My name is Russell Allen Smith. I stumbled upon the Gurdjieff work in the late 1970s, and saw so many great truths contained therein that I didn’t want to do anything else but study myself. Thus, from that day forward, I spent every waking moment observing my mechanicality. I read for hours on end and tried to remember myself for months and months and months. Then, in 1980, my Higher Emotional Center, unexpectedly, out of nowhere, began to function… and I became self-conscious.
Shortly thereafter, my Higher Mental Center awoke, adding its properties of objective reason and impartiality. I must say that both of my awakenings were truly remarkable. Note: When a man awakens, one of the first things he will notice is that he has a double arrow of attention… one attention on what he is doing and a second attention observing himself doing it. In addition, his thoughts will stop. That is, he will observe the world without the constant, random, play-by-play commentators. The place will be silent. And, the silence will be incredible. In such a state, one begins to experience what is actually going on.
Imagine living your entire life with your eyes closed… and then, one day, you suddenly opened your eyes. Would you know that you had opened your eyes? Would you be able to tell the rest of the world, who still have their eyes closed, what it is like? The only way to prove to them that you have opened your eyes, would be to take them by the hand and then run them through the obstacles of life without bumping into anything; or, perhaps, if you showed them how to open theirs, they would know that you had opened yours. So, it may take some time for you to recognize that someone else has opened their eyes; but, you would know in an instant if you opened yours.
So, my awakenings were, indeed, knowable. However, when they occurred, I had no idea of what they would bring… nor, did I have an agenda.
I was not out to attract students, to become a teacher, nor to start a school.
You should know that before I awoke, I was eager to share my beliefs with everyone… to let everybody know what I was doing – what I found, what I learned, and what I liked. I would tell them, “You should read this book, watch that movie, come to my church, or be interested in such and such,”… and, then, if they did read this book, watched that movie, attended my church, or became interested in such and such, it validated my beliefs. And, the more people I persuade to like what I liked, the more valuable what I liked became.
But, after I awoke, I had no desire to share with others what I had found. I no longer needed my beliefs to be accepted, by others, for them to be valuable. They were valuable. Being awake was valuable. Being able to stop thoughts was valuable. Having reason, impartiality, and inner silence was valuable. My awakened state needed no validation. For the first time in my life I was silent.
And, as such, when people came into my life and questioned me about higher things (because, I guess, they sensed something higher in me), I resisted talking to them.
I did not want to proselytize the work. It was too precious. It needed to be protected, not diluted.
However, some of the folks, with whom I had frequent contact, kept approaching me and asking me questions. Questions about who I was, why I seemed so different, what I studied… and, if I was studying something, could they study it, too?
Eventually, a persistent few drew a response from me… and I gave them The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution – by P. D. Ouspensky, to read. Those, who read it and wanted more, I gave The Fourth Way – also by Ouspensky – a book I had read a hundred times.
After that, if they came back and still wanted more, I began answering their questions.
So, like it or not, I was forced to become a teacher.
Soon, a group of seekers gathered at my home whenever I was in town, as my employment required extensive travel. Those seekers became serious about their work and the teachings of Gurdjieff. Over the next several years, they continued to ask intelligent questions and make exceptional efforts.
During that time, I made many discoveries about the inner-world of man and about the laws of World-creation and World-maintenance; discoveries that would ultimately lead to an Objective Exercise, which caused the parts of man to unify… and, the man, himself, to awaken.
It happened thus. It was 1990. I was in New Orleans training a salesman… and, that night, when I went back to my room, I put the following question to my Higher Mental Center, “Why are my students, who have been studying with me for years, not awake? They read the books I read. They do the exercises I do. They are honorable folks. They are sincere, hard workers. Why are they not awake, like me?”
The Higher Mental Center answered:
“You awoke subjectively,” it said.
“All teachers awake subjectively.
“All schools die when their teacher dies.
“No one can pass on to others the subjective way in which they awoke.”
The higher then told me the story of a man who was desperately trying to awaken…. Wishing. Praying. Seeking.
One day, he was walking through the forest. His eyes were on heaven. His thoughts were on God. His mind was on his quest. And, his prayer was on his tongue.
Unfortunately, he was not watching where he was walking; and, in sandaled feet, his toe struck a root.
He had kicked the root with such force that the pain was excruciating. As a result, he grabbed his toe and started hopping around on one foot.
And, at that moment, because of this event (coupled with his search, his quest, his wish, and his prayer) his machine aligned… and, the man awoke. It was glorious. He became enlightened.
Afterwards, everyone who came in contact with him started quizzing him as to who he was and what he was studying.
So, he told them of his quest, his wish, and his prayer; and, how he had kicked the root and awoken.
A school soon formed around the man; a school, based on his quest, his wish, and his prayer, with hundreds of students, all walking through the forest, trying to kick a root… just like he had done, in hopes that they, too, might become enlightened.
But… no one ever did.
And, when the man died, his school died.
I repeat, “You cannot pass on a subjective way!”
The higher revealed to me that throughout the history of mankind, all enlightened men have failed to show others how to awaken, because they were unable to pass on the subjective way in which they, themselves, awoke.
It also made it very clear to me that I would be unable to pass on to those who were studying with me (no matter how sincere they were or how hard they worked), the subjective way in which I awoke.
No enlightened man has ever been able to show others how to become enlightened.
There are no Gurdjieff 2.0’s. There were no mini Jesus’.
This truth… that all ways are subjective ways, was terrifying, and caused a great concern to arise in me.
I repeat, “No enlightened man has ever been able to show others how to become enlightened.”
When I realized the truth of that, I do not know why… but I looked back at my higher center and yelled, “Then give me an objective way!”
And… it did.
It said, “You have already figured out the structure, i.e., the rules and laws; and, if you teach those rules and laws to others, and then give them this exercise, they will awaken.”
It then gave me a very simple exercise. And, I realized, at that moment, it was infallible.
I knew that I would be able to show others how to open their eyes. I knew that everyone, who learned the rules and laws and then did the exercise, would awaken. I knew that my school would not die when I died. And, I knew I had been given an objective way.
I arrived back in Dallas on March 31st. And, on the next day, which just happened to be April 1st, I shared the exercise with my students.
When I did, they opened their eyes and awoke.
Needless to say, they were ecstatic, and from that day forward, they began referring to the exercise as, “The April Fools Exercise,” which is what it is still called today.
After that event, it became collectively understood that the awakened state they were experiencing was truly remarkable, which prompted several of them to make the following demands, “We want you to be available full time… so, quit your job and stay home; we will support you.”
They further suggested that I should write a book and share my discoveries… saying, “There has to be others like us out there who also wish to awaken. So, let’s buy some land, and have a place – a school – where people, who are seeking an objective way, can come and awake.”
So we did… and, I wrote a book, Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets. It is self-published by THEDOG, my school, which is located just outside of Sanger, Texas – 45 miles north of Dallas.
After Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets was published, it drew great interest from the Fourth Way community; and, in 1996 an international conference was held in Bognor Regis, England to discuss my discoveries.
In 1997 a second conference was convened; and, at that conference, I informed the assembled audience that there was an objective way to awaken their Higher Emotional Centers. It required “ten days” studying Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets – one on one – with me.
I explained to them that I would show everyone, who found their way to Texas, how to awake. That is, I would pick them up at the airport, house them, feed them, and show them how to unify their lower centers, open their eyes, and awaken; and… there was no charge, no fee, for showing them how to awake, saying, “I will not put a price tag on consciousness.”
Thus, immediately, after the second conference, people from all over the world began booking a ten-day journey to Sanger.
Not surprisingly, most of the folks who came here and completed the journey, wanted to support the school. Some even wanted to move here… but all wanted to become students and continue their objective journey. That is, to awaken their Higher Mental Centers and also acquire reason and impartiality.
With such a diversification of students, from all over the world, I was compelled to create THEDOG Forum, which allowed everyone to stay in contact with me… as well as, gave them access to an Archive of my teachings.
So, that is the story of how I awoke, of how I became a teacher, and… of how I found an objective way.
Now, 30 years later, I seldom take new students through the process.
However, I may consider breaking my current “no new students” rule and personally take someone on the journey… provided they have read and studied many, many times, The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, The Fourth Way, and my book Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets; but, that is very rare.
Fortunately, over the years, many of the – one on one – sessions of me taking students on the ten-day journey were recorded; later on, they were transcribed; and, finally, they were amassed into a teaching guide. And, since I am no longer personally taking students on the journey, I decided to make the Teaching Guide available to everyone… so that everyone who wished to make the journey could take the journey.
Of course, I am always available to answer questions about my book Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets, which can be purchased at Amazon.
Or, if you would rather have access to the Teaching Guide, i.e., to the transcripts of me personally taking students on the ten-day journey, they can be purchased from our store at THEDOGTeachings.com.
The Teaching Guide has my book, Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets, merged within it. So, if you purchase the Teaching Guide, you get my book, Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets, for FREE.
To give you a taste of the Teaching Guide; and, of how I teach, here is a Link to Chapter 1.
Note: Everyone, who purchases the Teaching Guide, will also receive the 3-part April Fools Exercise – the exercise that shows you how to unify your lower centers, open your eyes, and awaken. It is included at the end of the last chapter.
In addition, several podcasts of my exercises and of my teachings are also available… with more to follow. They can be found here.
Sincerely, I Am,
Russell A. Smith