MARCH 11 — GEORGE GURDJIEFF QUOTES
‘WHY DO YOU COME TO ME? IS YOUR LIFE SO UNBEARABLE?’
Then our time together in St Petersburg came to an end. Early in the Revolution Gurdjieff left the city and we all went to South Russia. Here many people came to us, because they had heard about the teaching of Gurdjieff and wanted to become his pupils. Many were turned away. To each newcomer Gurdjieff would put the question, ‘Why do you come to me? Is your life so unbearable?’— just as he had put it to me at our first meeting — and only those who truly felt that they could not endure life without joining us in the search for new knowledge were allowed to stay.
~ Anna Butkowsky "With Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg and Paris"
EVERYTHING WORKS—HEAD, FEELING, EXCEPT THAT WHICH MUST
Questioner: I understand well the struggle against the negative emotions but what troubles me the most is a very light side of my character which jokes even about my very misery. This prevents in me remorse and pity. How can I get rid of it?
Gurdjieff: This proves that you do not know what you are looking for. You interest yourself in these questions without partaking of your instinct. You have said it very well. I understand why you do not advance. I know the secret of why you stamp on the spot, one, two, one, two; up to now, your instinct was isolated. It never took part in your work. I shall give you a series of exercises. But you have understood what I explained. You have felt that your interior is never interested in these things for which we are working. Something in you remains apart, it looks. Another part in you does something else—you work without instinct. Everything works—head, feeling, except that which must. It has never done anything to change.
~ George Gurdjieff "Paris/Wartime Meetings"
THE ATTITUDE OF OTHERS TOWARD US DEPENDS ON US
To study the second or associative kind of influence is easier in practice. For instance, take influence through form. Either you or I influence the other. But form is external: movements, clothes, cleanliness or otherwise—what is generally called the "mask." If you understand, you can easily change it. For example, he likes you in black and, through that, you can influence him. Or she can influence you. But do you wish to change your dress only for him or for many? Some want to do it only for him, others not. Sometimes a compromise is necessary. Never take anything literally. I say this only as an example. As regards the second kind of associative influence, what we have called feeling and relationship, we should know that the attitude of others toward us depends on us. In order to live intelligently, it is very important to understand that the responsibility for almost every good or bad feeling lies in you, in your outer and inner attitude. The attitude of other people often reflects your own attitude: you begin and the other person does the same. You love, she loves. You are cross, she is cross. It is a law—you receive what you give.
~ George Gurdjieff "Views from the Real World"
IF OTHERS DO WHAT I DO, THEY COULD KILL
The creation of right conditions depends upon the strength and wisdom of the one who undertakes it. I was increasingly aware of the limits of my strength, and even more of my wisdom. I could never dare to take the risk with the inner world of others that Gurdjieff was prepared to take. I remembered how once he had behaved in a particularly outrageous manner towards a dignified lady at his table, and had turned to me and said: "You not astonished that I have such impudence?" I said: "No, I am not, because you know what you are doing." He said: "Yes. That is science. I have science of man and human psyche. That is why can do what others cannot. If others do what I do, they could kill. Even I sometimes make mistakes: but then I can repair."
~ JG Bennett “Witness”