This is the second part of the transcription of the group meeting of Thursday 1 June 1944.
Mlle D. May I ask a question?
Gurdjieff: Quickly! Quickly!
Mlle D. I have perceived that when I am awake, I am not in a state of daydreaming, but if I am not occupied with the spirit, I dream. I have taken, as a task, learning two verses of a psalm. I represent the images to myself.
Gurdjieff: That is very good since it is a struggle.
Mlle D. Sometimes it is terrible.
Gurdjieff: Daydreaming is a weakness, it is serious for you. Work much. It is necessary. Sooner or later you will have to be master of the slave. While daydreaming is bad, yet it can become good. But we must make it subordinate, and make it our function, the function of our reason (logique).
Rene Zuber: Monsieur, one week ago I constated that the work has intruded upon my life in a bad way, like a weed, in the form of automatic associations. I have sought to take measures.
Gurdjieff: The work?
Zuber: Not the work, but automatic associations, a mix, something bad. I have stopped the exercise of filling (as) the basis of my work, and I have chosen the first movement exercise, the hardest for me, and have done that. The associations have stopped. I have learnt from this movement, and I have seen where the obstacle is: distraction.
Gurdjieff: Indirectly, by means of (par le canal, lit. “by the canal”) this exercise, you have succeeded in remembering yourself. It is the same thing. You cannot (succeed) directly, but you do so indirectly. You remember when you do it.
Zuber: It is the opposite. I mean to say that I had never succeeded in being able to remember myself before this exercise, for preventing (the arising of) distractions.
Gurdjieff: You have prepared yourself. I have always said that that is necessary. And then you did the exercise.
Zuber: I remembered that advice, and, thanks to it, I have succeeded. But must I again begin the exercise of filling, or just continue with the movement exercises?
Gurdjieff: You have managed to do them. Do (now) the foundation (de base) exercise. The filling exercise will be your second one. You have seen that the movements were the most necessary exercise for you. Beforehand, you did not understand this, (but) today you do understand it.
Zuber: I have found that the filling brought me a good deal because it was the easiest.
Gurdjieff: These things are very subjective, for each person it is different. (163-164) Be content that you have finally arrived at where you wanted.
Robert Pomereu: Last Thursday, you drew my attention to the weakness of my feeling. How can I strengthen it?
(Mr Gurdjieff asks Mme de Salzmann something in Russian)
Mme de Salzmann: Since Mr Gurdjieff spoke with you, have you tried something by yourself?
Pomereu: I have constated that my state was one of tearfulness of self-pity for my self, and that I could not remember any true feeling. But I have the impression that even that does not suffice.
Gurdjieff: I am going to give you, you personally, an exercise which will help me to ascertain which series [of exercises] I must then give you. You will take an exercise of verification. Wet a handkerchief with cold water and hold it in your right hand, whether you wish it or not, you will have the sensation of cold. Then seriously concentrate your attention on your left hand, and feel cold in your left hand. You feel the cold in your right hand automatically, and in placing your attention on your left hand, you will be able to feel cold in your left.
Pomereu: And not to feel it in the right?
Gurdjieff: No, that comes by itself. Do not think of your right hand unless you sense cold there. On the next occasion, take the handkerchief in your left hand and you will feel cold in your right. Do nothing else. Do not touch the normal side. One side is conscious. You concentrate your attention to artificially obtain the same as the normal sensation in the other hand. And change it. In the left automatically, then in the right consciously. Feel the same thing in both hands. (164) Do this exercise, two, three or four times. You will understand better. Next time, remind me of it. I will ask you questions, and your answer will indicate the series of exercises which I must give you to awaken feeling in you, or rather, the appearance of feeling. (165)
Dr Aboulker: Monsieur, I cannot do the filling exercise. After the two legs I have no more force. I sense nothing further. I do not succeed in giving the shocks. It is only a pretence. Is there anything I could do which would take less time (lit. “more short.”), or go more quickly? It is (taking) too long for me.
Gurdjieff: You have time, but not force. You are quickly fatigued.
Dr Aboulker: It is tiring. Things are weakening. In the end, it is only imagination.
Gurdjieff: No, doctor. I am going to give you different advice. Do the exercise as before. But take measures so as not to get tired, by knowing the reason, why the accumulators are losing their charge. You must take steps so that they do not discharge so quickly. For that, we must hold a medical conference. Come early to me (one morning) to see my (medical) cabinet. We will speak of that, or we will try something together, like two representatives of medicine. We will search for the reasons. You know how it is done. We are like a car. Its motion, the lights, all is done with electricity stored in the accumulators. The dynamo recharges the accumulators. It will lose all its energy if it just expends the charged force, and is without this recharging. It is the same thing in you. Where is the faulty contact, where does the energy run out and run down your accumulators? Where is the short circuit. How has the insulation gone? We must look at it this way. You never used to get tired, before.
Aboulker: Not when I was doing the exercise.
Gurdjieff: Perhaps you have used something to excess, an insulation is worn out.
Aboulker: Perhaps in tensing myself (en me raidissant)?
Gurdjieff: No, we will see.