Working when Fatigued (Paris Groups, Pt XII, 23 January 1944, cont.)

R.P. then asked about a feeling of cold in his arms during part of the exercise. Gurdjieff asked whether he had ever had an issue with this previously. When R.P. said that the problem passed as soon as the exercise was finished, Gurdjieff said not to worry about it. (60)

A.E. then said that he found it hard to control his memory (rappel) during the exercise, because of a physical laziness. I think he means he forgot what he was doing in the middle of an exercise. Gurdjieff said that he was trying too long, ignoring Gurdjieff’s advice to spend no more than one third of his time in wakefulness (veille). Gurdjieff advised him to leave that exercise for a week, and to work instead at relaxing. “Sleep well, eat well, go to the comic theatre, amuse yourself, distract yourself. Send our god and our work to the devil.” When you come back to this work, then follow my advice and spend no more than one third of your time in wakefulness (perhaps he means trying to remember himself.) (60-61)

D.S. said that he sensed more the shock of the air and in the solar plexus, and asked whether the shock should be equalised in all three centres. Gurdjieff then gave another important principle of the exercises: Yes the three centres should have the same force, the same time, the same measure; the feeling, sensation, and thought should have the same vibration. When D.S. said that it would a “nervous vibration,” Gurdjieff said not to call it nervous, although nerves will be engaged, you do not really know what it is. (61)

When A.D. asked about being unable at times to clearly sense his body, arms, or legs, Gurdjieff asked whether he had had an accident, and he replied that he had – with a car. Gurdjieff said he would need to examine him medically, as that could leave a trace. (61-62)

Mme L said that she could sometimes sense her lumbar spine but not the balance. Gurdjieff advised her to settle into an armchair and experiment with pressing the rest of her back into it, and “listen” to the sensation.

The exchange with G.F. was hard to follow. Her sister, A.V., then asked a question which indicated the same need, which Gurdjieff said was hereditary. To A.V. he added the advice to work for not more than one third of her time, and to amuse herself. (62-63)

To J.E., who had more success sensing the solar plexus than the spinal column, Gurdjieff recommended going to the baths once a week for a massage of the back, saying that it was “very necessary.” He added that if he could not afford massages, he should ask his brother to rub camphor into his spine, each second day, for a week. If not his brother, go to a clinic, but it would be better with his brother. (64) I find this most intriguing: I have long recommended to people to use touch and massage to better sense parts of their body, and even to ask a masseur to press each of the vertebrae of the body, one by one, working up the spine. That Gurdjieff should say it is preferable to have one’s brother do it, sounds true: ask a person who wants you to be better. I have sensed that there is something special in camphor, but, together with the special benefits of camphor, there is also a possible risk of over-use.

I admit, I found it hard to follow the short exchange with Dr A., but after the reply, Gurdjieff added that P., in the group, was not speaking, because he had a mouth full of water (sic). This was a task: to do everything he did with a mouth full of water. (64-65)

To G.M., who said he felt tired, and did the exercise badly, Gurdjieff said to stop drinking wine. G.M. replied that he did not drink it. Gurdjieff advised him to have tea or coffee, and to pay no attention to fatigue:

You are young. Force yourself. Discipline yourself. This will cause your crisis to pass. You have in yourself an organic laziness. Use this occasion to slay in yourself this laziness. Give yourself as a task to never be tired, but even to do twice as much when you feel fatigued. For example, do some physical work, cut wood, or do some physical exercises – you don’t need wood for that. Buy an “extenseur” (possibly some kind of exercise rope, in modern French it is, apparently, a bungee cord). Think of yourself as a stranger. If you feel tired, say to yourself: “You rascal. You are tired, are you? Then work twice as hard.” Little by little your “me” (moi) will grow. It will be nourished and become independent. (65)

Gurdjieff went on to add that he had seen this in his skin: that G.M. ate like a pig and then slept. This laziness then continued into his interior work (65-66). Exercising, cutting wood, digging, are methods for improving human digestion (66).

There was some conversation, especially with Mme de Salzmann about the dinner arrangements (66-67).

Dr A. then referred back to what had been said to Luc Dietrich on 16 January 1944 about satisfaction. He does not find that, he said, because he always considers what he could have done. Gurdjieff replied that he was giving an indication, and the satisfaction he was referring to is so real that when it is present even God does not exist, and that if such satisfaction is felt, that is a very good sign. But you do not even have the taste of true satisfaction which is an objective thing, a special state. Now that you have asked this question, search for its taste. I said that to Luc because he has begun to know that taste. Work for this taste, and when you know it, I shall kiss your left hand (67-68).

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