What follows is a beautiful excerpt on the necessity of Self-Remembering in our quest to transform our present nature from the mere low and earthly to the High and Celestial that awaits us. From Maurice Nicoll’s Psychological Commentaries on the Teachings of GI Gurdjieff and PD Ouspensky, Vol 3:
Now, speaking from another point of view, and yet about the same thing really, it is the Third force of the Work that can change us. The first thing the Work says we can do is to remember ourselves and in connection with that it teaches many other things that we can do, such as inner separation from negative thoughts and feelings, and so on, but all these secondary things that it teaches are connected with Self-Remembering. Take, for example, the teaching of the Work about identifying with ourselves or with external events. All this is connected with Self-Remembering. All this is studying how we cannot remember ourselves because, as you know, if you are very identified with your negative emotions or with the behaviour of someone towards you, you are not in a state of Self-Remembering but the very reverse. If you are indulging in inner talking and internal considering and self-justifying, etc., you are not remembering yourself, you are not in the third state of Consciousness, which is defined as a state of Self-Remembering. The teaching of the Work is to lift us up to this state which we should have and which we were born to have. In this third state of Consciousness, at this level, influences can reach us which can help. It is as if we put our heads above the water and felt the air and the sunlight. If any of you are trying to remember yourselves at any moment of the day and if you do it at whatever moment you can and quite sincerely, you will always notice a sudden brightness round you. Now if we were in a state of Self-Remembering we should know how to make decisions, but when we are asleep in ourselves, when we are identified and worried about ourselves, we make decisions from binaries, as G. called them–from the opposites. G. said: “The struggle between Yes and No is not solved by Yes or No–i.e. the opposites or binaries.” If we were always in a state of Self-Remembering, always in the third state of Consciousness, our decisions would be real ones that would lead to a real result which G. called leading to a quarternary.
There is a story about a blind girl whose five brothers go out into the world in turn, thinking they can do, but they all fail and become lost in the world. Then the blind girl goes into the world. She does not think she can do, but she holds on to a thread that she has woven, one end of which is bound fast to the Sun. She never lets go of this thread and as a result she can do–she is able to help her brothers and other people in the world simply because she does not trust in herself to find the way but looks to the thread to guide her. Why is this girl shewn as being blind? She is blind to the external world. She does not act through her senses but she holds on to something internal. Now if a person could remember himself all the time and notice everything that caused him to identify–that is, to cease to self-remember–he would be holding on to this thread that comes from the sun, from a higher level. And if such a person’s decision were always to remember himself, whatever was happening to him, he would be in the third state of Consciousness, and his decision would be a real decision which has nothing to do with opposites or binaries. Yet to ordinary people it would not seem like a decision, this decision that one should remember oneself, this decision to fight for Self-Remembering every day in spite of everything.
Inner Life Exercise
To start your day in the right direction, from Vernon Howard’s Practical Exercises for Inner Harmony:
START YOUR DAY RIGHT
Start your day in an upward direction and the rest of the day will follow the uphill path. Here are three methods:
A. When you begin to awaken do not let yourself fall back into another minute or two of sleep. Do the opposite. Stay awake and deliberately force yourself out of bed. This will give you a mild but healthy jolt.
B. As you slide out of bed be conscious of the exact moment when your foot touches the floor. Feel the weight of your foot against the rug. This is an interesting experience that will help keep you conscious of other small daily events.
C. As you walk away from the bed, notice everything possible about yourself. Notice that you might feel drowsy or depressed or uncertain. Then actually shake your head as an act of shaking the sleepiness from your life.
These methods instruct body and mind and emotions to wake up spiritually. They make your whole nature conscious. And conscious action is true power.
If it seems difficult to work against your usual habits, remember this spiritual law Do things the easy way and you perpetuate the hard life. But do things the hard way and you finally come to the easy life.
SPECIAL TRUTH TO REMEMBER:
One kind of enthusiasm that will always be rewarded is enthusiasm toward Higher living.