This was said by Mr George Adie at the combined meeting of 4 September 1985. The preparation which he refers to is Gurdjieff’s fundamental technique for self-remembering. It is dealt with in the book George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia, available through By the Way Books. A more technical treatment is available in my article “The Readiness Is All: Gurdjieff’s Art of the ‘Preparation’,” Religion and the Arts, (2017), vol. 21, pp. 40-69. All which follows in Part One is said by Mr Adie. He is speaking ex tempore except for those prepared pieces which he reads and comments on. In Part Two, I add two short notes.
It is very easy to forget that we come to acquire knowledge, come to learn. We forget that we need to acquire knowledge. If you stop to ask yourself about what you know for certain, It is a very interesting question: what is knowledge for us? Something we can get absolutely certain about. Facts. What is knowledge?
How do I define it for myself?
Not just a read or something or so many words. What do I really know? Many things, such as the concepts of work and of consciousness come into it. There could be thousands of definitions, but a real definition is a substance, because knowledge is a substance deposited in myself by the movement of an act of remembering myself.
I remember myself … and so I begin to receive a certain substance which is in fact knowledge. There is no doubt about it. Yet, in itself, knowledge is subjective and liable to change; it can’t be regarded as mine until it has been digested. It is very important that it should become part of our own being.
Immediately we see we have very little knowledge, and that we need knowledge, then our attitude changes. It is exciting to discover new ideas. We take them as knowledge, but it is not our knowledge until we have used it and it has entered into our balanced state. So, unless we are actually working now as we sit and listen, dividing our attention, free from all the usual distractions and obsessions, we shall not increase our knowledge. This is an opportunity to increase our knowledge, but it depends on our state of being. And in this connection, never forget that understanding is the mean between knowledge and being. Between what I know and what I am, lies my understanding.
Now this piece which I have prepared has to do with all the variations, our states and the preparation; and this one relates to the law of attraction and magnitude of qualities.
The time is the morning, I awake, and I see that my state of consciousness is determined by the law of attraction and by the relative magnitude of qualities present in me. I am attracted by this and attracted by that: I’m always subject to these attractions. They operate to determine my state of consciousness.
Consider this, I awake and there is something stirring within me which at once seeks some attachment. It has no will to be self-sufficient: it only seeks around for some attachment. But what do I hope for the day?
What opportunity does today bring? What fortune, what misfortune? What favourite calculation is liable to be upset? Is there some manipulation which something in me wishes to protect, to revenge in the case of failure? How to understand this state of imbalance, this seeking in the world outside? But let it be understood, this seeking does not correspond to the true world outside. No, this only exists inside, as a distortion of all the impressions coming from the outside, mingled with those accidentally coming from inside. Certain influences just happen to appear, at this moment, on the platform of my daily compulsive existence.
Again, let’s start to think, and even to ponder.
I am awake, but it is not that real I, or that representative that appears. Nevertheless, there is at least a something … a nucleus of force, a gaseous orb of energy like a slightly glowing ball … a misty action or movement which is composed of a substance – a fine rare substance consisting of the energy of attention which has been stored and aggregated within me during my sleep.
And now this moment of awakening can go either according to the mechanical laws of the attraction of magnitudes, or according to a connection to the essence of my being, proceeding in obedience to a voluntary impulse, the impulse to be conscious.
If mechanically, then it is determined by identification with my history, my records. And these records are based on the frequency of pulse repetitions of associated automatic impulses, of desires, repulsions, of dislikes and likes, of pain or unnecessary suffering.
See how critical this awakening moment is? I awake in the morning, and I’m not really awake, so I drift off to that appointment, that money, that grudge, this threat. I fall into one state or another. This next piece follows that, It is called The Vital Moment When We Awake. Just listen. Don’t get tense. Know that you are here. Keep a part of your attention on yourself.
We awaken to enticement, to a world which we project, and immediately are steered into the state of waking sleep.
We have one chance to withdraw inwards still retaining something for the shock of our awakening. Otherwise, we are lost. As is said, we are immediately steered.
To avoid this almost inevitable passage from one form of sleep to another, an act of self-will is required. I have to act to attain the possibility of an immediate impulse towards consciousness. For this act, my memory of past facts is required. It is required to bring actual particles into the focus of this present moment of my consciousness.
These particles lie in the treasury of my reality, but they can be brought into my present consciousness.
My choice is with me. Before it passes out of reach, I at once recall that experience of my act of presence, as I utter in a whisper, on the breath, the words I AM.
I recall the experience of my facial relaxation and my inner substance assembled as a central force as the words I AM are uttered or in tone with a deep resonance.
I recall the strong inner feeling with the force of my centralised reality.
I divide myself slightly. I make an experience of being-act.
I also recall the ever present danger of slipping at once into automatism and becoming once again a puppet, a mere automatism. But it is now even more dangerous, as it carries off with it all this precious centralised force.
So, we’re aware of this danger as I start to leave the posture of my preparation.
I watch very carefully as I leave this posture. I am moving my hands. I take part in this hand movement. I do not hurry away, and so it becomes an act.
An act, an act of going from the state of preparation into the state for which I have been preparing, namely, my daily life.
So, in doing, I think and experience my wish that I may have a legitimate and lawful degree of presence in this new day of life.
I put in “lawful and legitimate” there because I need to see through this prevalent sort of hopelessness. I am entitled to have objective hope because there is something which lawfully follows an effort. I need to know it. This is where I need knowledge, because if I know the effort I make, I may be sure of the result.
So, I think. I experience my wish that I may have a legitimate, that is a lawful degree of presence in this new day of life. May I understand enough to experience an increased number of movements in which in manifestation and verification of my acts of intentional self-willed presence maybe actualised.
I go now to daily life with its corresponding level, but I take to it the life of this level also, the level of I AM. I realise that I AM requires all three forces combined in that one process of objective reality – the Unity of I AM THAT.
Mr Adie speaks of a state which is determined by the law of attraction and by the relative magnitude of qualities present in me. I think of it like this: let us say that I have within me a desire to be present, but also a desire to watch the t.v. Each desire represents a quality. One will probably be of greater magnitude, meaning that it is a more effective influence upon me. That magnitude has a certain attracting power. The greater magnitude has the greater influence. But if I am present, a further dimension appears. In this dimension, that influence is made passive: the magnitude is scaled down to effectively nil.
The reference to a “nucleus of force” is something for which we may look, but should never, under any circumstances, hallucinate into an illusory existence.
Joseph Azize, 3 December 2017