Chapter 13: I Am Pure Consciousness
George Gurdjieff has used the words self-remembering for the fourth. He has said that self-remembering is the way to awaken the witness. It is a method that Gurdjieff used. If an angry seeker went to him he would not tell him not to be angry. He would say, “Be as angry as you want, just remember to be the witness. Be aware that you are becoming angry - that anger is happening, that anger has come, that the anger has caught hold of you, that anger is being expressed. Don’t forget this even for a moment. Don’t create any identification with anger. At no point should you think that you are the anger; keep yourself distant from it.”
His disciples were in great difficulty, because the nature of anger is that if you are aware of it, you cannot become angry; or if you become angry, then you lose the remembrance. Both cannot exist together. If a seeker reported to Gurdjieff “I got angry today, and I also kept the remembrance,” Gurdjieff would just laugh. He knew, although the seeker did not know it, that this is impossible. It cannot happen. If anger takes over even for a moment, your remembrance will immediately be lost. It is a question of where you focus your consciousness. It is like when you look to your left, you cannot simultaneously look to your right; or when you close your eyes, then you cannot see the outside world. To remain aware and yet become angry, to remain a witness and yet become angry, is more difficult than someone saying that he had his eyes closed and could still see the outside world, or that he could see to his left and to his right at the same time. It is simply not possible.
Gurdjieff did many experiments like this, but it was very difficult - because if a person was aware then he could not be angry, and if he became angry then the awareness was gone. Then Gurdjieff began one more experiment: pretending to be angry. He said that identification happens in real anger and it is difficult to keep the awareness. So he would ask people to act as if they were angry, to try in every way to show that they were angry, to make all the gestures - distorting the face, closing the fists, grinding the teeth, trembling - to act as if they were angry like an actor in a drama.
The interesting thing was that when he introduced this method of facing anger, people were able to experience both at the same time: they could act angrily and simultaneously remain aware. If even once this can become your experience, that you can be a witness in a particular state and not be identified with that state - it remains only an acting - then you are no more a doer.
A man is playing the role of Rama in Ramaleela, a drama about the life of Rama. He cries and weeps, he even asks the trees if they know how to find Sita. But when the curtain falls he is again backstage, happily sipping chai - he has nothing to do with Sita, it was all acting.
But man is so profoundly foolish that sometimes he becomes identified even in a play! In other words, even when he is acting he feels that he is the doer.