Sarcophagus, Museum of Antiquities, Cairo
Photograph by the author
This higher hydrogen, related to the octave of the physical body and commonly associated with sex energy and orgasm, was the aim of Hatha Yoga, the yoga of the body which has enjoyed a considerable renaissance of the Western world as a form of exercise. Gurdjieff refers to this as the way of the Fakir. Various schools have approach the use of this energy through either abstention from sex (more common) or engaging in it, which was the focus of some unusual and titillating Tantric practices, as well as many misunderstandings of same. Early, as well as latter-day, Christian practices of abstinence developed from various branches of the school. An accidental combination of misunderstandings of abstinence practice with the pleasures associated with orgasm has led to puritanical attitudes toward sex in numerous Western and Middle Eastern societies.
This higher hydrogen arising from the emotional octave was the focus of Bhakti Yoga practices, Gurdjieff's way of the monk, which— logically enough — found later reflection in Christian practices such as hesychasm, and the prayer of the heart. Because this is an emotional or feeling-based practice, it's commonly misunderstood to be associated with rapture and love which produces feelings of well-being. Some inklings of its real purpose — that is, to connect with the deepest sorrow in the universe, and the endless source of unutterable anguish that informs (inwardly forms) reality, have been preserved in certain secret and monastic Christian traditions. And, of course, Gurdjieff—having immersed himself in it— understood this practice to be absolutely central. Because of the overall tendency for spiritual traditions to be understood (especially in modern times) as ways of helping oneself feel better, the powerful core of this essential practice has been largely forgotten.
Arising from the development of the intellectual octave of impressions, this hydrogen was always the focus of Djana Yoga, the way of the Yogi. Gurdjieff explained that this was the most powerful of the three ways, since it was possible to acquire a level of understanding that would reveal how to achieve completion of the other two ways using this method. Zen and other forms of intensive, practice-based Buddhism derive from this practice. Because this path ultimately involves the annihilation of the mind as we know it, opening it to a much higher form of intelligence, it developed a wide range of theoretical practices which mistakenly discuss dissolution or abandonment of Being and mind as we know it.
The best traditional expression and overall understanding of this practice is preserved in Ibn Arabi's Sufic writings, which are relatively unknown because they were written in Arabic and never adequately translated into either Eastern or Western languages. Gurdjieff's lifelong fascination with dervishes and Sufi practices stems from the fact that this tradition, better than any other, preserved the highest forms of divine knowledge and even incorporated elements of the fourth way. This is because the real Sufi schools predate Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. They represent the remains of an ancient tradition that reaches back into the earliest civilizations of the middle east, probably representing the remains of the roots of the first and earliest yoga schools.
Gurdjieff's Fourth Way—actually, both the name and the school were not his, but reflect an ancient and relatively hidden understanding which he brought to the West — combined both techniques and understandings from all three ways in order to create a balanced development in human beings involving the action of all three higher hydrogens.
As was explained in the previous post, each of these hydrogens offers the opportunity to reconnect with a specific divine energy. Actually, each one is associated with one of the three levels of heaven explained by Swedenborg in Heaven and Hell. These are angelic levels, to which a human being can develop "threads" of attachment through which higher influences flow. Only the presence and action of these three higher hydrogens make such exchange possible.
By studying this carefully from both a practical and theoretical sense, the adept can begin to develop an understanding that higher influences fall into a range of classes, broadly divided by these three types. They represent an ascending series of levels. So when we speak of "higher energies," we are not speaking of just one energy, but a group and a range of energies which have different actions and effects on the human body. An unbalanced receiving of the energies creates unbalanced impressions of heaven.
And the weaker parts, which are less able to receive, are always prone to misinterpreting these impressions.
May your soul be filled with light.
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