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Chapter 27: Soundlessness, Soundfulness and Total Awareness

In a deeper sense, we are all sleepwalkers. You can go to your office, you can come to your home, you can do certain things: you will repeat the same things you have always repeated. You will tell your wife, “I love you,” and you will not mean anything by it. The words will be just mechanical. You are not even aware that you are telling your wife, “I love you.” You are simply doing things as if you are fast asleep. This whole world is a world of sleepwalkers for a person who has become awakened. A Buddha feels that way, a Gurdjieff feels that way - that everyone is fast asleep and still doing things.

Gurdjieff used to say that whatsoever is happening in this world is absolutely what can be expected - wars, fights, riots, murder, suicide. Someone asked Gurdjieff, “Can something be done to stop wars?” He said, “Nothing can be done - because those who are fighting, they are fast asleep, and those who are pacifists, they are fast asleep. And everyone is going on in a sleep. These happenings are natural, inevitable. Unless man is awake, nothing can be changed, because these are all just by-products of his sleep. He will fight; he cannot be stopped from fighting. Only the causes can be changed.”

Once he was fighting for Christianity, for Islam, for this and that. Now he is not fighting for Christianity, now he is fighting for communism, for democracy. Causes will change, excuses will change, and the fight will continue, because man is asleep and you cannot expect anything else.

This sleepiness can be broken. You have to use certain techniques. This technique says,

In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, awake.

Try with any sound, with any letter - Aum, for example. In the beginning, when you have not yet created the sound, awake. Or when the sound moves into soundlessness, then awake.

How can you do it? Go to a temple. A bell is there or a gong. Take the bell in your hand and wait. First become totally alert. The sound is going to be there and you are not to miss the beginning. First become totally alert, as if your life depends on this, as if someone is going to kill you this very moment, and you will be awake. Be alert - as if this is going to be your death. And if there is thought, wait, because thought is sleepiness. With thought you cannot be alert. When you are alert, there is no thought. So wait. When you feel that now the mind is without thought, that there is no cloud and you are alert, then move with the sound.

Look when the sound is not there, then close your eyes. Then look when the sound is created, struck; then move with the sound. The sound will become slower and slower, subtler and subtler and subtler, and then it will not be there. Then go on with the sound. Be aware, alert. Move with the sound to the very end. See both the poles of the sound, both the beginning and the end.