Self-Observation, Inner Talking & Work Instrument

this is latter part of reply #134.

Man lives on Earth, under forty-eight cosmic laws, and he himself is under many more laws. But fortunately not all of the laws under which man lives are obligatory for him, so he may escape from some of them, and possibility of evolution.
The evolution of man, if it occurs, can only be the result of knowledge and effort.

Q. In our present condition, do higher centers function, or merely lie idle?
A. There are three different theories about this,
One is that they function and that we could not live without their functioning, but that they are not connected with ordinary centers.
Second explanation is that higher center are latent; they are fully developed, but they do not work as they should.
Third is that they do not work, because there is no fuel for them; that the hydrogens which can be produced only in another state of consciousness. Men's are in a state of sleep, but when we produce enough material, then we will awake.
All these explanations are right, and they all come to the same thing.
We have to become conscious and control our lower centers in order to bring them to their best possible state, to another level of consciousness; then higher emotional and later, higher mental center will respond at once.
If we were connected with higher centers in our present state, we would go mad, Such a connection would be a great danger so long as we can have negative emotions.

Q. How do you know when emotional center is working?
A. After a time you will know by a different taste. It is same as knowing the difference between thinking about eating and actually eating. With a practice of self-observation we can distinguish each of these manifestations and put labels on them.

Q. When one has a moment of awareness, does it lead to any immediate alteration in the blood?
A. Yes it does, but that depends on how deep it is and how long.

Q. What hydrogen is thought?
A. It can be very different, just as blood is different. It begins with hydrogen 48 and can go up to H6.

Q. Can thought count as impressions?
A. Yes, but the amount of impressions coming from inside is limited; but the amount of impressions coming from outside is unlimited

Q. Is everything in the first stage of the food diagram(as human factory) entirely mechanical?
A. Certainly it is all mechanical; it is a cosmic arrangement. Man's organism works according to this general scheme.

Q. In ordinary state one makes no use of impressions?
A. Very little, not enough for development.

Q. What causes transformation of food into higher matter?
A. It is mixed with other matters higher than itself and in that way it rises; then it becomes mixed with still higher matters and rises again, and so on.

Q. Why is that the first conscious shock comes from impressions?
A. The shock does not come from impressions. Impressions are very important food, normally we have enough impressions, but we cannot digest them.

Q. I cannot understand how impressions can be food?
A. Taking in impressions means that a certain energy comes in with them. All energy that you receive is food. The food you eat is coarse material, air is finer, impressions are the finest and the most important food, man cannot live a single moment without impressions.

Q. Are some impressions good and others bad?
A. Even if impressions are good in themselves, in order to benefit from them, it is necessary to more awake. But bad impressions can come in sleep, there is nothing to stop them.

Q. When hydrogens are transmitted from higher worlds to lower, are they made lower?
A. No, they can be transmitted in a pure form. The question is can you receive them? They can only received by certain parts of centers.

Q. Do vivid impressions use a different energy from faint ones?
A. Not use, they bring energy. If you have vivid impressions, it means that certain hydrogens enter into you. Receiving impressions means getting a certain matter into yourself.

Q.Are all impressions on the same level?
A. No. It can be very varied. The great majority of impressions is hydrogen 48, in our ordinary state they do not go further. But there are some impressions H24, and in very rare cases there may be impression H12 and even H6.

Q. If one travels, does one get more impressions?
A. The capacity for receiving impressions remains the same.

Q. Can energy be conserved by means of silence?
A. Sometimes, but if you are silent all the time, you may lose more energy than in talk.

Q.Can you tell us more about different kinds of impressions?
A. Certain impressions go to the intellectual center; others to the emotional center, yet others to the moving or instinctive center. Each center has its own apparatus for receiving impressions. For instance, the impression of smell cannot be received by the intellectual center- it is received by the instinctive center.

Q. Is this special effort the general training in the system?
A. The first conscious shock is self-remembering, that is self-observation, non-identifying and so on. It is all part of this effort.

Q. What is the second conscious shock which changes the character of the human factory?
A. It is the transformation of negative emotions. It is possible only with long work on self-remembering, and then higher emotional center begins to work.

Q. It is difficult to see where the third force enters in the Food Diagram. Is it just result of the other two?
A. The process of digestion. All the stages of the process are continually going on in the organism. Suppose one is not actually eating at a given moment, but the third and fourth triads of the digestive process are in action; this means that a certain amount of what you call 'result' which is the third force, is already there.
It is necessary to understand that not only carbons but also nitrogens must be there. We cannot determine the moment when the food diagram begins. It begins when one is born, or soon after, and then it goes on throughout life.

Q. Does it all depend on consciousness?
A. All work is really concentrated on consciousness. There are no other exercises to increase the work of centers: all the work is on consciousness. When consciousness is increased, center will adapt. When we are conscious, we become connected with higher centers and then the whole picture changes.

Q. Can an outside circumstance suddenly wake you up?
A. Yes, but the next moment other outside circumstances come and make you fall asleep again, so there is no profit in it.
Only this awakening is sure which come from yourself.
Payments of higher knowledge

From, The Fourth Way
Q. The magnetic center of different people may be attracted by different ideas. Is the starting point connected with that?
A. Yes, it may be very different, but in relation to this system there must be a certain similarity of magnetic centers, so that people can work together.

Q. Is this organization a school?
A. To a certain extent we may, because we acquire a certain knowledge and at the same time we learn how to change our being. So although in a certain sense we can call ourselves a school, it is better to use this term for a bigger organization.

Q. Did I understand from what you said that this is not exactly a school?
A. For some people it may be a school, for others not.

Q. To some people the system appear as selfish.
A. The first line of work is selfish, for there you hope to gain something for yourself.
Second line is mixed-you have to take other people into consideration, so it is less selfish.
Third line is not selfish at all, for it is something you do for the school, not with the idea of-gaining somethings from the school. So the system includes in itself both.

Q. You say one must know how much one is prepared to pay. How can one pay?
A. Payment is necessary not to the school but to the people themselves, for without paying they will not get anything. The idea of payment is very important and it must be understood that payment is absolutely necessary. One can pay in one way or another way and everyone has to find that out for himself.
But nobody can get anything that he does not pay for.
Things cannot be given, they can only be bought, it is magical.
If one has knowledge, one cannot give it to another person, for only if he pays for it, can other person have it.
This is Cosmic Law.

Q. So in order to progress one must make small payments?
A. Or big.
Q. What are they?
A. You must find it for yourself. It always means a certain effort, certain doing, and it must be necessary or useful to the work.

Q. Is there connection between work on oneself and payment?
A. If you do not work on yourself, you will not be able to pay, this is the connection, who will pay? False personality cannot pay, in the attaining something in the work one gets only as much as one pays for, it is a physical law, the law of equilibrium.

Q. Different people want different things. How should we understand the meaning of school-work?
A. School-work has many different parts, all of them to help you to awake, every individual must have his own aim. If the aims of individuals fit in with the aims of the school, they work in the school. If they do not fit in they leave.

Q. I do not understand about knowledge. Is not knowledge consciousness?
A. No, consciousness is another thing. As to the idea of great knowledge, we must first of all understand that all our ordinary knowledge, including scientific knowledge is always knowledge acquired with ordinary mind.

But there is another knowledge which is acquired by a higher or more developed mind. At certain periods of history certain knowledge was collected and kept there. If you find such an accumulator, you will get the knowledge. What are these accumulators? They are schools. Man cannot develop without tapping these accumulators, but if he does, he can get energy from them, real energy.

Q. Does a man with greater knowledge have a responsibility towards those who have less? I mean a man who has esoteric knowledge?
A. Esoteric knowledge means school, so a man who has esoteric knowledge is a man who comes from a school or who is in a school. When a man acquires school knowledge, he acquires responsibility. For instance, certain knowledge may be given only certain conditions.

Q. Can a school reach a higher level than the school it started from?
A. Yes, if it works according to methods and principles of school-work, it can grow. But you must remember that the level of being of the people who constitute it.

Mr. Gurdjieff said that 200 conscious people could influence humanity.
Evolution of the conscious group,,40729.0.html
arpaxad said:
What an incredible quote by Maurice Nicoll in the opening post! I kept reading it, thinking: "Wow, this man understands the Work!", and only when I reached the end of it, I saw the M. Nicoll reference.

In my opinion, M. Nicoll's "Commentaries" are greatly underestimated in the Fourth Way world.

I wanted to chime in and agree with you regarding Nicoll's "Commentaries". I read all of G's writings, Mouravieff's "Gnosis" series, and Ouspenski's ISOTM before reading Nicoll. Commentaries is very dense in explanation of "Work" ideas and how to apply them, and it's 1766 pages! I get the sense from reading it that Nicoll had access to so much more information about the Work than we do now. Each writer talks about these ideas in thier own way, and I think hearing the same concepts from different voices can be helpful in understanding. I know that when I first read G's work and ISOTM, I missed major things due to their writing style.
How to experience another levels of energy from Objective Music

ISOTM-chapter fourteen,
There are two kinds of art, objective art and subjective art. It is only objective art that I call art, the artist really does 'create' what he intended, he puts into his work whatever ideas and feelings he wants to put into it. And the action of this work; each according to his own level, receive the same ideas and the same feeling that artist wanted to transmit to them.

Example- Music, objective music is all based on 'inner octaves'. And it can obtain not only definite psychological results but definite physical results.

There can be such music as would freeze water, such music as would kill a man instantaneously. Snake charmer's music in the East is an approach to objective music, of course very primitive, very often it is simply one note which is long drawn out rising and falling only very little; but in this single note 'inner octaves' are going on all the time and melodies of 'inner octaves' which are inaudible to the ears but felt by the emotional center. And the snake hears this music or feels it, and he obeys it. The same music only a little more complicated and men would obey it.

Inner Octaves and Eastern Music by Jeffrey Werbock,
The playing of melodies that include microtones is fairly common around the world. Exotic, haunting melodies heard in every eastern culture and among native indigenous tribes everywhere express the great variety of ways for playing melodies that include microtones.

Gurdjieff wrote that he listened actively to microtonal music from a very early age. Today through his collaborative effort with Mr. Thomas de Hartmann, even though it is not possible to play microtones on a piano, they found a way to overcome that, and thanks to their efforts, we have a tradition of polyphonic music that is based on the knowledge of the inner workings of the octave.

All matter and every vibrates. Everything is a composition of pulsating energies vibrating across the whole spectrum of frequencies. We ourselves are just such compositions made of finer and denser energies, and by actively listening to the microtones on inner octaves, we may experience a relationship with the finer levels of energies that are an integral part of our own being, sensing the presence of another level of energy, we find that higher is accessible through the inner.

But, how, exactly, can that be? How is it possible that they can touch another level of energy in us?
Gurdjieff showed how the materialities of different levels-called 'world'-stand in relation to each other: the materiality of world 48(Earth) is composed of inner octaves of the materiality of world 24, the materiality of world 24(Planets) is composed of the inner octaves of the materiality of world 12(Sun) an so on.
More information is on the reply #133.

Melodies that include microtones have two levels that relate to each other in the same way as two adjacent levels in the Universe: outer octave and inner octave.
Music that includes microtones needs the outer octave notes that frame them, because our attention cannot listen actively to a melody composed exclusively of microtones played on one inner octave.
Moreover, a microtone is only a microtone in relation to an outer octave tone. By itself it is just another tone, but when a microtone is played within the context of the outer octave tones of seven tone scale, it has the power to reach our inner octave.

Music of the Spheres and the Harmonics of Being: The Search for Awakened Listening by David Hykes,
I met the Gurdjieff work in 1975, after 5 years of magnetized search, at exactly the same time my inner and outer ears were awakened by overtone chanting from Tibet, Mongolia, and Tuva, by the Gurdjieff-de Hartmann music, by overtone music in the west.
Over the years, I gradually came to understand that harmonic presence is not just outer sound, not just inner vibration, but something universal in this cosmos, at all levels, in all octaves.

Like light, musical sound energy is a blended spectrum of pure freqencies, which in music are called harmonics or overtones. This primordial scale governs the structure of every musical sound.
Every note, whether chanted, sung or played as well as any harmonic resonance, whether of a "string" of "string theory" at the microcosmic level, of any of the infinite stars, or of the echoes of the cosmos itself, is a blend of these pure vibrations.
Besides being universal to musical sound, the harmonic series is innately part of the entire Creation, as much so as light, relativity, gravity and heat: harmonic waves-the cosmic background radiation- were an integral energy in the earliest phase of the current Creation. All wave-like energies take the form of the harmonic series in responsive bodies and space.

The Gurdjieff, De Hartmann music has a very special quality indeed, which we can feel, depending on the state we're in when we hear it.
If one listens very attentively, within and beyond the music's, there are the harmonic vibrations of another kind of time, another kind of place, that of sacred listening, of inner work.

The Music of Gurdjieff and De Hartmann.
Gurdjieff's greatest legacies is music he created with Thomas Hartmann, they composed more than 300 pieces of music based on traditional and religious sons, chants, hymns and prayers.
Gurdjieff believed, that which he called 'objective music' were the repositories of ancient esoteric-knowledge and were able to influence the spiritual development of human beings who were receptive to it. Interestingly triad of effects on the harmonious development of the Physical, Emotional and Intellectual side of an individual.

Listeners without musical training maybe more receptive to the music, as they are less likely to concentrate on its technical elements and more likely to respond directly to the emotional quality of the music.
This is a third and last part of reply #134-The Hydrogen and Growth of the Higher Bodies.

If there were no Law of Seven, everything in the world would go to its final conclusion, but because of this law everything deviates.
For instance, if rain begin, it would go on without stopping. But they stop because of the Law of Seven.

At every missing semi-tone(interval) things deviate, they do not go straight lines. At the same time, the Law of Seven(Law of Octaves) explains that, if you know how to, you can give an additional shock to an Octave and keep the line straight.

Q. What is mean remember yourself?
A. It's means that same thing as to be aware of oneself- it is not a function, not thinking, not feeling, it is a different state of consciousness.

Q. When you say that self-observation is the way towards self-consciousness, must one observe during the exact experience?
A. As much as one can. When you realize that you can think with one part of your mind and observe with another part there will be no complication or confusion.

Q. Does one acquire knowledge of oneself through self-observation?
A. If we want to develop consciousness and improve our functions, try and stop some of functions which are useless and harmful.
For instance, particularly in observing the emotional function, try to stop as much as possible all expression of negative emotions.
Many people lives practically consist of that, they express negative emotions at every possible moment, on any occasion, whether suitable or unsuitable, they can always find something wrong in everything.
Another useless function is talk, particularly those people who talk most think that they never talk. This is very useful subject for watching.

Q. Are self remembering and stopping thoughts the same thing?
A. Not exactly, stopping thought is simply creating a right atmosphere right surroundings, for self-remembering. So they are not the same thing, but they bring the same results.

Q. What is the relationship between self-remembering and negative emotion?
A. When negative emotion appears self-remembering becomes impossible. Only those who have certain control of negative emotions can work on self-remembering and get good results.

Q. Is the aim of non-identifying to free the mind from objective?
A. Identified mind is asleep. Freedom from identifying is one of the side of awakening.

Q. Can you give an example of identification?
A. For instance, take Like and Dislike. They all mean identification, especially Dislikes.

Q. The question of imagination.
A. When imagination is under our control, we do not even call it imagination; we call it by various names-visualization, creative thinking, inventive thinking, but when it comes by itself and controls us that we are in its power, then we call it imagination.

Q.what is the distinction in the meaning of attention and consciousness?
A. Attention can be regarded as the elementary beginning of consciousness- the first degree. It is not full awareness for it is only directed one way.
As I said, consciousness needs double attention.
The method of divided attention(double attention) is on reply#129.

Q. Is talking always mechanical?
A. In most cases. This is one of the first things one has to observe and difficult to struggle with, but it must be done.

Q. Negative emotions always be mechanical?
A. What is opposit to mechanical? Conscious. Who will have negative emotions consciously? So certainly they are mechanical.

Q. How is it possible to live under two such different law as the Law of Accident, and the Law of Cause and Effect?
A. I see no contradiction, cause and effect in relation to the laws under result of your own actions, and accident means something happening to you without relation to your action.

Q. What do you call center of gravity?
A. It is a more or less permanent aim and realization of the relative importance of things in connection with this aim. This means that certain interests become more important than anything else. The stronger your center of gravity, the more you are free from accident.
When you change your direction every moment , then every moment something new may happen and every accident can turn you one way or another way.
But if your intentional activity, such as self-remembering, becomes so definite, so intense and so continual as to leave no place for accidents.

Q. How can one conquer this inertia?
A. By effort; Two things can be developed in man- Consciousness and Will. Both are forces. If man understands the nature of the powers he can attains, it will be clear to him that they cannot be given; these powers must be developed. Self-remembering means conscious work, intentional work, that comes by your own effort.

Q. I do not understand clearly what Being is?
A. It is you, what you are. The more you know yourself, the more you know your being, because we are not what we think ourselves to be, if we manage to have more control of ourselves, it will mean that our being has changed. But we all think of ourselves differently from what we are in reality.

Session 12 December 1995,
A. The point is: stop filling your consciousness with monotheistic philosophies planted long ago to imprison your Being.
Can't you see it by now, after all you have learned, that there is no source, there is no leader, there is no basis, there is no overseer, etc... You literally possess, within your consciousness profile, all the power that exists within all of creation!?!
You absolutely have all that exists, ever has, or ever will, contained within your mind. All you have to do is learn how to use it, and at that moment, you will literally, literally, be all that is, was and ever will be !!!!!!!!
Gurdjieff's Paris apartment 1938

Sexual Function
Questioner: Why are the major part of the associations, which interfere with the work, sexual association?
Gurdjieff: This question is subjective. It is not so for all men. Each man has in him three excrements which elaborate themselves and which must be rejected.

The first is the result of ordinary nourishment and eliminates itself natually, and this must be each day.
The second excrement which is rejected from you by the sexual function. It is necessary for health and the equilibrium of the body: and certainly it is necessary in some to do it each day, in other each is subjective.
For this you must choose a proper bathroom. One that is good for you.
The third excrement is formed in the head- it is rubbish of food impressions, and the wastes accumulate in the brain.

It is not necessary to mingle the acts of sex with sentiment. It is sometimes abnormal to make them coincide. The sexual act is a function. One can regard it as external to him, although love is internal. Love is love. It has no need of sex. It can be felt for a person of the same sex, for an animal even, and the sexual function is not mixed up there.
Sometimes it is normal to unite them, this corresponds to one of the aspects of love. It is easier to love this way. But at the same time it is then difficult to remain impartial as love demands.

Likewise if one considers the sexual function as necessary medically, why would one love remedy, a medicine?
The sexual act originally must have been performed only for the purpose of reproduction of the species, but little by little men have made of it a means of pleasure. It must have been a sacred act.

One must know that this divine seed, the Sperm, has another function, that of the construction of a second body in us, from whence the sentence,
Happy he who understanding the function of the 'exioehary' for the transformation of his being, unhappy he who uses them in a unilateral manner.

Q: Why do religions forbid the sexual act?
G: Because originally we know the use of this substance, whence the chasteness of the monks. Now we have forgotten this knowledge and there only remains the prohibition.

Q: Mr. Gurdjieff, this sex function is a function. It is not something one must reduce and flatten as much as possible?
G: The functions are part of us, but of dogs, that is of weaknesses around our functions. Functions are the villages- one cannot change them. As for dogs, yes, one must change their breed.
Q: I suppose there are more dogs in a weaker village. Is it so?
G: Perhaps the village becomes weak because it has many dogs to weaken it.

Q: How to recognize these dogs?
G: We have four centers, four localities, four villages where these dogs live. These villages are: thought, feeling, sensation, and sex- which is very important village.
First thing is to get rid of the dog in the village of sex. Then in the others.
But how to tie them?
First of all you set yourself the task of never letting the dogs go on as before. Hit them on the head!
One after another you master all these dogs.
And then you pass on to another village.

It is not a question of killing them. But they must never take upper hand, they must never be allowed to fix your "I" and get possession of it.

G: There are two different things under different laws;
1-the organic body,
2-the psychic body.

The organic body obeys its Laws. It only wishes to satisfy its needs- eating, sleeping, sex. It knows nothing else. It wishes nothing else. It is a real animal. One must subdue it, train it and make it obey, instead of obeying it.

The psychic body knows something. It has other needs, other aspirations, other desires. It belongs to a different world. It is a different nature.

There is a conflict between these two bodies- one wishes, the other does not. It is a struggle which one must reinforce voluntarily. By our work, by our will.
It is this fight which exists naturally which is the specific state of man, which we must use to create a third thing, a third state , different from the other two, which is the Master, which is united with something else.

The task is, therefore, only by this struggle can a new possibility of being be born, a conscious voluntary struggle which calls the third force. It is the third force which will be the factor-"I"- which will conciliate and make the equilibrium.
One must know oneself. One must see what goes on. Take a task which is within your possibility, very small to begin with. On eating. On a habit.
The only possibility of creating a second body is by an accumulation of a different substance.
I read the book ''The Oragaen Version'' and right now I am trying to work on my Chief Feature. When do you know that you your chief feature has ''matured'' as it is called in the book so you can move on to self observation. And another question is: do you necessarily need personal assistance from a professional in the process of self-observation, or can you do it on your own, following the instructions given in the book.

I also read that, before moving on to the process of self-observation, ''one must repudiate his identification with all aspects of the body''. What does this practically mean and how does one do it. I think I have found something that comes close: I can observe my chief feature (in operation in my own behaviour) and my body to the point that I dis-identify with my whole body and kind of become the ''Observer''. Is this what is meant? And is it dangerous for me to do this at this point (I am a relative beginner).

Thank you in advance.
I haven't read the book myself with that I cannot comment in that regard. Regarding the chief feature and changing anything long observation would be required. I think Gurdjieff says it in the book In search of the miraculous that one should first observe oneself before attempting any changes. And how does the book explain the chief feature for example?

thebest said:
I read the book ''The Oragaen Version'' and right now I am trying to work on my Chief Feature. When do you know that you your chief feature has ''matured'' as it is called in the book so you can move on to self observation. And another question is: do you necessarily need personal assistance from a professional in the process of self-observation, or can you do it on your own, following the instructions given in the book.

What are the instructions given in the book? I think a professional could be of help, but he needs to be on the same page and know the work material. But as written for example in the book from Timothy Wilson Strangers to ourselves people that barely know us are more likely to us better than we ourselves. With that a network of people like this forum here is in regard of the work the best help and identifier of the chief feature.

Anyway, there is a great topic available about self observation and I would highly recommend it for reading.

By the way, since it is your first post on the forum, we would appreciate it if you could write a minor intro in the newbies section for other members. I.e. how you found this forum if you already know Lauras work and so on. Though nothing personal needs to be shared.
Re: Self-Observation, Inner Talking & Work Instrument

The threads have been merged. Good reading :)
Re: Self-Observation, Inner Talking & Work Instrument

Gawan said:
I haven't read the book myself with that I cannot comment in that regard. Regarding the chief feature and changing anything long observation would be required. I think Gurdjieff says it in the book In search of the miraculous that one should first observe oneself before attempting any changes. And how does the book explain the chief feature for example?

thebest said:
I read the book ''The Oragaen Version'' and right now I am trying to work on my Chief Feature. When do you know that you your chief feature has ''matured'' as it is called in the book so you can move on to self observation. And another question is: do you necessarily need personal assistance from a professional in the process of self-observation, or can you do it on your own, following the instructions given in the book.

What are the instructions given in the book? I think a professional could be of help, but he needs to be on the same page and know the work material. But as written for example in the book from Timothy Wilson Strangers to ourselves people that barely know us are more likely to us better than we ourselves. With that a network of people like this forum here is in regard of the work the best help and identifier of the chief feature.

Anyway, there is a great topic available about self observation and I would highly recommend it for reading.

By the way, since it is your first post on the forum, we would appreciate it if you could write a minor intro in the newbies section for other members. I.e. how you found this forum if you already know Lauras work and so on. Though nothing personal needs to be shared.

Hi. The book says that work starts with observing yourself. You have to find your ''chief feature''. Once you have found it, it says that you have to ''watch it's manifestation in your behaviour.'' This means that you have to ''observe'' how the chief feature manifests itself in your behaviour. He says that by doing this, the chief feature will ''alter and change by itself'' (the longer you observe, the more altering will take place.). It will do so moreover, without the substitution of anyting more harmful in it's place. The chief feature will ''commence to mature''. Further he says, that after you have ''disidentified'' yourself from your chief feature, you can move on to (the real) self-observation. The self-observation in the Oragean Version is, I believe, different, than what people see under self-obserevation in the Ouspenskian Version. You can read the book, somewhere on page 100-110, the ''self-observation'', as Orage understood it, is described.

Personally, the Oragean Version appeals to me more than the Ouspenskian Version because the fact that I find the former more practical. I believe there are people on this forum who are familiar with the Oragean Version, as I have found the book on this forum.
Re: Self-Observation, Inner Talking & Work Instrument

Hi thebest and :welcome: to the forum.

Just a note to inform you we have a 4-page topic on chief feature here: Chief Feature.

Remember, the search function (on top of every page) is your best friend ! ;)

Hope this helps a bit.

[mod: fixed link]
Re: Self-Observation, Inner Talking & Work Instrument

Thanks mkrnhr for watching my back and fixing the link. I didn't notice that it failed to connect properly. :-[
Re: Self-Observation, Inner Talking & Work Instrument

thebest said:
I read the book ''The Oragaen Version'' and right now I am trying to work on my Chief Feature. When do you know that you your chief feature has ''matured'' as it is called in the book so you can move on to self observation. And another question is: do you necessarily need personal assistance from a professional in the process of self-observation, or can you do it on your own, following the instructions given in the book.

I also read that, before moving on to the process of self-observation, ''one must repudiate his identification with all aspects of the body''. What does this practically mean and how does one do it. I think I have found something that comes close: I can observe my chief feature (in operation in my own behaviour) and my body to the point that I dis-identify with my whole body and kind of become the ''Observer''. Is this what is meant? And is it dangerous for me to do this at this point (I am a relative beginner).

Thank you in advance.

Self-Observation doesn't require any prior work, as it is pretty much the first step one must take.

In general, it is almost impossible to progress on the Path on your own, as there are way too many ways we can fool ourselves and get stuck. So some form of feedback, be it in the form of a group or a good teacher (or both), is necessary.

Seeing from the perspective of the Observer is very good practice and I don't think there is anything dangerous about it. It is actually more 'advanced' than self-observation during the day, since you go deeper by connecting with the Observer.

Regarding the Chief Feature, it really depends on what is meant by that, since there can be several definitions and some of that work is really advanced, eg. karmic issues that we discover only after working through a good portion of mental programs and emotional issues. In the beginning the Chief Feature may be something like our main hangup and what blocks us the most from making the next necessary step.

In the thread that Palinurus linked to there is a good suggestion to explore one's Enneagram personality type - its traits, strengths, weaknesses, main fears and in this way gain more clarity on one's Chief Feature(s).
I am trying to self-observe, rather than know myself only. I am starting to know myself better, which does no harm, but I realize that, as Craig said in #1, the start of it all is to self-observe. Since I'm still relatively new to posting on the forum (I've been reading here, and from the suggested readings, for years) there might still be some introductory content here. I'm trying to consider evil and my part in it, if any, so I must learn to question myself about intention and unpremeditated utterances that might reveal me to be an accomplice to evil. In addition, I got a glimmer several months ago of an idea, while prowling around insights, that what I started to learn here and from the reading list would one day lead me to think very differently about what we think of today as "fiction:" stories, novels, "stuff" made up. Will I still be a writer after twenty years in the Work? What will a story be at that time?

The problem of evil seems simple and straightforward: I don't know what evil is and I don't know where it comes from. Nevertheless, others will claim such knowledge, and I respect them and some of the things I have read. And although attempts to define evil and account for its appearance are important and fun, those who are aware can recognize evil by its very practical effects, if not by its visible, sensible, vibrating scheming nature. These so-called effects of evil, the ones that must be dealt with by everyone, are three in number: fake money, the disappearing industrial base, and the trivialization of everything in sight.

The first thing I notice is that, in our complex society, the three listed effects could not possibly be random; they are, all three of them, planned (by whom is for some other post). But describe them how you will, with whatever attributes seem to you reasonable, evil is still there and very serious, with dire consequences; it must be thwarted in a clear, practical way. (For example, by throwing the banker and the priest in jail, and the senator right behind them.) But seriously -- what is to be done?

Part of the problem of evil is the huge number of individuals–us–who "take the bait." Those who build the grand schemes are very few, and they run the world. The people who take the bait–us–have only one power, and that is to withhold our gullibility when "gullibility" is not much different from being unaware precisely when one is duty-bound to be very aware. But perhaps the grand schemers have control of something that we need: rice, butter, or money? In that case, can we do any more, at first, than to take the bait and give it no thought until after? Not good, but we sometimes have to do what little we can--at least, that is the often expressed popular wisdom.

As hinted in the previous paragraph, I'm a member of the large group of people who "fall for it." Sometimes I think I'm a narcissist, and I very often have persuasive evidence of that; yet, I fit better, I think, in the group that "falls for it" or "takes the bait." I suspect that narcissism is something I play with, play-act at, as if on a stage. (At one time I acted in amateur productions.) But, even when I can distance myself and see more than I know, I'm still capable of meeting evil with the spirit and energy of someone whose only wish is to help others make their dreams a reality and to help bring that reality as a healing agent to the masses. Let's say you and I, reader, are standing together talking on the street. Let's say we're at 49th and Broadway, just to give it an "exotic" locale. A fella comes up and pitches a new digital device to you, a cheap looking gadget in a childishly decorated box–with me watching and listening–a device that will tell time, keep your schedule, store your passwords, remind you of a meeting, and squawk out her name in a mechanical bird voice whenever a certain woman, whose scent you have somehow fed to the gadget, comes within twenty feet. As I listen to him pitching you I laugh inside at the two of you, horror-struck at this fella's audacity. He tells you the price; he dangles his piece of junk before you with practiced contempt. And you–it looks like you're still hanging on every word. And that price! At the last minute, you turn him down, you chase him away, and I'm glad to see that. But it's a numbers game, folks, and the fella turns right away to me. I buy it. I ask some questions first, but I'm swarming inside at this sudden reminder of American ingenuity–not two minutes after I heard his smooth, slimy pitch to you. That, unfortunately, is "just like" me.

So it is evident that I very much need to do The Work, as described in the Casswiki: Little 'I's, Doing, Being, Identification and waking sleep, Self-remembering, Centers of the human being, Man number 1, 2, and 3, Inner fusion, Cosmoses or worlds, Hydrogens, and Food for the Moon. Certainly I need to learn to listen with a critical ear to what is going on around me so that, when the turn comes round to me, I remember what I've just seen and heard and apply it. This, at first, is purely tactical, a way of beginning to become aware and stay aware of what's happening to me--which is often nothing more than what I'm doing to myself. And then I will need to go further, and watch, and apply the lesson in action, and begin to change myself.

Let's take a look at something that has deeply interested me: Gurdjieff's "elderly, intelligent Persian," a figure who displays his robe of disarmingly spare and scintillating feathers early in the pages of Meetings with Remarkable Men, with a dignified, remonstrative, elegant precision. This fellow, this "elderly, intelligent Persian," is the first "member of the forum," so to speak, who has spoken in what I take to be a secret language, the language of prophecy, i.e., the language of exfoliating intentions. (What Gurdjieff says about literature I read first in Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous, but it is from the mouth of his "elderly, intelligent Persian" that I heard clearly what was being said.)

Gurdjieff heard him speak in the early 1880s, by my calculation. His opening words are simple:
It is a great pity that the present period of culture, which we call and which people of subsequent generations will of course also call the 'European civilization,' is, in the whole process of the perfecting of humanity, as it were, an empty and abortive interval. And this is because, in respect of the development of the mind, that chief impeller to self-perfection, the people of our civilization cannot transmit by inheritance anything of value to their descendants.
...cannot transmit by inheritance anything of value to their descendants. I thought immediately of Moby-Dick, the exception, the perfect thing to hand down. It first came into the light in London, October 18, 1851, but Melville did not score big with it, as he had with his early books about the sea-faring life, and his readers thinned out considerably thereafter. When he died in 1881, his name was not likely to have penetrated to the ears of our "elderly, intelligent Persian." Here is what I wrote after reading Moby-Dick, again, in the Spring of 2016: I read it now, having read it then at the age of twenty-something with great appreciation but no distance, for I thought I might be reading about myself. Now I think it was written of thee, and now it is my task to find thee and to comfort thee and to make thee whole. A plan of action. There is always time.

...and to make thee whole -–Is that the object of my life in writing? I look now always inside of me for a face, but draw a blank. I used to be full of faces. Should I be looking for a picture or symbol? What is the object of someone who does the Work? It's not to sit around in admiration. Am I, unawares, up against these other words from Moby-Dick: The dead, blind wall butts all inquiring heads at last?

Our "elderly, intelligent Persian," who is never named, goes on over many pages, but I'll zero in on one topic in particular, that of the corruption of what he calls "the grammars," wherein we may see a further upchuck implied in my phrase "exfoliating intentions," and wherein we may also see the "threat" to fiction--but always with an increased "threat" of cleanliness in the "clean machine" itself. But I'm naive. There will always be someone, somewhere, even in the ashes, who will start to tell a story--isn't that so?

The elderly, intelligent Persian speaks:
Strange as it may seem to you, in my opinion a great deal of harm to contemporary literature has been brought about by grammars, namely the grammars of the languages of all the people who take part in what I call the "common malphonic concert" of contemporary civilization.

The grammars of their different languages are, in most cases, constructed artificially, and have been composed and continue to be altered chiefly by a category of people who, in respect of understanding real life and the language evolved from it for mutual relations, are quite "illiterate."

On the other hand, among all the peoples of past epochs, as ancient history very definitely shows us, grammar was always formed gradually by life itself, according to the different stages of their development, the climatic conditions of their chief place of existence and the predominant means of obtaining food.

In present-day civilization the grammars of certain languages so greatly distort the meaning of what the writer wishes to transmit, that the reader, especially if he is a foreigner, is deprived of the last possibility of grasping even the few minute thoughts which, if expressed differently, that is, without this grammar, might perhaps still be understood.

In order to make clearer what I have just said I will give as an example an episode which took place in my own life.

As you know, of all the persons near to me by blood, the only one still living is my nephew on the paternal side, who a few years ago, having inherited an oil well situated in the environs of Baku, was obliged to move there.

And so I go from time to time to that town, because my nephew, being always very occupied with his numerous commercial affairs, is seldom able to leave and visit me, his old uncle, here at our birthplace.

The district where these oil wells are located, and also the town of Baku, belong at the present time to Russia, which as one of the large nations of contemporary civilization produces an abundance of literature.

Almost all the inhabitants of the town of Baku and its environs are of diverse races having nothing in common with the Russians, and in their own households they speak their native languages, but for outer mutual relations they are compelled to use Russian.

During my visits there I came in contact with all kinds of people, and, having to speak with them for various personal needs, I decided to learn this language.

I had had to learn so many languages in my lifetime that the learning of Russian did not present any great difficulty for me. Before very long I was able to speak it quite fluently but of course, like all the local inhabitants, with an accent, and only after a fashion.

As one who has now become to some degree a 'linguist,' I consider it necessary to remark here, by the way, that it is never possible to think in a foreign language, even though knowing it to perfection, if one continues to speak one's native language or some other language in which one is accustomed to thinking.

And therefore when I began to speak Russian, continuing all the while to think in Persian, I was searching mentally for words in the Russian language to correspond to my Persian thoughts.

And it was then that I became aware of various incongruities--at first quite inexplicable to me--in this contemporary civilized language, on account of which it was sometimes impossible to transmit exactly the simplest and most ordinary expressions of our thoughts.

Becoming interested in this, and being free of all life obligations, I began to study Russian grammar, and later the grammars of several other modern languages. I then understood that the cause of the incongruities I had noticed lay precisely in these artificially composed grammars of theirs, and there began to be formed in me the conviction which I have just expressed to you: that the grammars of the languages in which contemporary literature is written are invented by people who, in respect of true knowledge, are on a lower level than ordinary simple people.

As a concrete illustration of what I have just said, I shall point out, among the many incongruities in the Russian language which I noticed at the very beginning, the one that led me to make a detailed study of this question.

Once when I was conversing in Russian and, as usual, was translating my thoughts, which formed themselves Persian fashion, I found it necessary to use an expression which we Persians often employ in conversations, myan-diaram, which means in French je dis and in English "I say." But try as I might, searching my memory for a corresponding word in Russian, I could not find one, in spite of my knowing by this time almost all the words of this language used either in literature or for the ordinary mutual relations of people of all levels of intellectuality.

Not finding a corresponding word for this simple expression so often used by us, I of course at first decided that I simply did not yet know it, and I began to search in my numerous dictionaries and to inquire of certain people who were considered authorities, for some Russian word which would correspond to this Persian meaning of mine. However, it turned out that in modern Russian there is no such word at all, but instead a word is used, namely, yah gohvahriou, which means in Persian myan-soil-yaram, in French je parle and in English "I speak."

Since you Persians have the same sort of thinking as I have for digesting the meaning conveyed by words, I therefore ask you: could I, or any other Persian, on reading in contemporary Russian literature a word corresponding to the meaning of soïl-yaram, accept it without instinctive disturbance as having the same meaning as the word diaram? Of course not: soïl-yaram and diaram--or "speak" and "say"--are two quite different "experienced actions."

This very minor example is characteristic of thousands of other incongruities to be found in all the languages of the peoples who represent the so-called flower of contemporary civilization. And it is these incongruities which prevent the literature of today from serving as the basic means for developing the minds of those peoples who are considered representatives of this civilization and also of those peoples who at the present time--obviously for reasons already suspected by certain persons with common sense--are somehow deprived of the good fortune of being considered civilized and are therefore, as historical data bear witness, usually called backward.

Owing to all these incongruities of language existing in contemporary literature, any man--particularly a man from races not included among the representatives of contemporary civilization--who has a more or less normal thinking faculty and is able to give words their real meaning will of course, on hearing or reading any word used in an incorrect sense, as in the example just given, perceive the general thought of a sentence according to this incorrectly employed word, and as a result will grasp something quite different from what the sentence was intended to express.

Although the ability to grasp the meaning contained in words differs in different races, the data for sensing the repeated experienced actions which are already well established in the process of the life of people are formed in all of them alike by life itself.

The very absence, in the present-day Russian language, of a word exactly expressing the meaning of the Persian word diaram, which I have taken as an example, can serve to confirm my seemingly unfounded statement that the illiterate upstarts of our time, who call themselves grammarians, and what is worse, are considered such by those around them, have succeeded in transforming even the language elaborated by life itself into, so to say, German ersatz.

I must tell you here that when I began to study Russian grammar and also the grammars of several other modern languages in order to determine the causes of these numerous incongruities, I decided, being in general attracted to philology, to acquaint myself also with the history of the origins and development of the Russian language.

And my study of its history proved to me that formerly it had contained exactly corresponding words for all the experienced actions already fixed in the process of the life of people. And it was only when this language, having reached a relatively high degree of development in the course of centuries, became in its turn an object for the "sharpening of the beaks of ravens," that is to say, an object of wiseacring for various illiterate upstarts, that many words were distorted or even entirely ceased to be used, merely because their consonance did not answer to the requirements of civilized grammar. Among these latter was the very word I searched for, which exactly corresponded to our diaram, and which was then pronounced skazivaïou.

It is interesting to notice that this word has been preserved even up to the present time, but is used, and in the sense exactly corresponding to its meaning, only by people who, although they belong to the Russian nation happen to be isolated from the effects of present-day civilization, that is to say, by people of various country districts situated far from any center of culture.

This artificially invented grammar of the languages of today, which the younger generation everywhere is now compelled to learn, is in my opinion one of the fundamental causes of the fact that, among contemporary European people, only one of the three independent data necessary for obtaining a sane human mind has developed--namely, their so-called thought, which tends to predominate in their individuality; whereas without feeling and instinct, as every man with a normal reason must know, the real understanding accessible to man cannot be formed.

To sum up everything that has been said about the literature of our times, I cannot find better words to describe it than the expression 'it has no soul."

Contemporary civilization has destroyed the soul of literature, as of everything else to which it has turned its gracious attention.

I have all the more grounds for criticizing so mercilessly this result of modern civilization, since according to the most reliable historical data which have come down to us from remote antiquity we have definite information that the literature of former civilizations had indeed a great deal to assist the development of the mind of man; and the results of this development, transmitted from generation to generation, could still be felt even centuries later.

In my opinion, the quintessence of an idea can sometimes be very well transmitted to others by means of certain anecdotes and proverbs formed by life.

So, in the present case, in order to show the difference between the literature of former civilizations and the contemporary, I wish to make use of an anecdote very widely known among us in Persia, entitled "The Conversation of the Two Sparrows."

In this anecdote it is said that once upon a time on the cornice of a high house sat two sparrows, one old, the other young.

They were discussing an event which had become the "burning question of the day" among the sparrows, and which had resulted from the mullah's housekeeper's having just previously thrown out of a window on to a place where the sparrows gathered to play, something looking like left-over porridge, but which turned out to be chopped cork; and several of the young and as yet inexperienced sparrows had sampled it, and almost burst.

While talking about this the old sparrow, suddenly ruffling himself up, began with a pained grimace to search under his wing for the fleas tormenting him, and which in general breed on underfed sparrows; and having caught one, he said with a deep sigh:

"Times have changed very much--there is no longer a living to be had for our fraternity.

"In the old days we used to sit, just as now, somewhere upon a roof, quietly dozing, when suddenly down in the street there would be heard a noise, a rattling and a rumbling, and soon after an odor would be diffused, at which everything inside us would begin to rejoice; because we felt fully certain that when we flew down and searched the places where all that had happened, we would find satisfaction for our essential needs.

"But nowadays there is plenty and to spare of noise and rattlings, and all sorts of rumblings, and again and again an odor is also diffused but an odor which it is almost impossible to endure; and when sometimes, by force of old habit we fly down during a moment's lull to seek something substantial for ourselves, then search as we may with tense attention, we find nothing at all except some nauseous drops of burned oil."

This tale, as is surely evident to you, refers to the old horse-drawn vehicles and to the present-day automobiles; and although these latter, as the old sparrow said, produce even more noise, rumblings, rattlings, and smell than the former, in spite of all this they have no significance whatever for the feeding of sparrows.

And without food, as you yourself will understand, it is difficult even for sparrows to bring forth a healthy posterity.

This anecdote seems to me an ideal illustration of what I wished to point out about the difference between contemporary civilization and the civilization of past epochs.

In the present civilization, as in former civilizations, literature exists for the purpose of the perfecting of humanity in general but in this field also--as in everything else contemporary--there is nothing substantial for our essential aim. It is all exterior: all only, as in the tale of the old sparrow, noise, rattling, and a nauseous smell.

For any impartial man this viewpoint of mine can be conclusively confirmed by observing the difference between the degree of development of feeling in people who are born and spend their whole lives on the continent of Asia, and in people born and educated in the conditions of contemporary civilization on the continent of Europe.

It is a fact, noted by a great many people, that among all the present-day inhabitants of the continent of Asia who, owing to geographical and other conditions, are isolated from the effects of modern civilization, feeling has reached a much higher level of development than among any of the inhabitants of Europe. And since feeling is the foundation of common sense, these Asiatic people, in spite of having less general knowledge, have a more correct notion of any object they observe than those belonging to the very tzimuss of contemporary civilization.

A European's understanding of an object observed by him is formed exclusively by means of an all-round, so to say, "mathematical informedness" about it, whereas most of the people of Asia grasp the essence of the object observed by them sometimes with their feelings alone and sometimes even solely by instinct.

Here is a list of conclusions:

1- I will remain a writer, a story teller

2- the Work will change the nature of story telling not just for me, and eventually for all humanity, in that it will change our ideas of what to expect from fiction, to say nothing of truth. Up to now, fiction has served as a platform from which one can go up against dogma; or show the results of being guided by a dogma idealistically conceived and understood to be a blueprint for happiness, a concept which will be replaced by Having-A-Clean-Machine

3- grammar ought to be the natural function by which language evolves from real life; grammar, thus, becomes also the written guide to that function. As our "elderly, intelligent Persian" puts it: "grammar was always formed gradually by life itself, according to the different stages of [a people's] development, the climatic conditions of [its] chief place of existence, and [its] predominant means of obtaining food"

4- that the three parameters in 3- following the words "according to" make up into a profound understanding

5- that "progressives," in that they separate themselves morally and intellectually from grammar as understood by our "elderly, intelligent Persian," attract acute questioning

6- but that, as someone once said, "God loves babies, and He doesn't care how they get here"

7- that the problem of evil will never be "solved;" we will learn how to define it so that its observed nature makes sense and can be used to understand almost everything else. I remember reading something very much to that point, but I don't remember where, and I didn't take down a note. (I take this tone because there is no reason why I should have to say I don't know what evil is or where it comes from. It's the effort to glorify, and it comes from a longing for light in both the literal and metaphorical senses. It's an algorithm, an exfoliated intention that graces all curves and brings all straight lines back to where they started. Soon, someday, we will be able to understand that basic origin, if someone hasn't already done so.)
A great part of alchemy, as you can surmise from the extracted quotes above, has to do with literally changing your body chemistry. It has to be heated and cooled repeatedly, exactly as the alchemists say, over a period of time. This is the process that leads to the fusing of the magnetic center, as Gurdjieff and Mouravieff refer to it. That is also the meaning of the "pentagram," it is the symbol of the merging of the lower emotional center with the higher emotional center.

Hi Team,

Just wondering if someone can point me in the right direction please?

I seem to remember reading a discussion where Laura describes physical symptoms of 'heating and cooling' or more specifically- perceived elevated temperature combined with sensations of extreme cold in the pit of the stomach?

I'm sure it was on the forum somewhere, either in reference to the Moving or Magnetic Centres but I can't seem to find it....:nuts:

Any assistance much appreciated.


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