Chapter 11: The Psychology of Egolessness
The most frightening experience for human beings is to remember, to watch, to be aware; hence the difficulty in meditation. It does not arise from the outside; there is no disturbance outside. The real disturbance is within you. You really don’t want to meditate. You are in a double bind. You listen to buddhas talking about the beauties and the blessings and the benedictions of meditation, and you become greedy for it. But then you look at your own investment and you become frightened. So you try to meditate, yet you don’t really want to meditate because meditation means you will have to see things as they are - the false as false, the true as true - and that is going to shatter your whole effort of lives in a single moment.
Great courage is needed to meditate, courage to drop all the investments. Great intelligence is needed. In fact, this is true intelligence: to see that howsoever and whatsoever efforts you make to realize the false, to make it come true, they are going to fail. To see it - that the whole effort is an exercise in utter futility - is intelligence. It has nothing to do with intellectuality; it is very simple.
See, watch, and don’t be afraid and don’t avoid seeing. And don’t go on playing with yourself, deceiving yourself. Don’t remain in a double bind, with one hand creating and with the other hand destroying.
That’s what people are doing: half of their being wants to continue as they are - the stupid half, the rational part, the arithmetic of their minds. And the other half, the intelligent half, the intuitive half - the heart - wants to start anew, because you have seen for so long that nothing succeeds. Still you go on in the same rut. It is time, the right time, to get out of the rut and to have a new birth.
What Gurdjieff was saying has been told by all the great masters of the world. “Awake,” Buddha says. It is the same; words differ. “Be watchful,” Jesus says. Be as watchful as if the master of the house has gone out and he has told the servants to remain alert because he may come any moment and he does not want them to be asleep - any moment he can come. They have to be alert, on guard, all the time. Jesus says: “Be so alert.”
In alertness the first experience is that you have a personality which is false. Gurdjieff calls it the false will. And you have something else, something impersonal in you, which is the true will. Your appearance from the outside is false; what you experience from your innermost core is true. You are a mixture of the accidental and the essential, of the incidental and the intrinsic. You are the meeting point of time and eternity, a crossroads where matter and consciousness meet, where body and soul meet, where the real and the unreal shake hands. Yes, you are exactly a crossroads. And you have to be very alert not to choose the false - because the false is very appealing. The false makes all kinds of propaganda for itself; the false will try to convince you with all kinds of arguments.