggle to do anything about it. But if after reading this you observe what happens if you watch a news programme with death and destruction on it. If you pay attention to how you feel after an advert inadvertently telling you that your not good enough because you don’t own their product, you will see what influence these impressions have on you.

One of Gurdjieff’s followers asks a very important questions in regards this subject, and one we can all learn from, especially someone who punched their fellow man for a cheap television:

‘Can a man stop being a machine?’ Gurdjieff’s response sheds a stunning light on our current situation.

‘It is possible to stop being a machine, but for that it is necessary first of all to know the machine. A machine, a real machine, does not know itself and cannot know itself. When a machine knows itself it is then no longer a machine, at least, not so much a machine as it was before. It already begins to be responsible for its actions.’

I would appreciate any comments you might have on this subject. Post them here on WordPress or alternatively on my Facebook page. Even if you disagree with the above or have some criticism I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Filed under Gurdjieff, Harmonious Development, Language, The Mind, Words

Individual Efforts

“The fruits of ones spiritual awakening are a blessing not only on ones own life, but on the world at large. ‘One soweth and another reapeth’, a reference to mass karma. Every person sows good or bad actions in the soil of his life, and not only does he himself reap the karmic harvest of those actions, but he make others reap them as well. If a person writes a degrading novel, all who read it reap the evil effects of the authors thoughts. The law of cause and effect operates in even subtler ways as well. The actions of each individual leave electromagnetic etchings in his brain, influencing his future actions; and they also leave vibrational traces in the ether, which register in and influence the minds of others.

In Mysore I visited a sandalwood factory; each piece of shaving of sandalwood contributes to the atmosphere of the whole place, and anyone who enters enjoys the wonderful fragrance. Similarly, when I come to our Self-Realisation Fellowship temples, there are so many good souls earnestly seeking God that I feel the spiritual vibration emanating from their collective goodness.

The overall quality and character of any community, any civilisation, is produced by mass karma, the accumulated effects of actions left in the ether by the populace in general. Each individual is responsible for contributing to the mass karma, which in turn influences every individual.

The person who keeps himself cleansed of all wrong vibrations produces a powerful uplifting effect on his contemporaries. One moon gives more luster than all the stars; so a mooned soul- one who purely reflects the light of God- can influence the masses much more than the masses influence each other. Thus, individual efforts can be even more important than mass karma. one who in every way tries to uplift himself, harmonising body, mind and soul with the Divine, creates positive karma not only in his own life, but in his family, neighbourhood, country and world. Hence it is not justified to say, ‘Thousands of people are misbehaving, so what does it matter if I am, too?’ No! The goodness of one soul may effectively neutralise the mass karma of millions.

Such was the accomplishment of Mahatma Gandhi: he brought freedom to 400 million people by his spiritual influence. He was scoffed at and spent many years in prison, but he still went on. Ultimately, his spirit of righteousness triumphed, and he became instrumental in freeing India by peaceful means. His life stands as a monumental example of the practical application of Jesus Christ’s doctrines. Because ones individual sowed goodness, millions reaped that goodness and freedom.

Each drop of water contributes to the existence of the ocean. So even if each ones life seems no more than a droplet in the sea of humanity, that life can have a significant influence. One who makes himself god-like automatically uplifts countless others on the divine path. One who makes himself evil demotes others from the spiritual plane by a negative effect on their potential weakness. He who has reformed himself has reformed thousands; for what one sows in the ether, by the vibrations of his thoughts and character, others will surely reap.”

~ Paramhansa Yogananda.

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Filed under Gurdjieff, positivity, The Mind, Words, Yogananda

Truth from East and West

“Truth, in and of itself , is the ultimate ‘religion.’ Though truth can be expressed in different ways by sectarian ‘isms,’ it can never be exhausted by them. It has infinite manifestations and ramifications, but one consummation: Enlightenment, Awakening, Gnosis. Experience of the sole reality.
The human stamp of sectarian affiliation is of little meaning. It is not the religious denomination in which ones name is registered, nor the culture or creed in which one was born, that gives salvation. The essence of truth goes beyond all outer form.
The great teachings and truths of all the ages is living and thriving in both East and West. The West has concentrated on perfecting the physical conditions of man, and the East on developing the spiritual potentials of man. Both East and West are one sided. Granted, the East is not practical enough; but the West is too practical to be spiritually practical! That is why I advocate a harmonious union of the two; they need each other. Without spiritual idealism, material practicality is the harbinger of selfishness, sin, competition, and wars. This is a lesson for the West to learn. And unless idealism is tempered with practicality, there is confusion and suffering and lack of natural progress. This is the lesson to be learned by the East.
The East can learn from the West, and the West can learn from the East. It is not strange that, perhaps due to God’s secret plan, since the East need material development, it was invaded by Western material civilisation? and since the West need spiritual balance, it had been silently and surely ‘invaded’ by Hindu philosophy, not to conquer lands but to conquer souls with the liberation of God-realization.
We are all children of God, from our inception unto eternity. Differences come from prejudices, and prejudice is the child of all ignorance. We should not proudly identify ourselves as Americans, British, Indians or Italians or any other nationality, for that is but an accident of birth. Above all else, we should be proud that we are children of God, made in His image. Is not that the message of the Christ?”

~Paramhansa Yogananda.

I am unable to add anything more. All is said in the above. What I will say is Yogananda has opened up a new world for me, one which I new was there but not fully aware of. I hope you enjoy. If you enjoy, please share with others who may also.

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Strive for Freedom

“We must strive for freedom if we strive for self-knowledge. The task of self-knowledge and of further self-development is of such importance and seriousness, it demands such intensity of effort, that to attempt it any old way and amongst other things is impossible. The person who undertakes this task must put it first on his life, which is not so long that he can afford to squander it or trifles!”

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~ G. I. Gurdjieff

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Filed under Gurdjieff, philosophy, The Mind, Zen