Martyn Chalkley, UK
Martyn Chalkley was born in England 1954. He attended school
untill the age of fifteen when he left to find work. Up untill 1997 he
was doing manual work in factories and on building sites. In 1997 while
looking for new employment he was given the opportunity to work in a
hostel for homeless people. At the begining of this employment he felt
he had found a job that would give him satisfaction and a sense of
doing something worthwhile, but six years on although still doing
similar work Martyn has become dissillusiond with the way society deals
with its unfortunates. Martyn came across Gurdjieff in P. D.
Ouspensky's book "In Search of the Miraculous" in 1993. I got to know
him as 'darklight' in our forums [gone now, 2007], where you can find
many of his posts. Martyn's poems are in the Articles.
GIG: I want to start by asking you about 'lineage', but if you are not in touch with the Work directly, then what is happening?
Martyn: What do you mean by 'lineage'?
GIG: By lineage I mean some kind of 'Work' history. This can be anything from hearing the ideas to following the teaching over a longer period etc..
This becomes really interesting when the person claims to teach the Gurdjieff system or the Fourth Way. But even when one has not followed the teaching in a group or with a teacher it is interesting to know some of the 'Work'-history of the person.
Martyn: Most of what is called the Work has been for me psychological or what is known as inner work. My main work has been on my mind and emotions. Self-remembering and stopping thought are two exercises that I try frequently although at this point in time it is not with any expectancy of something occcuring but more to keep these two ideas in mind. The emotions I have tried to work on are the negative ones or what I consider negative to me. Working on these emotions has certainly made a difference in my life. Before my search began my life was very chaotic and it was as though I needed chaos in my life just to make life interesting. Now I am probably one of the most seemingly laidback people you could meet. Mentally and emotionally I feel very balanced, sort of at peace with myself.
Both Gurdjieff and Ouspensky have had a profound effect on my life, like a breath of fresh air their words have given me a totally new perspective on myself and the world I live in.
GIG: I am also committed to try to work on my own. Often when I try to remember myself I do not have the energy and I often manage no more than just a yawn. Much of the time I forget to try altogether.
What are the difficulties you are faced with?
Martyn: Yes - one of the main problems seems to be to remember to remember ones self. I think the problem here is because one has so many everyday things to think about it just doesn't enter the mind to remember ones self. One way I tried to get around this problem was to practice trying to keep something in mind for as long as possible, for instance if i had to go somewhere I would put a phrase in my mind and then see how far I had got before my mind was full of thoughts again. I must say though even this was just as difficult as self-remembering as one can be overtaken by a multitude of trivial thoughts and forget instantly what one set out to do.
GIG: Have you thought of getting in contact with one of the Work organizations in your country?
Martyn: Yes I have and I did. I was invited along to a meeting but it did not seem to have what I was looking for or rather I did not get a feeling for it. I know I can't really comment after only attending one meeting so its best I say no more about it.
GIG: The Work is tough whether you are on your own or with others. To wake up we need other people who keep shaking us. It has been said that we need to look for help. Did you give up looking after that?
Martyn: No I am always looking for people who share similar ideas. The reason I use the GIG site is in the hope of meeting people who can help me with the work. Also my partner is what is known as a pagan and apart from her beliefs about nature much of what we both believe is very similar. I mention this because I believe she helps me keep on track through the discussions we have about life and its meaning.
GIG: You have been inspired to write and have recently put on the site some of your poems and said that you will continue to do so. I am glad to see products of art that are related to the teaching. When did you start writing poetry - before or after you came across the ideas?
Martyn: The poems were written after I came in touch with the ideas. I had been experimenting with self-remembering, stopping thought and generally clearing my mind of all the old conditioning. Thinking back now I remember during this time it was as though I was on a emotional/mental high. In fact when I think about it now it is as though my experiments in remembering a phrase when I was going somewhere helped with my poetry. What I mean is I would be doing something and a few words, usually the first line of one of my poems, would just pop into my mind and I would keep it in my mind repeating it over and over untill I was able to get a pen and paper, soon as I wrote down this first line the rest of the poem which I had not even thought about would just come pouring out.
GIG: I like the poems I have so far seen from you, because they contain the element of your own search and that has the effect of arousing feelings.
Martyn: Although fairly simple I believe my poetry was inspired by my own search for the miraculous and gives an insight into my essence and personality at the time i was writing them.Some of them have a religious content some philosopical and some psychological.As well as my poems i also wrote a few sayings but at the moment i dont know where they would fit in on the site.
GIG: You wrote in the forums that people are more focused on Gurdjieff than the teaching. I agree that I have been also. Do you still see this going on?
Martyn: Yes I believe this is still happening and as I said in the forum I am sure G. warned against this. One of the reasons I believe this is when I have tried to interest people in the work their first questions are usually who is G., where did he come from, what is his history etc. In my opinion all this questioning about the teacher himself prevents people from taking in the message that is brought.