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On these days I’ve been re-reading some books of P.D Ouspensky, especially “Conscience”, a collection of 5 essays that he gave to his students in talks around 1930. In this book, he emphasizes that it is practically impossible for an average human to keep “conscious” of himself, making impossible that his character, ego and sub-personalities or automatic behavior programs (as Gurdjieff called them) take control.

Again, the automaton

It is true. I read this again and realized that I was doing it in automatic mode. Again, I spent most of the time of my day operating in a semi-unconscious level, doing things, acting and working without being “present” and without my soul-conscious keeping the control of the perception of the external world.

Then, I remember that in Carlos Castaneda’s books, specially in “The Fire from Within”, Carlos talks a lot about how Don Juan Matus has to give him a light hit on the neck or a tiny knock to make him be placed in an “conscious alert” state so he can assimilate and absorb his teachings appropriately. Actually, it’s been said that Castaneda is explaining the same teachings and ideas of Gurdjieff but in a shamanic environment and language, more “exotic”. If you analyze both authors, they are talking about the same concepts with different words, which is not important from the point of view that we all learn from different sources, comparison and experimentation are the only way we are capable of talk about it in our own words. If Castaneda studied Gurdjieff teachings and then he explains them with the symbology represented in Don Juan teachings is completely normal to find parallelisms between them.

But returning to the issue of being present, it seems clear that one cannot bend the automatic mind by oneself. You need the little push of someone to guide you to remind you that you have fallen back under the control of the automaton machine that we carry and that, once again, you have stopped perceiving the environment and living in the “present” to let yourself be swallowed up by the mental processes that do not rest for a single second while we are alive.

The difficulty of staying in the “now”

Definitely, I give for granted this affirmation, at the moment that you lose awareness, the automatic mind and sub-personalities of the human being take over 100% of the perception of the world through the ego program. Maybe this is the right way because these personalities belong to the physical body that we have, and the soul is just the temporary driver. On the other hand, this is equivalent to think that it is correct that cars or planes can always travel in autopilot just because they have a good navigation system, which is not correct for me. However, this is what happens in most of the cases to most of the people.

By realizing that I fall in the automaton mode by any distraction and as I don’t have any teacher by my side getting me out of it, I understood why Gurdjieff, in his Fourth Path, emphasizes the importance of disassemble those automatic programs so they lose power. All that Eckhart Tolle affirm about hold on to the present moment, in his book The Power of Now, is correct, it’s about what should have to be done, but in practice, in my experience, until you are not capable of reducing the power of the sub-personalities that we have, they will sink your consciousness back to a state of an experience accumulator, working under mental processes.

Discover your automatic programs

Everything is useful for learning and this idea has driven me to discover with more emphasis which ones are my main automatic programs. There are 12 of them, the most “fat” ones are associated with forms of behaviour and energies clearly with a “negative tag” because they are programs based on fears, limitations and auto protection. By discovering that, for example, one of my sub-personalities vibrates mainly in a frequency of distrust, helped me to realize in which situations or with what kind of people is activated making me “doubt” about what is in front of me and acting very cautious. Is it bad? Not really, it fulfills its specific purpose of protection, but it blocks the soul to perceive that situation or person in a different way, and therefore I would be reacting in a different way if this automatic program of distrust wouldn’t be executed (or any other program) instantly.

All these fears and disparate personalities, in most of the cases, create the dark side of each one of us. This is not always clear because it’s an automatic side programmed to work on this mode, without a driver that does nothing to control the vehicle. At an energetic level, the problem is when the automaton personalities get life by their own in the mental or emotional body, because this sub-personality, that use to be just some structures and mental processes in the subconscious with some power, get a semi-control of the emotions and of the mental patterns in the energetic system. Fortunately, this can be cleaned, and I have started to do it by using the same tools that, for sure, Gurdjieff used.

Who’s inside there?

The first thing is to clearly identify the main personalities. This just can be done by an exhaustive auto observation and then by writing down the automatic behaviour that comes out in the brief moments of lucidity and being present that we have. Make a list. Find out what kind of facets of the character are more active in you.

Then, there is nothing more than meditation and visualization of you talking with all of them, as if they were external people (actually they are, they have been created by the ego program of the mind and have taken a life of their own as automatic behaviour programs in your mental or emotional body). In this meditation, listen to the reasons that each one of the automatic programs has to exist, ask them what are they doing there?what is their function? allow them to explain, do not repress them. Once you have finished with all of them, explain them the situation. Tell them that you, the soul or consciousness that inhabits this human body is in charge now. That you take the decisions and accept their advices, but they must not get in automatic mode again unless you allow them to do it. However, do not try to remove or disassemble them in one stroke, they are very smart, and the defense mechanisms will be activated and you will lose the concentration of being in the “now” and will go back to the automatic mode again. This is a cooperation soul-mind-body work, we all need each other, it’s just a matter of place in charge of the one that should be and allow the automatic pilot to be there but disabled.

It’s not easy. In fact, almost nobody throughout their life will stop getting in automatic mode at any time. This work helps us to make this happen less and less often, but sometimes I ask myself where can I find a Don Juan Matus that get me out of this “daydreaming” and keep me in a state of “conscious and constant alertness”?