Gurdjieff International Review

“Must Have Attention”

From the Notes of Kathryn Hulme

Sunday, October 27, 1935

Gurdjieff: “Now Miss Gordon I tell you something...

“Emanations—everything has emanations. Earth, dog, that bottle, me, you—emanations are automatic, must go out from us, from every separate part, from all total, part go out automatically from every living thing. We each one surrounded by atmosphere of our emanations—some scientific apparatus can see these emanations. We each have atmosphere around us all the time—dog also, also bottle, also earth.

“Now then, think of your leg. Emanations go out from leg also. Try now think. This is first step—this is first thing can do so that you die not like dog but can become part of God. Good formulation—born like dog, die part of God, is it not good?

“When I tell you this beginning thing you can do, tonight your most big moment in life—more important for you than God—more important than your birth. Why? Because you born like dog. After tonight, you have responsibility, because I tell you this. Your leg emanations go out—now you think—not all emanations go out of leg, you save some of them, you accumulate emanations in your leg, not let all go out. Let some for necessary reasons, but you accumulate some also, you begin accumulate in you some of emanations which go out automatically. This is what I tell you. This is a beginning, to be not dog but part of God. After this, I tell you more. There are seven ways to accumulate emanations—this is first. To do this you must remember yourself. But you cannot do without asking me questions—think of questions—I give you twelve hours. You meet tomorrow morning. Must ask seven questions before can understand what I mean. Seven questions must ask, otherwise I know you not understand.”

Monday, October 28, 1935

Late in the evening, he turns to Miss Gordon to ask if she has seven questions—a continuation of the emanation accumulating talk of the previous night...

Miss Gordon then asks a question—she tells him she tried the exercise but thinks she had her mind on it too much. “Where, Mr. Gurdjieff should the center of gravity be for this? In mind? In leg?” She explains to him how there came a stoppage when she tried.

Gurdjieff then says that “stop come because you have too much mind on this—must have attention. What is attention? Attention is working together of association of thought with association of feeling. Memory working together with sensing makes attention. But feeling have two centers—solar plexus feeling, solar plexus brain and spine brain. Must have attention which means memory and sensing working together on it. But must not philosophize—very dangerous philosophize. Be simple like monk, a monk given a task. You do with faith, not try knowing (with head) but sure-ing. (Gurdjieff touches his solar plexus region.) Not knowing, but sure-ing...”


Miss Gordon then asked (following the emanation accumulation task) if she should do it when in life or should do it sitting quietly alone.

Gurdjieff says, “First at beginning, do it when not in life, when lie in bed, sit in chair. Important not make mistake at beginning, not occupied with outside life. Important do it first outside of life, then, when sure that doing it right, do it in life. Can make mistake at beginning and that can be dangerous, then you have only psychopathic attention—mental centre attention—not totality of memory-sensing attention. Later must do in life. Must do all in life—not be like monks isolated from life... This must be full thing...”


Miss Gordon asks, “How can one know which is sensing brain and which is feeling brain?”

“Can know that when come to you those stops—maybe you have no spinal brain working at this task and you can know that by the absence of feeling in the spinal cord.”

He says again, “Memory working together with sensing, makes attention. Important—sensing have two meanings—in English no two words—but is something like feeling and sensing—feeling in solar plexus region and sensing in spinal cord.”

From the Notes of Solita Solano

Monday, October 28, 1935

Miss Gordon asked about exercise, “Where must center of gravity lie, in mind or in leg?” She came to a stop and wished to know why. He said, “Because too much mind; instead must have attention, association of mind with association of feeling. Memory plus sensing makes attention. But feeling has two centers—solar plexus feeling plus spinal brain. Must not philosophize about it but do with faith like monk. Not try to know with the head, but sure-ing.”

~ • ~

These excerpts are from the notes of Kathryn Hulme which reside at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale University), and from the notes of Solita Solano that reside at the Library of Congress. Some sentences and phrases have been removed for brevity.

Copyright © 2013 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Fall 2013 Issue, Vol. XII (1)
Revision: November 1, 2013