Growing emotional…

It is the end of a long day; one of those days when many small things have seemed to go wrong and a few bigger things cast dark shadows on your horizon. You are tired…not the pleasant kind of snuggle-up-in-bed-with-a-book tired either, but the kind that begins to question and ask ‘why does it have to be like this?’

It comes to most of us at some point; that emotional bone-weariness. Chances are, you are too tired to even begin looking for answers and past thinking about them if you fell over them. But you are going to find things that look like answers wandering through your mind just the same.

Under stress, they will probably be the wrong ones. Anxiety and fatigue cloud thinking, and what may appear to be a perfectly logical train of thought can begin from a single skewed idea, from a slight misapprehension or misunderstanding. Pursue them and you could end up very far from the truth and casting blame in all the wrong directions, even, perhaps, where there is no blame at all. Life just throws things our way sometimes.

Why does it have to be that way? The most likely answer is that this is a path we have chosen for ourselves. Not, perhaps, with any conscious volition, but through the gradual shaping of our worlds over a lifetime, allowing it to become what it is today. Some events may be beyond our control; there may be no choice in whatever it is we are facing at any given moment. But how we react to it is a choice and one we may have been unconsciously making for a long time.

Our very earliest interactions with the world around us begin to shape how we will react throughout our lives. The nurture or lack of it that we receive as we grow, the people in our lives, our circumstances, all combine with the raw materials of who we might become to make us who we are. Our reactions to any given event are born from this accumulated and integrated input of experience. Our character and the way we walk through life devolves and evolves from the life we have lived so far and therefore we shape many facets of our own lives in what has been called a mechanical fashion.

That is a cold way of expressing it. We could equally and simply say that our reactions are determined by who we have become. It may sound like a negative assessment, yet it is not necessarily so. Reactions that lash out at the world in hurt or anger stem from here, but it is also from here that the means to express the generous impulse is born; the act of kindness and empathy, the outstretched arms… We all know someone who is, or perhaps hope we are, that person who instinctively reaches out to others when they are hurt or in need. What is that if not reaction?

 

For those who seek to understand a little more of how they themselves have come into being there are many systems, beliefs and paths available. Within the Silent Eye we use the enneagram, placing upon it archetypal figures that express the basic ways in which we function… the chief impellers of our choices. These are not cold caricatures…they cannot be, for all we do stems from emotion. Whatever is behind our public face, whether we are creatures of laughter and tears or intellectually focussed, emotion is the prime mover at the root of all we are.

Imagine working backwards from the very tip of a branch, retracing the intersections from the finest twig, back to the bough and eventually to the heartwood of the tree. The deeper we consider what moves us to be who we are, the fewer possibilities we are left with. The closer we get to the source, the more I am convinced that even from a purely psychological standpoint, love can be seen as the root of all we are. Whether we know it or lack it, feel it or feel its absence and a yearning towards it, whether we feel it must be earned or deserved, or run from it in fear of the demands it might make… whether we clothe it as a need for admiration and respect… even whether or not we feel love for ourselves…Whichever way you look at it, love seems to be the central fact of our existence.

From a spiritual perspective, many have never doubted that this is so. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once wrote, “The truth is, indeed, that love is the threshold of another universe.” When you see that the Source of all Being, and the source of our being as one and the same, it changes the way you see the world, yourself and your fellow man… and leads you towards a threshold of understanding that surpasses knowledge. And perhaps it is here we will find our answers.

Full Circle: Finding the way home?

In spite of the rainbow that had greeted our arrival in Cumbria, the skies looked none too promising as we gathered beneath the shelter of the park gate in Penrith. The chill winds of December had brought showers, but at least, for the first afternoon, there would be a little cover. We could only hope that the following day would bring better weather.  Not that rain would stop us. Since the downpour we had encountered in Scotland, we had accepted that rain was a natural benediction… a blessing and a cleansing beyond the gift of Man and, therefore, a perfect way to start a weekend of spiritual exploration.

We had chosen to begin at Penrith Castle, built between 1399 and 1470, probably on the site of a much earlier Roman encampment, as part of the defences against raiders from Scotland. Once thought to have been first built by William Strickland, who later become Bishop of Carlisle, it is now thought that the most likely builder was Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury. The castle’s main claim to fame, though, is that in 1471, it became a home for Richard, Duke of Gloucester who would go down in history as King Richard III of England, and it was this concept of ‘home’ that was to play such a large part in our weekend.

First off, we would need to think about what the concept of ‘home’ might mean. The obvious answer might be a brick-and mortar-structure, or the people within it. Could a castle be a home? Even in this dilapidated state, we found enough reminders of our own homes; kitchens, hearths and wide windows designed, not for defence, but for comfort.

Like everything that we take for granted, though, there are layers of meaning and, even such a simple idea as ‘home’ might mean a multitude of things, from the land upon which we walk to a more abstract concept of the source of being.  We gathered, in part, to seek our own answers to such questions.

We had chosen the castle not just for its history or its almost alien homeliness, but for another reason too. It is one of those places that ‘jumps out’ at you when you see it for the first time. We were to visit several sites that had that surprising ‘wow’ factor that goes beyond physical appearance alone, a phenomenon we have variously referred to as a ‘psychic shock’, a ‘kick’, and, as one of our Companions put it, a ‘gut-punch’. Almost impossible to describe, it is equally impossible to mistake or ignore when it happens.

The cause? Who knows. Perhaps it has something to do with the placement of these sites on energy lines…and that was something else we would be looking at over the weekend. Telluric currents… earth energies… are real, not speculative energies. Leys and alignments may be argued, as may the purpose and positioning on these lines of so many ancient structures worldwide, but the existence of earth energies is well established. We do not fully understand their nature or potential use, any more than we understand our own ability to shape, direct, augment or sense their presence, but there is sufficient scientific evidence for their existence to leave many questions open to be answered.

Are we sensitive to unseen energies? Why not? Birds navigate across the globe when they migrate… other animals use methods of navigation and communication that seem alien and almost incomprehensible to a species that has long since divorced itself from its animal nature, deeming it too primitive to be explored. We are constantly reading and reacting to unseen signals, from the chemical signatures of moods sensed as smells, to changes in barometric pressure. That we might have a sensitivity to the earth upon which we walk seems feasible. ‘Feeling beyond form’ was another aspect of what we wanted to explore.

We allowed our companions time to explore the castle before gathering beneath the arch of the Red Tower. There are the remains of a White Tower too… and red and white are the colours of the Dragons of Albion, who, in legend, fought beneath Vortigern’s Tower until Merlin stilled their battle…and the dragons have been used to symbolise earth energies since time out of mind.

And then there was the Arthurian connection, for the castle at Penrith, according to some of the old tales, was one of his seats. His ‘round table’  was on our list of sites to visit too, and not far away, at Arthuret, the Merlin had killed his nephew during one of the Three Futile Battles of Britain, sending the mage mad with grief and guilt… In a curious ‘coincidence’, I had just been sent a photograph of the place to which he had supposedly withdrawn during his madness.

We gathered beneath the Red Tower to share and begin to explore the ideas everyone brought to the proverbial table, affirming our intent for the weekend with a simple meditation. It had, we felt, been a good beginning…and our next site was just a short walk away…

 

To sleep, perchance…

dream-world-painting-jacek-yerka-1

I snuggled under the duvet. The night was chilly but the bed, with its big feather pillows is perfect in this weather. Bliss, in fact. And I was ready to sleep, looking forward to it… it had been a long day, an early start. The dog had burrowed beneath the cushions again… I’ve given up on that. She needs an igloo. Me, I burrowed under the cosy duvet. I relaxed, switched down, let the muscles go and the breathing slow, into that meditative pre-sleep state. As I was drifting into dream I thought about the whole affair of sleeping…

Then I was wide awake again.

Hang on a minute here… what is it with this sleep thing that we look forward to so much? Rest… yes, that I can go with. Relaxation… that I can understand. A chance to recharge the batteries; for the mind and the brain to process learning, memory and emotion… for the body to heal and cells to renew… But what do we actually do when we are asleep that makes us look forward to it so much?

Think about it. We do… nothing.

In sleep the conscious self goes into abeyance. It may as well cease to exist. We… the we we think we are… is no more. Gone. Zilch. Might, to all intents and purposes, as well be dead.

We have no control over anything. The body ticks over on autopilot, the mind wanders off on its own to play in those strange landscapes and weird circumstances we call dream…places our logical, staid conscious mind would dismiss out of hand as arrant lunacy. The thought of firing wet fish out of a canon would normally be anathema… flying by flapping your arms just isn’t going to work aerodynamically and lemurs in hiking gear don’t turn up on your doorstep armed with champagne and the latest philosophical gossip. Well, not every day, anyway.

Look, I am not responsible for the content of my dreams, okay?

But this is serious stuff. Not the lemurs. Or the fish to be fair. But the whole question of where is the ‘we’ when we are asleep? That part of us that observes our lives unfolding, acts in a considered manner and fails to go around flapping its arms to try for lift off. Because all the elements are accounted for. Body is busy doing what it needs to for scheduled maintenance. Brain is busy processing the content of mind and overseeing the body… a sort of junction box between the two. So I got to wondering. The body takes its orders from the brain; the brain keeps tabs on the body and digests what the mind has been up to… filing, processing, writing reports etc. It is a fairly corporate entity. We’ve got a nice chain of command going here. And it takes sleep for all that to work at optimum efficiency.

It’s rather neat really. The body is fairly obvious to all of us. Especially as you get a bit older… but lets not go there. The mechanics of it are fairly easy to get a grasp of and it contains the brain. The brain we understand at the physical level, though there are still a lot of things we don’t know. We know enough, though, to infer the gaps in our knowledge. It almost seems as if the brain is ‘bigger’ than the body. You could say it ‘contains’ the mind… although I wouldn’t. Mind, though physically non-existent, seems bigger than the brain through which it manages, nonetheless, to manifest.

dream-world-painting-jacek-yerka-10-forblog

So what’s the next bit up from the mind? Where is that getting its orders from and how big is that??? What, though too big to be contained within it, is manifesting through the nature of mind? And what is that part of us doing as we sleep? We are into metaphysics now… not a good move when you are crosseyed after midnight… especially when the dog is not the most voluble of conversationalists and the lemurs might arrive any minute.

By this point I am musing about the relationship between the absence of our apparent self during sleep and the absence of self after death… Then there is the soul to consider… that subtle part that pervades all of us… the junction box between us and the divine…and I appear to have opened a whole can of intellectual worms. And worms I do not wish to have wriggling through the images in my dreaming mind, thank you very much.

Maybe I should just go back to bed….

sleep* paintings by Polish surrealist painter Jacek Yerka

Soul – calibre

Utopia of the  blessed from Soul Calibur
Utopia of the blessed from Soul Calibur

“It’s like, imagine all the atoms in your hand… billions of them… they all have to move together to make it do this.” He wriggled his hand. “They don’t know why they are doing it …”

My mind turned back the clock a couple of decades to a room full of boys; young teenagers who, for some reason best known to themselves, had switched off the videogames and were debating the nature of existence. At that time, my home was always full of teenagers and that was fine by me. I seldom knew how many I would be feeding come mealtimes and the baking I did most days generally disappeared before it had chance too cool. On this particular day, having reached the limit of their speculations, I had been called in as ‘expert opinion’. Apparently my sons’ friends all knew I was ‘weird’.

They had been wondering about atoms that day too and debating if each one was a world or a galaxy, or even a universe… and if so, was there life on them… far too small for us to ever know… and if there was, was it sentient… and being so small, was a second of our time a whole galactic evolution to them? And was it therefore possible that our own universe was no more than perhaps a single atom in the bacteria upon the face of God?

And they thought I was weird?

And perhaps, chimed in one of them, if thought is electrical in nature, and therefore moves atoms and stuff around, were we just a thought in the mind of a being so vast that to us it would be a god?

So, did we even exist?

Or was God simply dreaming us?

And if we were a thought or a dream, yet were capable of consciousness, leading independent lives and seeing civilisations come and go… what were the implications for our own dreams and thoughts? How much life was potentially in them?

And if there was life in them… were we as gods to our dreams?

And if our universe was no more than bacteria, what happened if, say, God blew his nose and we were separated from our host…?They were teenage boys after all… I was just waiting for one of them to use it as an excuse for not washing the bacteria off their own skins…

And what happened to stuff anyway? Where did the atoms go when something was destroyed…. And was anything ever really destroyed anyway?

And if we were part of some vast being, did what we do matter? Was it part of the life and learning of something we call god? I remember being inordinately proud of the lot of them. They had chosen to stop killing each other on Soul Calibur in order to look instead at the calibre of the soul.

I resisted the urge to simply answer ’42’ and gingerly cleared a space amid the detritus and sat down, promising myself that while they were at school the next day, I would potentially destroy a few universes with disinfectant … This was clearly going to take a while. So was the cleaning…

We covered a lot of ground that day.

Not for the first, nor the last, time, I sent up a silent thank you for my own less-than-orthodox upbringing that had covered so much and encouraged such questioning as I sat down to a debate I will not forget; one of surprising depth from minds so young and backgrounds so diverse.

They had all been open to exploring their view of reality, and of the world… a view imposed by their cultural and social backgrounds. These were minds open to new ideas, and I found that both exciting and encouraging, remembering that it would be these boys who fathered yet another generation of children one day and, hopefully, would raise them in this spirit of openness. If so, I was sitting in a room filled with hope.

Twenty ( or so ) questions – 3

whitebackgroundWe get a number of questions quite regularly about the Silent Eye, its methods of teaching and our workshops. While we have tried to address as many as we could think of across our website, some are seldom voiced for fear of giving offence, saying the wrong thing and a number of other reasons. We thought we would answer some of those too.

Here the questions are answered by Sue Vincent.

If YOU have any questions for us, please leave a comment and we will answer!

1. Are you a religious organisation?
No. While we see all life as flowing from a Divine Source, there are no requirements for belief in any particular religious system within the Silent Eye. Faith is a personal relationship with the Divine and must come from the heart of each of us.

2. Are you an occult group?
Occult comes from the Latin word for ‘hidden’. Esoteric from ‘pertaining to the innermost’. Much of the road towards the Inner is hidden in plain sight. We seek to shed light on that journey, not occlude it with shadows.

3. What exactly is a Mystery School?
In ancient times the Mystery Schools were dedicated to equipping their Initiates with the tools to attain gnosis – ‘direct spiritual insight’. Today the Silent Eye uses a more modern approach, one that fits within a busy lifestyle to help our Companions reach that state of Knowing for themselves.

4. How is the Silent Eye any different from all the other groups?
Like spokes on a wheel, leading to a single centre, there are many spiritual paths to choose from, all equally valid; covering the same distance in ways that will appeal to different Seekers. Our goal is to bring the spiritual journey out of the shadows of the hidden temple and into the lived life.

5. What is the Enneagram… just a corporate personality test, right?
The symbol and its associated psychological insights are often used as such, but in reality it is a gateway to the stars… a map that can allow us to understand the levels of our own inner realms and find our way to the Light of Being.

6. Why is it that some people don’t people like Gurdjieff?
Gurdjieff is but one of many influences on the teachings of the School. His methods were seen as controversial and he challenged established thought. He was a trickster, a master of those surprises that, like a shock of cold water, wake us from sleep.

7. Where is your School?
The Silent Eye is an internet based organisation, offering a personally supervised correspondence course. We also run a number of events each year, at various locations, where people can meet in person.

8. What kind of people are in your School?
We have students from four continents, from every walk of life, all age groups and diverse spiritual backgrounds. All share a desire to explore life to its full potential and to learn to truly Know themselves in joy and awareness.

9. What will the course do for me?
The course help you awaken to Being. It will equip you with the tools, the map and the Companionship to make the greatest journey any of us can take; one that we all walk over the course of an evolution, but which we can choose to embrace in full consciousness.

10. Why should I join a School anyway?
The journey to Being is one which must be made as an individual, but it does not need to be a lonely and isolated Path. A School provides structure, personal discipline and a guided progression… as well as the Companionship and shared laughter of like minds.

11. Do I have to have a background of study in any area before I join?
No. The course requires no prior knowledge, just the commitment of the student to explore the materials provided. The course unfolds as a personal journey for each student. The core teaching is centred on the experience of the individual, though the theory behind it is also explored in plain language.

12. The lessons are £10 a month… so what are the hidden costs?
Each lesson covers a four week period. There are no subscription fees and no further financial commitment. Students are asked to make a simple meditation cloth and a few books are recommended reading. We keep costs to our students as low and as accessible as possible.

13. What sort of events are there?
We hold a number of talks and informal workshops throughout the year to which all are welcome, student or not. Our annual residential weekend workshop in April uses ritual drama to provide an exciting and moving experience for all who attend.

14. So, you are just playacting?
Ritual drama is used as a key to the emotional and spiritual understanding. By engaging with the unfolding story, the participant lives the teachings in a controlled setting and seeds are sown which can bear their fruit in the everyday world beyond the temple space.

15. Do I have to come to workshops if I join the School?
Workshops and events are always optional. Nor do you have to be a student to attend. They are, however, great fun and a place to meet others of a similar mind.

16. If I come to one of your workshops, do I have to be a member of the School …and will you try and get me to join?
Events welcome all who wish to attend. There can never be any pressure to join the school or walk a particular path… each of us must make our own choices in freedom and find the path that sings to the heart.

17. Do you wear robes and if so, why?
Simple robes are preferred, but optional, for attendees at ritual workshops. These are a physical symbol that distinguish our movement into the world of sacred intent. They can be seen as a psychological device, a ‘window-dressing of the soul’, that by lifting us out of the mundane world, reinforce our experience of the sacred.

18. Are there any local groups?
We have a monthly meeting in Greater Manchester for Companions of the School. Students who wish to do so are encouraged to form local groups, with our support, within their own area.

19. How long does the course last?
The main course is designed to be studied over three years, with each year progressing through a new level. Each lesson will be worked with over the course of a month, but we understand that some will need longer.

20. Do I have to commit to the full course?
There is no requirement from the School to commit to the full course. Each lesson is only released on completion of the previous month. The real commitment is to yourself… to your own spiritual development.

21. What happens next?
Well, that is up to you! The School offers a three month foundation course, to see if we are the right place for you to be. Or you could come to one of our workshops and see for yourself.
After the three year course, should you choose to join us, there will be other, optional study… or you might choose to help other students as they progress… or you can simply do what the course is designed to allow… take your inner Light out into the world and shine.


Join us for a magical weekend in the Derbyshire Dales. A full brochure, including details of the event, prices and booking form are available on The Silent Eye website.

A printable version of the brochure can be downloaded here:

Brochure, price list and Booking Form for River of the Sun 2015

Twenty ( or so) Questions – 2

The second of three posts answering some of the questions we are asked  regularly about the Silent Eye, its methods of teaching and our workshops. While we have tried to address as many as we could think of across our website, some are seldom voiced for fear of giving offence, saying the wrong thing and a number of other reasons. We thought we would answer some of those too. Three of us run the Silent Eye, all three of us will answer… as every pair of eyes, each heart and mind sees things a little differently.

whitebackground

Next to answer is Stuart France.

If YOU have any questions for us, please leave a comment and we will answer!

1. Are you a religious organisation?
Not in the traditional sense of that term. We do though provide our ‘Companions’ with techniques which enable them to connect or re-connect to that being in which we all have our being…

2. Are you an occult group?
We are not exactly hidden, although again part of our teaching programme involves encouraging those who join the School to seek out things which may be hidden to most people.

3. What exactly is a Mystery School?
The Mystery Schools stretch back to Egyptian times and were specifically designed to provide that sense of wholeness and belonging in a strange but wonderful world which many people appear to lack today.

4. How is the Silent Eye any different from all the other groups?
We use a combination of teaching techniques drawn from different areas of the Western Mystery Tradition and utilise the latest insights of psychology to provide a unique approach to the perennial questions of existence.

5. What is the Enneagram… just a corporate personality test, right?
It can be used as such but it can also be used as a map which allows us to journey back to the source of our real selves.

6. Why is it that some people don’t people like Gurdjieff?
It is probably a perspective thing. We don’t particularly like the dentist when he is drilling our tooth. He turns out to be quite a special chap though…

7. Where is your School?
It is everywhere and nowhere.

8. What kind of people are in your School?
People of all ages, cultures, and walks of life, although they probably do have things in common like a strong sense of individual identity, a desire to know for themselves and the aspiration to be the best that they can be.

9. What will the course do for me?
It will awaken you to your true being.

10. Why should I join a School anyway?
It is not necessary but it helps to be amongst others on a similar journey.

11. Do I have to have a background of study in any area before I join?
No. You may want to cultivate such interests after you have joined though.

12. The lessons are £10 a month… so what are the hidden costs?
There are few hidden monetary costs unless you want to experience one of our workshops. The cost to your personality will be far outstripped by the gains.

13. What sort of events are there?
We offer workshops, talks and solstice gatherings usually in sacred places. There is also a rapidly expanding library of works by Silent Eye Authors.

14. So, you are just playacting?
The ritual dramas of the workshops involve role play but the content of the dramas and the ritual setting mean that all those who participate are involved in something far deeper and more spiritually rewarding than mere ‘play-acting’.

15. Do I have to come to workshops if I join the School?
The workshops are optional. We hope you will want to experience a workshop if you join the school.

16. If I come to one of your workshops, do I have to be a member of the School …and will you try and get me to join?
The workshops are open to all and there is no expectation or pressure to join the school.

17. Do you wear robes and if so, why?
Robes are optional but are encouraged for those who wish to wear them as a means of getting into character and of lifting the activities out of the mundane.

18. Are there any local groups?
There is currently one local group in the Manchester/Stockport area. We hope there will soon be more.

19. How long does the course last?
Three years if you stick rigidly to the time-table. Most people will take longer to complete the three ‘degrees’.

20. Do I have to commit to the full course?
No, you initially commit to the first three months and thereafter you take the lessons on a month by month basis.

21. What happens next?
You sign on the dotted line…

Twenty (or so) Questions – 1

whitebackgroundWe get a number of questions quite regularly about the Silent Eye, its methods of teaching and our workshops. While we have tried to address as many as we could think of across our website, some are seldom voiced for fear of giving offence, saying the wrong thing and a number of other reasons. We thought we would answer some of those too. Three of us run the Silent Eye, all three of us will answer… as every pair of eyes, each heart and mind sees things a little differently.

First to answer is Steve Tanham.

If YOU have any questions for us, please leave a comment and we will answer!

1. Are you a religious organisation?
The Silent Eye would not class itself as a religious organisation, but it does profess a belief in God, or the Creator, or the One, or whatever word you are happiest with which reflects the principle that mankind did not invent itself, but, rather, serves a higher purpose which may not be apparent to those who are fixed on the material world, alone. The Silent Eye school teaches insights into the deeper paths of self-knowledge using a model of esoteric psychology.

2. Are you an occult group?
The word ‘occult’ simple means ‘hidden’. Despite its sincere origins the word has become a derogatory term denoting a cult. The Silent Eye is not a cult, but, in its workshops, it does make use of modern ritual to bring a group together in an constructive and emotionally charged space which facilitates sharing and personal growth.

3. What exactly is a Mystery School?
The word ‘Mystery School’ derives from ancient times. The ‘Mysteries’ were the inner laws of how and why things happened – a base of knowledge that went far beyond the common sense of the normal person. Today, much of what used to be mysterious in this way has been eclipsed by the teachings of science. What remains of real value is the approach to the soul taught by the Silent Eye and others, whose study reveals an entirely different perspective on consciousness to that taught by science.

4. How is the Silent Eye any different from all the other groups?
The Silent Eye teaches using a synthesis of the methods it has found most effective. The influences on this have been: Qabalistic work in the classic Western Mystery School tradition; Gurdjieffian thought and methods; and the modern methods of esoteric psychology, including the pioneering work carried out by Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, and those that came after, including Sandra Maitri and Almass.

5. What is the Enneagram… just a corporate personality test, right?
The enneagram is a teaching symbol brought to the west by Gurdjieff around 1912. It is a circular shape whose key features are a circle with:
1. An invisible centre,
2. A set of nine, equidistant points on the circumference which are actually formed by two different figures. The first of these is an equilateral triangle; the second is an unusual six-pointed figure that maps human intelligence onto the way things unfold into their own time-based process.

From the 1960s onwards, and outside of Gurdjieff’s work, the enneagram was adopted by the emerging schools of esoteric psychology. They found an exact mapping between the enneagram and the newly discovered nine core types of character of personality. The latter emerge based on their infant reactions to the conditions in which they are born and nurtured. The structure of this growth of the ‘self’ is shared by all, but the individual mix is different. The Silent Eye uses a well-established method to help the student (Companion) to navigate the channels of their ‘outer’ self. The goal of this is to highlight that the enneagram reveals not just the negative flowers of ego, but also reveals the way home to the realm of Being.

6. Why is it that some people don’t people like Gurdjieff?
Gurdjieff-derived Schools are generally known under the label 4th Way or Fourth Way. The Silent Eye incorporates some of Gurdjieff’s principles into its teachings, but has several other sources, too.

Gurdjieff was a teacher of the self who rose to fame in the early years of the last century. He was Armenian, but began his public work in Moscow, a fact that made him an ‘undesirable’ when he applied to live in Britain many years later. He was an uncompromising teacher, and often rubbed people up the wrong way in his sincere desire to show them the power of the ego or personality as it blocked any real chance of spiritual growth.

The world of esoteric psychology, including all work on the enneagram, was begun by Gurdjieff. He was undoubtedly a difficult man to work with, but, we believe, a great teacher, too.

7. Where is your School?
The Silent Eye is run by three teaching directors: Steve Tanham, Sue Vincent and Stuart France. The administration is done by each in their homes. We are a non-for-profit organisation and make the smallest charges possible to contribute towards our expenditure. The Silent Eye does not pay salaries and has no staff outside the three mentioned here.

8. What kind of people are in your School?
We attract a broad spectrum of people; from students to senior citizens. We try to attract balanced people who have a good cross0-section of skills and are balanced across intellectual and emotional strengths.

19. What will the course do for me?
Firstly, it will challenge you to think about yourself in ways you have not considered before. It will engage you in exercises that reveal the hidden depths of your real being. It will provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the enneagram, and its mapping onto the findings of modern esoteric psychology. The course will also bring you the Companionship of others treading the same path, as will the School’s workshops.

10. Why should I join a School anyway?
There is no formal need to be in a School of the Esoteric. But it is very hard to stay focussed on such a path as such studies, applied properly, will challenge the negative parts of your ego/personality. The result is that many students working alone are faced with inner opposition to their work. Within a School the companionship and the constant feedback of your Supervisor will help you through this, giving you a true perspective on such difficulties, which, looking back, you will see was the beginning of your real inner growth.

11. Do I have to have a background of study in any area before I join?
No, you need only have a determination to work at the material we provide; and to read the other books we reference to help you along the way.

12. The lessons are £10 a month… so what are the hidden costs?
There are many hidden costs. These are born by the directors of the Silent Eye as part of their dedication to the teachings.

13. What sort of events are there?
We have an annual programme of events, which include:
1. The annual weekend workshop in Derbyshire, which is our main external event. This themed weekend offers a five-act ritual drama, which changes each year as we explore different aspects of the teachings. Alongside this are formal talks and informal explorations. There is a pub next door to our conference centre and we believe in fun, too!
2. We also offer weekend workshops to mark the summer solstice, the time of harvest and more local events to mark the winter solstice.
3. In addition to the above, we travel extensively to put on talks and one-day workshops in major spiritual centres, such as Glastonbury.

14. So, you are just playacting?
Playacting can be a fine activity; but, within a ritual setting, this transforms itself into a the noble action of a group mind working together for a common purpose – to raise the consciousness of everyone present. There is nothing fanciful about this, as you will experience if your are able to join us for such an event.

15. Do I have to come to workshops if I join the School?
No, attendance at workshops is entirely optional.

16. If I come to one of your workshops, do I have to be a member of the School …and will you try and get me to join?
If you come to a Silent Eye workshop you will not be pestered to join our School. Such events are freestanding. However, you will meet members of the School, and membership will be available to you if you wish to take it further.

17. Do you wear robes and if so, why?
In a ritual drama setting, such as that used in our annual spring workshop, the use of robes (or costumes to suit (say) a historical part in the drama) greatly enhance the linking of the person wearing them with the intent behind the ritual. There is nothing sinister about this; it’s simply a long-observed fact.

18. Are there any local groups?
We are always looking to establish new local groups, once there is a critical mass of Companions who have progressed beyond the first year of the course.

19. How long does the course last?
The Silent Eye course lasts for three years. Each year is treated as an esoteric ‘degree’ in its own right. Students may request an initiation to mark their successful passing into a higher level of the School’s teachings.

20. Do I have to commit to the full course?
No, you only commit to the next lesson, by buying it. There is no other commitment.

21. What happens next?
If you interested in potentially joining the Silent Eye School, contact us with any remaining questions for a brochure and an enrolment form via the website http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk