June 2021 Lessons – A Student’s Perspective

There are days in which self-remembering is a thought’s reach away, and others in which no amount of focus can overcome the inertia of sleep. Days pass until I come back to my senses and realize all too desperately that I have been engaging people and working mechanically, as if another me has been doing all of these things without any necessity for my presence. It is a constant struggle, yet one which can be struggled against more efficiently if one can break down the inertia into smaller components.

This last month we were encouraged to observe our mechanical momentums, one week given to our moving and the other to our instinctive center. Although I confess starting the exercise simply because it was given by the teacher, after a few days I began to understand why it was given, and what it encouraged me to see.

At any free moment during the day, whether I was waiting for an email to be sent, the coffee water to boil, or a colleague to reply, I would reach for my phone and open up Instagram or Facebook. I was taken aback at how effortlessly and unconsciously the motion would happen, and how I had never noticed its prevalence before. By the time I would wake up to what I was doing, I was already scrolling through people’s posts, irrelevant if I had already seen them. Seeing something new wasn’t the goal. It was to kill time, to fill in the blank moments. This is a good alarm I thought to myself and tried catching it as soon as it would start. At times it worked and at other times it didn’t. But if you push against a mechanism, it begins pushing back, and soon my psychology adapted to the point where the alarm did not work at all. On the last day, I could not stop it, only watch it play itself out.

A picture is a moment captured in time and nothing more. In that respect, a decision is like a picture. ‘I will not reach for my phone’ lacks the insight to carry itself forward in time. My conclusion from observing mechanical momentums has been that pictures aren’t enough. We must learn to record videos. Our deeper, unconscious momentums require continuous observation to show the totality of their mechanism. Ultimately, inner development means learning how to build one’s own conscious momentum to the point where it overwhelms the momentum of mechanical processes. Whatever little of this I now have is proven to me by which mechanical momentums I can arrest. This is why I must work diligently and intelligently.

The teaching gives me the tools to achieve this. It is up to me to use those tools.

“All new powers and capacities of realization come always in one and the same way. At first they appear in the form of flashes at rare and short moments; afterwards they appear more often and last longer until, finally, after very long work they become permanent.”
Gurdjieff