So, let's get right to the point. For a long time now, we at IDHHB have been using a book written by E.J. Gold called "Practical Work on Self". Itís a book of 24 exercises which we call "The Big 24". We usually work on these exercises in group format, for one reason because a group is capable of increasing the Work-Will and force of necessity of each of its individual component members.
You will notice that Chapter One from this book has been included in your registration packet. This was not by accident.
To be able to sense things on a subtle level separates the work-oriented from those whose machines are interested only in doing business as usual. Try to do some work with your sensing and see where you get. You can begin anywhere: sense this space and what's happening in it. I would suggest that you regard this meeting space as an invocation and use your sensing to detect subtle flows of energy as we move through the labyrinth. You actually can do this.
So, to begin at the beginning: How do you Work on your Self?
One of the things presented in the book is the whole idea of Work on Self cut up into 24 bite sized segments. Based upon the title, I pose a question to you: What does WORK on SELF mean . . . What does it mean to you? Hey, Iíve been hired to ask you this Question . . .
We may find in our search that we can convert all our work, all our actions, into Work on Self . . . One example of work on self is to find evidence of Sleep in our machines. This is invaluable because it is very practical evidence when we see for ourselves that we have wandering attention, that we are easily distracted, easily attracted by the "glitter and flash" of the organic world. We can say that our beginning work is to see our sleep in all its glory.
Take for instance this process of observing your Sleep: Has anyone tried this or done this? I have and I have discovered evidence of Sleep in my Machine. That is all. If you have done this yourself, then this is a practical and specific moment of Work on your Self. You see, even though you have all observed deep and impenetrable sleep in ME, it does YOU no good.
What is important is the gathering of your own evidence, the gathering of pragmatic empirical evidence that is specific to you. The point of it is that one can actually work in a group with others and demonstrate this sleep. In so doing it takes the human and personal subjective side away from the evidence and the Essential Self can come to bear on the issue . . . What we are looking at here is very small bytes of information about our machine.
And all we need are a few . . . but they must be real. The data we gather can then be used to create Essential habits, the type that Carry us Through . . . Does this sound familiar to anyone? But it has to really be DONE, not thought about . . . or read about. You must go out and gather this data.
As we get into the book a bit more we find that EJ Gold has asked us not to change our habits but to watch and observe them, and from time to time Voluntarize them. And guess what? This may, I repeat MAY, result in some changes.
Letís say you have an indication that your attention is weak and easily distracted. How can you know this? By trying to use it. This is how we have worked with the Clock Exercise as proposed in Chapter one. This is the head that is hit on the nail: you TRY and exercise your attention. Hey, before you tried to use it, it was never a problem. It wasnít an issue. But here we set out to actually do the Clock Exercise, and we encounter difficulties. So, what is happening here?
Where has our attention gone? What is the nature of our Will, which may not be strong enough to exercise sufficient authority over the machine to allow us to even approach doing this exercise? What exactly are the mechanisms involved? What is the momentum that we are caught up in? So my recommendation at this moment is to study Chapter One, use it as the underlying basis of your stay and your work here at the Convention, and get some real examples of your sleep for yourself. Very small examples, but very real ones. Weíve got a stand over there selling clocks with special Ouspensky clock faces for those who really wish to take advantage of this . . .
Observe yourself during the time you are here at this convention. Take advantage of the group invocation, the group Work-Will, if you will . . . Watch yourself place your shirt, forget where you left your wallet, burn your toast, forget even to observe yourself . . . But then, donít judge yourself, or try to change, just marvel at this thing working, marvel at it working . . . Without YOU even being present, your behaviour is just going on. Wow!, your machine is capable of carrying you from birth to death without you even being present. Some of what you observe will be of value, so save it, enjoy it. Later this can form the basis of another little exercise called "Adoration of the Machine".
So, as we go from state to state, with some work we can get the knowledge that we are MANY, many selves. And we have to forgive ourselves, not feel guilty or embarrassed about it, not identify with it. We just note it. We note that with you or without you, the show goes on. And if we can hold this view of ourselves, we can see that it may aid us in our work in many areas. We can construct this Habit of Being, this Being Habit, this Essential Self habit which we can take with us anywhere, even right into death . . . even there . . .
When I was re-reading this material in preparation for being here with you today, I thought to myself . . . Wow! Talk about a feeling of gratitude. How is it possible that this material even exists? How on this planet could such material even exist? For most people this stuff is worthy mostly of just being ignored, or filed away as just weird cult stuff, or perhaps not understandable at all. Zero interest. But for a few of us this material is life itself. And the trick for us is to bring it into being, or rather bring ourselves into being. We are alive enough to recognize that this material is our home planet. But to bring it into actuality or into this world, into our lives if you like, that is practical work on self. To maintain the effort every day, that is practical work on self. To not forget to use this every day, that is practical work on self.
These workshops, our on-line Internet meetings, the weekly classes on-line and on-site here in Ibiza, our e-mails and phone calls to each other, all these are ways we have to keep communication lines open and to work together to help us find the energy, the necessity and the will to keep on trucking in the face of the enormous mountain of organic life, the massive onslaught of organic life, good old mother nature. Use the opportunities afforded in the next few days folks. We must all continue to increase our use of such opportunities if we wish to be more than just an empty husk, to have more than just an empty husk when death finally arrives.
Hey if I canít sleep, I might as well try to do something with this insomnia . . .