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Article 2

 

Am I dreaming or awake?

 

Maria Teresa P. - Cantù (Como)

 

Since I started feeling an unstoppable desire to understand something more about my life and the reason for my existence, since an inner voice started pricking, and telling me that it was time to stop believing in fairy tales, I have begun to “sleep” uncomfortably… and in the rare moments when I was not tossing and turning, postponing the reflections of my inner voice for another time, I was wondering: when I look at something or someone, when I watch or participate in an event, am I seeing reality? Are the things that I’m living really as I see them?

At the moment I am reading the book “Beelzebub’s tales to his grandson” by G.I.Gurdjieff (a 1024-page tome, but I feel that it’s worth carrying on to the end) and, reading it, I was struck by this passage:

“Seeing only the unreal has become an inherent property in the nature of modern beings. Let us do them this justice: in recent centuries, they have become so "perfectly" mechanised that they no longer see anything real”.

 

In this book the subject is dealt with allegorically, but it does not leave much room for doubt: the inhabitants of the Earth, whom G. calls “tri-cerebral beings”, believe in everything that they hear and that they are told, and not in what they remember as direct experience. For example: how many of us have never listened avidly to a bit of “juicy gossip” about an acquaintance who we had always considered to be “a really up-standing person” and been convinced of the truth of the titbit, just because someone confirms what the “scoop teller” says? “Yes, it’s all true... I’ve heard it too”… (perhaps from the same person who’s telling us). And we find ourselves thinking: “Good grief, I’ve always said that you should avoid gossips … but this was really too good to miss!”

 

From that moment on, the person in question, not present and without the chance to respond, will for us represent scandal incarnate. Scandal? According to what parameters? Whose? And if it’s not true? But we love gossip, and so we become blind… and we don’t like to ask ourselves these questions. Better to keep our inner voice quiet…

And the worst thing is when we “pour nothing into a void” thinking that we are pouring good wine into a solid barrel. “Pouring nothing into a void” is another of the expressions of our “merciless” Georges I. Gurdjieff… and it means “believing” that we are doing something even if we are actually doing nothing at all. We think we are pouring something into something else when we are not actually pouring anything anywhere. We live in the illusion that we can decide when it is actually our deluded mind that controls us. We keep promising ourselves that we’ll do something… and then another part of us gets the upper hand and… all our resolutions fall by the wayside. We have no unity.

 

We are a sea of personalities and we see REALITY in a completely distorted way, once through the eyes of one PERSONALITY, the next day through the eyes of another PERSONALITY. We are machines that move automatically, following random commands from random controllers. Today one ME is in the driving seat, and taking us in one direction. Tomorrow we are driven in the opposite direction by another mad driver.

We live in a prison and we think we are free. Although every time we try to take just a single step, we bash our noses on ever-thickening bars.

 

On day, while I was ruminating on these thoughts, truly distressed by what I had found out about myself, I came to wonder where to start in order to make a change and finally begin living my life, and I had an idea: why not ask help from someone who’d already escaped the prison?

It was the best, and yet the most difficult, idea I had ever had. Will I succeed in my efforts some day? I don’t know. At least I’m trying. With the help of someone who has already  escaped from the very same prison.

 

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