We do not lack; we waste. We allocate energy indiscriminately and misuse the tools at our disposal. “Man has quite enough energy to begin work on himself,” says George Gurdjieff, “only it is necessary to learn how to save the greater part of that energy for useful work instead of wasting it unproductively.”

The same can be observed in nature: vines diverge into branches and twigs ending in an overgrowth that drains the vitality of their fruit. The farmer thus prepares his vines for harvest in September by removing unwanted growth in March. Unlike the February Labor, where firewood was hewn for the sake of fire itself, March calls for foresight. The farmer must prune with harvest in mind, manipulating the vine’s growth towards achieving that end.

To apply the same intelligence to our inner work, we must have an aim in the first place, coupled by a deep understanding of our personal obstacles. The January Labor was dedicated to achieving the former; the February Labor was dedicated to achieving the latter. Armed as we now are with the experience of the last two months, can we resist identification, minimize unnecessary talk, or avoid the expression of negativity, not because the teaching tells us to, but because we understand their impact on harvest?

If you’re new to this teaching, now is the time to formulate an aim. If you’ve already formulated an aim in January, now is the time to examine whether it still reflects what you’d like to harvest. Bearing your aim in mind, what must you prune today to ensure a plentiful harvest tomorrow?

Responses

  1. Asaf Braverman Post author

    My January aim was to clean my house from petty negative emotions. I’d caught myself permitting subtle judgments and irritations to linger like dust beneath the couch. Since January, however, I’ve observed that what keeps these judgments and irritations alive is the concern of what others think about me. Therefore, I am re-formulating my aim to “observing and minimizing inner-considering.”

    I must Be in order to observe this habit, and minimizing this habit will help me Be.

    1. jack

      Asaf, glad you wrote this comment. I am going through similar irritating behaviors. One in particular is not keeping my attention on the moment. I move too quickly and end up dropping or losing things.

  2. brant smith

    My January aim was to carry out tasks more thoroughly. I have observed that I tend to get caught up in the idea of doing something rather than just doing it. Since January it has become clear that hesitation usually is at the root, this then cascades and balloons into procrastination which ultimately pushes me further from being. I become concerned with a long list of tasks rather than just taking it one at a time. So I have reformulated my aim to “catching hesitation more frequently and minimizing its manifestation.”

    1. Evgueni Z

      Brant, I’ve also caught myself “pretending” to be busy just to avoid doing some difficult or boring task, and to procrastinate more. I’m often busy but not productive. Time passes but nothing gets done. I don’t lack time, I just waste it.

    2. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Brant, it would be useful to emulate the principle described in this post (which you helped formulate) and envision how Brant would be if he formed the discipline of minimizing hesitation. Such creative envisioning is a positive use of imagination. “How would the September Brant deal with this situation?” As Evgueni points out, we procrastinate because we think we can afford wasting time. The annual cycle connects us with a larger scale of time than we normally deal with during our day. That scale can inspire our aim, as well as remind us that we don’t have an infinite amount of time at our disposal. “You may delay” says Benjamin Franklin, “but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”

  3. Orazio Sorgonà

    A quote from Virgil, I’m amazed I always rembered in part since the time of schooling, probably the 16 ys. old of mine.

    “Insere nunc, Moelibee, piros, pone ordine vites”

    ‘Do it now, Moelibeus, to prune the pear-trees, to set the vines’

    The emphasis is on ‘Nunc’, Now.

  4. Hannah K

    MUSIC for the MONTH of MARCH

    To usher in the month of March and accompany us during this month’s labour please enjoy the first movement, the Allegro of Vivaldi’s “Spring” from “The Four Seasons”.

    The YouTube link for you to listen to is….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HE4fpouICE&sns=em

    Here is the sonnet that Vivaldi wrote to accompany it in English and Italian.

    Allegro
    Springtime is upon us.
    The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
    and murmuring streams are
    softly caressed by the breezes.
    Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar,
    casting their dark mantle over heaven,
    Then they die away to silence,
    and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

    Allegro
    Giunt’ è la Primavera e festosetti
    La Salutan gl’ Augei con lieto canto,
    E i fonti allo Spirar de’ Zeffiretti
    Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
    Vengon’ coprendo l’ aer di nero amanto
    E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
    Indi tacendo questi, gl’ Augelletti;
    Tornan’ di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:

    Tchaikovsky also chooses to celebrate the burst of beautiful bird song that fills the air in Spring with his piano piece for March from “The Seasons” entitled “Song of the Lark”.

    The YouTube link is…
    https://youtu.be/X2C_qQS5PUw

    I hope you enjoy the music!

  5. Evgueni Z

    My aim for January was to formulate a small, clear, and achievable aim. It prompted me to closer observe my haste, and eventually surfaced the excessive planning habit. The clear aim, however, was not formulated.

    In February, I expected to discover a “trunk” behind my planning habit, but as soon as I brought some awareness to this habit, its manifestations reduced significantly, and my vigorous planning shrunk and became a non-issue. I burned a few “planning branches”, but the fire quickly wound down. It’s as if I unlocked a difficult padlock, opened a heavy chest, to only discover that it was empty. Theoretically I suspect that there are chief features of dominance, vanity, and fear hiding in the shadows behind this habit, but I couldn’t experience this beyond intellectual knowledge and therefore didn’t achieve a clear understanding.

    So I feel like I “failed” at both: setting an aim, and deeply understanding my personal obstacles. And here I am in March, back to square one.

    I’m now re-establishing self-observation of haste, of my urge to switch to the next task, to think about the future matters, instead of being in the current moment. When tried to catch the first impulse that draws my attention elsewhere, I noticed that it is not uniform. In one case I just want to spend time with my son and therefore rush things up, in second – I plan something else just to avoid doing a boring or laborious task at hand (procrastination), in yet another – it’s just my instinctive center anticipates a tasty lunch in a few minutes, so my attention is drawn away. My vines diverge into branches, but I don’t know which ones I should prune.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Evgueni, let’s turn this around: in your comment here you speak of experiencing a higher state (albeit briefly) through observing your planning feature. If this is harvest, then what currently prevents it more frequent and prolonged appearance?

      “When a man sees his possibilities and is convinced that what he has learned theoretically really exists, he then works consciously, he knows where he is going.” – George Gurdjieff

      1. Evgueni Z

        Asaf, I think that an increased clarity of seeing made it possible for me to briefly experience a higher state. Your suggestion of the “idle” first 30 minutes led to the discovery of the “get things planned” group of I’s. At that point, this habit was clear and concrete enough for me to focus on. Which in turn led to the harvest (even the modest harvest is better than starvation). But then this habit quickly lost its significance, without revealing a deeper layer underneath it.

        I guess I now need to find a new habit (or rather a different manifestation of the same group of I’s) to observe, so I can get to my deeper features (through the experience, not merely by knowledge). That’s why I now watch my impulses of haste. However, it looks more like the labor of February.

  6. Melissa Sweet

    My very large Aim is to be ” free”. Free from what? Such a long list.
    I’m focused now on observing the many ways in which I am not free.
    Negative expression, haste, planning, obsessing, pleasing, worrying and on and on. My life, since my husband’s death, in October, has radically changed. Yes, there is sadness. However, I now, have radical permission
    to alter my life. I am being guided by a beautiful composition be Leonard Bernstein, a song whose lyrics are inspired by Psalm 33. It begins like this:
    Sing God a simple song. Lauda,Laude
    Make it up as you go along, Lauda, Laude.
    Sing like you like to sing.
    God loves all simple things.
    For God is the simplest of all.
    I will sing to the Lord a new song
    to praise Him, to bless the Lord
    all of my days.

    My present small aim is to sing God a New Song, to simplify my life. As I do this the obstacles I mention, above, are beginning to dissolve. This I my way of pruning.
    I am not sure if this song is on you tube but you can search:
    A Simple Song sung by Rene Fleming.

  7. Mario Fantoni

    My aim in January was to control unnecessary talk, but in February I verified that vanity, my chief feature, was being nourished when I spoke less (“I’m doing such a good job”) so now I revised my aim to “speak less and stay in essence”, since our false personality uses chief feature to sleep.

    1. Aporia

      Hi Mario – what kind of tools are you using to “stay in essence”? I think I may have vanity lurking close by. Each time I work on something I feel pleased with myself, and dare I say, satisfied. I can observe that nothing has actually changed in me and yet I feel elevated (prideful) just having made an attempt. This might appear to people around me that I am happy or fulfilled (or crazy – most likely) but I’m empty and definitely like the emperor with no clothes on.

      1. Mario Fantoni

        Hello Serene, it’s so nice to share our work here. As Asaf said in his reply to Melissa above, essence is simple and personality is complex. When vanity combines with personality then the image we project is complex or sophisticated. The original meaning of “sophisticated” was “with sugar added” (an “unsophisticated ale” was a premium beer in England in the Middle Ages) so my aim is to be simple when I describe myself, my experiences, etc. That would keep my vanity closer to essence. But then vanity would be proud for being so “unsophisticated” and we are caught again in a vicious circle. What’s the way out then? Self-remembering, as always, since is not mechanical. Vanity will always take credit – even for failures – because that’s how it exists. With self-remembering we see the “I’s” coming from vanity (or power, or non-existence) as what they really are: smoke. Once I asked a friend in the Work: “I have so many ‘I’s’ from vanity, what should I do?” and he replied “Oh, it’s nothing, just mechanical behavior. It’s like sneezing”.

        1. Aporia

          Thank you for the breakdown of the meaning of sophisticated. This rang clear like a bell going off in my head “with sugar added”.

          I am reacting to it now without a filter so its quite impressive. The way you put it makes so much sense. I’m described by some as complex and sophisticated also beautiful sometimes in the “with sugar added” sense. Sometimes when I self-remember believe it or not I realize I am holding my breath! The work is amazing. Are pride and vanity the same or similar in your mind?

          Ok thank you Mario – I have a new way to look at myself. You rock!

  8. Dean Whittingham

    My aim began with to self-remember when talking, and since then I observed that I lack the courage to understand others because I become identified with my own desire to be understood which my machine then attempts to protect by painting illusory situations which manifest into negative states and attitudes.

    For instance, if a driver behind me appears to be getting impatient, what starts out as a fear of the unknown transforms into imaginations of possible situations such as being abused, honked at, etc, and yet, at no point did I ever consider that the person may have a genuine reason for being in a hurry, or even that they are suffering from their own inner imaginations of possible situations that may occur to them.

    Theoretically, it appears that there is no growth in this work without understanding the drive of trying to be understood from the perspective of everyone else.

    My aim has thus transformed into observing the temptation as it approaches to get caught up in my own fear of being misunderstood and any manifestations of illusory scenarios, and see it through the other persons perspective, for I cannot Be if I cannot see.

    1. George Gurdjieff

      ‘The outer circle’ is the circle of mechanical humanity to which we belong and which alone we know. The first sign of this circle is that among people who belong to it there is not and there cannot be a common understanding. Everybody understands in his own way and all differently. This circle is sometimes called the circle of the ‘confusion of tongues,’ that is, the circle in which each one speaks in his own particular language, where no one understands another and takes no trouble to be understood.

    2. Paolo Meoli

      Dear Dean,
      what you said “I lack the courage to understand others because I become identified with my own desire to be understood” remind me the distinction between inner considering and external considering. When we inner considering we start mechanically from our desire, from our immagination toward others. Instead when we try to external consider we start from the other needs, the other desire, the other understanding. Start from that so often implies the understanding that we don’t know the others, so often we take other people for granted. This step is not so easy, infact as you said this step requires courage, “courage to understand other”. One of the italian member come up to the same conclusion, affirming his aim to accept his fragility as a bliss and not as a bane. Fragility in a sense of not be scared of the fact that he often doesn’t know. So i share this video with english subtitles, hoping that this will help you in formulating your aim.

  9. Aporia

    My aim was not established in January as I had just discovered The Fourth Way teachings and found my way to this site. I struggled with interpreting the labors of the month in February and started to see glimpses of something that may be my chief feature. It repulsed me honestly and still does a little bit when I saw with Truth that I had no will of my own. Despite this repulsion I was inspired by Ouspensky’s belief that even with glaring deficiencies – much can still be achieved.

    “…even in our present state of being we can get much more knowledge than we have, that we are not so saturated with knowledge that we cannot absorb more”

    Asaf – I am going to use this statement below (intended for Brant) as an alarm. This reminds me that without aim I am likely to waste energy uselessly.

    “How would the September Serene deal with this situation?”

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      I appreciate the way you formulate it, Serene: “How would the September Serene deal with this situation?” This captures the idea of pruning with a vision of the future in mind. Emerson said, “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” It had never occurred to me till now that this saying applies just as much to treating ourselves as it does to treating others!

      1. Aporia

        I can see that. I need to meditate on how to incorporate the treatment of others in the same sense. This definitely warrants further study – on a mental alchemy level for me concentrating on the goodness in another (assuming they are on a path of Improvement) would be a reason to connect with others. I am learning about the need for working with others and I think you are on to something here! How to achieve this without identifying and without desire.

  10. Kalev K

    I set in January a simple and, with guiding, measurable aim – to reduce the wasted time for news and gaming, to save the energy for more reasonable purposes. Couple of first weeks it did succeeded pretty well, but when some unexpected news from professional life used much of the same energy, I was almost in the beginning again – no power to follow the aim. It was good to see how does it works. Working meanwhile with chief features and other topics, I recognized a basis for setting a next aim, – not “where I want to be” but “who I want to be”.

  11. Hicham B.

    My January’s aim was to work on fear. Obviously this is just one face of the beast. Fear? Fear of what? Fear of not succeeding, of not living the life “I” deserve. Because “I” thinks it deserves the best possible life! “It” think it’s different, it’s the best, it deserves a special treatment.
    Working on fear unveiled a deep-rooted vanity.
    Another manifestation of fear is the one related to past memories. As a result of the work on myself they tend to surface and because they are negatively charged I turn my attention away. I want to learn to quietly face my traumatizing memories and to accept them, instead of burying them deep inside.
    Any suggestions on how to work on this?

    1. Orazio Sorgonà

      I have a fear chief feature , or however it’s big,and I found many tools to approach it, from different sides so to say, as you cannot ut do like this. At times one tool will work better, at times another: at times you find with no tools, and have to find anoher.

      One, is not to be worried of being afraid.
      It is, reacting to being afraid. I had noticed they happen both fear, and being upset at.
      So meanwhile try to control that upsetting, self-condemn or self-despise. What despises what? we are all like expert scientists and techincian dealing with a stimulus-response machine: if it breaks, or fals out of order, we just endeavour to repair it. Very simply professional.

      Something else I saw is that my fear was based on a ‘living through others’, which is somehow a ‘stealing’ from them
      SO I say to myself: “earn”, instead of that stealing. Earn yor day! in terms of course of an inner gain.

      Other times the wave falls on me, and then I am pushed to find an inner practice that may hold independently of what may happen. Like just now: I’m experiencing the pain and bitterness of fears also, but something else is also occurring inside: a ‘quiet place’, that does the work.
      You have just to insist then, allow either tears at time, yet recognise by taste an higher hope.
      You have somehow to ‘drop’ your logical mind then, I mean not break your brain with ‘problems’. If there is something you can do, you will, in place, time, occasion, not in the abstract or imaginary; and it will go better if your mind is not blown away by too mush thinking.

      Yet the whole point is to use the pressure, bitter it may be, to find work again, in new ways, other treasures disclosed.

  12. Jack

    In January my aim was to observe “Jack’s Way” and to separate by not identifying. My aim going forward is to be more committed to observing myself non-critically, Remembering I Am the Observer. To focus on anger,irritation, resentment and other negative emotions. To use them as an alarm to not identify. To learn their taste and learn through previous pictures of them in action in me, to anticipate their appearance in certain events. Some of these have already lost some of the energy they used to use, some have not.
    With increasing momentum I am seeing and feeling that I am in a school and the great value I place on this group, Asaf and the recognition that without the weekly workshops, assignments, tutorials and posting(sharing) I would have not reached the level of understanding I now have. The longer I have been here, the further I see I have to go. Mario, thanks for the light you shined upon my vanity. It made me look closer and see more.
    In September, I expect to reap the rewards of committed efforts to not identify.

  13. Sophia Kastrisiou

    My January aim was not express negative emotions. Unfortunately, my problems of my life win in this battle… Every day I try to remember my aim, and every day I forget it. But when I manage not to expresse its, one place inside me, feel very calm, very strong and that I find again my self, my big aim… to find the peace of my soul.

    1. Orazio Sorgonà

      If we could sustain complete non-espression of negative emotions, we’d be men number 5, it is unified and conscious.

      Petrarch wrote :”I die one thousand times a day, and one thousand times I’m born again”.
      By trying on and on, we each time gain something.
      Thus don’t be discouraged: you can either use failures to foster further efforts.

  14. András V

    The aim I set in January was to control imagination. By now I realized that imagination is too broad to tackle at once, since it continuously presents itself in every field of my life. Coping with it all in one piece, I am destined to fail. Therefore, I am re-formulating my aim to minimize imagination in certain situations in which I am most prone to it.

  15. Alen

    With Self Observation I saw one thing in Me. Imitation. I always thought that my strength lies in the fact that “I” can get an easy affirmation from other people of My “qualities”. With this “quality” I could get a pat on the back so often, prompting My Imitation to get the golden medal on every corner.
    This was the result of My situation in early life where I had to “fit in” in not so auspicious circumstances. In time it got so good, a thick buffer.
    In January I set an aim not to identify with this trait. I thought that this will be an “Intellectual and Emotional Centre struggle”. But it wasn’t. After January My body rebelled. Waking up early, eating without attention, tiredness was never so bad.The lack of physical presence also. It is rooted in the Moving Instictive centre.
    My aim had to be reformulated. Formulating an aim of freedom, had to be reformulated in to an aim of Need of balance. For freedom without balance is madness.
    It was hard in the beginning of My Work days to understand the role of Moving Instictive centre. The Work was too intellectual for Me. I’ve read about this on “Work papers”, but have never experienced it.

  16. Hannah K

    My aim was to pull against haste while I am setting up my clinic room ready for patients at the beginning of each work day. I have been fairly successful at this, have remembered to act consciously and slowly even if time is running out. This has enabled me to observe the out-of-proportion sense of panic that I experience in not just this situation but in any situation when I have to be ready by a certain time.
    While trying to identify what is essence and what is personality in myself, I’ve come to realise that this state of panic that I experience comes from a kind of battle that goes on between two parts of myself. In essence, left to my own devises, I’m a dreamer. As a young child I lived in my imagination: I created imaginary friends in imaginary lands and far preferred playing on my own in this dream world than being with other people. But this made me very scatty: I was always late getting ready for school, I was always losing things, forgetting to do the things I should be doing. As I grew older I learnt to deal with this dreamy child in the same way as my mother did: I scream at her! So every morning I meander through my chores, lost in imagination, until I notice the time and then, shock! It’s getting late and my personality “I”s start screaming commands at me “Do this!” “hurry up!”, “Why are you always so disorganised?!” Etc, etc. And of course my emotions go crazy with panic and I can’t think straight so I do things in a hurry, all higgledy-piggledly, starting one thing then starting another, dropping things, forgetting things and end up making mistakes. My personality doesn’t trust my essence to be responsible, organised and efficient and my essence resents my personality for making me live in the ‘real world’ that it finds dull and distasteful.
    So my aim now is for my child self to focus on being present when I’m preparing to leave the house in the morning and for my adult self to stop screaming at her! The harvest I would like to reap from this is to be able to act in a calmer, more measured way in all situations.

    1. Aporia

      Hi Hannah I just found a good word yesterday and it might be useful for you too. I have a similar struggle with resentment of “all these rules and stuff” (my inner child talking) and I thought it made me sad and thus made me rebel (trying to understand my cycles) so I used transmutation to understand for me, that the opposite of sorrow (or sadness) is felicity – defined as “A condition of supreme happiness; blissfulness; prosperity; appropriateness; neatness or fitness of expression.”

      This sealed it for me “appropriateness; neatness or fitness of expression.”

      1. Hannah K

        Thank you Serene. I would love to think that those are the kind of qualities that I would experience when I manage to Be in presence rather than being in a panic!

        Did you know that there is a St Felicity? I visited her church here in Florence yesterday and said a prayer for help with my Work!

  17. John

    The 3/4 workshop generated an important question for me. My aim is/was to observe, me and others, without judging. I ask, why? And answer, to better understand. Then I ask again, why? And for this I have no good answer. What am I to “be”? If realizing aim is a way of getting there; I am working to get to a destination or state of being for which I have no definition.

    1. Lazaros Lazarakis

      Experiencing the same questions dear John I felt disappointed from the Work until I found a useful article at M.Nicoll’s Psychologicall Commentaries:the Work is too dry and nonsense for the common mind (nonsense:meaningless).The word nonsense is the key:over the five senses,over the common sense.How can we be in a different state of consciousness with our common mind?It’s something over it,we need help from above except our conscious efforts.

  18. Evgueni Z

    Right after the today’s workshop (“Revisiting Aims”), I realized that my excessive planning (what I in January named “Get Things Planned Person”) was just a manifestation of imagination, daydreaming. By hiding daydreaming behind such a “serious” activity – planning – it was obtaining a “legitimacy”. Once I put it into the spotlight of observation, the wasteful nature of this excessive planning became obvious, the legitimacy was gone, and the habit wound down.

    I then discovered that greatly reduced planning activities didn’t lead to increased presence. My daydreaming just found other “legitimate” excuses. I caught a few “post-planning” manifestations so far, and I think pretty much all of them are vanity-based.

    My revised aim now is to observe my imagination in as many of its manifestations as I can catch, and to try seeing what groups of I’s (or even chief features) are driving it in most cases.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Evgueni, a practical tip (mentioned by Andras in his comment above) is to find one particular area of habitual imagination. During breakfast; on the bus to work; during your business meetings; etc. Then set the aim to tackle one of these areas (not the rest), but forcefully. Something mysterious happens when we gain ground in one area, that affects all the rest. Try that out and let me know what you discover.

      1. Evgueni Z

        When I was writing down my revised aim, it indeed felt more vague rather than more concrete. Thank you Asaf for the reminder. I will for now limit my aim to the first hour in the morning. So the revised aim is to actively observe my imagination and pull against its wasteful manifestations during the first 60 minutes in the morning.

  19. anselmo

    My aim was to reduce the frequency that i utilize the smartphone, and use the moments of resistance to Be.
    The smartphone is a big source of identification. Usually i get absorbed with the screen, the content, making the division of attention impossible.
    I observed that i have “I”s that enjoy social network (like Facebook or Instagram) and “news” websites, which actually have a lot of gossip. I think that it is interesting to minimeze the expression of theses “I”s. In other words, i will resist the use of these websites. It is worth mentioning that the use of these kind of websites feed my false personality, which is a contrary force in the work.
    Aiming not to reduce the use of the smartphone, but to utilize in a way that helps me to Be, i installed an app to take note of self-observation, apps to observe pieces of art from famous museums, an app to read quotes from determined authors. Apps that can provide refined impressions.
    Instead of using the smartphone to check the social network, or the “news”, i will use it for self-observation and to receive refined impressions. Instead of feeding my false personality, i will educate my essence.
    I can not stop using text messages. In this case one way that i find to be present is to write the messages without abbreviations, or the internet language. I will use the correct orthography to remember myself.
    So my refined aim is to: use the smartphone for messages and refined impressions, or simply resist its use and Be.

  20. Jack

    After our Workshop Sat. I set another aim to minimize the amount of time I watch news on TV and especially political news. My machine has become identified with one of the 2 political parties. I also set an aim to avoid participating in political conversations. On Sunday we had company( my guest had opposite political views, imagine that) and before I knew it, Jack was involved in an emotional political conversation. I had identified with it and saw what was going on, and knew I needed to stop, but the emotional center was to strong for a few minutes. It was amazing how much energy it sucked from me. I did not like the taste afterwards. I saw my powerlessness without the Work.Being right was not important then(it was during the conversation), Remembering myself and the work was. I want to carry this picture forward to the next opportunity to work and not bite the apple. I suspect I will get that opportunity. This was a good lesson.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Given that you live in the United States, Jack, in setting this aim you are guaranteed to be challenged on a daily basis. As mentioned in the workshop on Revisiting Aims, this particular period of time in America is charged with political opinion. But from the point of view of inner work, no good can come out of being drawn into these debates.

      It is interesting to note that the forces that keep us asleep are often reinforced by outside influences. The ‘I’s in us that are tempted to discuss politics are augmented by political discussions nationwide. This makes them even more challenging to counterbalance. Good luck!

  21. Orazio Sorgonà

    My aim now is exactly ‘Aim’, it is to heed to an Higher state as my final goal.

    This came to be basically important with dealing with some negative emotions.
    I couldn’t just help not to express the, one way or the other, but remembering my large goal, the state I want and that negative emotions prevent me from.
    And it’s working.

  22. Francisco

    I could quote all that Evgueni Z has written. It’s touching when someone writes your own experiences in advance.
    I can also feel much of what has been said by Mario Fantoni, Kalev K, Alen and Hannah K.
    Thanks

    Now, my recap:

    My aim from January: marking the moments when I loose presence because I’m mentally finding faults in others and… find those faults in myself within 24 hours.

    My experience in February: the more awareness I brought to this habit, the more its manifestations reduced. By mid february I was marking 4 manifestations per day and I lost my firewood. Ever worse, I started recriminating to team mates that I find chatterbox and undisciplined. They were surprised because, of course, they didn’t know that, mentally, I had complained much more times… Somehow, the habit repressed found a way to manifest.

    So… dissapointed because I have no trunk to burn and… sorrounded by astonished
    team mates. I must say that I regret much more the former than the latter. Vanity? It’s more than likely.

    I will dedicate March to watch myself as an observer and try to feel if I need a new aim or I need to prune my original aim.

    Suggestions and help would be much appreciated

    Regards

    1. Evgueni Z

      Francisco, as you can see from my initial message on the revised aim for March – the temptation was to make it too vague. We both think we “failed” to some extent in February, so it’s almost like by setting a vague aim for March our Vanity is trying to protect itself from another “failure”.

      Asaf pointed it out, so I adjusted my aim to make it clearer and more manageable (“We cannot manage what we cannot measure”). I’d rather “fail” again with the concrete aim, than “succeed” with little effort.

  23. Kalev K

    I was a bit in confusion with setting a next aim. Controlling the usage of time/energy on outside events almost works, so what next?
    I find it here: https://beperiod.com/en/posts/is-all-the-world-a-stage/
    I tried and found myself in so interesting conditions, that this is worth to work with. My next aim is “a man who can play by own precise script at least 20 min a time”. This is above set in the description, but any work with big plays starts from small etudes.

  24. Aporia

    “The plant is never the same, even if it is pruned back to nearly its original position each year. The base grows bigger and stronger each year.” ~ quoted from someone on the webcast. Sorry I don’t remember but it was quite profound for me when it was said.

    Below are my thoughts – after some research and heavy thinking. Anything quoted below is PD Ouspensky

    Each new shoot that we allow to grow creates a MOMENTUM or growth in that area by branching into 2 vines and then 4 and so on.

    “If one has done a thing, the trace of it remains, so that it is easier to do it a second time, and this creates momentum. One can sometimes overcome this momentum by repentance, which means suffering.”

    Pruning by way of REPENTANCE to prevent MOMENTUM of useless overgrowth.

    Ouspensky calls this repentance “simply stopping a tendency.”

    But then he goes on to say –

    “Repentance may be good, but not strong enough to overcome momentum. But, if it does overcome it, then it is ‘repentance'”

    Does this mean that pruning, must be a continual aspect to the work? And for me, is meaningful pruning even possible in my current state of waking-sleep? There is no way to verify this without trying to use momentum (forming good habits of remembering myself) to wake up.

    “You must always think about the next step—only one step. We can understand the next step as being a little more collected than now. When we have understood that, we can think of it as being still more collected— but not completely, not finally.”

    All this considered – my aim is to observe and divide correctly the four functions.

    This aim helps me feel connected to the work and the growth that is possible. It helps to affirm that I do not remember myself, but with the right study I will.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      This comment, that the plant is never the same from year to year despite pruning, caught my attention too.

      With regards to your aim of observing your four functions, it is good to start with simple moments. While making efforts to remember yourself, what do you see? What was there a moment ago, just before you remembered to Be? This tutorial addresses that challenge: Self-Observation

      You must gather as much moments of self-observation as possible, in order to then make sense of the division of our ‘I’s into four functions.

  25. Francisco

    Revising my january aim has been tough. I couldn’t see clearly where to go. Finally, Evgeni’s and Kalev’s comments have been useful (thanks both), together with my recent inclination to see myself like in a movie. I’ll also keep my “trick” of using a phone app to mark moments.

    Previous aim: marking the moments when I loose presence because I’m mentally finding faults in others and… find those faults in myself within 24 hours.

    Revised aim: I’ll make a tick in my mobile app every time I am enough present as to see myself like a character in a movie; I’ll try not to see myself like the “good” character and others as the “evil” characters of the movie. I’ll be nice to myself and I’ll tick the moment no matter how short it is.

    Thanks all

  26. Dean Whittingham

    I have a book called “George Adie – A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia”

    Adie was not only a pupil of Gudrjieff for a while, he spent much more time as a student of Ouspensky also until he moved to Australia permanently and started his own school.

    I opened it up a random point looking for inspiration, and landed on a page which said the following in relation to feeding essence:

    “Gurdjieff said that “essence”, the real I, grows by the conscious receipt of the impressions of sensation and feeling. As Adie often pointed out, sensation and feeling are of myself in relation to some other part of the universe, and so I come to be related. In increasing the level of consciousness of sensation and feeling we thereby feed the essence.”

  27. Bastián Osorio

    I´m just starting in this community, so first i like to thank thanks to Asaf for the helpfull videos on his youtube channel that opened me the door to this community. March for me has been a month of understand that discipline and peace of mind give a better perspective of the road that we are walking.