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"It is terrible to suddenly realize that one has been living without a thought that is independent- a thought of one's own - living without intelligence, without something that sees what is real, and therefore without any relation to the world Above."

— Jeanne de Salzmann



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The question of Will can be formulated thusly: can man become an independent source of initiative?

The study of Will is a huge undertaking and to even begin to touch on some of the aspects of it, necessitates a wide-ranging re-examination of the Work knowledge on the subject. For this brief paper we will try to limit the field to the more practical aspects, and leave out the cosmic aspects except where it seems impossible to otherwise explain the practical. More specifically, the results of research seem to indicate, and we will attempt to correlate, a close connection between Will, Centers, and the Ray of Creation.

Now, magnetic center causes some higher “I’s” in us to awaken enough to start the study of The Work. In the beginning, attracted attention seems to fuel the work on knowledge, and to some degree this study of Work knowledge is also work on Being. But at a certain point, one’s machine seems to realize it’s danger, and a more practical work on Being must begin, as a way of developing Will.

First and indeed, always comes self-observation. But these initial self-observations after a time, quite possibly a long time, lead one to develop a more personal and conscious aim. Until this time, aim is more general, simply to hear what the Work teaches and to do what the Work says, which, by the way, is more along the lines of not doing, what the work says not to do. Now, if a person really makes efforts along these lines, a person will catch sight of something or somethings in oneself clearly and beyond doubt. You will probably be startled at what you discover about yourself because it won’t be very flattering to the self-image one previously held. At this point, a person can formulate a personal aim for work on oneself. Now remember, one must first be making conscious efforts on what the Work teaches, also one’s teacher will give one more specific personal work, usually in the form of hints and suggestions. The making of a personal aim brings in the third leg of the triad. This is often called “a point in the work”, when a man begins to judge himself, albeit uncritically, like a scientist judges the results of his experiments.

Some suggestions of personal aim are; 1) efforts against mechanicalness (habits) and 2) efforts against wrong talking such as negative talking, scandal, gossip, etc. which are all forms of lying. There are many other personal aims one can make, but it is important to make these aims both small and specific. When once asked by a student what he should do, Gurdjieff replied “put down toilet seat!” A small thing, perhaps, but this act of remembering one’s aim is difficult and if remembered, over time, develops the Will, like lifting weights develops muscles. Some other examples of personal aims are; 3) notice what you regard as a nuisance and make your self passive to it for a time, 4) observe your boredom and tendency to speak of life as dreary, 5) when you have just criticized someone, go over what you said carefully and apply it to yourself.

Remember, in regard to making aim about negative emotions, that emotions are much quicker than thoughts. One may not be able to check them at first, but you can remember them afterwards and realize what has happened. Don’t make aims when in a negative state, a man in a negative state mechanically thinks lies.

By keeping our Work aims, one creates Will. And here is one of those ‘funny’ things in the Work, when one hear two apparently contradictory statements. This is just a result of formatory (mechanical) thinking. The work of reconciling two apparently contradictory statements is one’s own work. Although the Work says keeping one’s Work aim creates Will, the Work also gives the following definition of Will:

“Will consists of feeling finer influences reaching us from a higher level as forces coming down the Ray of Creation.” What one must see is that the Ray of Creation exists inside of oneself. However Will only reaches the 3rd state of consciousness. So, to connect with this Will that already exists in you, one must, by making conscious efforts on personal aim, change locations in one’s centers.

Now, Will is a function of the emotional center, although, in the mechanical parts, only self-will exists. So over time, as one makes the required efforts, one’s center of gravity in the centers changes location. As one spends more and more time outside of the mechanical parts of centers, one gets more and more tastes of Will. At this point the centers start working more cleanly and eventually the emotional center begins working at its normal speed and a more complete connection with Will occurs.

The following diagram shows the connections between the different qualities of Will as it exists in the Ray of Creation and how it connects up with the centers, and also how it corresponds to change of Being: