The Organ Kundabuffer (Part III)
by Stuart Goodnick
Part of the beauty of Gurdjieff’s master work is that not only does he describe the problem we all face as inheritors of the crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer, but he provides hints and keys about how we can ultimately dissolve these crystallizations. One such key to eliminating these from one’s presence appears in the story about the labors of the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash.
Ashiata Shiemash was a messenger from Our Endless Endlessness sent to Earth to assist the three brained beings here to free themselves from the effects of this organ. He grew up and lived in the region of ancient Babylon. Ashiata Shiemash determined in his observations of the contemporary humans that the way to assist humanity in freeing itself was to create conditions in which the sacred being impulse of Objective Conscience could pass from the subconscious mind into the conscious mind. In short, he realized that when properly trained, people could use their conscience as a guide to lead them beyond the limitations of their own egoism.
From the point of view of our work with essence, conscience is that "small still voice" within us that speaks without words. It is a voice of silence. Ashiata Shiemash’s conclusion was that if one consistently lived one’s life in accordance to the direction of one’s conscience, one would gradually dissolve those crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer. To become aware of one’s conscience, one must learn to distinguish its subtle "sound" from the din of one’s thoughts and emotions, many of which are expressly designed to drown out this objective voice.
Our conscience is a gift from the Absolute. It is our direct connection with Our Endless Endlessness. The goal of our practice as well as that of the many true spiritual traditions is to enable one to reach the state of Being in which one lives one’s life in continuous accordance with one’s conscience. In such a state one knows exactly what to do from moment to moment because that knowing arises in one’s presence as naturally as one takes a breath. One does not have to think about what to do, one simply does what presents itself to be done. One lives in the awareness of continuous connection with the Absolute. Although this goal is lofty, the first step on this path begins with Self-Observation.
As described in detail elsewhere (see The Way of Tayu), Self-Observation is a practice in which one learns to observe the activities of each of the three brain systems (the mental, emotive, and moving/instinctive centers) from a point of view of silent awareness. One does not attempt to engage the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that one observes, one simply sees them as they are: events in one’s field of awareness.
One of the purposes of Self-Observation is to enable one to get a good look at the crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer operating in one’s own organism. One can learn to see the thoughts about oneself and the emotions that these thoughts stir up as something separate from one’s essential self. The Tayu practice of Co-Meditation (two-person Self-Observation) further extends this perspective. In Co-Meditation, one has the opportunity to see the activities of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer as they arise in conjunction with other beings. Together these practices can begin to open one’s awareness to the nature of one’s essence, which extends well beyond the isolated, conditioned, and reactive android (personality) that most people take to be the sum total of who they are.
As one begins to see clearly through Self-Observation the automatic processes of one’s conditioned android, and one’s contact with essence deepens, one eventually reaches a point where one can begin to make efforts of will to move beyond one’s assemblage of mechanical habits. These efforts can take a variety of forms, from physical exertions to the letting down of one’s emotional defenses to refusing to express an emotion that automatically arises in connection with a thought. One might let go of an identification one has had with a particular self-image, or one might even make dramatic changes in what one does in one’s everyday life. Whatever the form it may take in an individual instance, the practice is the same: one is making efforts to act from essence rather than through the android, and one is making efforts to allow one’s essence to experience life directly. One is engaging in what Gurdjieff calls Being-Partkdolg-Duty.
Gurdjieff’s story of the origins of the organ Kundabuffer can be read as the literal truth or as a spiritual allegory. What is important is that it gives us a mirror in which we can begin to comprehend that our various thoughts and emotions and our ego-centered living habits keep us in a continual state of separation from our true Self. In particular, Gurdjieff points us to a path by which we can begin to move beyond this state of separation and to regain our sense of connection with the Universe.