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From "The Quest": Essence. Are we placed in our particular environment to aid work on ourselves?
A. Your own actions determine the environment you are placed in. You were born to your parents because those two people put up a vibration which attracted you from wherever you were in the solar system. What you come into the world as, why you come into those particular conditions and that particular heredity, depends on what you are. Well say there is a scale from 1 to 7 and that the sum of your being vibrates at 2. When you come onto the planet you will be drawn to parents on No. 2 vibration. If you raise yourself up during your life to No. 3 vibration, then after you die and have spent about 500 years on another planet, two people on No. 3 vibration will bring you back again. The direct essence you inherit each time comes from your grandparents, through your parents, and it is to do with the minds and the body, but each time you are on the planet you put a certain amount into what we call deep essence, which is the residue of all previous lives. Deep essence is carried over into each new life with your magnetic centre but is something apart. Your vibration is what you make in this inner part of yourself. After you have raised yourself to a certain vibration you beome free of the rounds of lives and deaths, then don't have to came back to this planet in a body.
Q. Would essence be transmitted within our genes?
A. The hereditary essence would but not the deep essence.
Q. Does the most recent previos life have more influence than the ones further back?
A. Previous lives wouldn't influence a person a great deal before they became a man No. 4. Sometimes there is an overlapping, because something in deep essence can be passed on into what you are now, but you would not be conscious of this.
Q. Is essence the same as the name part?
A. The 3 centres have been derived from your essence, but your name part can also include ego, the personality you have built up. Although we make a division between the name and ego it would be possible to take a good quality from the essence and start developing it, in which case it would go toward making the individuality. So the name part can come straight from the essence, or be partly what you have developed for yourself.
Q. It seems difficult to distinguish between the name part and essence.
A. It is very difficult. Ifyou looked back over your life and saw how you reacted in sticky situations you'd have a good idea of what was in your essence.Often, big tough men appear to be strong, but when the going gets tough the little weedy fellow could fare much better because he has a better essence. It's by quietening down your ego that you can see something of your essence. Gurdjieff said one has o make an effort and then a super effort.
Q. Would the development of essence be closely related to the development of the centres?
A. Not necessarily, though struggle with aspects of ego would influence related qualities in essence.
Q. Is it important to find out what is in essence? I can't see it adds much to aspects of yourself that you have observed?
A. As you observe yourself you start trying to find out where various characteristics come from. It is important to understand your essence - knowing about it is a part of knowing yourself.
Q. Does looking at our children give us more understanding in this respect?
A. It would give you more understanding about your parents than about yourself. You will gain knowledge from your children about what you are in youur ego, because they will reflect that.
Q. By looking at our parents couldn't we see what sort of vibration we put out?
A. It would be difficult to see because the attraction was in the essence. In your deep essence you would have been attracted to your parents via the vibration of your grandparents.
Q. How do we go about seeing our essence?
A. One way is to observe your grandparents. The way they manifest will show you their ego, which has become your essence. If you have had no opportunity of knowing your grandparents, you would observe your own reactions to stress situations and see how it differed from your everyday ego reaction. Your essence will show, when you are caught off-guard. Gurdjieff maintained that essence usually stopped growing at the age of ten or eleven, when one came up against life.
Q. Why do essence qualities relate to our grandparents and not to our parents?
A. Nobody would know why, but it is a fact that it happens this way.
Q. Do all four grandparents affect us equally?
A. No. The two grandfathers would give a man his moving centre, one grandmother would give him his emotional centre and the other his intellectual centre. A woman would inherit her moving centre from the two grandmothers and her emotional and intellectual centres form the grandfathers. There can be combinations such as a man's emotional centre being inherited from both grandmothers.
Q. At what stage does the transmission take place? Will my grandchildren be influenced by what I am now or what i was when I had my children?
A. They will be influenced by your state when you conceived your children. Suppose you had a child when you were twenty and subsequently worked on yourself and became a conscious person: your consciousness wouldn't affect the children of that first child at all but would affect your greatgrandchildren. Concern about these things is fruitless however, because who you attract to yourself was determined 500 years ago.
Q. What do our children get from us?
A. Their egos, usually. If you observe yourself or anyone close to you, you will see that men copy their fathers and woman their mothers, so what they manifest is not necessarily in their essence, but what they have taken into their ego or personality.
Q. Does the parents' state at the time of conception modify the vibration the grandparents have set up?
A. The parents' state can vary and this is where the law of accident comes in, but at the moment of conception the law of fate would determine your coming to them. You must also remember that your parents are the result of their grandparents - it's all interwoven.
Q. Would being as conscious as possible while trying to conceive a child affect the quality of the child?
A. The child is determined by your parents, not by you, but the child's children would be affected.
Q. So it's not that our parents actually make us, but that we are waiting to be born?
A. That's right. Abdullah believes that everything is vibration, that you are attracted at conception to two people whose vibration corresponds with yours, and are drawn back at death to a planet similar to the one you have at that point. You are ebbing and flowing, backwards and forwards within this solar system.
Q. What exactly is this vibration that we are?
A. Your essence, personality or ego, name part and body all go to make up you while you are in your body on this planet. We try to teach you that you are not your body but something else within you, the deep essence and spirit. This is the real you. Every human being also has god within, in the form of conscience. But it is the major experiences of your other lives which make the essential you.
Q. Are our parents the only couple we could have been born to?
A. No, but they would be the ones who were most suitable at the moment when you were due to come back to this planet.
Q. If a man has an emotional grandfather, will he be an emotional man?
A. Not necessarily, because the grandfather would affect his moving centre. If one grandfather was a good engineer, the grandson would have the possibility of becoming a good engineer. if the grandfather was a moving centre type it doesn't follow that the grandson will be, but the grandfathers's good moving centre will have some influence. You must remember that deep essence has an effect on type too.
Q. What do we get from grandfathers who have poorly developed moving centres?
A. You get a poor moving centre. Then you'd have to develop it yourself, which anyone can do.
Q. Would we inherit all the characteristics of our grandparents?
A. No, if you had one grandfather who was very efficient in the moving centre and one who was inefficient, you could take the characteristics of either. The same applies in the other two centres. If you had two grandmothers who were really dull in the intellect, then your chances of being intellectually bright would be slim.
Q. My grandfather had a chief feature of dominance. Would I have dominance only in the part I inherited from him?
A. As a woman you would have inherited the emotions and intellect from your grandfathers, but it would take a long time to establish which you inherited from the dominant grandfather. You don't necessarily pick up your chief feature from your grandparents, because you bring in something yourself which attracts you to the situation. You may be attracted to a dominant person because you have dependence. At first these connections seem rather obscure, but gradually they make more sense.
Q. If we see traits that were strong throughout childhood, can we assume they would be in essence?
A. Yes, they would definately be in your essence.
Q. I'm trying to assess what sort of moving centre I inherited. Would I have to go back to what my grandmothers were like at the time they had my parents. Circumstances after my parents were born may have made them strong in the moving centre.
A. That's right. But if you're grandparents had some development when they had your parents, then you would have the benefit of that development.
Q. Would it be likely that males three or four generations ago had better moving centres than today?
A. Yes, but their descendants would still have the possibility of having good moving centres. A man might work in an office instead of on a farm, but if both his grandfathers had good moving centres, then he would play a lot of sport, or something like that. Moving centre aptitude would have to come out in him. If he had been born in the nineteenth century then in the normal course of things he would have become a farmer, but today sociological patterns together with the ego of his parents would tend to push him into a non-moving centre occupation. Hundreds of things which are not used can be transmitted to children and grandchildren.
Q. Can you give me some criteria for judging whether a moving centre is developed or not?
A. Watch a good navvy who hasn't got much in the way of imagination - he'll dig or shovel all day in a relaxed way when he's using his moving centre.
Q. How is it that a man can have a good moving centre and not use it?
A. He'd be lazy, but if he was interested in something the laziness would disappear. He may not manage to get the lawns cut but he'd be out at the crack of dawn to play golf.
Q. Would a true moving centre man not be lazy?
A. Most moving men are not lazy in their bodies but in their emotions and intellect. They are normally very unbalanced because everything has gone towards their moving centre.
Q. Both my grandfathers were hard-working men and I notice that if I can get out and do some moving centre work, I feel contented.
A. That's right. It doesn't mean you are moving centre man but you have this bent in you. Most men in this group are emotional, but some can use their moving centres very adequately
Q. Can we have contradictory things in essence, like courage and cowardice?
A. Yes, you could have one grandfather who was a lion of a man, and one who was a mouse. If you had two grandparents who were very mean and two who were generous, there would be conflict in your essence - it would be the luck of the draw whether you took after the mean or the generous ones.
Q. Would that explain why we can be greedy at some times and generous at others?
A. You could also be greedy from your ego.
Q. If we saw positive qualities in our grandparents which we didn't have, how could we foster them?
A. You would just have to try to build them up.
Q. So the method of working on qualities in essence is the same as working on the ego?
A. That's true but essence qualities are more deep-seated.
Q. Would the characteristics of the grandparents' race come through?
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A. Abdullah thinks the body is quite incidental. It is just the carrier for the real you, so what it is outwardly is of little consequence. Our identification with our bodies is our big problem. We are so attached to our bodies that we can't conceive of their being any different or else desperately wanting them to be different. The type of body we have is obviously determined by factors from our other existences, but people who worry about their health and beauty, or lack of these things are going off at a tangent. The body itself is of no value except as the vehicle.