Beyond "The System"?
ONWARD INTO THE
WITH THE INTREPID SAWMI'S LETTUCE SUTRA
WHAT CAN WE DO?
|"Work out your own salvation with diligence." The Buddha
How can we free ourselves from the process represented by the
The method of The Work consists of three major stages which must be accomplished
in the proper order. The first, most basic, of these is self-observation. Self-observation
itself encompasses three distinct levels - observation, participation, and experimentation.
The goal of self-observation is to bring us out of our usual conscious state, called
"waking sleep" in The Work, and to bring us into a more aware state, termed
Beyond self-observation there are two further stages, Conscious Labor and Intentional
Only the first level of the first stage is discussed in this primer. Even this first
step is fraught with pitfalls, and one is almost certain to go astray unless one
attempts it under the guidance of a person with experience in The Work.
|Therefore, only a very brief description, meant only to provide you with a conceptual
overview, is presented in this primer. THIS PRIMER IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO USE AS A
BASIS FOR APPLYING THE METHOD IN YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE (i.e. actual Work on yourself).
|Although there is no reason why one cannot try a few basic Work exercises* on one's
own to obtain a sense of what is involved, some association with others in The Work
is almost a necessity for actual results to be obtained.
(*Such as attempting to observe oneself at certain predetermined times during the
day, or attempting to observe oneself performing some specific activity like tying
one's shoes in the morning.)
Traditionally (that is before recent developments in communication technology such
as the world wide web, which may be opening up new possibilities) it has been necessary
to spend a considerable period of time in a Work Group - a group of people who are
interested in The Work who meet face-to-face to support each other in their Work
efforts and to share experiences in The Work, usually under the guidance of an experienced
Although some Group Work will almost certainly always be necessary, it has its own
set of problems. Among these are:
1. Only a very small percentage of people usually become
interested in The Work, so there are relatively few Work
Groups and they are often located in large population
centers. This makes access difficult for many who do not
live close to an existing group.
2. Work Groups, like other groups one encounters in
everyday life, are subject to many potentially
dysfunctional "dynamics". These include misguided or
incompetent leadership, dominance by a subgroup and
apathy on the part of other members, composition of the
group inappropriate for the specific Work it is engaged
in, Work which is not useful for some members, who may
be at different stages in their personal Work, etc.
3. Other, more subtle, difficulties.
Although all of the above "dynamics" can provide useful energy for Work
on Oneself, they can also result in serious, unproductive, "deviations"
in one's progress in The Work.
It is possible that advances in communications technology could alleviate some of
these problems by allowing relatively large numbers of people who are interested
in The Work but who are geographically scattered to "become acquainted"
via the world wide web. From this large group, smaller face-to-face groups with selected
(possibly self-selected, possibly, in some cases, "by invitation") membership
could be convened for specific Work activities. These groups might meet intensively
for a relatively short time (perhaps a few days) for specific, focused Work activities
useful to their members.
IN GENERAL, THE SAWMI SUGGESTS THREE GUIDELINES FOR WORK ON ONESELF INVOLVING OTHERS.
1. You must verify everything for yourself in your own experience. NO-ONE can do
your Work for you.
2. You should not become dependent on any leader. Anyone who claims that your spiritual
development depends on a special relationship with him or her is exploiting a deficiency
in your development. Although it is not totally impossible that this is being done
for your benefit, it is VERY likely that you are being used for a purpose
unrelated to your actual spiritual needs.
3. Through your Work, you will gradually become more aware of characteristics in
others that make them subject to certain forms of influence. Yielding to any temptation
to use this knowledge for your personal gain or gratification, even if this seems
to be for the highest motives, is very detrimental to your own spiritual development.
It is invariably a "deviation." You should very carefully read Gurdjieff's
Third Series, Life is Real only Then, When "I Am," particularly
pages 24 and 25 in the Prologue.
It is the Sawmi's view that The Work is a viable means of spiritual development.
However, "The System", based on the writings of Ouspensky, which is the
source of the analogies used in this primer (the musical octave, the H48, H24, H12
notation for the different levels of conscious experience, etc.) has now become dated
and somewhat simplistic for those who have grown up in the space and computer ages.
As has happened with the enneagram, the original meaning of these paradigms is rapidly
being obscured. This is an inevitable process, analogous to the decay of a physical
body once life has left it, which proceeds regardless of attempts made to halt it.
The purpose of the Sawmi's Work with the Lettuce Sutra is to break this pattern and
move forward. The traditional descriptions of The Work, particularly Ouspensky's
"System", have become dated and have picked up so much "baggage"
over the years that, despite their basic underlying integrity, their usefulness has
become severely limited.
This does not mean that the value of The Work itself as a method of spiritual development
has been in any way reduced. The findings of The Work about our condition (summarized
in the Enneagram) are real enough and can be verified by any person through self-observation.
These findings are, in reality, independent of the paradigm used to explain them
The Sawmi asks the question, "Can the basic insights of The System be reformulated
and updated to incorporate recent scientific advances in our understanding of brain
function and the nature of physical reality?" We now have powerful new scientific
paradigms that were not available to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, which may permit a
better understanding of our condition and the means to transcend it than those available
to the pioneers of The Work.
Exploring these paradigms in the context of The Work is the current project of the
Sawmi and the adepts of his very sacred Lettuce Sutra.
The Sawmi refuses to discuss the findings of this project with anyone who is not
a Lettuce Sutra adept, although he says they may publish their results later "when
they are good and ready." Meanwhile they have pushed the following "heiroglyph"
(DIAGRAM 6) out the door of the ultra secure Lettuce Sutra Vault. The Sawmi characterizes
it as a "reverse Trojan Horse."
Diagram 6 - Reconceptualizing
H12, H24, & H48
|Concerning DIAGRAM 6, the Sawmi will only say, "Who knows? Maybe somebody will
see it and get interested. Did we make the word 'SEX' big enough? It seems it's the
only thing that gets people's attention in these degenerate times."
Click graphic for full size.
[Back to Enneagram ] [Review
Module Five] [Review Module Four]
[Review Module Three] [Review
Module Two] [Review Module One]