Chapter 6: Buddhahood: Not Only for the Chosen Few
The first question:
I don’t have eyes to see, I don’t have ears to hear, and I am absolutely stupid. You promise us liberation some day. How is that possible with such a helpless case as I am? And on the other hand, sometimes I am filled with grace which no words can describe. What happens? And where am I in all this?
A good beginning. If you can feel that you don’t have eyes to see, sooner or later you will have eyes. To feel that you are ignorant, you have taken the first step towards knowledge. To feel that you are lost is to attain to the path. That’s why sometimes you are filled with grace. The very understanding that you are ignorant, suddenly illuminates your being.
The problem is with those people who think they know - they are in real trouble. They know not and they think they know, so no possibility for their growth. And they insist, and they defend their knowledge. In defending their knowledge they are defending their ignorance. If you are ill you seek a physician, but if you pretend that you are not ill and you are ill, you avoid the physician. Even if the physician comes to your home you will say, “For what have you come here?”
Gurdjieff, working with his disciples, one day told a group, “Unless you know your chief characteristic and become aware of it, you will not be able to enter into your essence and you will remain stuck to your personality.”
Somebody asked, “Please give us concrete examples.”
Gurdjieff said, “Look - the man who is sitting in front of me: his chief characteristic is that he is never at home.”
Everybody could see the absent-mindedness on the man’s face. But the man shrugged himself and said, “What did you say, sir?” - because that is the chief characteristic: he is not at home. He is always somewhere else, and he wants to grow. Impossible, because you have to be at home to grow.
Then Gurdjieff turned to another and said, “Look at this man. His chief characteristic is that he is always arguing with everybody and everything.”
The man became very heated and said, “Sir, there you are wrong - I never argue!”
Find out what you are defending. That may be the clue to enter within.
Just last night, a sannyasin said, that from her very childhood she has been feeling that she is stupid; and she is afraid, so she goes on defending. And she tries not to do anything which is stupid. Now she is in a mess, because what can you do? You can avoid, but who will avoid? The stupid mind will avoid. In avoiding, you will do the same stupidity again.