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Consciousness and Blood Circulation

In Gurdjieff's book "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson", he speaks of the relationship between consciousness (associated with our 'personality') and subconsciousness (associated with our 'essence') as reflected in two established 'tempos' of blood circulation in the body.

He further states that a change in consciousness can cause a change in the tempo of blood circulation, and a change in that tempo can cause a change in consciousness. Gurdjieff used the knowledge of these physiological changes for hypnotism.

Blood is defined as a 'connective tissue' (like bone) and the tempo or movement of blood circulation around the body distributes nutrients and energy, and helps remove waste materials, among other things. Additionally, for Gurdjieff, the blood connects the body to the 'feelings', much the same as 'Hanbledzoin' (accumulated intentional efforts) connects the feelings to 'consciousness'.

One way to understand these 'tempos' in practice, is to see how our consciousness is activated (what "state" we are in) when the circulation of blood and blood volume is primarily confined to our musculoskeletal system (the body's "engines" of movement) - such as through rigorous exercise.

Conversely, we can observe how our subconsciousness is activated when the circulation of blood and blood volume is primarily confined to our cardiopulmonary-digestive system (the body's "generators" of energy) - such as through quiet meditation.

Gurdjieff insisted that the relationship between these two tempos of blood circulation is not only out of balance in us, but produces mutually alien consciousnesses. We effectively live two lives - living one life in the personality like a hungry wolf, and the other life in something more essential but hidden, like a new born lamb.

There are many spiritual exercises that help bring these two tempos of blood circulation together, so I am neither completely one nor the other. I can begin to practice embracing both daily that can, over time, help me to occupy a very different space.

"Only he will deserve the name of man and can count upon anything prepared for him from Above, who has already acquired corresponding data for being able to preserve intact both the wolf and sheep confided to his care." G.I.Gurdjieff - page 4, Meetings with Remarkable Men.


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