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
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: