Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Self-remembering as an entry into nondual awareness.
(From "Views from the Real World"):
"Question: What is a higher state of being?
(Gurdjieff:) Answer: There are several states of consciousness:
1) sleep, in which our machine still functions but at very low pressure.
2) waking state, as we are at this moment. These two are all that the average man knows.
3) what is called self-consciousness. It is the moment when a man is aware both of himself and of his machine. We have it in flashes, but only in flashes. There are moments when you become aware not only of what you are doing but also of yourself doing it.
You see both 'I' and the 'here' of 'I am here'— both the anger and the 'I' that is angry. Call this self-remembering, if you like.
Now when you are fully and always aware of the 'I' and what it is doing and which 'I' it is—you become conscious of yourself. Self-consciousness is the third state."
From the above we can see that what Gurdjieff is actually pointing to is a state of consciousness (or a state of mind) in which we are aware of both (simultaneously) the apparent individual self (the machine, the constructed personality) and also one's state of being as nothing other than pure inclusive awareness. This awareness, which is our own natural state, MUST be attributeless- since there is nothing here other than awareness (pure "I"), which is normally completely fixated on the individual self (the machine), and the known world.
A stepping stone is often given, of having the 'practitioner' become aware of themselves throughout the day, performing an action- ie. a dual observation of both the action, and the "I" performing the action. However, this isn't the end goal (the "third state") mentioned above. In this scenario there is still a doing and a doer (although at least complete object-identification, which is our usual but abnormal state of mind, has been reduced).
The hope is that the realization will occur (naturally, and when it does), in which it is discovered that the action, the "I" performing the action, and everything observed is seen or known from another vantage point that is beyond the known (and the knower!), but which paradoxically, also includes both. This is none other than nondual awareness, or what Gurdjieff calls 'self-consciousness' above.