The following is a wonderful Parable as related by PD Ouspensky (from In Search of the Miraculous) on the basis of what GI Gurdjieff said.  It is a perfect description of our human situation on Earth —



“There is an Eastern tale which speaks of a very rich magician who had a great many sheep.  But at the same time this magician was very mean.  He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a fence about the pasture where his sheep were grazing.  The sheep consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines, and so on, and above all they ran away, for they knew that the magician wanted their flesh and skins, and this they did not like.  At last the magician found a remedy.  He hypnotized his sheep and suggested to them first of all that they were immortal, and that no harm was being done to them when they were skinned, that, on the contrary, it would be very good for them and even pleasant; secondly he suggested that the magician was a good master who loved his flock so much that he was ready to do anything in the world for them; and in the third place he suggested to them that if anything at all were going to happen to them, it was not going to happen just then, at any rate not that day, and therefore they had no need to think about it.  Further the magician suggested to his sheep that they were not sheep at all; to some he suggested that they were lions, to others that they were eagles, to others that they were men, to others that they were magicians.  And after this, all cares and worries about the sheep came to an end.  They never ran away again, but quietly waited the time when the magician would require their flesh and skins.”

As was stated by Maurice Nicoll in relation to this telling tale:

“We live, however, chiefly in imagination, and meet via imagination, and a very exhausting nuisance it is, for everyone concerned.  However, it all happens in the only way it can, because we do not see these pictures that govern us and interfere with everything.  Only being conscious can alter mechanicalness.  The destruction of pictures is not possible unless something else has begun to form itself behind them that we can hold on to.  This comes from long and conscious self-observation which on one side is debunking oneself or ‘seeing through’ oneself into something rather odd and strange lying behind.”


Inner Life Exercise

If you can begin to see a picture, if you become conscious of it, if you begin to dislike it, if you try to get away from it, to separate from its hypnotic power, if you begin to see you are not at all like that picture but invented, then the change that results will be exactly what you need.  You will fit into what has always been waiting for you, and what you went out of long ago as a child. … the task is that the dirt must be cleared away to expose the new.  That is where practical work on oneself lies.  It is not a question of “What should I do?” but “What should I not do?…One exception, and the greatest of all, is that one must try to remember oneself–at least once a day, and deliberately.  To give ourselves this shock, the First Conscious Shock, is a thing we can try to do.  It is possible.”
–Maurice Nicoll   Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky



  1. Melodie Machovina on October 30, 2018 at 3:17 am

    Such an accurate description of the world and why all our problems exist. If we can see how bad it is and how bad we are, not doing anything about it, that’s how we can be saved. Thanks for the wonderful reading!

  2. Lisa Hunter on November 1, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    It is so strange that we cling to a self that makes us feel bad, dull, nervous, hateful, restless and many other unpleasant emotions. There is relief from this self, but we must sacrifice the idea that we are right about everything and always know what wer’e doing, because we do not.

  3. Steve on November 5, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Vernon Howard wrote a small book called “Inside the Lunatic asylum — Society” which gives further examples of how “douped” human beings really are and all because of the bad habit of not seeing clearly into what is really going on with humans. When you begin to see things properly you want to get out of your “self trap” by understanding the whole picture. Why remain a sheep when you don’t have to?

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