“For twenty-four hours, wait; and after twenty-four hours, whatever comes to you, go and do.”
When you are kind to someone, don’t you feel a certain joy? A certain peace? A certain meaningfulness? Don’t you feel that you are contented with what you have done? There is a kind of deep satisfaction. Have you ever felt that contentment when you are angry, when you are boiling with anger, when you hurt somebody, when you are mad with rage? Have you ever felt a peace, a silence descending in you? No, it is impossible.
You will certainly feel something, but it will be a sadness that you again acted like a fool, that again you have done the same stupid thing that you decided again and again not to do. You will feel a tremendous unworthiness in yourself. You will feel that you are not a man but a machine, because you don’t respond, you react. A man may have done something, and you reacted. That man had the key in his hands, and you just danced according to his desire; he had power over you.
When somebody abuses you and you start fighting, what does it mean? It means that you don’t have any capacity not to react.
Gurdjieff’s father was dying.
His last words to Gurdjieff are immensely significant; perhaps no father has ever advised a son with such a great insight. And Gurdjieff was only nine years old, so his father said, “I know you may not be able to understand right now what I am saying, but I have no more time, I have to say it now. But you have time – just remember the words. Whenever you have enough maturity to understand what these words mean, then act on these words. But don’t forget! Remember, it is a simple sentence.”
He told Gurdjieff to repeat the sentence three times, so he could die peacefully.
And he said, “Forgive me because I am not leaving any inheritance to you except this sentence.”
And what was the sentence? – a very simple sentence. He said: “Remember, if somebody creates anger in you, tell the person you will come back after twenty-four hours to answer him. For twenty-four hours, wait; and after twenty-four hours, whatever comes to you, go and do.”
Strange advice, but not strange if you understand. And this simple advice changed Gurdjieff’s whole life.