“All that I can give you here is knowledge. You remember what I said about knowledge and being? To impart knowledge is one thing, but to bring about a change of being with the help of this knowledge is quite another thing. A change in the level of being can only be brought about by long effort and persistent struggle.”

“Struggle with what?”

“With mechanicalness and sleep,” Ouspensky answered; “with all that keeps us where we are. Realize that this is no ordinary sleep from which we suffer. It resembles much more closely induced, or hypnotic, sleep. We have to find out next what keeps us asleep and, having discovered this, to try to get rid of these causes. The most important of them all is some sort of identification.

“It is something that is easier to see in oneself than to define. Identification means merging with something so completely that we completely disappear into it–for the time being we entirely cease to exist and become only a part of the thing with which we are identified. A man can and does identify with anything: with an idea, with an unpleasant emotion, with a person or a situation, with everything and with anything. At one moment he may be–he may be conscious of his existence–and then suddenly his attention is attracted by something. He is sucked into it, and from that moment he ceases to exist. He is no longer a person but becomes the thing with which he is identified.

“Non-identifying has much in common with the non-attachment of the Buddhists. It is an effort to stand apart.

“See and feel the thing you are examining and aty the same time be aware of yourself seeing or feeling it. So long as you manage to do this, so long as you maintain the sense of ‘I,’ you will not disappear; you will continue to be–to exist.

“The only thing that is easy is to continue sleeping and the most difficult thing is to awake.”

“I think that I get most identified with people,” one said. “I’v discovered, since I began to observe myself, that I’m always wondering what they are thinking of me.”

“A very good observation indeed,” answered Ouspensky. “This form of identification is so important that we have a special word for describing it. It is called ‘considering.’ We consider people too much and by this I don’t mean that we show a regard for their feelings and welfare. It is the very reverse of this; we are entirely preoccupied with what they are thinking of us, whether they like us or dislike us, whether they are giving us our due or not, and whether we are creating a good impression on them. It is a form of inner servitude, a kind of inner bargaining, the cringing of a lackey before his master.

There is such a thing as real regard for other people’s needs. But we will not talk about this at present. To know what is best for another person requires much understanding, and to give him what he lacks and what will help him is a form of ‘doing.’ It requires much understanding and the exercise of will. But think about the various forms of identification which keep us asleep and make your own observations when you come next time.”

Advertisements