Chapter 17: Several Stop Techniques
Whenever you have to do something, you have to be there already; otherwise you cannot do it. Who runs? Who laughs? Who steals? Who becomes a saint? The being must precede all activity. The activity can be chosen, but being cannot be chosen. The being is the chooser, not the chosen, and you cannot choose the chooser - he is already there. You cannot do anything about him. Remember this: having, doing, are with you just as a circumference is with the center, but you are the center.
This center is the self, or you may call it the atman or whatsoever name you like. This center is your innermost point. How to reach it? And unless one reaches it, knows it, unless one realizes it, one cannot reach to a blissful state which is eternal, one cannot know the deathless, one cannot know the divine. Unless one realizes this center, one will remain in misery, anguish and suffering. The circumference is the hell. These techniques are the means to enter into this center.
The first technique:
Just as you have the impulse to do something, stop.
All these techniques are concerned with stopping in the middle. George Gurdjieff made these techniques very well-known in the West, but he was not aware of Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. He learned these techniques in Tibet from Buddhist lamas. He worked on these techniques in the West, and many, many seekers came to realize the center through these techniques. He called them stop exercises, but the source of these exercises is Vigyan Bhairav Tantra.
Buddhists learned from Vigyan Bhairav. Sufis also have such exercises; they are also borrowed from Vigyan Bhairav. Basically, this is the source book of all techniques which are known all over the world.
Gurdjieff used it in a very simple way. For example, he would tell his students to dance. A group would be dancing - a group of, say, twenty people would be dancing - and suddenly he would say, “Stop!” And the moment Gurdjieff would say stop, they would have to stop totally. Wherever the pause would fall, they would have to stop then and there. No change could be made, no adjustment could be made. If one of your feet was above the earth and you were just standing on one foot, you would have to remain that way. If you fell, that was another thing, but you were not to cooperate with the fall. If your eyes were opened, they had to remain opened. Now you could not close them. If they closed by themselves, that was another thing. But as far as you were concerned, consciously you had stopped, you had become just like a stone statue.