The following is an excerpt from one of Maurice Nicoll’s commentaries entitled: ON AWAKENING FROM SLEEP. It is from his 3rd book of “Psychological Commentaries on the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.”
ON AWAKENING FROM SLEEP
We are studying a system of ideas sometimes called esoteric Christianity and which amongst ourselves we call the Work. This system of ideas shews us quite definite lines upon which we have to work on ourselves and all this work on ourselves depends on observing ourselves far more consciously than we ever do in life and observing ourselves in certain definite directions laid down by the Work. This Work is based on the idea that we are not properly conscious as we are now, but that a quite definite increase of consciousness is possible through which we begin to evolve. Mankind at present, this Work teaches, is not properly conscious and only by an evolution of consciousness can it reach any desirable state. It also teaches that because Man is not properly conscious everything that happens in the world, all disasters, wars, and other evils, necessarily take place, simply because Man is not properly conscious and does not know what he is doing or saying. Now we are taught in this Work that consciousness cannot develop unconsciously but by effort. Mankind at present is used by nature and so everything happens in the only way it can happen, but if Man became more conscious things would happen differently. In this Work we are told that a certain number of people can always become conscious at certain periods if they are willing to work on themselves and study how they are not conscious yet and how they can increase consciousness in themselves, and for this reason the work begins with self-observation. A man must observe himself, he must notice himself, and gradually he must distinguish himself from this mechanical figure that he has hitherto been. By this personal work he can attain a higher level of consciousness called in this system the level of Self-Consciousness, Self-Remembering or Self-Awareness.
Inner Life Exercise
This exercise as given by Vernon Howard in one of his recorded lectures, serves an excellent method for increasing Self-Awareness.
Here it is: For 10 minutes, put your whole heart, mind, Spirit and body into one task. It does not matter what the task is – preparing a meal, cleaning a drawer, singing a song – whatever it is, do it entirely. All attention is given to this one task with no interruption from thought.