External Considering: Inner Task Series by Vesna Nikolic

Recently, a question was raised in this space about the relationship between “going within” and external considering. Gurdjieff talked about external considering, as “adaptation towards people, to their understanding, to their requirements” [1] . As recounted by Ouspensky,  “External considering requires a knowledge of men, an understanding of their tastes, habits, and prejudices. At the same time, external considering requires a great power over oneself, a great control over oneself.” [2]

I can experience how finding the relationship with the quiet and still place within changes the quality of relationship I have with another person, with the work I am doing, with anything I am engaged with.  I may become more attuned to the real needs of the neighbor. 

In my effort to include both inner and outer within my attention, I feel there is movement, an interplay between giving and receiving. As If what is received guides what is asked of me to give in the moment. It guides how I am to manifest outwardly. The heart recognizes the truth of this simple flow, the flow without intermediaries.

However, such moments are rare and fleeting. 

Even within the simplest exchanges, within day-to-day participation in life, something interferes.   I may not be available to receive fully.  I may not give all that is needed – of my attention, understanding, companionship, efforts – whatever it is, part of me wishes to hold back.

My habits and assumptions about what, how much and to whom I am to give interfere. 

I am not aware that I am, in fact, always giving. I am always giving an impression of myself to others. I am always radiating certain energy into the universe. I carry responsibility for its quality, I am called to care. 

The aim of this week’s task is twofold – it is to invite the feeling of gratitude for what is received, as well as to step out of the habits of giving, to take some risks.  To give with deeper understanding, to give more of ourselves.

As you wake up in the morning and look out of the window, the gratitude for being alive may arise organically.  Or my mind may jump right to worries and anxieties of the day, to the “to do” list sitting on my desk.  I wish to observe and quietly recite the verses “This is the day that Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” [3]  

Even if I need to remind myself to be grateful, it magnetizes something in me from which an organic sense of gratitude may arise over time. As I go through the day, I wish to observe the quality of my receiving. Receiving of all that is offered. Am I available? Is fear standing in a way. Fear of what?

During the day, I wish to step out of habitual way of giving, I wish to ‘go beyond myself’.  I am to chose to give something I normally would not: a phone call to a friend who I haven’t heard from for a while, forgiveness for whatever it is that keeps the wound alive, a time to listen deeply. 

I may decide to be very courageous and go against myself completely – call a family member who I had a falling out with. Knowing that I may get humiliated or misunderstood. Who or what in me gets humiliated? Gets misunderstood?

 Can I feel the spaciousness created by giving? Can I sense what is needed? What is happening to the depth and openness of the relationship when I make such efforts? 

What is it that lies beyond myself? 

Love to all. 

Here is a poem for this week.  ~ by David Whyte

Just Beyond Yourself

Just beyond

It’s where
you need
to be.

Half a step
and the rest
by what
you’ll meet.

There is a road
always beckoning.

When you see
the two sides
of it
closing together
at that far horizon
and deep in
the foundations
of your own
at exactly
the same
that’s how
you know
it’s the road
to follow.

That’s how
you know
it’s where
to go.

That’s how
you know
you have
to go.

how you know.

Just beyond
where you
need to be.

[1], [2] See Ouspensky, “In Search of the Miraculous”, page 153

[3] Psalm 118:24

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