Journey to Essence March 2010
The Doctrine of 'I's'
"We have no one permanent and unchangeable 'I' within ourselves...as we are. Our 'I's' change as quicklyas our thoughts, feelings and moods. We make a profound mistake in considering ourselves as one andthe same person when in reality we are different moment to moment; every thought, every mood,every desire says 'I'. In each case, whichever 'I' is speaking considers itself the whole or permanent 'I'.There is not an individual 'I'. Instead there are hundreds and thousands of separate little 'I's',«somehostile to each other, some in agreement with each other and many completely unknown to eachother."
² G. I. Gurdjieff ²
"If you do not observe what is taking place in your inner world, if you do not let, so to speak, a ray oflight, that is, conscious awareness, into your inner darkness by the practice of uncritical self-observation, you will never see anything real on which to begin the work of transforming yourconsciousness and changing your being. Only through the discipline of uncritical self-observation willyou catch sight of something definite to work upon. Everything else will be just so much pseudo-work,invented work, or imaginary work."
² Maurice Nicoll ²
or students of the
ourth Way who wish to transform themselves, these teachings clearly define thenature of the
alse Personality, so that for the sincere seeker what is essential in oneself can becomeaccessible.
ourth Way work and the sincere quest for self-knowledge in tandem with self-observation,inevitably bring us to the realization that we are not one, unchanging 'I'. This is also referred to as theabsence of unity in oneself.
When we first become aware of our
alse Personality, it is startling to see how this system could serveso obviously as a map of the internal workings of the machine. Through self-observation, one can verifythat the constant struggle for supremacy and control among the multiplicity of different 'I's' ispractically always by accidental and external forces.
As the body grows when provided with physical food, so Essence needs psychological food to grow. Thefirst psychological food that Essence needs for its further development is knowledge. Obtaining thisfood does not happen automatically. One must begin to awaken before this is possible. Through theprocess of awakening, one begins to feel one's "Self" less and less through the
alse Personality. Whenwe draw force, through non-identifying, from an 'I' or a group of 'I's', and if we understand why we aredoing it, the force is taken from
alse Personality and is then made available for the growth ofEssence. Self-observation is to make
alse Personality conscious to us, with all its 'I's', its attitudes,pictures, roles, etc.
All self-observation leads into the questions "What in me is Essence?" and "What is
alse Personality?"Self-observation reveals clearly and succinctly all of one's habits of attention and all the various acts,or as the Work calls it, our "mechanicality." In beginning
ourth Way Work, the student is instructed toobserve such things as "negative emotions", "identification", "self-love", "vanity", "self-will", "likes" and"dislikes", etc. Although there are classical descriptions of what these terms mean, in terms ofpersonal development, the many ways these various features work or operate within themselves often