January 12th, 2020
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
In a same way that you would look at a glass of water and think it either half-empty or half-full, the year 2020 can be viewed in the same way. I see it as a great opportunity for healing and change. I will explain why, if you stay with me for a moment.
In Russia in 1915, right before the devastating, fateful Russian revolution of 1917, George Ivánovich Gurdjieff, a Caucasian mystic, was engaged in a conversation with Peter D. Ouspensky. Gurdjieff developed what is known as the “Fourth Way” system, which Ouspensky popularized in the West. Ouspensky recorded this conversation in his book In Search of the Miraculous.
In it, Gurdjieff claims that esoteric knowledge is material and, like any matter, is limited in quantity and quality at a given space and time. For example, he refers to the number of sand particles on the beach and amount of water in the ocean. Although these seem to be great in number, still this number is limited. The same, he says, is the case with knowledge, and its quality depends on how much is taken from it. He uses gilding as an analogy to support his theory:
“If a certain amount of gold is taken in order to gild other objects and make them look like gold, the more objects there are to be gilded, the less gold will be given to each. If we will try to gild more objects, the objects will be covered unevenly and will look worse than objects that weren’t touched at all.” (Here and below, quoted in P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, 1949)
We can observe this truth among the people who follow different gurus and teachings and think of themselves as very spiritual, different and even superior to the rest of humanity – but, in fact, they appear to be less connected, authentic and sensitive than a person who has never heard about spirituality. But I digress.
Gurdjieff continues: “And on the contrary, the fewer objects that need to be gilded, the more gold they will get. Thus, if a certain amount of knowledge is to be shared among millions of people, this will not be enough to change anything in their lives. As a result, we will lose the gold we originally had. The sharing of knowledge is based on the same principle. If it is given to all, no one gets anything. If it stays among a few, it will be enough not just for personal use but for increasing its supply. If a large amount of knowledge is concentrated in a small number of people, then it will bring great results. From this perspective it is more beneficial to keep the knowledge in a small circles and not spread it into the masses.”
This position can explain why esoteric knowledge was hidden in ancient times, available only to initiates. The Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece and Chavin Mysteries of ancient Peru come to mind. Another intention for hiding this knowledge could be to preserve and protect ancient traditions and rites. This reason relates more to the Christian era, when Christianity began eradicating competing spiritual practices both in Europe and in the Americas during the conquest. But the latter cause does not invalidate the former, and people could be trying to maintain the wholeness of their knowledge and prevent it from misinterpretation and diffusion. Apparently, wise people in ancient times understood this principle: If knowledge is shared among a few, great results can be expected.
Then Gurdjieff speaks about the moral side of this theory. At first glance it appears unfair to those who get nothing. But, in fact, most people do not want any knowledge and thus renounce their own share.
This, he says, “is especially obvious during times of mass psychoses caused by a climate change, wars and revolutions, when people lose every bit of sanity and common sense they had in the first place and even the instinct for self-preservation, while turning into robots annihilating one another. As a result, a huge amount of knowledge remains unclaimed and can be shared among those who understand its value. There is nothing unfair about it since those who receive it do not take it from others. No one is taking something that belongs to someone else. Simply put, those who want it find it in abundance, since others have abandoned their shares. They only take that which was left by others and deemed useless, which will be lost anyway if not picked up by someone.”
He speaks about the periods in human history when the masses began to destroy centuries or millennia of cultural developments. He says these periods usually match the beginning of the collapse of cultures and civilizations, geological cataclysms, climatic changes, during which a tremendous amount of knowledge is being released. This knowledge must be gathered and used or it will be wasted.
I like to think of it as a pouring rain that falls on everyone in town. Only those who gather the rain water can use it later, perhaps to water your garden. In a similar way, if we care to open up and absorb the higher knowledge, we can use it for our personal needs. “The masses do not want it and do not strive to acquire it, and their leaders, motivated by self-interest, do all they can to increase the fear of the unknown.” Only a small percentage of humanity wants this knowledge. Those who want it, take it, and by doing so they acquire the possibility of becoming more conscious. Not all people can become more conscious, even if they wanted to, Gurdjieff says, because there is an equilibrium that cannot be disrupted. During crises, while the masses are preoccupied with daily survival, the rest find themselves, psychologically, situated among the abandoned treasure, which just needs to be picked up.
Although Gurdjieff’s conversation took place over a century ago, today we find ourselves in the exact same situation. Nothing ever changes. Here we are, living in a very unstable world, which reminds me a ticking time bomb. The eruption of global chaos and the high probability of a civil war in the United States will affect all of us, regardless of where we live. The current climate in United States and around the world is fermenting towards a violent conclusion. All ingredients are in the pot: Fear, hate, anger, anxiety; mental, environmental, economic and political crises; rampant government and corporate corruption; mass protests; the acceleration of the magnetic North Pole shift from the Canadian Arctic towards Russia’s Siberia and the three rare planetary conjunctions to be expected in 2020. Interestingly enough, according to Gurdjieff, all conflicts on Earth are triggered by planets that come too close to each other during their revolutions, sending waves to Earth that manifest in social unrest, wars and revolution. All this is brewing into a perfect storm – but, just as much, into a perfect opportunity as well, if seen in a different way.
It seems like lots of cosmic energy is scheduled to be released. We either harvest it for good or let it be wasted in destruction.
Gurdjieff didn’t say how this higher knowledge can be reached. He only spoke about its existence and the human condition. People need to realize that they are actually in a sort of a daydream, as when you wake up in the morning but you keep dreaming as you go through your day. This state of consciousness is lacking self-awareness – that is, being spiritually awake. Gurdjieff called the process of awakening this higher state of consciousness “the Work.”
It took me a long time to figure this out for myself, something I relate in my new book, The Mescaline Confession: Breaking through the Walls of Delusion, which I recommend you read if you are ready to take a deeper look at the sicknesses that lay at the heart of Western culture. The point being, no philosophical system is capable of giving you what you are looking for. At best, it can only point the way and perhaps prepare you for receiving. But receiving what? What is it that everyone is talking about, using different words? Kundalini awakening, enlightenment, Samadhi, etc.: All these different terms describe a state of consciousness and a higher level of being that, they say, is attainable by hard work and life-long spiritual practice (a debatable notion, but that’s a subject for another book).
For now, I would only like to say that a path of direct experience is the one I found to be most effective for myself. I found all I ever looked for and even more by walking the shamanic path and working with the plant-teachers of the New World: Peyote, Huachuma (San Pedro) and Ayahuasca. These are tools that Gurdjieff didn’t know about. He never traveled in South America. He traveled in the East, which is well-reflected in his system of thought. He came to North America, but found nothing there except dollars. If he had ever discovered plant medicine, he would never make his students work so hard on themselves to discover nothing at the end. Unless he wanted to exploit them, he would send them to Peru to work with plant-teachers and find what they were looking for and more.
Perhaps the world was not ready for it then. Perhaps it is not ready for it now. But the time we live in is critical, which creates exceptions to the rule. There is simply no more time for talking about a change. There is only the time to change. By healing and changing ourselves, we help heal and change the world. To change the way we are, the way we live, think and act. We simply need more conscious people in the world to balance the growing insanity.
Here I will stop the references to Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way, for the one reason. Although it can be an eye-opener for many, which certainly was for me 20 years ago, it has its limitations as well. Gurdjieff said that people were not ready for magic and that is why his teaching remained on a psychological level. The magic he was talking about was not taught to his students. Nevertheless, the magic exists and can be known. It is alchemy – the true alchemy, understood since the time of Hermes Trismigistus as the esoteric knowledge of transformation, not a naïve notion of transforming lead into gold, which was a PR narrative for general consumption, but the alchemical change of lead, the fallen state of humankind, into gold, humans’ spiritual consciousness before the Fall. They used matter to produce higher consciousness and escape the mechanical fate of cosmic laws by repairing the broken link between ancient humanity of the Golden Age and their time, an epoch of Renaissance, the Age of Discovery. They believed that the reversal of humankind’s fallen state could be accelerated and assisted by the people who became illuminated through hermeticism, science and magic. For this, these magicians were called heretics and hunted by the Catholic Church.
The idea of transformation and illumination was at the center of Gurdjieff’s teaching, but without a direct spiritual experience, it remained in a field of words and concepts. And this, in my opinion, is the missing link in the Fourth Way system. Plant medicine is that “outside help” that Gurdjieff said we all need but didn’t name the source. I’m not pointing fingers here, just taking a step further. The era of words and concepts is over. In fact, this over-conceptualization of reality led us to the mess we are in. It’s time for direct spiritual experience that alone has the power to break through dogmas and lead us to an understanding.
To make this subject easier, I suggest replacing the term “esoteric knowledge” with “healing energy,” a certain type of energy that we need in order to heal ourselves and deepen our understanding. In our time, this concept is more relatable. This type of energy is highly intelligent and it knows what you need. You can get in touch with it if you come to it in a sincere and respectful way. Plant medicine shamanism provides a person with all he or she needs to instantly see themselves as they are and to make changes in their lives according to their own new vision. Its self-empowering method has been used for thousands of years all across the world and is still used in some parts of it. This regenerating process is simply needed in order to survive the mass psychoses that is now engulfing the world, to retain your sanity and mental health, and to come through it as a better, stronger and more connected human being. You need your body, mind and spirit to be strong and healthy to survive the turbulent times ahead.
To better understand what is actually limited, just think about the limited amount of plant material. There is simply not enough Huachuma cacti growing in the Andes and there is not enough Ayahuasca vine growing in the Amazon to help everyone on Earth. It is simply impossible. In fact, as the demand grows and more people are find healing and an awakening by using plant medicine, the supply is depleting, and it will be harder and more expensive to do this work in the future. My friends, Ayahuasca shamans, are telling me already that they need to go further into the rainforest to find the plants. Plant medicine is for a small percentage of people, whose number is in the thousands, tens of thousands but certainly not in the millions, and who are ready to receive it at this time. Call them lucky, fortunate or chosen but the fact of the matter is that plant-teachers can only help a certain amount of people during a certain period of time. It is in this sense that the knowledge, or the healing energy, is limited, not that it is limited in its capacity to heal and teach. This, I believe, to be infinite.
This is your true opportunity to learn about yourself and the world you live in. While it’s available, make use of it. Taking advantage of a window of great opportunity to heal and spiritually grow through natural means is a moral choice each of us can make. But any opportunity has its time, and today is no exception. Your life could change in a way that perhaps makes traveling to Peru no longer possible, and all you will be left with are the books written by people whose lives were actually transformed by these ancient mysteries. Reading them is still a better use of your time than scrolling through Facebook posts, but embracing the knowledge yourself and experiencing it first-hand is by far more beneficial.
2020 is the time for spiritual harvest, healing and growth. Visit us in Peru to work with the sacred plant-teacher Huachuma, also known as San Pedro, which can help you see your inner self just as you see yourself in a mirror. You can shed your old skin like a serpent, leaving confusion and pain in the past. It is an opportunity to reclaim your mind from political and religious paradigms, reconnect with nature, and absorb the strong energies of Huachuma medicine and cosmic influences for healing and personal change. As our world sinks into madness, mental and spiritual health become the highest priority.
We also intend to make three documentaries in 2020, honoring each planetary conjunction with a film, while doing ceremonies at the most ancient and powerful places of Peru and their surrounding areas. This is a unique opportunity to experience something beyond all words and descriptions. Spaces are limited. Please follow our Facebook page for updates.
Please watch our documentary The Cure.
Also by Sergey Baranov:
- A Shamanic Bridge to a Better Future
- What is Shamanic Healing?
- A.I. and the Synthetic Reality – A Shamanic Perspective
- Psychedelic Spirituality
- Government Is Not Your Friend – It’s Your Employee
- Why Consciousness Expanding Plants Are Feared And Deemed Illegal
- Mescaline: An Ancient Medicine for the Soul
About the author:
Sergey Baranov is the founder of Huachuma Wasi, a healing center in The Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru. He is the author of Path: Seeking Truth In a World of Lies, The Mescaline Confession: Breaking Through the Walls of Delusion and Write Your Zen in 30 Days. Sergey’s passion for life on Earth and its preservation is the driving force behind his work.
You can contact Sergey at www.huachumawasi.com