It is said about George Gurdjieff…To explain to his disciples, he developed a certain technique. He could laugh with half of his face, and at the same time he could be sad with the other half. It is very difficult, I don’t know how he managed it. But he had lived with very ancient tribes in Turkestan, in the Soviet Union’s very backward parts where people are still as primitive as you can conceive. His father died early so he had to live with first one tribe, then another tribe. He was only nine years old but he started learning – because those tribes steal, play music, do magic, heal people. They are moving people; they don’t have houses, stability. They enjoy traveling, they are vagabonds.
But he turned this into a great opportunity to learn all their tricks. One of their tricks was that they could manage to divide their face in two. And while teaching his students, once in a while he would do that trick. Somebody is sitting by his right side and somebody on his left side; and on one side he will look very angry, and on the other side very loving and peaceful. And they both report to each other what is going on. One says that he is very loving and very peaceful. The other says, “Peaceful? He looks very dangerous, violent, murderous. He looked at me with an eye that I am not going to forget for months.”
When it was reported to him, Gurdjieff would say, “This is what I want you to understand: modern man has many faces.”
You should watch. When you meet your wife and you say, “Darling,” do you really mean it? “My sweetheart” – do you really mean it? When you are saying those words, are you remembering some other woman? Unfortunately, you have to say these words to the woman whom you want to kill. But you are not that courageous either. When you see your servant, have you the same face as when you see your boss? Just watch the changes in your face. You are not a single unity, integrated.
Whether clouds come and go, whether clouds are white or black, does not matter. The moon remains shining the same. The clouds come and go, they don’t leave any scratches on the moon. But every cloud – that means every mask that you wear – leaves its marks on you.
So I have seen people laughing, but I see that they are almost at the point of weeping. They are hiding their tears behind a fake smile. And people are doing the opposite also.
I used to live with one of my relatives. A faraway relative of my relative had come for treatment of his wife. The wife died, and naturally my relatives had to show all kinds of mourning. They were really not at all concerned with it. In fact they were happy that she was gone because, with her, the whole family was suffering unnecessarily. The moment she died her husband went back to his city, but people used to come to the house. It was just a conformity, a social pattern, to show your sympathy. So the woman of the house was in a trouble, because when you don’t have any tears…it is very difficult. And each day it might happen ten times.
I used to stay out in the garden. She told me, “Keep a bell here with you.”
I said, “For what?”
She said, “Whenever somebody comes, you just ring the bell. Then I will pull down my ghunghat and start crying. It will be false, but what else to do?”