2 – An Accidental Encounter

Everyone who joins The Work and stays with it, has their story. Here is mine, very briefly…

I was in Milan in 1981, working as a computer consultant and living in a foreign culture. There was an English book shop – English in the sense that it sold books in English as well as in Italian. So naturally I frequented it for the sake of reading material. It had a shelf of “mystical books.” There were two that I bought: Views From The Real World and C S Nott’s Teachings of Gurdjieff: A Pupil’s Journal.

I knew a little about Gurdjieff, having read about him in one or two books, but I knew very little. These were the first two books directly about The Work that I read. Both had an impact. It seemed to me, at the time, that Views From The Real World was profound. Few mystical books are written in plain language, but that book is – or at least it seemed that way to me. I found C S Nott’s book to be beguiling in two ways; it had some entertaining anecdotes about Gurdjieff and it contained Orage’s notes on Beelzebub’s Tales.

It seems absurd to read notes about The Tales before even reading the book. Nevertheless, as presented there, Orage’s notes are quite readable. In fact I gathered two things from them: that Orage was a towering literary intellect and that The Tales was a book I had to try to read. I was caught on that hook.

When I returned to the UK I bought The Tales and began reading it.

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