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It is the transformation of negative emotions into positive emotions. (TFW221)

Intentional Suffering

The Second Conscious Shock 

"Intentional Suffering is the intentional acceptance of all suffering which is a part of all existence. To prepare us for this type of Holy Affirmation in our daily lives we are assigned special exercises including seeking out or welcoming suffering in all its forms, especially those forms which are overlooked or moved into different categories, such as "anxiety", "fear" or "depression". It is sometimes useful as a preparation to induce self-imposed suffering but this is to be abandoned when we learn how to meet the normal lot of humanity's suffering." (Paul Beidler)

"We understand the ordinary pursuits of our lives responding to desires to be educated, well thought of, useful, admired, superior, wealthy or spiritual, as examples of Holy Denyings. We try to meet these denyings with our conscious efforts in our search which we call Holy Affirming. Both are of equal substance and importance." (Paul Beidler)


The Second Conscious Shock is summarized by Gurdjieff in the Holy Affirming Prayer or the Holy Equation that is given in Beelzebub's Tales. It is based on the working of the two fundamental sacred cosmic laws called the sacred 'Heptaparaparshinokh' and the sacred 'Triamazikamno;' the Law of Seven and the Law of Three. The Second Conscious Shock follows a law conformable process and as such can be considered to be a formula or equation for transforming energy. We call this formula the Holy Equation. This may be what Gurdjieff was referring to when he mentioned the Sly Man's Pill.

The Second Conscious Shock is one of the great 'secrets' of the Work and knowledge of its working is usually kept hidden behind the closed doors at the top of the heirarchies of some of the various Fourth Way schools. The nature of the Second Conscious Shock is deliberately kept obscure in the books written about the Work. Ouspensky says that it involves transforming Negative Emotions into Positive Emotions. 

"The effort which creates this 'shock' must consist in work on the emotions, in the transformation and transmutation of the emotions. This transmutation of the emotions will then help the transmutation of Si- 12 in the human organism. No serious growth, that is, no growth of higher bodies within the organism, is possible without this transmutation." (ISOM 195)

According to the Enneagram of the Three Foods given in In Search of the Miraculous by Ouspensky, the Second Conscious Shock is necessary for the transformation of our Food, Air and Impressions into higher energies. Self Remembering or being present to oneself is another aspect of the Second Conscious Shock since our ability to Self Remember grows with our ability to apply the Second Conscious Shock.


"There are two different things under different laws: 1) the organic body; 2) the psychic body. The organic body obeys its laws. It only wishes to satisfy its needs - eating, sleeping, sex. It knows nothing else. It wishes nothing else. It is a real animal. One must feel it as an animal. One must feel it as a stranger. One must subdue it, train it and make it obey, instead of obeying it."
"The psychic body knows something other than the organic body. It has other needs, other aspirations, other desires. It belongs to a different world. It is of a different nature. There is a conflict between these two bodies - one wishes, the other does not. It is a struggle which one must reinforce voluntarily. By our work; by our will. It is this fight which exists naturally, which is the specific state of man, which we must use to create a third thing, a third state different from the other two, which is the Master, which is united with something else."
"The task is therefore something precise which reinforces this struggle, because by struggle and ONLY by struggle can a new possibility of being be born. For instance, my organism is in the habit of smoking. That is its need. I do not wish to smoke - I eliminate this habit. The need is always there but I refuse to satisfy it. There is a struggle, a conscious voluntary struggle which calls the third force. It is the third force which will be the factor - "I" - which will conciliate and make the equilibrium."
"The body is an animal. The psyche is a child. One must educate the one and the other. Take the body, make it understand that it must obey, not command. Put each one in its place. One must know oneself. One must see what goes on. Take a task which is within your possibility, very small to begin with. On eating. On a habit. Each one knows himself and can find a task; it is his interior thing, a will which is opposed to a need and creates struggle."
"The only possibility of creating a second body is by an accumulation of a different substance. The only aim is that everything should serve this aim." (Gurdjieff)


"This binary is every person who looks into himself. We may live by these transitory dimensions, giving ourselves up to their current and allowing them to carry us away. But to the whole of this process going on within us apart from our will, to all these "it wishes" we may oppose our "I wish", bind together yes and no, provoke a dispute between two opposites, a struggle of two principles, and neutralize them by the tertiary. A great dispute, if it is not purposeless, must give a result, a conclusion and an effect, and then four elements will be available: yes, no, dispute, result; that is, the transmutation of the binary into the quaternary." (Gurdjieff, Enneagram Lecture)


"In other words, every wish of the planetary body is taken as undesirable for their higher divine part which has to be coated and perfected, and therefore all three-centered beings of our Great Megaloscosmos constantly carry on a relentless struggle against the wishes of their planetary bodies so that there should be formed in them, in this struggle from the what is called ‘Disputekrialnian-friction,’ those sacred crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is perfected in them."
"In this constant struggle of theirs, the equilibrating harmonizing principle is their second being-body, which in their own individual law of Triamazikamno represents the neutralizing source; and therefore this second being-part always remains indifferent to their mechanical manifestations, but for all their active manifestations it always tends according to the second-grade cosmic law ‘Urdekhplifata’ to unite with those desires of which there are more whether in one or the other of the two mentioned opposite being-parts." (21)


"Consequently, like all three-centered beings of our Great Universe, we men existing on the Earth, owing to the presence in us also of the factors for engendering the divine impulse of Objective Conscience, must always inevitably struggle with the two quite opposite functioning's arising and proceeding in our common presence, the results of which are always sensed by us either as "desires" or as "nondesires."
"And so, only he who consciously assists the process of this inner struggle, and consciously assists the "nondesires" to prevail over the "desires," behaves in accordance with the Being of our Common Father Creator Himself, whereas he who consciously assists the contrary only increases His sorrow." (22)


"Every such conscious being well knows that his planetary body inexorably demands what his divine soul-body must not desire; and hence it is that they constantly engage in merciless combat with the desires of their planetary bodies, in order that in the struggle there may be formed in them from the friction substances of the divine Helkdonis, which is necessary and useful to their positive and divine soul-bodies."
"And as regards the desires of Kesdjan, that is, of the second body of the being, all conscious beings having understanding, very well understand that this body of theirs, which appears for their own Law of Triamonia to be the neutralizing source, must always remain indifferent in its mechanical manifestations; and as regards its active manifestations, this body, on the basis of the cosmic Law of Urdehaphat, always strives to desire only those desires of which there are more in one or the other of these two bodies, both opposite in their nature." (Unpublished BT, Chapter 39, page 24)


Without self-love a man can do nothing. There are two qualities of self-love. One is a dirty thing. The other, an impulse, love of the real "I". Without this, it is impossible to move. An ancient Hindu saying - "Happy is he who loves himself, for he can love me." I see from Mme. S's report that no one has understood me. One needs fire. Without fire, there will never be anything. This fire is suffering, voluntary suffering, without which it is impossible to create anything. One must prepare, must know what will make one suffer and when it is there, make use of it. Only you can prepare, only you know what makes you suffer, makes the fire which cooks, cements, crystallizes, DOES. Suffer by your defects, in your pride, in your egoism. Remind yourself of the aim. Without prepared suffering there is nothing, for by as much as one is conscious, there is no more suffering. No further process, nothing. That is why with your conscience you must prepare what is necessary. You owe to nature. The food you eat which nourishes your life. You must pay for these cosmic substances. You have a debt, an obligation, to repay by conscious work. Do not eat like an animal but render to nature for what she has given you, nature, your mother. Work - a drop, a drop, a drop - accumulated during days, months, years, centuries, perhaps will give results.
(Gurdjieff. Meeting, December 7, 1941)


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