Irmis B. Popoff

Irmis B. Popoff attended lectures of Ouspensky (during the years 1941-1947) and Gurdjieff (during the years 1947-1949) during their trips to New York and studied with them. She wrote a comprehensive book about her experiences with Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, titled “Gurdjieff. His Work On Myself, With Others, For the Work,” which was published in 1973 in New York by Samuel Weiser, Inc., in which she describes her personal encounter with and assimilation of Gurdjieff’s teaching, as presented to her by Gurdjieff himself and Ouspensky.


Excerpts of Movements from «His Work On Myself… With Others…For The Work…» by Irmis Popoff

From the book: «His Work On Myself… With Others…For The Work…» by Irmis Popoff

“For work on oneself it is constantly, because we are always with ourselves, and so long as there is life in us – without taking care to ourselves – we stand the chance of losing all we have gained through our own efforts. As for others with whom we work, it is here where experience and tolerance come into play. We put up with one another, draw on mutual experiences, enrich one another, bother one another – and we all grow.”

“This was a practical system that we were studying on a purely practical level. We were studying our machines, trying to learn how to work on ourselves, to learn as much as we could about ourselves, then we could learn about the Work.”

“It is my understanding that everyone in the work must reconstruct what he received is he understood it or thought he understood it.”

“It is said in the Work that the answer to a question is relatively unimportant when it comes from another. It is the question that matters to the person who makes it. Therefore we must have questions: we must ask them for the purpose of receiving information to help us kindle our own fire. Moreover, the Work tells us to question everything, particularly anything that we

hear in the Work. To question it in our own minds, to probe into it ourselves, to argue against it if we approve it, for it if we don’t. It is the only way to learn to know for ourselves, the only way to learn to live, to love, to understand the Work.”

“It is not the purpose of our Work to offer exact definitions. It is different. We are told this truth from the very beginning. Neither definitions nor explanations will take us where we want to go in the particular way that we call the Fourth Way.

We are given ideas as mental food. This is the only purpose they are meant to serve, since food is what we all need to help us grow and, therefore, have the possibility of a change in being.”

“In this System weakness is eliminated, also imagination, and the realization comes that no number of excellent books, no genuine flashes of illumination will help me, an ordinary man, to awaken from my sleep unless I exert efforts to work on myself, efforts to learn and to try to be in order to understand. These efforts mean sacrifice of time, of comfort, of preferences of the pleasant, of the habitual…”

“Mr. Gurdjieff could play on any person’s false personality, his nerves, his emotions, in order to help him see what a fool and an imbecile he was. When one appreciated his effort, he was kind, magnanimous, explicit: he showed what was needed, where it was needed, why it was needed. If one failed to see, especially due to glasses tinted with vanity, selflove, and prejudice, he exposed one’s miserable condition so that all might see and learn.”

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