Friday 25 February 1944
After the meal.
Gurdjieff: The exercise which you are doing will give you real “I AM.” You could say “I AM” for ten years with your head, but not with your whole presence. It is the preparation for an exercise thanks to which you will be able to actualise “I AM,” even during your sleep. Now it is does not exist, it is absolutely automatic. But we have a super-consciousness, and with this exercise you will be able to pass the night in this super-consciousness. Today you do not really exist. You are a piece of meat, and bad meat which cannot even be cooked, at that. I received a ham today, and it is worth more than twenty people. This exercise is very difficult at the start, but little by little, it becomes easy. For the last exercise, there will be twenty-one things to do at the same time. For example, I have shown you a picture (tableau) where the people are doing forty-nine things at the same time, but we are doing less than half of that.
N.L.: I have read that for a certain period there was an inscription at the Prieuré which said that rest does not depend on the quantity of sleep but on its quality. I would like to know whether it might not be possible to sleep less but to sleep better.
Gurdjieff: It is possible with the exercise we are doing. Sooner or later it will contribute something to your organism (117). Later, when you have the rhythm in yourself, we will be able to explain it.
N.L. said that he thought there was a rhythm because, when he has been asleep, he wakes up in the same way. Gurdjieff said: “Yes, the rhythm has a great importance. That is why here we try to begin with the rhythm and to end with the rhythm.”
L.L. said that the breathing exercises gave her a sore throat and sometimes even painful spasms. Gurdjieff replied that it was possible, but it was not harmful, and she should allow herself to become accustomed to it. He said she should continue, and he would help her. The problem is in the small muscles, he said. When she said that she was getting a “ganglion” (sic) in the back of her throat, Gurdjieff replied:
I would advise you to wash your nose (sic., not “nostrils”) and to gargle each day in cold water. The little muscles are weak (mal), it is nothing. Continue and go on. I never wash myself without drawing cold water up into my nose. I think that this may be why I have never had a head cold. It’s also the best thing for the head. At the beginning one might sneeze, but afterwards one can bear it. I also recommend that for children. The French are afraid of such things, but the English are used to them. The English have better hygiene and are in better health. In France, 95% of the people are ill, especially in the north. It is less so in the south where they eat more spices. But as one heads north there are more misunderstandings. (118)
A.E. then said that he was lacking something in his work, and is submerged by events to the extent that he loses his good internal sensing, and cannot get back in touch with himself (118-119).
Gurdjieff: There exists only one way. Take a task in respect of the people in your life. Not too many at once. First of all take a task with one person alone, then with two, then with three, then with twenty. If you can do it with twenty people, you can do it with eighty, but to do it with everyone will never be possible. So first take on person and a small task; later you can go further. With a large task, you would go backwards.
Then A.D. said that he had tried the task given last Sunday, to fill one part of his body and make a connection with another part. He said that it had helped him with other exercises with which, for a long time, he had met with no success. He asked why that exercise had helped him but he could not even do the others.
Gurdjieff: Ask yourself this question. You know better than me. Perhaps it is the first time you have done it exactly.
A.D. said, no, he did not, but he could work at this exercise on the Metro, in class, and in the presence of some people.
Gurdjieff: Continue. Afterwards you will be able to remember even better. This is the result of your past work, it is helps you with this exercise. This exercise has already given you a clear result.
A.D. said that only this had helped him to find something which was not just intellectual when with other people. (119) Gurdjieff replied:
Continue. You are on the right path. That is all I can say. Perhaps it is the result of your work. Never wait for the result and it will arrive. Maybe you were not anxious for some result, and so it has come. (119-120)
Zuber said that he had discovered new feelings this week, like a fixed idea, something amorous like a cramp (sic)., and he had tried to use it as a reminding factor. Gurdjieff responded:
If it is a new impulse, it is not necessary to do so. It is, without doubt, something fleeting, a result which has not occurred before now, but now you have it, it will grow or it will diminish. What you need is to work on the features you have long had, not on those which are not habitual.
Yvonne Le Tourmelin said that the Sunday exercise had led to breathing with the solar plexus, and that had given her better concentration and more life. She asked whether that was useful. Gurdjieff answered:
No, if it is too much, you must stop. We need harmony. For all the centres, (the effort) must be equal. Exercise the other centres when it is not so easy.
The transcript ends there.