EnneagramFourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky School Education Concerning the Work Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and their students.
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External Considering

External considering is very different from internal considering, which is based on identification with other people's behaviour towards you. It is mechanical and consumes a lot of energy.

On the other hand, external considering is based on a completely different relationship towards people. It is not based on making requirements of others and expecting them to treat you in a certain way. Unlike internal considering, it is anti-mechanical and requires conscious effort and self-remembering.

Externally considering can be practised in many different circumstances. It can mean taking into consideration people's circumstances, putting oneself in their position. For example, if you're among a group of people of all ages, it's easy to forget that someone in their seventies has perhaps less physical endurance than younger people. You can externally consider them and their age, by ensuring they have a comfortable chair to sit on, that you take them tea or coffee and don't leave them to serve themselves. You enter into their postion, think how you might feel if you were their age and how you would like to be treated.

You can externally consider in your job too. If you hope to establish contacts with a person who is useful to you in your work and could help you in the future, it might be necessary to speak to him or her in a certain way, in a certain tone and to create a favourable impression of yourself. P. D. Ouspensky said:

In relation to other people, you must not act without thinking. Think first, then act. If this person would prefer you to act in some manner and not another, it is all the same to you, so why not do what he likes?

This requires a knowledge of the other person, of his/her preferences, what he/she wants, and watching what impression you make on him/her. To do this requires a lot of control over yourself.

However, doing what another person wants does not mean self-sacrifice, that you do things for the other person and cease to exist for yourself. Generally, this form of external considering turns into internal considering, as eventually you become resentful that you do everything and they don't consider you enough. Before acting, it is necessary to consider what is better for you, what is better for them, and if it doesn't make any difference to you, then do what is necessary.

Another example of external considering is if someone you know is feeling depressed and is in need of cheering up. In this case, external considering would not be telling them they have nothing to be depressed about and to look at the bright side of life. It would be to really make an effort to sincerely listen to them and their state, and to find the corresponding state in yourself. In other words, to remember when you felt the same way at some time. By doing this, you do not blame but accept the other person and this helps them to change. However, to do this requires knowing yourself from self-observation, having observed your own states.

External considering can extend into small daily tasks, for example, if you're sharing reading a book, hold the book where the other person can see it clearly too. So often we only think of ourselves. Externally considering another person's needs is the start of working on the emotional centre, developing one's heart by feeling not just for ourselves, but for another person.

Again, if someone is particularly bad-tempered towards you one day, instead of internally considering them for their behaviour, if you externally consider them and remember that they too are a machine like yourself with their own obstacles, then you enter into their position.

External Considering and Work on Oneself

External considering is very important for work on oneself, as it leads to self-remembering, particularly remembering someone else apart from one's many small selves. To me, it also seems an important key for transforming situations which mechanically would lead to inner considering, i.e. wishing someone would treat you differently and not feeling valued enough by them. But by trying to take in the impressions of the event consciously and externally considering someone else, you may avoid the usual energy-wasting, mechanical reaction.

P. D. Ouspensky said that people in the work often make the mistake of thinking that it is only necessary to externally consider people in ordinary life, and that with work people you have a right not to consider. However, it is necessary to do whatever is successful for work on oneself, and because externally considering is useful in this respect, you need to externally consider ten times more than in life. When asked why, he said:

Because only external considering shows his (a man's) valuation of the work and understanding. Success in the work is proportional to his valuation and understanding.

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