Gurdjieff’s 83 rules of advice he gave to his daughter Cynthie Sophia “Dushka” Howarth (1924–2010). She went on to found the Gurdjieff Heritage Foundation.
After traveling through Africa and Asia, G.I. Gurdjieff arrived in Russia in the year 1912, bringing with him teachings that were neither a religion nor a philosophy, but practical lessons that had to be experienced. And since this was not the path of the fakir, the monk or the yogi, he named his teachings the ‘Fourth Way’.
According to Gurdjieff, the evolution of humankind has entered an uncertain phase, and unless the “wisdom” of the Orient and the “energy” of the West come together and mutually feed each other, the world will inevitably collapse. His legacy of formidable teachings is one of the wisest and most adaptable for our contemporary lifestyle.
The following is a list of advice he wrote for his daughter, Dushka Howarth. However, anyone who wishes to awake his consciousness and develop a more integral and satisfactory life, will appreciate it. This list is also, and above all, a cluster of concise recommendations that could help us to lucidly transcend daily situations, reminding us that integrity is far easier than we think. Gurdjieff’s councils allude to hard work, nourishment, human passions and emotions, cynicism and generosity, and together they comprise a sort of manifesto, one which would be wise to read every morning.
Dushka Howarth left and middle; G.I. Gurdjieff on right
1. Fix your attention on yourself, be aware at every moment of what you think, feel, want and do.
2. Always finish what you started.
3. Do what you are doing as best as possible.
4. Do not be chained to anything that in the long run can destroy you.
5. Develop your generosity without witnesses.
6. Treat every person as a close relative.
7. You must order what is disordered.
8. Learn to receive and be grateful for each gift.
9. Stop defining yourself.
10. Do not lie, do not steal, for if you do, you lie and steal from yourself.
11. Help your neighbor without making them depend on you.
12. Do not wish to be imitated.
13. Make plans and see them through.
14. Do not take up too much space.
15. Do not make unnecessary noises or gestures.
16. If you do not have faith, act as if you do.
17. Do not be impressed by strong personalities.
18. Do not appropriate anything or anyone.
19. Distribute equally.
20. Do not seduce.
21. You must only eat and sleep as much as is necessary.
22. Do not discuss your personal problems.
23. Do not pass judgments or criticize when you do not know all the facts.
24. Do not have useless friendships.
25. Do not follow fads.
26. Do not sell yourself.
27. Respect the contracts you have signed.
28. Be punctual.
29. Do not envy others’ property or goods.
30. Speak only what is necessary.
31. Do not think of the benefits that your work will bring.
32. Never threaten anyone.
33. Follow through with your promises.
34. In an argument, put yourself in the place of the other.
35. Accept when someone is better than you.
36. Do not eliminate, transform.
37. Defeat your fears; each one of them is a desire that is camouflaged.
38. Help others help themselves.
39. Put an end to your antipathy and get closer to people that you want to reject.
40. Do not react when they speak well or ill of you.
41. Transform your pride into dignity.
42. Turn your anger into creativity.
43. Transform your greed into respect for beauty.
44. Transform your envy into admiration for the values of others.
45. Transform your hate into charity.
46. Do not praise nor insult yourself.
47. Treat the things that do not belong to you as if they did.
48. Do not complain.
49. Develop your imagination.
50. Do not give orders for the pleasure of being obeyed.
51. Pay for the services you are given.
52. Do not boast about your work or ideas.
53. Do not try to arouse emotions like pity, admiration, sympathy and complicity in others.
54. Do not try to distinguish yourself by your appearance.
55. Never contradict, just be silent.
56. Do not fall in debt, buy and pay immediately.
57. If you offend someone, ask for forgiveness.
58. If you have offended publicly apologize publicly.
59. If you realize that you have said something wrong, accept your mistake and desist immediately.
60. Do not defend your old ideas simply because it was you who said them.
61. Do not keep useless objects.
62. Do not embellish yourself with the ideas of others.
63. Do not get pictures with celebrities.
64. Be your own judge.
65. Do not let your possessions define you.
66. Never talk about yourself, without allowing yourself the possibility of changing.
67. Accept that nothing is yours.
68. When you are asked what you think about something or someone, mention only their qualities.
69. When you fall ill, instead of hating this evil, consider it your teacher.
70. Do not look surreptitiously, stare steadily.
71. Do not forget the dead, but give them a limited place to prevent them from taking over your life.
72. In the place where you dwell, always consecrate a sacred place.
73. When you do a favor do not make others notice your effort.
74. If you decide to work for others, do it with pleasure.
75. If in doubt between doing and not doing, take risks and do.
76. Do not try to be everything to your partner, accept that he must seek in others the things you cannot give him.
77. When someone has an audience, do not disrupt them with the purpose of stealing their audience.
78. Live with the money you have earned.
79. Do not brag about your love affairs.
80. Do not take pride in your weaknesses.
81. Never visit someone just to fill your time.
82. Obtain with the purpose of sharing.
83. If you are meditating and a devil arrives, make the devil meditate.