Gurdjieff views on crystallization
Ouspensky - On one occasion, at one of
these meetings, someone asked about the possibility of reincarnation, and
whether it was possible to believe in cases of communication with the dead.
"Many things are possible," said G. "But it is necessary to understand that
man's being, both in life and after death, if it does exist after death, may
be very different in quality. The 'man-machine' with whom everything depends
upon external influences, with whom everything happens, who is now one, the
next moment another, and the next moment a third, has no future of any kind;
he is buried and that is all. Dust returns to dust. This applies to him.
In order to be able to speak of any kind
of future life there must be a certain crystallization, a certain fusion of
man's inner qualities, a certain independence of external influences. If
there is anything in a man able to resist external influences, then this
very thing itself may also be able to resist the death of the physical body.
But think for yourselves what there is to withstand physical death in a man
who faints or forgets everything when he cuts his finger? If there is
anything in a man, it may survive; if there is nothing, then there is
nothing to survive.
But even if something survives, its
future can be very varied. In certain cases of fuller crystallization what
people call 'reincarnation' may be possible after death, and, in other
cases, what people call 'existence on the other side.' In both cases it is
the continuation of life in the 'astral body,' or with the help of the
'astral body.' You know what the expression 'astral body' means. But the
systems with which you are acquainted and which use this expression state
that all men have an 'astral body.' This is quite wrong.
What may be called the 'astral body' is
obtained by means of fusion, that is, by means of terribly hard inner work
and struggle. Man is not born with it. And only very few men acquire an
'astral body.' If it is formed it may continue to live after the death of
the physical body, and it may be born again in another physical body. This
is 'reincarnation.' If it is not re-born, then, in the course of time, it
also dies; it is not immortal but it can live long after the death of the
"Fusion, inner unity, is obtained by means of 'friction,' by the struggle
between 'yes' and 'no' in man. If a man lives without inner struggle, if
everything happens in him without opposition, if he goes wherever he is
drawn or wherever the wind blows, he will remain such as he is. But if a
struggle begins in him, and particularly if there is a definite line in this
struggle, then, gradually, permanent traits begin to form themselves, he
begins to 'crystallize.' But crystallization is possible on a right
foundation and it is possible on a wrong foundation. 'Friction,' the
struggle between 'yes' and 'no,' can easily take place on a wrong
foundation. For instance, a fanatical belief in some or other idea, or the
'fear of sin,' can evoke a terribly intense struggle between 'yes' and 'no,'
and a man may crystallize on these foundations. But this would be a wrong,
incomplete crystallization. Such a man will not possess the possibility of
further development. In order to make further development possible he must
be melted down again, and this can be accomplished only through terrible
"Crystallization is possible on any foundation. Take for example a brigand,
a really good, genuine brigand. I knew such brigands in the Caucasus. He
will stand with a rifle behind a stone by the roadside for eight hours
without stirring. Could you do this? All the time, mind you, a struggle is
going on in him. He is thirsty and hot, and flies are biting him; but he
stands still. Another is a monk; he is afraid of the devil; all night long
he beats his head on the floor and prays. Thus crystallization is achieved.
In such ways people can generate in themselves an enormous inner strength;
they can endure torture; they can get what they want. This means that there
is now in them something solid, something permanent. Such people can become
immortal. But what is the good of it? A man of this kind becomes an
'immortal thing,' although a certain amount of consciousness is sometimes
preserved in him. But even this, it must be remembered, occurs very rarely."
I recollect that the talks which followed that evening struck me by the fact
that many people heard something entirely different to what G. said; others
only paid attention to G.'s secondary and nonessential remarks and
remembered only these. The fundamental principles in what G. said escaped
most of them. Only very few asked questions on the essential things he said.
One of these questions has remained in my memory.
"In what way can one evoke the struggle between 'yes' and 'no' in oneself?"
"Sacrifice is necessary," said G. "If nothing is sacrificed nothing is
obtained. And it is necessary to sacrifice something precious at the moment,
to sacrifice for a long time and to sacrifice a great deal. But still, not
forever. This must be understood because often it is not understood.
Sacrifice is necessary only while the process of crystallization is going
on. When crystallization is achieved, renunciations, privations, and
sacrifices are no longer necessary. Then a man may have everything he wants.
There are no longer any laws for him, he is a law unto himself."
Source - from
Ouspensky Book "In Search of Miraculous"
Note - Above article is taken from Ouspensky book where he is narrating
Gurdjieff views in his own words.
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