Poll: Can you self-observe 100% of the time?

T

tschai

Guest
Hello Noise,

I do not think EQ means to actually stop self observation-to take a break and rest-what he means is (IMO) that perhaps you are focusing so hard on self observation that it may actually may be hindering your ability to see the different personas that make up your essential character in the here and now.

He suggests that those personas (the "masks" we wear for our many different functions-i.e. the different personalities we have for work, family, being with friends, first meetings with unfamiliar people and so on)-what Gurdjief calls the "lies" we tell ourselves in order to function in society-are trying to hide from you-they do not WANT to be exposed and are resisting. This is only natural because we are convinced we NEED these "masks" to operate in our day to day lives.

Gurdjief goes on to say that when we truly self observe-identifying all those false selves-and begin stripping them away to expose the true "I" -our friends and family and associates will note the change-and actually feel perhaps we have become rather dull-we are no fun any longer.

This is why G. says self observation is so very HARD to do-in fact in many cases is nearly impossible for some-because it IS hard to let go of those varying personas-to strip away the layers of paint as it were-we use to color ourselves and make ourselves interesting or to protect ourselves from emotional damage or give our employers the impression we are wise and productive and have everything under control- to give some examples.

EQ is not saying to stop-but to release what you BELIEVE self observation SHOULD be (only YOU know what you think self observation should be) and simply observe how you operate in any given situation at the moment it is taking place-such as when you meet a new person for the first time-what impression do you attempt to give to that person?

Our lives are a constant give and take-based on the situation we will put on any number of those masks-and EQ simply wants you to take time and observe which "mask"you might put on-do not say "I am going to self observe" and be so intent on trying to see what you are doing at any given moment as to actually become a distraction to yourself-people will think you are acting very strangely! You may come across as being evasive, arrogant-any number of things-because you are trying so hard not to give a false impression of yourself that you do exactly the opposite.

Merely relax into the moment-do what comes naturally-put on whatever persona you think fits the occasion-but be AWARE that o.k. I have just slipped into my "Joe Cool" persona-or my "Sleek and Sexy"mask-or "My do not make any waves" and so on. Eventually-the resistance to your observing these different "I"''s will dissapate and you will be able to identify them easily.

We may never be able to achieve total independence from all of the "I"'s we harbor-but that ultimately-at least to my understanding-is the goal. That which is left-that naked, mewling, pitiful creature-is US-without our lies and self deceptions we have encased our beings with.

I hope this helps in some way-perhaps I have only muddied the waters further-and EQ is far more advanced then I so I may be totally off the mark here.
 
N

noise

Guest
Actually I had not considered this in his post. I follow what your saying here and it certainly makes sense. Sorry everyone if I came across as combative, I believe I grasp this now. Thanks for taking the time out to help me see this I really appreciate it!
 
T

The Gardener

Guest
EQ had been talking with sinimat about certain "observation point": The breath, the belly or
tan-dien, but this points...

Laura wrote:

... has nothing to do with "self-observing" (...) even the concepts of "self-observing" is somewhat uncertain
Laura quotes De Salzmann: It is about learning to see... the lye:

De Salzmann wrote:

You must stop inwardly and observe. Observe without preconceptions, accepting for a time this idea of lying. And if you observe in this way, paying with yourself, without self-pity, giving up all your supposed riches for a moment of reality, perhaps you will suddenly see something you have never before seen in yourself until this day (...) Learn to look until you have seen the difference between your two natures, until you have seen the lies, the deception in yourself. When you have seen your two natures, that day, in yourself, the truth will be born.
EQ comments what sinimat suggests is a mechanical excercize, and not a practize to observe the true 'I'. It instead generates 'Qi' energy.

EsoQuest wrote:

it is best to view it (breathing excercizes) as a preperatory and not really a necessary step in terms of self-observation as discussed here, which in my view is the practice
of inner discernment, as the quote above describes (De Salzmann's).
Sinimat proposes again the breathing excercizes as:

sinimat wrote:

highly related to this concept of self-observance. Where is your observance
point? Where is the mind that you are observing with?
And he relates how a zen teacher advised him to make it more organic, "and not to make it mechanistical".
EQ points there is no observation point, as Laura and De Salzmann had exposed too.

EsoQuest wrote:

All of you is the observance point, and the observer is also non-local in physical terms (; yet...) There is no reason why more abstract self-observance can't complement your current practices (...) My point is that these methods often lead to more methods of localized concentration, which can be helpful, but seriously do not connect with the universal. They connect you with your body and awaken energetic sensing within the body.
Now...

On post #20, Gillian wrote:

I find that trying to self-observe indefinitely eventually reaches a
point where the "observer" part of me can build up "debris" - I think that creating a strong
attachment to just being self-observant creates a strong "I" in itself (...) Self-observation
starts off being very gentle - but it can change over the weeks and months to become very
"rigid".
EQ's:

EsoQuest wrote:

I believe that when self-observation becomes rigid, it is not self-observation
anymore, but identification with the resistance to it (...) In that case, I
believe, it might be useful to relax and release all ideas of self-observation or what it should
be, and simply open to the here and now and what it has to offer (...) Eventually, underneath the rigidity a more fluid presence of self can become apparent.
For noise, this was a 'hint' to go back to sleep.

noise wrote:

I'm perhaps missing something but to me it says "Stop self-observation" and
relax.
noise, I think you rushed your point. What I think you were missing was the rest of the context of the discussion: The 'point' of observation, the 'strong attatchment' to self-observation which leads to 'rigidity' and, in that case, when the identification with the resistance is in place, to relax and release all ideas of self-observation and open your self to what is more immediate, steping back, to clean the 'debris' so a more fluid presence of the self can become apparent.
I do not think you posted ignorant, deep, combative or that you were wrong. I think you were in a rush, and because of that, unfair. EQ was not saying 'rest'.
He was saying 'wake-up'.
But now you have considered tschai's exposittion, and I am glad about that. On the way, you
develop a "self-deceiving" posibility, with the which I agree: I have it too, and perhaps, and
just perhaps, too much. Indeed, I could be deceiving my self, and therefore, all the others,
without knowing (who is to say what the things in general are?). But I think this is what
networking is for: To discern if it is the such. So the actitude of self-suspect, I think, most
be dropped too, when identification with it starts to gain preponderance over the objective
facts. What do you think of this?

Following with the subject, self-observation is still a uncertain concept. There is only this
notion of to learn to see in a different way. On another post, and about another subject, EQ said to explain certain experiences is difficult, and even useless, since one has to reach the
experience on one's own to feel it, and then, to comprehend it: This is Knowledge.
On this side of the knowledge, we struggle with definitions. This are 'hints', and many are
designed to send us back to sleep. It is the experience what gives the quality, and it is to
reach that experience what we most be interested on achieve.
I am aware this elevates the 'experience' a la Malinowsky. But in our case, we are not
after the experience because of the experience, but to go beyond man No. 3.
Yes?
 
N

noise

Guest
Well I am going with the last question first. At first I confused the question. I was thinking "no way one can become more than man 3 http://glossary.cassiopaea.com/glossary.php?id=7&lsel=M but I was confusing man 1,2,3 with influences a,b,c http://glossary.cassiopaea.com/glossary.php?id=907. I would agree and say yes the idea is to take our type (1, 2 or 3) beyond its mechanical course.
-The Gardner wrote: "So the actitude of self-suspect, I think, most [must?] be dropped too, when identification with it starts to gain preponderance over the objective facts. What do you think of this?"-
I'm not actually clear on your question. I'm not sure what actitude is. I checked the glossagry and dictionary*com and came up with nothing, so I'm not clear about the word meaning, though it almost sounds familiar. I'm also not clear on self-suspect. You wouldn't rephrase that for me would you?

In the end I think there is the original question- Though the answer for me is obviously no, thus far- Can you (A person?) self-observe 100% of the time? I think the answer is yes a person could, but I think as was stated by tschai, how could one do that and interact in certain situations with the rest of the world? Then again a person could climb a mountain to maintain their 100% self-observation in solitude and keep it all to themselves but then that is not sharing, networking, growth and 'seems to me' rather selfish.
 
T

The Gardener

Guest
Certainly. This ideas you expressed:
noise said:
(post #28) there is the possibility I am intentionally misleading
noise said:
(post #30) Certainly I could be BS'ing us both but I have not the intention to lie to you but more particularly myself. Though again my perception may not have the experience you have to make measure of my tricking myself as in, you may recall the times you tricked yourself and they sounded something like what I have implied.
I interpreted them as if you were saying: There is the posibility that i am tricking my self, but I do not know", and I used the word "self-suspect" to convey my experience: I suspect of my self. That is: It has happened that I have tricked my self without knowing or wanting it.
I was asking: this actitude that you call "tricking my self" and I called "self-suspect", do you perhaps feel you, like I feel i have, have been identifying your self with it... rendering a rigidity on the self-suspect actitude?
My idea is, networking helps on discerning points like this. But like you were saying, with the which I am agree: I mey be tricking my self and not knowing it.
So I ask.

On the original question, I share your perspective: I do not think one can self-observe 100% of the time. Because this is the nature of self-observing, to be a intermitent achievement, specially at the beguining. Besides, I think when you get to self-observe 100% of the time, you are no longer man No. 3 and one has already trascended this self-observation stuff. But I am not very shure of this, since I have not gone beyond man No. 3.
 

Gillian

The Force is Strong With This One
From my experience the practice of self-observation can sometimes become a case of observing that we are on the merry go round and it just keeps going around and around. We can be aware of our sensations and reactions to sensations but it is easy to just follow this cycle without really penetrating or moving past this cycle of reaction. For me certain systems seem to work better than others - observing thoughts is an endless task. Observing sensations gets me to a point where I am able to split between my usual reaction of a sensation and the sensation itself. An example of this is where I could feel pain fully and in detail yet not be suffering - this seems to indicate to me that the two are separate - pain being a sensation and perhaps suffering is just my mental reaction to it. Most of the time the two are so interlinked that they just seem like one.
The implications of this type practice on emotional reactions and impulse is pretty big but I've found that implementing it 100% of the time is a task in it self even at a fairly shallow level of awareness. Penetrating to deep levels of body and subconscious awareness is challenging in itself without the added distractions of daily life.

I've been exploring the area of rigidity in self-observation. I certainly have experienced attachment to self-observation in the past(and now) and this in itself causes rigidity to a point. Simply remaining aware of the the rigidity(or anything else) is fine - but I believe in order to move past the point where certain emotional states control us we need to find ways to move deeper with self-observation. Otherwise it is simply like just looking at the situation and seeing it - but not being free from it.

To go deeper there needs to be a creative and imaginative awareness that is sensitive for "something" - not so much that we are no longer receptive - but just so that we do not simply rotate on our trained pattern of awareness and observation.
 
N

noise

Guest
Hi The Gardener,
I think I follow what your asking now. I believe I am pretty good at tricking myself into thinking I know something or that I have genuine insight into self-observation only to find out (often after untame emotional outbursts) that I am or have been acting out of the desire for attention and other selfish habits. Everyone wants some acknowledgement I believe, until a certain level is breeched. I think (unless the opposite is the case) your confusing man three http://glossary.cassiopaea.com/glossary.php?id=7&lsel=M (3 'differant' types of persons) with a,b,c influences (or I am completely mistaken or am not familiar enough with a possible 3rd concept your referring to). I might be missing or skipping over something.
I do get fleeting moments of somewhat clear thinking, they're pretty few and far between though. Some day I intend to get to 1% of the time at self-observation. I've always been rather pushing myself in the most ignorant ways the hardest, while neglecting the ways that I theorize (am now learning) get more results. It's as if I am defeating myself by trying to go a million miles an hour (thinking it is the best and surest route) in the exact opposite direction of a productive method.
Wonder was that was anywhere near an answer? This stuff sure seems to take time to integrate into my preprogrammed, fouled circuitry. To me it is kind of like learning the culture of a foreign land, you have the language (body and speech), the dress codes, customs and well with all the foreign (not MY own) stuff already in there it's really challenging to maintain any level of self-observation. Going to take my time with it now though, it seems not like something that will happen over night. The few glimpses I've obtained took a couple years and I am a pretty slow learner or when I read I don't keep going over something I misread or did not understand until I do, I'm more reading while having thoughts about other things at times, this partial/complete self-trickery is at an end now though.
Besides what am I going to say to the universe if whatever happens for a grand finally starts this instant? "Hold up, time out, I'm not ready yet!" Besides saying that, I realize that to my selfish ingrained nature I would be thinking, "but that's no fair," when in reality the only place I am aware fair exists is in a dictionary (looking at the situations for the less fortunate in the world), if I could just be honest with myself I might learn more and expect less.
Sorry, kinda got on a tangent here as often is the case when I start writing. :)
 

Russ

Jedi Master
< Besides what am I going to say to the universe if whatever happens for a grand finally starts this instant? >

I had to read that a few times before I understood what you were saying! I'm not the best at being concise, but I think it should have looked something like this:

< Besides, what am I going to say to the universe, if for whatever reason a grand finale starts at this very instant? >

It may have sounded ok to you, but for me its hard to read some parts of your posts. Gaps between paragraphs are helpful too, I find.
 

Ryan

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Gillian said:
From my experience the practice of self-observation can sometimes become a case of observing that we are on the merry go round and it just keeps going around and around.
What do you mean by this?

Gillian said:
We can be aware of our sensations and reactions to sensations but it is easy to just follow this cycle without really penetrating or moving past this cycle of reaction.
Why do we need to move past it? What do you define as moving past it?

Gillian said:
For me certain systems seem to work better than others - observing thoughts is an endless task.
How are these two statements related?

Gillian said:
Observing sensations gets me to a point where I am able to split between my usual reaction of a sensation and the sensation itself. An example of this is where I could feel pain fully and in detail yet not be suffering - this seems to indicate to me that the two are separate - pain being a sensation and perhaps suffering is just my mental reaction to it. Most of the time the two are so interlinked that they just seem like one.
In my experience, this is what Gurdjieff and Mouravieff mean by "identification", and it applies not just to physical sensations, but emotions, thoughts and ideas as well.

Gillian said:
The implications of this type practice on emotional reactions and impulse is pretty big but I've found that implementing it 100% of the time is a task in it self even at a fairly shallow level of awareness. Penetrating to deep levels of body and subconscious awareness is challenging in itself without the added distractions of daily life.
Yes, it is very difficult to this 100% of the time. But IMO if we start making goals like "self-observation 100% of the time", we lose sight of the method of self-observation itself and start mistaking other mental and emotional attitudes for "self-observation". The Fourth Way emphasises quality over quantity. It is possible that 5 minutes a day of real, conscious efforts at self-observation make have greater results than a full day of pretend "self-observation". Separating the Real from the illusion should be a motivating attitude. At least, this is how I currently see it.

Gillian said:
I've been exploring the area of rigidity in self-observation. I certainly have experienced attachment to self-observation in the past(and now) and this in itself causes rigidity to a point.
What exactly do you mean by "attachment" to self-observation? And what do you mean by "rigidity"? I don't understand.

Gillian said:
Simply remaining aware of the the rigidity(or anything else) is fine - but I believe in order to move past the point where certain emotional states control us we need to find ways to move deeper with self-observation. Otherwise it is simply like just looking at the situation and seeing it - but not being free from it.
I think that if you are implying an emotional addiction to self-observation, then what you are doing is not real self-observation. Self-observation is not an activity that generates pleasure. Indeed, it can generate a lot of suffering when one sees how badly they have been deluding themselves.

Gillian said:
To go deeper there needs to be a creative and imaginative awareness that is sensitive for "something" - not so much that we are no longer receptive - but just so that we do not simply rotate on our trained pattern of awareness and observation.
Observation cannot become a "trained pattern". What happens instead, is that we stop observing and go back to sleep while thinking that we are observing. OSIT.

Just a few ideas to consider.
 
T

The Gardener

Guest
Gillian wrote:

To go deeper there needs to be a creative and imaginative awareness that is sensitive for "something" - not so much that we are no longer receptive - but just so that we do not simply rotate on our trained pattern of awareness and observation.
Would you say this "something would be to get to see? This, it seems to me, would come to breack the circle you describe, with the which I agree: I think you are describing the circuit of the self. Is this not what is to get to be observed, that is, recognized?
And, is it not this excerzise, the self-observation, a path to reach such a recognition?
In this days I have been reading chapter V of Ouspensky's "The Fourht Way",a nd I wish to quote a paragraph. My edition is in spanish, and from this I am translating to english:

Ouspensky wrote:

P: You said that, to self-remeber, one needs emotion but, when I think on that, I do not experience any emotion at all. Can one self-remember without an emotional experience?
R: The idea is to remember your self, to be conscient of one's self. And what comes with that, you most only take a note of it, without trying to impose on it any sort of defined demand. If you make of this a regular practize, to try and remember your self three of four time a day, the self-remembering will come on it's own, during the spaces in between, when you need it. But only latter, is when you will take a note of this. You most make of this a regular pracitze to try it and remember your self, if it is possible, at the same hour of every day. So, if you cannot remember your self, try to stop your thoughts. You can stop thoughts, but you most not get unpatient if at the beguining you find that you cannot. To stop the thoughts is something very difficult. You cannot just say: "I will stop my thoughts" and they stop. You most use effort all the time. So you most not do it during long periods of time. If you do it for a few minutes, that is absolutelly enough; otherwise, you would persuade your self that you are doing it when, in its place, you are just sitting there, thinking, and you will be very happy with that. You most hold only one thought as long as you can: "I do not want to think on anything else", and get rid of any other thought. This is a very good excercize, but just an excercize.
First, I undertsand to self-remember is exactly the same as self-observe: To self-observe has the objective of to self-remember. When one self-observe, one is self-remembering, and vs: When one self-remembers, one is self-observing.
Now, I see on this paragraph Ouspensky is pointing to the courrent question of this thread, and he is saying it is not advisable to self-observe 100% of the time. First because it is not possible, since the hard-data on self-observing is, mainly, to realize one cannot do that and, in a second moment, to realize one cannot do that but for very brief periods of time.
Within the rest of the chapter, Ouspensky talks extensivelly on this subject, and when he does that, he talks about it, always, in terms of minutes. For instance, he comments that, if we were to be able to be conscient of our selfs for 15 minutes, the world would change. He mentions that 2 minutes is a great achievment, and that 30 minutes "is not for the man No. 3".
Then: It is pointed one is just to be on "record" mode, just taking notes. Anything beyond this, would be to impose some "defined demand", as my dessires or ideas what the thing should be, including my ideas of what is it that I could do with it. Defined Demand = Rigidity, it seems to me.
"Three or four times a day" is enough. This is a relaxed practice. The thing is to make it with regularity... and it will come. Otherwise, identification comes to settle down. It most be a relaxed practice, or we get obsessed wit any detail of the process, starting with the "i do not know how to self-observe my self", all the way down to the "from where do I observe my self?". It would pay to re-read the thread again, because there are many solutions and ideas spread all over.
I posted about the "observation point" here (post #11; and post #12 by EQ is also cool):
http://signs-of-the-times.org/signs/for … 98&p=2
This thread is juicy too:
http://signs-of-the-times.org/signs/for … hp?id=1814
Were they any good?

noise wrote:

I think I follow what your asking now. I believe I am pretty good at tricking myself into thinking I know something or that I have genuine insight into self-observation only to find out (often after untame emotional outbursts) that I am or have been acting out of the desire for attention and other selfish habits. Everyone wants some acknowledgement I believe, until a certain level is breeched.
Totally agree: Life is not possible without a bit of Ego. And a bit of Ego is also healthy. By having a bit of Ego, one can control it in a more clean, efficient manner. To chieve this is the process. It is attainable, I think. The idea of to get rid of that luggage one does not needs, is helpful. Do I need to get angry for just about anything? Do I need to get upset because of the weather? Etc. There are things we do not need. Dropping them renders us lighter, and set us on the way.
There is a line of Wrok thats goes along, side by side, with self-observing, and that is to be brutally honest towards one's self: The thing, I think, is to become complete idiots on tricking our selfs. This is a process and it takes time, and I am not saying I have achieved such a bliss: Me too I am the target of selfish habits. Observation of this is not a first step but THE first step. You have done this, noise, by localizing such an element on your magnetic center. "That is absolutelly enough".
The secret is to make of that a regular practize. A 'relaxed' regular practize, I think.

noise wrote:

I think (unless the opposite is the case) your confusing man three [link did not work -maybe glossary os off-line?] (3 'differant' types of persons) with a,b,c influences (or I am completely mistaken or am not familiar enough with a possible 3rd concept your referring to). I might be missing or skipping over something.
I have been understanding that we, asleep humans, live in the first 3 levels of conscience. The 4th level, our goal, is the objective conscience, where we can actually 'do' things. Then comes man No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7.
Regarding esoteric knowledge, and for man No's. 1, 2 and 3, a influences are the everyday influences, like fame, fortune, debits, work, posessions, etc: Ideas regarding the material world. Some find influences b: Spiritual ideas, like books, self-reflections, worryness for the self, etc. From this, if process is adecuate, some find c influences, as persons or schools with a relevant input of needed information: One has to earn this new source of information.
This is how I have been understanding what the literature offers. So my take is that, to awake, is to overcome our state of Man No. 3, towards Man No. 4. The influences is part of the how we achieve this; the other part is to work on our selfs.

noise wrote:

Wonder was that was anywhere near an answer?
I most appologize but I was not able to fully understand the rest of your post. My english is not perfect. But I THINK you were refering to allow to your self time for the process. I think that is all there is to it: Time. Growing things need time to grow.
I think the grand finalle happens every day, and it will happen to you once you have grown to it, no matter when it will be. I think it happens to those who have got there, to those who are ready to give an answer to the universe. It seems youre pointing here to the Wave, as a imminent, dated event: The Wave will be individual, and it will not happen tomorrow: The future is open.
"this partial/complete self-trickery is at an end now though": It is so curious you say this because, as I was asking you about your opinion towards this actitude, your response has underlined my feeling: Your sentence has let me see I was right on feeling I have been abusing too of my self-suspect for too long. I most relax it too... and hit the Pilata!
Thank you, noise.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
The problem with the issue of so-called "self-remembering" or "self-observation" is that Ouspensky seems to have made more of a focus of it than it actually required. Or at least, there seems to be some context missing.

Those of you who have read "Meetings With Remarkable Men" and "Life is Real, Then, Only When I Am," and have looked for clues, may have noticed that Gurdjieff's ideas of "self-remembering" came about as a result of experiences he had during very shocking, even life-threatening, experiences. In Life is Real, Gurdjieff describes how this idea came to him, during a period of recovery from a life-threatening injury which came about under interesting circumstances:

Continuing to think about this under the influence, from one side, of a distant hollow din formed from sounds of milliards of lives of all possible outer forms and, from the other side, of an awesome silence, in me gradually rose in relation to myself a critical faculty of unprecedented strength.

At the beginning there were recollected in me all my blunders in my former searches.

While from one side I constated my blunders and in general the imperfections of the methods previously applied by me, from the other side it became clear how I ought to have acted in this or that instance.

I remember very well how my strength waned from these tense thoughts and, during this, some part of me time and again ordered me to get up quickly and rouse myself in order to stop such thoughts, but this I could not do, so strongly had I been involved in these same thoughts.

I don't know with what this would have ended if at the moment when instinctively I began to feel that I must lose consciousness, the three camels near me had not sat down.

At this I came to myself and got up.

By this time day was already dawning. Awake also were my young companions, who were already busying themselves with the usual preparations for morning life in the desert.

After talking with the old man, we decided to take advantage of the moonlight and set out in the evenings. Moreover, the camels could rest well during the day.

Instead of lying down to sleep awhile, I took with me a rifle and a traveling pail made of canvas, and went to a nearby spring of very cold water on the very edge of the desert.

Undressing, I began very slowly to pour this cold water over me.

After this, though I felt quite well mentally, physically I became so weak that after dressing I was compelled to lie down there near the spring.

And then, being so weak physically and very well refreshed mentally, there proceeded in me that same self-reasoning, the essence of which became impressed in my consciousness forever and concerning which, on the evening of November 6th, 1927, flashed the mentioned idea.

Due to its remoteness, I do not remember the exact words of that first self-reasoning so discordant with my usual general state.

But, having preserved in myself the, so to say, "taste" of it, I can recollect it exactly, though in different words. It consisted of the following:

Judging by my fitness during the last few days, it seems I again have come to life and willy-nilly will have to drag on and drudge as before.

My God! Is it possible that I will have to experience again all that I lived through during periods of my fully collected active state, for the half-year before this last misfortune of mine?

Not only to experience feelings alternating, almost regularly, between remorse for the inner and outer manifestations of my ordinary waking state, and loneliness, disappointment, satiety, and the rest, but primarily to be everywhere haunted by the fear of "inner emptiness"?

What also have I not done, what resources have I not exhausted in my determination to reach a state where the functioning of my psyche in my usual waking state would flow in accordance with the previous instructions of my active consciousness, but all in vain!

In my past life, being forever merciless to my natural weaknesses, and almost all the time jealously keeping watch over myself, I could attain almost anything within the limits of man's possibilities, and in some fields attained even to such a degree of power as not one man, perhaps not even in any past epoch, had ever attained.

For instance, the development of the power of my thoughts had been brought to such a level that by only a few hours of self-preparation I could from a distance of tens of miles kill a yak; or, in twenty-four hours, could accumulate life forces of such compactness that I could in five minutes put to sleep an elephant.

At the same time, in spite of all my desires and endeavors, I could not succeed in "remembering myself in the process of my general common life with others so as to be able to manifest myself, not according to my nature but according to the previous instructions of my "collected consciousness."

I could not attain the state of "remembering myself even sufficiently to hinder the associations flowing in me automatically from certain undesirable hereditary factors of my nature.

As soon as the accumulation of energy which enabled me to be in an active state was exhausted, at once associations of both thoughts and feelings began to flow in the direction of objects diametrically opposite to the ideals of my consciousness.

When I found myself in a state of complete dissatisfaction with food and sex, the leading factor of these associations of mine appeared to be primarily vindictiveness and, in a state of full satisfaction, they proceeded on a theme of the forthcoming pleasure of a meal and sex or of the gratification of self-love, vanity, pride, jealousy and other passions.

I thought deeply myself and tried to find out from others about the reasons for such a terrible situation within my inner world, but could not clarify anything at all.

From one side it is clear that it is necessary to "remember myself" during the process of ordinary life also, and from the other side that there is a necessity for the presence of attentiveness which is able to merge, in case of contact, with others.

Though in my past life I had tried everything, even had worn reminding factors of all kinds on my person, nothing helped. Perhaps these did help a little, while I carried them on me, but if so it was only at the beginning, as soon as I stopped carrying them or got used to them, in a moment it was as if before.

There is no way out whatsoever. . . .

However, there is; there is one exit only-to have outside myself, so to say, a never-sleeping-regulating-factor."

Namely, a factor which would remind me always, in my every common state, to "remember myself."

But what is this!!! Can it be really so??!! A new thought!!!

Why hitherto could there not have come to my head such a simple thought?

Did I have to suffer and despair so much in order only now to think of such a possibility? . . .

Why could I not, in this instance also, look to a "universal analogy"?

And here also is God!!! Again God! . . .

Only He is everywhere and with Him everything is connected.

I am a man, and as such I am, in contrast to all other outer forms of animal life, created by Him in His image!!!

For He is God and therefore I also have within myself all the possibilities and impossibilities that He has.
The difference between Him and my self? must lie only in scale.

For He is God of all the presences in the universe! It follows that I also have to be God of some kind, of presence on my scale.

He is God and I am God! Whatever possibilities He has in relation to the presences of the universe, such possibilities and impossibilities I should also have in relation to the world subordinate to me. He is God of all the world, and also of my outer world.

I am God also, although only of my inner world. He is God and I am God!

For all and in everything we have the same possibilities and impossibilities!

Whatever is possible or impossible in the sphere of His great world should be possible or impossible in the sphere of my small world.

This is as clear as that after the night must inevitably come the day.

But how could I have failed to notice such a startling analogy?

I had thought so much about world creation and world maintenance, and in general about God and His deeds; and also had discoursed with many others about all these matters; but never once had there come to my mind this simple thought.

And yet, it could not be otherwise.
Now, in the Wave Series, I have written about "programs" to some considerable extent, describing in some clinical detail how they are created and maintained. This is precisely what Gurdjieff is talking about, as you can see from his description of his own states above:

I could not attain the state of "remembering myself even sufficiently to hinder the associations flowing in me automatically from certain undesirable hereditary factors of my nature.

As soon as the accumulation of energy which enabled me to be in an active state was exhausted, at once associations of both thoughts and feelings began to flow in the direction of objects diametrically opposite to the ideals of my consciousness.

When I found myself in a state of complete dissatisfaction with food and sex, the leading factor of these associations of mine appeared to be primarily vindictiveness and, in a state of full satisfaction, they proceeded on a theme of the forthcoming pleasure of a meal and sex or of the gratification of self-love, vanity, pride, jealousy and other passions.
As I have said, this is the same state described by Castaneda as "the Predator's Mind." Gurdjieff said that, unless a man can crystallize a "soul," he is "food for the moon." Castaneda put it a slightly different way:

We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so. ...I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico. ...They took us over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them.

I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success of failure. They have give us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal....

In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous maneuver - stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now. ...

'I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its maneuver is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear. ...

They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. ...

What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat. There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
Now, of course, what has always intrigued me is the question as to whether or not Castaneda borrowed some of his ideas from Gurdjieff and simply gave them a Southwest spin. That's not really important, what is important is having the same thing described in different ways so that it becomes possible for people with different thinking styles and semantic fields to be able to get it.

But I think you can agree that Gurdjieff and Castaneda are both describing essentially the same problem that I have described in terms of imprinting and social programming, etc. Gurdjieff and Castaneda also spend some time talking about it in these terms, though I have added the clinical descriptions of how such programming is "fixed" in the brain and how difficult it is to overcome it and find that which is truly of the SELF, of the true CONSCIOUSNESS and lay new circuits.

Now, the important thing to notice is that Gurdjieff came to this idea under great shock and stress. Castaneda's Don Juan mentions that the "Three phase progression" which led to becoming free of the predator was learned during the "conquest." Well, Gurdjieff was also in a "war" situation, running and hiding from combatants, getting shot, fearing for his life daily, and so on.

Don Juan's three phase progression, described as the mode of approach to becoming a Warrior who is Free, consists of:

1. Holding your own in facing petty tyrants.
2. Facing the unknown with courage.
3. Standing in the presence of the unknowable.

Now, Gurdjieff attempted to teach the idea of "self-observation" to people and he also talked about the necessity of doing this in a group, with a teacher, and that it must be done with the proper application of shocks. Somehow, Ouspensky seems to have not placed the proper emphasis on that part or it gets lost in all the other words. In fact, it seems that when certain shocks were applied to Ouspensky himself, for the purpose of getting him to the "real deal," he was not able to go there. That was the point at which he broke with Gurdjieff. (To get a full idea of this issue of Ouspensky, read "Struggle of the Magicians.")

In Life is Real, Gurdjieff mentions the fact that different people, depending on their own make-up, took different parts of his ideas and considered them to be the "whole cheese" while, in fact, they didn't realize that they were already lost. One of these that he specifically mentions as being taken out of its proper context, is the idea of "self-remembering."

Putting it all together, utilizing the material I have assembled in The Wave regarding how neurological systems are patterned, and what is necessary to make or break these circuits, it is clear that the issue of shocks, struggle with the self (yes and no, I want, I don't want), is crucial. And this is represented by Don Juan as petty tyrants.

The point is, just going around trying to "self-remember" as Ouspensky talks about it is probably a waste of time. Also, playing with so-called "occult methods" is also a waste of time. Notice particularly what Gurdjieff said about so-called "occult teachings":

In my past life, being forever merciless to my natural weaknesses, and almost all the time jealously keeping watch over myself, I could attain almost anything within the limits of man's possibilities, and in some fields attained even to such a degree of power as not one man, perhaps not even in any past epoch, had ever attained.

For instance, the development of the power of my thoughts had been brought to such a level that by only a few hours of self-preparation I could from a distance of tens of miles kill a yak; or, in twenty-four hours, could accumulate life forces of such compactness that I could in five minutes put to sleep an elephant.

At the same time, in spite of all my desires and endeavors, I could not succeed in "remembering myself in the process of my general common life with others so as to be able to manifest myself, not according to my nature but according to the previous instructions of my "collected consciousness."
The work of "self-remembering" has to be done in a group, under certain circumstances that include regular shocks; the process has to be carefully observed and directed, and the circumstances of life itself are, in general, when wisely utilized, the perfect instruments of attaining this "godlike" state. (Though, as Gurdjieff noted, godlike to SCALE. Anybody who thinks that they can become "godlike" to another, is on the WRONG track!)

As it happens, we live in a time when this type of work is greatly facilitated by the conditions of our world. In Gurdjieff's case, he lived through various tribal altercations on a local scale. Don Juan talked about the seers of the conquest developing their ideas under extremely difficult circumstances probably similar to what we experience today - at least psychologically, though for some, in physical fact. (Unfortunately, the conditions of their own lives did not facilitate this development in either Ouspensky or Castaneda.)

Of late, we have an additional way of understanding the process: psychopaths vs. normal man. That certainly maps to Don Juan's "petty tyrants" and Three Phase Progression.

So, in conclusion, let me just say that the most important time to observe yourself is when you are in an emotional state, when you are acting prompted by your "programs," or your "predator's mind" or in some stressful situation. As Gurdjieff described it:

Continuing to think about this under the influence, from one side, of a distant hollow din formed from sounds of milliards of lives of all possible outer forms and, from the other side, of an awesome silence, in me gradually rose in relation to myself a critical faculty of unprecedented strength.

At the beginning there were recollected in me all my blunders in my former searches.

While from one side I constated my blunders and in general the imperfections of the methods previously applied by me, from the other side it became clear how I ought to have acted in this or that instance. I remember very well how my strength waned from these tense thoughts and, during this, some part of me time and again ordered me to get up quickly and rouse myself in order to stop such thoughts, but this I could not do, so strongly had I been involved in these same thoughts.
Mouravieff has given to us the "Doctrine of the Present" which is the method by which one exerts the self, under conditions of shock, to do precisely that. It consists in shining the light of consciousness on any situation, while holding the emotions of the shock at a certain "level" so that the energy of the emotional center does not flood the intellectual center.

But again, this practice - which effectively begins to re-wire the neurological circuitry (as I explain in some clinical detail in my alchemy lectures) - must be assisted. Most people cannot stop, at the instant of a shock, and apply consciousness to a situation without some serious help from others to keep them focused.

I'll give you an example: I learned from my pediatrician a nifty trick for dealing with a crying child: ask a question. No matter what the child is crying about, a boo boo or hurt feelings, if you ask them a question, ask them to describe for you what happened, with repeated questions about the details, they will stop being "lost in the emotion" and will begin to think. And as they begin to think, the whole issue changes for them, the light of consciousness is brought to bear on the problem and you are then able to add input to the newly forming circuit that helps them to heal internally or, at least, to prevent the formation of a "crybaby circuit." It can turn the entire event into a mode of consciousness raising.

But when a person is adult, is acting on old, strong circuits of programming, and something from the environment triggers those old programs, it can be VERY difficult to get them to stop the emotion from flooding the intellect and to actually shine the light of consciousness on the matter with full objectivity.

Certainly, you can observe yourself as you become emotional about something, notice how you say and do things that are exactly against your conscious aims, or which lead you into situations where you just screw up again and again. Heck, some people aren't even aware that it is their programs that lead them into creating messes in their lives over and over again. They think that they are really thinking and that the thoughts they are thinking are accurate reflections of reality.

That's where the tuning of the instrument comes in.

Surely you have had the experience where some emotional upset has occurred between you and some other person. Maybe it creates a break in relations that is very hurtful. So, years go by in which you think about it again and again. And each time you think about it, as time passes, you find that the emotional content fades away until finally, one day, you see that you did a very dumb thing and the whole problem was your own ideas that something was a certain way, that you misunderstood, and then - after all that time - you finally see that it could have turned out so differently if you had just not been under that emotional cloud that twisted your thinking.

Now, imagine being shocked into such situations and having help from others to go through this process very, very fast, to be able to work through the emotional layers and get to the objective truth by having the light of consciousness - without emotion - directed on the event.

In short, THAT is the process of self-remembering: it can really only be done under conditions of shock for it to be useful to you, however. Though, for a time it is helpful to just observe yourself and take note of all the programs in you that you can identify... all the ways in which you react mechanically to things based on the emotional programs set in you by your familial and social programming, as well as based on certain tendencies of your physiological nature, and of course, varied experiences.
 

kenlee

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One thing I have found about self observation is that if I expect results then it becomes imagination. But if I make my efforts without expectation then I come to this one very valuable conclusion, which is that my efforts to observe myself brings me to the realization of how very rare it is when I actually objectively observe myself. This, I think is where it all begins, when I realize that I never observe myself.

Mrs. Pogson who was a student of Dr. Maurice Nicholl (who was a student of Jung, Ouspensky, and Gurdjieff ) has this to say about self remembering and self observation.

Excerpt from the book 'The Work Life' by Beryl Pogson:

Question: The Work speaks of self observation as the observation of one's bad psychic functions; but it can also mean, can it not, observation of manifestations which are not bad in themselves?

Mrs. Pogson: It means observation of one's whole psychology.

Question: Does it then approximate self remembering?

Mrs. Pogson: No, they are not the same. But self observation should be done in connection with self remembering, so that there is looking down and looking up at the same time. There is no reason why we should observe ourselves, unless we want self knowledge in order to approach, and eventually unite with, something higher in ourselves

Question: So we have to remember that we have to observe ourselves for a purpose, and do not do it as a thing in itself?

Mrs. Pogson: Yes, it cannot be done as a thing in itself. You remember at Dorton we talked about the two inscriptions at Delphi: "Know thyself" and "Thou art," in which these two things --self observation and self remembering--are linked.

Question: It has to be done in connection with our big aim?

Mrs.Pogson: Yes. Otherwise why observe ourselves at all?

Question: What does it mean looking up and looking down?

Mrs. Pogson: Looking down means looking from a higher place, a more internal place
in oneself, so that it is not just one "I" observing another. And looking up means looking up to the highest we know.
One thing about self remembering and self observation is that I think these concepts go very deep and there is always deeper and deeper ways of understanding these concepts. But one will never undersand them if one 'seeks' or 'grasps' for them as things in themselves. The deeper and deeper understanding of these concepts is a natural progression and this deeper understanding simply comes by itself as one pursues, without prejudice, one's aim for objective knowledge.

I think self remembering is connected with one's level of Being or level of consciousness and self observation is connected with one's will to know.

I think Carlos Castaneda gave a good description of self remembering and self observation in his book Tales Of Power where he describes a seperation within himself between his 'tonal'. and his 'nagual'. It shows me how deeper levels of consciousness makes one "more able" to understand and "see" one's inner world. But one must be willing to study what one sees from the greater inner light of consciousness.

Not doubt, Castaneda was familiar with the Gurdjieff teachings but I think he chose to look at the concepts from a different vantage point. I put the more relevant parts in bold.

Excerpt from "Tales of Power" - by Carlos Castaneda
Part Three: The Sorcerer's Explaination
The Bubble of Perception

In front of us there was a ravenous beast, a giant nauseating-looking coyote or wolf. Its whole body was covered with a white secretion like perspiration or saliva. Its hair was raggedy and wet. Its eyes were wild. It growled with a blind fury that sent chills through me. Its jaw shivered and globs of saliva flew all over the place. It pawed the ground like a mad dog trying to get loose from a chain. Then it stood on its hind legs and moved its front paws and its jaws rabidly. All its fury seemed to be concentrated on breaking some barrier in front of us.

I became aware that my fear of that crazed animal was of a different sort than the fear of the two apparitions I had witnessed before. My dread of that beast was a physical revulsion and horror. I looked on in utter impotence at its rage. Suddenly it seemed to lose its wildness and trotted out of sight.

I heard then something else coming towards us, or perhaps I sensed it. All of a sudden the shape of a colossal feline loomed in front of us. I first saw its eyes in the darkness. They were huge and fixed like two pools of water reflecting light. It snorted and growled softly. It exhaled air and moved back and forth in front of us without taking its eyes away from us. It did not have the electric glow that the coyote had. I could not distinguish its features clearly, and yet its presence was infinitely more ominous than the other beast's. It seemed to be gathering strength. I felt that it was so daring that it would go beyond its limits.

Pablito must have had a similar feeling, for he whispered that I should duck my head and lie almost flat against the ground. A second later the feline charged. It ran towards us and then it leaped with its paws extended forward. I closed my eyes and hid my head in my arms against the ground. I felt that the beast had ripped the protective line that don Genaro had drawn around us and was actually on top of us. I felt its weight pinning me down. The fur on its belly rubbed against my neck. It seemed that its forelegs were caught in something. It wriggled to set itself free. I felt its jerking and prodding and heard its diabolic puffing and hissing.

I knew then that I was lost. I had a vague sense of a rational choice and I wanted to resign myself calmly to my fate of dying there, but I was afraid of the physical pain of dying under such awful circumstances.

Then some strange force surged from my body. It was as if my body refused to die and pooled all its strength in one single point, my left arm and hand. I felt an indomitable surge coming through it. Something uncontrollable was taking possession of my body; something that forced me to push the massive malignant weight of that beast off of us. Pablito seemed to have reacted in the same fashion and we both stood up at once. There was so much energy created by both of us that the beast was flung like a rag doll.

The exertion had been supreme. I collapsed on the ground, panting for air. The muscles of my stomach were so tense that I could not breathe. I did not pay any attention to what Pablito was doing.

I finally noticed that don Juan and don Genaro were helping me to sit up. I saw Pablito spread on the ground face down with his arms outstretched. He seemed to have fainted. After they had made me sit up, don Juan and don Genaro helped Pablito. Both of them rubbed his stomach and back. They made him stand up and after a while he could sit up by himself again.

Don Juan and don Genaro sat on the ends of the half-moon, and then they began to move in front of us as if a rail existed between the two points, a rail that they were using to shift their positions back and forth from one side to the other. Their movements made me dizzy.

They finally stopped next to Pablito and began to whisper in his ear. After a moment they stood up, all three of them at once, and walked to the edge of the cliff. Don Genaro lifted Pablito as if he were a child. Pablito's body was stiff like a board. Don Juan held Pablito by the ankles. He whirled him around, seemingly to gain momentum and force, and finally he let go of his legs and hurled his body out over the abyss away from the edge of the cliff.

I saw Pablito's body against the dark western sky. It described circles, just like don Juan's body had done days before. The circles were slow. Pablito seemed to be gaining altitude instead of falling down. Then the circling became accelerated. Pablito's body twirled like a disk for a moment and then it disintegrated. I perceived that it had vanished in thin air.

Don Juan and don Genaro came to my side, squatted by me and proceeded to whisper in my ears. Each said something different, yet I had no trouble in following their commands. It was as if I became 'split' the instant they uttered their first words. I felt that they were doing with me what they had done with Pablito.

Don Genaro made me whirl and then I had the thoroughly conscious sensation of spinning or floating for a moment. Next I was rushing through the air; plummeting down to the ground at a tremendous speed.

I felt, as I was falling, that my clothes were ripping off, then my flesh fell off, and finally only my head remained. I had the very clear sensation that as my body became dismembered I lost my superfluous weight, and thus my falling lost its momentum and my speed decreased.

My descent was no longer a vertigo. I began to move back and forth like a leaf. Then my head was stripped of its weight and all that was left of 'me' was a square centimeter, a nugget, a tiny pebblelike residue.

All my feeling was concentrated there. Then the nugget seemed to burst and I was a thousand pieces. I knew, or something somewhere knew, that I was aware of the thousand pieces at once. I was the awareness itself.

Then some part of that awareness began to be stirred. It rose; grew. It became localized, and little by little I regained the sense of boundaries, consciousness, or whatever, and suddenly the 'me' I knew and was familiar with erupted into the most spectacular view of all the imaginable combinations of 'beautiful' scenes. It was as if I were looking at thousands of pictures: of the world, of people, of things.

The scenes then became blurry. I had the sensation that they were being passed in front of my eyes at a greater speed until I could not single out any of them for examination. Finally it was as if I were witnessing the organization of the world rolling past my eyes in an unbroken, endless chain.

I suddenly found myself standing on the cliff with don Juan and don Genaro. They whispered that they had pulled me back, and that I had witnessed the unknown that no one can talk about. They said that they were going to hurl me into it once more, and that I should let the wings of my perception unfold and touch the 'tonal' and the 'nagual' at once without being aware of going back and forth from one to the other.

I again had the sensations of being tossed, spinning, and falling down at a tremendous speed. Then I exploded. I disintegrated. Something in me gave out. It released something I had kept locked up all my life.

I was thoroughly aware then that my secret reservoir had been tapped and that it poured out unrestrainedly. There was no longer the sweet unity I call 'me'. There was nothing and yet that nothing was filled. It was not light or darkness, hot or cold, pleasant or unpleasant. It was not that I moved or floated or was stationary. Neither was I a single unit nor a 'self' as I am accustomed to being.

I was a myriad of selves which were all 'me'; a colony of separate units that had a special allegiance to one another and would join unavoidably to form one single awareness- my human awareness.

It was not that I 'knew' beyond the shadow of a doubt because there was nothing I could have 'known' with, but all my single awarenesses 'knew' that the 'I', the 'me', of my familiar world was a colony; a conglomerate of separate and independent feelings that had an unbending solidarity to one another. The unbending solidarity of my countless awarenesses, and the allegiance that those parts had for one another was my life force.

A way of describing that unified sensation would be to say that those nuggets of awareness were scattered. Each of them was aware of itself and none was more predominant than the other.

Then something would stir them, and they would join and emerge onto an area where all of them had to be pooled in one clump; the 'me' I know.

As the 'me myself' then, I would witness a coherent scene of worldly activity; or a scene that pertained to other worlds and which I thought must have been pure imagination; or a scene that pertained to 'pure thinking'- that is, I had views of intellectual systems, or of ideas strung together as verbalizations.

In some scenes I talked to myself to my heart's content. After every one of those coherent views the 'me' would disintegrate and be nothing once more.


During one of those excursions into a coherent view I found myself on the cliff with don Juan. I instantly realized that I was then the total 'me' I am familiar with. I felt my physicality as real. I was in the world rather than merely viewing it.

Don Juan hugged me like a child. He looked at me. His face was very close. I could see his eyes in the darkness. They were kind. They seemed to hold a question. I knew what it was. The unspeakable was truly unspeakable.
 

Pierre

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The cinema parable is quite a famous one.

When you go to the cinema, you can watch the movie (your tonal, your mind) and totally identify to the acting, the actors, the actions (the fruits of your mind : thoughts, emotions, sensations,...) another solution is to watch the movie (your mind), to enjoy it though you are conscious (your consciousness, the nagual, the spirit) that you are here seating in front of the screen as a spectator. Imagine spendind you life doing that (Self observing your self 100% of the time) . It would be quite boring. There are things that would be much funnier : standing up and exploring the projector room for example. Remembering / rediscovering what is behind the self.
 
T

The Gardener

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Maam, I thank your kind and generous guidance.
Kenlee that was a fantastic post: Thank you.

Perhaps it will be suggestive for some the next information: I have been reading Ouspensky's "The Fourth Way" because, since months ago, I have been trying to localize "In Search of the Miraculous", and have not been able to find it anywhere.
It was just only last week that I was finally able to order a bunch of books, both from QFG and Amazon. On this order comes ISOTM.
But Gurdjieff's books are available in a beautiful edition. This I have also been reading, so I wish to add the next fragments to Laura's post.
My editions are in spanish, and again, it is from here that I translate into englihs.
I beg you patience if you find it faulty. Although I was very careful on the translation, I certainly will welcome and appreciate any correction, improvement or observation to it.
Two fragments from "Life is Real only then, when I am".

On the final paragraphs of the first conference, Gurdjieff wrote:

Among the numerous particularities that I clarifyed during my rescent observations regarding the apearance of certain specific property on the psychism of those who, in different countries, have come to be followers of my ideas, I think it will be enough to point only one of them, due to the fact that the totality of the data of the psychic functioning, ordinarly crystalized on men under the action of the mechanical influences of the ambient, ends-up building an automatic factor of initiative for the manifestation of their subjectivity. This particularity consists on that, those followers, are possessed, on both the automatic flow of their asociations, and during their semi-conscious interchange of opinions, by a need of to enthusiastically and stubbornly argue, as if trully pushed by a fixated idea they perceive and manifest with increasing intensity and, unavoidably, choose as themes, excluding others, certain informations, on times totally insignificant, the which clarify but one single particular aspect our of the numerous matters that only in conjunt can they evidence the essence of my ideas.
For instance, on those followers who inhabit certain region of Russia, the only part out of the whole of informations gathered from here and there, which is strongly crystalized on their, so to speack, "conscient", is that that, by means of examples and analogies, theorically explains that the general presence of man consist of three parts independently builded and trained, and this is the only basis on the which they stablish the truth of my ideas. On others, stablished on a different region, it has crystalized, from several fragments of probatory explanations, the unique idea that the man who has never intentionally worked for his perfection does not only lacks of soul, but also of spirit.
Those who live in Germany, specially in Baviera, thanks to certain assimilated informations about the posibility of a effective nourishing from the air, and not only from ordinary food, have taken as "mania" the idea of to give to their blood such a composittion as to, without dropping the demands of the physical body, adquire the property for it to contribute at the same time to the crystalization and to the perfectioning of their astral body.
For those who live on the capital of England, the "madness" -or, better said, what was more convenient to they "english soul", and which has become the fixated idea on their psychism- was the sinthetic conclussion of the totality of my theorical informations defined by the expression "to remember one's self", notion considered a necesity.
Those who today live on the north of Greece have showed their preference, to the point of making of it the center of gravity of my ideas, to the "Law of Seven", to the "three aspects of existance" of every happening, and things like that.
As for you, northamericans, who precisely constitute the courrent group, the fixated idea is based on isolated fragments, also this one gathered from here and there, of that unique element -extracted from the twentyfour seccions that constitute the fundamental divisions of the whole of informations containing the theoretical explanation of my ideas- on the which I have been telling you rescently refering to the matter of the "self-observation", underlining that this element was a indispensable requisit at the beguining of the work on the self.
On the Second Conference, Gurdjieff wrote:

Mr. Orage, who I had leaved in northamerica -whose one and only occupation had been, first of all, to fulfil my instructions with the objective of the second trip that I was planing and who continued captivated by my ideas, not yet being entirely under the influence of his "left shoulder angel"- since he knew, in all its details, about the catastophe that I had suffered, he devoted him self, during several months, to recolect money to send me a part to the Prieur�, taking advantage of the strong impression that I had caused on those connationals of yours which was kept by inertia.
At the same time, since he evidently wanted to give to this colects a exterior justification, started to direct, without my permission, clases of "rhythmic movements" that I had organized in New York. Besides, understanding the necesity as well as the enourmous dificulty to provide for him self the means to send me the money and, at the same time, to face the excessive expenses of his new family life -because his idyll ended on getting married with the bookseller of the Sunwise Turn library, a northamerican young woman whose train of life was not proportional with her situation- started, with the aim of to increase his resources, to organize talks analogous to those he had heard at the Institute, about subjects he had studied while he was there.
Once all this material had run-out, as he was not getting anything new from me, not even the slightest indication regarding what he had to do about it, nor how to go further, willingly or reluctantly, he had to continue, using the little he had assimilated during his presence at the Institute as a ordinary student and, with this rather limited knowledge, had to "manipulate at wide and length".
As I realized about it just rescently, during my actual stay, while interrogating some of your partners who since the beguining had belonged to the group directed by Mr. Orage, this, as a good "juggler", knew how to fix the things with just the preliminar data -comming from the whole of the informations that do clarify the conjunt of my ideas- that were refering to the matter that i have spoken on the previous conference, that of the "self-observation", that is, with a resume of informations that, if it is true they are a necesity to start, to whomever who tryes to fight to get to know the truth, this will lead, unmistakenly, case being this get to be the center of gravity of it's thoughts, as I have already stablished and verifyed since long time ago, to this result, the which, to my grief, I corroborate today on almost all of you.
This is totally related to Gurdjieff's car accident:

On the first conference, Gurdjieff wrote:

... the last "chord of manifestation" towards my self of that "something" that ordinarly accumulates on the collective life of men -which was noticed for the first time, as I have pointed it already on The Herald of Coming Good by the Great, trully Great King of Judea, Salomon- and that goes by the name of "Tzvarnoharno"
What is this Tzvarnoharno? This car accident on Gurdjieff's life made the room for Orage to sit in New York.
And one thinks on Laura's car crash.
 

Tigersoap

The Living Force
Thanks everyone, for these explanations.

laura said:
Now, imagine being shocked into such situations and having help from others to go through this process very, very fast, to be able to work through the emotional layers and get to the objective truth by having the light of consciousness - without emotion - directed on the event.
So this is near impossible to make progress without a group ?
Joining the QFG might be the good option then ?

From my own experiences, I don't think I can overcome everything myself.
It's too easy to delude yourself into thinking that you have made progress to realize bitterly that you end up at the same spot over and over again.
The perception might be slightly different but it's like moving moutains with my bare hands.
The sysyphus myth comes to my mind.
 
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