Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for your unique way of including seekers in your teachings. It tells a lot about the core of the Work. I have been following your Lenten course about Gurdjieff and know the Work from earlier in my life. Due to a severe physical illness my opportunities in this world are pretty limited, but these limitations have in some ways become an opportunity in itself. I just wonder about «conscious suffering». I often take part in the masses in my local church. You see, Holy Communion means everything to me. I have tried to convince the priests to include silence and make changes in the liturgy. Some of them are listening, but in my country the laypeople decide the liturgy, which makes it even more conservative and self-sufficient, sorry to say. So when sitting there I work with my presence in body-and-mind, also because I often are in physical pain. This has become one of the main reasons for going to church. I try to radiate this presence and forget about my discontent with the sermons & all. But I am a little bit afraid that this «exercise» becomes a habit, but believe the challenges during this hour of liturgy are too many and the crowd too compact to allow me into sleep. What do you think, can Holy Mass be used as an exercise for conscious labor? Now and then I can sense that such presence makes a difference to the room, if you understand what I mean. I would be grateful for advice.

~ Freddy

This is profound and helpful work, Freddy, and I encourage you to keep going with it; on SOME bandwidth, it is surely making a difference. The important potential blindspot, of course, is “self-meritoriousness,” as Gurdjieff called it: the sense that you are better than these other folks. If you sense judgment creeping in, go back to the center of your own pain and simply offer it up in solidarity with the suffering of Christ, to help ease the collective pain body of humanity…and “our common Father.” Thanks for this good work!