“At first it was extremely difficult for me to ask Gurdjieff questions. On the one hand was timidity, a fear of saying something foolish, or being thought stupid, an inner inertia, and on the other the feeling that I did not know what to ask. This state of wishing to ask and not being able reached such a pitch that I suffered. One day I saw him coming down the track in the forest, driving the one-horse wagon. He stopped and watched what I was doing, then got down to adjust the harness. At that moment, making a tremendous effort, I said: ‘Mr Gurdjieff, what is it that makes it so difficult for me to speak to you, to ask you a question?’ He looked at me without saying anything, then took my arm, and it was as if a warm flow of electricity passed through me. Getting up on to the wagon, he signed to me to sit beside him, and drove on. For half an hour we drove about while he gave directions to various people, then he gave the reins to me, told me to take the horse to the stable, and went into the house. We had not exchanged a word. But from that time I had a different feeling towards him, and though it never became easy for me to ask him questions, my attitude became different, and I discovered that if I pondered a question and was able to formulate it clearly, sometimes the question was already answered.”
~ CS Nott “The Teachings of Gurdjieff - A Pupil's Journey”
THE ROOM WAS CHARGED WITH HIS DYNAMO
He [Gurdjieff] telephoned at 6:00 p.m. to say he would come at 9:30 p.m. We all were so depleted that no one could hold herself in her chair. Nevertheless we read until 3:00 a.m., mostly Katie, as she is the best reader. The strain was unendurable. He watched us as never before and the room was charged with his dynamo and our super-effort.
~ "Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope"
WITHOUT TROUBLE, CONFLICT, LIFE BECOME DEAD
The money that I had received amazed me. It was, literally, more money than I had ever had at one time in my life. But it also repelled me. I could not bring myself to do anything with it. It was not until a few days later, one evening when I had been summoned to bring coffee to Gurdjieff's room, that the subject came up again. I had had no private, personal contact with him—in the sense of actually talking to him, for instance—since his return. That evening—he was alone—when I had served him his coffee, he asked me how I was getting along; h«w I felt. I blurted out my feelings about Miss Madison and about the money that I felt unable to spend.
He laughed at me and said cheerfully that there was no reason why I should not spend the money any way I chose. It was my money, and it was a reward for my activity of the past winter. I said I could not understand why I should have been rewarded for having been dilatory about my jobs and having created only trouble.
Gurdjieff laughed again and told me that I had much to learn.
"What you not understand," he said, "is that not everyone can be troublemaker, like you. This important in life—is ingredient, like yeast for making bread. Without trouble, conflict, life become dead. People live in status-quo, live only by habit, automatically, and without conscience. You good for Miss Madison. You irritate Miss Madison all time—more than anyone else, which is why you get most reward. Without you, possibility for Miss Madison's conscience fall asleep. This money should really be reward from Miss Madison, not from me. You help keep Miss Madison alive."
I understood the actual, serious sense in which he meant what he was saying, but I said that I felt sorry for Miss Madison, that it must have been a terrible experience for her when she saw us all receiving those rewards.
He shook his head at me, still laughing. "You not see or understand important thing that happen to Miss Madison when give money. How you feel at time? You feel pity for Miss Madison, no? All other people also feel pity for Miss Madison, too."
I agreed that this was so.
"Think necessary talk all time, that learn through mind, through words. Not so. Many things can only learn with feeling, even from sensation. But because man talk all time —use only formulatory centre—people not understand this. What you not see other night in study-house is that Miss Madison have new experience for her. Is poor woman, people not like, people think she funny—they laugh at. But other night people not laugh. True, Miss Madison feel uncomfortable, feel embarrassed when I give money, feel shame perhaps. But when many people also feel for her sympathy, pity, compassion, even love, she understand this but not right away with mind. She feel, for first time in life, sympathy from many people. She not even know then that she feel this, but her life change; with you, I use you like example, last summer you hate Miss Madison. Now you not hate, you not think funny, you feel sorry. You even like Miss Madison. This good for her even if she not know right away —you will show; you cannot hide this from her, even if you wish, cannot hide. So she now have friend, when used to be enemy. This good thing which I do for Miss Madison. I not concerned she understand this now—someday she under stand and make her feel warm in heart. This unusual experience—this warm feeling—for such personality as Miss Madison who not have charm, who not friendly in self. Someday, perhaps even soon, she have good feeling because many people feel sorry, feel compassion for her. Someday she even understand what I do and even like me for this. But this kind learning take long time."
I understood him completely and was very moved by his words. But he had not finished.
"Also good thing for you in this," he said "You young, only boy still, you not care about other people, care for self. I do this to Miss Madison and you think I do bad thing. You feel sorry, you not forget, you think I do bad thing to her. But now you understand not so. Also, good for you, because you feel about other person—you identify with Miss Madison, put self in her place, also regret what you do. Is necessary put self in place of other person if wish understand and help. This good for your conscience, this way is possibility for you learn not hate Miss Madison. All people same— stupid, blind, human. If I do bad thing, this make you learn love other people, not just self."
~ Fritz Peters “Boyhood With Gurdjieff”