But a little effort, and by and by you can be aware of both simultaneously. And when you become capable of being aware of both, this Gurdjieff calls self-remembering. This is one of the oldest techniques that Buddha used, and Gurdjieff again introduced it to the western world.
Buddha called is samyak smriti – right-mindfulness. He said that your mind is not in a right-mindfulness if it knows only one point. It must know both. And then a miracle happen: if you are aware of both the known and the knower, suddenly you become the third – you are neither. Just by endeavoring to be aware of both the known and the knower, you become the third, you become a witness. A third possibility arises immediately – a witnessing self comes into being – because how can you know both? If you are the knower, then you remain fixed to one point. In self-remembering you shift from the fixed point of the knower. Then the knower is your mind and the known is the world, and you become a third point, a consciousness, a witnessing self.
This third point cannot be transcended, and that which cannot be transcended is the ultimate. That which can be transcended is not worthwhile, because then it is not your nature – you can transcend it.
I will try to explain it through an example. In the night you sleep and you dream. In the morning you wake and the dream is lost. While you are awake there is no dream; a different world comes into your view. You move in the streets, you work in a factory or in an office. Then you come back to your home, and again you fall asleep at night. Then this world that you knew while you were awake disappears. Then you don’t remember who you are. Then you don’t know whether you are black or white, poor or rich, wise or foolish. You don’t know anything. You don’t know if you are young or old. You don’t know if you are man or woman. All that was related with the waking consciousness disappears; you enter the world of dreams. You forget the waking world; it is no more. In the morning, again the dreaming world disappears. You come back.
Which is real? – because while you are dreaming, the real world, the world that you knew when you were awake, is no more. You cannot compare. And while you are awake, the dreaming world is no more. You cannot compare. Which is real? Why do you call the dreaming world unreal? What is the criterion?
If you say, “Because it disappears when I am awake,” this cannot be the criterion, because your waking world disappears when you are dreaming. And really, if you argue this way, then the dreaming world may be more real, because while you are awake you can remember the dream, but while you are dreaming you cannot remember the waking consciousness and the world around it. So which is more real and more deep? The dreaming world completely washes away the world that you call real. Your real world cannot wash away the dreaming world so totally; it seems more solid, more real. And what is the criterion? How to say? How to compare?