Tuesday, December 25, 2012

with real emotional content...,

Q: I should like to ask a question. I should like to know. I remember myself many times a day, but I believe that my remembering is not voluntary. It is only the result of an association which leads me to work. How can I make a remembering that results from my wishing and not from my associations?

A: There exists a very good way. Is your father or your mother alive?

Both of them

A: Good, you can be happy. I will give you an exercise. Learn to do it. Later I shall explain to you the details. First of all, fix a contact with your father and your mother.

When I am with them?

A: With or without them. You do it interiorly. For example "I am". When they are there, you look at them. When they are not there, you represent them to yourself. You say to yourself, for each one of them, "I am thou, thou art I". You are the result of your parents. You are the same blood, remember that. Later I will explain to you. While waiting, do this. Accustom yourself interiorly to be very quiet and to see sincerely and with affection your father, your mother. Objectively, to you they are more than God. God himself said, as long as your father and mother live, I do not exist for you.

Why must one represent to oneself one's father and mother?

A: You owe your life to them. But that is another question. Take it objectively. Your father and mother are more than God. If you pray to God, God himself can send you to the devil; "after their death, you will come to me". It is an expression. I give you this exercise which consists of this contact in order to prepare you for another exercise. This will help you. It is difficult to remember yourself. You cannot do it theoretically, for it becomes automatic. Associations (Personality) will not help you, in order to remember yourself, you must make an effort of will. You understand what I wish to say, nothing can be born spontaneously. Your associations (Personality) are not you, they are automatic. Afterward, (when you have worked) your associations will always remain automatic, but your work will have a relation, not any more with your associations, (Personality) but with you. (Essence)


It is understandable that the Work says that unless a man can divide himself into two he cannot shift from his psychological state. Dividing yourself into two means to divide yourself into an observing side and an observed side. Unless a man can observe himself he cannot change. Such a person will remain always the same man, the same woman. Also, you all know that as long as a person takes himself or herself as one person, as always being the same 'I', he or she cannot change.

Q: Even work is distasteful to me.

A: Because you do not work. There is never any work with you, nothing ever between us when we are together = it is empty. One person cannot carry everything alone. You must make the effort for yourself. Tonight it is the same. Nobody is there = Nobody makes the effort.

One must change the way of working. Instead of accumulating during one hour, one must try to keep constantly the organic sensation of the body. Sense one's body again, continually, without interrupting one's ordinary occupation = to keep a little energy, to take the habit. I thought the exercise would allow you to keep the energy along time, but I see it is not so.

Wet a handkerchief, wring it out, put it on your skin. The contact will remind you. When it is dry, begin again.


The aim is to constantly have a sensation of oneself, of one's individuality. This sensation cannot be expressed intellectually, because it is organic. It is something which makes you independent, when you are with other people.

Monday, December 24, 2012


The chief obstacle to the attainment of self-consciousness is that we think we have it. One will never get self-consciousness so long as one believes that one has it. There are many other things we think we have, and because of this we cannot have them. There is individuality or oneness —we think we are one, indivisible. We think we have will, or that if we do not have it always, we can have it, and other things. There are many aspects to this, for if we do not have one thing, we cannot have another. We think that we have these things, and this happens because we do not know the meaning of the words we use.

There is a definite obstacle, a definite reason why we cannot have consciousness as we are. This chief obstacle in the way of development is lying. I have already mentioned lying, but we must speak more about it, for we do not know what lying means because we have never studied this question seriously. Yet the psychology of lying is really the most important part of the study of the human being. If a man could be described as a zoological type, he would be described as a lying animal.

I shall leave out all external lying and take only a man's lying to himself about himself. This is the reason why we are in the state in which we are now, and why we cannot come to a better, a higher, a more powerful, more effective state of consciousness. According to the system we are now studying we cannot know truth, because truth can be reached only in objective consciousness. So we cannot define what truth is; but if we take it that lying is the opposite of truth, we can define lying.

The most serious lying is when we know perfectly well that we do not and cannot know the truth about things and yet never act accordingly. We always think and act as though we knew the truth. This is lying.

When I know that I do not know something, and at the same time say that I know, or act as though I knew it, it is lying. For instance, we know nothing about ourselves, and we really know that we know nothing, yet we never recognize or admit the fact; we never confess it even to ourselves, we act and think and speak as though we knew who we are. This is the origin, the beginning of lying. When we understand this and follow this line, and when we try to connect this idea with everything we think, everything we say, everything we do, we will begin to remove the obstacles which lie on the way to consciousness. But the psychology of lying is much more difficult than we think, because there are many different kinds of lying and many very subtle forms hard to discover in ourselves. In others we see them comparatively easily, but not in ourselves.

Q. If we do not know what truth is, how do we know when we lie?

A. You know that you cannot know the truth, and if you say you do know, or can know it, it would be a lie, because no one can know the truth in the state in which we are. Do not think philosophically, take it in relation to facts. People speak about everything as though they knew. If you ask a man whether there are people on the moon, he will have an opinion about it. And so with everything else. We have opinions about everything, and all these opinions are lying, particularly about ourselves. We do not know about states of consciousness, or the different functions, or the speed of functions, or their relation to one another. We do not know about how functions are divided. We know nothing, yet we think we know about ourselves. All we have is opinions, and they are all lies.

Q. If all opinions are lies, should we avoid opinions?

A. You must know their value. The first lie we tell ourselves is when we say 'I'. It is a lie because in saying 'I' we presume certain things: we presume a certain unity and a certain power. And if I say 'I' today and say 'I' to-morrow, it is supposed to be the same 'I', when in reality there is no connection between them. We are in this present state because of certain obstacles or certain facts in ourselves, and the most important fact that we do not understand is that we have no right to say 'I', for it will be a lie. When you begin to observe yourself you will see that it is really so: there are 'I's in you which do not know one another and never come into contact. For instance, begin to study your likes and dislikes and you will see that you can like one thing one moment and like another thing another moment, and the two are so opposed to one another that you will realize at once that those 'I's never meet. If you observe your decisions you will see that one 'I' decides and another has to carry out the decision, and this one is either unwilling to do it or never heard about it. If you find one thing one does not lie to oneself about you will be very exceptional. Being surrounded by these lies, born and educated in these lies, we cannot be any different from what we are; we are just the result, the product of this lying.


And one of the particularly wrong functions, which we sometimes like in ourselves, is imagination. In this system imagination does not mean conscious or intentional thinking on some subject or visualisation of something, but imagination that turns without any control and without any result. It takes very much energy and turns thinking in a wrong direction.

Q. When you say 'imagination', do you mean imagining something to be true, not drawing pictures?

A. Imagination has many aspects; it may be just ordinary day-dreams or, for instance, imagining non-existent powers in oneself. It is the same thing, it works without control, it runs by itself.

Q. Each one is self-deception?

A. One does not take it as self-deception: one imagines something, then believes it and forgets that it was imagination. Studying man in his present state of sleep, absence of unity, mechanicalness and lack of control, we find several other wrong functions which are the result of his state—in particular, lying to himself and to other people all the time. The psychology of ordinary man could even be called the study of lying, because man lies more than anything else; and as a matter of fact, he cannot speak the truth. It is not so simple to speak the truth; one has to learn how to do it, and sometimes it takes a very long time.

Q. I was interested in the question of imagination. I suppose it means that in the ordinary application of the word one was using the wrong meaning?

A. In the ordinary meaning of imagination the most important factor is missed, but in the terminology of this system we begin with what is most important. The most important factor in every function is: 'Is it under our control or not?' So when imagination is under our control we do not even call it imagination; we call it by various names—visualization, creative thinking, inventive thinking—you can find a name for each special case. But when it comes by itself and controls us so that we are in its power, then we call it imagination.

Again, there is another side of imagination which we miss in ordinary understanding. This is that we imagine non-existent things—non-existent capacities, for instance. We ascribe to ourselves powers which we do not have; we imagine ourselves to be self-conscious although we are not. We have imaginary powers and imaginary self-consciousness and we imagine ourselves to be one, when really we are many different 'I's. There are many such things that we imagine about ourselves and other people. For instance, we imagine that we can 'do', that we have choice; we have no choice, we cannot 'do', things just happen to us.

So we imagine ourselves, really. We are not what we imagine ourselves to be.

Q. Is there any difference between imagination and day-dreaming?

A. If you cannot control day-dreaming, it means that it is part of imagination; but not all of it. Imagination has many different sides. We imagine non-existent states, nonexistent possibilities, non-existent powers.

Q. Could you give me a definition of negative imagination?

A. Imagining all kinds of unpleasant things, torturing oneself, imagining all the things that might happen to you or other people—things like that; it takes different forms. Some people imagine different illnesses, some imagine accidents, others imagine misfortunes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

man in temple

Let us then change our focus, and consider the combined role of the three nervous systems as the intervention of a triple creative power from a higher level -that is, from above the level of the blood-stream.

Equally with the blood-stream the three nervous systems pervade all parts of the body and connect all glands. But they have different routes. The cerebro-spinal system is chiefly confined to the cortex of the brain and the spinal cord, whence branches ramify to all members within man's field of sensation and control. The sympathetic system consists of a large number of separate branches and plexuses directly connecting individual vertebrae with some corresponding involuntary organ. The vagus, on the other hand, is a single nerve, which originates in the base of the brain, and after passing through heart, gastric and sex plexuses, rejoins the bottom of the spine.

These two latter systems remind us of the electrical circuit of a car or airplane, where each instrument is individually connected to the positive source of power, though the negative side of all their circuits can be completed simultaneously through the steel frame. In this figure, the cerebro-spinal system would then represent the driver or pilot, who introduces conscious action into the mechanism -but only at those points where controls are situated.

What is the actual relation between these three systems, and what is their potential relation? In the first place we must suppose them working with three different energies at three different speeds. The slowest is the cerebro-spinal system, which can only work as fast as we can think. Next faster is the sympathetic system, which enables the complicated instinctive processes of digestion, tissue building and so on, to be carried on much faster than we can follow. While fastest of all should be the parasympathetic, or vagus system, which carries the immeasurably rapid impulses of intuition, self-preservation and sex. This latter system, however, ordinarily works at only a fraction of its proper power, and from the point of view of its potentialities, we can almost regard it as unused.

According to our table of speeds of diffusion, the three energies concerned belong respectively to Category III (1/3 to 30 kilometres a second), Category II (30 to 3000 kilometres a second), and Category I (3000 to 300, 000 kilometres a second).

Now we have already seen that wherever three forces interact, they can manifest in six different combinations or orders. So these three nervous systems, combining in different ways, subject the human body to the six cosmic processes which we have discussed before. Some of these processes -resulting from the dominance of thought or instinct, that is, of the cerebro-spinal or sympathetic system -are familiar to us in ordinary life. Others, produced by the dominance of the vagus system, working with its proper energy, are unknown to us or very rare. For they occur only when the highest kind of emotion becomes the motive force for the whole organism.

It is, however, still another possibility which concerns us now. There is in fact a seventh combination of forces, normally incomprehensible, but which is theoretically possible, and which raises the cosmos in which it occurs to direct connection with that above. In this combination, all three forces work simultaneously at all points.

In the ordinary way the three nervous systems operate more or less independently, in sequence, so to speak; their different energies being confined to the functions for which they are most suitable. And when small amounts of these energies do leak from one system to another -as when a man tries to think when full of instinctive excitement, or on the other hand when he tries to reason about some deep emotion -only bad results are produced. Yet these three systems are arranged so that, in certain circumstances and at one particular point in the brain, a connection could be created between them. In this case all three energies would run freely through all three systems. With what result? By the general circulation of intellectual energy, a man would become conscious in all his functions. By the general circulation of instinctive energy, all his functions would act to his best advantage and in harmony. By the general circulation of emotional energy, all his functions would work at the intensity of fear or love.

Such a condition, in which instinctive processes were as conscious as thinking, in which thinking was as fast as attraction, and in which reason, emotion, and action combined as harmoniously as breathing and sleeping, is at present unimaginable.

We can only say that the human machine is in fact designed to make it possible.

get down on your knees

Q: How should one pray?

A: I will explain, but it is for later. In our solar system, certain substances emanate from the sun and the planets, in the same way as those emanated by the earth, making contact at certain points in the solar system. And those points can reflect themselves in materialized images which are the inverted images of the All Highest - the Absolute. I tell you that there always exists a materialized image in our atmosphere. If people could have enough concentration to enter into contact with this image, they would receive this substance; thereby receiving, no establishing, a telepathic link like a telephone.

Q: Do these images materialize in human form?

A: Yes

Q: If someone puts himself in touch with this image, and a second person put himself in touch with him, and a third, and a fourth, can they all receive this image?

A: If seven persons can concentrate enough to put themselves in touch with this image, they can communicate at any distance by the line between them. The seven form one. They can help each other. By the way, it is only by explaining something to others that one understands and assimilates it oneself completely.

Q: I want to know if by materializing the image of a saint, this will get me what I particularly desire.

A: You think like an ordinary person. You have not the means of materializing anything now. For the present, take a simple task of auto-suggestion, so that one part convinces the other and repeats and repeats to it what you have decided. There is a series of seven exercises for the successive development of the seven centers. We site the first, the brain, the one which counts in ordinary life. (the head is a luxury - the other, the emotional is also).  The only one which is necessary to life is the spinal cord, the one which you must first develop and strengthen. This exercise will strengthen it.

Hold our both arms horizontally at an exact angle, at the same time looking fixedly at a point before you. Divide your attention exactly between point and arms. You will find that there are no associations, no place for them, so occupied you will be with point and position of arms. Do this sitting down, standing, and then on your knees. Twenty five minutes each position, several times a day.

Q: When I wish to make such efforts for work, a hard barrier forms in my chest,  impossible to overcome. What should I do?

A: It is nothing. You are not in habit of using this center - it is a muscle which contracts, just muscular. Continue, continue..,

Q: I have done this exercise till I had aching shoulders. While doing it, I had the sensation of "I". I felt myself apart, really "I"

A: You cannot have "I". "I" is a very expensive thing. You are cheap. Do not philosophize, it does not interest me, and do not speak of "I". Do the exercise as service, as an obligation, not for results (like "I") Results will come later. Today, it is only service. Only that is real.

this is the situation...,

To begin self-study it is necessary to study methods of self-observation, but that again must be based on a certain understanding of the divisions of our functions. Our ordinary idea of these divisions is quite wrong. We know the difference between intellectual and emotional functions. For instance, when we discuss things, think about them, compare them, invent explanations or find real explanations, this is all intellectual work; whereas love, hate, fear, suspicion and so on are emotional. But very often, when trying to observe ourselves, we mix even intellectual and emotional functions; when we really feel, we call it thinking, and when we think we call it feeling. But in the course of study we shall learn in what way they differ. For instance, there is an enormous difference in speed, but we shall speak more about that later.

Then there are two other functions which no system of ordinary psychology divides and understands in the right way—instinctive function and moving function. Instinctive refers to the inner work of the organism: digestion of food, beating of the heart, breathing—these are instinctive functions. To instinctive function belong also ordinary senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, the feeling of cold and warmth, things like that; and this is all, really. Of outer movements, only simple reflexes belong to instinctive function, because more complicated reflexes belong to moving function. It is very easy to distinguish between instinctive and moving functions. We do not have to learn anything that belongs to instinctive function, we are born with the capacity to use all the instinctive functions. Moving functions, on the other hand, all have to be learned— a child learns to walk, to write and so on. There is a very great difference between the two functions, since there is nothing inherent in moving functions, and instinctive functions are all inherent.

So in self-observation it is necessary first of all to divide these four functions and to classify at once everything that you observe, saying, 'This is intellectual function', 'This is emotional function' and so on.

If you practise this observation for some time you may notice some strange things. For instance, you will find that what is really difficult in observing is that you forget about it. You start to observe, and your emotions connect with some kind of thought and you forget about self-observation.

Again, after some time, if you continue this effort to observe, which is a new function not used in the same way in ordinary life, you will notice another interesting thing—that generally you do not remember yourself. If you could be aware of yourself all the time, then you would be able to observe all the time, or in any case as long as you liked. But because you cannot remember yourself, you cannot concentrate; and this is why you will have to admit that you have no will. If you could remember yourself, you would have will and could do what you liked. But you cannot remember yourself, you cannot be aware of yourself and so you have no will. You may sometimes have will for a short time, but it turns to something else and you forget about it.

This is the situation, the state of being, the state from which we have to start self-study.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

hard lessons about the sly man (steward)

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

6 “‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

these "I's"...,

The Work teaches that we are born with Essence alone and in small children we have manifestations of undeveloped Essence. Essence comes down to this level of the earth in order to grow, but it cannot grow by itself beyond a very small point. Notice, by the way, that small children do not have negative emotions, which are defined by their persistence. A child grows up among sleeping people and begins to form Personality which gradually surrounds Essence. A small child never says 'I'. When it begins to say 'I', Imaginary 'I' begins. Many 'I's are laid down by imitation, etc. and the growing child begins to say 'I' to all of them. I suppose it could be said it begins to say 'I' by a kind of imitation, by a kind of imagining itself 'I', and it hears adults always saying 'I'.

However, many other interesting things enter. Now we speak of ourselves as adults. We have inevitably, and even by design, acquired a wrong feeling of 'I', that is, Imaginary 'I'. If Essence is going to grow in us further everything connected with Imaginary 'I' must become passive.

Are all 'I's acquired? Yes, they are all acquired and they are acquired in all sorts of ways. It is usually said that they are chiefly acquired through imitation and education but they are all acquired because they belong to the Personality which is acquired. The Work says that it may be true that there is a trace of Real 'I' in us, but that is all that it says. But Real 'I' is not acquired: it is already there as a possibility from our birth. We do not make Real 'I': we seek to approach it. Then we know who we are.

Are there 'I's in Essence? No, it cannot be said that there are 'I's in Essence although some 'I's that we acquire are very close to Essence —i.e. we have more essential 'I's. On the other hand, we have 'I's that are very far away from Essence and that belong chiefly to False Personality. If our Personality were the expression of our Essence and fitted in with it, so to speak, we might say that our 'I's were all connected with Essence, but this is not the case as we are at present. Through the pressure of education and environment our Personality may be very unlike our Essence and when this is the case it is not unnatural to expect that we may have an unusual degree of inner disharmony.

Is Essence the seed from which Real 'I' can grow? Yes, in a way. It is better to say that behind Essence lies Real 'I' and through the development of Essence we contact Real 'I'. The object of this Work is for us to become more real, to get rid of false, unreal 'I's. This can only be done through inner sincerity and long observation and through the influence of the Work acting on one over a long time, and the latter depends on struggling to keep the Work alive in one over a long period. All this leads on to the development of Essence, which puts us in contact with Steward and Real 'I'. You must conceive Steward and Real 'I' as being above us on a higher level and as it were awaiting us, being, as it were, more internal, deeper, beneath the surface on which most of our psychic life takes place. Whether you call it a movement upwards or a movement inwards, it amounts to the same thing. All this Work has to be done by ourselves. We are in the position of having lost our way and having to find the way back again. Everyone is created perfect —that is, with Real 'I'—but we descend into this world both literally and psychologically and lose our way. There is some reason for this, and one of the explanations of it is that we are created as self-developing

unless you work on yourself....,

We have to grasp the teaching of the Work more and more clearly in this respect. The Work says that, as we are mechanically, force is drained from us. Yes—continually, by worrying, by anxiety, by getting negative, and, in fact, by every variety of identifying. So the Work teaches at the start: "A man must remember himself." Why? Because if anyone remembers himself, it stops this terrible draining of force that takes place through continual identifying—yes—even identifying with having lost a dollar, and crawling under beds, lifting carpets, in order to find this dollar and worrying about it all day and night.

Do you regard this as an exaggeration? I assure you that all of us are just like this. We make, through this customary identifying and so lack of Self-Remembering—we make, I say, the most trivial and silly things of enormous importance and therefore suffer most patently from this great illness, this disease of sleeping mankind, which the Work diagnoses as Identifying. Mr. Gurdjieff called it the most terrible illness on this planet. And, as you know, the Work system explains that when a man or woman is thoroughly identified they are asleep and then are in a condition of hypnosis and so are used by the two sheep-farmers controlling the Earth-Moon terminal for their own purposes—namely, for meat and wool. So wars, revolutions, epidemics, go on—a good opportunity for plenty of meat and wool.

Now this "good news", as Gurdjieff called the Work which he brought to the West, has as one of its main ideas that it is possible for a man to awaken from the Earth-Moon hypnotism and separate himself. How? By an inner act called Self-Remembering. This gives a shock—the First Conscious Shock. But all that the Work teaches is also necessary—about selfobservation, not considering, not identifying, not self-justifying, not self-pitying, not falling into negative emotions without any struggle, not believing the thoughts that come while in negative states, not allowing yourself to lie to yourself, not living in pictures of yourself, and a hundred and one other things that we have been studying in this system during these years. But the supreme thing is Self-Remembering.

If we leave out Self-Remembering we leave out the real psychic act, performed internally, that constitutes the First Conscious Shock. It is by means of this First Conscious Shock that we are separated from the strange hypnotic sleep of mankind on this Earth. This is the heart and substance of the "good news" brought by Gurdjieff to the West—and Gurdjieff called it "esoteric Christianity". Bear these words always in your mind. Exoteric religion is one thing: esoteric teaching is another. And once you have begun to realize, for your own private selves, the message of this teaching, you will be able to read the Gospels in a new way and see for yourselves that Christ was not teaching Christianity as we are taught it—if you can bear this paradox. I will add here that it is more than interesting to read again the scattered fragments of Christ's teaching present in the Four Gospels and pick out what was really meant, in the light of the Work. Nothing is more releasing for the fast-bound religious mind that holds many in prison—yes—now—at this moment.

Friday, December 21, 2012

the kingdom of heaven is the conscious circle of humanity...,

In the Work, which comes from Conscious Man, we wake eventually, after years of dullness, quibbling and misunderstanding, to realize that another will must be born in us by beginning to obey what the Work says, not by compulsion, but through the increasing light of the understanding of why the Work exists and what we mean and what it means to us. In looking round at a world of violence, we simply see violence breeding violence. War, which is based on violence, threatens Man always, because Man is based on violence. From this, possibly, we realize that our individual work is to observe violence in ourselves. Well, what does this strange phrase in the Gospels mean? Christ is speaking of John the Baptist, who had literal but not psychological understanding, and so was clad in animal skins. Christ says:
"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and men of violence take it by force." (Matt. XI, 11, 12)
In speaking of this strange thing, I will recapitulate first of all what is said about violence.
"Violence is an emotional state in all people—doing things with violence, trying to impose upon, and coerce, to insist. From the esoteric point of view this is useless —nothing can be done in this way. A violent man cannot do. Even although a man has knowledge, if he has not overcome violence in himself, his work will go wrong."
Then he added: "The meaning of 'the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and men of violence take it by force' is this. It means violence on oneself. Not to act with violence is violence on oneself. A man, in observing himself and finally realizing where he is violent—in which centre, in what forms of behaviour, and so on—must do violence to himself to overcome his violence." Speaking as I am in terms of commentary on what the Work teaches, I would say that violence on oneself, on one's violence, requires the highest possible insight into what one is. Because if one works consciously on oneself in regard to one's violence, one then can see that one can only get to a higher level, only go up this mountain that we spoke of, through force—and all force is gained only by working against a feature in oneself. So the higher level of oneself, represented relatively by a psychological state at a better level than one's mechanical state, is only gained by violence on certain 'I's, certain habits of thought, feeling, attitudes, pictures, and so on. This gives force. "You will gain most force by working on your Chief Feature."

To work on anything in oneself that is a habit and so mechanical gives some force. Notice that the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force and understand that force is made through not going with your mechanical self. If I do violence to _____________, I will get force. Where I put this force belongs to another conversation, but I will only say here: "Unless you have an aim, to make force by working against some mechanical or habitual side of yourself is not enough. One must work on oneself, deny oneself, so that the force goes into one's aim."

piquancy - YES! agnosognosia - not so much...,

The teaching, in brief, is that Man, living in the given body, by his first birth, is capable of developing three further bodies composed of finer matters.

But what does this mean and what ideas will help us to comprehend it?

What, for example, might it mean that Man can develop another body apart from three further bodies? In what way can we picture another or second body? Now, we can conceive it first in this way. Imagine one man standing behind another man and controlling him in everything he does or says. The man in front obeys the instructions of the man behind him. That is, the intelligence and will of the man behind controls the actions of the man in front. We can take the man in front as the first body and the man behind as another or second body—that is, we can gain the idea of the second body controlling the first. This is easy enough to understand, for in any organization in life, as a military or business organization, there must be some degree of control of one individual by another in a higher position. In the case of a single individual, it is more difficult to grasp.

What in a single individual is going to control what in him? Indeed, it is impossible to understand, as long as a man takes) himself as one —that is, as long as he believes that that which thinks, speaks, acts, feels, loves and hates in him is always one and the same thing. Now you know that there is a phrase in the Work which says that unless a man divides himself into two, into an observing and an observed side, he can never shift from where he is. This is the starting-point of all else. It is actually the starting-point of another body in the sense that unless this division begins in a man, unless he can become the subject of his own observation, nothing can ever develop in him that can eventually control him internally and make the outer man-machine obey. That is, no second body can be organized in him.

Let us note here that the position of Observing 'I' is always internal to what it observes. What is more external cannot observe what is more internal. This means that 'I's that live in small mechanical external parts of centres cannot observe 'I's that lie in more internal conscious parts of centres. As self-observation becomes deeper, more emotional, more real and more necessary, the position of Observing 'I' becomes more internal. Self-Observation ceases to be superficial. Now around Observing 'I' gather all those 'I's in a man that wish to work and bring about order in the house that a man is. This forms what is called Deputy-Steward. The position of Deputy-Steward is therefore internal to the superficial man, the man turned to life and driven by outer circumstances. And so it is therefore among other things internal to False Personality. Now if all that is more external, more mechanical, in a man, begins to obey what is more internal in him, the internal begins to develop control of the outer or man-machine and the result is that the order of things begins to be reversed. The man is no longer so easily driven by life, by external influences, by changing circumstances, and by characteristic reactions of his personality to life and by the habits of his body. He is no longer driven from outside so completely, he is no longer a slave of his body, but begins to be controlled from within, for brief moments. This can be expressed in the following way:

Now if you will take this idea as simply as possible, you will see to some extent that the possession of a Second Body means that a man is different from an ordinary man. He is different because an ordinary man—a man-machine—is a function of life. A man-machine is driven by life, and so always acted upon by and obedient to life. That is, he is driven from outside and from the more external parts of him. But a man who has begun to have something internally organized in him is no longer so easily driven by outer life but is at times controlled from something within himself. That is, at times he works in a reverse direction. We may all imagine that we work already in this reverse direction, but this is only imagination. A very little sincere self-observation will shew us that we are truly functions of life. We are driven by life and circumstances and have nothing or very little that is strong enough to resist being driven in this way. You must realize that each man, is, of course, driven by life in a different way from other men. But all ordinary men, all men belonging to the circle of mechanical humanity, all men No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, are driven from outside, even though they believe that they are not. In this sense, they are man-machines. And this is because nothing internal in them has been developed to such an extent that they obey this internal thing and so resist the kaleidoscope of changing life.

Nothing in them is strong enough to resist life—that is, strong enough to resist the reactions they ordinarily have to life. They certainly may notice they do not react to life as others do, and then they imagine they can resist life. This is mere illusion. Everyone reacts differently, in his or her own way. Where one person reacts, another may not. But it is all the same. It is all mechanical and life controls them through their particular special mechanical and habitual reactions to it. A good man fancies he is different from a bad man, an optimistic man feels he is different from a pessimistic man, a careful man thinks he is different from a careless man, and so on. Yet all are mechanical. All are driven by life. All cannot help being what they are. And if they try to be different, they will all find the same difficulties of changing themselves confronting them. And this means that all are, psychologically speaking, without anything organized in them to resist the particular mechanical effects that life has upon them. That is, they all work, or rather, are worked, from the life-side.

They are all different kinds of machines, reacting or working in different ways, but all are driven by the impact of outer life. They are mechanically good, mechanically, bad, mechanically optimistic, mechanically pessimistic, mechanically this and mechanically that. That is the teaching of the Work about Mechanicalness—about undeveloped Man, the Man-Machine, who serves Nature. But the Work teaches that Man can cease to be a machine by an inner development of individuality, consciousness and will—that is, of precisely those qualities that mechanical man imagines he already possesses.

In a fully-developed man—that is, a man possessing individuality, consciousness and will—it is not life and changing outer circumstances that mechanically drive him. Such a man has something organized in him which can resist life, something from which he can act. Such a man in short, can do. And this is because he possesses more bodies than the one he received at birth.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

we want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand...,

Let us review briefly what we can now understand about Essence and Personality at this stage of our study of the Work. There is first the teaching that Man is of two distinct parts called Essence and Personality. This is, so to speak, the first great mystery about Man (the second being that he is asleep). The next thing is that a man is born as Essence only and has no Personality. In this condition he is harmless like all very young things. The third thing is that Essence only grows a little and becomes surrounded by Personality. The next thing is that Essence and Personality are not under the same number of laws. Essence manifesting itself in the new-born child is under 24 orders of laws and Personality manifesting itself in the growing child is under 48 orders of laws. Man therefore has two lives possible to him, one belonging to Essence and the other to Personality. The fifth thing is that Personality becomes active and in consequence Essence becomes passive. The Personality and its life dominate the Essence which remains undeveloped. The sixth thing is that the object of the Work is to reverse this state in Man and cause Essence to become active and Personality passive. When this state is attained, the life of Essence dominates the life of Personality. The man is then from the Work point of view a developed or complete man as distinct from an undeveloped or incomplete man. The seventh thing is that life and the world act as neutralizing or third force to keep Personality active and Essence passive. It is only when the Work becomes neutralizing force that a reversal can take place and Essence become active and Personality passive.

Personality is developed by Life and has to be. But Life does not develop Essence. Why not? This is what the attention must be focussed on. Why should not Life bring Essence to its full development ? How is it that a man in whom Life has developed a full Personality cannot proceed smoothly to a full development of Essence ? Surely, if Life can do the first it can do the second equally easily ? Not at all: Life cannot. Life can provide the food for the development of Personality but not the food necessary for the development of Essence. The secret is that Personality and Essence need different foods for their respective development. They need different kinds of truths. For example, the education of Personality is developed by a knowledge of the truths of science, but Essence is not. A knowledge, say, of the world-markets and the political situation develops Personality, but Essence is not developed by knowing truths of this kind.

Essence, before it is manifested in a human body, derived from the parents on earth, comes from a much higher level than the Planetary World under 24 orders of laws. It is said that it comes "from the stars". Our Sun is a Star in our galaxy of Stars called the Milky Way. Whether you say it comes from the level of the Sun or from outside our Solar System does not matter for the moment. The point is that it has a very high origin, in vertical scale.  By comparison, Personality has a very low origin, whatever one's ancestry in the past in horizontal time.

Now Essence ceases to grow because it has not the right food from Life to grow by. But if a man, imbued with a knowledge of this Work (whose origin is the Conscious Circle of Humanity, which in the Gospels is called the Kingdom of Heaven) continually steeps his mind in its Truths and thinks and thinks again from them and perceives their depth and acknowledges them and applies them to his inner states, Essence will begin to grow. He is giving it the right food that the business of Life does not supply. His energies will cease to flow only downwards into his personal reactions but begin to flow upwards, like the mythical Jordan, to another level, where Essence lies.

For Essence and Personality are on different levels. We are also. One is under fewer laws than the other. This means it is on a higher level. Only the kind of Truth that the Work teaches develops Essence. If a man loves it, he eventually wills it, and if he wills it he does it. It is this willing to do this Truth of the Work that forms the New Will in a man—of which we have spoken recently. It is this willing to do the Truth of the Work that develops Essence. This is its right food, which it came down to receive. Essence is deathless. When the body of flesh and bones is laid aside it returns to the place from which it came, taking what it has received. This willing of the Work is not from the self-will, which comes from the self-love. The will of the Personality takes second place to this will. The will of the outer Personality obeys the Will of the inner Essence. It is content to say: "Not my will but Thine be done." Having made the Personality passive through the developed Essence becoming active, by the power that comes from doing the Truth of the Work, which is stronger than life, the man has now attained the secret end and hidden meaning of his creation. From being the semi-man that Life made him he is now a complete MAN.

the deep question of energy is—for what is it being used?

Gurdjieff-Legacy | Images of God - Though very far removed from the Most Holy Sun Absolute, we human beings represent in our world the acme of creation—"We are images of God," said Gurdjieff. We are three-brained beings, that is, beings who have intellectual, feeling, and instinctive brains. Two-brained beings are animals; one-brained are insects. Not having a third brain, two- and one-brained beings live mechanical lives. They are what they are and cannot be or do otherwise. A lion is a lion is a lion. A snake, a snake. A bee, a bee. Because we are three-brained beings, we have the possibility of self-consciousness, will and reason, of being capable of transforming ourselves from mechanical to conscious beings. We are then beings of great possibility in which bodies other than the physical are formed leading to immortality within the solar system.

Being-Partkdolg-Duty - We receive the Omnipresent-Active-Element-Okidanokh through the three foods: physical food (which is dead) and air and impressions. We receive this energy and transmit it simply by living. But we do so mechanically. That is, we eat, breathe, and see and feel automatically, only occasionally aware of the intake of these foods. It is only when we practice being-Partkdolg-duty, aligning ourselves in a triadic configuration, that the Okidanokh contained in these foods undergoes Djartklom, a dividing of Okidanokh into three forces, active, passive, reconciling, which then blend and nourish and coat our three brains, intellectual, feeling, and instinctive, mixing with "kindred-vibrations" which are localized in the corresponding brain. These blendings are known as "being-Impulsakri" and it is the quality of these that allows the self-perfecting and coating of the various bodies. If we do not practice being-Partkdolg-duty, then there is no Djartklom (except when Great Nature needs it), and of the three brains, only the denying-brain in the spine is fed. Hence, if there is no conscious work, then the older one becomes, the more denying, the less conscious.

Being energy systems, we absorb and refine energy from lower levels to higher, for example, the eating and transformation of physical food. In maintaining ourselves, energy is used in four different ways. We use it biologically to support the various bodily functions, such as the respiratory system. We use it mechanically to run, climb, lift. We use it psychically or mentally to associate, daydream or think. And, engaged in self-transformation, we use energy to consciously inhabit ourselves and to observe what is present as impartially as possible. These direct impressions, undiluted by personalization, transform themselves to higher and higher levels. (It is all one energy, of course, but of different potencies—the energy it takes to run a race is not the same as that needed to solve a chess problem, or to self-remember.)

At a young age Gurdjieff came to what he termed "the full sensation of myself." That is, he came to the full expression of the energy of consciousness. Observing people's suffering and delusion, self-love and vanity, hatred and violence, the question arose in him: "What is the sense and significance of life on earth, and human beings in particular?" The answers of religion and science he found inadequate. He came to intuit that the ancient wisdom societies had discovered the answer. After making many journeys into remote and dangerous areas, he finally discovered in Egypt an ancient, esoteric teaching which he called "The Fourth Way." He said he was initiated four times into the sacred Egyptian mysteries, in which he says "The Christian church, the Christian form of worship, was not invented by the fathers of the church. It was all taken in a ready-made form from Egypt, only not from the Egypt we know but from one which we do not know. This Egypt was in the same place as the other but it existed much earlier. It will seem strange to many people when I say that this prehistoric Egypt was Christian many thousands of years before the birth of Christ, that is to say, that its religion was composed of the same principles and ideas that constitute true Christianity." Over time elements of this seminal and sacred teaching had migrated northward and so Gurdjieff made a second journey to the Hindu Kush, Siberia and Tibet. This is where the confusion began with people believing that these areas were the teaching's origin and not Egypt.


gurdjieff.org.gr | In order that Hassein may have some idea of how completely the function called the ‘instinctive sensing of reality,’ proper to every three-brained being of the whole of our Great Universe, is lacking in the presence of the three-centered beings breeding on he planet Earth Beelzebub tells him how they understand and explain to themselves the reasons why there occur periodically on their planet the cosmic phenomena they call ‘daylight,’ ‘darkness,’ ‘heat,’ ‘cold,’ and so on.

In order to help Hassein grasp what they are speaking of and assimilate in the right way all Beelzebub has already told him, it appears necessary to touch upon questions concerning the fundamental laws of world-creation and world-existence. He says that everything in the Universe-all that was intentionally created and all that has automatically arisen-exists and is maintained solely on the basis of the ‘common-cosmic trogoautoegocratic process.’ This system, which maintains everything that arises and exists, was established by our Endless Creator to permit the ‘exchange of substances,’ or ‘reciprocal feeding’ of everything existing, to proceed in the Universe, so that the merciless Heropass would no longer have its maleficent effect on the Sun Absolute. This most great common-cosmic trogoautoegocratic process is actualized, always and in everything, on the basis of the two fundamental cosmic laws, ‘the fundamental first-order sacred Heptaparaparshinokh’ and ‘the fundamental first-order sacred Triamazikamno.’

Beelzebub points out that Objective Science declares that everything in the Universe without exception is material and that ‘Etherokrilno’ is the primordial substance with which the whole Universe is filled, and which is the basis for the arising and maintenance of everything that exists.

Beelzebub adds that only the cosmic crystallization, known as the ‘Omnipresent Okidanokh,’ although also crystallized from etherokrilno, has its prime arising from the three holly sources of the sacred ‘Theomertmalogos,’ that is, from the emanations of the Most Holy Sun Absolute, and that this is in general the principal cause of most cosmic phenomena and, in particular, of hose proceeding in the atmospheres.

He refers to the particularities of the ‘omnipresent active element’ Okidanokh and its relationship to the various brain systems of beings, called the ‘one-brained,’ ‘two-brained,’ and ‘three-brained’ systems. He points out that three-brained beings have the possibility of personal self-perfecting because of the localization in their common presence of three centers, or three brains, upon which, when the Omnipresent Okidanokh undergoes the process of ‘djartklom,’ the three holly forces of the sacred Triamazikamno are deposited and acquire the possibility of further, this time independent, actualizations. Beings having this three-brained system can, by the conscious and intentional fulfilling of being-partkdolgduty, bring their presence to what is called the ‘sekronoolantsaknian’ state; that is to say, they can become Individuals who have their own sacred law of Triamazikamno. But since the three-brained beings of the planet Earth have entirely ceased to fulfill being-partkdolg-duty, chiefly because of the abnormal conditions of being-existence gradually established by them themselves, none of these holly sources of everything existing is transubstantiated for their own presences, except the denying source alone.

He promises to describe to Hassein the elucidating experiments pertaining to this omnipresent cosmic crystallization at which he was present in person, on the planet Saturn.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

do androids dream of electric sheep?

The Work does not speak about life as an illusion but it says a great deal about our taking life in the wrong illusory way.

In this connection it is constantly speaking about Identifying both with ourselves and with the events of life.

This Identifying, whose direction is inwards and outwards, keeps us asleep and makes it impossible for us to remember ourselves and in consequence makes it impossible for certain influences to reach us that can help us, consisting in certain emotions, certain thoughts, certain feelings, not derived from our business affairs, our daily existence, or life as seen, as it appears to be.

The illusion of life lies, the Work says, in Man's thinking he can do, in Man's thinking he is conscious, in Man's thinking that he is a unity.

The Work says that in life everything happens in the only possible way it can happen. When you apparently act in life, when you apparently do something in life, you are doing the only thing that you could do.

It is not you who are doing it.

When you begin to see this, when you begin to realize your mechanicalness in this way, you are already beginning to remember yourself, you are already beginning to be separated from the machine of yourself and to approach something that lies behind the machine of yourself in the direction of Real 'I'.

This is why the Work says that realization of one's own mechanicalness is a form of Self-Remembering.

In this kind of Self-Remembering you are aware that what you are doing and saying and thinking is not really you. You become a spectator of yourself and you see that all that you have called you and your life is an illusion in the sense that it is all happening, and in that sense it is not real—it is not Reality.

When I see that an event is entangling me and that I am reacting to this event quite mechanically, the whole business becomes unreal to me because where I thought before that I was doing, I was acting, I was seeing, I see it now as IT that is acting. 

We cannot change life. A man must begin with himself-—a woman with herself. We can begin to change ourselves.

But this is impossible unless we begin to see that we ourselves are asleep, that we are Identified with the tragic or comic parts given us in life, and that we have forgotten ourselves and that we do not even try to remember ourselves.

Life becomes our teacher only when we understand that it offers us different circumstances, different experiences, different events at different moments, with which not to identify.

Life is a series of outer events and inner states and they are always shifting and turning. If we stick at every point, then we are Identified all the way round. We take everything personally, as being ourselves, like the actor who takes every role he has to play as himself. Then we are indeed asleep and being turned round like little wheels by the big wheel of life. When all traces of individuality fail, collectivity grows. We have to struggle hard not to become only small wheels driven by life, by the circle of events.

The secret lies in not Identifying, and in Self-Remembering. But if you take every little upset, every domestic incident, seriously and with full Identifying, how then can you work or expect to work? You do not even realize you are playing a typical role that millions of others have played or are playing, and that you will not get free from it unless you wake up and see that you are not remembering yourself.

Sometimes when you watch a person you may wonder what would happen if he or she saw their forms of Identifying in a flash—their mannerisms, their dress, their intonations, their expressions, the seriousness with which they take themselves and their position. Yes, and the same applies to ourselves.

Now we each have a circle of different 'I's that revolve. Each plays its role—pathetic, silly, fine, serio-comic, tragic, and various other stock parts. The trouble is that we do not play these roles but they play us.

Really to play a role in the Work-sense a man must be conscious. To play a role consciously is an example of what the Work calls doing. Only a conscious man can do. As we are, roles play us. So it is a good thing to observe them and not Identify with them so much—to see them acting in oneself and yet not feel that one is them—to say silently "I am not this!" This is to begin to remember oneself as different from these 'I's. But every day we must practise Self-Remembering at first simply by stopping everything, by being not in anything, not connected with anything in life or in ourselves as life has made us.

Since identifying is the enemy of Self-Remembering and since Self-Remembering is our supreme task, it is clear that we have to study our forms of Identifying.

With what have you been Identified most to-day?

picking up where we left off...,

We should remember ourselves at least once a day. It is very important to remember oneself and in every act of Self-Remembering lies one of the great inner meanings of this Work and of all Esotericism in general. If we cannot remember ourselves once a day then we should remember ourselves three times a day. That is to say, we should make a bigger effort. Remembering oneself is just as if an actor on the stage who had become completely absorbed in the role he was playing suddenly remembered that he was merely acting the role and that he was really somebody else and not the part he was playing. This would mean that he would wake up. He would no longer take himself as the hero or the king or the cardinal that he was playing.

But what do we do? (Identification)

We are just like that actor who has forgotten that he is playing a role. We find ourselves fitted into the parts belonging to every phase of tragedy and comedy but we Identify with everything. We do not see that we ourselves are something else, something different, and so we do not remember ourselves and so we are said in the Work to be asleep.

Why should we not Identify?

It is possible to answer this question from a thousand points of view. One great reason is that if we Identify we are not doing this Work. The question is like saying: Why should we do this Work? There is absolutely no reason why we should do this Work if we do not wish to. This Work is only for people who are looking for something. If we Identify we cannot remember ourselves. As I said, the Work lays the greatest emphasis on Self-Remembering. It says that the most important thing we have to do is to remember ourselves and it adds that this can only be understood when we realize that we do not remember ourselves.

Now if a man is Identified he is not remembering himself.

There are degrees and qualities of Identifying.

Some slight forms of identifying are trivial and unimportant. On the other hand, some slight forms of identifying lead very speedily to bigger forms and of these one has to be careful, just as one has to be careful about all small things that start up in oneself innocently, so to speak, and very speedily lead into unpleasant places in ourselves such as very unpleasant forms of negative emotion.

One has to be just as careful where one walks inside oneself, as where one walks in the world visible to one's senses.

Through self-observation our internal world becomes visible to us—that is, we become conscious of it and learn to recognize where we are in it and what takes us down in it and what takes us upwards in regard to our experiences and the small degrees in level of Being that we all possess.

Can you afford to walk in your sleep too long?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a brief message from our sponsor...,

You cannot easily work from the ordinary religious ideas and moods. You recall the saying about new wine in old bottles. This Work, this system of teaching, these ideas we are studying, are the most beautiful things you can possibly imagine—and they are new to us. No, they are far more lovely and beautiful than anything you can imagine. They accuse you only of being asleep. They hold no conviction of sin in them. They ask you quite gently to observe yourself. It is you yourself who must accuse yourself. Let us take one of the ideas of this teaching—an idea about Essence.

This teaching tells us that the Essence of each of us comes down from the stars. You will remember the Ray of Creation. Essence comes down from the note La (Starry Galaxy) and passing through the note Sol (the Sun) and then the note Fa (the planetary zone) enters the earth. We are not merely born of our parents; our parents create the apparatus for the reception of this Essence that comes from the Stars.

And all work, whether personal work, work with others in the Work, or work for the Work itself (and these are the three necessary lines of work for anyone who wishes to remain in this Work) is to lead us back to where we have originally come from. Now each one of us is down here, on this dark planet, so low down in the Ray of Creation, because he or she has some special thing in themselves, some special factor, or chief feature to observe, to become conscious of and to begin to dislike, and so to work against. It may be meanness, or cruelty, or lying, or self-pride, or fear, or ignorance and so on. And if a man or woman dies without seeing why they are here and what is the real reason of their lives, can it be called anything but a tragedy ? Each one of you is here, on the earth, because from the work point of view you have something very special and very important to see in yourselves and struggle against with all your skill and ingenuity, with all your strength of mind and will and soul and heart and body.

But of course if you pride yourselves on your virtues—well, what can happen save that self-righteousness, and so False Personality, will be increased every day you live: and the result will be that you will crystallize out in such narrow viewpoints and attitudes and become dead people. You have heard me speak of the meaning of the dead in the Gospels—for example, as in Christ's remark: "Let the dead bury their dead." The dead are those dead to all possibility of working on themselves and so changing themselves. Now the Work can only be done in the spirit of its own beauty and light, in the spirit of its true message and significance. Life on earth is nothing but a field for working on oneself, so that one can return whence one came. To take life as an end in itself is not to understand the Work, and it may cause a wrong attitude which may be the source of many negative emotions and of useless efforts made in negative states. For to work in a negative way is useless. It is only through some kind of delight, some feeling of joy or pleasure or some genuine affection or desire, that a person can work and bring about any change of being in himself. Fear, for example, will not act in this way. A man may have some knowledge of truth, but unless he values it, unless he feels some delight in it, it cannot affect him. It cannot act on him, for a man unites with truth only through his love, as it were, and in this way his being is changed.

But if he is negative, then his love-life—that is his emotional side—is in a wrong state, and it will be the same if he is in a state of fear and feels compelled to do something against his will. To do a thing willingly from a delight in doing it, will effect a change in you. And when a person begins to take up his own "cross"—that is, the burden of some difficult thing in himself that he has at last come to observe—and does it in such a spirit, then he will get results. But if he does it heavily, out of the conviction of sin, nothing will ever come out of it, and especially if he shews others what he is trying to do, and likes to look miserable or grave or sad. And in this connection you will remember what Christ said about fasting—namely, that if you fast, you should anoint your head and wash your face "that thou be not seen of men to fast". To work on oneself from the conviction of sin puts the Work into negative parts of centres, and to work in a negative way can lead to a worse state of oneself than not to work at all. Some tend to take the Work in this heavy way. But no one can fathom the delight people take in making themselves miserable and in enjoying their negative states. You all know and have often heard me say that negative parts of centres create nothing.

Negative parts of centres cannot create anything, and people who try to work in a heavy dreary, negative way, could only make their inner state worse than it was—then I think I experienced almost another moment of consciousness. I understood that what I had felt about religion had been right; it was suddenly formulated and explained. This Work, if you will listen to it and hear it in your hearts, is the most beautiful thing you could possibly hear. It speaks not of sin, but of being asleep, just as the Gospels do not really speak of sin, but only of missing the mark—the Greek word means that. Can we hear the Work ? There is an old book that I have, composed by a man in the Work of his time; it depicts a man lying fast asleep flat on the earth, and a ladder stretching to heaven, and angels on it blowing trumpets almost in the man's ear. Yet he hears nothing.

This Work is beautiful when you see why it exists and what it means. It is about liberation. It is as beautiful as if, locked for years in prison, you see a stranger entering who offers you a key. But you may refuse it because you have acquired prison habits and have forgotten your origin, which is from the Stars. How, then, will you ever be able to remember Yourself with only prison thoughts and interests, and hand back your life whole and not twisted and soiled by negative emotion and every form of identifying ? It will then be only natural for you to refuse the key that will unlock all the doors of the prison, one by one, because you prefer to remain in prison—that is, as you are in yourselves. Nay, even more you may be indignant and seek to kill the stranger and fight for your prison-life and even sacrifice your life in order to remain in prison.

do you remember?

I was brought up, in regard to religious ideas, with the sense that only the conviction of sin was important. Everything was sin, briefly speaking. In consequence, religion was a very gloomy business and personally I loathed it. Morality was only sexual morality. Virtue was only continence, and so on, and, in general, sin and the feeling of being a sinner was the main idea of religion. I never understood anything else in regard to religion as a boy, and so was either afraid or worried or hated the whole thing. I began to stammer badly. I listened to the Scriptures, mostly drawn from the Old Testament, which always seemed indescribably horrible. God was a violent, jealous, evil, accusing person, and so on. And when I heard the New Testament I could not understand what the parables meant, and no one seemed to know or care what they meant. But once, in the Greek New Testament class on Sundays, taken by the Head Master, I dared to ask, in spite of my stammering, what some parable meant. The answer was so confused that I actually experienced my first moment of consciousness—that is, I suddenly realized that no one knew anything.

This is a definite experience and was my first experience of Self-Remembering—the second being the sudden realization that no one knew what I was thinking—and from that moment I began to think for myself, or rather knew that I could. As you know, all moments of real Self-Remembering stand out for ever in one's inner life, and one's real life is not outer events, but inner states. I remember so clearly this class-room, the high windows constructed so that we could not see out of them, the desks, the platform on which the Head Master sat, his scholarly thin face, his nervous habits of twitching his mouth and jerking his hands—and suddenly this inner revelation of knowing that he knew nothing—nothing, that is, about anything that really mattered.

This was my first inner liberation from the power of external life. From that time I knew for certain—and that always means by inner individual authentic perception which is the only source of real knowledge—that all my loathing of religion as it was taught me was right.

And although one always goes to sleep again after a moment of real Self-Remembering, and often for years, yet such moments of consciousness stand always in higher parts of centres and remain and await, as it were, the further moments of realizing, more consciously, what life actually is—that is to say, they are never lost, and, although forgotten in one way, stand in the background of yourself always, and come forward at critical moments to guard you.