Nondual nature of Gurdjieff’s idea of the Ray of Creation

This post assumes a familiarity with the ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff. However, it may be of interest to those studying nondual concepts as well.

How do you understand, or picture, the Ray of Creation as it is presented by Gurdjieff, as recorded by Ouspensky in In Search of the Miraculous? I realized that I had generally pictured it as presented in the diagrams in the book. That is, hierarchical, sequential, and separate, like a family tree. Then I realized that Gurdjieff’s words as they are recorded in the book present a different picture.

Consider these excerpts: (emphasis is mine)

“In relation to the term ‘world’ it is necessary to understand from the very outset that there are many worlds, and that we live not in one world, but in several worlds.” P. 75

“If we take one of the many worlds created in the Absolute, that is, world 3, it will be the world representing the total number of starry worlds similar to our Milky Way. If we take world 6, it will be one of the worlds created within this world, namely the accumulation of stars which we call the Milky Way.” P. 80

“In the big cosmic octave, which reaches us in the form of the ray of creation, we can see the first complete example of the law of octaves. The ray of creation begins with the Absolute. The Absolute is the All. The All, possessing full unity, full will, and full consciousness, creates worlds within itself, in this way beginning the descending world octave. The Absolute is the do of this octave. The worlds which the Absolute creates in itself are si.” P. 132

“In order better to understand the significance of the law of octaves it is necessary to have a clear idea of another property of vibrations, namely the so-called ‘inner vibrations.’ This means that within vibrations other vibrations proceed, and that every octave can be resolved into a great number of inner octaves.

“Each note of any octave can be regarded as an octave on another plane.”  P. 135

The words here present a picture, not of a family tree of separate entities like the diagrams in the book, but more like a body with parts which serve individual functions yet are made of the same material, or energy, as the whole. Beelzebub says we have the potential to become particles of the Absolute. This picture seems to suggest we are already particles of the Absolute, all be it, not fully conscious particles. To put it another way, it is popular these days to say we are made of star stuff. Further, this picture suggests that we are made of and live within the sun; the sun is made of and lives within the milky way; the milky way is made of and lives within the world of all stars; all stars live within world three and everything which happens in it, is the action of world three; and everything, including everything we see, know and experience, lives within and is made of the Absolute.

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