What is your aim?

To know the truth? To become master of yourself? To be able to Be? This state is represented by Paradise, a garden of abundance where all creatures live in harmony. You are given to enjoy the benefits of this garden on condition that you avoid the fruit of a particular tree.

 

What distracts you from your aim?

Imagination? Identification? Unnecessary talk? These distractions are symbolized by the forbidden fruit, that changes disguise and snatches Paradise through subtlety.

 

 

Once fallen, what prevents your recovery?

Stubbornness? Self-doubt? Self-righteousness? These forge a barrier between you and your aim, and the longer you delay, the more prone you are to forgetting that Paradise at all exists. You forget your aim.

 

What is the price of forgetting your aim?

Wasting time? Strengthening old habits? Leading a meaningless existence? What was obvious in the garden is now uncertain. What formerly came gratis must now be earned at the price of labor. Expelled from Paradise, you must work to earn bread.

 

What kind of Work?

Responding to the needs of the moment the way a farmer responds to the needs of each month. Clouded by imagination, he introduces artificial light. Plagued by emotional drought, he generates fresh inspiration. The farmer cycles through a finite set of responsibilities, and the more he cycles through them, the more expert he becomes.

We gain knowledge and being through losing and re-gripping our aim. Like experienced farmers, we learn that there are no unsolvable problems, only unfound solutions. We learn that our aim is always one right effort away, one out of a finite array of efforts.

Find that effort, administer it, and recover Paradise.

Responses

      1. Asaf Braverman Post author

        This is an interesting aim to pose, Henry. As we grow up, we are given many ideas of what we are ‘supposed’ to do in life. Regardless of how noble some of these ideas may be, they cover up our innate sense of purpose and prevent it from developing independently. This is what the system calls personality covering essence. So we must begin by removing these layers and uncovering our essence, our true skills, tendencies, and attractions. If these essential tendencies are placed in the service of something higher than ourselves, then we acquire a profound sense of purpose, which is what I believe you are aiming at.

        1. Henry

          Exactly! Hit it right on the head my man. See that was my issue. There had always seem to be something that stop me from moving forward some opposing force..but see everything is telling me to develop my self internally in order to move fwd and find the and fulfill the purpose of my soul. That’s what lead me to you and the becommuntiy. My purpose is slowly but surely reviling itself. Patients is key. That’s my belief

    1. Destany

      My Aim has changed many times, though upon looking back, I can see how they’re really all connected. My Aim is to find peace in myself, to correct that which I can, and to live my life the best way I can while Working on myself.

  1. John

    My spiritual aim is to find the truth. My paradise is viewing the results of my search in my blog, which is primarily for my own benefit. My secular aim is to be earning my way as a Voice Actor. My paradise is my sound studio where I successfully record scripts for clients.

  2. John

    The questions listed above are similar to my weekly review session where I look qualitatively and quantitatively at where I am on the achievement of goals. They are, however, more insightful. My current method is to look at where I am and what I’ll do next, whereas these questions get to the causes of not achieving the goals set for that week. I seem to accept the fact that I was distracted from doing without getting to identifying the distractions as they occur. Often I am aware of being distracted and accept that instead of dispelling it and getting on with a desired goal.

  3. philippe bitton

    I used to have large aims, to be awake, to be conscious, to be self aware and in command of myself. These were the aim I was “looking”for. Though, even that these might be great, I have found them to be too broad, and didn’t permit me a clear evaluation if indeed the aim was attained.
    I have now found it to be much easier to have a small, time pertinent aim. For example, as I type, being attentive about it. Can I observe.
    Latter, the aim might change to can I remember, and evaluate what was observed. I have found that the more my aim is “small”, attention to a bite of food, the less distracted I seem to get.
    Maybe it has to do with the possibility to verify the aim itself.
    Thanks
    Peace and Love
    Note: I really like the way the post was presented, thank you Asaf

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Glad to hear you like the presentation. You are from France (I believe), so you may be more familiar with stained glass windows. They are the only artwork that is back-lit. Computer screens are back-lit, so stained glass windows show up particularly well on computer screens…

      I have found the same as you, and I have also found it important to periodically reconnect with one’s larger aim, without which the smaller aims lose context.

    2. Hicham B.

      Hi Philippe! Thank you for such a sincere comment. I can personally relate to your observations. My aims started broad and too philosophical. As I advance in the work and know more myself and my inner struggle certain practical aims start to define themselves. In stead of having as an aim “overcoming fear” which is to general, one can have “overcoming fear in particular situation”.
      With small aims it is also, as you suspected, possible to track one’s progress.
      Now, the challenge is how to remember all this at once?

      1. philippe bitton

        Thanks Hicham.
        “Now, the challenge is how to remember all this at once?”
        Practice.
        I have a few “quotes” posted around my apartment. One on the mirror in the bathroom. So as I look at myself, I am force to see the quote. Of course I can ignore it, and keep doing whatever I am doing in autopilot, but if I simply stop and read it. (trying to make sense of the wording) I find that I stay a little longer attentive.
        Thanks

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Marisa, I wouldn’t necessarily equate biological age with proximity to essence. In some cases it is possible to relate the two, such as toddlers being pure essence and teenagers developing false personality, but once we reach adulthood our relation to essence and personality depends on many other things.

      The work aims to penetrate essence, because that is the part in us that can develop. True self-remembering is a moment of being in essence. So the same efforts you’ve been making in other areas should achieve this aim. But it takes time and observation to learn to separate essence from personality, and learn to differentiate the one from the other.

      I will look for the right moment to dedicate an online workshop for this topic.

      1. MarisaM

        Thank you Asaf for your comments. I find it interesting that my first thoughts of paradise are on external thoughts and that paradise is also something external. Your comments bring me to the search inside to the state and quality of self-remembering.

  4. Marlene

    This is something I have been working on for a long time. With very odd success and failure.

    “Losing and re gripping our aim”

    A long time ago someone asked me “did we ever leave eden, or did eden leave us?” When did I leave the objective world?
    In my job as a custodian I strive daily to do the very best job I can accomplish. I strive to find the best way of doing something to achieve a continuous illusion of the importance of the building that I clean.
    Yet in my personal life my house falls apart. The separation of personal and professional is profound. I have lots of excuses for why I did not vacuum my house this week, but would never skip a day in my job. “I’m tired, soar, busy ect’.
    The separation of the values from absolute to subjective is a hard road to resolve.

    1. Jill M.

      Hello Marlene,
      I appreciate what you wrote, and I can see similar forces in myself. When I was married I kept the house clean, but now that I am by myself, the period of time between bouts of ‘vacuuming’, etc., is much longer. But I do find that there is a limit to the ‘disorder’ that something-in-me can stand, and that after vacuuming, having my home return to (relative) cleanliness and order raises my inner state.

      It seems like not only is there something in me that makes it easier to work for others (what is it?), but there is also something in me (what is it?) that buffers/disregards the negative effect on me of living in disorder.

      “Not enough time” comes up in me as a reason to put off regular cleaning chores – where does my time go?

    2. Agnes L.

      Perhaps you identify more strongly with your work? The order or disorder of our home is so much easier to hide. It made me think of the difference between personality and essence. So many of us identify so strongly with our personality and continue to “improve” it at the expense of our neglected essence. This starts early in life. That which can be seen by others/judged is prioritized and there remains very little energy for our inner life to develop.

  5. Jack

    My aim is to awaken from the illusions that life gives me and fools me into thinking I am Jack and it can do. On the road to paradise is when I am conscious and being shown my dark side, false personality, self-love and negative emotions, that will allow with time, as I do my work to observe, resist and pray for guidance, strength and understanding. I want my being and my mind to be changed by the work, getting closer to paradise. I feel I have been there before and I want to return home. All of this can only take place when I daily set small aims and do the Work that helps me to remember myself, as Philippe and others have stated. My aim today is to observe and resist imagination. Another aim is to observe and watch for false personality sitting aims that involve life events. I saw that indirectly in Jack recently.

  6. Jill M.

    “Paradise” to me would be union with God.

    I expect that this would not be even near possible to the extent that the accidental, mechanical, self-serving ‘i’s are allowed to manifest through me, and that the emotional center is not completely purified.

    I am fortunate that this morning that there is enough in me to ‘care’ and take time to respond.

    My aim is to endeavor to become more even in my efforts, and if ‘i’ fall in the mud, not to stay there too long.

  7. Alen

    Etymological past of the word Paradise is really interesting. First it was used in terms of a plantation, garden, vegetable patch, with a prefix of “pairi” meaning around. With translations people gave a different connotation. They have inserted “Walled” in the meaning.
    Haven’t we done the same with the garden of Essence and Wall of Personality?
    In my case, most of it started with curiosity. We can gain some knowledge with this impulse. But when the need of Understanding comes, curiosity cannot withstand the pressure. It can only give a starting momentum.
    The Work cleverly bypasses ready formed explanations. It urges us to make the effort Ourselves. The knowledge of the Work, by it’s quality, prompts us to Understand with our own effort. With the practice of The Work, I see that I cannot Know Myself, it is too far away. But it gives a tool, to Observe. Observing “It” for a long time with great efforts, gives Me a peak over the fence. Now, what I see is not separated from Me anymore, as it is with “It”. I find that My Paradise, it is Myself. But something in Life comes, and steals this away. I try again.
    My aim is to come closer to this state again, to regain it. For Me, it would simply mean “To be a Man”.But what I call “Man” changes with the depth of Understanding and quality of My Being.

    1. Jill M.

      Hello Alen,
      I really like what you wrote:”The garden of essence and the wall of personality”. Yes, yes. Something in me built the wall of personality to protect the garden – and it seems very rightly so for many reasons, at least at the time, but too often my state is ‘outside of the wall’ and I can’t find my way back in! This reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s story “Alice in Wonderland” in which he writes of Alice finding a door to a beautiful garden but she keeps changing ‘size’ and is too big to get back through the door.

  8. Christine Mattera

    My AIM is to be more and more connected to that part WITHIN me which “knows” and goes beyond the existential, even beyond words. It is the ultimate peace, the absolute connectivity with all, and with everyone. It’s a beautiful place! Yet it becomes soiled when I allow irritation to enter and turn to anger or self-righteousness … when I view things in too human a way and not in the higher divine way that is afforded me within, IF I so choose. Thanks to this work, I can catch these times of inefficiencies and diffuse the power it wields, shortening the effect. Thank you Asaf, for what you have started here!

  9. Toni Contiero

    “Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow:
    You are not wrong who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand–
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep–while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?”

    my Paradise is Save One.

  10. Dean Whittingham

    Around a year ago I was reading the first couple of volumes of a series of books called ‘The Sufis’, when I came across a quotation by one sufi that went something like this (I apologize that I can’t remember where exactly I read it and so can’t quote it verbatim):

    ‘You must realize that, you are nothing but a single drop in a vast ocean, but that you are just as important as every other drop.’

    I was already into the second or third volume of these books when I read this, but it was the first time since the start that something out of these books had such an impact on me. I remember that when I read this I felt a very heightened sense of fear almost, a negative feeling towards the idea that I would have to accept that I am really nothing but a drop in the ocean; and then I realized that the fear was really about letting go of the idea that I was anything bigger than this, whilst at the same time succumbing to the idea that there is something bigger than me which I need to serve.

    Since this time, and with the help of the fourth way and Beperiod, I have realized that my aim is a dual aim, one of letting go of the idea of placing my economic actions at the forefront of my mind for some personal reward or gain, which is in reality illusory, and merging this into a fresh unity where what I do is for the sake of itself; i.e. to be wise for wisdom’s sake, to be conscious for consciousness’ sake, to ‘Be’ for the sake of ‘Being’ itself where ‘Being’ is an entity unto itself.

    [I wish to apologize in advance also if I cannot participate at more regular intervals on Beperiod – often my job takes me away where I have no phone or internet reception and so I come in late to some of the discussions etc]

    1. Bruce A

      I am thousands of I’s, thousands of different identities. Every time a thought appears in my head it is another I, another identity. I am identified with each one for a second, a moment, a part of a second. I always believe that is me, that is Bruce, who I am. There is nothing in my body or mind or will that can change this. This is how I am constructed, how my machine is built. This is my prison that I cannot escape from.
      The irony is that I do not know I am in prison and if someone tells me, I think they are deluded, it cannot be so because I have will and am free to choose. This is our condition. If I decide to make efforts to escape, the I that makes the effort is on the same level as all of the rest of my identities. It is just one of my I’s looking at another of my I’s. I am only going in a circle, round and round in the same place and imagining I am going somewhere. It is my self-delusion. I never notice this, I am not aware of my real condition.

      The only way I can become aware of my condition is if I am seen from something higher. An energy that is not part of me, that is above me that is not part of my body but can enter my body. A mysterious force from above.
      I cannot demand it, or pray for it. I cannot make it appear by any action or effort. I can only wish to be under its influence, wish to be part of it.

  11. Tim

    I don’t know what paradise is – I’ve been rattling around in the machine. I am thankful, however, for having greater mindfulness as a result of the the work. With each increment of freedom a better picture paradise forms.

    My current position is that the work is no longer part of my formatory center (which is how we all come to learn about it the first time). I now actively self remember and allow daily tensions to remind me to look inward and see what there is to see, to feel what there is to feel.

    My near aim is to extend self remembering to more common places of the day, places where perhaps there is no tension.

  12. Bruce A

    I may have an aim to be conscious, nice aim. There is a flaw in this aim. How can I have an aim to be something I have never experienced? I have no idea what being conscious is. There may be many writings describing this state but these are only words.I can not know something from words.
    Someone can know something by having a direct experience of it and then describe it to me. Still I can not know it unless I also have had the same direct experience. Having large aims leads me no where because I do not know what it is.
    Now having a smaller aim might tell me something.

    There is a common exercise given by many 4th way groups. This is to remember oneself, or be aware of oneself when walking through doorways. Everyone Fails at this! The exercise is given not for us to succeed, but to show us that we cannot DO.
    So how are we going to work for an aim to become when we cannot even know what that is.We know only from words and words is not knowing. Gurdjieff said that Man cannot do but something higher can do through man. Gurdjieff found a direct connection to the higher. To become we must also. But How?

    1. Dean Whittingham

      Thank you Bruce, your post was thought provoking and inspirational

      I am unable to answer it directly, but it did remind me that what I am aiming for is in a sense a ‘negative’ rather than a positive, by this I mean, my aims are formulated by what I do ‘not’ want to be. I agree that I am unable to know and understand what Being really is because I do not know what it feels like, and if I have ‘felt’ it at any time, I was unable to label it, or if I did label it, was it really ‘being’ that I labelled? We could go around in circles trying to know and understand if we are really experiencing something or not.

      Therefore, with no other option available, all I have at least, is to recognize those moments when I am negative, unproductive, a drain or irritation on others, thinking of only myself, not willing to let go of expectations, fantasizing, etc etc etc; all these things, at least nowadays, leave a taste or feeling in me which I simply do not like and can last for days or weeks.

      Just last evening I snapped at my wife, for the first time in such a long time, which has caused me sadness no end since. All I can think of and feel within is a desire to go back in time and go through that whole situation again and imagine myself as someone who would have responded, i.e. to put myself in my wife’s shoes first before I jumped into my own. If the ‘reaction’ negatively defined is the opposite to ‘responding’, then Being must by definition be a response completely devoid of any reaction.

      1. Tim

        “If the ‘reaction’ negatively defined is the opposite to ‘responding’, then Being must by definition be a response completely devoid of any reaction.”

        I quite like this, Dean. Thank you for posting this.

        I too am challenged when a deep association lurking in the shadows comes along out of no where by surprise and blows up what had been a good spate of work.

  13. Orazio Sorgonà

    You made me think of a saying about ‘Virgin Mary’, which I take to represent essence, ready to give birth to higher consciousness. And,interestingly, Dante emphatizes that who wants to get something without her, “his desiring wishes to fly without wings”: being in essence it’s not an optional.
    The saying about her is: “closed garden” (and, also, “that door shall be closed”).

    In ‘life’ that is taken as a literal indication of phisical ‘virginity’, of /not letting in/.

    While, and I used to read that while next to a column in Rome, by Piazza di Spagna, on my understanding and experience of the work, it means, psychologically, /not letting out/.
    Basically, nonexpression of negative emotions, which is our bottom and ‘must’ line.

    The garden is secured if you ‘do not’,
    “of that tree you shall /not/ …” .

    And you are in essence and ready for the further stages of efforts if you do not express negative emotions (you are in essence uncomfortably: go on and you will transform)

    “and never ask ‘why’.” as W.Blake said!

    1. Agnes L.

      Very interesting. I also often wondered about Mary’s beautiful ability to note what was going on and hold it in hear heart (“ponder it in hear heart”) without reacting. Wise