To awake to myself, to what I am, would mean to find the center of gravity and source of my energies, the root of my being. I always forget my origin. And because of this, all my notions of what I am are distorted. The first necessity is to see that I am always losing contact with this source. So long as my essential need is other than to know and to love this source more than anything else, it is my ego that is directing my life and my force. It does this without my even noticing, and all my endeavors, whatever they may be, are conditioned by its appetites, even what I call my “work.”
Right work on oneself, according to Gurdjieff, begins with the creation of a permanent center of gravity. This distinguishes the stage of being that he called man number four. This is someone who awakes to himself and asks, “Who am I?” He sees that he does not know he exists, nor how he exists. He sees he is living in a dream and feels a need to know his own reality. He begins to separate things in himself, the real from the imaginary, the conscious from the automatic. Unlike man number one, two or three, he sees with a certain clarity, he knows his situation.
The forces in him begin to take a direction, the direction of a center of gravity of attention. To know himself has become the most important aim, the center of gravity of his thought and interest. He wishes to see himself as he is. His center of gravity is a question, a question that does not let him sleep.
And in order to know himself, he struggles to bring his attention to the point where he can divide it between a Presence that he tries to sustain and a manifestation in which he is lost. This requires a vigilance that can be maintained only if all the centers work with the same intensity. He must sense, think and feel at the same time, with no one center having dominance. If the balance is broken, the effort toward consciousness stops. Man number four is one who struggles to be able to establish a link between his essence and his functions. ~ J de S