“I’m glad to hear you say that, Your Honor,” the man replied with a sigh of relief. “Everybody else says it’s my fault.”
Nobody wants to recognize that he is responsible for the sorry state he is in. You always try to find some excuse. Any excuse will do; if you cannot find one, you can always invent. But you never feel responsible.
The beginning of a religious life is: total responsibility for yourself. Whatsoever you are, you are responsible and nobody else. And your life is a mess.
Have you heard about the Polack who tried to throw himself on the floor…and missed?
Your whole life is a failure – whatsoever you do, even throwing yourself on the floor – the reason is that you are not conscious at all, not aware at all. You are living in such unconsciousness, you are almost a machine.
Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, “You are not men, you are machines.” And people used to feel very offended; nobody likes the idea that he is a machine. “I and a machine? Me – a machine? Others maybe!” But Gurdjieff was saying something very essential: man is a machine. Everybody else can see it; everybody else can see it about you – except you. But that is not going to help unless you see it.
There were three travelers – a Jew, a Hindu and an Italian – who needed a place to stay overnight. They knocked on a farmer’s door. The farmer said he only had room for two in the house, but one could sleep in the barn. The Jew said he would sleep in the barn.
They all settled down for the night. A little while later there was a knock on the door. The farmer answered it; it was the Jew. He apologized, but said there was a pig in the barn and as pigs were not kosher he could not spend the night in the same place as them. The Hindu said he would sleep in the barn as pigs did not bother him.
Again the farmer went back to bed. A little while later there was a knock at the door; it was the Hindu. He apologized and said he was sorry, but there was a cow in the barn and as cows were sacred animals it was not proper for him to sleep in the same place as them. So the Italian offered to sleep in the barn as he had no problem with cows or pigs.
Again the farmer went to bed, but a little while later there was a knock at the door. The tired farmer got up and answered it. There stood the cow and the pig!