Conscious Suffering and Spontaneous Ignition
Rob Schmidt and Stuart Goodnick, Many Rivers founders and Tayu Teachers
Original date: Thursday, November 12, 2009


Download MP3 Audio File Here (17.5 MB)

Spontaneous ignition occurs when a combustible object is heated to its ignition temperature by a chemical reaction involving oxygen, as with a pile of oily rags in a garage. Awakening or enlightenment can be understood as a product of spontaneous ignition of human awareness made possible through cultivation of appropriate supporting conditions. In this process, human consciousness metaphorically "ignites" through the deliberate build-up of mystical "heat" in the organism via internal alchemical processes. Conscious Suffering is Greek-Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff's name for the alchemical practice that creates heat through internal friction. Conscious Suffering is not simply delayed gratification, or doing what you’ve been told to do rather than following some internal impulse. It is simultaneously holding awareness of contradictory views and impulses within the field of consciousness: yes and no, good and bad, positive and negative, etc. Conscious Suffering contradicts the ordinary human tendency to identify with one view or impulse at a time. The duration of ordinary identifications varies; they may be held for a decade, a day, or a micro-second. But balancing contradictory views at the same instant is a rare feat, and requires cultivation of skillful means, because consciousness needs to stretch far beyond its usual bounds to accommodate the unusual demands imposed by the generation of alchemical heat. Join us for a discussion of dangerous alchemy - do not attempt spontaneous ignition unsupervised!

Rob Schmidt, Ph.D., and Stuart Goodnick received apprentice and master-level training in the alchemical transformation of human consciousness from Tayu Meditation Center founder Robert Daniel Ennis. Tayu owns and operates Many Rivers Books & Tea.


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