Working with Negative Emotions
Thursday, June 5, 2003/Dominican Rep.
About The Identification Exercise:
During the month of June which has just recently ended. The Dominican groups have been working on negative emotions, their effects, and the influence these have on our Work.
"Man is possessed by all that surrounds him because he can never look sufficiently objectively on his relationship to his surroundings"
G.I. Gurdjieff - Essentuki, 1917
If only for a moment we could observe ourselves outside our negative emotions then it would be possible, as Gurdjieff says "to begin to seriously work on ourselves".  However  negative emotions are present at all times,  reducing to  a minimal expression our possibilities of transformation and burying us into a deeper slavery.  Our life is plagued with all types of  negative emotions. Because of this, the work of negative emotions is with certainty one of the most urgent and important.  
"There is only one cure for negative emotions, that is, to see oneself.
So long as  I do not see myself,   no force exists  that  can   neutralize  my  egoisms because it remains untouched by whatever I do. Negative emotions have  power so long as we do not see from whence they come. As soon as  I see from whence they come, this snuffs them out. Because something else takes their place;  that is,  the experience of seeing that it is from that in me that this reaction is coming.   It is  the only thing that is strong enough to kill the negative emotion."
J.G. Bennett-D.H.,  April 9th 1951.
As the Thursday, June 5th meeting began with this subject,  the members of Group 1 shared their observations on negative emotions,  trying first of all to define what they understood these to be.  Immediately  there came forth comments and even questions in the interest of achieving a shared understanding of how these come about, how they manifest themselves and what their most defined characteristics are. 
Of all the mentioned components one of them passed to occupy center stage: 'identification'. The comments expressed coincided in that, in order for a negative emotion to appear we need to be identified. The greater part of the time it is possible to recognize a close relationship between it and our negative emotions.   
"Nine times out of ten you will become identified with the conversation and instead of  getting  the information  you  want,  you will yourself  tell  him  things  you  had no intention of telling".
G.I.Gurdjieff-Essentuki, 1917
In view of this, there rushed forth the need to establish what this bond means to us. In this respect it was seen as indispensable to begin working on negative emotions, recognizing first our state of identification.
The weekly exercise was devised with this in mind. We were to report our main identification each day for a week.
"He can never stand aside and look at himself together with whatever attracts or repels  him at  the moment.  And  because of this  inability  he is identified with everything".
G.I.Gurdjieff-Essentuki, 1917
We included here some of the reports that were collected daily during the week. These same reports were shared and discussed in the following meeting on the 12th of June.
Experiences with the exercise:
from: J.O
Friday :
At the school, I was doing my work as teacher. I identify a lot with doing a good job in accordance to the demands that are put on me. But today it was particularly intense, because the outside demands were duplicated by the Expositions Fair that was to happen Saturday morning.
I have the reputation for having the best decorated classroom in which my students do the best work. I felt that I had too much work to finish and that I was not going to be able to finish. This brought me to a state of tension, of anxiety and anguish. My identification continued the whole day, decorating the classroom and arranging total.
I stayed until 7:30 at school and until everything was perfect and finished I could not stop my imagination to have the classroom perfect.
I arose, did the exercise and went with my daughters to the school for the Fair, and I realized that I was still identified with the damned presentation.
I left everything as it was and said that I had done all that was possible and that I was going to stop. But there was another part that didn't want to stop. There is a part that doesn't want to stop, or maybe does not know the limits of things. I identify a lot with the things I do, with the jobs that are going to be seen or maybe judged by others. There is a lot of internal consideration in the things I do, principally when there are people involved in these experiences.
from: N.V.
Today I was in the grips of the worst kind of identification. I found myself in a beauty parlor in the middle of an irreversible process, trying to struggle against the idea and the sentiment that I always act stupid and that I permit whatever idiot to convince me to buy whatever foolishness. I passed almost three hours giving myself a 'super-Hindu- herbal-hair strand-treatment', time in which I was internally complaining to myself about everything.  At times I asked myself  what was I doing there or why was I so bothered, but I could do nothing.   I  tried to have  sensation in  the shoulders,  but have not relaxed well and I returned  being tense. Those effects and the struggle to combat them continued for almost  half an hour more on the way home. And all this I imagined was not going to take much time,  and that -that was just what I have needed. Pure imagination, my friend, pure imagination.
from: M.L
The truth is that I have, from earlier, a very hard day. I can almost say that I awoke in a bad mood and although I tried to separate myself, it has been complicated. But from very early in the morning through a telephone call, I got identified and also had a negative emotion.
I identified with my profession as reporter and was offended by someone who made me wait a long time when I went to interview them.
from: J.L
During the morning I realized that I had a lot of imagination and I understood that it was meanigless and of no use, in the afternoon I had a lot of self reproach due to the preparations that I had for an activity that night.
It was a day in which many negative energy affected me, it was the complaint that nothing is working in the house, and there was no other cause for strong sensation or the charge of negative energy.
 "Is only when you finally learn how to recognize these deep identifications and free yourself from them, that there can be anything like a permanent rise in the level of your inner energy".
J.G. Bennett, D. H., 2nd July 195
"First of all, we must realize that the direct cause of our slavery is identification with our formatory apparatus. We live in it, and its experience is what we call 'I' ."
J.G. Bennett, D.H. 2nd July-1951