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"My first weeks at the Prieuré were weeks of real suffering. I was told to dig, and as I had had no real exercise for years I suffered so much physically that I would go back to my room, a sort of cell, and literally cry with fatigue. No one, not even Gurdjieff, came near me. I asked myself, “Is this what I have given up my whole life for? At least I had something then. Now what have I?” When I was in the very depths of despair, feeling that I could go on no longer, I vowed to make an extra effort, and just then something changed in me. Soon, I began to enjoy the hard labour, and a week later Gurdjieff came to me and said, “Now, Orage, I think you dig enough. Let us go to cafe and drink coffee.” From that moment things began to change. This was my first initiation. The former things had passed away’." (AR Orage talking to CS Nott)

~ CS Nott “The Teachings of Gurdjieff - A Pupil's Journey”



Questioner: I wanted to tell you also that the exercise on the sensations had showed me that I was living in imagination, because I notice that it is only when I experience something organically that it is real, but I am not able to concentrate enough on the picture of the image.

Gurdjieff: In general this is your weakness. It is not necessary to speak of it. It is already a subjective thing. Now if I explain something, you can understand. Before you could understand nothing. The first time you took offense. And if I say the same thing now you can understand.

Questioner: I tried to continue the exercise of division into two and, seeing that I could not succeed in it, I thought that this came about because the "I" in me was not strong enough. All my attention was moved to "I am" and, in effect, this has developed little by little a very much stronger sensation, that I had never had, of "I." In effect that this changed all values for me, that what I had understood theoretically up till now, I understand now in a different way and this has made me understand also many problems, which fixed in me especially the necessity for me, have ceased from this moment to play a role. But as during the vacation I was rather alone in the role that I had to play, I had to play it with my parents and above all my mother; there is where the difficulty arrived. I ascertained that I was completely incapable of playing a role, that it was impossible.

Gurdjieff: You have understood what it was to play a role; you have understood what value this has for you, you have tasted it? Bravo!

Questioner: Then, I strove further with the exercise of division. I tried to understand it and one day in passing before a mirror, I was very surprised to see that I saw myself as a stranger. I thought that I ought to make use of this evidence in order to do this exercise. After, in doing the exercise I saw myself as I had seen myself in the mirror; I have had only one cold picture, without life. I saw a body without life and I tried to establish relations with my real body. In trying to do it, it seemed to me that this gave me, in advance, a taste of what might be the division. I felt that one had to do this.

Gurdjieff: It is enough, you are born. Your individuality is born. Before you were like an animal without "I." Now you have an "I" and the properties of a man. This exercise has given you these. Before you had no individuality, you were the result of your body, like a dog, a cat or a camel. Now if you have horns, you can see them and be amazed at them. Before you could see nothing. You now have an individuality which you did not have.

[Addressing the others]: He has acquired an individuality. Before he had none. He was a piece of meat. He could have worked one thousand years, he would never have had any result. You are a comrade of Mme Franc. Both of you can become initiates at the first initiation. It is a little thing but it is a big thing, a guarantee of the future. I congratulate you also. For the first time in three years I am happy internally. I am happy about my efforts. Because this is not by chance, that here are already two.

[To the questioner]: You are now no longer betrothed, no longer, you are my younger brother.

~ George Gurdjieff "Paris/Wartime Meetings"



"From the moment it gets into the other river, the drop is in a different world, in a different life, and therefore is under different laws. In this second river a law exists for individual drops, the law of alternating progression. A drop comes to the top or goes to the bottom, this time not by accident but by law. On coming to the surface, the drop gradually becomes heavier and sinks; deep down it loses weight and rises again.

"To float on the surface is good for it—to be deep down is bad. Much depends here on skill and on effort. In this second river there are different currents and it is necessary to get into the required current. The drop must float on the surface as long as possible in order to prepare itself, to earn the possibility of passing into another current, and so on.

"But we are in the first river. As long as we are in this passive current it will carry us wherever it may; as long as we are passive we shall be pushed about and be at the mercy of every accident. We are the slaves of these accidents. At the same time Nature has given us the possibility of escaping from this slavery. Therefore when we talk about freedom we are talking precisely about crossing over into the other river."

~ George Gurdjieff "Views from the Real World"

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