Working with the Network Exercise (Paris Groups, Thursday 8 June 1944, Pt XXXVII)

Thursday 8 June 1944, pp. 170-180

Previously unpublished

(Those present do the network exercise. Mr Gurdjieff enters afterwards. He speaks for an instant in Russian with Mme de Salzmann)

Gurdjieff: Madame de Salzmann tells me that you have tried this exercise. Perhaps someone has constated something? When you have done it, what have you felt? What have you experienced, whether good or bad? There are a thousand different reactions. A process is accomplished. I would like to know. You should not be as you were before. After my explanation, no one has tried? I remind you that when several of you come together by chance, they can do this exercise.

K(han?) Even two?

Gurdjieff: Yes, two, ten or a million. You and the others. The more of you there are, the more valuable it will be, the practice will be better. I can tell you in the meantime that if you really try it, if you truly do it, your manifestations will be changed. By inertia, it will remain as a special feeling. I cannot explain it to you. You will be more closer (plus denses). It will be very different. Your remembering will be more concentrated, all your work and your exercises will be of quite another quality. Only the practice can show you this. I cannot explain what will happen. It will help you a great deal. The more the practice, the bigger the result.

I have constated, I have witnessed it, that in groups which have done it, whenever someone was sick, (or) if something happened, being together cut through the illness like a knife. I have witnessed it. And even with a seriousness illness, it is as if they were mutually magnetised. There are ten or fifteen magnetisms for each person. You see how strong the action is. All sicknesses go away in an astonishing way. Does anyone have a question?

G.M. I would like to know what representations should be borne in my attention, when remembering.

Mme de Salzmann: What do you mean?

G.M. Mentally, what must be represented when remembering?

Gurdjieff: (Put) like that, I understand. It is useless to represent anything to oneself. The head must simply be a policeman, a supervisor. I have already said that. With one part you brush aside all associations, and with the other you all the time keep your sensation of yourself.

G.M. That is not enough for me. For me, that is theoretical.

Gurdjieff: One part (of your mental attention) guards the sensation of yourself, and with the other part you dispel (chasser) associations, you do not permit them to invade you.

G.M. To dispel them, a certain image is needed. Is the sensation and feeling of oneself?

Gurdjieff: Not of yourself. (They are) the sensation and feeling of your presence. The head must control, without a break, what is happening in me. I sense. On the one hand, I am always sensing, while on the other, my (171) my attention does not allow my associations to disturb me. My attention is entirely occupied. My head is vigilant, for all the time I am doing it. My head is aware of what I sense, and chases off associations; it does not have time to represent something to itself. Do you understand? Have you constated how often you have been lost from not knowing that before? Tell me sincerely. Is that why you have not succeeded? You have not done it like that.

G.M. I did it that way, but badly. I was unsure.

Gurdjieff: I think that my explanations will open up an America for you, and for many others here. What do you think, doctor?

Dr Aboulker: This question clarifies many points for me. I perceive that, in the remembering, what I was doing was not so good. On other occasions when remembering, I had a big (access of) emotion, a vivid warmth. But for a while now, I have been finding nothing when I make my efforts.

Gurdjieff: And now, after this explanation?

Aboulker: This explanation has been good for me. I see in what sense I must search. Earlier on, Monsieur, you –

Gurdjieff: No, leave it until it becomes (entirely) clear.

G.F. Monsieur, what you have said will help me, for associations bother me, and I have a hard time removing them.

Gurdjieff: So you understand that what I have said is the best way of calming associations. In remembering oneself in this manner, in striving to remain awake, it will chase off the associations, kill all this caboodle (batalcan) of associations. (

Dr Aboulker: I am afraid that I have sensation with my head, but practically never any feeling of myself. I never have it.

Gurdjieff: Perhaps you have never done it as I said. Try what I said today. Do it once, ten times, a hundred times. You will see that this will sort everything out. That is why I stopped you earlier. Nobody can do this thing, or almost, yet everyone should be able to understand my response to our esteemed Monsieur. It is a great treasure (richesse) for those who are working to be able to understand this. It is a very big thing, a difficult one. Consciously, you occupied with two matters: sensing yourself, and checking your common presence (toute votre presence). Automatically, without you, your atmosphere collects itself. All which is usually dispersed concentrates itself. (And when) you collect yourself you will be yourself. You have now had a good taste of that. Accustom yourself. You will like it, and you will do it often. You will understand all the details when you succeed in easily coming to this state. It is necessary that first you adapt yourself to this state, so that you make it yours. Then the details will come, for each manifestation it will perhaps be necessary to have a different direction. That is enough. Everyone has understood, I hope.

Doctor, ask any question you would like to.

Aboulker: Monsieur, three weeks ago you told me that I have been living on a bed of roses. Well then, there are moments when I have seen the more serious side of life. But I cannot keep it for long, for a part of me rebels.

Gurdjieff: That is understandable. No one likes thorns. But there are no roses without thorns. Self love and other things of that order do not receive much satisfaction (contentement) here. On the contrary, here the thorns come out even more. The work is precisely that; it is conscious work.

Aboulker: That is what happens. For two days, I accept the idea that there will be thorns, and then there is a revolt that sends all that flying.

Gurdjieff: After having begun, you quickly stop yourself. It is necessary to lead yourself to a certain state. For this to take form (forme), it is necessary to do, to do, and to do. Afterwards, it will be (c’est) indestructible. All factors are to be created like this. Little by little it is necessary to make a conscious effort until such time as it is formed. For thing, it is the same.

Aboulker: What stops me is a voice which says: “And me?”

Gurdjieff: So let everything be for Me, for the true Me, not for masturbation, but for true happiness. Today, I (have to) suffer. Tomorrow, I will have all. You work for tomorrow, for the future. But tomorrow also, there will be me. If you take that seriously, this part will understand that you are working for true Me. Today you suffer consciously instead of suffering unconsciously. You will suffer twice as much today so that tomorrow you will have twice as much happiness. Consciously you will suffer because you consciously wish to enjoy this true happiness. Until now, you have suffered unconsciously, and today you constate that. You do not wish that you have this unconscious suffering tomorrow, and for that you (are willing to) suffer today.  Dogs themselves have a brain. This part in you will understand. Repeat that to yourself often. You have a sort of dog or cat in you, inside your head. When you speak, when you forget, it immediately barks and becomes your master. Your true Me, your I, puts its tail between its legs and becomes the slave of that dog.


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