~ George Gurdjieff “Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931”
TWISTING THE KNIFE IN THE WOUND
Much later, the suggestion was made [by Gurdjieff] to each of the six to relate, in front of all the others, a true account of the very worst action they had ever done in their lives, and I well recall how utterly painful it was to the doctor to make this confession. He was accustomed in his profession to imposing his will on others, and to maintaining the prestige that came from his knowledge that could prevent or lessen human suffering; and here he was being obliged to cast off this crown of convention which he had chosen to wear, and to show himself to his companions, not as he appeared in the eyes of others, on the heights, but in a humiliating light. And when at last, with a forced and pained expression on his face, he embarked on a confession of the worst deed of his lifetime, I felt that he was deliberately shirking the truth. He described the event in an abstract, impersonal fashion which made it anything but convincing, and one could sense the struggle between his desire to whitewash the action and his knowledge that it was impossible to deceive Gurdjieff; or even to deceive the rest of us, for by this time we had all begun to understand the hidden side of human nature. It was not hypocrisy, but more duality: the duality between the man of everyday and the man who is beginning to discover within himself the things of which he was never before conscious. He is ashamed of his worse actions, but so deeply are they hidden, so blind is his foolish pride, that he does not acknowledge them as his own. Instead of accepting the experience as one that would help him forward along the Path, and instead of bearing his humiliation with stoicism, a man will try to conceal the truth in order to avoid pain and shame, and what he fondly believes will give his colleagues a false view of himself. This was how the doctor reacted in making his confession. Perhaps he was not big enough to make a truly sincere effort to attain the desired purpose—so he tripped over on his first attempt. We could only imagine what he was trying to conceal.
Gurdjieff, listening, said nothing, but fixed him with such a piercing look that it stopped the doctor in the middle of a word.
Then Gurdjieff said, twisting the knife in the wound, ‘Another time, doctor, you will be sincere, and recall these matters accurately. . . . Think it over.’
~ Anna Butkowsky "With Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg and Paris"
REMEMBER YOURSELF AS TWO— YOU AND YOUR BODY
He [Gurdjieff] said: "You have already too much knowledge. It will remain only theory unless you learn to understand not with mind but with heart and body. Now only your mind is awake: your heart and body are asleep. If you continue like this, soon your mind also will go to sleep, and you will never be able to think any new thoughts. You cannot awaken your own feelings, but you can awaken your body. If you can learn to master your body, you will begin to acquire Being.
"For this, you must look on your body as a servant. It must obey you. It is ignorant and lazy. You must teach it to work. If it refuses to work, you must have no mercy on it. Remember yourself as two— you and your body. When you are master of your body, your feelings will obey you. At present nothing obeys you—not your body, nor your feelings, nor your thoughts. You cannot start with thoughts, because you cannot yet separate yourself from your thoughts.
"This Institute exists to help people to work on themselves. You can work as much or as little as you wish. People come here for various reasons, and they get what they come for. If it is only curiosity, then we arrange things to astonish them. If they come to get knowledge, we have many scientific experiments that will instruct them. But if they come to get Being, then they must do the work themselves. No one else can do the work for them, but it is also true that they cannot create the conditions for themselves. Therefore, we create conditions."
~ JG Bennett "Witness"
SOMETIMES I MAKE JOKE
“Never pity money” was a piece of advice constantly given to the assembled company at the table. Mr. Gurdjieff used to tell us that every morning he would go round to “my café” in the Rue des Acacias, sit down and order a coffee. Although he had no money to pay for it. everyday someone came and saved him. Indeed by the end of the day, he would find his pockets, which had been empty in the morning, were cram-full of money. This he did not like to keep for himself, he said, so each night before going to bed, he would empty his pockets and throw what money he found there out of the window. One evening when I had been doing some shopping for him, I took him my purchases and some change. He took out a large roll of bank notes, added the ones I was returning and put the lot back in his pocket. Greatly daring, I said, “Oh Mr. Gurdjieff, isn't it time you threw all that out of the window?” He looked at me with an expression of utmost gravity and replied, “You know, Egout, sometimes I make joke.”
~ Rina Hands “Diary Madame Egout Pour Sweet”