Simone: Before knowing the work, I was much more restless, because I felt bad things of which I thought I would never be able to rid myself. This kept up in me a restlessness, not constant, perhaps, but very frequent. I have perceived that with the work, this passed, and I have felt calmer inside. I would like to find again my state of restlessness because this is lacking in me. What could I think or do in order to find it again?
Mr. Gurdjieff: Before you believed that you could succeed like that. With these results you can never do anything. You shall succeed only if you make an effort stronger than the ordinary. But you have not even the taste for it perhaps. You have already been here a long time; you are bound to understand what is effort. Self-effort. I am going to tell you a secret: self-effort is never possible all at once; a preparation is necessary. Struggle is necessary. Till one succeeds, one forgets, one remembers, one forgets, one remembers. But when you are seated, calm, you can think and begin to do; until now you still have made no effort.
Simone: That’s why I ask the question. I am there and I feel too tranquil.
Mr. Gurdjieff: You imagine, you believe that you shall go directly to Paradise. No, here there must be efforts above the ordinary. For example, for this person (he indicates a newcomer) it is good enough for her, but you, you shall not go far with this. You must begin to make a super effort, and now, if you do not do it, it is because you do not have an aim. How can you stay calm? With the effort you are making today, you will never succeed. A normal person could not be calm.
Simone: It is just for that reason that this makes me restless.
Mr. Gurdjieff: It is necessary here to make efforts. You are accustomed to performing as before in life. Before, this want, now already it is not enough. The effort must strain all your muscles, all your nerves, all your brain even. A similar concentration must
be yours. You should have been doing it for a long time. In the beginning, for a new person it is pardonable. For you, you have the taste for real work. You must realize it in your ordinary life. I am- always: I-am. Never forget. Little by little your “I” shall make a contact with your essence. It is necessary to repeat it many
Dr. Arboulker: I have come to prefer violent emotions, rather than the habitual and passive inertia.
Mr. Gurdjieff: This does not exist for your real “me”, active or passive. It depends on your state. The external things are indifferent. Remember sometimes, you think that it is negative, and it is perhaps the contrary. In order to have a material truth, do not
think about your state. Do not philosophize; only observe; aim at your real “me”.
Luc: I have made close to the same observations as the Dr. But this invites negative emotions to return more strongly. This week has been the best, because I have had some negative emotions. It is dangerous, it is real, devastation is possible, but I have had the taste of what can be a life.
Mr. Gurdjieff: Continue. But with the understanding that what you are accumulating is a substantial thing not only for the present, but for the future. This is very important. It is already time to think of remembering and at the same time of picturing to yourself in forms, not words, what is happening to you.
Luc: I was exhausted by my negative emotions even organically. Today, I have never felt so well, so animated.
Mr. Gurdjieff: Never have you had, previously, any liquid silver. You must feel that you have today some liquid silver.
Luc: One feels that the body is under pressure, that it is the theater of such a struggle that it is going to break in pieces.
Mr. Gurdjieff: Remember, I said: man is not a pig, he cannot burst when he eats. The pig has a normal stomach; it cannot eat more than its stomach permits; it would burst; man is a scoundrel; he has a stomach of india-rubber. He is worse than the pig; he
gulps down, he gulps down without ever bursting. Not only the stomach, all the organs are of rubber. But little by little he has degenerated. Even the rubber, if one does not use it, shrinks. It is only if one restores it a thousand times bigger that he is like he must be. “Burst”, it is a fantastic word. Only the pig can burst,
man cannot. The pig has a normal stomach, he can burst. The stomach of man is of rubber, and all his organs. Continue without fear, if it is ten times more strong, so much the better; you shall go ten times faster here in my group. Have no fear, you will not burst. It is imagination. How can one burst if one eats well? You are used to gulping down like a pig. Never do you eat well. Only now you begin to learn what is true eating. Do not be afraid. Continue and continue. Leave this sensation which creates that each time this expands; you are exactly like a child who has the hiccups, when it has eaten a great deal. Nature enlarges his stomach.
A child can have the hiccups a thousand times. You are on the first time. Do not be afraid; you shall have them 999 times more.
Mme Franc: I understand well the struggle against the negative emotions but what troubles me the most is a very light side of my character which jokes, even about my very misery. This prevents in me remorse and pity. How can I get rid of it?
Mr. Gurdjieff: This proves that you do not know what you are looking for. You interest yourself in these questions without partaking of your instinct. You have said it very well.
I understand why you do not advance. I know the secret of why you stamp on the spot, one, two, one, two; up to now, your instinct was isolated. It never took part in your work. I shall give you a series of exercises. But you have understood what I explained. You have felt that your interior is never interested in these things for which we are working. Something in you remains apart; it looks.
Another part in you does something else; you work without instinct.
Everything works; head, feeling, except that which must. It has never done anything to change.
Hignett: I have tried to use the negative emotions. I have overcome them very well, but I have had the feeling of annihilating them. rather than converting them. I do not succeed in using them as a force. I suppress them.
Mr. Gurdjieff: You do not suppress them. What happens in you is another impulse which for a short time takes the place of the negative impulse. Thus aside, for a moment. But it is not destroyed. One must do many times “Chick”, “Chick”, in order to destroy them. You cannot ascertain that it is absent; but if you change states, you shall see that it functions more feebly. Thus, you have a program of work. If you have understood, continue to exterpate, to chase away the impulses. But don’t be tranquil. You do it serenely. This is another impulse which replaces, too feeble for you to perceive it; and you imagine that you no longer have negative
emotions. Only strong vibrations reach your consciousness.
Mechin: In the exercises, I am very troubled by associations. I can do nothing against them. What shall I do?
Mr. Gurdjieff: Associations are a part of our presence. If our presence had an aim, it would want something to happen. This proves that our presence has no aim. You have an aim only with one center – (he wants to arrive at Paradise with dirty boots.) One
must with all his presence have an aim and work for this goal. Not with one part, one center only. I have associations; but they do not reach my consciousness.
The circulation of the blood is also done all alone. It is an automatic function. It does not disturb me. It goes on night and day. There are associations also; as my heart working; and there are other functions; for example, I see, if I pay attention; like that which I have eaten travels. I can think about this all evening, each
centimeter gives different sensations. Automatically you are occupied with this.
You must have an aim, and leave at the side the organic functions. Not to hear them with, the consciousness, with the thought. One must learn to think impartially. Only this amount of effort will bring you to normal thought. The exercise that he must do, Madame de S. can formulate.
Mr.Gurdjieff: to Ansi: Have you understood?
Mr. Gurdjieff: to Luc Do you understand?
Mr. Gurdjieff: You explain to him; this shall be your task.
Ansi: I noticed that before, my negative emotions came most of all in my relations with people. I was violent and disagreeable when saying things to people. For some time I have been trying to struggle against this. But I fall into indifference and I do not know how to change my state.
Mr. Gurdjieff: It is not necessary to change; it is very well. In you is growing a re-appreciation of values. Before, you were interested in cheap things. And that which was not interesting had no value to you. Now what has value for you is that which was not interesting to you before. This is the reason.
Ansi: But I want to change.
Mr. Gurdjieff: Why? Already your state has changed. Before, you did not see that you were interested in things without value. More so now. Your state has changed.
Ansi: But if something wounds me, instead of being angry or offended, I am indifferent.
Mr. Gurdjieff: Normal; it is small, but normal. Before, you had your own love. It is cheap, it is an ordinary thing; now you have understood it. You see that it is idiotic, a nullity, an excrement; before, you did not know it. Today you see it; you are not angry.
You see the manifestations of excrement. If it is like this, I am very content.
Without wanting it, without knowing it, you have already advance objectively, mechanically advance. Soon, you can be our estimable comrade.
Lanctin: Is it possible in actual conditions to avoid a too inharmonic development of the body in regard to the general development?
Mr. Gurdjieff: For the physical development, there exist no seasons. Not political seasons. It is always necessary. You must educate your body with your head, consciously. It is very simple. Never allow it to do what it wants. You make it do everything
contrary to that which it loves. It likes sugar; you do not give it any. One must inure it to struggle, you are always right when you resist your body. It is simple.
Everything contrary; it is ,so that God created your body and your intellect. It is a very simple thing. For this it is not necessary to read. The program is very simple. Under all conditions, in all political situations, man must educate his body to be submissive to him. Your personality can educate your body. He in which the body is strong and has the initiative over him, this one is null. He who
has his body enslaved is intelligent. You understand what is meant by intelligent?
Intelligent means he who directs his body. If the body directs , you are a nullity, a peasant – if you direct your body you are intelligent. Thus, choose what you want. Intelligent or peasant? If you want to be a peasant, let your body direct you. If you want to be intelligent, let your consciousness direct your body. The more you want to direct your body, the more it opposes you. And in resisting you, the more strength it gives you.