This tutorial invites a sincere observation of our efforts. Circumstances within us and outside of us continually change. So must our efforts. With each change, a new key must be found to a new lock. The mind (intellectual center) is responsible for finding the key, the heart (emotional center) for generating the force behind its usage.

Can you observe moments in which your mind knows the right effort, but your heart lacks the desire to make that effort? Can you observe moments in which your heart has the desire to make an effort, but your mind cannot find the right key? And can you observe moments where heart and mind unite, resulting in a higher state?

Responses

  1. Evgueni Z

    It feels like in all my moments of self-observation I’m stuck in a state of not reaching that union of my mind and heart. My mind tends to think on a scale that is too big for the moment, which results in an imagination disguised as a “key finding” activity.
    And in those rare moments when both my mind manages to focus on a small enough aim (for example, to just be aware of the surrounding reality: hear, see, sense), and the feeling of “something higher” is present, it still feels like there is not enough “heat” to produce this “combustion” of a higher state.
    I’m not even sure whether I ever experienced the higher state at all.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      “Heat” is generated through friction, through the struggle between ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ One or two pulls in this struggle are insufficient for generating heat. That’s why sporadic efforts almost never result in a higher state. How many back-and-forth churning movements would do – ten? Twenty? Thirty? If a breath lasts about five seconds, then we’re speaking of an effort prolonged throughout a minute or more.

      Try this out. Sitting at your desk, take a minute off external work and simply Be – maintain the sense of ‘I am here’ – throughout ten breaths. See whether that changes your state of consciousness.

      https://flic.kr/p/KwT3zz

  2. Michael Prochazka

    It all sounds very complicated. I just remember myself every time I become aware of the impulse to remember myself, divide my attention, and thus be ‘present to what is before me, internally and externally, It’s that simple. But to prolong that state is not so easy. With practice, however, one becomes better at it.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      True, the system can suffer from over-complexity and fall short of its primary aim. Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” If you’re satisfied with your ability to Be each time you have the impulse to do so, then you’re safe. But if you observe laziness, inertia, or lack of inspiration, as Philippe mentions in his comment below, then the system explains why this happens and how it can be worked with. It dissects ‘knowing what to do’ from ‘executing that knowledge,’ locating one in the mind and the other in the heart.

      To advance beyond occasional moments of consciousness sporadically spread throughout your day, you need the system.

      Churning-of-the-Milky-Ocean-(Ana-Rodriguez)

  3. philippe bitton

    As I stood in front of the mirror, I could see the index card taped to the mirror. I knew what it was for. I even could ‘read’ the quote. I knew that I could pay attention, recall my desire to be. but here I stood, laziness taking over, nonchalantly turning to my routine.
    Where was my desire to be, to have awareness and consciousness of myself? My mind was determined, though my heart was asleep.
    Thanks
    Peace and Love

  4. Melissa Sweet

    First, let me express profound gratitude to each of you who summed up the rememberance of the efforts of your year. I was so struck by the sincerity humility of each of you.
    In regard to the task of this week, I come ” head on” with this continual clash in my daily life. I just don’t understand the conflict within myself, where it comes from and why.
    I hold two practices which I do ” religiously”, and hold the most priority.
    I would say that each of them comes from my heart. These are:
    1- A Centering Prayer practice which I usually do in the late afternoon.
    2- Two hours of flute practice which is divided into two periods of one hour each, no specific time of day.
    Each of these disciplines are chosen by me and I have ample time to dedicate myself to them.
    Here is the rub. I find all sorts of ways to delay them and put them off with mindless tasks such as cleaning a closet or writing an email or picking up a book. There seems to be an “I” which somehow sabbatages what is most important. Both endeavors require a whole heartedness and an alert, focused mind. In addition, the right amount of effort is important. It’s easy to either under effort or over effort. I intuit that this ” right effort” aspect may be the friction. My desire needs to be in balance as well. Too much emotion turns into self consciousness. There is too much ” me” in the equation.
    This is about all I can say right now. It is very difficult to convey.. At this moment, the flute is calling and it’s time to respond.
    I send each of you sincere blessings for a beautiful season of holidays. I am eager to continue our work together with you, Asaf, as our devoted mentor.

  5. Jack

    Yesterday, I was driving to an appointment when a man with his dog on a lease walked across the 4 lane divided road in front of me about 40 yards from red light and walkway. I had to quickly slow down and stop. As I stopped Jack hit the auto button on his driver window and told the guy, ” the walkway in up there”. He relied with *&+++. I did not respond and closed the window. I knew as the words were coming out of my machine that this was not what I wanted to do, but my heart lacked the desire to make the effort to stop. My words were hardly out of my mouth when I was thinking “why did I do that?” This is not who I want to be. I then remembered this is another example that Jack can not do. I also saw the intensity of it’s response did have the energy it used to vent. I was grateful and reaffirmed that this is not who I want to be. As Philippe stated my heart was asleep.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Thanks for sharing a situation all to common for all of us. You most likely experienced a higher state in that moment, as the negative comment was blurted out of your mouth against your will. Ouspensky said,

      When you try more than usual not to identify, you may notice many negative emotions you have not seen before. Some you may see full-size, of others you may only notice their tails disappearing.

      So it sounds like you caught the tail of that one, which is much better than not catching anything at all!

  6. philippe bitton

    As I was driving and getting closer to the light, which has turned green, the car in front of me was still stopped at the light and yet was moving. Though, before I got close to it, it moved. However, finding myself behind, a thought came up as I stopped at the next light. The thought was to use my horn if it wasn’t moving fast enough as the light will turn green. However, a recall of not expressing negative emotions came to my mind. In a same manner, a sensation of remembering the feeling when I restrained from expressing a negative emotion was sensed. A pleasing and gratifying sensation. All this helped me not express the negative emotions, and not use my horn, or be in a hurry.
    I knew not to express negative emotions, and also, felt the reward of doing so.
    I have found that recalling the sensation (even if only a taste) when one is working towards one’s aim, awaken at times my heart.
    Thanks
    Peace and Love

  7. Jack

    Yesterday, I was driving to pick up a Christmas item and saying and feeling internally how grateful I am for all that I have been given in my life. I was in a very good place inside. When I pulled into the small parking lot, I noticed a space at the end. As I approached it I saw it was a handicapped space. I looked behind me and saw 1 space to the left. As I started to back up about 5 ft and make a left turn, the person behind me sat down on his horn and continued to blow for most of my turn. It was as if time slowed down. I was totally peaceful and calm. I felt no anger, irritation, no internal talking, no account making. I was thinking , he must be having a bad day and wished him well. I knew Jack was not doing this. I thanked the Work and higher Consciousness. I can not recall any experience just like this. I sat in my car for a minute grateful for this experience. To me, I felt like mind and heart had truly united. I do not recall anything I did to bring this about. I have revisited this several times in my mind since. This is who I want to Be. I started to tell my wife about the experience and felt Jack’s ego and decided not to share. This is my only sharing. I need to drive more!!!

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Lovely, Jack. We taste the flavor of true freedom when we are able to respond rather than react. We glide on the pressure of the moment. Although you couldn’t recall anything you’d done to bring this about, I propose that this is the cumulative result of your past efforts. It is only because it is difficult to connect cause and effect, especially in the second state of consciousness, that these things seem separate and unrelated to each other.

      A wonderful experience with which to end the year.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      It is difficult to pinpoint it in this way, but yes, the result of the union of mind and heart is always a third and higher element. The way we experience it will differ. Now it will seem to be higher centers. Then it will seem to be higher forces. What will always be common to our experience of that third and new element is that it is of a higher world.

      1. Hannah K

        I’ve been trying the exercise that you suggested to Evgeni on one of the other threads of spending 10 breaths in presence. I look at the objects in the room, one per breath and at the same time hold an awareness of myself looking. I find that my machine constantly wants to stop doing the exercise and when I manage a particularly deep state of presence when my awareness of myself in my environment is most intense, then something new comes in that I have no way of describing. I’m not sure if it’s higher but I do know that whatever it is scares my machine. Why is this? Why is the machine so scared of just Being? All I’m doing is looking deeply at a familiar object. It has become clear to me from doing this exercise that my daydreaming and hurrying and identification with doing are all buffers that my machine uses against this strange, intense quality that accompanies conscious Being. It’s as if bringing in an awareness of myself spooks it as if it doesn’t like knowing that I exist. This strikes me as being very strange!