Oksanen, Reijo

Self-remembering - an Email to a Friend


Self-remembering: you do not remember yourself, but you surely have short flashes of what it is. As my friend Malcolm said: "remember that you are only mechanical; whatever you do the machine immediately takes over".

It is impossible to accept the above statement - and again it only becomes possible when you see what is meant.

Daily life is used in the teachings of Gurdjieff to help us to become conscious of ourselves and to get to know ourselves.

A practical example:

I forget myself, i.e. do not remember myself, in the course of my day. Take heating by wood as an example of this:

It starts with getting the wood ordered from somewhere at least one year in advance. This is then delivered, perhaps one cubic meter a time, needs to be cut to size and chopped into various sizes. Then it has to dry; normally the wood we buy needs one year.

When the wood is dry it can be used for heating: it needs to be taken in the house, preferably in pleasant weather, so that it is also accessible in a snowstorm without the man getting thoroughly wet (conditions here at 800 m height can be quite violent).

Our wood storage is downstairs and we bring it up next to the oven to the first floor (the oven, by the way, is a Finnish Nunna-Uuni). It is usual that the oven needs to be tended fairly early in the morning and therefore it needs to be ready for the action: after a fire, when cold, it is cleaned, new paper, small pieces of wood and some three pieces for burning are put in place. The oven has a glass door, which is regularly cleaned using the ashes of previous fires.

There are some 10 different processes in this whole and it is possible for me to either remember each one at the right time or in the first case to forget all about it (I also often remember too late). Moreover, if I take the pieces of wood in my hands in the wrong way my hands are full of splinters; if I put the papers in the oven too loosely rolled or too tight, then they either burn too quickly or too slowly. After a good snowstorm I need to start the oven with a good explosive fire to clear the chimney; The openings in the chimney should not be closed too early or too late; the air intakes of the oven should be opened in the beginning and closed at the right time towards the end; I might burn my hands in the door if I am not attentive etc.

Making a fire is a good example for me about self-remembering and how I forget!

And it works as a "reminding factor".




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