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Chapter 11: Remaining Closed to the Lower: A Technique for Transformation

Then he became aware of another deep phenomenon. An ordinary person would pass by him while he was just walking along the street, and suddenly Gurdjieff would become aware that the person was not ordinary; he was a mystic. He would follow him. And he was one hundred percent correct every time!

Sufi mystics function very esoterically, so they have discovered secret ways of being recognized. Indian mystics want isolation, they want to be away from the crowd. They move to the forest, to the hills. But even if he moves to a monastery or the forest, people become aware of him, and before long he becomes known. Silence has its own message: it is its own message, conveying many things.

Sufis have tried another method. They do not go to a monastery, they do not go to a forest or to a lonely hill; rather, they become part of ordinary life. For example, a Sufi mystic may be just a cobbler. He will be so ordinary that no one will be able to recognize that he knows something, or he is something. But one who is open to higher forces will become aware of it.

This opening within Gurdjieff became the basis of his search for the miraculous. He followed - without any map, without any knowledge - and eventually came to India, to Egypt, and to Tibet. He went on and on - just feeling his way, not knowing where he was going - when suddenly he would feel that a particular footpath was good. He would follow it. Sometimes the footpath would end in front of a hut, and inside would be a mystic!

When you become open to the higher, things begin to happen in a very different way. But if you are only open to the lower then you have to grope in the dark for the higher. That groping is random, accidental. Sometimes you may come to know someone or something, but that is rare. Even if you stumble upon someone or something that could change and transform your life totally, you are not aware of it.

Even if you meet Buddha, you will not be aware that you are facing a buddha. How can you be aware of it? You are not open to the higher, so even if you do meet a buddha you will only be open to his lower possibilities. You will begin to find things to disturb you even in a buddha: Why does Buddha eat like this? Why does he sleep like that? Why is he such and such? Your lower opening will give you things to think about that do not concern his buddhahood at all, and the higher will be missed. The only thing that you will do is to look in the direction of the lower: it is such a long habit.

We believe in the lower forces, we are faithful to the lower, because only the door to the lower is open in us. If someone is condemning someone else we believe him totally; there is no need for evidence. That is why rumors become true: you can create an absolutely false rumor and then, because so many people believe it, it is possible that you yourself may begin to believe it. We are led by others. If so many people are saying something, it must be true.

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