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INNER CONTRADICTIONS

It is said in the Work that if a man or a woman throughout the whole of their lives were to feel all the contradictions that are within them, they could not live and act as calmly as they live and act now. They would have continued friction and unrest. One of the problems of mankind in general, and perhaps particularly of modern mankind, is that contradictions are not realized. As a result, human psychology remains at a low state of development. A man's being, a woman's being, cannot change beyond a certain point, unless contradictions are seen. To change your being you have to begin to realize contradictions in yourself by direct, uncritical self-observation. Or, to put it the other way round, when you begin to see contradictions, your being is altering, perhaps owing to another line of work. The Work shows us that our present level of being is kept where it is by very powerful factors. I mention to-night only pictures and buffers. Pictures of ourselves prevent us from seeing what we are like. To take one common enough sort of picture—you have, let us say, a picture of yourself being kind, just, self-sacrificing and full of good will. You live, or rather float, in this rainbow-picture, in this illusion. You do not realize that you are often cruel, selfish, unjust and sometimes full of evil will. That is, you do not see contradictions in your being. Now in such cases you do not see your evil but project it on to others. That is, what you do not see in yourself you see reflected in the other person. Until you accept your evil you will remain floating in this absurd and romantic illusion —in this picture of yourself which has nothing to do with truth and is, in short, composed of imagination and lies. In this state, a man's being is prevented from development by this contradictory situation in him. Now only truth can lead us into the light and only the light coming from realized, accepted truth can cure us. Lies only make us more distorted in our being, more disharmonious, and internally more ugly. Certainly we should, after some years' work on being, practically cease to have any active pictures of ourselves—I say, we should. If so, it means a corresponding development of being. But when we come to buffers the matter is more difficult. A buffer is a silent thing, comparable to a little wall intervening between two contradictory things, both of which we can be conscious of, but only one at a time, not simultaneously. By the action of a buffer, a person is now conscious in what lies on one side of the buffer and then very swiftly and smoothly is conveyed to the other side of the buffer without any shock—that is, without any sense of contradiction. Yet these two sides, if brought together suddenly, would appear so wholly contradictory that a violent shock would result. So the Work says that if a man or woman were continually to feel all the contradictions that are within them, they could not act or live as calmly as they do. Actually the sudden removal of all buffers, if it were possible, would drive a person mad. He would lose all idea of himself. Now I advise you not to waste too much time on discussing exactly what a buffer is. It is too easy to get so identified with a word that one cannot look beyond it to where it is pointing. Words—Work-words —are sign-posts. The Work-term buffer points to the whole question of contradictions in us—that is, to what is in consciousness at a given moment and what is in the dark and opposite in sense and

At the same time this would be necessarily accompanied by an alteration in our feeling of 'I'. I would say. into a side which for the moment is in consciousness. Let no one who is content with himself or herself ever try to enter into this Work. a duality divided into an accepted side and an unaccepted side. and wish to know how to change. If you reflect for a moment you will see the reason why this would inevitably follow. it is useless to attempt to connect yourself with this Work. work on oneself in order to change oneself by realizing contradictions in being. an enlargement. If being changes. as it were. Therefore I become another person and begin no longer to recognize myself as I was. Such people are already dead.meaning to what is in consciousness. which is a duality. which is the aim of the Work. Instead of being conscious on one side and then on another side. This Work is for those who wish to awaken from the dead. of consciousness. when a contradiction due to a buffer disappears and both sides are accepted simultaneously a real change of being takes place. would result evidently from bringing the dark into the light. two sides come together and form a unity. or rather. into a light and dark side. What we call 'I' —our idea of 'I'—would change. Now it is said that whenever a buffer is seen it can never re-form—that is. and then into an opposite side in which the side that was in darkness now comes into consciousness and the side that was in consciousness now comes into darkness. the feeling of 'I'—of what I am —the idea of myself—changes. Remember that this Work is to change you and unless you see that you should change. the other side being in darkness. Now an increase. Contradictions keep our being where it is. Realizing contradictions through inner work changes being. A third thing is made which is not Yes or No but Yes and No. . A buffer is what prevents contradictions from being seen and merely points the way to this great branch of personal work—that is. But in that case neither one side nor the other remains the same. This is one of the first steps towards unity of being because our being at present is.