Chapter 17: Responsibility Is a Sincerity of the Heart
No, feel responsible. There is no need though to make it a burden or a tension. One should always feel responsible, whatsoever one is doing. Whether the work is going to be used or not is not the point, because just in feeling responsible for something you mature.
I feel I’ve always been responsible, that I’ve been just a façade of responsibilities.
You must have taken responsibility in a very wrong way. It is not a burden.
When you feel responsible, it has nothing to do with others - it is not a duty. It is not that you are trying to prove something, or that your whole life depends on it. Nothing like that. Responsibility is just a sincerity of the heart - so that whatsoever you are doing you do with your whole heart. When one does something, one should do it totally - then it becomes a meditation.
If you do something irresponsibly then you are wasting an opportunity to be meditative. You work six hours in the office and you may work indifferently. I am not worried about whether the work suffers or not. It may be useless work because almost ninety percent of government work is useless, and as far as the U.N. is concerned, it is one hundred percent useless - that is not the point.
When you live six hours of the day in a dull state of mind, it is not easy to get out of this dullness. By and by it becomes part of you, your very style of life. If this film of dullness spreads all over your life, you are poisoning yourself. Being responsible means doing the work consciously, lovingly. Do it totally so that those six hours become a sharp, intense awareness in you, and then you carry that awareness into the other parts of your life. By and by your life becomes a life of response, of aliveness.
That word responsibility is very beautiful - it means alive. A dead man is not responsible. If he is lying in the middle of your path and you ask him why, he will not answer. He is not responsible; he is not answerable to anybody now. If you are responsible, you become alive.
So you see, my emphasis is not on the work; it is on you.
Gurdjieff used to tell his disciples to do foolish, absurd work - and to be responsible. For example, he would tell a disciple to dig a hole. The whole day the disciple dug; it was hard work and he was perspiring. By the evening, Gurdjieff would come and tell him to fill it up again. So the earth had to be put back into the ground.
The following day, again Gurdjieff would say to dig another hole. The disciple wondered what was going to happen, but again, by the evening Gurdjieff would be there telling him to refill the hole.