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In The Reality of Being, Decoded, the reality being decoded here concerns certain specific harmonic frequencies whose vibrations directly relate to the symbolic Enneagram, the very symbol of the Work.  This book, a rare find, offers real insights into the heart of the teachings of a modern day Mystery School.
 
 
In these seven daring and elucidating essays, author and musician Mitzi DeWhitt, in her sixth book, takes the reader on a journey through the usually inaccessible ideas of the Work, this time via the book, The Reality of Being, by Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff’s foremost pupil.   By means of threads spun out by an ingenious intuition, fully supported by musical erudition and the personal experience of a long-time pupil of the Work, DeWhitt deftly weaves together core concepts, the secrets of which unravel, then double back, ultimately to interlock like Venn diagrams. Be prepared to be surprised, shocked, and stunned.
 
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Review by Alan Glassman
 
This is Mitzi DeWhitt’s fifth book.  As with the others, this one is based upon the Work attributed to G.I. Gurdjieff.  As a long-time student of that Fourth Way teaching, she has repeatedly stated that she receives much of her information in the form of strong thought streams she cannot ignore.  She says they often come to her in the wee hours of the morning.  Whatever the case may be, she has managed to unveil many new interpretations of the teaching---interpretations that have, to my way of thinking, been buried in Gurdjieff’s writing, oral teaching, music and dance.  As a trained musician and music historian, DeWhitt is in a particularly unique position to be able to decipher what looks to be a vast set of meanings deliberately hidden by the enigmatic Gurdjieff so as to be uncovered only by those who, by their level of inner development, are ready to receive them.

In this offering by DeWhitt, with her usual keen perception and subtle humor, we delve into some extraordinary information, much of which she recognizes is encoded in a recently published book that’s a collection of notes from the hand of the late Madame Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff’s primary disciple whom he entrusted with carrying on the Work after his death in 1949.  That book was given the title The Reality of Being.  DeWhitt investigates that volume as well as many of the basic tenets of the Teaching, giving alternative “takes” that will no doubt be new, even to those who are lifelong Work students.  Perhaps, by some cosmic coincidence, it is now time for these new findings to be released.  

Some of our favorite Work allegories are looked at from a new angle not hitherto taken.  We find new and expanded significance in such conceptual stories, charts, and diagrams as that of The Cart, Horse, Driver, and Passenger; The Food Factory; The Numbers of Man; The Two Rivers; The I Am Exercise; The Ray of Creation; and, from Christianity, the Trinity and the three gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  But, overriding and relating to all these new implications is the important diagram with its relevance to music called the Enneagram.  DeWhitt takes each of the ”Conscious Shock” positions contained within that diagram as the starting point for a new octave.  This goes beyond the rendition of what is contained in P. D. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous and opens up a revelation of expanded meaning not perceived until now.  She believes that Gurdjieff intended this “buried” meaning to be the ultimate message he was trying to convey.  And, she makes a very good case for it!

If we consider the Gurdjieff Work to be an extension of the old Mystery Schools (and I believe it truly is), we then are able to understand DeWhitt’s statement in the Preface of this present volume: “I became absolutely convinced that the harmonic laws [of music] are the ‘keys’ that unlock the treasure chest containing the Mysteries.” She continues, “After more than four decades of personal intensive study, I am proposing that the narratives within the Work teachings are best understood as straightforward harmonic allegory.” (My emphasis)  And, further, “I will go so far as to say that any attempt to study the Work ideas will inevitably end in failure and frustration unless one has the musical key.  Only then do the strange encoded messages begin to open to understanding and I can begin to know, in reality, what I am and why I am.”

In true “Hermetic” fashion, the Work is, admittedly, deeply allegorical as well as practical.  I think DeWhitt is trying to say in all her writings that, as with the example of Jesus, there are exoteric, mesoteric, and esoteric ways of grasping a spiritual teaching.  Perhaps she has found the truly esoteric interpretation meant to enlighten only a few Work students.  Just as Christ had a large following of disciples but only a small group of original 12 Apostles to whom he gave the advanced secrets, so it may be with the Work.  And, remember, it is recorded that when Gurdjieff was once asked to succinctly describe his system of teaching he called it “Esoteric Christianity.”

Keep in mind that this book is part of a series.  If the reader is a novice to the Work, it will be best comprehended if DeWhitt’s other books are tackled first.  However, those familiar with this Teaching should have no difficulty diving right into The Reality of Being, Decoded.  They will undoubtedly come away with a more awakened understanding of the principles and practices they have experienced.  And, for some, it may even be a surprising “Ah Ha!” moment.
 
--- Alan Glassman
 

 

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