Beloved, I charge you in the presence of God and of Jesus Christ: ... Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; … encourage one another through all patience and Work. For the time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted … But you, be self-observant in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the Work; fulfill your destiny.
- 2 Timothy 4:14
Aim: Formulation of a means of realizing a wish,
and thus a spur to work on oneself. "Big aim" points
to what is currently seen as the ultimate goal;
smaller aims keep the required efforts on track.
- Beryl Pogson, Brighton Work Talks
We continue our exploration and study of humanity with its great spectrum of manifestations from a sleeping multiplicity to an unfinished house with many levels and rooms and hidden treasures to the awakened Divine Indwelling of Real Iand beyond. The adventure of a lifetime begins when we consciously make a Big Aim to be a fully awake, conscious, human being. It is then that we set out on the inward journey – a journey into God and all Reality.
Aim: A Point in the Work
"From the point of view of the Work we are not what we are or have been: we are what we want. You are not only your understanding but what you want. As your understanding grows, so your idea of what you want grows. To begin, it is a muddle, with different I's wanting different things, and you cannot see what it is you really want. But after a time you begin to see that here are two things, two different 'wants' in you. Then friction develops between these two things, and out of this something new can grow."
- Beryl Pogson, The Work Life
"This personal work of self-observation is for all one's life. Out of it comes the dawning of Real Aim which is in its greatest formulation is the desire to awaken. … Then people find, specifically, what particular features in themselves keep them identified with themselves and so prevent any awakening from taking place. Then they can begin to see where their aim really lies. "
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Commentary on Aim," December 13, 1947, Vol. 3, p. 1098
There is payment
"I want to talk about this question of payment. You get help through paying, through sacrificing something. … In ordinary life you pay afterwards. …. All processes are said in the Work to be a reflection of the invisible world. So buying and selling is a reflection of what happens psychologically. That is why you have the term used in the parables: a man goes and sells everything he has to order to buy the field. In the Work we pay gradually. What is paying? We have to give energy and attention. Dr. Nicoll always said that effort was our money. We need energy to buy the field.
Payment in the Work
Sacrificing our suffering;
Making the effort of self-observation;
Giving up grievances;
Giving up blaming;
Giving up the pleasure of wrong imagination about oneself;
Giving up feeling frustrated;
Giving up habits;
Living with myself, once I know what I am like … We have to pay in self-observation, because we are gradually stripped of illusions about ourselves. …"
- Beryl Pogson, The Work Life
"It is obvious that many obstacles lie in the way of achieving this long-term objective. To avoid becoming identified with these difficulties, closer goals are set, enabling us to clear the first low hurdles along the path. … Watching for the next milestone should not be so absorbing that we forget our big aim. … As few of us are perfect, we will need to devise a personal, internal, alarm mechanism which, when triggered by certain predictable events, will remind us why we wish to reach our ultimate destination. Before we are able to formulate practical aims we need to know a good deal about ourselves, our position in the world, our level of Being. Otherwise, they will be what Ouspensky calls 'imaginary aims.' … Gurdjieff also says … that everything that helps him awaken is good and everything that hinders this aim, prolongs his sleep, is evil."
- Beryl Pogson, Brighton Work Talks
To Live in the Presence of the Work
There are life aims and Work aims. Life aims are many and varied. Work aims are all in the service of awakening, being conscious at the level of Real I and beyond. Both kinds of aims entail putting oneself under more laws to achieve them: sacrifices and payments are required; temptations arise; choices will have to be made; old influences discarded. Here are some practical ways to hold ourselves in place on the path to our Big Aim:
Putting ourselves under the protection of a small aim at the beginning of the day, asking, "How does this small aim connect to my Big Aim?"
Holding ourselves accountable to Work Partners and Journey Groups.
Visualizing a "future memory" of a state we wish to be in while in the midst of – or after – a situation, especially one that that represents a potential hazard to our state of being.
Practicing "creative expectancy" (Teilhard de Chardin) with regard to one's small aims.
Lifting ourselves energetically from the daily news, remembering the vista of Big Aim.
Remembering we can still do the same job, have the same pleasures … the same gifts, the same faculties – but have them in the presence of the Work (Beryl Pogson).
"How can a power which is pure Love be expected to hear a voice that just 'wants' or 'would like' something? Wish is the ultimate expression of prayer. The Work tells us it is the most powerful force in the world. Through wish, vibrations are created which increase the function of our centers to their highest efficiency. But first, let us be clear, 'I wish' is not 'I want.' In our usual state, wants come only from personality, from the part that either likes or dislikes, the part that is filled with duality and contradictions. 'It' wants one thing one minute and something else the next. Wish is on a much higher level – I would almost say on a cosmic level on which higher forces work of which we have no concept. They can act on essence. Mr. Gurdjieff tells us that even the Absolute will reach our essence at times. A Real Wish originates in our essence. …
"My prayer, my wish, must come from a deep inner need, from a humility which normally is alien to me. It is the motive in asking that counts. If my prayer is granted, it appears to be a miracle to me. But a 'miracle' is only the manifestation of higher forces coming down from a different, higher plane which operates under different and fewer laws. This the explanation of miracles. …
"I was once told, 'Say your prayers out loud, have them reverberating through your whole being. Ask with every part of you, and each time you ask you must ask the higher powers three times. Repeat it day after day. The answer will then come, not in your time, but in God's time. It may come in a totally unexpected form, and you must have the inner sensitivity to hear and see it.'
"Remember, you have to go on even when you think you are not heard. Help is available. If we ask for help, we instinctively look up, implying that the forces enter from above. But I must also turn inward. Two higher centers, the Higher Emotional and Higher Mental, are inside of us. … We are born with them. They are in us from birth, working 24 hours a day, always ready, only we are not in contact with them. They can be reached through your emotional center. My task therefore is to develop, to refine this center. Then the Higher Centers will guide me. …
"I usually say my prayers in the sitting position of my morning exercise, but sometimes I have the overwhelming urge to prostrate myself on the floor. I seem to sense my nothingness in those moments. I am aware of the forces radiating from above. Humbly I prepare myself to meet them."
- John Fuchs, Forty Years After Gurdjieff
"Q: What prayers are useful?
"A: Ask to be the servant of the Lord, a vehicle of divine love, a channel of God's will. Ask for direction and divine assistance and surrender all personal will though devotion. Dedicate one's life to the service of God. Choose love and peace above all other options. Commit to the goal of unconditional love and compassion for all life in all its expression and surrender all judgment to God."
- David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., The Eye of The I
O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.
- Psalm 70:2
Homework–Examen and Work
Ask: Where does this message come to meet me? What Work idea can I practically apply today? Choose one or more of the payments or practical points and apply it to your life. Pray for yourself, your Work companions, our Work on behalf of all humanity. Reveal your Work in the Thursday night class, in your Journey Group, to your Work Partner, if you have one.
All are encouraged and welcome to attend tonight's class for a review of these teachings and how they are landing in you: 7pm Central Time via Zoom only.