“Do I need a master, or at least a teacher? At first glance, of course, yes. Maybe it's not even worth explaining why. Yet if I take a closer look at my real situation, on the one hand my personal requirements, and on the other hand my firm determination to give priority to “Work” in my life, I am reminded of one sentence of “Fragments”: “Usually the man himself is not worth a brass farthing but he must have as teacher no other than Jesus Christ. And it never enters his head that even if he were to meet such a teacher as Jesus Christ... he would never be able to follow him... ”As for me, for example, I don't think I would have been able to follow Monsieur Gurdjieff for very long.
Either way, he's no longer with us. His direct pupils, who already expected less, are also no longer with us. The specific question today comes in a different form: "What am I lacking to be able to work according to my deepest needs?"
Concerning myself, it has always been clear to me that what M. Gurdjieff passed on through his direct students, as well as in his written works, his music and in his movement exercises, contained everything that makes work possible. It seems that in modern life it is not very suitable that someone goes to study at the ashram of a physically present guru. Realizing this, Gurdjieff’s only aim was to help everyone discover their own inner master as soon as possible. For those who relied on him too much, and only for this reason, he sometimes made it impossible to stay beside him.
"...This inner master is constantly present in all of us. If we could have a deep connection with our conscience, we would find our human vocation even in the midst of all the vicissitudes of life. The question that they say is, “who or what can help me be more often under the direction of my inner master?”
Therefore, for example, there is no doubt that I should learn from others as often as possible! You can't work alone for long. We can certainly say that, thanks to the work of Monsieur Gurdjieff as well as the work of others, everything is available to us even in living form. Of course, it would be pointless and even harmful to continue this mechanically by following the process of the given forms. In this work shocks are needed, made possible only by the renewal of conscious work on ourselves.
As far as I am concerned, I see two complementary opportunities for this learning from others in the current situation. The first is to learn from those who understand more than I understand, or - without being able to call them “masters” – are at a higher level than I am. I’ve always tried to facilitate and seize the opportunities to work with people like this. However, these occasions usually prove to be only temporary, and “have to be paid for” with one’s time, effort in the work, or even by financial means. It is also important to consider that this higher level, or understanding, may suddenly appear in someone who is much more inexperienced (“younger”) in the work: then he or she is the “master”. I can learn something from anyone who is honestly trying to work on themselves.
The second possibility is not always recognized. It manifests itself in the fact that one passes on to others what one has already understood better. Therefore, you also have to “pay” for the activity, pay in advance, and maybe for a long time. However, it is important to avoid certain misunderstandings. For example, to be aware of how little is what one understands better than others, not to play the role of Master, to be able to renew the forms of transmission according to changing circumstances without losing substance, and so on. Developing the possibility of one being more or less responsible to people who want to learn to work on their own is very demanding. Therefore, it is important to actually work on your own, as this is the only way to achieve this and understand others.
In fact, these two possibilities are well expressed in the “Fragments” with the image of the “staircase” leading to the “road”. We are not on the “path” where we would already be guided by the “inner Master”. However, we can make good use of the help of those who are already on the steps above us and who are almost “forced” to help us move up, otherwise they themselves would not be able to move on. We can also benefit from the mutual help that people on the same level as us provide. And most importantly, to prepare someone to take our place. "(HL September 2008)