We bite on the temptation of the moment. Our minds, our bodies and our hearts get carried away and cast our Micro-cosmos into chaos. We call this state identification, because it is characterized by a misplaced sense of identity, by mistakenly calling the impulse of the moment "I." But the ways down and up are the same, and the same three brains help us restore order in the Micro-cosmos. In this tutorial we will experiment with reversing the fall into identification. We will return to the Basilica of San Marco in Venice and examine a lesser-known episode from the Genesis creation that is instrumental in this process, that of Adam naming the animals. And we will set an exercise to name the temptation of the moment, throughout as many moments of our day as possible, separating our Mind from identification, through naming.


  1. Asaf Braverman Post author

    The exercise to name the first ‘I’ that intrudes into our efforts requires self-observation. Can you catch such a recurring ‘I’? Can you give it a nickname that captures its nature? And can you use that name to photograph it the moment it arises? Share your experiences below.

  2. Peter Ouspensky

    “Gurdjieff was very ingenious in the definition of features… I was astonished at the artistic finish of the feature that [he formulated]. It was not psychology even, it was art.”
    (from In Search of the Miraculous, p. 274)

  3. Maurice Nicoll

    To remember ourselves we must not identify. To learn how not to identify we must first not be identified with ourselves. For this reason we must learn and practice Self-Observation. When we realise we need not go with a mood etc., but can draw the feeling of “I” out of it, we begin to see what not identifying with ourselves means.

  4. Mario Fantoni

    My machine has the tendency of talking too much — a feature that Gurdjieff named “unnecessary talk” — and falls asleep frequently doing the process. I tried the exercise that Asaf suggested and gave that behaviour the name of “Brian” after a friend of mine that has the reputation of talking too much (probably I do too…). After that, I noticed that every time I met Brian and he started talking profusely and interrupting other people, I had the “I” “this is how people see you”. Then I noticed that when I started talking excessively an “I” said “you are acting like Brian”. This limited the amount of unnecessary talk. The interesting thing is that I started judging Brian less because I realized that I had fnegative “Is” when I saw him because he is a mirror of my feature.

  5. Melissa Sweet

    I’m not sure whether or not this is the place to comment on our question and answer webinar this past Saturday. I’ll give it a try.
    I was so impacted by the discussion of the Bruggle ( sp?) painting. The aspect which most affected me has to do with the teaching, represented by the Three Kings and Herod.
    The warning about using discernment when sharing the teachings and our journeys lest they be harmed in some way, ( the killing of the innocents ). It’s so important to be protective.
    It brings to mind the teaching of Jesus when He said, ” Cast not your treasure before swine”.

  6. Dean Whittingham

    One that stands out is the first thing in the morning I am prone to look for reasons to criticize and judge for lights being left on, shoes left in loung and so forth…over time I formulated a label to group these under as ‘accounts’ because it always appears i am using the moment to hold another to account and i realize i am lacking understanding of our machine like tendencies which i also suffer from.

    I find it interesting that Adam used nouns, but that our original bite of the fruit is always a verb, ie self pity, haste, impatience, criticism, which we then group with a noun.

    1. Marcella Berardi

      Seeing this tutorial after several months It was pubblicated the first time, let me think about an observation that Asaf did time ago: The knowledge can’t be separate from the essence , The more You pratice, The more You understand. What I Feel Now is An increased understanding of The same Topic that The First time looked unclear To me.
      I focused on Lot of my Is during Last months And today I can Name some of Them much more precisely.

      1. Asaf Braverman Post author

        I experience it similarly, Marcella, that we return to old ideas freshly and are able to go deeper into them. As we change, their meaning changes for us. That’s why we re-publish tutorials and re-use their exercises.

        1. Tim

          yes and in the first rendition of this tutorial it was mentioned, I believe, that the face of the serpent was similar to the face of Eve to let the observer know the temptation of the body will disguise itself as emotion. This is a fascinating discovery in its own right.

  7. Tim

    For me, as a precursor to naming, it is most helpful to repeat over and over to myself that ‘this isn’t the real me’. That whatever I am going through, whatever I am observing in myself, is actually just the sum total of cumulative currents in and around me. This puts the brakes on. Now I can name.

  8. Charles Rodkoff

    Similar to how Mario named his, the temptation that I’ve observed the most, I’ve named Frank, after Frank Sinatra. Remember he sang a tune called ‘I Did It My Way’? Over the past few days I’ve observed that not only do I want to do it my way – and no other – everyone else should be doing it my way as well. Of course, not only do family and friends not do it my way, more often than not, their way (or any other way except mine) works much better for them. And when my way *is* a better choice of action, because I’m so identified with expressing my opinion, it doesn’t comes out very pleasantly and I alienate from myself, the very people whom I’m trying to help.

    1. Nancy-Rebecca McCarty

      This used to be a big problem for me also, a stumbling block for me, in my own ‘work’, especially when in my ‘vaunt’ younger days. Many ‘painful’ mistakes had to be overcome as a result. Which forced me to examine my own attitudes in this area. Over time, ‘self-observation’ revealed, that the root source of wanting it ‘my way’, comes from the way the features of power, dominance and vanity manifest in my machine, the way they ‘prop’ each other up, to keep up some internal illusion that ‘my way’ is the ‘right way’. So, in my case, it was often about being ‘right’.
      Over the years, it has been my fate to be ‘in charge’ as a ‘foreman’, of others on various ‘jobs’. This ‘my way’ feature manifested over and over. My experience as the result of pushing ‘my way’ on other people, was that having it ‘my way’ often lead to embarrassing failures, which might have turned out otherwise if the advise and suggestions, of others on the job, had been considered. Pushing ‘my way’, tended to evoke a wave of resentment and resistance from others, toward what ever ‘my way’ project, they were assigned. This resulted in negative feelings, slower production, poorer workmanship, lack of cooperation, and often lowered the quality of the final out come. At some point it dawned on me: “if the outcome, will be the same, why not let the other guy, do his work ‘his own way”? I tried using this attitude instead… the results of replacing my old micromanaging ‘my way’ attitude with this new attitude, were amazing, not only did people do better work, they got behind the projects, worked better as a ‘team’, often came to me for advise and most of all, by listening to the ideas of others, it was possible to learn new ways of ‘doing’ things that were even better than ‘my way’. Duh, how novel huh?…That’s the way my vanity felt, after my ‘observer’ revealed how silly it was, and formatory, it is to think ‘my way’ is always the ‘right way’. It slowly dawned on me that the roll of a manager, is not to force others to do a job ‘My way”, it is to distribute jobs, describe the expected out come, give out line ways it might be done, and to let other people tackle the job in their own way. In the roll of, manager, my best results have come from this new understanding. The lesson for me, after all these years, is: on the job, it’s OK to be a source of encouragement, OK to ask questions, and to make suggestions, but not OK to force ‘my way’ on others, and most of all it is very useful to externally consider other people, by anticipating intervals others will face and helping them overcome their intervals, by assisting them in finding solutions to their problems, while they are doing it ‘their way’. Wow discovering this, has helped me so much, in my day to day life, and been a great source of new understanding for my self. Now the experience of my ‘Self’ working together with others is often a joy….

      1. Charles Rodkoff

        Yes, vanity’s a stinker…..it just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on. It’s in love with the sound of it’s own voice, expressing in a page what could have been said in a sentence. For myself the identification is about control: “My way or the highway”.

        1. Nancy-Rebecca McCarty

          “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.”


  9. Jack

    Early this morning I observed an i in my mind rambling on with inner talk. It hence forth has been named the Rambler. For that is what it does, ramble on and on unless it is observed. Like Tim, I also remind myself, this is not me. This is not who I am or want to be. This is the rambler.

  10. Hicham B.

    The line between the Observer and the Observed is becoming clearer with practice of Self-Observation. One should be able to verify that once you name a manifestation of the lower self, the separation starts to be visible. Of course, it wasn’t obvious the beginning.

    1. Hicham B.

      To be more practical the the main “I” that come into stage and that provoke sleep is feeling the necessity to give my opinion while having a discussion with someone.
      Some friends and I call such a behavior “Brahim” after one friend who always has something to say! It’s funny though that we all have such a reaction to some extent!
      Of course, my friends don’t know the importance of such an exercise. For them it’s just for fun. However, I can say they helped me in reducing “Brahim” manifestations by pointing it out each time I do it.
      After reading the comments, I can see that I’m not the only one who named an “I” after a friend.

  11. John F. Walz

    One early observation was that my machine would be late regularly to appointments, which caused me to rush while driving, often going much faster than speed limits, and taking unnecessary risks.
    I imagined that my internal effort was to separate from the frustration caused by traffic and other drivers or not to be ‘image concerned’ arriving late to work. I imagined that the problem was that I needed to be in directed parts of centers while driving. I suggested to a person more senior to me in the Work that I should call this group of ” i’s ” “Mario” after a then famous racecar driver Mario Andretti.
    He suggested that name was a buffer and an expression of imagination, and suggested “Harried Lunatic” instead. Considering that I am Lunar and not at all moving centered, it was a much better (although painfully direct) photograph for that ” group of is “. It helped me to get to the root of the issue, which was Tramp and Vanity Features and helped me to see just how inconsiderate and potentially harmful its manifestation was to others and to my inner Work.

    Once armed with a name for the group of i’s, I was able to Be more Present by finding its opposite, rising above and “pulling against” the mechanics with Intentional efforts from True Personality. I found that Tramp feature was an aspect of Vanity-it felt entitled to stay in bed in the morning and hit the snooze button, imagining that the world should adapt to its schedule and needs, while buffering it with a variety of justifications.
    I found that the Work Aim had to begin with an Aim and plan to Be Present, a change to a Work attitude of External Considering and ‘Householder” along with a changes of behavior.

      1. William Scholte

        Yes, after working with Mario Fantoni’s observation (earlier on in this post about judging people less by using their name for ‘I’s in us that we usually judge in them) I would say that naming some ‘I’s in the manner he spoke of can have that direct quality.

    1. Dean Whittingham

      Hi John, may I ask an off-topic question? You mentioned you are Lunar. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by this, is it some form of type, and does it help to know this, or of other types? Thanks in advance

      1. John F. Walz

        Hello Dean,
        there are different “body type” systems. William Sheldon developed a system where all physiology and psychology types could be defined in three categories. Rodney Collin, a student of Ouspensky, wrote of seven type system based on the Enneagram. Essentially, it defines Essence physiology and the psychology that evolves around those types. We can use this to better define the “machine”, learn it , understand it, not judge it ( not judge other machines) and use it for awakening,
        There have been many books written about the basic system he outlined-most have devolved deeply into B-Influence and into something like astrology or self help books.
        One book I can recommend that has relatively accurate information is: https://www.amazon.com/Human-Types-Enneagram-Susan-Zannos/dp/0877288836

        1. Dean Whittingham

          Thanks John for answering. I have in fact just recently finished reading two of Collins’ books, Theory of Celestial Influence being one of them which I believe you have eluded to; although I must confess, even though I have only read it once, I did come away from it not knowing which of the types he described I fell into, and so I am assuming this either becomes known to someone through a school or with the help of others observations.Thank you for the link