Thursday, June 30, 2016

Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff
Thursday, June 30th, 6:30 - 8:00
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty
2nd Floor Meeting Room
130 Whitfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Disc­ussion: "Where Our Attention Is"

I wish to be conscious of myself. Yet, as I am at this moment, can I know myself, can I be conscious of myself? I cannot. I am too scattered. I feel nothing. But I see that I am asleep, and I see the symptoms of this sleep. I have forgotten the sense of my existence, I have forgotten myself. And at this moment I receive a shock: I am awaking, I want to wake up. Then, having scarcely felt the shock, I feel myself taken again, held back by the elements of my sleep—associations that turn around, emotions that take me, unconscious sensations. I feel myself fall back into forgetfulness.
We do not realize how passive we are, always pulled along by events, people and things. We begin an activity with great interest, fully aware of our aim. But after a certain time the impulse weakens, overcome by inertia. Our understanding diminishes, and we feel the need for something new that will restore the interest, the life. Our inner work progresses like this in stages, and always depends on new forces. It is determined by laws. We must get rid of the idea that progress is continuous in a straight line. There are stages where the intensity diminishes and, if we wish not to fall back, a force must appear that is more active.
The passive “man” in us, the only one we know, is the one we trust. But as long as we remain passive, nothing new can appear. We must become active in relation to our inertia, the passive work of our functions. If we wish to change, we must look for the new “man” in ourselves, the one who is hidden. This is the one who remembers, who has a force that can only be brought by our wish, our will, and must grow degree by degree. It is necessary to see that a more active state, a greater intensity, is possible.
I need to recognize that in my usual state my attention is undivided. When I open to the outside, I am naturally interested in it. My attention goes there. I cannot prevent myself. If my force of attention is entirely taken, I am lost in life, identified, asleep. All my capacity to be present is lost. I lose myself, the feeling of myself. My existence loses its meaning. So, the first step is a separation in which my attention is divided.
Our effort must always be clear—to be present, that is, to begin to remember myself. With the attention divided, I am present in two directions, as present as I can be. My attention is engaged in two opposite directions, and I am at the center. This is the act of self-remembering. I wish to keep part of my attention on the awareness of belonging to a higher level and, under this influence, try to open to the outer world. I must make an effort to remain related, an effort of attention. I try to know truly what I am. I struggle to stay present, at the same time with a feeling of “I” turned toward a better quality and with an ordinary feeling tied to my self, my person. I wish to see and not forget that I belong to these two levels.
We must see where our attention is. Where is our attention when we remember ourselves? Where is our attention in life? Order can be born in us only if we enter into direct contact with disorder. We are not in the disorder. We are the state of disorder. If I look at what I really am, I see the disorder. And where there is a direct contact, there is an immediate action. I begin to realize that my Presence is where my attention is.  

                                              - Madame De Salzmann,  "The Reality of Being"

Meetings will be on hold for several weeks.  Check back for updates.

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