In the first tutorial on the four lower centers, we presented the Micro-cosmos has having four brains that controlled all of its ordinary functions. In this tutorial we will go deeper into each center and examine its parts based on the level of attention with which they work. As a visual aid, we will use the common deck of cards and assign one of the four suits to each of the four lower centers. Within each suit, the Jacks, Queens and Kings will designate each part of that center. We will see how, to function properly, the parts of a center must collaborate. And we will end by setting an aim to observe in ourselves the different parts of our four lower centers.


  1. Asaf Braverman Post author

    Following this tutorial, I invite you to make the following effort:

    1. Observe how your judgement ‘I’s are stimulated by another person. This is a typical reaction to others by the emotional part of the emotional center, the queen of hearts.

    2. Make an intentional effort to place yourself in that person’s shoes. What do they desire? What is their suffering? This requires an effort from the intellectual part of the emotional center, the king of hearts.

    Note that feeling for someone else is not, in itself, consciousness. But the effort to remember this exercise, catch judgement, and override it with compassion, will require us to be conscious.

    Share your observations below this comment.

  2. Hicham B.

    This is one of the exercises I struggled against (and still do) for a long period of time. One can verify that it is really difficult to change a habit, or a certain manifestation in himself or herself and yet he or she is in the Work. What about people who have no idea of the Work or at least did not start Work on themselves? Yes judgment should be replaced by compassion and it takes a great effort to have this right attitude. This exercise deals with the emotional center, can you share an exercise with the intellectual center and its sub-parts?
    Many thanks;

      1. Hicham B.

        This is a residual habit from high school. I was always disturbing the lecture by asking questions on a different topic.
        The current exercise indeed is interesting in the sense that situations where we tend to judge people are frequent during one day. The possibilities are therefore tremendous.
        Thanks Asaf for the personal message about the intellectual center.

  3. Alen

    It seems that Nature, needs our self preservation; so the Instictive and Moving parts have somewhat of an orderly sequence.
    But the Diamond and Hearts sequence is mostly in mess On a global scale, Nature does not need every Man to be conscious it seems. Also, one center is affected by other in a cross section of this Card Diagram. Someone makes a dinner that is too salty, and My queen of Clubs is not enjoying it, so It judges the person with the Queen of Hearts. My King of Diamonds finds explanations why did this person made it too salty. He/She never liked me, so it must be the reason.

  4. George Gurdjieff

    Everybody understands this in relation to an aeroplane, a motorcar, or a railway engine. But it is very rarely that anyone takes this into account in relation to man in general or to himself in particular. It is considered right and legitimate to think that nature has given men the necessary knowledge of their machine. And yet men understand that an instinctive knowledge of the machine is by no means enough. Why do they study medicine and make use of its services? Because, of course, they realize they do not know their machine. But they do not suspect that it can be known much better than science knows it; they do not suspect that then it would be possible to get quite different work out of it.

  5. John

    Could it be that the body responds to stimulation, either internal or external, by secreting a mixture of fluids from primary sources that create the specfic response.

    If one thinks of the primary colors and the almost infinite variety of hues that can be obtained by mixing them; then apply that as an anlogy to the secretions of the primary sources to see that the possible responses are of a likewise infinite variety.

    1. John F. Walz

      Hello John,
      thank you for your comments, however, I don’t immediately see how it relates to the video or the suggested exercises.
      Could you clarify that for us?

      1. John

        For me, it explains how the body physically reacts to various psychological influences. Understanding how the physical manifestation is made allows me now to observe them and categorize them into the structure presented.

    2. Orazio Sorgonà

      I always thought of the ‘suits’themselves to be the ‘primary sources’: they actually ‘fall’ in 3 places, being the istinctive and moving centers say one and the other side of ‘active’ functioning, and Gurdjieff spoke then of ‘three brains’. yet it’s very important however to distinguish between spades and clubs.

      What you say I suppose holds in general, of how three sources inform a whole. But ‘logically’ we cannot grasp either the so-called ‘Law of Three’, and less either how it operates in a whole. It takes an higher consciousness for that, our mind is just given ‘hints’ to align to the higher consciousness that actually knows and which is, however, the evry aim of any teaching.

      Rodney Collin, as treating of body, says it may be studyed from the standpoint of the ‘Law of Three’, thus focusing on the interactions in the three-fold nervous system (as he also does), or from the standpoint of the ‘Law of Seven’ focusing on endocrinal glands excrections, as he then proceeds to do, considering ‘planetary’ types of bodyes and related different psychologies.

  6. Marlene

    I mostly start my thought process with the emotional center.
    I do care about what people are going through. That said I think people who are wired to the emotion center first(my opinion) have a very good relationship to the instinctual center. It is both good and bad. The good being the joy of putting your heart into a project. Or relating to another person The bad being moments when one “forgets” the majority of the world does not think about how’s ones actions effect others.
    The instinctual wants to protect the “self”.
    Honestly I very much struggle with the mechanical response on this level. I see the world as moments. (Add emotion)
    It takes real effort too stop judgement when their is lack of trust
    Unfortunately more times then I would care to admit, attaching emotions to events can bring about instinctual responses.

  7. Devakrishna Marco Giollo

    Posted a post recently somewhere else that provoked negative and positive responses where my emotional center got continuously triggered. With the negative responses I would feel the heat of anger in my heart and the compulsion to respond from the emotional center immediately a certain answer to defend my position, try to explain my point of view on that subject and attack and put down the other. I would stay instead with the emotional feeling of anger and watch how it moves and slowly cools down and then answer, maybe next day, from that space and notice my answer is constructive and positive with out offending the other. It feels clearly a healthy intellect center. just don’t know if still from the emotional center or from the intellect center.

    1. Thomas Neuschatz

      Hello Devakrishna, your response seems to be an intelligent use of centers, from the kings of the emotional and intellectual centers. There is a wisdom in waiting for the heat of lower emotions to pass, allowing something higher to enter. A bit of Will and separation is required. Not believing the first thought or emotion points toward consciuosness, Presence.

  8. Dean Whittingham

    I do this often with my wife, or should I say, when I remember to do it, it is usually with my wife.

    For instance, it is not uncommon for my judgments I’s to notice how much time she spends on facebook. Quite some time ago, when this would normally provoke negativity in me and sometimes I would express it outwardly, a friend of mine told me of how much frustration and anger he felt because his wife was always on facebook – and he would always tell her so. At this point I realized that I did not want to be like this anymore.

    Now when I see her on facebook I find that if I put myself in her shoes I see that she needs to be on their as it enables her to keep up with our older childrens lives, especially our oldest daughter and our grandson, and other members of the family, she uses facebook as a means to ask others for information relevant to some problem we need to solve (admittedly so do I) and so forth. But also, that we live in a world where social media is the norm and she has every right to want to be part of this – and most importantly, (if I have this right she is a Jovial) people are part of who she is – whereas I am I think a Mercurial, she is a people person and facebook fills a part of this for her.

  9. Tim

    I observed someone tell his sons that he would get a divorce if he could do it without repercussion. As his discussion with his sons carried on it also became clear he and his wife were meant to go out to dinner with friends in a few days. Talk about buffers! FYI he is a Jovial.

    My judgmental I’s wanted to condemn him for 1. talking about this in a place of business, and 2. telling this to this woman’s very own children. This was the real time assessment but I said or did nothing as the children were grown.

    Later that night a “work I” thought about his self justified need to do this in what must have been extreme unhappiness. I thought about his situation, the mistakes he made (1&2 above) and eased up on my judgement. I thought about how marriage is the perfect venue for buffers and thought about the difference between consciousness and conscience. I thought about O’s characterization of buffers as (paraphrasing here) ‘it’s like you’re in a container and what you feel at the time is all that exists.’

    1. Jill M.

      Hello Tim,

      Thank you for describing so clearly and honestly your experience. It seems there are several parts to this: 1st- You noticed the ‘sleep’ in someone else; 2nd- You noticed your mechanical reaction; 3rd- You actively thought of could motivate him to say what he said, in order to elicit in your emotional center the feeling of compassion.

      This brings me to a question about the word “judgement”. In my experience, the meaning of the word judgement has come to include the meaning, “Don’t notice, don’t pay attention, ignore,” as well as, rightfully, “Don’t Condemn.”

      But I need to “notice” – not out of some gossipy, holding accounts against others meaning – but because the contradictions I see in others exist in myself as well! If I can see the situation and feel true compassion, not at all a “holier than thou” pity, then this could only be a help – even without any words. Can I just “be” with this man, being aware, without condemning, giving him the inner-space to work out his situation?

  10. John F. Walz

    I was recently at a professional development seminar where the aim was to learn how to better detect mental health conditions and issues like alcohol, drug and food addictions in our patients.
    The presenter was a professional psychologist who gave some clear concise and practical information as to how to assess eating and alcohol disorders, what some of the underlying causes were (such as stress), and ways that his profession treated such conditions. Much of this delivered very confidently and professionally and I believe it was accurate and useful. He did this while apparently oblivious to the obvious contradiction that he himself is at least 50 pounds overweight.
    Later, while he was asking us how we dealt with the intense stresses of our jobs, he offered, ‘I drink Merlot’. At first I thought it was a joke, then I realized he was quite serious and obviously was once again demonstrating a complete disconnect, not only to the topic of the presentation, but in knowledge to Being. This is when the judgement I’s really pounced.

    I had to quickly divide attention and drop the judgement i’s and see this person in myself. I am a healthcare practitioner and at one point my instinctive and emotional center overruled my intellect and being to make the machine 20 pounds overweight. I have struggled with taking my own dietary advice and don’t exercise nearly as much as I should. It is part of having a ‘Venusian’ machine. I have also observed that my machine will sometimes choose a glass of wine or a cocktail over doing Tai Chi, meditation or some internal Fourth Way Work in dealing with “stress”.

    Once I could see myself in the other, see my sleep in the other, it was easier to experience compassion, it was easier to see the weight and the alcohol use as suffering. The more I could Self Remember and “Pull against” the judgement with compassion, the closer I got to Conscience. I don’t think I quite got there with this one, but considering how the Vanity feature in my machine is pretty reliable with its judgement, there will always be other opportunities.

  11. MarisaM

    I observed an increase in judgement i’s involving a friend who I have known for some years. What I’ve observed before as displays of “worrying” , “anxiety” and “suspicious mind” seem to have hit a limit in myself. Now I observe a hesitancy to not get “caught” in these moments and judgement I’s by moving away when I can. At this time, I’m curious about this transition as previously being considerate and more compassionate. The transition may be the result of more judgment i’s that I’m not aware of.

    In putting myself in this person’s shoes, I see sensitivity and awareness in which she approaches new challenges in her life. She is positive and is able to ask for assistance when needed. There are many things I value in her.

    Asaf’s comment to make effort to remember this exercise, catch judgement, and override it with compassion, takes me further in my self-observation. In not being caught in the judgement i’s that have already formed in me I can give more attention in our exchanges towards new insights and higher centres. What I value is my friend’s sense of looking at situations from her point of view and considerations. In this I feel I can come to a new level of compassion.

    This practice has made me aware of my instinct centre.

  12. Jill M.

    What I am wondering: Is there any “right work” of the jack and queen of hearts? Is there any time when it is right work for the emotional center to operate without intentional attention, and thus from habit, or from an extreme emotion which can turn into its opposite?

    And from here, I wonder if many of the ‘i’s of false personality, including the wasteful unjustified negative emotions, arise from the jack and queen of hearts? I was thinking that maybe the various forms of worry/inner considering are from the operation of the jack of hearts, as these arise in me when there is no intentional attention. The king of hearts can use relativity and work with the king of diamonds to find reasons that worry is unnecessary.

    Does this make sense? Does it sound ok?

  13. Jill M.

    Somewhere on this lovely and most helpful website, Asaf posted a beautiful Indian painting of a carriage drawn by 4 horses. This image had me rethink the analogy of the horse, carriage, driver, etc. Usually there is one horse, which represents the emotional center. What I realized is that it feels as if there are within me 4 horses – one for the emotional part of each center: Sometimes my machine is moved to action by the desire to know something (Queen of Diamonds), other times by the desire to get up and move (go for a walk) (Queen of Spades), etc. And many times the ‘horses’ have conflicting desires – one wanting to stay up late indulging in facebook gossip (QH?) and another wanting to go to bed on time (QC?). How does the driver respond to this? Can the driver control the horses and use the power of at least one of them, to begin with, to accomplish an aim? Or is the driver asleep and let the strongest horse win?

    And then it occurred to me what the ‘reins’ could represent, reins being how the driver motivates at least one of the horses in the horse team to ‘go’. Maybe you have already found this helpful trick – intentionally imagining carrying out and even enjoying an activity or its result. An example: visualizing a straightened up closet and the concomitant satisfaction in order to get the energy to begin.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Jill, this connection rings true and is new to me. After all, the deck of cards is one way of presenting the four lower centers. But your description of four horses pulling the card – queens of the four centers – is very much how I have observed things work. Regardless of whether or not this is what the Indian miniature meant, it rings true.

      Krishna and Arjuna (Kangra Pahari, 19th c. Delhi Museum)

    2. Jill M.

      One way this proposed concept of the 4 horses helps me is, when the QH horse is particularly strong and thus leading ‘me’ into negativity, the beginning of a way out of the slough of despond is for the driver to ‘wake up’ the QD horse – by remembering, visualizing ‘interest’ in the ideas, or at least in other subjects (math, chemistry, physics, cosmology – free online courses in EdX and Coursera). For what it is worth, it was recently confirmed to me by someone who worked with Mrs. Popoff, that the ‘reins’ – which connect the driver and horse(s) – are the process of visualization. If I can visualize myself undertaking some particular endeavor, this can energize the related ‘horse’ – the emotional part of a center.