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Excerpt from: The Path to Our Essence: Practical Spirituality for our Time

You Have To Be Quicker Than Your Own Mind

by Selim Aissel

When you see yourself analysing or negatively judging what you observe in yourself, whether it’s a thought, emotion, or attitude, be more clever than the one who is judging or analysing. Step back into the observer; observe the judge and don’t judge him. The judge becomes the object of your observation. Remember to make every disturbing element the object of your observation; in this way, the observer goes more deeply into observation each time, whereas if you see what comes as an obstacle to observation, it becomes one.

What is more, this is easy; it’s always the same mechanism that is observed, but compared to it, there is the grandeur of the observer that each time steps backward. Nothing can touch it. Observe, for example, the “I’m a wretched observer”; otherwise you’re taken in by the tricks of the mind that foil you every time. Each time, observe what is trying to trick you, with the knowledge that each time you observe, it is going to try to trick you. You have to be quicker than your own mind. It’s a tough game, and for a long time you’re going to lose.

It’s like a game of chess: when you move the first piece, a real chess master already knows exactly how he is going to beat you. Afterward he has to wait longer, and the number of possible combinations decreases. Your mind is a master; he’s going to beat you every time, for a long time. Unless you observe how he beats you, and one day you’ll know his ten thousand ways of beating you. Then there is you and him, and you can use your mind because you know everything he does. With one advantage for you: you are more than he is, you have a soul, a spirit, while he is just a mind.

Your mind is like a chess master; you’ve got to learn his game, and you can only learn it because he puts you in check. Each thought that comes is a new trick of the mind that is trying to carry you elsewhere; but one day the observer is as strong as the mind, both of them watch the game, and you can use your mind, you know what he is going to do, you’ve become quicker than him. Then you’re the one who decides.

The more you are in the observer, the less importance the object you observe has. When you are in the state of the observer, which is not the state of the dreamer, you observe what you decide to observe and are awake to the rest; otherwise this state of concentration leads to emptiness, but to a hollow emptiness. True emptiness is the emptiness of the observer who is detached from the mechanism and capable of taking in everything. Thoughts come and go in your emptiness, and it remains empty because nothing remains attached to it. The observer sees everything, it remains tranquil, there are no negative emotions. Everything is handled rightly. Things pass, the observer can take them seriously or lightly, it is identified with nothing. Judgment belongs to the world of things that pass.

True silence is what can welcome any sound. Immobility is what can welcome any movement, and the movement is always just. Observe by stepping back further and further, or like in Charlie Chaplin’s films, by each time climbing up one more story. In the assembly line down below, there’s bustle and commotion. On the story above, men are drawing the plans. One more story above, the big boss, the one who says what’s going to be done with the plans, is leaning back on a comfortable couch, leisurely smoking a big cigar and watching all this commotion on a television screen.

The work of observation I propose allows you to climb up a story each time. The commotion is going on, but as for you, you watch it. Sometimes the mechanism is already too strongly in motion and you’re not able to enter into the Work; but sometimes you’re quicker than it is. Then a space of freedom opens for you; you know what’s going to happen next, so no need to play it all over again.

Selim Aissel is the founder of the School of Psychoanthropology, located in France, which offers a living teaching, the most important sources of which are the contributions of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff as well as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Taoist esotericism.

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Author’s site: School of Psychoanthropology, www.epag.org

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