Grape harvest cannot be achieved by a single farmer. The window of time from when a grape ripens till it rots is relatively short, so that our farmer must recruit help for the occasion. Therefore, the Chartres September window is the only labor of twelve that features two laborers. Given that we associate grape harvest with work on the emotions, this fits doubly well, as the emotional center is the mechanism responsible for our interaction with others.

This harvest concludes the three harvests featured in the annual cycle: hay, wheat, and grape. We’ve associated harvesting hay with work on the body, harvesting wheat with work on the mind, and harvesting grape with work on the heart. In the Chartres sequence, each of these harvests is spread over two months: hay is shown growing in May and gathered in June; wheat is shown reaped in July and threshed in August; and grape is shown plucked in September and barrelled in October. This two-step principle follows a repetitive pattern. The first step features the produce of nature. The second step features the farmer’s response to that produce. A farmer of land, after all, tames and refines nature. Likewise, a farmer of the fourth way tames and refines himself, which begs the question, what is the yield of the mind, body, and heart? What is harvest in the micro-cosmos man?

As I write these lines, my body is yielding innumerable complex actions. My moving center translates my mind’s ideas into motions that press the keyboard to compose letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. In parallel, my instinctive center breathes, digests, scratches, circulates blood and lymph, monitors and adjusts body temperature, etc. The harvest of these two centers is immense and continuous. It is precise, and as long as I’m physically healthy, it is flawless. This seamlessness is independent of any effort on my part and does not require my attention. “Inner instinctive work does not need to become conscious,” says Peter Ouspensky in this regard. “It is conscious for itself, independently of the intellectual function, and there is no need to increase this.” By this token, the harvest of hay — symbolic of work on the body — doesn’t require human refinement. The farmer gathers it and stores it as it is for feeding livestock all year round.

My mind also yields an incessant harvest of thoughts. These circulate with each breath, re-living my yesterday or anticipating my tomorrow, even during sleep at night. Unlike the body’s harvest, however, most of these thoughts are useless. They hardly sustain or improve my functioning. Therefore, the mind’s harvest must be refined, which is why wheat — symbolic of work on the mind — is not only reaped, but also threshed, winnowed, and ground. Without these steps, it would be too coarse to serve as human food. This refinement has been our July and August work: observing our thoughts, separating the useful from the useless, and refining the useful into potent aphorisms that can fit the moment. These aphorisms, like grain, can then preserve. They can feed a village throughout the rest of the year and serve as its communal granary.

Our September labor will now introduce the same discipline to the realm of our emotions. If our body daily yields a harvest of impulses and our mind a harvest of thoughts, what is the yield of our heart? The challenge of this labor will be to observe our emotions impartially and resist the urge to change them. But we must bear in mind that October will be the month of refinement, the second step of grape harvest, symbolically portrayed as barreling and fermentation. We cannot jump to the second step without completing the first, and we cannot act upon our emotions without first properly observing them. Therefore, whilst in September, let us observe the nature of our emotional center as it is, and share our observations in the commentary below.

How many emotions has your heart yielded since the beginning of this day?

Responses

  1. Mario Fantoni

    I have noticed that my daily emotions are very much related to the state of my instinctive center. For example, when I wake up in the morning my instinctive center is not very happy and so I’m usually not very emotional (except in certain special cases, such as waking up in a different place while on vacation) but once I take a shower some emotions begin to appear. Stronger emotions arise with breakfast, especially after drinking coffee. These emotions subside until the middle of the morning when a new coffee or tea is needed. This gives energy to arrive until lunch and so on. Another example is when I am in a relatively high emotional state and receive “negative” news for the instinctive center, like a fine for an account that I forgot to pay; then positive emotions become negative.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      What you share, Mario, underscores one of the verifications we will undoubtedly make if we genuinely practice the September labor: that under normal circumstances our emotional center is dragged by our instinctive center. From George Gurdjieff:

      The emotional center can work with ‘hydrogen’ 12. In reality, however, it very seldom works with this fine ‘hydrogen.’ And in the majority of cases its work differs little in intensity and speed from the work of the moving center or the instinctive center…

      Borrowing from the analogy of the horse, carriage, and driver, this means that our horse is dragged around by our carriage!

      Krishna and Arjuna (Kangra Pahari, 19th c. Delhi Museum)

  2. Hannah K

    SEPTEMBER MUSIC

    September brings us to the first movement of the Autumn violin concerto of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. Vivaldi echoes our labour of wine harvest in the text that he wrote to accompany this movement but rather than portraying the work of gathering the grapes, he instead depicts the celebrations of the harvest safely home.

    “The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in.
    The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.”

    Bacchus, whose cup flows freely, is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine and the violin part certainly sounds a little drunk! Finally, the effects of the wine get the better of the peasant and he falls asleep, the music lulling into peaceful calm.
    So with the harvest safely in, the music moves from the anxious minor key of summer to the joyful major key for Autumn now that the peasant can relax. We, however, have yet to harvest the grapes of our emotional centre and transform them into wine. I wish you all the best with your harvest!
    Here’s the link for you to listen to
    https://youtu.be/g_okr4ij-GE

    Tchaikovsky’s piano piece for September is also full of life and energy but he has chosen to portray hunting, maybe for deer or wild boar. The stained windows of Chartre that depict the labours of the year leave hunting and the killing of animals for their meat to November, but it’s worth listening to anyway.
    Here’s the link:
    https://youtu.be/REMFk4AObvY

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Thanks, Hannah. It’s fortunate that Vivaldi’s movements correspond so well to the twelve labors – indeed, that he had then in mind while composing.

      The transition from the first, active part to the second, restful part is remarkable.

  3. Jason Mass

    This is my first post since joining Be.Period in January of this year. In regard to emotions that I experience daily (today, yesterday etc.)I would have to say that joy punctuates my inner life rarely but it is truly beautiful when it happens. Negative emotions like Anxiety, depression, “frustration in connecting the dots of what I have previously learned and understood into a larger understanding” and identification are the devils in my inner life. For myself, anxiety is the worst of the negative emotions. That is why I fall into identification or daydreaming so I do not have to feel this most unpleasant of all emotions. I often and readily exchange anxiety for depression. Depression is much less stressful for my inner world. So when does joy enter. Strangely, most of the time is when I am alone “lost in doing something I love” such as gardening, listening to classical music or driving through beautiful landscapes like the wine country in Napa, California. Also visual art (certain painting or photography or films bring me great joy). All of this joy however is exceptionally labile and usually most often disappears when I leave these “safe havens” and thennegative emotions prevail. When I am around people except for those with whom I am emotionally close and in a setting where there are few people and therefore less conflict. I avoid conflict when it comes to people as there are no winners, only unhappy people. Be.Period represents a challenge for me to become more comfortable in a group situation

    Jason

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Thanks, Jason, for overcoming the resistance to share your observations. Our machines are not unique, and this ‘default’ emotional state of negativity you describe is common to all. What nicely transpires from your comment is that negativity can serve as a dark backdrop for more refined emotions. When these do appear to “punctuate our inner lives”, they stand in sharp contrast to negativity.

      Our emotional center’s negative default then becomes motivation to work on ourselves, to climb from darkness to light, to Be.

  4. Gary Boland

    Emotions: gratitude, acceptance, happiness, awareness, accountability, judgement, impatience, patience, irresponsibility, responsibility, sarcasm, people pleasing, smiling, insincere, intolerant, judging, justified, exasperated, fortunate, thankful, satisfied, cheerful, optimistic, impulsive, free, grateful, awesome, thrilled, comfortable, surprised, accepting, and then I got out of bed

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Gary, if you truly experience all these emotions even before getting out of bed then I propose two things:

      First, that you’re emotionally centered. This means that your emotional center is more active than the moving, instinctive, and intellectual (everyone of us is centered in one of these four).

      Second, that your challenge in this labor will be to find consistent emotions. If your emotional center flips through so many emotions at such a short span of time, it will be difficult to keep steady efforts in the work. Your challenge will be to find ways to calm down these many emotions and sound a more consistent tone from your emotional center.

  5. Kalev K

    Thank you Asaf for the last workshop and good notes!
    Back to the pictural language you used. Dogs – if the dog is so small that will be lost in lady’s pocketbook, how to make a distinction between the dog and much bigger mouse?
    I am not very sure I can separate attitudes, thoughts and emotions. And feelings that are not physical.
    Over last day I have made few observations, there were small ones what woke up bigger ones and those bigger ones were mostly negative emotions. But how to separate the small ones?

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      You are welcome, Kalev.

      We must start somewhere. In some respects, the emotional center is more difficult to observe because emotions are faster and also because they’re mixed with instinctive sensations (if I am hungry then I become angry and if I eat ice cream I become happy).

      But we must start with observing whatever we can, and even if we categorize it as ’emotions’ wrongly, time will set these things straight.

      The main aim of this labor is to observe our emotional center as it is – the harvest of grapes as they are, so to speak – because only then can we practically examine how to refine these emotions into something useful for the work. So keep observing and taking notes, and we’ll put your observations into perspective together.

      1. Kalev K

        Note meanwhile:
        I noted that King of Clubs, leaded by responsibility of keeping “status quo”, if the state is more-or-less satisfactory, makes lot of efforts to keep the existing – sleeping – state.
        Last try of mine was: “even the simplest yoga positions are shown by trainer, and you think you are able to do this exercise on your own?”.
        The ways how King of Clubs tries to mislead can be really tricky.

        1. Mario Fantoni

          Very interesting observation, Kalev, on how the King of Clubs is the “intelligence behind the machine” as Ouspensky said. Regarding your observation that “it can be really tricky” I associated with one of his names: “the deceiver.”

  6. Jim Vander Noot

    The emotions I’ve been observing are generally weak in intensity. Joy, depression, anxiety, embarrassment. The strongest emotion I felt was anger at myself for doing something stupid. (If I ever needed proof of our multiplicity, it’s the simple fact that it’s even possible to be angry at oneself)

    Going back to our workshop discussion, I’ve been trying to observe the background noise, which presents as a curtain of low-level negativity. With each impression I take in, an immediate judgment occurs – like or dislike? attraction? disgust? I cannot stop this. But with observation, I see that my machine has much more negative emotion that I would have thought. My aim will be to continue these observations to gain a true understanding of my internal landscape.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Jim, your observation underscores Gurdjieff’s comment about the emotional center “differing little in intensity and speed from the work of the moving center or the instinctive center…” (see full quotation in comments above).

      The aim of this labor, exactly as you put it, is to gain a true understanding our our internal emotional landscape. If our emotional center mainly yields sour grapes, we cannot hope to produce sweet wine. Pretending our emotions aren’t they way they really are obviously won’t do any good. We must first face the reality of our condition, and then examine how to construct a ladder that leads upward from it.

      Facing the reality of our emotions is the September labor. Climbing upward will be the October labor.

  7. Evgueni Z

    Interestingly, this exercise has circled me back to my “haste” and “excessive planning” habits. I’ve realized that what seemed to me like “habits” originally, may actually be emotions. The dominant emotion of my day is close to what I can call “anxiety”. I have a strong group of I’s that want to “foreshadow” everything, leading to that feeling of anxiety and those habits of haste and over-planning.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      One definition of a habit is a pattern the involves more than one center. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our physical habits will be accompanied by habitual emotions. As long as we don’t observe the emotions, we can’t stop the habit. We must first see the manifestation of the habits in all the centers involved, before we can formulate a discipline to counteract it.

      Thanks for sharing this observation. We’ll speak more about it during the September labor.

      1. Dmitry Volodin

        Commentphysical habits will be accompanied by habitual emotions
        Именно поэтому на витраже труда сентября (труд в винограднике на символическом языке означает человеческое естество как целое) работник в красной одежде (страдание) находится в кругу бочки (дисциплины) из 12 досок (3 афоризма&дисциплины для каждого центра, так как бочка обвязана 4 кругами),
        обращён к земле с закрытыми ушами (всё кроме Работы ему не важно) всем телом (пики и крести),
        взглядом (с желанием к Работе) и руками (бубны) обращён к земле и срезает листья с лоз винограда (готовит лозу в сейчас к завтра из вчера).
        Встать в эту бочку на Работу возможно только взойдя по духовной лестнице из ступеней под именем трудов в круге всего года как целого.
        Не пройдя любую ступень, следует вернуться к пониманию труда января.
        Лишь в этом случае появится второй делатель в бочке (дисциплина) как прямое следствие всей совокупности труда фермера в красном.
        Этот фермер в желтой (цвет добродетели или дисциплины в нашем случае) одежде срежет ровно столько винограда (плода от всей ЦЕЛОкупности усилий), насколько усерден был склонившийся к земле фермер во всех предыдущих трудах года (Он понял символ января и зрачка из дыма в витраже февраля и так же всех остальных разом взятых символических трудов).
        Иными словами, обвенчанные Работой (бочка) две противоположные субстанции в нашем естестве (тело от земли на службе желания из ума от Высшего, который есть идеи Системы, афоризмы, Притчи и так далее) создают трение (страдание) на правильном основании и из этого всего
        может получиться драгоценный плод в виде топлива для всей машины дабы карета перестала быть двигателем.
        А иначе так и будет продолжаться, как сказал Асаф:
        physical habits will be accompanied by habitual emotions

        1. Kalev K

          You have pretty interesting idea here about human unity, suffering, Work and very interesting describing of symbolism.
          I would like to present a bit another point of view – why most important labor is making a wine? Why not building a house, teaching grandchilds?
          Two month per year, three persons involved – not any other labor have such capacity and attention.
          And wine in different cultures presented as God’s drink?
          But if to look to the human community as to a person?
          As it was quoted here – if man starts to make efforts to wake up, then his another “I”-s will fight back with tenfold force.
          May-be the importance given to wine is part of the tenfold force what should keep us sleeping?
          Anyhow, good practice for intellectual center, let’s proceed with this month practical exercises!

  8. anselmo

    Early in the morning, I started to observe some emotions: worry, impatience, irritation, judgment, fear, anxiety. It seemed like a big harvest. What happened, however, was a big repetition of those few emotions. Actually, it was a shock to realize that almost all of them were negative.

    Late in the afternoon, I observed that the feeling of irritation was lasting longer and that the intellectual center was searching for an object for this irritation. In other words, nothing, nobody was irritating the machine, but the machine was searching for something to be irritated.

    Observing all this ended up generating energy to Be, to be conscious. It was night when I began to think that we are very lucky to have this teaching that helps us know the machine more deeply, and these thoughts generated gratitude and happiness.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Your observation that the emotional center first generates a negative emotion, and then sends the intellectual center looking for an object for that emotion, is key. In the analogy of the rider, chariot, and horse (shown above), this means that the horses are pulling the rider and chariot randomly, and explains the problematic condition of sleep.

      We can turn this observation around and realize that a positive emotional attitude would also affect the intellectual center. Observations such as these teach us what a proper connection between rider and horses might mean. We will continue exploring these connections in the next September workshops.

  9. Kalev K

    I tried to observe the emotions in continuous 24 hours. Every day I failed and started again. My week was quite stable by working conditions, so the outer irritators did not changed in big range. By today I start to understand a sets of morning, forenoon, midday, afternoon and evening emotions. And irritating factors what I thought I know, became much more clear and this helped me to start handle those irritating factors so that my irritability was much lower, in other words the same situations did not made me so mad as usual. Most important effect of this week work for me was that I did find one positive emotion in myself what I thought I lost long time ago.

  10. STAVROULA KOURTIDOU

    I wake up in the morning irritated, because would like not to have to work. Then comes an inner mechanism, leading my emotions to a state of gratitude because “The ability of being able to exist and work has been offered to me”. I really do not know if this is genuine or just a way to escape facing my anger. At work I observe my inability to catch the emotion at the moment of its appearance. The collection of anxiety and fear about what is going to come next, of satisfaction when something is achieved, of disappointment when something doesn’t fit my expectations, of haste to fulfill what the others expect from me. All these emotions are depicted by my mind and are presented to me when I calmly and restfully sit at home, meditating. After realizing this state of my identification, comes the sorrow of the nothingness of my existence. Then comes the mind again telling me “tomorrow is another day to make efforts again” and a feeling of hope arises. This is probably a “buffer” but at the same time a way out to go on with my efforts.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Roy, this is a useful and sincere observation:

      “At work I observe my inability to catch the emotion at the moment of its appearance.”

      The Hindu analogy of driver, carriage, and horse (featured in the comments above), shows why it would eventually be necessary to learn to catch the emotions in the moment they manifest. Otherwise, we leave the horses – the most powerful part of this triad – unbridled. This is an ability that can be trained, so that one learns to put one’s fingers on the pulse of one’s emotional center, so to speak, and detect fluctuations as soon as they arise. Only in this way, for example, can we successfully avoid the expression of negative emotions.

      We train this muscle by applying it. So I encourage you to continue observing your emotions, aiming to catch them sooner and sooner, till one day you will be in the position to hold your horses.

  11. Mario Fantoni

    Today I was reading about emotions on “The Fourth Way” by Ouspensky and came across this text that I find particularly relevant to our labor in September of observing our emotions:

    “It is important to find in yourself that, when you have a strong emotion, when you feel strongly about some particular thing, you can be certain that at another moment you will have a totally different emotion about the same thing. If you cannot see that in yourself, try to see that in other people. When you realize the existence of these contradictory emotions, it will help you to understand your mechanicalness and your lack of understanding of yourself — your lack of self-knowledge. So long as we feel different emotions at different times, what are we like? One moment we trust, another moment we are suspicious; one moment we like, another moment we dislike. So the aim is to bring those different emotions together, otherwise we will never know ourselves. If we always feel only one emotion at a time and do not remember other emotions, we are identified with it. When we have another emotion we forget the first; when we have a third, we forget the first and the second, and so forth. Very early in life, by imitation and in different other ways, we learn to live in a kind of imaginary state to save ourselves from unpleasantness, so we develop in ourselves this capacity to see only one emotion at a time. Remember to work. Remember yourself in one mood, then remember yourself in another mood. Try to connect them together and you will see yourself.” (P. D. Ouspensky)

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Thanks for sharing this observation, Jatinder. What you say, confirms Ouspensky’s claim below:

      We have no positive emotions; we call positive emotion an emotion that cannot become negative, and all our emotions, even the best we can have in our present state, can become negative at any moment. Also, by their scope, our emotions are too small for positive emotions. Positive emotions include very much, whereas our emotions are very narrow. So at present we have no positive emotions, but negative emotions are there.” – Peter Ouspensky

      Part of the aim of the September labor is to verify this, or reaffirm this verification. In October, we will explore how we might strengthen our emotions so that we aspire to reach higher emotional center.

  12. Myrto

    Libra
    In the Labour of September on Chartres Window, next to the men harvesting grapes, we see a woman, holding a pair of scales, symbolizing the zodiac sign of Libra.
    The zodiac constellation of Libra, is the area of the sky behind the Sun at October end. Thousand years ago, Libra lied behind the Sun at September end, thus its name mirrors the notions of ‘Balance’ and ‘Justice’, associated with the autumn equinox.
    https://www.google.gr/search?q=sky+libra+constellation&client=firefox-b&dcr=0&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwialvnb17vWAhUkKcAKHVa8ACQQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=659#imgrc=u7uc1JSH5klUoM:
    The word Libra, from Latin libra, plural librae, Greek lithra, a weighing scale, is related to the words: level, lira, deliberate, equilibrium (from æquus, equal + libra), litra (name of a Greek weight and coin), litre (liter, a metric unit of volume)”, librate (land worth a pound a year, the word used to mean; to vibrate as a balance; to be in equipoise; to waver between one thing and another). The process of librating or swinging from side to side is spoken of as libration.
    Roman and Greek astrologers considered that the constellation represented the scales held by Astraeia (The Starry one), goddess of Justice.
    Below a depiction of Libra of the 19th century.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libra_(constellation)#/media/File:Sidney_Hall_-_Urania%27s_Mirror_-_Libra.jpg

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Thanks for this research, Myrto. It’s helpful to find a relation between this sign and the month (Libra relating to the Autumnal equinox). This is the first time we find such a relation. When we cycle through these labors next year, I’d like to give more attention to their relation to the Zodiac.