Always thought I needed a lot of help to be the best me I can be. And I do. Nevertheless I recently discovered that I don’t have to wait around for help like a waif hoping grace will descend from above—the relationship between I and Thou is a partnership, not a one-sided call for help.
That means that if I want to be truly myself, to experience myself as a whole Being and act in the world at my very best, something is up to me. As Gurdjieff has explained so clearly, our job is not to be different from whoever we are, but to create conditions so that our best will be asked of us—perhaps by the job to be done, by the person we are with, or by the universe itself. In other words, I set up a situation in which I put myself into a small frying pan and light a small fire under it.
Planning is necessary. The sly man is called upon here to think out how to make demands on my best self. Because I know my weaknesses, I can lay traps to neutralize the tendency to give up or make excuses for not carrying through. Or I commit to something that has a finish date my good opinion of myself can’t refuse to carry out.
A central aspect of creating conditions is self-knowledge. The more we know about ourselves the easier it is to create conditions. Once the fire is lit and the witness is alerted, it’s up to our pride or self-image or honesty or whatever commits us to do an honest job as we meet what we’ve challenged ourselves with. Now all the different aspects of ourselves come into in play, as the energies of Heaven and Earth, above and below, light and dark, come together in us.
Here are a few ways I’ve tried that might work for you, too.
You are as resistant to cleaning out your closets as I am. So you light a candle, find Mozart on youtube, and start out with one shelf or begin by taking a few clothes off the rack to scan. Stay alert for moths and carpet beetles.
You have a deadline on a job that has been lying in wait for quite a while. Think of something you very much want to do with a friend—you might even get tickets to a show. Then tell your friend you will call as soon as you are finished, so you can meet.
The trick, if you want the energy of the universe on your side, is to plan your self-challenges with Intelligence rather than intellect because that’s what brings heart and mind together. Beware forcing. Move forward with intelligence, connecting mind to gesture, movement to mind.. Wanting, yearning or even stalwart willing to break through the resistance isn’t going to work because they are too one-sided. They are emotional and it takes all three aspects of yourself—head, heart and body—to in a partnership with the Other.