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Sit There, Don't Just Do Something

This may be the shortest exercise in the world. It takes only five seconds. To rescue some of our life from the autopilot state, from the unconscious oblivion state, we need to get into the habit of observation, or as the mystic George Gurdjieff has called it, "self-remembering." Here is a very quick exercise that we can do whenever we think about it. Whatever we are doing: walking, buying something in a store, working, talking on the phone, complaining, arguing, suffering, whatever it is, we just STOP. Stop completely, as if we were a car at a stop sign. We are silent. We do not move. For five seconds we just stop and let everything, even our mind, go right on without us while we simply notice that we are here, we are present, we are existing at this place, at this time. We are a witness to this reality, this moment of life.

It is so sudden a stop that the mind will not be able to come up with another thought so quickly. This exercise helps us see how slow the mind is compared to present reality, how uninterested the mind is in present reality. We just have to tug on our own sleeve now and then and come to a complete five-second STOP. After doing this exercise for a while, we will become more aware, our whole energy can change. Other people may even start to tell us that our energy is becoming more awake, more alive. Also, all those other people in the stores and on the street will begin to seem "asleep" to us as we wake up to present reality.

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