We are not free until we are aware of ourselves acting automatically, until we see how patterned and predictable we are. This enacted automatism is like clanging around in a suit of armour.
Gurdjieff had the view that humanity exists in a near-perpetual state of sleep. “Man lives his life in sleep, and in sleep he dies.” On the evidence—climate change, consumerism, ceaseless warring and the wanton destruction of the planet—the Russian mystic wasn’t wrong.
It begins with the realization that I’m not myself, that I’m stuffed into a girdle of tics, persuasions, judgements, beliefs and behaviours, and that this mess of quarrelling propensities is driving the bus.
Emotions begin as thoughts in the head. These mind forms are discharged into the body where they reconstitute as feelings. These feelings then move ‘back upstairs’ to inflate and validate the thoughts that conceived them. Then you hear: “Let me tell you what she did to me.”
First things first: We cannot use the mind to solve a problem the mind has created. Same principle expressed differently: A problem cannot be solved using the same consciousness that created the problem.