by George I.Gurdijeff
HOW CAN ONE AWAKEN? HOW CAN ONE ESCAPE THIS SLEEP?
These questions are the most important, the most vital that can ever confront a person.
But before this it is necessary to be convinced of the very fact of sleep. It is possible to become convinced of this only by trying to awaken.
When a person understands that they do not remember themselves and that to remember themselves means to awaken to some extent, and when at the same time they see by experience how difficult is to remember themselves, they will understand that they cannot awaken simply by having the desire to do so.
It can be said still more precisely that a person cannot awaken by themselves, except in exceptionally rare cases, and we are not talking about those cases.
But if, let’s say, twenty people make an agreement that which ever of them awakens first shall wake the rest, they already have some chance.
Even this, however, is insufficient, because all twenty can go to sleep at the same time and dream that they are waking up. Therefore, more still is necessary. They must be looked after by a person who is not asleep any more, or who does not fall asleep as easily as they do.
The twenty people must find such a person and hire them to wake them up and not allow them to fall asleep again. Without this, it is impossible to awaken. This is what must be understood.
It is possible to think for a thousand years. It is possible to write whole libraries of books, to create theories by the million, but all this is in sleep, without any possibility of awakening.
On the contrary, these books and these theories, written and created in sleep, will merely send other people to sleep, and so on.
There is nothing new in the idea of sleep. People have been told almost since creation of the world that they are asleep and that they must awaken.
Christ disciples even slept when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for the last time. It is all there. But do people understand it? People take it simply as a form of speech, as an expression, as a metaphor.
They completely fail to understand that it must be taken literally and again it is easy to understand why. In order to understand this idea literally it is necessary to awaken a little, or at least to try to awaken.
I have been asked why nothing is said about this kind of sleep in the Gospels. But it is there spoken of almost on every page. This simply shows that people read the Gospel in sleep.
Generally speaking, what is necessary to awaken a person? A good shock is necessary. But when a person is fast asleep, only one shock is not enough.
A long period of continual shocks is needed. Consequently, there must be somebody to administer these shocks.
I have said before that if a person wants to awaken he must hire somebody who will keep on shaking them for a long time. But whom can they hire if everyone is asleep? A person will hire somebody to wake them up but what happens if this one also falls asleep?
What is the use of such a person? A person who can really keep awake will probably refuse to waste their time in waking others up; they may have much more important work to do.
Artwork courtesy of and copyright by Daniel B. Holeman at Awaken Visions Galleries.