16. A Way To Work
Where do you place the feeling of 'I' or the feeling of who you are? Someone can say, "I know I'm angry," but that's not Self- observation, that just means they know they are angry. Your awareness of anger is not Self-observation. In order to make it Self- observation you have to divide yourself in two, the observed side and the observing side, and start to put the feeling of 'I' or who you are, into the observing side.
In a previous class we did some practicing of Self- remembering and you were aware that not only were you here looking at something, but you were aware of yourself being here looking at something, and that took a certain amount of attention. So, in order to be aware right now that you are here, you have to put attention to that. And that is somewhat putting your feeling of 'I' into the observing side. So, let's say the side that you're observing is angry or irritated. That side is very active, that mind is racing, that mind is justifying and rationalizing and carrying on like crazy; it wants to talk, it wants to argue. It takes effort to take the feeling of 'I' out of that and observe it. If you don't take your feeling of 'I' out of that part, you just know you're angry and that's of no value. Everybody else knows you're angry too. So, it takes work and effort to pull the feeling of 'I' out of you. To the degree that you do that you are not identified and to the degree you do that, you will find you don't have to justify and rationalize. You find yourself in a place where you don't care, because the part that you're observing is not you. I've never been able to feel a discrete break, which they say is possible ('IT' is angry, 'IT' is upset) but I have felt like an elongated egg - a big rubber band being pulled back. You really want to slide back into it, but the more effort you can put into not sliding back into the negative state, the more distance you can put between you and it, the more 'I' you can place in the observing side. It might seem that we are doing this only for ourselves, but really it is for others. For a long time, because I knew I was angry or impatient, I thought that knowledge was observing. It is not. Knowledge is just knowing.
In life people are always trying to improve one another, always finding fault with one another. This is quite useless and leads to all endless strife in life. Making oneself passive to a person, and working on oneself to be passive, requires constant inner work on yourself and this, I assure you, can effect change in the other person also, because your work makes room for him to alter. (Nicoll, Com. Vol.I)
In talking about raising children, they need a certain amount of input and if you are just working on yourself it feels like you aren't doing your job. In a lot of degrees if you are working on yourself the impact you have on the child is not visible. But it is there. If you are capable of observing what it would be like if you were responding from your negative emotions, you will see that when working you are providing something different to those people, whether they are family, a friend or a client.
To continue from Nicoll:
You may often say that you are to blame for something, but if someone agrees with you, it is startling! You will feel offended. Yes, we all pretend that we are wrong, but to see it directly and unmistakably, this will cause you pain.
Man must never forget what he is doing in the Work. He must, as Gurdjicff once said, reach a state such that in whatever direction he is twisted or turned, or however badly he is treated, he never forgets the Work and never acts save through the medium of the Work. (Ibid)
There comes a point where you keep wishing that you never heard of the Work, or that the Work would go away. There is not much hope of that. You know you don't want to sense, and you don't want to remember, and you want to just give free reign to these negative states but the Work 'I's that are there get strong enough so that they are not going to let you forget. They may not be active, but there's part of you that will be aware of the need to work. That part will be watching what's going on. And for a long time that's all that can be done. What you want to do is gather the Work 'I's together. They will be observing for a long time, observing the non-Work Ts, and the personality, but once you get the strong- enough Work 'I's together, you are just going to have to Work!
Everything in the Work relates to love of the Lord, but we can only identify it in regard to love of the neighbor. The Lord wants us to love Him through love of the neighbor. So we start to use the neighbor as the standard upon which we judge between Work 'I's and non-Work 'I's. We have good associate spirits and we have bad associate spirits. And it is not as easy as some people think to judge which are which, because what we think is good is often evil, and what we think is true is often false, until we start getting clarification through regeneration.
One way you can start to judge between a Work 'I' and a non-Work 'I' (good spirits and bad spirits) is in relation to your neighbor. You know the quote, "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you." You could even say, "Do unto others as you would have those others like you to do unto them." If you start to become aware of the thoughts you are having in relation to your neighbor, start to think of whether that neighbor would want you to be having those thoughts. If you start to have feelings in relation to another person, think, would that person want me to be having those feelings? Or, would I want that person to be having those thoughts or feelings about me? If the answer is "no" then you can with fair assuredness say this is not a Work 'I.' This means it is time to work! And the Work will be in relation to those feelings about the neighbor. So we are beginning to come away from a place called love of self and love of the world and starting the journey toward that place called love of the neighbor. That is the point of this trip.
Once you have identified that you are not in love of the neighbor then you can know that you are in need of doing work to start the journey toward being there. Once we wake up and discover that we are still in the slums of Philadelphia, we can begin to pack our bags and get ready to go to Tibet. But we must wake up. It does us no good to be dreaming that we are already there.
So I just identified eight different things in some order, which can aid us in the journey: (1) Self-observation, (2) Non-identification, (3) Non-expression of negative emotions, (4) Sacrificing your Suffering and Self-importance, (5) Becoming passive to one's Self, (6) Making Self nothing, (7) Sacrificing Internal Consideration, (8) Using External Consideration and moving toward love of the neighbor.
I put them in order as if that was the order that you would do them. You may find that you do them in a different order. You may find that you add stages, you may find that certain stages are too similar or you don't need them and that it's not important. What you will find is that all those things will play a part somewhere along the line in your journey from love of self to love of the neighbor, from being active in personality to being active in your essence and your personality being passive. Let's take a more careful look at these aids for the journey:
The Gospel talks about emptying the cup, and not putting new wine in old bottles, and so forth. If we don't do something to change ourselves, if all this negative proprial love is going on, how do you expect to have love for your neighbor? Where is it going to fit? It can't be there. You have to start to empty yourself. That is when loving the neighbor becomes a possibility; when you start to become nothing, when you empty yourself. Then you start to have a brand new feeling and a brand new influx.
So, I put some of the steps in that order and the trip from love of self and love of the world can take these steps that we are talking about. But first is waking up, realizing you're in the slums of Philadelphia rather than being in the slums of Philadelphia dreaming about being in Tibet! And when you wake up you start that whole process of making the trip.