“Of these abnormal being-particularities, the particularity of their psyche the most terrible for them personally is that which is called ‘suggestibility.’ Gurdjieff
If only we could realize the extent to which suggestibility plays a part in our lives. We are running around hypnotized, identified, and thinking all the while that we are awake. Until we have had the experience of waking up from our dream, observing our identified states, we are constantly under the influence of suggestibility.
Suggestibility is part of our mechanical state. It is based in our likes and dislikes, vanity, and our attitudes about what makes something valuable. It is an example of how we live without the ability to discriminate the truth. If we work to collect different “I”s that are oriented to catching how susceptible we are to this phenomenon, we have a chance.
Gurdjieff used the edict, “Believe nothing, verify everything.”
This may seem too scientific for many studying methods toward enlightenment and stillness of the mind. It may not make sense to those who have a deep trust in God or a power that is much greater than themselves. It disrupts the idea of submitting to a teaching or having faith.
When we strive to believe nothing and verify everything, our faith actually grows. We find progress, healing and solace when we make effort to be more conscious of ourselves. If we practice self observation, we will see very quickly how we suggest to ourselves on a regular basis. Sometimes we have a sense of how difficult it is to extract ourselves from a negative emotion or from holding a grudge. We see how easily offended we are. We are convinced of our own self image.
With suggestibility, we are truly unable to discriminate the truth. We believe in the general trend of marketing, the news, how business should be run, the next new diet or hot yoga trend. We see everyone else doing it and we too feel somewhat left out if we are not on the bandwagon. We imitate as a result and do not operate from our own true I.
We hear that someone is an enlightened master and we go in believing that before we even here what he or she has to say. We have no way of discriminating whether this is true unless we are at a similar station.
Chicken Little and the Emperor With No Clothes comes to mind.
We fall prey to opinions and judgement of ourselves even from ourselves. We do not attempt to verify anything, but take for granted what someone is saying because we have put faith in them. We want the easy way out and so we easily believe. We will follow their suggestion without seeing if it is right for us.
If we do not question this phenomenon of suggestibility in our daily lives, we continue to identify with anything and everything that we like and don’t like. We won’t be able to push against what identification feels like, looks like and acts like. It is very easy for someone to think they know what identification is. It is a word that is used often with certain accepted connotations, so we assume we know what it means.
To understand identification from a consistent effort of separating ourselves from attachment to our beliefs and opinions of ourselves and others is to see how suggestible we are. We use particular methods to observe ourselves in the act of identification. This identification can come in so many forms, not just when we feel negative or have low self esteem.
We can feel justified in our righteousness, our greatness, and our intelligence. We become elated when things are going right. We find ways of ignoring the truth in the name of religion and politics, self improvement or being accepted. We fight for a cause. We want to be good or nice. These are all states of identification. We are susceptible to our own ideas of ourselves.
We play into our own fear and sabotage when we are prey to suggestibility. We as a collective believe the sensationalism of the news and thrive on fear. It feeds our motivation and as well our hesitation to do anything about our situation. We believe the stars must be aligned or mercury must be not be in retrograde to get something done. We believe a crisis is happening because it has been suggested.
We must put into question and watch in very small ways how we believe easily and verify nothing. We must become interested in what is true despite our beliefs.
Go about your day and notice examples of how you believe something without putting it into question. Notice what you convince yourself to do based on what you believe. Ask yourself why you believe it. Notice how easily you are convinced of something. Notice how many opinions you ask of others before you listen to yourself. See if you are able to avoid yielding to the excitement of the moment.
This is one of the first ways to discover the nature of identification and how we keep ourselves from taking in new impressions.
Have a great week,