Gurdjieff International Review

Man, Mother Nature, and the Earth

Willem Nyland

This is an excerpt from a talk that Mr. Nyland gave to his group in San Francisco on May 14, 1969. Because this text is from a transcript, it has been edited for publication.


e are doing a great deal against the wishes of Mother Earth. We don’t know it because we live on the surface of the Earth, and we really don’t dare to find out what are the secrets of the interior of the Earth, or what is in the head and the heart of Mother Nature. If she is a mother, and if Mother Nature has to take care of humanity, how little we pay attention to it. When we want to go from one place to the other and, perhaps, have to go through mountains, we just cut across it, we just dig it out, we just go ahead and bulldoze our way through. What we disturb we don’t know. What precious things are being destroyed? What things that Mother Nature perhaps took a long time to develop and where, without any question, there are certain sections on the face of the Earth, and sometimes a little deeper than that, that have a very definite meaning for the maintenance of the Earth itself. And we, in our so-called “wisdom” and our desire for progress, simply try to do away with it. We might say, “as long as it is a little scratch on the skin of Mother Nature, she doesn’t mind.” But when it gets a little deeper and starts to interfere with the all-over pattern of growth and the appearance of life on Earth, then perhaps mankind also, as a whole, ought to become a little apprehensive.

We think we know, and the further we go and the more opportunities we have to see and to experience, the more we realize how little we really know. And when we finally come to a conclusion that we don’t know very much and that our knowledge is quite infinitesimal, then we have a little bit of a pang of conscience. And, we then ask ourselves, are we on the right road?

There is a similarity between what takes place on the Earth and what takes place with ourselves because we, as a personality, represent Mother Earth in a very small form. Our body is the Earth for us. We travel and we do all kinds of things to expose ourselves to all kind of conditions, and sometimes our mind is able to guide a little bit, and sometimes it is quite haphazard, and our body and our organs are put into jeopardy because we do not know how to handle it.

You see, if one understands how conditions are at the present time, and how civilization has simply gone ahead and has never asked Mother Nature if it was all right, and if there was at that time no particular prayer that was sent up to God to ask Him if we could make a Hoover Dam, for instance. Was it justified from the standpoint of an overall knowledge of what belongs to a totality of the universe? Maybe we should have a little better counsel. But perhaps there is not anyone at the present time who can tell us—not from the standpoint of economics or from the standpoint of commercialism—that certain things ought to be done, that we ought to do certain things in connection with the totality of life.

The following excerpt is from a talk that Mr. Nyland gave to his group on May 17, 1969. He had just arrived the day before at the group’s property located in beautiful Sonoma County north of San Francisco. Because this text is from a transcript, it has been edited for publication.


ach person has his own reaction to this particular part of Nature. As I said last night as you got out of the car: wait for a moment before you enter into an activity in order to let penetrate what Mother Nature has to say to you. I don’t think the language of Mother Nature is the same for all people. I think it’s quite private and entirely different for each person, and because of that, it’s difficult to talk about. Because what may be the reaction on me, or the way I would take it in, depends, of course, on what I am and the particular level that I happen to be at, and how the associations of ordinary life have taken place and have formed me. And this is true for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you have been, because it depends on how many different kinds of associations you have had, how active your mind may be, and to what extent you have a feeling. But it’s clear that the minds of different people differ, and for that reason they receive with their mind a different kind of language from Mother Nature. But Mother Nature also represents a certain feeling. Nature and the Earth—as we know it, more or less—are primarily comparable to our physical body, but there is also something in Mother Nature that can be the presentation of its own feeling.

Because in Mother Nature there is also a wish to continue to live, and perhaps utilize mankind on the surface for that particular kind of a purpose, and maybe in itself hoping that those who are living on this Earth will help Mother Nature finally to evolve. It takes many, many generations before the Earth will evolve to a different place. I think there is a realization in Mother Nature as a whole, ... that there is a difficulty, and there is a certain development needed, and also, perhaps, in the time scale of the Earth, that there is a realization that it might be a long time before our unfortunate planet becomes a real planet. And in that way, I think that Mother Nature has a hope, and that hope is situated in a certain part of itself. Also that kind of a part can be compared to an emotional state, but the unfortunate part of Mother Nature is that the feeling center of that kind of a body is divided, and is separated from each other many, many times by the different places on the Earth where there is more feeling possible, and one can compare it to the nerve nodes of the human body. Because that what we have as a feeling is so small in the solar plexus and it should be so large, and connected, and concentrated in one’s heart.

I think Mother Nature knows this and, perhaps, feels it and is sorry. Mother Nature represents a part of God. Life was poured into the Earth and in the evolutionary and involutionary scale, the Earth has a certain place and it has also Laws, which Laws have to be fulfilled. And when they are fulfilled in the direction towards the Sun Absolute, then there is a chance that someday, someday in the very far future, surely as far as we are concerned, way off in time, that then the Earth can start to grow and leave this particular place. But it is not so much a place as it is an actuality in Space. It is a place in relation to the totality of the Cosmic Ray and, therefore, for Mother Nature, it is not a question of moving up to the level of the planets, it is much more becoming a planet in the place where it is now. And the only way that can be done (if one looks at the Cosmic Ray) is as an involving entity growing out further and further, formations of forms within which new Life is poured, in which Anulios is a growing point of that particular Ray of Creation. Then Anulios, through the crystallization and formation of a new body, would automatically bring Mother Nature and the Earth up to a certain place of further development, and in the place where the Earth is now, it would become a Planet.

And this is exactly the same kind of a picture that you must realize should happen to Man. Man must not wait until he dies so that then automatically something of him is moved away from Earth. The question for a Man is to understand that he has to grow where he is, and the acceptance of what he has to live with, and whatever he represents, is for him exactly the same problem as for Mother Nature. And Man as he is, is subject to a certain kind of a Cosmic Ray which in the crystallization of Man on Earth, and has gone in a certain direction, and the replica we see is the Moon and Anulios; for Man it means, on the one hand, the formation of his manifestations, which are on the surface, and on the other, that what is his Essence, and that what is his growing entity, which is his Magnetic Center. Therefore, if Man wants to evolve, he can stay in the place where he is, in the surrounding where he is. He doesn’t have to wait until his body dies. He can evolve now, and then his body will become as if nothing, even if it stays on Earth and even if Life is still contained in it. Until such a time, that it is ready simply, you might say, to take leave of his body, and then leave that to whatever condition it has to return to, and if we live under the Earth’s laws, the body returns to dust. But what a man should do now is to realize that his Magnetic Center has to evolve also—it has to move up, it has to become apparent. And it will become apparent by the creation of certain things in Man as he is now, which will allow him then to move from his unfortunate place to a level where his emotions can take over. And this is the problem for Man when he faces the questions of Work.

What is it that in a man should be awakened? Of course, it is obvious, it should be his Life. And it should be in connection with the realization that Life exists and that the awakening process is simply that Man, as he is with a body and his feelings and his mind, that he is not awake enough to that which actually exists; and that he takes whatever he sees as reality instead of understanding that what he sees with his eyes and his sense organs is only a little form of unreality, in which the Magnetic Center of himself is the only reality that he can actually conceive of and, perhaps, can bring to the foreground. That is why it is so important to Work during your lifetime. Don’t wait.... □

Willem Nyland first met Gurdjieff in 1924 in New York City, and subsequently kept in contact with him until Gurdjieff’s death in 1949.


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