Uncomfortable Posture from Gurdjieff’s “Views from the Real World,” pages 167 & 231(sb)/239-241(hb)

Uncomfortable Posture

from Gurdjieff’s “Views from the Real World,” pages 167 & 231(sb)/239-241(hb)

page 167:

You ask about the aim of the movements. To each position of the body corresponds a certain inner state and, on the other hand, to each inner state corresponds a certain posture. A man, in his life, has a certain number of habitual postures and he passes from one to another without stopping at those between.

Taking new, unaccustomed postures enables you to observe yourself inside differently from the way you usually do in ordinary conditions. This becomes especially clear when on the command “Stop!” you have to freeze at once. At this command you have to freeze not only externally but also to stop all your inner movements. Muscles that were tense must remain in the same state of tension, and the muscles that were relaxed must remain relaxed. You must make the effort to keep thoughts and feelings as they were, and at the same time to observe yourself.

For instance, you wish to become an actress. Your habitual postures are suited to acting a certain part–for instance, a maid–yet you have to act the part of a countess. A countess has quite different postures.

pages 231/239-241(hb):

The time will come when we shall endeavor to shut off artificially one, or two, or several [inner states] together, to learn their real nature.

At present we must have an idea of two different experi-ences, one of which we shall agree to call “feeling” and the other “sensation.” We shall call “feeling” the one whose place of origin is what we call the emotional center; while “sensations” are those so-called feelings whose place of origin is in what we call the moving center. Now, of course, each one must understand and examine his sensations and feelings and learn approximately the difference between them.

For primary exercises in self-remembering the participation of all three centers is necessary, and we began to speak of the difference between feelings and sensations because it is necessary to have simultaneously both feeling and sensation.

We can come to this exercise only with the participation of thought. The first thing is thought. We already know this. We desire, we wish; therefore our thoughts can be more or less easily adapted to this work, because we have already had practical experience of them.

At the beginning all three need to be evoked artificially. In the case of our thoughts the means of artificially evoking them is conversations, lectures and so on. For example, if nothing is said, nothing is evoked. Readings, talks have served as an artificial shock. I call it artificial because I was not born with these desires, they are not natural, they are not an organic necessity. These desires are artificial and their consequences will be equally artificial.
And if thoughts are artificial, then I can create in myself for this purpose sensations which are also artificial.



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