Chapter 17: A Flowering of Consciousness
To be conscious totally - to be conscious.! To use the symbol of flowers for consciousness is multi-meaningful. It is not only a symbol - because consciousness is factually a flowering in man. When man flowers, comes to his omega point, suddenly there is a burst of flowering. That flowering is of consciousness.
But man as he is is just a seed. He is not conscious, he is not a consciousness. This will be difficult and very humiliating, because we go on thinking that we are conscious, and this is the most fatal belief - dangerous, poisonous - because if you think that you are already conscious then there is no possibility for you to flower. If a seed thinks and believes that it is already a tree, already flowering, then there is no possibility for the seed to grow. It has deceived itself completely.
Gurdjieff has said that you are in a prison - but you can come to believe that you are not in a prison, that this is your home. You can decorate your prison in such a way that it begins to look like your home. You can even be proud of it, you can boast of it, your chains can become your ornaments. It depends on you. You can interpret, and this interpreting is, in a way, very satisfying because then there is no need to fight against this imprisonment. Then you can be at ease. It is very convenient.
All human beliefs are conveniences, but dangerous. Because of them the possibility to evolve is nullified completely, negated completely. The prisoner can think that he is not a prisoner, but already a free man. This is convenient to believe because then there is no burden. But then this prisoner can never be free. So Gurdjieff says that the first necessary step towards freedom is to recognize the humiliating fact that you are a prisoner - only then does growth become possible.
The first thing about this sutra that I would like to say to you is: be completely aware that you are not conscious. This is the first step towards awareness.
You are not conscious at all; you live an unconscious life. Whatsoever you are doing is a robot-like thing, mechanical. For example, you are listening to me. You are listening to me, but you are not aware of the fact that you are listening. Now you can become aware after I have said it, but you were not previously. For a moment you can become aware that you are listening to me, but only for a moment, and then you will slip again into unconsciousness. Then you will listen to me, but not as a conscious being; you will listen to me like a mechanical thing.