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  • THE THEORY OF

    CONSCIOUS HARMONY

    FROM THE LETTERS

    of Rodney Collin

    'Remember then thy Self, remembering God: remember God, remembering thyself. This last achieved, the Herald of Harmony can return to Him Who sent him, his mission done.

    THE HERALD OP HARMONY, p. 29

  • Rodney Collin was closely associated with P.D. Ouspensky from 1936 to the latter's death in 1947. In 1948 he moved to Mexico to carry on the study and practice of the ideas received from Ouspensky and from Ouspensky's teacher, Gurdjieff. During the next few years he corresponded with a large number of people, from many walks of life, all over the world, who sought to understand and follow what was sometimes called the Fourth Way — a path of spiritual discipline to be pursued in everyday life. After his death in Peru in 1956 his letters were collected and edited by those who had been working with him, and were issued in the form of this book.

  • BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

    RODNEY COLLIN SMITH was born in Brighton, England, on April 26, 1909. His father was a general merchant who retired from his business in London at the age of fifty, as had always been his intention, and after a journey to the continent and Egypt, settled in Brighton and married Kathleen Logan, the daughter of a hotel proprietor. They lived in a comfortable house on Brighton Front, where Rodney was born. His brother was born four years later.

    His mother was interested in astrology and belonged to the local Theosophical Lodge. She spent much of her time transcribing books into Braille for the blind.

    Rodney went first to Brighton College Preparatory School (a nearby day­ school), then as a boarder to Ashford Grammar School in Kent. He spent his holidays reading, usually a book a day which he got from the public library, and walking and exploring the neighbouring countryside. On leaving school he spent three years at the London School of Economics, living at the Toc H hostel in Fitzroy Square.

    In 1926 he spent the summer holidays with a French family in the Chateaux country, and from then on went every year to the continent. At eighteen he went to Spain, provided by his parents with money calculated to last for a month. By living in inns and farmhouses and in the cheapest hotels and walking much of the way he managed to tour Andalusia for three months, returning with voluminous notes which formed the material for Palms and Patios, a book of essays published by Heath Cranton in 1951. During this trip he learned enough Spanish to cause his being drafted into the censorship during the war and greatly to facilitate his orientation in Mexico in 1948.

    On leaving the London School of Economics where he had taken his B.Com., he earned his living by free-lance journalism on art and travel, contributing also a series of weekly articles to the Evening Standard and Sunday Referee on weekend walks round London. For a time he was secretary of the Youth

  • Hostels Association, editor of their journal The Rucksack and assistant editor of the Toc H Journal.

    In 1929 he visited Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. On a pilgrimage organised by Toc H to the Passion Play in Oberammergau in 1950 he met Janet Buckley, his future wife. In the same year he read A New Model of the Universe by P. D. Ouspensky. He felt that he was not ready for it yet, but that it would be very important for him later.

    In the autumn of 1951 he went on a walking-tour through Dalmatia, later describing some of his adventures there in two articles that appeared in the Cornhill Magazine.

    He and his wife were married in London in March 1954, and spent their honeymoon walking in Cornwall. Later in the year they spent six weeks in Sicily. In 1955 they were introduced to some lectures given by Dr Maurice Nicoll, but shortly after left for a six-months' motor journey through the United States to the west coast, returning along the Mexican border.

    In the autumn of 1956 he and his wife first met Mr Ouspensky. Rodney immediately recognised that he had found what he had been searching for in his reading and travels. From then on he dedicated all his time to the study of Mr Ouspensky's teaching.

    His daughter Chloe was born in 1957. He and his family moved to a house in Virginia Water near Lyne Place, which Mr and Madame Ouspensky had taken as a centre for their work. When not at Lyne Rodney spent much of his time in the British Museum Library studying those aspects of religion, philosophy, science and art which seemed most immediately connected with Mr Ouspensky's lectures. That year he and his wife went on a short holiday to Roumania and later for a two-weeks motor trip through Algeria to the north of the Sahara.

    In 1958 he took part in a demonstration in London of the movements and dances which formed part of the system taught by Mr Ouspensky, and immediately afterwards went to Syria in the hopes of seeing the 'turning' of the Mevlevi Dervishes. This he was unable to do, though he met the sheikh of the tekye in Damascus.

    On the outbreak of war he and his family moved to Lyne

  • Place. Shortly after, his wife and daughter went to the United States to help prepare a house in New Jersey for Mr and Madame Ouspensky, who planned to move there within a few months. Rodney remained at Lyne, working in London in the censorship during the day and in the local air raid defence at night. In February 1941 he was transferred to Bermuda, by coincidence on the same ship on which Mr Ouspensky travelled to the United States, to which Madame Ouspensky had gone a few weeks previously.

    After six months in Bermuda Rodney joined the British Security organisation in New York. For the next six years he and his family lived at Franklin Farms, Mendham, a large house with gardens and farm where work was organised for the English families who had joined Mr and Madame Ouspensky and numerous others who attended Mr Ouspensky's lectures in New York. Rodney commuted to and from his office by train every day and spent the evenings and weekends on the farm.

    In 1943, he was sent to Canada on official business. In 1945, 1944 and 1945 he spent his short leaves from duty in Mexico, to which country he was strongly attracted. When war ended he left British Government service and devoted himself entirely to the work of Mr and Madame Ouspensky.

    Gradually, however, he spent more and more time with Mr Ouspensky, driving him to and from New York for his meetings and usually spending the evening with him at a restaurant or in his study at Franklin Farms. He became deeply attached to Mr Ouspensky in a way that included, without being limited by, personal affection and respect. While formerly he had concentrated on Mr Ouspensky's teaching, it was now the teacher and what he was demonstrating which occupied Rodney's attention.

    Mr Ouspensky returned to England in the early spring of 1947. Rodney left Mendham just before Easter, spending a week in Paris before joining Mr Ouspensky at Lyne Place. He was with him constantly all summer and autumn until Mr Ouspensky's death on October 2, 1947.

    The experiences that Rodney went through at this time profoundly affected his whole being. During the week following

  • Mr Ouspensky's death he reached a perception of what his future work was to be. He realised that, while attached to his teacher for and through all time, he must reconstruct in himself what Mr Ouspensky had given him and thereafter take the responsibility of expressing it according to his own under­ standing.

    He moved to London, where he and his wife lived quietly for the next six months. During the previous summer he had begun The Theory of Celestial Influence, and finished it in the spring of 1948. Many people came to see him at his flat in St. James's Street, where weekly meetings were held, attended by a number of the people who had worked with Mr Ouspensky, some of whom were to join him later in Mexico.

    In June 1948 he and a small party left for New York en route for Mexico, which he felt was his place for a new beginning.

    They spent six months in Guadalajara. Here Rodney finished The Theory of Eternal Life, which he had begun in London, and wrote Hellas, a play. Then they moved to Mexico City and after a few months took a large house in Tlalpam, where they were joined by a number of friends, many from England. Meetings were started in a flat taken for the purpose in Mexico City and attended by a number of Mexicans and people of other nationalities. For a time there were meetings in both English and Spanish, until those of the English-speaking group who remained had learned sufficient Spanish to participate in joint meetings conducted in the latter language. The nucleus of a permanent group was gradually formed.

    In the spring of 1949 the first translations into Spanish of Mr Ouspensky's books were begun. These were subsequently published by Ediciones Sol, which Rodney formed for the purpose. During the following years some fourteen titles were published, which included books by Dr Nicoll, Rodney himself, and several others connected with the Work. A number of booklets were also published on different religious traditions which Rodney felt to be expressions of related ideas.

    One of the chief plans which Rodney had visualised during the week after Mr Ouspensky's death was for a three-dimensional diagram expressing simultaneously the many cosmic laws which were the basis of their studies— a building through

  • which people could move and feel its meaning. In 1949 a site

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