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Gurdjieff, Russian Mystic of the beginning of last century, always said to his students that the human body we use is a machine, loaded with automatic behavior programs that run without control, or under the control of the mind, making us all, basically, automatons who sail through life unconsciously, letting ourselves be carried away by programs and patterns of behavior that we activate, according to the needs of everyday life.

Eckhart Tolle, in the bookThe power of the now”, told us how there came a moment in his life in which he said to himself: “I can no longer live with myself”, which led him to think that there had to be two “I’s”, at least, so one of them could not live with the other. Both Gurdjieff and Tolle speak of the same thing, the mind/character/personality that we have, and the soul/consciousness that we are.

Deprogram the automaton, enhancing awareness

It’s a total exercise of will and internal work, tremendously intense, to bend the automatic and automaton part of the soul/mind symbiosis. In almost every moment of our lives, these automatic and unconscious programs are those which govern us (included all the mental components as the ego, the subconscious, patterns of behavior, etc.) Tolle says that actually, to realize that this control over us from the automaton part exists, we have to focus on bringing awareness to the present moment, to the now.

Gurdjieff and all of his school, The Fourth Path, as all of his teachings have been called, place a lot of emphasis on de-program the human being from the automatic behavior patterns to stop being reactive machines so that conscience takes the controls, being 100% time present and “aware” of the body in which he lives, and of that which enters through the five senses and of what happens at this particular moment. The objective is to block the mind and our personality when going to the past or the future, where we always tend to be, either remembering things or events that have happened to us (what I have eaten yesterday or what I did last week), or else things that we hope may happen or believe will happen While we are minded in the past or in the future, we are not “present”, and, when we are not being “present”, the automaton that directs this organic body I live in, is in control. While Gurdjieff proposes dismantling the Automaton, Tolle proposes to promote awareness so that the automaton does not have power. Two paths to the same goal.

Experience it yourself

Even as I write this article I feel the struggle between my automaton and my conscience for having the control. The automaton is thinking about the words that I will use, the ideas that I am going to write about in the next two paragraphs, while my conscience is trying to feel each key of the computer that I am pressing and that I concentrate on just thinking that I’m writing at the moment not that I’m going to write a little later. My conscience wants to flow with what arrives at each moment so that I can write about it, my mind is asking me to plan what I’m going to write and keep to it, to reinforce its presence with multiple attempts to stay out of the “now”. When, continuously, for the simple fact of using your power of will, you come back, again and again to the “now”, to the present, we block a little more the drift of going to a past or a future state, in such a way that I can have control over my existence with a little more certainty and during more time.

The power of the now

The state of being “present” is tremendously powerful. In it, there are no problems or situations to solve, or concerns. Try it. Be present, dissociate you from the automaton and become an observer of yourself. Every moment that you keep anchored to time, you are dragged to think about all that we have to do in our life, what awaits us, the things that we have to solve. While, on the contrary, every moment that we are in the “now” is just a moment of experiencing life 100%, and then let it flow and bring experiences that we anticipate, but we will manage and control with consciousness “the present” as it becomes necessary.

The goal is only one, that suddenly, of so many coming and going from unconsciousness to consciousness, that is, from so many regaining control over our automatic mind, to losing it again, re-running our programs of always, to disconnect them again and start again, is that one day the cycle stops and having exerted our will constantly over our programs, awareness does not loses control, and the perception of the “present” moment is established permanently in us, constantly living and taking advantage of the power of “now”.