WHAT IF IT’S TRUE? “The Terror of the Situation”

“Two or three days after Gurdjieff’s departure, I was walking along the Troitsky street and I suddenly saw that the man who was walking towards me was asleep. There could be no doubt whatever about this. Although his eyes were open, he was walking along obviously immersed in dreams which ran like clouds across his face. …After him came another also sleeping. A sleeping izvostchik went by with two sleeping passengers. Suddenly I found myself in the position of the prince in the ‘Sleeping Princess.’ Everyone around me was asleep. It was an indubitable and distinct sensation. . .” –PD Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous.

The terror of the situation, in Gurdjieff’s phrase, is that we’re consigned to a world run, for the most part, by sleeping people; people who are never awake at all. They walk, they talk, they make “decisions”–they react, mechanically, to stimuli. They are driven by odd little constructions formed around vanity and fear. They’re often nearly psychotic–yet they can rise to positions of great power and influence. (Perhaps the media fascination with zombies is some unconscious apprehension of the danger represented by mindless, sleepwalking humanity.) All of us are subject to a tendency to slip into a comforting trance, the walking sleep of daily life.

What could be more terrifying to contemplate, really? Like being in a speeding car steered by a blind toddler. The terror of the situation…

An exaggeration? What if it’s true? Suppose we were able to look around and say, “Yes people are talking, planning, building, doing wonderful things sometimes–yet something essential in them still sleeps!” And what if we realized that there are ways to awaken–and that awakening the world would transform it? What if it turned out that there’s a universal conscience–as Gurdjieff claimed–that is obtainable through high consciousness, a consciousness invested with guidance from a higher, finer source at the heart of the cosmos?

What if it’s true? What if we were, to lesser and greater degrees, asleep–and what if awakening were possible?

What if it were literally true? One possibility for waking from sleep–is seeing one’s sleep. . .

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