"We have spoken of many different human symptoms, and at this level there is almost endless variation. There is, however, only ONE cause of all them. The authority problem IS "the root of all evil." Money is but one of its many reflections, and is a reasonably representative example of the kind of thinking which stems from it. The idea of buying and selling implies precisely the kind of exchange that the Soul cannot understand at all, because its Supply is always abundant and all its demands are fully met."
Anyone discussing “money” and “spirituality” in the same breath bears a heavy burden. Gurdjieff carried this burden lightly. Moreover, his actions revealed unique relationships with and attitudes toward money. Turning to the final chapter of Meetings with Remarkable Men, “The Material Question”—which we assume our readers have read—we are awed by the extraordinary money-making talents that Gurdjieff mastered. Other narratives describing how he dealt with money—earning, “shearing,” spending, giving, using it to bring unconscious attitudes out of the shadows and into the light—indicate Gurdjieff’s amazing skill and freedom. Reading about his directness in going-for-the-money, as reported in the piece by Jean Toomer, some of us will react admiringly and others will be disquieted. Are we clear about the internal foundations of these reactions?
Several pupils reported that Gurdjieff wasn’t always “above” money. C. S. Nott witnessed a period when Gurdjieff was virtually broke. The fact that Gurdjieff, too, had difficulties can help us to accept the fact that most of us live beneath forces that entwine our lives with money-insecurities, whether arising from avidity, tightness, carelessness, the use of money to gain approval, or in connection with unearned money. His skill, his freedom in “shearing” people, and the vast sums that flowed through his fingers are especially striking because Gurdjieff’s teaching points to a higher level, untouched by money.
Gurdjieff said, “I am colleague of life.” Who among his living legacy can possibly say that? To be, in relation to life, with all of its pressures—including money matters—a “colleague”
. . . . ( read more )Gurdjieff said, “Weak in life, weak in the work.” But what is real strength? Can we participate in bringing our attitudes related to money out of the shadows, into the light?
Gurdjieff International Review
Fall 2005 Issue, Vol. IX No. 1
Editorial: “The Material Question”
By James Opie, Guest Editor
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