Today I present another article by drew hempel who often published here several other articles on the subjects of qigong, music and healing.

How Qigong or Taoist Yoga Explains Gurdjieff

by drew hempel, MA

(anti-copyright, free distribution).


“‘Before examining these influences,’ began G., ‘and the laws of transformation of Unity in Plurality, we must examine the fundamental law that creates all phenomena in all the diversity or unity of all universes.'” — In Search of the Miraculous (p. 78, emphasis in original, and source for below Gurdjieff quotes).

I continue to see a lot of serious confusion about the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, a very influential source for people exploring paranormal healing powers.  First of all there was Gurdjieff’s focus on the truth of his teaching, not on the kundalini energy effects.  This is one reason people reject Gurdjieff.  For example a famous person, Katherine Mansfield, came to Gurdjieff shortly before her death from tuberculosis.  Some people think that Gurdjieff just accelerated her death because he focused on the truth instead of on healing.   Secondly there’s the problem of Gurdjieff’s lineage.  Some state Gurdjieff was a Sufi but since he didn’t have a particular Sufi master he’s not credible.  Gurdjieff does name a very important Sufi teacher who doles out amazing secrets in Gurdjieff’s excellent book Meetings with Remarkable Men

Most importantly Gurdjieff didn’t pass on and develop his powers in someone else — i.e. create another energy master.  Gurdjieff doesn’t have a replacement yet many people think that Ouspensky was necessary to help Gurdjieff or that Bennett or Orage or others can better continue Gurdjieff’s teachings.  For example, because of this conflict, the famous NYC literary critic Edmund Wilson made fun of Gurdjieff based on Orage’s attempts to teach Gurdjieff.  The best book on Gurdjieff’s teachings, In Search of the Miraculous, is only hindered by Ouspensky’s extended yet confused commentaries while Gurdjieff’s longest book was the cause for Gurdjieff considering suicide.  Beelzebub’s Tales is not a reliable source since his publishers forced Gurdjieff to change the meaning of his teaching, as Bennett reports.

What is clear is that Gurdjieff’s teaching is based on harmonics or what some term “psychic music,” the central secret of my 2001 U of MN masters thesis, linked at and focus of my subsequent research, including my previous articles here.  I discovered that the Pythagorean Perfect 5th or 2:3 music interval, C to G, and the Perfect 4th or 3:4, G to C, are the same as yang and yin in Taoism.  Gurdjieff also relies on the Pythagorean teachings based on harmonics or what Gurdjieff called the Law of Three, the fundamental law.   (as quoted above)

Western science converted complimentary opposites, yin and yang, or the Pythagorean Tetrad of 1:2:3:4, into a symmetrical system through the same diatonic scale that Gurdjieff presents in his teaching, thereby forever confusing the West’s understanding of Gurdjieff.  

For example the major third diatonic music interval of Gurdjieff, 4:5, was converted into 5:4 as the cube root of two while the Pythagorean diatonic minor sixth, 5:8, was converted into 8:5 as the Golden Ratio.  In fact the extension of the Tetrad, 1:2:3:4 (Perfect 5th/Perfect 4th complimentary opposite harmonics as the Law of Pythagoras) into symmetric-based ratios (i.e. Gurdjieff’s 4:5 into 5:4 as the cube root of two) was the product not of Pythagoras but of Platonic math from Archytas’ creation of the geometric mean (a “one-to-one correspondence of letter and number”).  I give the technical details in chapter four of my blogbook,  Math professor Joe Mazur recently stated that my compilation of this information is “very valuable” and he recommended that I have it published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.  

G.I. Gurdjieff

Westerners do not clearly see that the point of Gurdjieff’s “Law of Octaves” is based on the complimentary opposites or his “Law of Three” known as the Pythagorean Tetrad, 1:2:3:4. Instead we find various other interpretations of Gurdjieff’s diatonic Pythagorean scale — that the interval of the 7th is somehow the secret of Gurdjieff or that since it’s the same diatonic scale used by the early Christian church this is why Gurdjieff’s system works, etc. The most famous symbol of Gurdjieff, the enneagram, was also converted into symmetrical decimals, forever damning it’s foundation in the Law of Three complimentary opposites. The current mainstream understanding of Gurdjieff is wrong but qigong or Taoist yoga clearly explains how to solve this problem.

The third force beyond yin and yang, the source of the I-thought or the source of the Pythagorean One, known as the Goddess Harmonia, is what I call “female formless awareness.” Gurdjieff has this to state about it: “Contemporary thought realizes the existence of two phenomenon: force and resistance, positive and negative magnetism, positive and negative electricity, male and female cells, and so on. But it does not observe even these two forces always and everywhere. No question has ever been raised as to the third, or if it has been raised it has scarcely been heard.”


Gurdjieff states that his diatonic scale has two shocks — the only half notes in the scale, E to F, and, B to C. Gurdjieff describes them as a slowing down of the acceleration of consciousness or a “retardation in the increase of vibrations.” Gurdjieff then explains that these shocks get stronger as the Law of Octaves gets higher: “The next octave gives an even more marked deviation, the one following that a deviation that is more marked still, so that the line of octaves may at last turn completely round and proceed in a direction opposite to the original direction.” So again the diatonic Pythagorean scale that Gurdjieff gives is based on the Law of Three — the negative and positive centers as he calls it or the Perfect 4th/Perfect 5th harmonics which create what’s known in the West as the “comma of Pythagoras” — the deviation from symmetry causing the shocks of full energy transduction.

Gurdjieff describes the scale shocks through the alchemy of the Law of Octaves — as a shock of air or breath and a conscious shock of intention. Gurdjieff explains that while there are 3 shocks the first happens without alchemy, naturally: the mechanical shock of food. The exercises Gurdjieff relied on to initiate these three shocks were dancing that activates the special breathes of the body, fasting, yogic body postures; and something he called “circulation of energy.”

What’s amazing is that this system of scale shocks is exactly the same as the alchemical teaching of the qigong book called Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality, translated by Charles Luk.

The food creates heat in the body called “generative force” (the mechanical shock) which is electrochemical or yin energy (again the Perfect 4th or 3:4 of the Law of Pythagoras). The yin has yang electromagnetic energy (the Perfect 5th or 2:3, C to G, of the Law of Pythagoras) within it — called “prenatal vitality” — which descends from the heart-mind, the source of the Absolute or “essential nature” — the third force.

As meditation is practiced Gurdjieff focuses on the conscious sublimation of sex energy — or as Taoist Yoga explains, normally the yang prenatal vitality of the yin generative force is lost when it turns into generative fluid — semen. Gurdjieff states, with emphasis in the original: “It is the lower centers that are undeveloped. And it is precisely this lack of development, or the incomplete functioning, of the lower centers that prevents us from making use of the work of the higher centers.” So when we focus on the Law of Pythagoras through meditation, the sound of our thoughts resonate into ultrasound thereby ionizing the electrochemical heat of the lower body and turning the generative force (the mechanical shock) into the alchemical agent — or prenatal vitality.

The circulation of energy exercise that Gurdjieff describes is actually the “small universe” exercise that is the focus of the book Taoist Yoga.

Gurdjieff describes the exercise in a couple places stating that a person “senses” the energy of a part of the body while saying “Om.” An excellent half hour guidance tape, on clearance for $3, is sold at for this “small universe” exercise and an hour long “small universe” spring forest qigong exercise c.d. is also available.

There are 12 harmonic nodes along the outside of the body and just as a person practices music scales of 12 notes created from the Pythagorean “circle of fifths,” (C to G, as 2:3 or yang) so should the sound of the mind be focused on the notes or nodes of the body. The circulation of energy or the small universe creates a harmonic oscillator, resonating sound through the whole energy spectrum: ultrasound, electrochemical, electromagnetic and light. The notes proceed as follows: stomach, bladder, bottom of torso, tip of tail bone, base of spine, center of kidneys, center of back shoulders, base of skull, top of skull, center of forehead, neck, heart.

Just as the Pythagorean scale is created by the “circle of fifths” — yang or 2:3, C to G, resonating into yin or 3:4, G to C — for all the notes as C to G (2:3), then G-D-A-E-B-F#-C# and so on back to C, the “circulation of energy” exercise is the foundation for paranormal healing powers. For the Taoist Yoga small universe diagram see:


As the body-mind psychic music scale is practiced the “shocks” of the scale manifest as breath or electromagnetic vitality and intention or awareness of mind powers. First there is great heat created in the belly — the fire of alchemy.

The three energy centers of Gurdjieff’s system — moving, emotional, and thought — are the same as the three tan tiens (energy centers or alchemical cauldrons) of taoist yoga qigong: lower belly, middle heart, and higher mind for jing, chi and shen.

So the jing is the generative force which has prenatal vitality in it — the yin with yang in it. This is the electrochemical energy getting ionized as generative force or blissful heat and then further ionized through complimentary opposites meditation to create the alchemical agent — the prenatal electromagnetic vitality.

As the jing is cleansed through the kidneys and purified through the heart it turns into electromagnetic energy or chi — what Gurdjieff calls the higher emotional, middle center, hydrogen 12, as sublimated sexual energy. Finally the electromagnetic energy builds up from enough electrochemical fire to cause the brain’s pineal gland or third eye to get hot and full of electromagnetic energy, so that light or shen — the spirit body — can be created. This is Gurdjieff’s hydrogen 6. At this point full-lotus yoga can be practiced since the energy channels are open, with a natural resonating free energy of yin-yang awareness.

Gurdjieff does an excellent job of explaining that the West tries to start with hydrogen 6 — as mind yoga — without consciously developing hydrogen 12 — this is the “weak yogi” problem. Gurdjieff explains: “We must learn how to draw energy straight from the large accumulator. This however is possible only with the help of the emotional center. It is essential that this be understood. The connection with the large accumulator can be effected only through the emotional center.” Then there’s the “stupid saint” problem — the higher emotions are developed without any intentional awareness of how these emotions are related to the lower energy center which is the foundation of the practice — what Gurdjieff calls the creation of “mi 12.” This is why Gurdjieff stated that his teaching is the “fourth way” — beyond just instinctual mortification exercises, stupid emotional rituals, and weak mind exercises.

Here’s Gurdjieff’s emphasis on the creation of the alchemical agent from sublimated sex energy: “But the alchemists spoke of this transmutation in the allegorical forms of the transformation of base metals into precious ones. In reality, however, they meant the transformation of coarse ‘hydrogens’ into finer ones in the human organism, chiefly of the transformation of mi 12….Real, objective results can be obtained only after the transmutation of mi 12 has begun.” What Gurdjieff calls “mi 12” is the creation of the electromagnetic energy from what Gurdjieff calls “si 12” — the electrochemical heat. As Gurdjieff states: “Si 12 is the highest substance produced in the organism from physical food with the help of the ‘additional shock’ obtained from the air.”

Gurdjieff calls this opening of the third eye through circulation of the energy, creating a “permanent center of gravity” or a number four person — it’s called “laying the foundation” in Taoist Yoga, the equivalent of completing chapter six of the book. Gurdjieff’s number five person is someone who has their third eye fully open so that they can freely do long-distance healing and see energy blockages within another person. This is called a “level two qigong master” — the equivalent of chapter twelve in Taoist Yoga. Gurdjieff’s number six person can create another physical body that can leave the first physical body and can be seen by other people — the “starry” or immortal body of alchemy.

Despite the continual pondering over what Gurdjieff “really” meant, just like in music, the only way to achieve Gurdjieff’s teachings is to practice them and fortunately we have the book Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality, trans. by Charles Luk, giving us the precise details and further corroboration of Gurdjieff’s truth.