Chapter 2: Inertia of Habit
It needs an articulate master. No ordinary master can do that; hence there are many mystics, but very few masters. To be a mystic is difficult in itself, but to bring the message to somebody else or to transform somebody else’s consciousness towards mystic experiences, one needs many qualities - an articulate way of giving an incentive to your longing, a reasonable approach, even making the irrational at least look rational, to turn even the absurd into a beautiful explanation. And to manage devices, meditations, from different corners of your being - one never knows from which side, north or west, east or south, you are most vulnerable. But the master slowly, easily, becomes aware from which side you are most vulnerable. Then that side has to be hit as hard as possible, because the weakest link in your chains is going to give way first.
Your liberation, your enlightenment, is a tremendous artwork of the master. To find the weakest link in your chains, and to hit you in such a way that rather than being angry you feel grateful - it is almost a miraculous alchemy. But as far as you are concerned, enlightenment happens suddenly. The master was preparing, step by step; but that was in his consciousness, it was not part of your consciousness. To you, the door suddenly opens.
The master never declares that you have reached the door. He waits for the right moment: when you will be absolutely silent, utterly empty, the season comes on its own. And as you are maturing and ripening, the door is getting ready to open for you. But it is always a surprise to you, not to the master who has been preparing for years in different ways, bringing you to the point where you can disappear and evaporate.
After sudden enlightenment, a certain cultivation is needed because the sudden can become a glimpse. Your sleepiness is so deep, your unconsciousness is so vast that a sudden glimpse, a lightning.and again dark clouds have taken over. That beautiful moment will be remembered by you; you will start even doubting it: “Did it happen or did I imagine it? Was it a reality or a dream?” But the sweetness of it will remain with you. The fragrance of it will remain with you.
Cultivation after enlightenment simply means to avoid any situation that can destroy your glimpse. You have to pour your whole energy into the glimpse to make it more and more authentic, more and more deeply rooted in you, so that it becomes an indubitable truth. No clouds can destroy it and no sleepiness, no inertia is able to take it away from you. Isan’s statement has to be understood in this light.
On one occasion, a monk asked Isan about the need for cultivation of one’s spiritual life after enlightenment. Isan responded that it was needed because of the “inertia of habit.”
That includes everything - the inertia of habit. George Gurdjieff, one of the most important men of this century, had a certain idea about the mind which no scientist has denied..