talks with gurdjieff
george ivanovich gurdjieff (1866-1949)

fourth evening

h. sir, i do not understand what conscious love may be. i cannot understand how the lucidity with which we observe our passion, with which we discover its causes, does not kill this passion on the spot.

g. well, you are saying that love, usually, concerns only the functions. most of the time it is only the physical polarity that plays a part. when you would understand this, this kind of love will become repulsive for you. this love that everybody has, you have. this love is based on sex, and sex on polarity. it is an illness, a weakness. if someone has the nose like this, you love her, if she doesn't have a nose like this, you don't love her. conscious love it is a different thing, that is the true love. the one that maybe your grandfather had...

b. but should one repress ordinary love in favor of the other?

g. look at it as a weakness. and at the same time, use it to observe yourself: we must make use of everything. instinctively, you may sense real love, discover its taste. you could have pity on a person that has a nose you don't like, a person that seems ill, a motherless child, a hungry person, a man without woman, and feel capable of putting yourself in each of their places. strive to make contact with your different impulses. if you remain impartial, you will see that all you have had until now is 'shit'—and, at the same time, that you could try to have the taste of a different quality of love.

a. sir, in order to experience this conscious love, can polarity be a help or is it always an obstacle?

g. obstacle, naturally. but you cannot help it. you are a slave of this law. now you want, now you don't want. your body does what you like or what you don't like. consciously, you can free yourself form this law of polarity. but first, you have to have had the taste of true love. all i can tell you in the meantime, is that love, objective love exists. later, we could talk about it. all we would say now would be theoretical.

l. the work, revealing to me the existence of two worlds, has also revealed the existence of two times. first that of the body we inhabit: time of worry and fear. and the time of remembering, where there is no worry or anguish: a time that contains in itself an explosive force which can hold, in a very small shell, a second richer than tens of years of body life—and sleep. in this work time, there is no fear of wasting time. in any ordinary state, i'm afraid of wasting it, i would have liked to understand what is time.

[mme. de s. translates what l wanted to say.]

g. enough! she has not translated everything, but this is enough for me to understand. you are observing that there are two different times for you. like there are two states: the ordinary state—the normal state in life—and the state of remembering. there are two times: the one in which you are used to understand and perceive all things, and the one of number 6, colonels renard street [g's address in paris).

from now on, when you are afraid you're wasting your time, measure the time with your state. this time has a key: 'i am'. in your head, you say 'i am'. at the same time, you have to have this sensation in your whole presence, in all your gestures... and immediately there will be a change. the cosmic time will definitely flow to suit your necessities. you are you. even the cosmic laws obey unity, be it a small one.

l. isn't it harmful to feel such a difference between the two times?

g. they are different. this will help you to hurry, to do what you did not in your past. if you have the 'illness of tomorrow', this will not help you. but you have understood what this illness is. i am advising you to take all necessary measures to live under the time of 'i am'—in the state of 'i am'. not only theoretically, when you remember it, but concentrating more, with all your presence. this is truly a good question. the man that does not know this other state does not know by which time he lives. the one that knows it has in himself a factor for self-remembering. either ordinary time or time as it lived at 6, colonels renard street.

you understand? you understand what you have to do? then do it. later will come a question that i will explain in detail. think that there are two kinds of time: the time of work and the time of ordinary man.

mme n. you have said many times that it would be necessary to repair the past and, for this, to experience remorse of conscience. when i look into my childhood, i find only catastrophes; i lost my parents very early, and after that all kinds of misfortunes happened. instead of experiencing remorse i start complaining. i find in me someone who pities, complains and justifies itself. i would like to know how can i free myself from this self-pity and hope to chase away from my thoughts these things that seem to me unjust.

g. justice, you know it's a big word. it is a big thing in the world. it is not any thing: it is an objective thing. objective things follow the law, the way the law made them work.

remember what i told you: what you sow you will reap. and this law doesn't concern individuals only, but also families and nations. therefore, the things that happen on earth come frequently from what has been done at a certain time by the father or the grandfather. and the consequences fall upon you, it is then you have to face it.

this is not an injustice. on the contrary, it is a very big chance for you. this responsibility will serve you as a factor for self-remembering. and in this way you will be able to redress the past for your father, grandfather and great-grandfather. if this happened when you were young, it is because someone sowed it. now, you reap. somebody is dead and it is someone else that reaps. you should not think only of yourself. you are but a link in your bloodline: you cannot consider this selfishly. or if you prefer, you can be selfish, but only in what concerns your blood and not in regards to your little life. it is an honor to occupy this place. be proud of it.

the more you will fell compelled to redress the consequences of the past, the more you will remember that, you also, did not do as you should have done. and so you can have ten times more remorse of conscience and the quality of your being will increase accordingly. you are not a single 'dog's tail'. you have a responsibility in your family's line.

all your past and future family depend on you. all your family depends on how you repair the past. if you redress it for everybody, it is good. if not, it has no value. do you see in what situation you find yourself in!

maybe you begin to understand now what justice is? justice doesn't bother to solve your petty problems. justice deals with big things. it is idiotic to think that god should deal with your small affairs. it is the same for justice. justice doesn't touch all that, and at the same time, nothing happens on earth without justice.

g. [speaking to someone else] now, when you say 'i am', do you feel more compact or not?

l. yes, without doubt. i felt a big difference. for instance, the day before yesterday i had big problems. i was very agitated, very irritated. all of a sudden, i remembered the exercise you gave us. i tried it. and i had a very strong feeling, never experienced in my life. i felt that the problems were part of my body and not of myself, that what is truly me could not have problems. i had this state for several seconds and then got back to my usual state.

g. when you came back, do you repeat: 'i am'? do you feel that 'i am' is more compact?

l. i did not try to say 'i am'. i had a different sensation of my body and a feeling of great tranquility.

g. you had the taste. and now, are you self-remembering in a different way?

l. it is different because, when i remember myself, this acts upon my life. before, i didn't have it.

t. i have tried, myself also, to do the new exercise. i felt that i really trusted 'me'—the ego—and not 'i'. at the same time, this gave me a new confidence that i never had before. i always believed, until now, that a great part of my experience came from imagination. i begin to understand that when i see 'me' distance from 'i', it is real.

g. then you know you are two. you have the taste now. can you categorically say that the body is one thing and the psyche another?

t. yes, certainly. but the body takes over myself quickly.

g. do you feel, when you are mechanical, that you have a certain quality and when you are present a completely different one?

t. yes. but both are experienced in the body, since it's in the body too that i am present.

g. from now on be frequently in a state of presence. you know today that you cannot really work unless you are present—both for inner and outer work. when you are not present, you are only a piece of meat.

t. i felt it a long time ago, but this exercise gave me a different taste.

g. you felt it theoretically, but now it is a more organic taste. You have a new taste, the taste of awakening. now aim to keep yourself awake as long as possible. it is this the attribute of man. what can be greater than this? you want to be a real man? the attribute of real man is either well awake or well asleep. either sleep well or be really awake. it is not possible to sleep well unless one has been well awake. it is not necessary to pass one's time dreaming of acquiring something. the first aim is to be well awake. you should first become a true man, a true ordinary man. a true ordinary man sleeps well or is well awake. if you are not capable of being a true ordinary man, you will never go beyond, you will never become a truly accomplished man.

may god help you in keeping this state of awakening, in having it not only for short periods of time. it is impossible to get there immediately. it has to come little by little...