"And remember, each situation has to become an opportunity to meditate. What is meditation? Becoming aware of what you are doing, becoming aware of what is happening to you.
"Somebody insults you: become aware. What is happening to you when the insult reaches you? Meditate over it; this is changing the whole gestalt. When somebody insults you, you concentrate on the person – "Why is he insulting me? Who does he think he is? How can I take revenge?" If he is very powerful you surrender, you start wagging your tail. If he is not very powerful and you see that he is weak, you pounce on him. But you forget yourself completely in all this; the other becomes the focus. This is missing an opportunity for meditation. When somebody insults you, meditate.
"Gurdjieff has said, 'When my father was dying. I was only nine. He called me close to his bed and whispered in my ear. "My son, I am not leaving much to you, not in worldly things, but I have one thing to tell you that was told to me by my father on his deathbed. It has helped me tremendously; it has been my treasure. You are not grown up yet, you may not understand what I am saying, but keep it, remember it. One day you will be grown up and then you may understand. This is a key: it unlocks the doors of great treasures.'
"Of course Gurdjieff could not understand it at that moment, but it was the thing that changed his whole life. And his father said a very simple thing. He said, 'Whenever somebody insults you, my son tell him you will meditate over it for twenty-four hours and then you will come and answer him.'
"Gurdjieff could not believe that this was such a great key. He could not believe that 'This is something so valuable that I have to remember it.' And we can forgive a young child of nine years of old. But because this was something said by his dying father who had loved him tremendously, and immediately after saying it he breathed his last, it became imprinted on him; he could not forget it. Whenever he remembered his father, he would remember the saying.
"Without truly understanding, he started practicing it. If somebody insulted him he would say, 'Sir for twenty-four hours I have to meditate over it – that's what my father told me. And he is here no more, and I cannot disobey a dead old man. He loved me tremendously, and I loved him tremendously, and there is no way to disobey him. You can disobey your father when he is alive, but when your father is dead how can you disobey him? So please forgive me, I will come back after twenty-four hours and answer you.' And he says. 'Meditating on it for twenty-four hours has given me the greatest insights into my being. Sometimes I found that the insult was right, that that's how I am. So I would go to the person and say, "Sir, thank you, you were right. It was not an insult, it was simply a statement of fact. You called me stupid: I am.'"
"'Or sometimes it happened that meditating for twenty-four hours, I would come to know that it was an absolute lie. But when something is a lie, why be offended by it? So I would not even go to tell him that it was a lie. A lie is a lie, why be bothered by it?'
"But watching, meditating, slowly slowly he became more and more aware of his reactions, rather than the actions of others."
The Book of Wisdom, Talk #5
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