Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970.

Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws
on official Fellowship publications and websites,
news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Friday, May 9, 2008

We may be the only consciousness occurring in the universe right now

[ed. - Robert Earl Burton announces that "The Sequence," his and Asaf Braverman's mental exercise is the "pinnacle of knowledge for man."]

"somebody" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 9, 2008:

Dear Friends,

Robert was asked recently questions regarding presenting the school knowledge to newer students. Here are the questions and his answers.

Student: Do you have any guidance in terms of presenting previous knowledge, such as false personality and states of consciousness, to newer students?

Robert: Everything that we have now is based upon the experience we gathered in the past. Of course, one has to use relativity, because some ideas may not be useful anymore. For example, the ideas of essence and false personality are still very much valid. We now know much better how the lower self controls false personality and our imaginary picture. True personality is essentially the sequence. The idea of the different states of consciousness is central in our work. We can now see much better that the sequence helps us make the transition from the second to the third state. All these are ideas that new students should verify in order to create a foundation for their work.

Student: What about the idea of the four lower centers and body types?

Robert: They still hold up very well, although there might also be an inner meaning. For example, there are six basic body types, and a seventh one–the Solar type. We now know that behind the idea of men number one, two, three, four, and so on, there is also an inner meaning, all progressing to man number eight, the highest achievement possible for man–completing the four wordless breaths.

Student: What about the law of octaves and the three forces?

Robert: They are correct. A certain teacher may come from among us who will focus and build on them. Generally, the first teacher in any tradition is very essential, and those who follow elaborate further. Everything that we learned before the keys is the foundation for, and leads to the sequence, which is the pinnacle of knowledge for man.
The questions and answers are published in the “Weekly Notes”.

With Love


This knowledge is the king of all knowledge, the most secret, very sacred, conforms to Dharma, very easy to practice, and is imperishable.

[ed. - In the following, quotations are read, followed by Robert Burton's comments. Asterisks (*) denote images that were projected, and upon which Burton shares his "insights."]
"Pensate un attimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 11, 2008:
Dear friends of the blog, as you can see, even if many of us left and started to realize the brain washing and absurdities of the cult called ‘Fellowship of Friends”, many people are still very inside and very well brainwashed…..speaking about the “miracle-sequence”, “super power to become a higher man”…Robert Burton’s spiritual materialism is very appealing to many……WHAT A LIE!

“Our School on the Sequence”

Apollo, May 11, 2008

“Something is missing in the system. If man is meant to remember himself there must have been some simple method. But it has been lost. I could never find it. Once in India, I heard an echo of such a method. If you find the method you may find the Source.” [Peter Ouspensky, 1935]

The sequence is an echo of Paradise. It is a mere image of the third state. *_A bronze statue in the Cleveland Museum, Ohio, depicts Shiva dancing, surrounded by thirty sparks (11th century). A very nice piece exactly like this will be coming from India in June for the Grand Pavilion. It is six feet tall.

“The more I work with the sequence, the more I realize there is an addiction to the lower self.” [A. Bat Adam, Tel Aviv]

It is a wonderful perception. I believe the most beautiful thoughts on the sequence will come from this morning’s meeting. Ouspensky spoke about negative emotions being habitual—an addiction to imagination, to the lower self. Kaigun Tan said, “It is just because people take themselves too seriously that they develop all sorts of addictions.” The lower self takes itself very seriously. In fact, it is the center of the universe. Once in San Francisco I had a lead-alchemy taxi driver, who expected the whole city to part for him.

“The sequence is a skillful means for overcoming mental defilement.” [Ri Thiel, Apollo]

Negative emotions are “mental defilement.” *_A rock painting from Lascaux depicting a rhinoceros hunt represents a sequence intoned in imagination. The six stools coming from the rhinoceros represent “mental defilement.” The Egyptian Texts say, “What I detest the most is excretion, and I will not eat it.” Rodney Collin said, “Imagination is a waste product of the human mind.”

“The sequence is freedom of thought, and the four wordless breaths are freedom from thought.” [Robert Earl Burton]

Very few people wish freedom from thought. The lower self likes to display an encyclopedic mind. I read that by the year 2020, there will be computers a million times more intelligent than an incredible figure like Leonardo. *_An eighteenth-century Jain bronze depicts a released spirit. The four cloud-like shapes on either side represent the inhalation and exhalation of the four wordless breaths.

“Ouspensky said that luck and fate are the greatest variables. Now we can perhaps say that luck and fate are the greatest variables, and that the sequence is the greatest constant.” [E. Goethals, Apollo]

In Sonnet 53, Shakespeare said, “But you like none, none you, for constant heart.” The sequence removes the guesswork from awakening. It is a mathematical way of introducing presence. When we need to retrieve this state, the sequence is the way to do it. The sequence is the Achilles’ heel of the king of clubs, and that is why the lower self detests it. It has a weakness, and the sequence reveals it.

“The sequence flushes the lower self out of hiding. Before the sequence, we were present, but the lower self would take us out of presence without being detected.” [D Tuttle, Apollo]

The sequence detects the lower self like nothing else. We had self-remembering and divided attention for thirty-seven years, but we had no idea what a problem the lower self was. The sequence is his Achilles’ heel. The Koran says, “Satan sees you from where you do not see him.” *_A painting in the Mauritshuis, the Hague, the Netherlands, depicts Susanna and the Elders (1637). Susanna represents the nine of hearts. She is taking the four wordless breaths, but she senses the lower self lurking in the background. The lower self is the prince of darkness. He rules the second state.

“The sequence is inconspicuous voluntary suffering—the Via Dolorosa.” [A. Braverman]

It is a wonderful thought. The sequence is called the way of sufferings—the way of sorrow—because we labor to connect with presence, step by step. We combined the thoughts of two students, Jeanne Chapman and Lourdes Soto, to say, “The sequence is excruciating because it shows how weak we are.” However, we are getting better. Since we have been given the sequence there is more presence and more conscious love in the school than ever. *_A painting by an unknown Flemish artist in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, depicts Christ Carrying the Cross (1510). Incredibly, Christ has six toes, representing the sequence. He has completed the inhalation and exhalation of the sequence, and is about to be crucified and lay down his life at long BE. The trifoliate frame represents the three Be’s.

“No matter how often we may forget to use it, the sequence is a faithful friend, always there waiting to guide us to wordless presence.” [E. Blake, Apollo]

Out of these ten thousand ‘I’s is a small group of ‘I’s that will serve the third eye—a “faithful friend.” *_A statue from the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, depicts a pharaoh and his wife. Here we see the pharaoh as the steward; however, he is being monitored by the nine of hearts, who holds four fingers on his neck and four fingers on his arm, guiding him through the narrow gate. It shows the quietly deliberate behavior of the nine of hearts. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus said, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents.” The nine of hearts must be as wise as the nine of clubs. The Egyptian Pyramid Texts says, “I am this friend of Ra, who stays with his rope.” The sequence is the “friend of Ra.”

“The secret of the successful sequence is to observe the steward doing the sequence and the lower self resenting it, being neither of them.” [N. Nikolaeva, St. Petersburg]

*_A Persian miniature depicts a battle occurring inside a man’s head. The skull is composed of imagination. At left we see the outline of the eyes, nose, and lips. In the upper right-hand corner is Majnoun—the steward—outside of time, wearing blue trousers, with his hands on his solar plexus, supporting the four wordless breaths. The figures in the center representing the work ‘I’s are driving out the figures on the left, representing the mechanical ‘I’s. Plato said, “War is a permanent state”—in our sequence. Every ‘I’ is usually challenged. The key to a successful sequence is wordlessly appearing at each opportunity.

“If one does not want to do a sequence immediately upon observing prolonged imagination, there is no real desire to become conscious in that moment.” [D. Fletcher, Sacramento]

There is no desire to be present to our lives. *_The Hanged Man Tarot card is a representation of prolonged imagination. The six branches on either side of the tree—the Amduat—are severed, which means that they did not flower. The steward’s hands are tied behind his back, serving the lower self. Confucius said, “It is these things that cause me concern: failure to cultivate virtue, failure to go more deeply into what I have learned, and inability, when I am told what is right”—the Theme of the sequence—“to move to where it is.” Of course, the main problem with being in the state of the Hanged Man is that he thinks he is in the third state. However, a firm Be, a shock from Influence C, or being with one another, tell another story—a conscious story. There are six blades of grass on one side of the Hanged Man’s head and four on the other, representing the steward in imagination. Hafiz said, “Are you sure”—Be—“are you really sure?”—long BE.

“Since to complete a sequence requires everything we have, nothing is left for thinking of the past or future.” [A. Zarookian, Apollo]

*_An eleventh-century Chinese carving depicts the death of the Buddha. Here the Buddha—the steward—is completing a sequence, resting upon a square pillow. The three figures in front represent the three Be’s. The lower self does anything it can to break the sequence; therefore, we must do everything we can to complete it. Aristotle said, “We ought, so far as it lies within our power, to aspire to immortality, and we must strain every nerve to live in accordance with the highest in us.”

“Doing the sequence is as much a good habit as being in imagination is a bad habit.” [E. Rice, Apollo]

Plato said, “We must form good habits”—the sequence. *_A wall relief from Saqqara, now in the museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, depicts a procession of figures. Not too long ago we went to Egypt and detected the message for the first time, and now we understand this marvelous message. The six figures represent Be, Hold, Theme, Back, Theme, and BE. The rope winds in and out of the loincloth of the fifth figure, representing work ‘I’ number five. The Kabbalah says, “The first five commandments imply the second five.”

“The sequence is a lifeboat on a sinking ship. It is magic we can carry in our pocket, which works when we use it.” [A. Goldman, Apollo]

*_The Magician—Tarot card number one—represents the steward. In his bag of tricks are the thirty great work ‘I’s. The three legs of the table, and the three dice, both refer to the three Be’s. Incredibly, there are twenty-one points on the dice, representing a successful sequence unfolding. It means that the steward—card number one—will transcend himself into card twenty-one. Montaigne said, “The sick man who possesses the cure of his sleep is not to be pitied.” The sick man—the one in imagination—who has the tricks up his sleeve, is not to be pitied. He uses the sequence and removes the illness of imagination. *_An illustrated manuscript from the Gospel Book of Cologne depicts Christ asleep on a boat (11th century). It represents a sequence that has failed at Back. The fourth figure, representing work ‘I’ number four, is without a halo, and is looking in the wrong direction. “The sequence is a lifeboat on a sinking ship.” If we stay with the theme of our sequence, however, the ship will not sink.

“The sequence is altogether another scale of effort than sporadic attempts to remember oneself—more than tenfold—as the ten steps of the sequence aim for continuous presence.” [G. Pannell, Apollo]

*_A wall painting from the Tomb of Seti I depicts a procession of figures with spirals. Each spiral, which has six rings, represents a completed sequence. The wall contains twelve such figures, indicating the completion of twelve consecutive sequences—a Sed Festival. This morning we have prolonged presence without a sequence. Related to making sporadic efforts, Gampopa said, “A mere glimpse of reality may be mistaken for complete realization.” Sporadically engaging presence is a “mere glimpse of reality.” If it begins to wane, then we bring a sequence to sustain it. In Sonnet 34, Shakespeare said, “Why didst thou promise me such a beauteous day,/And make me travel forth without my cloak?” This is when you have presence without a sequence and the lower self invisibly pulls you into imagination.

“Half-heartedly invoked sequences are a good basis for invoking a sequence wholeheartedly.” [A. Schwartzberg, Apollo]

“Half-heartedly” refers to a failing at middle Be—Back. “Wholeheartedly” means completing our sequence. *_A wonderful prehistoric rock painting from Cosquer cave, near Marseille, depicts a series of hands (27,000 BP). In the hands at the top the ten fingers are straight, representing a successful sequence—the Ten Commandments. We have seen images of the Ten Commandments from the prehistoric period found on the soil of Israel. They were the same people before they formalized into the Jewish people. Gregory of Sinai said, “Never cease behaving this way, falling and rising again, and you will find peace, wisely attaining victory through downfalls.” We mend our sequence and we “wisely attain victory.” For example, if Back fails, mending the sequence means to return to Back and intone it with presence.

“Resistance to the sequence can be worn down, one work ‘I’ at a time.” [J. Stubbs, Buenos Aires]

I once watched a video about two serpents—the king snake and the rattlesnake—both of which we have at Apollo. The two snakes met and clashed, and the king snake very quickly killed the rattlesnake. The king snake is immune to the venom of the rattlesnake, just as, if we are firm in our intention to be present, the sequence is immune to the venom of the lower self. Plato said, “War is a permanent state”—in our sequence. *_An illustration of a wall relief from the Tomb of Ramses II at Abu Simbel depicts the Battle of Kadesh. Starting from the top, the first three chariots represent Be, Hold, and Theme. The next three chariots, representing Back, Theme, and BE, are placed more closely together. Each work ‘I’ is being challenged by a mechanical ‘I.’ The sequence is the antidote to imagination.

“To complete a successful sequence is the real ‘ladder of success.’” [J. Kehl, Apollo]

*_A stained-glass window from the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Troyes depicts Jacob and the ladder. The ladder is composed of six rungs, representing the sequence. Jacob holds the second rung, representing Hold. *_A seventeenth-century wall painting from the monastery at Mount Athos depicts St. John’s Heavenly Ladder. It represents a sequence that is fraught with denying force, but which is eventually successful.

“The sequence is a lifestyle. It strengthens the nine of hearts to the extent that even in moments when you cannot use it, you have the feeling that you want to be in the present.” [Ulrch Kaiser, Apollo]

It is very nice. Plato said, “You must form good habits.” *_The Drawing of a Woman’s Head by Leonardo da Vinci in the Uffizi, Florence (15th century), is one of the greatest images of the nine of hearts in all schools. The medallion on her forehead consists of eight pearls, representing the inhalation and exhalation of the four wordless breaths, arranged around a rectangular gem, representing the narrow gate. There are six “sequential” wings on either side. *_A relief carving of a woman from the Angkor Wat temple in Angkor, Cambodia (12th century), depicts a similar motif. The headdress of the woman is adorned with several floral medallions, of which the central one has eight pearl-shaped beads arranged around a central bead. These are surrounded by approximately sixteen petals, representing the control of the passions—the Tarot division of centers. It is said that Ruzbihan Baqli had revelations of God when he was sixteen. This signifies the steward controlling the passions to attain “revelations of God.” We must not take the outer meaning seriously, for it precludes inner understanding. For example, “Moses died at one hundred twenty” actually refers to the inhalation and exhalation of the sequence. Lao-Tzu and Kabir also died at one hundred twenty. In fact, only one person in the history of the earth is known to have lived to be one hundred twenty—a gentleman in Japan. So we must look at the inner meaning of the numbers. The Indian relief carving expresses the message in the same way two hundred years before Leonardo. “It is still the same old story”—the same old wonderful story.

“The best sequences occur when there is a certain level of presence already. There are happy, almost effortless sequences with very light breathing—and Elle is out of the picture.” [El van Glabbeek, Apollo]

The sequence coming from presence is best. We are in the temple before we begin. Mohammed said, “When the call to prayer is heard it is better to already be in the temple.” If we bring a sequence from presence, we are already “in the temple.” A firm sequence is a joyful experience. *_The Erechtheum—the Ionic temple on the north side of the Acropolis, Athens (421-407 BC)—is one of the great, mature, sophisticated images of the four wordless breaths. Originally, one had to walk through the temple and pass behind it. Later, however, it was sealed up and this entrance was added. It has a large porch supported by six caryatids—draped female figures—four of which stand in front. Four steps lead up to the temple. You are outside of the temple—the nine of hearts—with the four wordless breaths.

“A firm Be gives us something to Hold.” [Robert Earl Burton]

A pottery fragment from a vase in the Istanbul Museum depicts a hand holding a nine-petalled flower, representing the control of the passions. The fingers represent long BE and the four wordless breaths. They also represent five—the first half of the sequence. The passive space between the fingers below the flower forms a ‘V,’ referring to the Roman numeral V. This, together with the five fingers, represents the Ten Commandments. We drew a reconstruction of the vase to show the original placement of this fragment. All that survived from the vessel was this tiny fragment, three inches in diameter. The message is that when each of us completes our role, all that will be left of our vessel are our moments of presence. It is a lovely message from Influence C. Of course, the reason we were given the physical body is to produce the astral body. The pottery fragment has a great double message. It shows the value of the sequence, because at the end of our roles all that is left are our moments of presence.

“The sequence is the most perfected instrument of change ever given to men.” [Wayne M., Apollo]

It was perfected long before Egypt. So far we have traced it back to 100,000 BP, and there is evidence of the message even earlier than that. We recently saw an object with thirty incisions dating to 270,000 BP. The sequence is the greatest gift the Absolute gave to man. It has been delivered to us from the celestial city of Paradise, by angels who are in the room, to enable us to be present, and for our souls to migrate and join them at some point forever and ever. This is the sequential gift they have brought us to strengthen what we already have.

“Influence C are our outside help, and with the sequence we have inside help.” [Robert Earl Burton]

Our greatest help is one another. We are most present when we are together. *_A Teotihuacan host figurine indicates the strength of the nine of hearts. The Mesoamericans show better than anyone that the steward—Moses, Christ, and Mohammed—are merely shells for the nine of hearts—the white queen on the chessboard. Inside the steward’s chest is the figure of a woman in a white garment, representing the nine of hearts, with four divisions on her head, representing the four wordless breaths.

“The sequence drills a small hole in the bubble of imagination; on the other side lies eternity.” [T. Fenn, Apollo]

“The sequence drills a small hole.” It is the Achilles’ heel of the nine of clubs. The hiding place of the lower self has been detected. He tries to thwart us at Back, because it calls attention to him. *_A Vanitas Still Life by Jacques de Gheyn the Elder in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, depicts a skull with four teeth missing (1603). This signifies that the lower self has failed to remove the four wordless breaths. The vase on the right represents short Be, while the vase on the left represents long BE. The four little white flowers represent the four wordless breaths.

“The most common of my distractions has been, ‘There is not enough time right now—I will try later.’ We know that the reverse is true.” [L. O’Brien, Apollo]

When you are pressed for time, it is better not to use the sequence. Use the theme of the sequence—Move with presence—and then use Pax—patience—to slow the machine down. *_A painting by Hans Holbein the Younger in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, depicts An Allegory of Passion (1532-36). The youth rides a horse without any reins—without a sequence—and is subject to any ‘I’ that comes along. It shows how the lower self is mean-spirited in all of us. The lower self never has enough time to waste. However, he dodges the present, thinking he is being productive.

“The sequence is the invisible rosary of man number four and up.” [L. Bonvini, Paris]

“Man number four” refers to work ‘I’ number four; therefore, it would be better to say, “The sequence is the invisible rosary of the steward.” *_A seventeenth-century Persian miniature depicts a Woman Counting on Fingers. It shows the original set of prayer beads—the ten fingers. In fact, counting on one’s fingers can be a good way to do the sequence. The hands are very white, which means that the sequence is acting. Rather than using the old man to represent work ‘I’ number six, the artist dropped the pretext of the steward, and showed the nine of hearts—the old woman—as work ‘I’ number six. The woman has four strands of gray hair, one of which is a little shorter, signifying that the Ten Commandments have fulfilled their function and are preparing to bring short Be again.

“The sequence has brought a fresh breath of love among each other, which permeates throughout our school.” [B. Yudin, Apollo]

There has never been more loving presence and more gratitude in the school. The Jewish people are currently celebrating Passover. During Passover, the bread—the sequence—has risen, and one must now eat “unleavened” bread. We do not want the sequential ‘I’s to rise and disturb the inhalation and exhalation of the four wordless breaths. Throughout the eight days of Hanukkah, forty-four candles are lit. The miracle celebrated by Hanukkah was that, although the Jews had only enough oil for one day—long BE—it lasted eight days, throughout the inhalation and exhalation of the four wordless breaths. This is Moses’ burning tree. One of the Jewish rabbis said that Passover is the Sabbath. The burning oil, the burning candle, and the burning tree are the same symbol.

“The Great Pyramid reflects the magnitude of the sequence.” [D. Matei, Apollo]

I think this is the best thing ever said about the Great Pyramid. The Great Pyramid reflects Egypt’s love of the sequence.

“The sequence needs considerable practice to master, but thanks to the cumulative nature of presence, results soon appear, and that invites one to continue.” [P. Pacheco, London]

Quite often, the second and third sequences are better than the first one. We tend to warm up with the first sequence, and with the second and third ones we can strike a good pace.

“With Be, imaginary picture is revealed.” [J. Mager, Apollo]

Mohammed called Be the “piercing star,” because it pierces imagination. Perhaps we can publish a little book containing our revelations about the sequence, which like the Kabbalah, would be without names. *_A marble statue by Raffaelle Monti in the Wallace Collection, London, depicts A Circassian Slave in the Marketplace at Constantinople (1851). Here we see the nine of hearts sadly veiled, with her hands tied behind her back, and the four wordless breaths occurring in imagination. The nine of hearts has become enslaved to the nine of clubs. *_At left a photograph depicts the Muezzin call to prayer to use the sequence. At right, a sixteenth-century Persian miniature shows the negative lower self trying to keep Be from being heard. Be reveals our imaginary picture, and the lower self rules that imaginary picture. The prince of darkness—the lower self—rules imagination.

“When I can escort every inhalation, every exhalation, and the interval between, with presence, that is a sequence that acts and is not intoned in imagination.” [M. Even, Tel Aviv]

There are some wonderful angles from the Israeli center. “When I can escort every step in the sequence with presence.” Is it not lovely? Mohammed said, “I am merely a servant of Allah.” The steward is the escort of presence. *_A wall painting from the Tomb of Ramses V and VI depicts a mummy with six gates. It is wonderful, because there are very few images that show the mummy as the nine of hearts. The six gates represent the sequence, while above them, the four figures represent the four wordless breaths. Although it almost looks like a voodoo image, it is sublime in its meaning—that imagination has been taken out between the four wordless breaths, represented by the four upside-down beheaded figures. The last upside-down figure is slightly detached from the top, because the Tenth Commandment is coming to an end and a new sequence is about to begin, represented by the mummy in white.

“The lower self would prefer to talk about, think about, read about, speak about, hear about, and write about the sequence, rather than practice it. In our favor, however, is the helping hand of Influence C.” [E. Kehl, Apollo]

It is a lovely thought. *_A painting by Girolamo di Benvenuto in the Fogg Art Museum, Boston, depicts St. Catherine (ca. 1500). On the left is Christ, who is portrayed as an androgynous figure, both male and female, indicating that he is the nine of hearts. He is surrounded by four cherubim, representing the four wordless breaths. On the right, the lower self is trying to bring ten thousand options to destroy the sequence. It would rather “talk about, think about, read about, hear about, and write about” anything but have presence itself.

“With the sequence, higher centers are no longer a theory.” [M. Golding, Apollo]

Three months after I met Influence C in 1967, they revealed themselves. My first realization was that life after death is not a theory. Forty years later we see a similar thought. The sequence adds definition to presence. Shakespeare said, “Is it possible the world could produce such a jewel?” *_A painting by Parmigianino in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, depicts Galeazzo Sanvitale (1524). The incredible, elegant refinement of this painting is the opposite of the great simplicity of the prehistoric images. It has wonderful depth. The sitter has four fingers draped over the edge of the chair, representing the four wordless breaths. Beneath it, the six divisions on the chair represent the Amduat. Inscribed on the coin in his hand is the number ‘seventy-two,’ referring to the control of the passions. He represents the steward—the head of the Sphinx—supporting the four wordless breaths. *_In a Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by Parmigianino in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (1524), the artist depicts himself with a huge hand showing four fingers, like Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine, suggesting the magnitude of the four wordless breaths. It is a circular painting, representing short Be and long BE connecting. Parmigianino died in his thirties.

“Hear does not mean ‘I am listening.’ It means the very fact of listening—the miracle.” [Michael Lester, Apollo]

It is very nice, is it not? The sequence takes us in search of the miraculous. Al-Ghazali said, “Make the divine presence your destination.” T.S. Eliot said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” “To arrive where we started”—short Be, long BE—“and know the place for the first time.” It is marvelous. Referring to the three Be’s, T.S. Eliot also said, “Quick now, hear now, always.” *_A lovely statue wonderfully depicts Milarepa listening to the sequence and partaking of the four wordless breaths. It is a very unusual image, because the artist blatantly dropped a finger in order to show four fingers. Milarepa has blue hair, representing prolonged presence. It recalls the young David slaying Goliath.

“The sequence has proven to be an umbilical cord to higher centers. The vibrations of each note initiate a stimulus to the self, rousing it, stirring it to self-recognition.” [P. Harvey, Apollo]

It is quite lovely, is it not? The “vibrations of each note” refers to the sequence acting. Paul wrote me a very nice note recently saying, “Thank you. You have sufficiently illuminated the path.” It is incredible that thought can actually be used to induce presence. Shakespeare said, “Can the world buy such a jewel?” He also said, “It [love] adds a precious seeing to our eyes.” *_A twelfth-century English manuscript depicts David with six bells. He is intoning the sequence, striking the second bell, which represents Hold. *_A fourteenth-century French miniature shows David with four bells, supporting the four wordless breaths.

“Try to bring as much quality to each sequence as you can, which means to bring as much presence as possible to each work ‘I,’ step by step.” [Robert Earl Burton]

*_A prehistoric rock painting from Baja California depicts a procession of deer (7500 BP). What a jewel is the message from this teacher. It is one of the images we use most in our school. The tenth deer, representing the Tenth Commandment, is very spirited, indicating the spirited ending of the sequence. It is also the smallest, because the sequence has fulfilled its function and is running out of steam, and it is time to bring short Be again. The deer are close together because they do not allow imagination to break through the sequence or the four wordless breaths. Between the first group of six deer and the second group of four deer is a space—a sequential pause. Mohammed said, “The sublime majesty of my Lord! I have finished my mission.” The laws of a higher world are about to emerge. Prokofiev expressed this beautifully in his ballet Cinderella. When Cinderella appears, the music is otherworldly.

“The sequence is the seed of the new world.” [GA. Miño, Santiago de Chile]

Is that not lovely? The sequence is the seed of the new world. Presence is the fruition of the sequence. *_Of the four figures in the corners of card-twenty one, only the bull in the bottom left-hand corner is without a halo, because he is incapable of presence. We can render him powerless, but we must be firm in our intentions to do so. Incredibly, the Dancing Figure has four toes, representing the sequence, and stands upon a base with six divisions on either side, representing the Amduat. Beneath it, the passive space forms an egg, with the Roman numeral X over it. What is in the egg? The Ten Commandments.

“The sequence is an anchor for presence, allowing one to stay in the moment and not drift off into imagination. It is also an emergency brake, from which we can move to more presence.” [B. Hohmann-Koloyartsev, Seattle]

Be stops the wheel from turning to the left, and Hold starts it spinning to the right. With the sequence, the answer will always be greater than the message.

“The sequence is movement towards the invisible; the beginning of existence.” [-R Altamirano, Apollo]

Is that not lovely? *_A wall painting from the tomb of Meresankh in Giza depicts a procession of figures. It is the best image in all schools for showing that Be and Hold begin every sequence. The teacher put the two figures together to convey this. Be and Hold are followed by Theme, Back, Theme, and then long BE. The teacher put Back in the wrong place intentionally to test the young priests. Their textbook was on the temple walls. However, we corrected it and put Back in the right place. *_A painting by Hieronymus Bosch in the Palazzo Ducale, Venice, depicts The Ascent of the Blessed (1500). The angel on the left represents the first work ‘I’—Be; the angel on the right represents the second work ‘I’—Hold. It is a “movement towards the invisible.” The other angels represent Theme, Back, and then, right at the entrance, Theme. It is a very modern concept, with the slender figure, representing long BE, at the end of the tunnel. He is right on the threshold of God. There is a saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The sequence is the beginning of conscious existence in an unconscious universe. It is not only the earth that has this problem. Sleep is ubiquitous in the universe; it is everywhere. We may be the only consciousness occurring in the universe right now, outside of the celestial city of Paradise. There is definitely that possibility. Sleep is a horrific problem for the Absolute.

“The sequence is practical devotion.” [D. Tonarelli, Florence]

This thought comes from an Italian heart; the previous thought from Rolando comes from a Mexican heart. The sequence makes our love for one another more practical. *_A Chinese scroll painting depicts Buddha meditating on three demons (17th century). The toes on one foot are concealed by his other leg, suggesting the hidden nature of the four wordless breaths. Often this is depicted by a hidden hand, rather than a foot. The fingernails and toenails are all clearly white, representing the sequence acting. We can assume that the four hidden toes also have white nails, the twenty white nails together signifying the inhalation and exhalation of the Ten Commandments.

“The four wordless breaths are consciousness without functions, presence without words, and are the very heart of this school, and of all schools.” [Robert Earl Burton]

In Hamlet, Shakespeare said, “Give me that man/Who is not passion’s slave and I will wear him/… in my heart of heart.” In my “heart of heart”—BE—and then the four wordless breaths. *_A heart mask from Gabon, Africa, in the Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva, is the only image we have found that divides the nose into four parts to represent the four wordless breaths. The steward has finished his role—Christ has been crucified—and now the four wordless breaths can occur. The marvelous heart shape of the mask signifies the nine of hearts supporting the four wordless breaths. *_A prehistoric rock painting from Chauvet depicts four horses (30,000 BP). They are triumphing over the lower self, dwarfing and inhibiting it, like Shiva, who treads upon the diminutive lower self. The muzzle on the fourth horse is fading, signifying that the Ten Commandments are finishing.

“Completing a sequence is astral body building.” [Jo A. Mortensen, Apollo]

Sometimes I practice the sequence with the aim of strengthening the ability to practice the sequence. It is an exercise, just as a musician practices scales or an athlete does push-ups. Usually preoccupation with the physical body displaces preoccupation with the astral body. Most people in life are totally preoccupied with strengthening the physical body. They do everything they can to make it immortal, although, of course, it is not. Gurdjieff said, “Faith in the body is stupidity.” *_A Mesopotamian statue from the ancient civilization of Elam, Iran, depicts a standing lioness (2800 BC). It is a great image, showing the nine of hearts with the strength of Hercules. On the base of her spine are four holes, representing the four wordless breaths controlling the lower self.

“Influence C are our outside help, and with the sequence we have inside help.” [Robert Earl Burton]

“In my forty years of working with Influence C, I was never able to help my students more, and upon receiving the sequence I never had more to help them with.” [Robert Earl Burton]

The sequence is the voice of presence. Thank you, dears.

[Galleria Meeting, April 27, 2008]

Toast given on May 2, 2008, at breakfast in the Tudor’s home:
Hafiz said, “Do not delay the coming of Spring.” Let us toast to the renewal of our sequence.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 11, 2008:
21. Pensate un attimo [above]

Something inside the Princess knows he is a fraud and a clown. Almost all his energy seems to be about selling the sequence to the sheep and finding validation for it in EVERYTHING (to quiet that inner voice that must be calling to him…”WTF”). If it’s so great, and so effective, one should be able to prove it’s effectiveness to oneself pretty easily. Insanity and delusion. I’m sorry, but RB is a fucking clown at this point, but his followers…Holy Shit.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 11, 2008:
All the minutia he’s sliding down their throats is numbing, as it’s designed to be. He’s a parasite feeding off hosts of stupidity, gullibility, vanity and self puffery. Let me repeat this…HE’S A PARASITE.

"Draco" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2008:

“Something is missing in the system. If man is meant to remember himself there must have been some simple method. But it has been lost. I could never find it. Once in India, I heard an echo of such a method. If you find the method you may find the Source.” [Peter Ouspensky, 1935]”

Ouspensky did say this to Francis Roles, and Roles dedicated nearly two decades after Ouspensky’s death in looking for a new method. Roles found his method in Advaita Vedanta and a meditation technique, not in the sequence, which was only invented in 2005 or 2006. “The lower self takes itself very seriously. In fact, it is the center of the universe. Once in San Francisco I had a lead-alchemy taxi driver, who expected the whole city to part for him.” Robert expects Gods to arrange economic crashes, earthquakes, nuclear war and blowjobs for himself. “The sequence is the greatest gift the Absolute gave to man. It has been delivered to us from the celestial city of Paradise, by angels who are in the room, to enable us to be present, and for our souls to migrate and join them at some point forever and ever.” Does anyone remember the meetings about the Celestial City of Paradise a few years ago? Robert proudly announced that he was going to write “a paper” (his words) on the Celestial City of Paradise. He announced that the paper would end (voice choking with emotion as he recites this) “Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high There’s a land that I heard of Once in a lullaby.” You can’t make it up!

"sharon" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2008:
Just to clarify, what depressed me (quite a bit!) was not RB’s words – I’m used to that bs, I can laugh at it. What hurts is the full-blown cult mentality of the inane comments by the followers, some of whom I used to think had brains and talent. I would have expected no more from some, but yes, Lauralupa; M. Golding, A. Zarookian, R. Thiel, M Lester, L Bonvini, P Harvey, J. Mortensen…… what is happening to you? I can only hope that, as with all those past semi-fictional Journals, these “quotes” are so “edited” as to be unrecognizable by their “authors”.

"elena" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2008:

Pensate un attimo 21 [above]

Thanks greatly for your contribution.It is amply revealing.

One aspect is that Robert is having students “participate” again. Of course in the extremely limited form of participation in which all they can do is read what he chooses for them to read but it is very different to four years of only Asaf and Robert being the chosen ones to put up with for the whole meeting. This gives a sense of community, valuation of individuals and other primal necessities people have.

Just being called upon to read an angle in the Fellowship of Friends has become a blessing to the highly convicted and committed students. What matters is not what they read but reading to the psychologically dependent follower. Being chosen by the God, divine being man number 8 is “the blessing” and completely reinforces the hierarchic structure of those who consider themselves “the inner circle”.

Were we to look closely at R. Thiel, M. Golding and the rest in this list, it would not be at all difficult to realize the payments and surrenderings each one of them have done to be happy to at last get to a place where they are now the inner circle holding the Fellowship of Friends Cult. These are much respected people for me, in a very sad place. Respected in that like I, when I was there, they are doing what they think is true and honest for themselves.

Another aspect is the references to world cultures. In the mentality of Fellowship of Friends standards, the sad truth is that many of these people think that what Robert is giving them is actually CULTURE, they do not want to do without it and they think they are learning about human heritage or different cultures. Sadly, like the ballet he rubbed down our noses as the starter for the evening orgy, all his references are a cheap stereotype of culture with so much Fellowship make up that none of its essence is any longer recognizable.

The sequence itself is a mantra in which followers (as Whalerider taught me, difficult as it was!) are meant to indulge their intellectual centre day and night. The exercise itself requires will. The follower then feels he is doing something, he is “working”; the School is teaching him something and making him make efforts which he does not wish to not have by leaving it. She is voluntary submitting his will not to this brainwashing but to this awakening process in their point of view. For as long as the followers don’t realize that keeping busy with carefully designed exercises so that he/she does not make a direct connection between himself, his own simple authority and the world around him through his own unconditioned, free centres, then, he cannot observe the exercise as a brainwashing tool. The key will always remain in the authority figure behind the action. The idolized cult leader or one’s own self.

I insist so often on looking at the centres because each centre has been brainwashed inside the Cult and it is they that simply replace one form of living for another while the authority of the individual is simply replaced by Robert Burton himself. The idolatry pattern, the dictatorial authority of the Cult leader, completely replaces the individual’s freedom to develop himself learning from life in the Fourth Way and results in a very modern mixture proper to American Cults apparently, in which the ancient pattern of Teacher-Student relation, degenerates into a modern pattern of Teacher,dictator, cultleader, banker, father and sexual recipient-Student, militant, follower, tax payer, servant, sexual provider, energy provider, voluntary slaves, all at the same time.

The intellectual centre is brainwashed with the sequence and all of Robert’s comments. In the style he uses, he addresses both the intellectual and emotional centre to fulfill student’s dependency.

The moving centre is brainwashed by the king of hearts act, no exercise, no sports, no spontaneity.

The emotional centre with gold alchemy impressions replacing direct emotional contact between students. Still life, or dead gold alchemy replaces the living vibrations, spontaneous vibrations people actually emit in an environment free of conditionings. This is by far the most deadly aspect of the Fellowship of Friends.

The instinctive centre is as intensely programed as the others by conditioning it to make a lot of money if you want to have any kind of role in this cult or If you cannot make a lot of money then give your life up to working inside of it unconditionally. You either have money to keep a slight freedom to do anything outside the cult (Poor you who have to work in life) or you give your life to working inside.

The psychological pattern that is obviously being used as a model is that of the student-teacher relationship of the yogi and monk in which the student gives his “life” up to the teacher and follows him where ever the teacher wishes to go. The interesting contrast is that the Teacher here does not wish to go anywhere or take anyone anywhere except keep them going around in circles in which their pockets are emptied at each turn. More than anything else, he wishes the Fellowship of Friends to make money. This is a fact. No other activity is as relevant as this one in the Fellowship. The dinners, events, auctions, donations etc that we spent thirty five years doing in excess is the daily activity in the Fellowship and those in position of any kind are there to guarantee the money flowing out of people into Robert’s decision making pocket. Any other activity is insignificant compared to this one. Ninety percent of the time is spent making money. Were students to look at this fact, they would easily equate it with the fact that this IS INFLUENCE A at its most efficient and the students that hold inner circle credibility are either those that are bringing in a fat red check or those that are efficient in getting all the little meager checks from the students who don’t have a lot of money, through less expensive events.

Credibility in the Fellowship of Friends Cult is not about who you are, what you’ve experienced in your work and life, the capacity you have to share your being with others or the simplicity of being but the efficiency with which you can unplug yourself from your inner trust and condone it blindly to Robert’s authority quickly replacing and adapting your functions to the codified life of the Fellowship. This codification, this tremendous lack of freedom to make your own decisions, to think and feel, eat and move as a direct response to life in its own terms and not Robert Burton’s codified indoctrination, is what makes the Fellowship of Friends a Cult and students, delusional slaves of a cheap but very efficient mediocrity.

Mediocrity is the hallmark of people who cannot think for themselves. Who would rather idolize another man, than have the courage to make mistakes and correct them, to fall and stand up. In the long run, like children who never dared to walk, they become crippled souls.

These people need help. Whoever thinks that they are doing them a favor letting them choose this way of life, does not understand the dimension of horror that has gripped them to this slavery. It is as if someone were being half eaten by a dragon and we just looked in a different direction saying, Oh, he likes that, without putting a stop to the trampoline that has been set up to make them think it is heaven and not a dragon.

Thank you all for your short contributions, they do seem to inspire me to look at many aspects. Sorry to those that already know it all for indeed they are repetitions hopefully more synthetically presented

"Across the River" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 13, 2008:
21 Pensate un attimo Dear All, Just wanting to add my voice to the others here, deeply moved and saddened to find this magical thinking still stunting these otherwise bright and intelligent people. It’s almost like trying to reach someone with autism. The saddist [sic] part is that their recovery idly waits, yet unknown to them, while the precious hours, days, weeks of their lives are spent in reality sowing the very seeds of regret from which they will have to recover.

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