“I have an aim to be present when opening doors. I’ve just opened a door and walked through the doorway. Was it presence when my hand was on the door handle? If I wasn’t or I’m not sure, then who or what is it that opens a door and walks through?”
An experienced Fourth Way practitioner might calmly reply, well, ‘the machine’ or nobody opened the door. However, what is important is the question, not the answer.
If am not present in such an ordinary moment, what of the other moments of my life? And what of other people? This simple realization leads us to a shocking conclusion. We live in a world of people who are not aware of themselves, even in common moments. How do we manage to do our shopping, talk with friends, or prepare meals? Who is doing it? How is it possible that society, business, and governments can function when they are directed by people who are not aware of themselves? It implies that we inhabit a kind of ghost world filled with automatons.
While we tacitly assume that we and others are aware of ourselves, self-observation and small aims readily demonstrate that it is not so.
Rilke writes, “Is it possible that in spite of inventions and progress, in spite of culture, religion, and worldly wisdom, that one has remained on the surface of life?”
For more on this and related topics to work on oneself, in the Fourth Way tradition, see the Facebook community page, Gurdjieff Ouspensky Self-Observation hosted by David: