Mind cannot move into the unknown: it is produced by the known. It is a product of the known, so it cannot move into the unknown. That’s why mind can never know what truth is, what the divine is. Mind can never know what freedom is, mind can never know what life is, because intrinsically mind is dead. It is dead; dust accumulated through centuries and centuries – just dust, memory dust.
It seems that mind forces you. It doesn’t force you really, it only gives you the easiest grooves. It supplies you with only the repeated, routine tracks and you fall victim to convenience, because to break a new route and to create a new track and to move in a new groove is very difficult and inconvenient. That is what is meant by tapa – austerity. If you begin to move in some new grooves which are created not by the mind but created by consciousness, then you are in tapascharya – in austerity. It is arduous.
Gurdjieff had many exercises. One exercise was to sometimes deny the mechanism. You are hungry: just deny and let your body suffer. You be just calm and quiet, and remember that the body is hungry. Don’t suppress it; don’t force it not to be hungry. It is hungry. You know, but at the same time say to it, “I am not going to fulfill this hunger today. Be hungry, suffer. Now, today, I am not going to move in this supplied groove. I will remain aloof.”
Suddenly, if you can do this, you begin to feel a gap. The body is hungry, but somewhere there is a distance between you and it. If you try to occupy your mind then you have missed the point. If you go to the temple and begin to do kirtan and sing just to forget the hunger, then you have missed the point. Let the body be hungry. Don’t occupy your mind to escape from hunger. Remain hungry, but just tell the body, “Today I am not going to fall in the trap.” You remain hungry, you suffer.
There are persons who are doing fasts, but meaninglessly, because whenever they fast they try to occupy the mind so that the hunger should not be known and should not be felt. If the hunger is not felt, the whole point is missed. Then you are playing tricks. Let the hunger be there in its totality, in its intensity. Let it be there; don’t escape from it. Let the fact of it be there, present. Remain aloof and tell the body, “Today I am not going to give you anything.” There is neither conflict nor suppression nor any escape.
If you can do this, then suddenly you become aware of a gap. Your mind asks for something: for example, someone has become angry, he is angry with you, and the mind begins to react, to be angry. Just tell the mind, “I am not going to fall in the trap this time.” Be aloof. Let the anger be there in the mind, but be aloof. Don’t cooperate, don’t be identified, and you will feel that the anger is somewhere else. It surrounds you, but it is not in you, it doesn’t belong to you. It is just like smoke around you. It goes on, goes on, and waits for you to come and cooperate.