Thursday, June 2, 2011

Calling Forth My Light - Reprise


"Try for a moment to accept the idea that you are not what you believe yourself to be, that you overestimate yourself, in fact that you lie to yourself. That you always lie to yourself every moment, all day, all your life. That this lying rules you to such an extent that you cannot control it any more. You are the prey of lying. You lie, everywhere. Your relations with others - lies. The upbringing you give, the conventions - lies. Your teaching - lies. Your theories, your art lies. Your social life, your family life - lies. And what you think of yourself - lies also. But you never stop yourself in what you are doing or in what you are saying because you believe in yourself. You must stop inwardly and observe. Observe without preconceptions, accepting for a time this idea of lying. And if you observe in this way, paying with yourself, without self-pity, giving up all your supposed riches for a moment of reality, perhaps you will suddenly see something you have never before seen in yourself until this day. You will see that you are different from what you think you are. You will see that you are two. One who is not, but takes the place and plays the role of the other. And one who is, yet so weak, so insubstantial, that he no sooner appears than he immediately disappears. He cannot endure lies. The least lie makes him faint away. He does not struggle, he does not resist, he is defeated in advance. Learn to look until you have seen the difference between your two natures, until you have seen the lies, the deception in yourself. When you have seen your two natures, that day, in yourself, the truth will be born." - Jeanne de Salzmann, First Initiation

Jeanne Matignon de Salzmann born Jeanne Allemand often addressed as Madame de Salzmann (1889 – 25 May 1990) was a close pupil of G. I. Gurdjieff, recognized as his deputy by many of Gurdjieff's other pupils. She was responsible for transmitting the movements and teachings of Gurdjieff through the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, the Gurdjieff Institute of Paris and other formal and informal groups throughout the world.

Madame de Salzmann began her career at the Conservatory of Geneva, studying piano, orchestral conduction and musical composition. Later a student of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in Germany from 1912, she taught dance and rhythmic movements. She met her husband Alexandre de Salzmann in Hellerau at Dalcroze's school. With him she had a daughter, Boussique. The Russian revolution triggered a move for Jeanne and her husband Alexandre to Tiflis, Georgia where she continued to teach.

In 1919, Thomas de Hartmann introduced the de Salzmanns to George Gurdjieff, a relationship that would last until Gurdjieff's death in 1949. She worked with Gurdjieff for nearly 30 years.

In December 1949, together with Henriette H. Lannes, Jane Heap and J. G. Bennett she initiated the startup of an organization, which would eventually become the Gurdjieff Foundation, to continue the Gurdjieff Work. On 6 October 1955 The Society for Research into the Development of Man Ltd. was founded. This organization later changed to The Gurdjieff Society Ltd., on the 17 June 1957. She led the organization and continued Gurdjieffs teachings, emphasizing work with the movements, until she died, 101 years old in 1990.

Her son by Gurdjieff, Michel de Salzmann born 1923, took over the leadership of the organization.

What a great day this was! Was I lying to myself?

Calling Forth My Light

Fairies ring flowers
Like churchmen ring steeple bells
And dew sprays like sound.

Calling me to devotion,
Fairies lead me to my knees.

They dust me with love
And touch my cheeks, kissing me,
Calling forth my light.

Written September 5, 2008 11:57 AM
First Posted November 22, 2008


  1. if you are lying, it's a truth i can live with.
    nice post... provocative and intriguing.

  2. Cood post Chris. I like the abrupt transition from heavy to light. If you lied to your self and the result was genuine, is it a bad thing? Are some of the lies we tell ourselves good, or do they all need to be stripped away? those are the sixty four thousand dollar questions.

  3. the opposite side, i think, to lie, is belief. belief is a very powerful thing.

    i went through this reckoning a few years ago. i remember a moment inside my (happy) marriage - standing in my dining room watching home videos. time froze. i saw myself on the screen independent and ugly from who i thought i was, believed i was, hoped to be. there were perhaps more than two selves present that day. that was the beginning of my undoing and the beginning of a reckoning first and then tighter amalgamation of selves, a making. now there are tight times and fluid times but at least i know that there is more than one self. there is also my physical self, my self influenced by the energy of others, and my perhaps eternal self or soul. it is hardest to know my eternal self from the lies and so i lean heavily on thoughtful investigation and hope:)

    beautiful and thoughtful post, christopher. more important than most of us know.

    was your moment a lie? well, it was a belief. beliefs can be firm in the present tense. less so in the past tense:)

    much love

  4. Harlequin, I love putting things together that might not otherwise fit and find out what happens next.

    HMW, the thing is that the idea is not that heavy once you have lived with it as I have for decades. "Lying to oneself" in the language of followers of Gurdjieff is nothing more than an idea that we are invested deeply in maintaining the "play of maya" that is fundamental in eastern thought.

    You are right to ask the question whether the lies need to be stripped away. I think the answer resides in the volition and awareness involved. This is not easy. Neither is it easy to strip the lies away. It may be required to succeed first and then allow them to return once you know. You are of course entering a deep part of the stripping process now, my friend.

    Erin, I just love you. You delight me with your earnest engagement with your own life and your courage to record the intimacies for the rest of us. Isn't it wonderful that on the whole the blogs are safe enough? I think so.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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