The branches we clip when pruning vines aren’t fundamentally bad. They’re only counterproductive from the point of view of our aim to produce robust grape. If we scale back the natural growth of a vine at this time of year, we redirect the energy it would normally spend on excessive growth and channel it toward flower and fruit. This is the purpose behind pruning; this is the March Labor.
The same discipline must be applied to the micro-cosmos: if we hope to increase its production of consciousness, we must redirect its natural allocation of energy. “We can ‘remember ourselves’ only if we have in us the energy for ‘self-remembering,’” says George Gurdjieff. “Energy is spent chiefly on unnecessary and unpleasant emotions, on the expectation of unpleasant things, possible and impossible, on bad moods, on unnecessary haste, nervousness, irritability, imagination, daydreaming, and so on.” If we didn’t have an aim to remember ourselves — if we didn’t aim to produce robust wine — then we could freely indulge in negativity and daydreaming. The vines of our psychology could be permitted to twirl around in eccentric, whimsical, and even grotesque directions without consequence. But having formulated the aim to Be in a personal and meaningful way — as we did during the January Labor — we are now obliged to become more discriminate with the allocation of our resources.
“Energy is wasted on the wrong work of centers,” continues Gurdjieff; “On unnecessary tension of the muscles out of all proportion to the work produced; on perpetual chatter which absorbs an enormous amount of energy; on the ‘interest’ continually taken in things happening around us or to other people and having in fact no interest whatever; on the constant waste of the force of ‘attention;’ and so on, and so on.”
Viewing our habits as energy leaks places them in a more impersonal light. I become irritable, not because I’m a bad person, but because I have too much unused energy. I harbor concerns, not because I’m an anxious person, but because I have too much unused energy. I indulge in daydreaming, not because I’m an impractical person, but because I have too much unused energy. To remember myself more — more frequently, for longer, and more deeply — these leaks will have to be plugged. And because I begin my day with replenished accumulators, they must especially be observed and plugged at the beginning of my day. If I conquer my morning, I’ll make a strong start and set a better standard for the rest of my day.
Let us, then, enter the March Labor by conquering the beginning of our day. Observe the first hour of your day. What are the leaks through which your refreshed accumulators are habitually depleted? What happens if you make a concentrated effort to plug them? Share your observations below.