Each day offers a fresh start as we get up with recharged accumulators ready for fulfilling the tasks of that day. “The organism usually produces in the course of one day all the substances necessary for the following day,” confirms George Gurdjieff. Let’s say that I’ve verified how slowing down my movements helps me become aware of my movements. This effort has proven productive and, in this respect, is like the healthy seedling of the April farmer. Beginning my day, I plant it in my good earth by allocating to it a certain amount of energy. My organism has the substances needed for applying this aim. Seemingly, nothing can stop me from Being today… except that I’m not the only farmer tilling my field.
“A man sowed good seed in his field,” says the Parable of the Wheat and Tares from the Gospels; “But while the man slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.” A ‘tare’ is a weed. When young, it so closely resembles wheat that the seedlings of both are indistinguishable. Alongside my aim, there are now other aims feeding on the same nutrients. “Bad moods,” says Gurdjieff, “worry, the expectation of something unpleasant, doubt, fear, a feeling of injury, irritation, each of these emotions in reaching a certain degree of intensity may, in half an hour, or even half a minute, consume all the substances prepared for the next day.” An hour into my day, my success is cast in doubt. Although I began on the right foot, another part in me — an enemy to my work — has introduced an altogether different agenda.
“Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” the servants ask their master in the parable.
“An enemy has done this,” he replies.
“Do you want us then to go and gather them up?”
“No,” he insists, “lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest we will gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
The greenery on the floor of the May Labor featured atop this post shows such young and indistinguishable seedlings. In June we will gather and bind the weeds. In July we will harvest and store the wheat. But for now, during May, we must observe them both grow.
Observe the first hour of your day. Which weed habitually saps your good earth? Is it chronic worry? Is it a bad mood? The point is not to let these negative emotions reach a degree of intensity that depletes your good earth. Be patient, recognizing that a newly-formed discipline is inevitably weaker than a long-established habit. If you persist, then in forty days you will be bundling and burning weeds and harvesting and storing wheat. But for now, your May Labor is to photograph the first negative ‘I’ that intrudes into your day, and start formulating a work discipline around it.