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Chapter 9: Watching the Watcher

Do not think about anything that concerns others. Train first against the defilement that is greatest.

Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples - the first thing, the very, very first thing, “Find out what your greatest characteristic is, your greatest undoing, your central characteristic of unconsciousness.” Each one’s is different.

Somebody is sex-obsessed. In a country like India, where for centuries sex has been repressed, that has become almost a universal characteristic; everybody is obsessed with sex. Somebody is obsessed with anger, or somebody else is obsessed with greed. You have to watch which is your basic obsession.

So first find your main characteristic upon which your whole ego edifice rests. And then be constantly aware of it, because it can exist only if you are unaware. It is burned in the fire of awareness automatically.

And remember, remember always, that you are not to cultivate the opposite of it. Otherwise, what happens is a person becomes aware that “My obsession is anger, so what should I do? I should cultivate compassion.” “My obsession is sex, so what should I do? I should practice brahmacharya, celibacy.”

People move from one to the opposite. That is not the way of transformation. It is the same pendulum, moving from left to right, from right to left. And that’s how your life has been moving for centuries; it is the same pendulum.

The pendulum has to be stopped in the middle. And that’s the miracle of awareness. Just be aware that “This is my chief pitfall, this is the place where I stumble again and again, this is the root of my unconsciousness.” Don’t try to cultivate the opposite of it, but pour your whole awareness into it. Create a great bonfire of awareness, and it will be burned. And then the pendulum stops in the middle.

And with the stopping of the pendulum, time stops. You suddenly enter into the world of timelessness, deathlessness, eternity.

And the last sutra:

Abandon all hopes of results.

The ego is result-oriented, the mind always hankers for results. The mind is never interested in the act itself, its interest is in the result. “What am I going to gain out of it?” If the mind can manage to gain, without going through any action, then it will choose the shortcut.