7. Self-Remembering and Self-Observation Copy

Key topics and themes included in this session:

  • Introduction to practical aspects of inner transformation within the Gurdjieff work: self-remembering and self-observation.
  • Discussion on the starting point of transformation: the dichotomy between essence and personality. Essence is innate, while personality is acquired from societal influences.
  • Clarification that essence, although foundational, is not sufficient for development; it must be transformed and transubstantiated.
  • Explanation that in the unconscious state, personality is active and essence is passive. The goal is to reverse these roles through the work.
  • Mention of how Gurdjieff used hypnosis to demonstrate the dominance of personality over essence in individuals.
  • Personality is seen as food for essence, meaning it’s essential for the growth and development of one’s true self.
  • Self-remembering described as the opposite of self-forgetting, emphasizing presence and awareness in the moment as opposed to being lost in tasks or emotions.
  • Different experiences of self-remembering shared, highlighting its varied phenomenology among practitioners, such as a sense of inner body energy or a cognitive awakening.
  • Discussion on the non-dichotomy between pleasure and pain in spiritual work, stressing the importance of awareness and acceptance of all states without judgment.
  • Final reading from the Segal article on the role of attention in the cosmic function, emphasizing the mutual necessity of coarse material and finer vibrations for maintenance and the cosmological function of attention in the universe.

Related Audio Content

From: 16 Friday Afternoon Teaching Enhanced

xWEBVTT – not checked or proofread – some repeating segments – bug in MacWhisper

00:00:00.000 –> 00:00:11.500
Well, this afternoon, I thought I’d like to begin to engage what I hope will be a conversation

00:00:11.500 –> 00:00:21.720
about two more of the very, very practical starting points in the work for inner transformation,

00:00:21.720 –> 00:00:29.380
the idea of self-remembering and the idea of self-observation.

00:00:29.380 –> 00:00:38.020
And both of these are key practical points for the direction of how the work of transformation

00:00:38.020 –> 00:00:47.220
takes place within this wonderful body of transformation.

00:00:47.220 –> 00:00:54.380
To start, just review what some of you have read about in the wonderful little extract

00:00:54.380 –> 00:01:02.420
from Moore about the state of the situation in our, what you might call the starting point

00:01:02.420 –> 00:01:08.200
as we begin this journey of transformation.

00:01:08.200 –> 00:01:20.380
And it’s a pretty lousy starting point, basically, that we begin in multiplicity and dissipation.

00:01:20.380 –> 00:01:28.020
The fundamental distinction that we find in a lot of the Gurdjieff work, as opposed to

00:01:28.020 –> 00:01:36.540
the seven enneagram of personality types we talked about, we have a fundamental distinction

00:01:36.540 –> 00:01:41.940
in the work between essence and personality.

00:01:41.940 –> 00:01:48.060
And the terms don’t quite line up with true self and false self.

00:01:48.060 –> 00:01:53.940
They’re a little bit more complicated than that, so don’t immediately start to relate

00:01:53.940 –> 00:01:56.260
it to something you know already.

00:01:56.260 –> 00:02:02.260
But listen and see how Gurdjieff is using these ideas.

00:02:02.260 –> 00:02:06.280
Essence is something we’re born with.

00:02:06.280 –> 00:02:15.300
It’s part of our trousseau that enters it in the moment of whatever causes the arising

00:02:15.300 –> 00:02:19.460
that allows the start of a new person.

00:02:19.460 –> 00:02:25.060
Somewhere in the art, in gestation, something enters.

00:02:25.060 –> 00:02:34.180
And as we talk about third force in the beginning of a child, a new life is not ever just the

00:02:34.180 –> 00:02:39.500
product of the mama and the daddy.

00:02:39.500 –> 00:02:46.220
Something else belongs, something else enters that really belongs to, was Gurdjieff’s

00:02:46.220 –> 00:02:51.860
quote, that comes from the stars, which is our essence.

00:02:51.860 –> 00:03:02.780
And it cannot be confined to either, or it cannot be reduced to either nature or nurture.

00:03:02.780 –> 00:03:05.220
Because it turns out to be not that dichotomy.

00:03:05.220 –> 00:03:12.500
And most of the world likes to think in twos, whereas what we find is the very essence of

00:03:12.500 –> 00:03:17.540
this other level is that we begin to work in threes.

00:03:17.540 –> 00:03:20.780
So we all have essence.

00:03:20.780 –> 00:03:27.780
As I said, we have a natural proclivity or a default position that comes as part of that

00:03:27.780 –> 00:03:34.380
essence thing to reach out to the world and to start to explore it from one of those three

00:03:34.380 –> 00:03:36.820
centers.

00:03:36.820 –> 00:03:45.700
But what happens to young essence is that it very quickly gets covered up with personality.

00:03:45.700 –> 00:03:50.140
Now in Gurdjieff’s usage of this, here’s what we have.

00:03:50.140 –> 00:03:57.700
He’s saying on page 53, Alas, essence is quickly overtaken and arrested by personality.

00:03:57.700 –> 00:04:01.260
It is enveloped and suffocated.

00:04:01.260 –> 00:04:03.220
Personality is what we pick up.

00:04:03.220 –> 00:04:06.460
It is the mark or social veneer.

00:04:06.460 –> 00:04:13.680
It is the crystallization in us of those A and B influences which happen to prevail wherever

00:04:13.680 –> 00:04:17.500
and whenever we were, quote, educated.

00:04:17.500 –> 00:04:25.860
We unconsciously copy our personality from our parents and from various little tin gods

00:04:25.860 –> 00:04:31.820
and later randomly reimpose it on our children.

00:04:31.820 –> 00:04:38.500
Personality is indispensable and at its best incorporates a valuable portion of man’s linguistic

00:04:38.500 –> 00:04:39.500
and cultural heritage.

00:04:39.500 –> 00:04:42.260
So listen to what he said there.

00:04:42.260 –> 00:04:50.900
It’s indispensable and at its best incorporates a valuable portion of man’s linguistic and

00:04:50.900 –> 00:04:53.020
cultural heritage.

00:04:53.020 –> 00:05:03.300
At its worst, it is a hodgepodge of prejudices, dreams, tones of voice, body usage, manipulative

00:05:03.300 –> 00:05:13.140
stratagems, and pitiable neuroses quite arbitrarily aligned to essence.

00:05:13.140 –> 00:05:22.060
Personality is other people’s stuff made flesh in us.

00:05:22.060 –> 00:05:31.300
Now I think one of the ways you will certainly see some overlap here between reference points

00:05:31.300 –> 00:05:38.580
between what Thomas Keating and others call false self and true self, the personality

00:05:38.580 –> 00:05:43.260
is certainly in the Gurdjieff work a false self.

00:05:43.260 –> 00:05:53.340
But the falsity as it enters in Gurdjieff’s vision of it doesn’t just refer to neuroses

00:05:53.340 –> 00:06:02.140
as it tends to in Thomas Keating, affection, attachment to emotional programs for happiness.

00:06:02.140 –> 00:06:07.340
It basically comes inevitably as part of the culture.

00:06:07.340 –> 00:06:13.620
You can’t be a human being without being culturally conditioned.

00:06:13.620 –> 00:06:15.460
Try it.

00:06:15.460 –> 00:06:22.520
I once had a friend who spoke beautifully, this wonderfully naive generation of good

00:06:22.520 –> 00:06:25.760
hearted folks who grow up in the temple of outreach.

00:06:25.760 –> 00:06:32.460
He says that because he knew that the false self was formed by responses to neuroses,

00:06:32.460 –> 00:06:37.620
that he was going to raise his children with such loving care and perfect parenthood that

00:06:37.620 –> 00:06:41.900
they wouldn’t have a false self.

00:06:41.900 –> 00:06:43.900
So I asked him how he was doing.

00:06:43.900 –> 00:06:53.900
And he was saying, well, we were doing fine until my oldest, Rita, turned 13 and dyed

00:06:53.900 –> 00:06:58.180
her hair green and said, Daddy, I don’t want to be your precious little girl, I want to

00:06:58.180 –> 00:07:01.180
be my precious little girl.

00:07:01.180 –> 00:07:04.300
Yeah, it comes.

00:07:04.300 –> 00:07:15.020
And all of you who have been nursing neuroses about having been inadequate parents, get

00:07:15.020 –> 00:07:17.020
over it.

00:07:17.020 –> 00:07:22.860
It comes with the stars.

00:07:22.860 –> 00:07:31.780
And what Gurdjieff says, so that therefore, getting to true development is never a matter

00:07:31.780 –> 00:07:38.820
of deconstructing or dismantling a false self.

00:07:38.820 –> 00:07:47.100
And in the same hand, essence in the work, while it does start closer to what we were

00:07:47.100 –> 00:07:52.980
given as our initial hand that life dealt us, is not the finished hand.

00:07:52.980 –> 00:07:57.300
You’re not going to win your card game with essence.

00:07:57.300 –> 00:07:59.940
You have to play the hand.

00:07:59.940 –> 00:08:08.340
And what is very, very interesting and I think very thoughtful and liberating in Gurdjieff’s

00:08:08.340 –> 00:08:13.900
work is he says that the start of the situation is simply this, that by the time we come to

00:08:13.900 –> 00:08:20.940
the age of adulthood and for many of us, years and years and years before it, personality

00:08:20.940 –> 00:08:29.420
is dominant and essence is passive or hidden.

00:08:29.420 –> 00:08:32.260
And that’s the state for most of us.

00:08:32.260 –> 00:08:40.540
And in the further cacophony, it’s not just one personality, but it’s a whole bunch of

00:08:40.540 –> 00:08:51.900
little personalities that Moravia from Gurdjieff’s day, said there were 987 of them altogether.

00:08:51.900 –> 00:08:58.220
And again, we have an interesting comment from Moore here.

00:08:58.220 –> 00:09:05.340
He says, Gurdjieff’s version of this put forward in 1916 entails marginally less dissociation

00:09:05.340 –> 00:09:14.140
among personalities, but escalates the condition from a clinical oddity to a universal malaise.

00:09:14.140 –> 00:09:21.100
All men and women, he warns, play host to scores, if not hundreds, of different parasitic

00:09:21.100 –> 00:09:24.660
identities.

00:09:24.660 –> 00:09:28.220
Each with its blinkered repertory of behavior.

00:09:28.220 –> 00:09:36.940
A snub, a flattering letter, a no smoking sign, a slow cue, a come hither look, and

00:09:36.940 –> 00:09:42.260
we are strangely altered.

00:09:42.260 –> 00:09:48.580
We have one personality with subordinates, another with superiors, one with our mother,

00:09:48.580 –> 00:09:51.420
another with a tax ban.

00:09:51.420 –> 00:09:54.500
Each is caliph for an hour.

00:09:54.500 –> 00:09:58.300
One scatters promissory notes which others must redeem.

00:09:58.300 –> 00:10:01.940
Certainly, see you in the morning.

00:10:01.940 –> 00:10:04.820
Only to the one delighted.

00:10:04.820 –> 00:10:11.460
One despairing humorless personality may even take an overdose or jump off a cliff, crazily

00:10:11.460 –> 00:10:15.700
destroying the habitat of all the others.

00:10:15.700 –> 00:10:23.820
To sum up, our professed citadel of individuality is common as a barber’s chair.

00:10:23.820 –> 00:10:29.540
Very few men are strong enough to confront this impression emotionally and to work within

00:10:29.540 –> 00:10:35.540
the compass of its appalling implications.

00:10:35.540 –> 00:10:43.300
In other words, so the state of the thing is that there’s an essence underneath there

00:10:43.300 –> 00:10:44.700
somewhere.

00:10:44.700 –> 00:10:52.420
There is a personality which is really legion and that this would drive us mad if we could

00:10:52.420 –> 00:10:54.100
actually see it.

00:10:54.100 –> 00:11:00.900
But another teaching of the work is that Gurdjieff teaches using an idiom and an analogy that

00:11:00.900 –> 00:11:03.620
nowadays won’t communicate to many people.

00:11:03.620 –> 00:11:12.980
He says we have buffers that prevent us from directly experiencing these incredible contradictions.

00:11:12.980 –> 00:11:20.420
We may not notice the one who wrote the promissory note is different from the one who says, Oh

00:11:20.420 –> 00:11:24.740
man, I really don’t want to have tea with that person.

00:11:24.740 –> 00:11:26.660
We don’t even see it.

00:11:26.660 –> 00:11:30.660
Buffers in Gurdjieff’s thing, it was something that happens between railway cars.

00:11:30.660 –> 00:11:31.940
We still have it.

00:11:31.940 –> 00:11:36.380
So that when the cars go back and forth on the shocks and tracks, it takes up the slack

00:11:36.380 –> 00:11:40.740
so you don’t notice how much you’re being lurched and jostled around.

00:11:40.740 –> 00:11:44.380
And in the same way, he said, we all have buffers.

00:11:44.380 –> 00:11:54.420
So we move from car to car in this long train of absolutely incompatible personalities thinking

00:11:54.420 –> 00:11:56.340
we’re still the same.

00:11:56.340 –> 00:12:01.700
I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

00:12:01.700 –> 00:12:13.220
So now in the Gurdjieff scenario of transformation, as I said, it is not a matter of demolishing

00:12:13.220 –> 00:12:19.300
the false self to reveal the pure, true essence.

00:12:19.300 –> 00:12:32.060
Rather, and he says very clearly, that personality is absolutely essential to the full maturation

00:12:32.060 –> 00:12:37.660
and development and transubstantiation of essence.

00:12:37.660 –> 00:12:43.660
And he’s not letting you get away with any of what Ken Wilber points out is the pre-trans

00:12:43.660 –> 00:12:44.660
fallacy.

00:12:44.660 –> 00:12:53.940
And the self, the conscious man, man number four and beyond, is not the same as your original

00:12:53.940 –> 00:12:54.940
essence.

00:12:54.940 –> 00:12:59.500
Very, very important to realize.

00:12:59.500 –> 00:13:01.260
You can’t go back again.

00:13:01.260 –> 00:13:04.060
And remember, it’s the initial deck of cards.

00:13:04.060 –> 00:13:10.700
So what he says is essentially that in the unconscious person, that’s how you live in

00:13:10.700 –> 00:13:12.180
your life.

00:13:12.180 –> 00:13:18.060
Your personality is active with all its legion little types.

00:13:18.060 –> 00:13:20.740
Essence is passive or asleep.

00:13:20.740 –> 00:13:26.780
And one of the things that he loved to do during the phase that he was a hypnotist was

00:13:26.780 –> 00:13:31.940
that he knew how to put personality to sleep and he could kind of wake up people and get

00:13:31.940 –> 00:13:34.500
them to talk out of their essence.

00:13:34.500 –> 00:13:39.820
And so there’s one thing that’s really kind of chilling in In Search of Miraculous

00:13:39.820 –> 00:13:46.340
which describes this great brigadier general in the world, the captain of the salt, swaggering

00:13:46.340 –> 00:13:55.100
around and when essence speaks, it says, Can I have some bread and jam, please?

00:13:55.100 –> 00:13:58.740
The essence of a three-year-old child.

00:13:58.740 –> 00:14:03.580
So that the arrested development is that essence just gets to sleep.

00:14:03.580 –> 00:14:11.260
And my own suspicion is that in some cases, these diseases that we so are terrified of

00:14:11.260 –> 00:14:17.460
like Alzheimer’s and dementia, is simply a way of putting personality to sleep for once

00:14:17.460 –> 00:14:25.380
and for all so that essence at least has a chance that you at least in your days living

00:14:25.380 –> 00:14:27.240
closer to essence.

00:14:27.240 –> 00:14:36.020
And I actually saw in my first husband and teacher who died of dementia, this wonderful

00:14:36.020 –> 00:14:41.460
time where all these things of the personality that he just kind of, you know, to use a vernacular

00:14:41.460 –> 00:14:47.340
phrase, pussy whipped him all his life, dropped away.

00:14:47.340 –> 00:14:51.980
And he went through a stage and he came out it a different person.

00:14:51.980 –> 00:14:59.380
You know, that’s the radical cure for not getting to the program.

00:14:59.380 –> 00:15:06.820
And the program in Gurdjieff’s wonderful sense of the food chain is that personality becomes

00:15:06.820 –> 00:15:08.860
food for essence.

00:15:08.860 –> 00:15:12.160
We’ll look more at the food chain later.

00:15:12.160 –> 00:15:20.840
So it’s not a matter of destroying it, dismantling it, any of that violent language that we use

00:15:20.840 –> 00:15:23.440
in so much of the Christian spiritual journey.

00:15:23.440 –> 00:15:33.880
Rather, it’s a matter of reversing the polarities so that essence becomes active and personality

00:15:33.880 –> 00:15:37.240
becomes passive.

00:15:37.240 –> 00:15:43.000
And as Morris Nicoll worked in his teaching, he was one who developed very, very extensively

00:15:43.000 –> 00:15:46.740
the idea that that’s exactly the purpose of a work group.

00:15:46.740 –> 00:15:54.600
It creates a container in which these personalities can reverse.

00:15:54.600 –> 00:15:59.440
So I’m kind of tempted to tell you my favorite story.

00:15:59.440 –> 00:16:01.400
It’ll be in my book.

00:16:01.400 –> 00:16:06.940
But I think it’s a fascinating story about the reversal of the polarities that was discovered

00:16:06.940 –> 00:16:11.880
by old people without knowing what she was doing, Flannery O’Connor.

00:16:11.880 –> 00:16:18.880
Now remember her story, Good Country People?

00:16:18.880 –> 00:16:21.380
It’s a marvelous, marvelous story.

00:16:21.380 –> 00:16:29.840
And for me, it precisely illustrates this reversal of polarities in Flannery O’Connor’s

00:16:29.840 –> 00:16:34.100
own inimitable black-yellow-white.

00:16:34.100 –> 00:16:39.700
The story is about this woman who was born with the name, given name Joy.

00:16:39.700 –> 00:16:44.820
Some more along the way, she had a terrible accident that cost her her leg.

00:16:44.820 –> 00:16:46.980
So she got a prosthetic.

00:16:46.980 –> 00:16:53.660
And by the time the story has opened, she’s had a good 30 years to perfect the art of

00:16:53.660 –> 00:16:56.840
tyrannical victimhood.

00:16:56.840 –> 00:16:59.660
She lords it over everybody.

00:16:59.660 –> 00:17:06.780
And she has even renamed herself with a singularly ugly, Holga.

00:17:06.780 –> 00:17:08.900
So you already get this essence personality.

00:17:08.900 –> 00:17:11.080
You got different names, right?

00:17:11.080 –> 00:17:20.300
So into her life comes this Bible salesman, one of these door-to-door Bible salesmen who’s

00:17:20.300 –> 00:17:22.980
a cat.

00:17:22.980 –> 00:17:29.740
And one of Holga’s blind spots as part of her tyrannical victimhood is her absolute

00:17:29.740 –> 00:17:32.860
sense that she’s more intelligent than everybody else.

00:17:32.860 –> 00:17:37.740
And it’s all part of the patina of here she is, this beautiful person who’s stuck with

00:17:37.740 –> 00:17:40.620
these stupid people.

00:17:40.620 –> 00:17:44.060
So the game begins.

00:17:44.060 –> 00:17:49.100
And they get in conversation, the cat and mouse, the reeling and the roping in.

00:17:49.100 –> 00:17:57.500
And as the story finally opens, basically she gets more and more attracted to him.

00:17:57.500 –> 00:18:00.460
And he gives a lot of come on.

00:18:00.460 –> 00:18:03.580
And up they go into the hayloft.

00:18:03.580 –> 00:18:06.180
And he rolls her in the hay.

00:18:06.180 –> 00:18:11.380
And in this vulnerability, she takes off her prosthetic leg.

00:18:11.380 –> 00:18:22.020
And no sooner has he rolled her in the hay than he steals her leg and runs off.

00:18:22.020 –> 00:18:33.940
A Flannery O’Connor story.

00:18:33.940 –> 00:18:38.940
But if you see it in terms of essence and personality, you see that something’s happening.

00:18:38.940 –> 00:18:47.220
What he does is he arouses her, he calls the bluff on her personality, arouses her essence,

00:18:47.220 –> 00:18:57.020
and then makes personality passive by stealing the instrument with which her personality.

00:18:57.020 –> 00:19:05.940
So in the kind of ironic way that only flattery O’Connor can do, he is the Bible salesman.

00:19:05.940 –> 00:19:15.700
He is the bearer of good news because he comes to liberate the captive.

00:19:15.700 –> 00:19:18.500
But you get the point of the story.

00:19:18.500 –> 00:19:22.700
And you see what we mean by the reversal of the polarities.

00:19:22.700 –> 00:19:29.020
So what essentially is being entertained in the Gurdjieff work is that all the stuff that

00:19:29.020 –> 00:19:37.380
you had to go through, and everybody in the world gets conditioned, becomes the food that

00:19:37.380 –> 00:19:46.100
as we plow it back under through inner observation, through conscious attention, through the capacity

00:19:46.100 –> 00:19:56.220
to disidentify, as we place it under the light of consciousness, it becomes food that allows

00:19:56.220 –> 00:20:04.100
the growth of this essence into what it was the foundation for in the beginning.

00:20:04.100 –> 00:20:06.940
It supports a future growth of consciousness.

00:20:06.940 –> 00:20:15.580
It really supports the emergence of a self, of a body of self, which doesn’t exactly live

00:20:15.580 –> 00:20:18.380
at this level, however.

00:20:18.380 –> 00:20:22.940
The true self is not just a squeaky clean person that’s cleaned up after you’ve got

00:20:22.940 –> 00:20:26.540
all your neurotic stuff out of the way.

00:20:26.540 –> 00:20:35.100
As you live more and more out of this transformed and transubstantiated essence at one level,

00:20:35.100 –> 00:20:42.620
you’re living out of something else, which is already beginning to be the body that you

00:20:42.620 –> 00:20:50.340
live in and the self that you are at another level, which is simultaneously unfolding.

00:20:50.340 –> 00:20:51.940
That’s where the true self is.

00:20:51.940 –> 00:20:55.540
Anyway, I’m not going to go too far down that pike.

00:20:55.540 –> 00:21:01.260
I just wanted to give you enough of that basic scenario so that you get some context for

00:21:01.260 –> 00:21:10.660
these two great tools of conscious awakening that come to us from the work.

00:21:10.660 –> 00:21:16.980
Self-remembering or remembering yourself and self-observation.

00:21:16.980 –> 00:21:26.300
Because it’s in the context of this project of growing essence and essentially allowing

00:21:26.300 –> 00:21:33.700
personality to become passive that these two wonderful tools work.

00:21:33.700 –> 00:21:41.620
In the case of the first one, to connect us to a much more substantively real taste and

00:21:41.620 –> 00:21:45.100
smell of our own being.

00:21:45.100 –> 00:21:55.100
So when we talk about self-remembering, it’s easier to start with what it doesn’t mean.

00:21:55.100 –> 00:22:05.460
But to realize that the normal state that we spend most of our time in, for most of

00:22:05.460 –> 00:22:13.340
us virtually all our life in, is a state of self-forgetting.

00:22:13.340 –> 00:22:17.100
And you know what that tastes like, don’t you?

00:22:17.100 –> 00:22:21.100
One could say those of you who’ve worked for the First Logian in the Gospel of Thomas,

00:22:21.100 –> 00:22:22.620
that’s our normal atmosphere.

00:22:22.620 –> 00:22:25.780
We’re tasting death all the time.

00:22:25.780 –> 00:22:27.740
What is forgetfulness like?

00:22:27.740 –> 00:22:32.180
Where are you when you’re not aware of yourself, when you’re not aware of anything else?

00:22:32.180 –> 00:22:35.740
What are some descriptions of that place?

00:22:35.740 –> 00:22:36.740
You bump into chairs?

00:22:36.740 –> 00:22:37.740
You bump into chairs, yeah.

00:22:37.740 –> 00:22:38.740
Reactive.

00:22:38.740 –> 00:22:39.740
Identifying.

00:22:39.740 –> 00:22:40.740
Identifying, yes.

00:22:40.740 –> 00:22:41.740
Totally out of focus.

00:22:41.740 –> 00:22:42.740
Out of focus, yeah.

00:22:42.740 –> 00:22:43.740
Inebriated.

00:22:43.740 –> 00:22:44.740
Yeah, inebriated, as the Gospel of Thomas says.

00:22:44.740 –> 00:22:45.740
What are we inebriated about?

00:22:45.740 –> 00:22:52.740
The elixir of identification.

00:22:52.740 –> 00:23:08.100
Among other things, but yeah.

00:23:08.100 –> 00:23:10.100
We don’t see straight.

00:23:10.100 –> 00:23:12.900
Task-oriented.

00:23:12.900 –> 00:23:18.180
If you like those Enneagram personality types we talked about this morning, you’re right

00:23:18.180 –> 00:23:19.180
in the middle of it.

00:23:19.180 –> 00:23:23.840
You’re the eight acting out there, you’re eightness.

00:23:23.840 –> 00:23:29.980
When you’re working in the garden, yeah, it was rose yesterday, the rosemary, the bromis,

00:23:29.980 –> 00:23:34.620
this beautiful observation about tasting that difference.

00:23:34.620 –> 00:23:39.200
You know, one moment you’re consciously present and related being there, and the next thing

00:23:39.200 –> 00:23:42.220
you’ve got it all figured out how you’re going to get the job done and how many rows you

00:23:42.220 –> 00:23:47.580
have to do before you let yourself off the hook this day.

00:23:47.580 –> 00:23:52.060
You know, you’re living in your scenarios of the future and of the past.

00:23:52.060 –> 00:23:58.140
One of my teachers used to say, The chief feature of the ego, and he was using that

00:23:58.140 –> 00:24:05.860
as more or less synonymous with personality, is it’s never here.

00:24:05.860 –> 00:24:09.260
Your attention is unbalanced.

00:24:09.260 –> 00:24:12.540
You’re in your habitual center.

00:24:12.540 –> 00:24:18.860
These are all sort of classical tastes of forgetfulness.

00:24:18.860 –> 00:24:29.580
And you know, most of us usually we spend the bulk of our life in that state, even if

00:24:29.580 –> 00:24:34.540
we’ve been working in the work for years.

00:24:34.540 –> 00:24:40.620
Because we go to it with such a strong pull, it’s such a compatible stance to be in given

00:24:40.620 –> 00:24:42.500
the energy levels of this planet.

00:24:42.500 –> 00:24:44.340
It’s sort of effortless.

00:24:44.340 –> 00:24:46.020
We just cruise along.

00:24:46.020 –> 00:24:50.380
And because everything in our society, our psychological culture and our materialistic

00:24:50.380 –> 00:24:57.620
culture, both reinforce the message that that’s who you are.

00:24:57.620 –> 00:25:01.220
That if you want to be aware of yourself, it means that you go and you look and you

00:25:01.220 –> 00:25:05.260
study your past and you hire somebody to sit with you as you tell them what happened in

00:25:05.260 –> 00:25:11.220
your childhood or interpret your dreams or your– on and on and on in narrative.

00:25:11.220 –> 00:25:17.300
Charlotte had a beautiful description a couple of days ago, as you take the freshness of

00:25:17.300 –> 00:25:23.060
experience and bottle them all up into words and concepts and stories about things.

00:25:23.060 –> 00:25:27.860
So that’s all self-forgetfulness.

00:25:27.860 –> 00:25:39.180
And so self-remembering would be in the general ballpark of being the opposite of that.

00:25:39.180 –> 00:25:48.780
What it is that calls us to attention in the now and the greater now, that causes us to

00:25:48.780 –> 00:25:58.420
get our heads above our own event horizon, that allows that broken connection with attention

00:25:58.420 –> 00:26:06.020
to come back, that in some of the imagery that comes from the Thomas tradition, I stood

00:26:06.020 –> 00:26:10.780
to my feet in the midst of the cosmos.

00:26:10.780 –> 00:26:14.340
I discovered that all were drunk and none were thirsty.

00:26:14.340 –> 00:26:15.740
Everybody was flat out.

00:26:15.740 –> 00:26:19.260
And my soul ached for the children of humanity.

00:26:19.260 –> 00:26:28.100
But that whole image of standing to your feet, standing and turning, so that you can essentially

00:26:28.100 –> 00:26:36.500
feel your backbone, the vertical alignment with something else.

00:26:36.500 –> 00:26:41.060
You know, the Sufis will call it the rope of Allah.

00:26:41.060 –> 00:26:52.980
And that from within you, you grasp, you smell a different scent of aliveness, a whole different

00:26:52.980 –> 00:27:06.380
dimension or a greater vastness of being that can’t be contained in the busy agendas of

00:27:06.380 –> 00:27:11.060
this little gang of personalities that’s running around, moving through the hit list of the

00:27:11.060 –> 00:27:13.580
day.

00:27:13.580 –> 00:27:21.500
So these are just some ways of talking about it.

00:27:21.500 –> 00:27:26.700
As a Christian commentator who knew exactly what this statement was, was the author of

00:27:26.700 –> 00:27:38.460
The Cloud of Unknowing, who said, Pay attention not to what you are, but that you are.

00:27:38.460 –> 00:27:44.980
So I’m just throwing these initial things out because within it, I think that people

00:27:44.980 –> 00:27:51.540
who have worked in the work for years have significantly different experiences of what

00:27:51.540 –> 00:28:00.100
the actual, if you want to use the word, the phenomenology of self-remembering feels like,

00:28:00.100 –> 00:28:05.220
which makes for an interesting conversation.

00:28:05.220 –> 00:28:09.620
For some it’s more cognitive.

00:28:09.620 –> 00:28:13.220
It’s like a, Oh, I’m waking up.

00:28:13.220 –> 00:28:23.420
I remember that I am not just this doing body.

00:28:23.420 –> 00:28:25.460
I remember.

00:28:25.460 –> 00:28:32.340
For some it’s a matter of this reserved attention, this divided attention that is always holding

00:28:32.340 –> 00:28:41.940
back a portion of attention for the direct perception of being.

00:28:41.940 –> 00:28:53.580
For some it’s a sensate experience, a resonance of the vastness or even some of the resident

00:28:53.580 –> 00:29:00.300
dimensions of attention that Siegel’s talking about in the last three paragraphs.

00:29:00.300 –> 00:29:08.220
So I thought that what I might do for just a few minutes is ask a few of you who have

00:29:08.220 –> 00:29:16.420
been in the work for years or who have actually been in a group to talk very briefly about

00:29:16.420 –> 00:29:20.100
what self-remembering is for you.

00:29:20.100 –> 00:29:24.540
Georgia, you’re the gabby one.

00:29:24.540 –> 00:29:26.100
You want to start?

00:29:26.100 –> 00:29:27.100
Or Amy?

00:29:27.100 –> 00:29:28.100
Or, you know.

00:29:28.100 –> 00:29:32.260
We have a few people from the group and we have a few people who are working in work

00:29:32.260 –> 00:29:36.860
groups around about.

00:29:36.860 –> 00:29:38.420
The floor is open.

00:29:38.420 –> 00:29:39.420
Try to be succinct.

00:29:39.420 –> 00:29:40.420
I could start.

00:29:40.420 –> 00:29:41.420
It definitely has a body sensation but it’s not localized.

00:29:41.420 –> 00:29:42.420
It’s a very subtle inner body energy that seems to be there all the time if I return

00:29:42.420 –> 00:29:43.420
to it.

00:29:43.420 –> 00:29:44.420
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:29:44.420 –> 00:30:08.420
And I can cultivate, even if I’m very busy or talking to somebody or even doing something

00:30:08.420 –> 00:30:25.540
very physical tasks, it’s something that I can cultivate and come back to and that seems

00:30:25.540 –> 00:30:26.540
to work for me.

00:30:26.540 –> 00:30:30.180
Can you do those tasks without going away from it or do you have to come back to it?

00:30:30.180 –> 00:30:34.100
Well, you may say that again.

00:30:34.100 –> 00:30:36.980
Can you do those tasks without going away from it?

00:30:36.980 –> 00:30:40.900
You can say, even when I do those tasks I can come back to it.

00:30:40.900 –> 00:30:44.700
Oh, well, some tasks, not always.

00:30:44.700 –> 00:30:51.820
I mean, I do, most of the things that I do I lose myself in.

00:30:51.820 –> 00:30:58.620
But how I come back, there’s something that’s connected with this.

00:30:58.620 –> 00:30:59.620
It’s not localized.

00:30:59.620 –> 00:31:00.620
It’s not in my stomach.

00:31:00.620 –> 00:31:07.620
It feels like it’s a very subtle inner body energy that I wasn’t paying attention

00:31:07.620 –> 00:31:08.620
to before.

00:31:08.620 –> 00:31:09.620
Lovely.

00:31:10.620 –> 00:31:11.620
What other experiences are there for others?

00:31:11.620 –> 00:31:12.620
It took me a very long time to understand what self-remembering was.

00:31:12.620 –> 00:31:13.620
I think it was stuck in my head.

00:31:13.620 –> 00:31:14.620
And it wasn’t just a memory of what I was doing.

00:31:14.620 –> 00:31:15.620
It was a memory of what I was doing.

00:31:15.620 –> 00:31:16.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:31:16.620 –> 00:31:17.620
I think that’s a very important thing.

00:31:17.620 –> 00:31:18.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:31:25.620 –> 00:31:32.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:31:32.620 –> 00:31:43.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:31:43.620 –> 00:32:02.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:32:02.620 –> 00:32:30.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:32:30.620 –> 00:32:50.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:32:50.620 –> 00:33:11.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:33:11.620 –> 00:33:39.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:33:39.620 –> 00:33:46.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:33:46.620 –> 00:33:47.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:34:21.620 –> 00:34:42.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:34:42.620 –> 00:35:06.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:35:06.620 –> 00:35:13.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:35:13.620 –> 00:35:14.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:35:48.620 –> 00:36:17.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:36:17.620 –> 00:36:38.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:36:38.620 –> 00:37:02.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:37:02.620 –> 00:37:28.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:37:28.620 –> 00:37:55.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:37:55.620 –> 00:38:23.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:38:23.620 –> 00:38:30.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:38:30.620 –> 00:38:39.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:38:39.620 –> 00:38:40.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:39:10.620 –> 00:39:31.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:39:31.620 –> 00:39:55.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:39:55.620 –> 00:40:02.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:40:02.620 –> 00:40:03.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:40:37.620 –> 00:41:01.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:41:01.620 –> 00:41:02.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:41:19.620 –> 00:41:45.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:41:45.620 –> 00:41:52.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:41:52.620 –> 00:42:01.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:42:01.620 –> 00:42:22.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:42:22.620 –> 00:42:46.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:42:46.620 –> 00:42:53.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:42:53.620 –> 00:42:54.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:43:28.620 –> 00:43:52.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:43:52.620 –> 00:43:59.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:43:59.620 –> 00:44:00.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:44:34.620 –> 00:44:58.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:44:58.620 –> 00:45:19.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:45:19.620 –> 00:45:45.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:45:45.620 –> 00:46:14.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:46:14.620 –> 00:46:15.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:46:32.620 –> 00:46:53.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:46:53.620 –> 00:47:17.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:47:17.620 –> 00:47:24.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:47:24.620 –> 00:47:33.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:47:33.620 –> 00:47:39.620
And I think that’s a very important thing.

00:47:39.620 –> 00:47:46.620
A question taking us back to full body awareness.

00:47:46.620 –> 00:47:49.620
As a real neophyte in all of this,

00:47:49.620 –> 00:47:53.620
I sense that a big part of the work

00:47:53.620 –> 00:47:57.620
is to move us off the pleasure, pain, attraction,

00:47:57.620 –> 00:48:01.620
aversion continuum that dominates.

00:48:01.620 –> 00:48:08.620
Is it possible to experience full body awareness

00:48:08.620 –> 00:48:14.620
as a sensation that in terms of,

00:48:14.620 –> 00:48:23.620
that we think of as aversion, extreme pain,

00:48:23.620 –> 00:48:28.620
something, well, crucifixion would be,

00:48:28.620 –> 00:48:31.620
I guess, the ultimate of that.

00:48:31.620 –> 00:48:34.620
Because I don’t want to go away with the sense

00:48:34.620 –> 00:48:38.620
that it’s a sort of, hmm, feeling always.

00:48:38.620 –> 00:48:41.620
Or is it?

00:48:41.620 –> 00:48:45.620
Can we wake up by an awareness,

00:48:45.620 –> 00:48:47.620
not that everything is right,

00:48:47.620 –> 00:48:50.620
but that everything is maybe not right?

00:48:50.620 –> 00:48:52.620
You know the Rumi quote,

00:48:52.620 –> 00:48:58.620
Your anxiety comes from your search for tranquility.

00:48:58.620 –> 00:49:02.620
Accept chaos and peace will surely follow.

00:49:02.620 –> 00:49:09.620
At an immature level of spiritual practice,

00:49:09.620 –> 00:49:13.620
we see the goal as trying to replace

00:49:13.620 –> 00:49:16.620
what we have judged to be negative states

00:49:16.620 –> 00:49:18.620
with positive states.

00:49:18.620 –> 00:49:22.620
And we aspire to use our spiritual practice

00:49:22.620 –> 00:49:27.620
to create more of the things that we prejudge to be good.

00:49:27.620 –> 00:49:30.620
I’ve talked with several of my Buddhist friends

00:49:30.620 –> 00:49:33.620
who insist that the point of meditation

00:49:33.620 –> 00:49:35.620
is to create peace and bliss.

00:49:35.620 –> 00:49:39.620
And that spiritual practice is used to grab on hard

00:49:39.620 –> 00:49:45.620
to what we prejudge to be the better horn of the dilemma.

00:49:45.620 –> 00:49:50.620
As you move to a more mature level of spiritual practice,

00:49:50.620 –> 00:49:53.620
you discover something very different here.

00:49:53.620 –> 00:50:01.620
That when consciousness enters the field of a sensation,

00:50:01.620 –> 00:50:04.620
be it however you want to label it,

00:50:04.620 –> 00:50:09.620
great physical pain, great joy,

00:50:09.620 –> 00:50:13.620
it doesn’t turn it into a bleh.

00:50:13.620 –> 00:50:17.620
It is another band that lives within it,

00:50:17.620 –> 00:50:21.620
that brings consciousness to it

00:50:21.620 –> 00:50:26.620
without requiring it to be something else.

00:50:26.620 –> 00:50:30.620
And this is the real point.

00:50:30.620 –> 00:50:33.620
Those that have really studied in the work,

00:50:33.620 –> 00:50:36.620
that are really working in this way,

00:50:36.620 –> 00:50:39.620
don’t run around trying to use their spiritual practice

00:50:39.620 –> 00:50:44.620
to ameliorate pain or to replace…

00:50:44.620 –> 00:50:47.620
That’s my big argument with the heart-math people,

00:50:47.620 –> 00:50:50.620
that they prejudge, they want everything to be positivity.

00:50:50.620 –> 00:50:52.620
Nothing can be the negativity.

00:50:52.620 –> 00:50:54.620
What’s wrong with negativity?

00:50:54.620 –> 00:50:58.620
It’s another place. It’s another state.

00:50:58.620 –> 00:51:04.620
So what we really are working on is a quality of beingness.

00:51:04.620 –> 00:51:12.620
And when we use the word, in some sense, indifferent or equanimity,

00:51:12.620 –> 00:51:16.620
we don’t mean that it flatlines the emotion or the sensation.

00:51:16.620 –> 00:51:20.620
We mean it brings a quality to it,

00:51:20.620 –> 00:51:24.620
so that it can be exactly what it is,

00:51:24.620 –> 00:51:27.620
and we don’t get trapped in it.

00:51:27.620 –> 00:51:32.620
And it’s really important to have touched that level of practice,

00:51:32.620 –> 00:51:36.620
and the great non-judgment that goes on in it,

00:51:36.620 –> 00:51:39.620
let it be as it is.

00:51:39.620 –> 00:51:42.620
If you’re restless and jumpy and irritable,

00:51:42.620 –> 00:51:46.620
be conscious in your restless and jumpiness and irritability.

00:51:46.620 –> 00:51:49.620
We all think we’re going to use the spiritual practice

00:51:49.620 –> 00:51:52.620
where we were restless and jumpy and irritable,

00:51:52.620 –> 00:51:54.620
now we’re sweet and mellow and kind,

00:51:54.620 –> 00:51:56.620
and we go and judge each other and say,

00:51:56.620 –> 00:51:59.620
Oh, look, the work is getting somewhere with that person.

00:51:59.620 –> 00:52:03.620
Because I’d rather see people be irritable responsibly

00:52:03.620 –> 00:52:06.620
than fake being peaceful.

00:52:06.620 –> 00:52:11.620
So yes, that’s a very good question.

00:52:11.620 –> 00:52:17.620
So, that’s an end of discussion.

00:52:17.620 –> 00:52:20.620
Tomorrow we can work on self-observation during this period.

00:52:20.620 –> 00:52:24.620
I thought I would read you, before we head out to movements,

00:52:24.620 –> 00:52:29.620
the final part of the Segal article,

00:52:29.620 –> 00:52:32.620
because it does, in a wonderful way,

00:52:32.620 –> 00:52:38.620
recapitulate some of the ground we’ve gone over this afternoon

00:52:38.620 –> 00:52:42.620
as we’ve studied what self-remembering does.

00:52:42.620 –> 00:52:48.620
And it hints a little bit about the relationship

00:52:48.620 –> 00:52:54.620
between attention, self-remembering,

00:52:54.620 –> 00:53:00.620
and whatever it is that is real I and stands behind real I.

00:53:00.620 –> 00:53:04.620
So here is the, as usual, I’m going to back up a paragraph

00:53:04.620 –> 00:53:08.620
to get us going again, and then I’ll read it out to the end.

00:53:08.620 –> 00:53:15.620
In quiet, tension-free moments, man’s structure is open to energy flows

00:53:15.620 –> 00:53:19.620
which are ordinarily blocked.

00:53:19.620 –> 00:53:24.620
In turn, these energies blend with previously received materials

00:53:24.620 –> 00:53:31.620
to serve the higher in a wordless, nameless exchange.

00:53:31.620 –> 00:53:36.620
Attention is not only mediating, it is transmitting.

00:53:36.620 –> 00:53:40.620
Giving and receiving, God speaks to man.

00:53:40.620 –> 00:53:45.620
Receiving and giving, man speaks to God.

00:53:45.620 –> 00:53:49.620
Just as man’s structure needs to be vivified

00:53:49.620 –> 00:53:52.620
by the infusion of finer vibrations.

00:53:52.620 –> 00:53:55.620
Something you mentioned, Bob.

00:53:55.620 –> 00:54:00.620
Those very same vibrations require the mixing of coarse material

00:54:00.620 –> 00:54:02.620
for their maintenance.

00:54:02.620 –> 00:54:05.620
Without the upward transmission of energies

00:54:05.620 –> 00:54:08.620
through the intermediary of conscious attention,

00:54:08.620 –> 00:54:12.620
the universe would give in to entropy.

00:54:12.620 –> 00:54:15.620
And I’ll read that tomorrow, because that will set the stage

00:54:15.620 –> 00:54:17.620
for a little bit more tomorrows.

00:54:17.620 –> 00:54:22.620
He says that Just as man’s structure needs to be vivified

00:54:22.620 –> 00:54:24.620
by the infusion of finer vibrations,

00:54:24.620 –> 00:54:30.620
these very same vibrations require the mixing of coarse material.

00:54:30.620 –> 00:54:34.620
Our life, our humanity.

00:54:34.620 –> 00:54:36.620
For their maintenance.

00:54:36.620 –> 00:54:39.620
Without the upward transmission of energies

00:54:39.620 –> 00:54:43.620
through the intermediary of conscious attention,

00:54:43.620 –> 00:54:47.620
the universe would give in to entropy.

00:54:47.620 –> 00:54:51.620
So that when we’re in the state of attentiveness,

00:54:51.620 –> 00:54:54.620
it’s not just that we’re receiving something,

00:54:54.620 –> 00:54:57.620
but it’s that we’re giving something.

00:54:57.620 –> 00:55:00.620
Something necessary for all the cosmoses.

00:55:00.620 –> 00:55:03.620
Giving attention has a new meaning.

00:55:03.620 –> 00:55:08.620
Now, in man, the smallest deformation of a balanced attention

00:55:08.620 –> 00:55:13.620
closes down this two-way communication.

00:55:13.620 –> 00:55:18.620
Alone, the mind cannot maintain it.

00:55:18.620 –> 00:55:22.620
A relaxed body, too, is needed.

00:55:22.620 –> 00:55:25.620
And think about all this again when you get out on the movements floor

00:55:25.620 –> 00:55:28.620
a half an hour from now.

00:55:28.620 –> 00:55:35.620
Midway between micro and macro cosmos, man has his part to play.

00:55:35.620 –> 00:55:40.620
Returning to the body is a gesture of opening to the attention

00:55:40.620 –> 00:55:54.620
which, beckoned, is ready to serve its cosmological function.

00:55:54.620 –> 00:56:00.620
Returning to the body is a gesture of opening to the attention

00:56:00.620 –> 00:56:09.620
which, beckoned, is ready to serve its cosmological function.

00:56:09.620 –> 00:56:15.620
Exchange. We lift up through our attention something.

00:56:15.620 –> 00:56:19.620
We receive through our attention something.

00:56:19.620 –> 00:56:22.620
Yes, Rose?

00:56:22.620 –> 00:56:44.620
inaudible

00:56:44.620 –> 00:56:46.620
Could you really?

00:56:46.620 –> 00:57:11.620
inaudible

00:57:11.620 –> 00:57:16.620
But as we became more conscious and more simple.

00:57:16.620 –> 00:57:18.620
You can feel the place where it all just flipped into one

00:57:18.620 –> 00:57:20.620
and there was only that gesture.

00:57:20.620 –> 00:57:22.620
Great. Excellent observation.