Plavan N. Go Interview

Plavan N. Go has recently submitted three articles to GIG. His own web address, both in Japanese and English, is centered around the Movements and the seminars that he is arranging. Some of the photos Plavan took on his travels in Central Asia are used in our E-cards.

Reijo: In Japan you have Zen, which to me looks fairly complete as a way for personal development. You have studied Gurdjieff's ideas now for about twenty years. What made you prefer Gurdjieff to Zen?

Plavan: Zen exists in the proximity of a man like Gurdjieff. The question of preference does not arise in me at all, either between Zen and Gurdjieff or between Gurdjieff and Osho. When I am pulled by the presence of such men, it is not due to my preference. Similarly, it is not quite exact to say that I studied Gurdjieff for nearly twenty years. In these years, this "I" in me has simply been overwhelmed by what he was and what he taught.

A Zen master may hit you very hard after hearing you say that Zen is a way for personal development. Zen may appear to you more destructive than developmental. It destroys our mind, that is, a false bridge between various sets of dualities that we find in and out of ourselves, so that we may drop into the gap and find ourselves there. Several weeks ago, a student of Zen told me that the work he experienced with us was more destructive than what he experienced so far in the tradition of Zen. He said it as a compliment, not as a criticism. The group broke into a big laughter after hearing him say this with a certain amount of seriousness in his voice.

I tasted something of Zen when I learned Zazen and swordsmanship at a local Zen monastery in my childhood. In my adulthood, however, I did not attempt to look for a teacher in the official lineages of Zen Buddhism, so much burdened by formalities, political concerns, and authority trips; not mentioning the occasional happening of sexual perversion and violence to novice students in monasteries.

If you read Zen anecdotes, like the ones included in Zen Flesh Zen Bones Zen Fresh, Zen Bones by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps, you may see how authentic Zen masters have transmitted the spirit of Zen to those around them. This special way of transmission is described as: "directly pointing to the heart of man without formulating." This spirit is easily lost when the teaching is formalized and institutionalized.

The way of direct transmission as followed by authentic Zen masters is quite different from what we associate with the word "lineage." This English word is quite problematical because it assumes linearity of transmission as if in a top-down flow. It also gives an idea that a disciple can reach somewhere simply by following a single line of teaching that appears straight only to his deluded mind. Neither Gurdjieff nor ancient Zen masters supported such views.

At certain places in Japan, one may come across the lingering smell of something real that must have happened around the presence of an authentic Zen master. This smell, however, comes mostly from the past. Those who are interested in making a contact with the true spirit of Zen may have a better chance of finding it elsewhere.

Reijo: What you say may well be also true of many other traditions. What Gurdjieff taught is nearer to us in time and in the formulation. What do you see as the main difference? Is it just a matter of linguistic differences or is it something else?

Plavan: Traditions are different lines of dispersion. They are surely different from each other and even contradictory. Originators of traditions are not part of their traditions or of any particular tradition. Gurdjieff draw from many sources, making himself available to contradictory influences and reconciling them by nothing less than the power of his being.

Some of the contradictions that we find among different traditions are superficial while others are serious. People who believe that they are moving in similar directions may actually be moving in opposite directions. The reverse can also be the case. With all types of contradictions, we must learn to be able to use them instead of avoiding them or compromising them with explanations. How can one use contradictions to benefit one's being? This is the central subject of Zen. By sincerely struggling with this koan, we may come closer to the source of all traditions, which can be defined either as a point of no contradiction or the point of maximum contradiction.

Compared with Zen patriarchs, Gurdjieff may appear closer to us. Still, these several decades following the departure of Gurdjieff is already a great distance. For example, it seems difficult now to find anywhere the Zen aspect of Gurdjieff's teaching that must have been there with him. What's hopelessly missing is the sharpness of contradictions that a man like Gurdjieff must have allowed in himself and evoked in those who were courageous enough to be with him.

Different lines of dispersion stem from a man like Gurdjieff because one cannot bear the contradictions that had been harmonized in him by the power of his being. A little mathematical thinking is enough to see that everything will be lost very quickly in the process of radial dispersion unless the different lines of dispersion make dangerous contacts with each other, creating something out of the heat produced by clashes, which are inevitable. This is not necessarily a political suggestion; one can produce such clashes within oneself and benefit from them. I thank you for creating and holding a space where such may happen at least in the Internet universe.

Reijo: There certainly are contradictions enough, also when we look at what has been done in Gurdjieff's name in just over 50 years. What held together all the contradictions in what he taught was, as you say, his own understanding and being. Some of it can be sensed in his writings.

The internet is a good example from where I am sitting; I often feel like playing the role of the devil, however badly I do it!

I find your remark about the courage of the people who followed him at his own time very interesting. I am not at all sure that I could have the courage to be with him if the situation arose.

Enough speculation! Would you like to tell me how you work; what you see as important for yourself in your Work?

Plavan: Reijo, I think your position at this particular space in the Internet universe should be that of a creator or of a maintainer rather than that of a devil, even though a creator may have to include in him something of a devil in order for him to be a real creator. It is good to enjoy the awareness of our being a medium of different forces in the Law of Three at different occasions and in different contexts.

Would I have followed Gurdjieff if I was living in his time? I responded yes to this question when it was placed to me long ago by Mr. W in our meeting with Ms. M, a woman who had been a long time member of a Foundation group which was then led by Lord Pentland. Mr. W, the representative of a publisher that sold Gurdjieff's Meetings with Remarkable Men along with many books by Osho, then spoke about Osho's sannyasins (approximately but not exactly meaning disciples) he was in contact with and about his mixed feeling of admiration and fear in seeing the risks they took in their involvement with the communal movement around Osho. Ms. M then said something about my intellectualism and told me that I would have to learn from a man like him, whom she regarded equivalent to Gurdjieff but more "vulgar." I followed her advice a few years after this meeting.

Ironically, Ms. M did not follow her own words, leaving the Foundation group a few years later after writing a book in which she stated that she found something better than Gurdjieff, which for her was Mouravieff. From one of her ex-group members to whom she recently advised to work with me, I learned about her criticism of Gurdjieff and Osho being "too powerful." About this comment of hers, I must say that the first thing that struck me in seeing Osho was the absence of that kind of power which we often associate with such a man: the power that commands and dictates. When I became aware of subtler something that flowed from his presence after some time, I began to see how this subtler something, in its interaction with the space outside, produced a phenomenon of such a scale that even Ronald Reagan took notice of and found it very disturbing. Gurdjieff had the same presence, as I confirmed from seeing him alive in a part of a French documentary film.

There are many stories about how, in the presence of Gurdjieff, people were stripped naked, revealing both the best and worst of themselves. The same has happened around Osho and kept on happening even after his departure. In any case, it is rewarding but arduous to stay near the presence of such a man. Osho's sannyasins have a high "death rate"; probably less than one among a few hundred nominal sannyasins really took the intensity of being authentically a sannyasin for more than several years. In Gurdjieff's words, others are probably "shits" but I cannot help loving most of them seeing the purpose they serve.

It is my conviction that one cannot expect to be able to work on oneself alone. When we find out that we are the slave of what we believe as ourselves, how can we proceed without some external help? I heard Osho say that something must enter us from outside, breaking the vicious circle in which we live, before we become capable of moving on our own. I also heard him say that even though we become freer of ordinary needs as we grow, the need to work with others will remain. I find these words true and so it is most important for me to be in a situation where I can have dynamic exchanges with others. But now, due to the rapid disintegration of the communal movement around Osho in the last several years, I cannot expect others to maintain or provide such a situation for me. So my focus has changed to making small experiments locally in producing a situation for such dynamic exchanges. It is also important for me to seek connection with other individuals and groups in the world that hold interests similar to ours, even though the number of which may not be so many.

Reijo: I fail to see why anyone can go from Gurdjieff to Mouravieff! It does not make any sense! Mouravieff made a mixture of Ouspensky's interpretation of Gurdjieff's teaching and Orthodox Christianity. There is no need to mix these two. The result is a mess and a theoretical presentation of 'something' without feeling, without life. It can be compared to mixing a cup of coffee with a cup of tea.

Contacts are important. The best of Gurdjieff work for me has come from contacts with people. Perhaps it is just me, but I have learned much more from my friends than from group work. I am talking of a special kind of friendship, where work is always somewhere in the background and can come into focus.

We need the 'outside', but we also need to work ourselves. On a more personal level what about your work? What are the efforts you make to work on yourself? What is your definition of the work?

Plavan: I think I understand what you call a special kind of friendship. In fact, I find such friendship very compatible with group work; not so with institutionalized work. Such friendship is definitely a quality of the group work I pursue. It is special because it can go against the rules of ordinary friendships at any unexpected moment. So it can happen only among the group of people for whom truth is more important than convenience. Our ordinary relationships including marriage are governed by unspoken agreements about the mutual sharing of certain illusions, often called aims and ideals, and the mutual avoidance of certain issues. Such relationships cannot endure even a few words of truth. I hope not-so-many of work groups in the world are the gathering of people who rigorously follow their own set of such unspoken agreements.

You mentioned the need to balance the work on oneself and the work with others. The local group I lead is based on the principle of mutual exchange where one is expected not only to take but also to give. If any group member including myself does not work on oneself and stays in the group mostly for getting some juice out of it, he becomes aware of it through noticing that he has nothing to give. If this person acknowledges that he has nothing to give, however, he is already giving something valuable to the group in the form of his awareness, which also is a part of his work on himself. Not depending on one's level of development, everyone has something to give. Even the need that brings one to the group, if it is an authentic one, is a valuable offering to the group. For this mutual exchange to happen, however, each group member including myself has to fight against one's tendency to give something false instead of something real. I have a strong determination to maintain the rigorousness of the special kind of friendship, which does not allow the group to turn into a social club or an institution. By the way, I use the pronoun "he" only because of my male chauvinism even though the majority of our local group members are women, which hopefully should prove that I am not really a male chauvinist pig.

I define the work as whatever we do outside the scope of survival, convenience, and comfort in life. It is both obligatory and voluntary. It is obligatory in the sense that my desire for work is something at the core of myself but still not of my own; it is something that comes from the fact of myself being born as a man. It is voluntary in the sense that man has a freedom to ignore this need; a very deceptive kind of freedom because this need or obligation can be ignored only at the cost of a great loss. So the work is inevitable. Since a grownup man may not only accept but also welcome this inevitability, the word "effort" may not always be appropriate. I simply follow what is experienced as the deepest of desires in me.

In the work as well as in life, I find myself often guided by a definite sense of orientation that I have in my body, physical or nonphysical I don't know, especially in the area of what Japanese call hara. I hate keeping in my head notions about what I should do or what I want to do because they cloud my perception. I like to keep my perception open to various possibilities and evaluate each in reference to a definite sensation it produces in my hara. What I choose to do in the context of my work on myself and my work with others can change wildly from moment to moment; still they are coherent because they all produce in me and probably in others a similar sensation in this particular part of the body. This is not something very esoteric at least to Japanese who have many idioms that describe this phenomenon. I am following the same principle as I respond to you in this interview.

Reijo: If Hara is not anything esoteric then perhaps I could just call it 'gut feeling', which in the English sense I associate with having 'guts'. I am not sure that you would accept it.

Would it be correct to connect hara with sensation of the body and to throwing an anchor, which enables a certain 'stance' when one is back in the body? Or am I just 'wiseacring'?

Plavan: Difficult to judge . . . Let me ask two girls over here now who are our group members. [They both say mmmm . . . .] The way you described it can serve the purpose of describing how hara is experienced in everyday life. But when you say "throwing an anchor to enable a certain stance," you are referring to an idea that I initially did not intend to address in depth: that is, an idea that this is something one can practice. If we choose to talk in this context, things are more esoteric, so then we need to describe it in a different way.

Even in terms of our everyday experience, hara is a point where we can have the maximum contact with whatever is moving in us. Since all movements happen between opposites, it is equivalent to saying that hara is sensitive to oppositions, conflicts, and contradictions. When there is an unspoken conflict between two persons in the group, for example, it produces something in my hara even though my head may ignore it. When we encounter a danger, it produces a shock in our hara with the awareness it brings of death opposing life. In those moments, we may have the sensation of being hit at and then holding something in hara. This idiom "holding something in hara" in Japanese has a negative connotation of "not acknowledging." If the expression "gut feeling" means something similar, it is not the sensation we are finally looking for.

This "something in hara" is produced and remains there because we could not digest the contradictions we swallowed. This "something in hara" may include what we call "guts," if they come from the force of biological reaction against our acceptance of the opposition in us between life and death. This reaction obscures our perception of the matters of life and death with an animal-instinctive conviction that can be translated as: "I will not die as long as I follow this force of biological reaction." People with guts are often those who are busy doing something in order to survive and succeed. On the contrary, Zen masters and samurai reach the depth of their hara through their awareness of the inevitability of death.

It is not good to practice focusing on hara by emphasizing the sensation of "something" that already is there. It often cultivates a false sense of strength. Exactly for this reason, some teachers like to teach such a method of "developing hara," which immediately attracts people. This is a mistake commonly made in the circle of martial artists. According to a martial art jargon, however, a real master is the one who has "broken open" his hara. Such a man is free from stances and unpredictable in his actions. So it is not good to use "anchor" as an example because it means holding something in hara. What we pursue is penetration into hara, which at some moments breaks this "something." Its sensation can be compared to liquid seeping into a gap in our being or a knife cutting into the core of our being.

The essence of what happens to us in the practice of Movements and some other exercises can be described as: "dividing up things that are usually connected and connecting things that are usually divided." This process is most observable in the combined functioning of hara and a center in our head of impartial awareness. The products of compromise that we hold in our hara have to be broken up again in our awareness into the opposing elements which originally formed them. In this process, something is released which can seep into the depth of our being, where we find a force that brings about true reconciliation. This process is described as "falling into hara," which in Japanese carries the same meaning as "understanding." In this connection, you may refer to what Beelzebub has said about "djartklom."

This experience of penetrating hara or falling into hara is often the result of our impartial perception and balancing of opposing elements that are in us. Paul Reps, a Zen student aware of Gurdjieff who discovered the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, called it "centering." Some centering techniques can be as simple as balancing one's weight as one sits or matching the openness of perception with the intensity of sensation. For details of such techniques and more reliable description about the phenomenon of falling into hara, I recommend that you read Osho's book on the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra titled The Book of Secrets. The girls over here, by the way, have just looked at your picture and told me that they like you very much because you look like a man who has "warmth in his hara."

Reijo: Yes, what would life be without girls! I keep 'falling in love'. Please tell them my regards - I also felt the warmth! I have found that particularly the elder women in the work are very feminine and have a quality of 'eternal youth' in them. One of them was my Movements teacher, Mrs Rosemary Nott and this brings me to the Movements themselves.

Talking about Beelzebub it is amazing what discoveries can be made. Recently in another context you mentioned the old Chinese/Japanese calender and the 'nine day week'. Your specified the days in this way:

1 Sunday / Sun
2 Tuesday / Mars
3 "Ketu"
4 Monday / Moon
5 Thursday / Jupiter
6 "Rago" (or "Rahu")
7 Saturday / Saturn
8 Wednesday / Mercury
9 Friday / Venus

After your tip to Beelzebub mentioning China and the Law of Seven one of our friends quoted from The Tales:

"And so, my boy, these great terrestrial learned beings, the twin brothers Choon-Kil-Tess and Choon-Tro-Pel, now saints, were the first, after the loss of Atlantis, to lay anew the foundation of this knowledge They not only laid anew the foundation of this 'totality of special information' but they were also the first on Earth to ascertain two of the three fundamental particularities of that great law about which I have told you, that is to say, they were the first to ascertain its two 'mdnel-in.s ' That branch of genuine knowledge, similar to the one known on the continent of Atlantis as the 'science of the seven aspects of every whole phenomenon,' they called the 'Law of Ninefoldness', and they called it thus because they added to the seven clearly differentiated manifestations of this great law, which they called 'doostzakos,' the two particularities first observed by them which they named 'sooansotoorabitzo,' a word signifying 'obligatory gap aspect of the unbroken flowing of the whole ' And they named this law thus because during their exhaustive research they became convinced beyond doubt that in all the 'cosmic transitory results' they investigated, these particularities are necessarily found at specific places in the process of this great law. " [BT 1992 p. 761; 1950 p. 831]

Your answer to this was:

"I first came across this system of nine planets at a temple called Sekizan Zen-In at the foot of Mount Hiei in northern Kyoto. A monk at that temple showed me an old scroll that described a ritual called Hoshi-Matsuri (ritual of planets). In this ritual, they imagine a circle on the temple floor and move between different points on the circle. I don't know if they still perform this ritual today. I imagine it being something a little like the Enneagram Movement taught by Gurdjieff."

Interesting coincidences!

I was recently impressed when I read how you had taught some Movements to children in Vladivostok in Russia. You have referred to the Movements in this interview. What is the power of the Movements? Is it that the main message of 'the Teacher of Dancing' was in fact not at all a 'system' (like Ouspensky thought and taught), but something non-verbal and completely out of reach by our 'wiseacring'? A puzzle comparable to a Zen koan?

Plavan: You touched upon some very interesting topics, the perception of which have brought up in me a number of thoughts. Not to be carried away, I have to summarize and rephrase them in my own way:
(1) Importance of girls in life and miracles that happen to them
(2) Study of the Law of Seven (or "Ninefoldedness") in the Chinese context
(3) The power of the Movements versus our tendency toward intellectual systematization

About the first topic, I also see the importance of being around girls and that is why I don't entertain the idea of entering a Zen monastery, which is a male-only society. One Gurdjieff group I came across in the past had a long history of being almost a male-only society. One of the members sighed as he told me that girls do come once in a while but run away soon. They cannot tolerate men's intellectualism; they find out quickly that men are out of touch with reality. If one's girlfriend or wife does not show interest in what he does in the name of the work, maybe it does not worth any respect. With regard to "miracles," I think it is enough to say that the two girls over here I mentioned earlier, Baby and Godzilla, are also examples of phenomena that are in sheer violation of physical laws. Baby was already young when she joined the group, and getting younger as she grew, she is now a baby. Godzilla was tall when she joined the group, and getting even taller in the last few months, she now begins to spit fire when something hits her deep in her hara.

Now, we shall go into the second topic, something about the Law of Seven. The sequence of the Nine Planets of the Week as you have given is exactly as it is applied by oriental astrologers when predicting a series of events in our life. They are usually assigned in this sequence to different years in our life. The two intervals, Ketu and Rago, are associated with years in which things do not happen in the way we expect. If you sort the list in the normal order of the days of the week after removing Friday, it gives the enneagram number: 142857. Though this is indeed an interesting coincidence, I cannot go over the question of "so what?" because my attempt to study further in this direction was met by heaps and heaps of mumbo-jumbo documents that discuss this system in the context of the Hindu or Chinese astrology.

A related topic that I find more clean and interesting is the study of ancient Chinese poetry, concisely written following a set of mathematical rules that determine the number of lines (typically four or eight) and the number of characters per line (typically five or seven). At the same time, they must follow some rules about tonalities and rhymes. Within these constraints, the intent of the poet is to make a full representation of the reality as he experienced it. With this aim in view, the poet provides the reader with a new, additional, or complementary perception on each of the lines, carefully calculating its effect in relationship to what he presented in the preceding line(s); what he may present in the subsequent line(s); and the cumulative effect of the all. In these poetries, one can observe the manifestations of lawful irregularities along with their impact. Often it is also possible to identify the two intervals and the difference between them. Poets deal with the two intervals by such techniques as introducing a new perception (e.g. suddenly bringing in the perception of time), changing the perspective (e.g. from narrow to wide), changing the modality of perception (e.g. from vision to sensation), switching the inner/outer gestalt (e.g. from descriptive to personal), and so on.

According to my observation, discoveries that concern the Law of Three tend to be existential (penetrate my hara) while discoveries that concern the Law of Seven tend to be practical (help me even in making money). With regards the practicality of the Law of Seven, I believe that I have understood something about the two questions Gurdjieff has placed and nobody seems to have answered: "Why the second interval comes after Si in the musical scale while it comes after Sol when represented in the enneagram?" and "What does it tell about its difference from the first interval?." I avoid giving my answers to these questions because it may destroy the opportunities for others to find them out by experiencing them.

Now, after this small interval of intellectual talking, it is a good time to go into the last topic you mentioned: the power of the Movements versus our tendency toward intellectual systematization. Thanks to this small interval of intellectual talking, we are now in a good position to ask ourselves: What is this intellect that seems to run on its own? Whose order is it following? Where does it take us? These questions lead us to a horrifying revelation about the real nature of something that drives us into the infinite process of intellectualization.

Morpheus: Do you know what I am talking about?
Neo: The Matrix?
["The Matrix"; the first film; and not the Reloaded one, which is not taken account of herein, and in which Morpheous, Neo and other humans are seemingly less self-aware than programs]

The Matrix is another name of what Gurdjieff called Kundabuffer and what Zen masters and Osho called mind. In this context, mind is a technical term the exact meaning of which you should not assume that you know even though it manifests itself everywhere. It refers to the constant process of compromising dualities as well as our beliefs and mechanical patterns that are the results of these compromises. In this particular usage, mind does not mean the faculty of intellect, even though its misuse is at the base of the phenomenology of mind. When Morpheus or Gurdjieff uses the word "mind," on the other hand, it refers to the faculty of intellect or intelligence that is usually under the domination of the Matrix, Kundabuffer, or mind (as a process of delusion):

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It's all around us; even in this very room . . . It's the world pulled over your eyes to blind you from truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: Of that you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you are born into bondage; into a prison which you cannot smell, taste, or touch: a prison for your mind.

The last sentence of Morpheous remains true even when we rephrase it as "a prison of your mind." In other words, our intellect in its ordinary state is nothing but a slave of our conditioning, that has a biological basis as Gurdjieff suggested in the Beelzebub's Tales, one particularity of which is that it is blind to the inevitability of our death. Since our mind (no italics) in its ordinary state is only a slave or extension of our biological function, what we experience as the body-mind duality is something very cheap; it is nothing higher than petty fights between husband and wife, which in Japan we say "even dogs don't eat." In other words, body and mind, even though they fight each other, are both slaves to a single force running the game that does not really benefit either of them:

The head does not exist; it is the result of the body.
[Gurdjieff; May 25, 1944]

It is rare to find a man who realized the extent to which our intellect remains an extension of our biological instinct even though it is clear enough that it evolved as a weapon for survival. What drives anyone into wanting to cover up reality by a system of thoughts? It is fear. Such a man is afraid of the universe and cannot live without the security of convincing himself that he has known everything.

Now, finally coming to the topic of the power of the Movements, its action is destructive to those who are still clinging to this security of the mind; soothing to those who began to realize and suffer the consequences of this security; and developmental to those who went beyond the point of maximum despair. About the insights into reality that the Movements can provide to people of the second and third categories, I think that I have spoken enough in my other articles; so I will not mention them now.

To people of the first category, the practice of the Movements shows how isolated from reality they are and how their fearful way of dealing with reality cannot even succeed in coordinating their physical movements. They come with an idea that they can use the Movements for training their body and mind. No. The Movements have to destroy something in them before they can develop something in them that is above their body and mind. This sounds rather dangerous, but it is not more dangerous than not taking the risk. Studying Gurdjieff's ideas and avoiding the Movements is very dangerous. With Russian children, however, I did nothing destructive of this kind but simply played with them even though I may have destroyed something in their teacher. I have no interest in making the practice of the Movements into a form of body-mind training. The first requirement, according to Morpheus, should be the readiness of "a man who accepts what he sees, because he is expecting to wake up."

For anyone who has any real intelligence, the process of intellectualization should be experienced as walls closing up from all directions, encapsulating him into a "prison which you cannot smell, taste, or touch," as Morpheus described it. As the film suggests, the search starts from the moment when one begins to see that "something is wrong." From this moment, our need to know about the real state of affairs is no more intellectual but instinctive. Even though I call it instinctive, it comes from a part of our organic presence that has separated itself from the force of biological slavery that has been in command so far.

When this moment has come, again as the film suggests, we must start looking for our real body which can be in a really pitiable state, the awareness of which should make us vomit. After going through a lot of vomiting and receiving much care, we become ready to begin our further inquiry into the secret of this mechanism that turned us into slaves and the way to become free of it. At the same time, it should be a real concern for us whether any purpose exists or not for our existence apart from the purpose of being a slave. These are the questions of life and death as the film depicts them so.

Now, it must be interesting for you to compare these views of mine with Mr. William Patterson's article on The Matrix, after reading which I become afraid if he was not under a contract with the Agent Smith. On my part, however, I have to confess that I must also be biased because I cannot help being identified a little with Neo because this is how I was once called in America, the first part of my given name Naobumi, the Chinese letter for which coincides with the one pronounced "sho" in Osho, a letter that symbolizes "multiple expansion of consciousness" according to his description.

One of Mr. Patterson's criticism is that our awakening cannot be as simple as taking a red pill. As far as the first awakening that I described a moment ago is concerned, it is actually as simple as that even though it has its own hazards as the film suggests. We are doing all kinds of efforts, even in the name of the work, in order to prevent this first awakening to happen. Gurdjieff, and more recently Osho, have distributed the red pills in abundance. Ouspensky must have had many chances to take these pills but obviously he refused. Apart from this first awakening that actually is not all-comfortable, the film depicts another type of awakening that should follow the first but is not as simple as taking a pill. The Movements can be helpful in the process of the both.

With regards your last question, I agree that reality is unreachable through our wiseacring, a practice that can easily turn into the act of "titillation," but it is not something apart from us. Things that keep on happening in and around us in reality are puzzles to our mind but have their own logic. Most importantly, we may be awakened to the purpose of everything that exist through deepening our contacts with them. In this sense, the Movements show us a way that Osho described as "reaching the ultimate through the immediate."

I would like to finish by quoting Gurdjieff's words on self-love, the same as those which you have chosen for the menu page of the Articles section:

Without self-love a man can do nothing. There are two qualities of self-love. One is a dirty thing. The other, an impulse, love of the real "I". Without this it is impossible to move. An ancient Hindu saying - "Happy is he who loves himself, for he can love me."
[Gurdjieff, 1941]

There can be a long period of transition between our departure from the first type of self-love and our arrival at the second type of self-love. I am fortunate in having received supports from others in this transitory process and wish everyone else on this path to receive the same.

Reijo: I have enjoyed our exchange and getting to know you better in this way!

To finish I will quote a little anecdote from Stanley Nott, because in a way it is related to how I feel about this interview.

I visited him quite often at his cottage, this time with a friend. Mr. Nott was a very able gardener now approaching the age of 90. Among other things he cultivated roses and had a large vegetable garden, which he took really good care of.

One of his larger crops was potatoes, which grew to a good size and formed a large part of the meals he cooked for us.

We were all having a good time working a little, talking and laughing a lot. He then disappeared into the cottage and called us for a meal, which tasted very good. It was simple, but extraordinary; a meal never to be forgotten.

Mr. Nott could see how much we enjoyed the meal and said: "Yes. The best potatoes I ever made."

Plavan: Yes, good potatoes indeed! About these potatoes, Mullah Nassr Eddin would say: "Potatoes love shits because they are nourishments. Shits hate shits because they cannot see their purpose. It is a sign of your growth if you begin to love shits." We have to be aware, however, that potatoes do not love plastics.

At the end, let us return to the sentence I pronounced earlier when I referred to the characteristics of the Law of Seven:

Things do not happen in the way we expect.

It now occurred to me that I have written quite a lot in one of my articles how the universe can be maintained without going down the drain exactly because of this. Let us meditate over how our mind is afraid of this aspect of reality and then how it is objectively an aspect of reality that contains real hope. Balancing our awareness of the both may produce a small explosion inside. This is the result of combining our understanding of the Law of Three with our understanding of the Law of Seven.

Go, Plavan N.

Plavan N. Go was initiated to the ideas of Gurdjieff in 1984 through a Japanese translation project of the Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. He has studied the Movements since 1990, and involved in the work around the Movements at Osho Commune International (India) up to 2001.

Republished with permission from Reijo Elsner, editor of the Gurdjieff Internet Guide