from Meetings at 6 rue des Colonels-Renard, Paris (Gurdjieff’s Paris apartment), 1938 with Mme de Salzmann assisting
I am not able to sense myself. What can I do to get a sensation of myself?
Only your head wishes to remember. Your effort is theoretical.
You must establish a contact between your head and your body. Place one leg in iced water and leave it there, trying to establish this contact. Then do the same with the other leg.
Since the time that you advised me to be egoistical, I have done it. But I constate in myself a desire to live only in this better part—I would like to stay there always and ignore all the rest. I feel a great laziness invading me in relation to external life, and the smallest thing is for me a great effort.
It is very good that this state appears in you. This proves that later you will truly become someone responsible, like a man, and I love you in advance for this. But now it is necessary to struggle without rest. You must maintain a constant conflict between this state and your understanding. The more you wish to do nothing, the more you must make yourself do. You must struggle unmercifully
and it is a struggle which will produce in you the necessary substance that you may, with my help, create in yourself a real “I.”
I see how I am always beaten by my functions. My habits form an automatism which is in me like a block on which I can get no hold. On one side I have my work, and on the other my life, in which nothing changes.
We have already often said that if one develops one side, the other will develop also. One must struggle.
But rightly, I am not able to have a conflict in myself.
Because you do not do. In order to take for oneself everything
from this table, you have to go over the table. Otherwise you
will never be able to go further. You can continue to live like this ten
years, a thousand years. You will never change. Even God, if he
wished it, would not be able to help you. He would not have the
right…. Only you yourself can struggle against your laziness. There
are two tendencies in you. But you, you sleep. It is necessary for you to get up and fight.
Is this laziness born in me or acquired?
I think that it is a natural tendency. The more your psyche wishes a certain thing, the more the body refuses. Perhaps it has been placed there by Nature, so that there should be a struggle.
Moreover, it is a good thing. These are conditions of work. If it did
not exist, it would be necessary to place something in you, in order
to replace it. It is also a factor for remembering. Each time that you
feel it, you must think about your work.
It is also a good thing that you see your laziness, because many
people are lazy, but they do not see it.
I have known it for fifteen years, but I haven’t made any headway against it.
What did you do then? You were sorry about it. But in this way in a hundred years nothing will change. There is no reason for it to change—only if you set yourself to struggle conscientiously.
I need help, because I am going through a very profound crisis and I have even lost the taste of work. When I wish to work, I fall into a leaden sleep.
Something is preparing itself in you, but you do not see it, and the work must be more and more painful for you, since you have less and less contact with yourself. In spite of this, you must continue to force yourself. You must take this step by yourself. Think that it is not only for you that you work, and that perhaps (and it is absolutely true in a proportion often percent) the future fate of others depends on it, is tied to yours.
I am asking for help because I am no longer able to work. All these bad interior things are there again. I have an intense desire to work, to remember myself, but I am unable to do it. My body no longer obeys me. It is the body which is master.
I am very happy for you, because this state is objectively good. Keep going. In a few days I will give you some help.