The origin of Self-Remembering

Gurdjieff : Not one of you has noticed that you do not remember yourselves. You do not feel yourselves; you are not conscious of yourselves.
Ouspensky: To remember oneself means the same thing as to be aware of oneself—'I am.' Sometimes it comes by itself; it is a very strange feeling. It is not a function, not thinking, not feeling; it is a different state of consciousness.
Rodney Collin :When one begins to see that one can only begin to remember oneself for seconds at a time, it seems negligible. But what one must understand is that it is difficult exactly because it is the beginning of a new state for us, the key to a new world. If it were easy and if results came more quickly it could not have the importance which it has.
Robert Burton : Self-remembering is an idea that had never actually surfaced under its own name until the twentieth century.The self is re-membered, regathered, and we are in a state of unity.

The Egyptian myth about the god Osiris tells the story of the murder of Osiris by his jealous brother Seth, who envied Osiris and hated his wife Isis. The more the people loved and praised Osiris, the more Seth hated him. Seth cut Osiris' body into many pieces and scattered them around Egypt. Isis and their son Horus searched all over Egypt to retrieve the pieces and bring him back to life.

The myths of all esoteric traditions have the same inner meaning related to the path of awakening of the Divine Presence of one`s Higher Self. The inner meaning of the effort of Horus and Isis to regather the parts of Osiris` body is a spiritual effort called Self Re-membering. Regathering the parts of the body is a metaphor for re-membering the Higher Self. The gods Osiris and Horus symbolize the part in a man that tries to bring him to self-remembering, which is called the steward.

Gurdjieff : Man is compared to a house in which there is a multitude of servants but no master and no steward. The house can be got ready for the arrival of the steward who will, in his turn, prepare it for the arrival of the master.
The Bible, Luke 12:42 : And the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward, who his lord shall make ruler over his household ?

Osiris` brother Seth symbolizes the lower self. The lower self opposes Divine Presence because it can no longer be in control and has to become passive or die temporarily, so to speak, for the state of presence to come into being.

Angelus Silesius : God (the Higher Self), whose love and joy are present everywhere, cannot come to visit you unless you (the lower self) are not there.
Hafiz : Step aside Hafiz, you are blocking the way.

Osiris` wife Isis symbolizes the heart desiring for the Divine Presence of the Higher Self. The body of Osiris is a symbol for the spiritual body of effort, the tools to re-member the Higher Self.

Philokalia, Paisius Velichkovsky :The spiritual body is a summation of virtues.

The Sambhogakaya (kaya means body), a concept from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, refering to one of the three bodies of a Buddha, is the body whereby a bodhisattva completes his vows and attains the Dharmakaya (the body of truth or presence) and becomes a Buddha.

Huineng : To realize our own Essence of Mind from moment to moment without intermission until we attain Supreme Enlightenment, so that we are perpetually in a state of Right Mindfulness, is the Sambhogakaya.

Like Osiris` body, the Sambhogakaya symbolizes the spirtual body of effort to reach Divine Presence. The Dharmakaya, the Dharmabody, represents a state of prolonged presence of the Higher Self.

Journey to the West: A Dharmakaya Buddha has no form; The bodiless body is the true body.

The spiritual body of effort is made up of different parts or elements.

Kukai: The esoteric teaching explains that the elements are the Buddha`s secret all-pervading body.
The Yoga-Tattva Upanishad : To the body of the five elements, there is the fivefold Dharana (concentration of the mind).
From the book `Shingon, Japanese Esoteric Buddhism: Conciousness was combined with earth, water, fire, wind and space as an element pervading them all; these together comprised the universal body of the Six Great Elements.

The body is a symbol for the different elements, virtues, stages or efforts to awaken one`s Higher Self, the Dharmakaya.

Nagarjuna: The first six stages may be considered as preparatory.The decisive stage (the seventh stage) is the stage where the bodhisattva attains complete freedom from all sense of clinging. It is the stage where he obtains the Dharmakaya.

A well-known quote by Gurdjieff is:

Gurdjieff: Remember yourself always and everywhere.

Gurdjieff took this idea from the 12th century Sufi Gujduvani.

Gujduvani: Be present at every breath. Do not let your attention wander for the duration of a single breath. Remember yourself always and everywhere.

Self Remembering refers to efforts to awaken one`s Higher Self which is asleep in one`s everyday life. As said above, the word re-membering can be taken as gathering the members of the body.

The Bible, Romans 12:4: We have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office.
Egyptian Texts, Going Forth by Day: Gather your members together.

In the right image, the lower self, symbolized as Death, has cut of hands, feet and heads, the members of the body, which symbolize efforts to remember oneself, similar to Seth cutting up Osiris` body.

The Philokalia, Peter of Damaskos: We are given hands and feet so we might use them in ways agreeable to God.
The Bible, Psalms 144:1 Blessed [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war,[and] my fingers to fight.

In the left image the lower self is also trying to kill the effort of Self Remembering. However, the steward is ignoring the lower self and stays focused on the present. His hands show four and six fingers, symbolizing efforts of Self Remembering.

Journey to the West: The Four Kinds of Life and Six Paths are all explained.
Kukai: The six elements produce the four kinds of Dharmakaya.

Seth killing Osiris and cutting his body in pieces, symbolizes the lower self getting rid of the effort of Self-Remembering. Isis and Horus trying to find the pieces of the body and bringing Osiris back to life, symbolizes a renewed effort to restore the Divine Presence of the Higher Self.

Horus has united for you your limbs and does not allow you to be ill;
he has put you together so that there is no disorder in you.
-- Egyptian Legends of the Gods
Gampopa (12th c. Founder of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism): You should regard yourself as a patient, Dharma as the medicine, and the spiritual master as the physician. Listening to and firmly practicing the Dharma should be regarded as recovering from the sickness.

In other words, Horus has put the members of your spiritual body of efforts together. He doesn`t allow you to be asleep. Horus has re-membered you so that there is no imagination in you. Horus is another symbol for the steward, the part in one that becomes aware one is asleep, and then begins the effort of self-remembering again.














The monk Kuya, repeating Amida Buddha`s name six times, 13th C. by Kosho
(Rokuharamitsuji temple, Kyoto, Japan)






Osiris flanked by Horus on the left
and Isis on the right
(22nd dynasty, Louvre, Paris)






A Heavenly Guardian controlling
the lower self
(13th C. AD, Todaiji, Nara, Japan)





Buddha`s body with the five elements







A Tibetan stupa, said to represent
the body of Buddha






A diagram of a Tibetan stupa,
showing the five elements








The Grim Reaper, symbolizing
the lower self, Tarot card XIII





Guanyin Bodhisattva
with six and four limbs



Isis protecting her husband Osiris
(Temple of Isis, Philae, Egypt)