Attitude: Inner Task Series by Vesna Nikolic

Last week I wrote about the importance of approaching the tasks with the right attitude, with lightness and joy. This week I wish to invite you to explore further that which we call ‘attitude’. Gurdjieff said that the only thing we can change is our attitude.

Can I adopt an attitude that can lead me to be truly open to something that is radically new? 

Can I look into the world with a child’s eyes? Just wondering and taking nothing for granted. Bringing curiosity to each encounter that offers itself to me. Digging deeper.

Am I willing to be surprised, am I willing to be perplexed?  Or do I try to explain all that I encounter, all that I see or hear, by that which is familiar? 

When questions are raised, do I immediately reach for answers? 

Can I hold a new idea with an aim to put it into practice, to come to an understanding of it through that which is embodied and lived; or do I try to fit it within the closed horizon of my current understanding? 

Mme de Salzmann talked about the need to receive impressions deeply, with the whole of ourselves, so that they can change something within us. Impressions are food for our Being. Yet I often stay on the surface, the associative mind or reactions grabbing hold of it before it could be truly digested. 

The attitude of openness and welcoming not only prepares the vessel to be touched by something subtler, something finer; it is also a necessary ingredient for sincere self observation. My ability to see or learn something new is blocked by an attitude of ‘already knowing’. 

Is my wish to be sincere sufficient for sincere self observation? It is not. Sincerity needs practice. Questioning needs practice.  

The intention of this week’s task is to call something into question. Something that I am convinced I already ‘know’. And to observe what that feels like in my body, in sensation? Is it liberating? Does something rebel?  Am I trying to make up my mind and move on to the next thing? 

Can I try to avoid an answer, just for a day? As answers come – and they will, can I ask myself about alternatives that may exist for every affirmation that I encounter? 

As I continue to question, what do I notice? What is happening with my attention?

May you question, wonder, and rejoice into this day, every day.

Love to all.

Here is the poem for this week.  ~ by Naomi Shihab-Nye.

Missing the Boat

It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it 

It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.
The boat shouted, waving bring flags,
Its silver hull blinding in the sun light.

But you had this idea you were going by train.

You kept checking the time-table,
Digging for tracks.
And the boat got tired of you,
So tired it pulled up the anchor, and raised the ramp.

The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy –
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.

Inner Task Series by Vesna Nikolic

Vesna Nikolic posted this Inner Task Series to the Wisdom School Community on Facebook from March 12 – April 30, 2021