I’m Aaron Butler, I’m 19 years old, and I’ll be 20 in November 2014. Currently I work part time, and I attend college. I live in Queens, New York. I met Lewis, my teacher, in February 2012 about two years ago. While searching for Gurdjieff videos on youtube I found Lewis’s video. Since 10th grade I felt that happiness was illusive. The wealthy lacked it and poor people certainly didn’t have it. I remember telling my friend Joe, and he laughed at me and thought I was crazy for saying such a foolish thing. What I said was this. “I don’t care about school, good grades, a girl friend, money or a nice car I just want to be happy.”
One day I was in history class my teacher spoke about Buddhism I immediately took interest. I began reading books that could possibly give answers to my questions. I eventually read a book ‘Self-Knowledge’ by Harry Benjamin and he talked about the basic Gurdjieff work ideas. So I began to see what Gurdjieff had to offer. I saw many Gurdjieff videos then I ran across Lewis’s video on Gurdjieff’s and Spinoza’s works and wondered what he had to say. After listening to him I felt an honesty, openness and someone who knows and has been there. I could relate to him. Fear didn’t stop me so I decided to see if he would take me on as a student. I knew you don’t get something for nothing and I was happy to pay whatever. I just knew that I needed help so I can get out of my hole of despair.
Over the past two years Lewis has helped me get through many difficulties. Being a young black man I have feelings of inferiority, lots of fear and socially inadequacies: it seemed impossible to connect and be around people. I was at a party and after I was expressing some crazy stuff my friend’s girl friend said “you really are socially stupid.” It seemed that the only way I could be comfortable around my friends is when I’m high on pot, beer and whatever.
I lost my mom, she passed in January 2014 she was only 55 years. Lewis helped me get through that and a lot of other issues in my life that we all face. I never had a real connection with my father: my mom and he split when I was little. I now have a part time job and I attend college. I’m able to see that through the teachings of Spinoza and the Gurdjieff works the value of putting in deep effort that comes from an intelligence that Lewis keeps reminding me that I have. I’ve learned that I’m normally in a wake-sleep state which is actually an automatic unconscious state. I react to situations rather than see what it is that I’m afraid of.
I can see, feel and know the changes that are going on in me. I have a beginning of a new self-confidence that is real and my social activity is much improved. I’m not so overwhelmed with fear of rejection. My focus and applying effort to face problems and difficulties is much improved. I can see some light through the darkness where I normally live. I’m so thankful, because I can see the changes in me to where I was before to where I am now. I tried to share these rare concepts to my twin brother but he can’t seem to hear what I’m saying which I find strange. I ask myself why can’t he nor my friends see or hear what I hear and see to what seems so obvious. Lewis reminds me that this kind of work will only attract a few: they are there we’ll just have to find them.