M.D. Can one do this exercise?
Gurdjieff: You are on the list? No? Then it is not useful. It is not for everyone. As for the rest, this list will be augmented with three people. I have found three candidates for this exercise. But three only.
(Mr Gurdjieff designates A.D., P.L., and R.P., who will have to come up to speed with the exercise straight after those which they have done.)
Only the designated candidates should do it Not the others. It will be dangerous. It is necessary not to do it before I say. To do it, one needs a pimple in your nose.
(to B.) (Pomereu?) And so you are in trouble. You have no pimple in your nose.
(to L.L.) Do you always feel this refusal?
L.L. It has only lasted for two days.
Gurdjieff: Let us put this question to one side. Who has some interesting questions? I believe that today is the day for questions.
Mme de Salzmann: You gave another exercise, that of sensing “I: in the seven parts of the body.
Gurdjieff: Have you done this exercise? You must have been surprised at the beginning. How can one sense “I” in the leg? Who can say that it is possible? Only someone who has done it can speak. Without practice it is absurd. Who has done it?
Mlle G. I have.
Gurdjieff: Tell me how.
Mlle G. At the beginning, it was very difficult to feel “I.” It had been very long. And then on one occasion I sensed it in my right leg, and it became easy in the other parts.
Gurdjieff: And that has not shown you something new? It does not prompt you to ask a question?
Mlle G. Yes, it was that my legs took very little part in the exercise, and that the sensation of the (solar) plexus is stronger than in the rest of the body.
Gurdjieff: Well then, no need of help, or of further details? Alright, continue.
M.D. I have really tried, but I have not succeeded. I do not manage to relax myself. When I try to sense “I” in the back of my head, I can no longer sense any relaxation. I have no sensation of relaxation.
Gurdjieff: The reason is that you cannot relax yourself well. Before every exercise you must take ten minutes to relax yourself (relâcher).
M.D. I have tried. I (only) succeed with my face.
Gurdjieff: The face, that is a small thing. It is necessary to relax all your presence, and not only one part, in order to quieten your associations.
M.D. I thought you had to relax one part after another, and I began from the top.
Gurdjieff: It is just the opposite. It is necessary to begin with the feet and work upwards. Try like that. If you begin with the head, it will tense up at once, and the tightening will descend into everywhere. Begin again and relax yourself beginning with the feet.
S.R. This exercise has made clear for me a sensation that I began to feel with other exercises, the sensation of having an interior armature all through my body, and at the same time –
Gurdjieff: Excuse me, please explain to me this word “armature.” In electronics, the “armature” is the panoply of wires and lamps. Is that it?
S.R. No, I mean a form inside my body, that makes me feel all the form of my body.
(Discussion about the word)
Gurdjieff: A skeleton?
S.R. No, (something) finer than the bones, with a circulation inside this thing.
Gurdjieff: What does this mean? Try another word.
Mme S. A solidity inside the body. I could not sense it before. Now I feel it as a thickness, (with) more weight.
Gurdjieff: (to S.R.) Is that it? You feel that your body is thicker?
S.R. It is difficult to say all that I felt. I cannot say “thick.” The two times I did it, I had a light but clear sensation of warmth. And that has not allowed me to do the exercise of filling with one breath more lightly.
Gurdjieff: But you are speaking of subjective things. That would last three evenings if everyone did the same. (233) [Perhaps, “This meeting would last for three evenings if everyone spoke the same way.”]
S.R. It is a new sensation. I wanted to know if it was right.
Gurdjieff: There is no result as yet. I can say nothing, I have not understood. I cannot help you. Ask me about the (factual) details, but your subjective constatations does not interest anyone here.
Vera Daumal: Mr Gurdjieff, I have a question I would like to ask.
Gurdjieff: Then ask without any advertising. Do not waste time.
Vera Daumal: I would like to know if I should work like this: before feeling “I” in the seven parts of the body, I am obliged to sense it once in all my presence, otherwise the echo of “I” remains intellectual. I have tried to do it directly, but the echo remains intellectual. I have tried to feel “I” in all my presence, (and) the echo was better. Should it be done like that?
Gurdjieff: No. Lying down, well-relaxed in all your parts. Then you begin.
Vera Daumal: Directly?
Gurdjieff: After you are entirely relaxed, you do the exercise: feel “I” in each part. There must be the same intensity and the same quantity everywhere, the same rhythm of breath. Let there be no difference between any part. Once you can do it separately in each part, then you can mobilise all together: “I am.” You can do it again numerous times.
Do not philosophise. It is quite simple. One can only understand it and do it well if one is relaxed. Many (234) people have bad natures, they are irritable (nerveuses). This relaxing will calm them, and lift from them what has been useless in them, idiot.