In a higher state of consciousness I observe my inner world as if from the top of a mountain. I see panoramically how different parts of my psychology relate to each other. I can discern what is less or more important, give preference to one group of ‘I’s over another, and avoid being drawn away by insignificant disturbances. I can pull out the golden thread of consciousness from the mesh of mechanicality. Descending the mountain to a lower state, however, I lose these powers. The many ‘I’s crowd upon me and I lack the scale and relativity by which to govern them. Therefore, the more often I travel up and down my inner landscape — the more often I experience fluctuations of consciousness — the more will I seek to set rules whilst above, that will apply down below.

“Rules pursue a definite aim,” says George Gurdjieff: “to make people behave as they would behave 'if they were,' that is, if they remembered themselves.” To conclude our August labor of coining aphorisms, we hereby formulate a set of ten rules as guidelines for our community. If each member worked individually, a communal set of rules would be unnecessary, but for group work common rules must be formulated, refined, and applied. Below is the latest draft of ten aphorisms that may serve as the granary for our community’s cache of practical advice. I invite members to suggest refinements or replacements in the comment section.

1. Be, always and everywhere.
2. Seek the higher right.
3. Value small efforts.
4. If not now, when?
5. Welcome suffering.
6. Know thyself; trust no ‘I’s.
7. Avoid negativity.
8. Watch for deviation.
9. Find in yourself what you dislike in others.
10. What you gain everyone gains.

Responses

  1. Asaf Braverman Post author

    This will remain in draft form until august 31st. From then onward, the chosen ten will serve as our community guidelines until next August. You’re welcome to offer refinements to the way each aphorism is expressed. However, let us aim to stay with a list of ten. If you feel an aphorism is missing from the list, please suggest which existing aphorism it might replace.

  2. Melissa Sweet

    These are very powerful and easily understood although, difficult to apply. I plan to copy them and put them in a place which is visible.
    Is it best to work with one at a time or attempt to apply them as a whole?
    The one which will encourage me the most is to ” value small efforts”.
    I tend to bite off more than I can chew and set myself up for failure.
    There is one more aphorism which I see as valuable. This comes from Gurdjieff and tells us to ” use everything”. I don’t know if this can be incorporated into these 10.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      The idea will be to apply them all, although it is difficult to mentally hold ten thoughts “at the tips of one’s fingers,” so to speak, accessible at all times. In the months of September and October we will introduce a solution to this. Meanwhile, I encourage you to attempt to apply all of them as frequently as possible.

      Having them nicely printed out will certainly help make this possible. Once we conclude our formulation of them (after this Saturday’s workshop), I’ll post a printable version of the ten aphorisms on this site, that can be downloaded and printed for your personal use.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Good idea, Dean. As mentioned above, once we conclude our formulation of them (after this Saturday’s workshop), I’ll post a printable version of the ten aphorisms on this site, that can be downloaded and printed for your personal use.

  3. Myrto

    I have noticed that the majority of the aphorisms are of the kind “the intellectual center sets a commandment to the intellectual center”. Exemptions to this are aphorisms like ” Welcome suffering”, that seem to be of the kind “the intellectual center sets a commandment directly to the emotional center’.
    I suggest making the list more balanced from this perspective and insert an aphorism that will evoke the “broadening” feature of the emotional center. So I suggest to include something like “Be merciful”, or “Forgive”, in the place of “what you gain, others gain”.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      I take what you say, Myrto, and will review the list from this point of view. Let’s discuss this during Saturday’s workshop. Meanwhile, if you can think of more emotional ways to convey the meaning of what is expressed in each aphorisms, that might point us in the direction of how to re-formulate those of them that need improvement.

  4. Jack

    An aphorism I have been using is ” A problem is only an opportunity in Work Clothes”. That could be shortened to “A problem is an opportunity to Work.” Maybe combine with “Welcome Suffering”
    My perceived problems can be external or internal and this is reminder to put focus on Work not the problem.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Yes, Jack, this should fall under ‘welcome suffering.’ Given that we are restricting ourselves to ten, these ten will have to encompass several related aphorisms. But since the aphorism ‘A problem is an opportunity to Work’ is emotional and practical for you, you must make effort to transfer its meaning to ‘Welcome suffering.’ This requires intention. We’ll speak more about it during Saturday’s workshop.

  5. Fabrizio Agozzino

    I had an interesting ‘I’. What if Siddhartha has a similar root in the English spoken language with the two words ‘seed’ and ‘heart’? I mention this because it could be very interesting to use for September, being the month related to the emotional centre.