“Don’t think about anything that concerns others.
“And that’s what you go on thinking. Ninety-nine percent of the things that you think about concern others. Drop them — drop them immediately!
“Your life is short, and your life is slipping out of your fingers. Each moment you are less, each day you are less, and each day you are less alive and more dead! Each birthday is a death day; one more year is gone from your hands. Be a little more intelligent.
“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, and somebody else is obsessed with greed. You have to watch which is your basic obsession.
“So first find the 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 burnt 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 thing 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.”
The Book of Wisdom, Chapter 9