Simple Explanation of Work Ideas
(Maurice Nicoll, Psychological Commentaries on the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky)
This ‘Simple Explanation of Work Ideas’ by Maurice Nicoll, will tell you everything you need to start a True-Life contact with God.
“Everyone is two people – the person we suppose ourselves to be, and what we really are. Only Self-Observation shows us this. We cannot understand that we are two people unless we begin to understand what it means to observe ourselves. We see a world outside: that is what our senses give us. But the senses are turned outwards from oneself and cannot see what one is.
But we have an organ inside ourselves which can observe this thing called oneself. By means of it we can see our thoughts, feelings, moods. This is the beginning of becoming another person.
Our life depends on this thing called ‘oneself.’ If we wish to have a different life, we first of all have to realize what kind of life we have now. All forms of suffering are due to this ‘oneself.’ As long as we remain this ‘oneself’ our life cannot alter. It will always attract the same misfortunes, disappointments, and so on.
So the Work begins with seeing what one is like, what kind of person one is. For example, if we treat people without consideration for their feelings and do not know it, we shall always be suffering from their wish to keep away from us. But not seeing what we are like we blame others. Unless we see that we are behaving like this we cannot change. Other people realize what we are like: as we are, we do not – until we begin to observe ourselves. Through not seeing what we are like, we believe we are not properly treated.
If we observe what we are thinking and feeling, what we are saying, how we are acting, after a time a new memory begins, a memory about ourselves. From then on, we begin to realize we are not what we supposed ourselves to be. We will begin to behave differently, not to blame other people, not to feel owed something. We will begin to realize we are two people and always have been. What we have supposed ourselves to be is imaginary.
When we see the contradictions between our imaginary ‘ourselves’, and what we really are, we begin to change, because we are being parted from the illusion of ourselves. We begin to realize that we have rested on an entirely false basis.
When we observe what we are really like we make ourselves open to receive help – help that can really change us. Help cannot reach us while we are self-satisfied.
This Work says that help exists for those who begin to realize, in every daily act, in everything said and felt, that they are not really what they suppose themselves to be.
When we begin to observe ourselves sincerely our whole fate begins to change. But this means noticing, over a long period, the way we talk, the way we think, the criticisms we make, the resentment of what is said to us, the way we react to others, the opinions from which we argue, the way we are flattered, how we judge others, our vanity, cruelty, moods, emotions. Unless we detach ourselves from these things, we remain mechanical.
Our psychic life, our inner life, is in darkness, until we begin to let in a ray of light, of consciousness of what is going on there. For this to happen we have to divide ourselves in two – an observing part, and an observed part. When Observing ‘I’ is established in us, it is from this ‘I’, that everything else follows. It is small and weak to begin with, but it is like a window to let in light.”