Sojourner Pass Community is an arena of "Work". But the term, "work," extends far beyond the idea of survival. It is the quality of one's inner life, which is being taught as well as worked upon at The School. To express, to clear out, to make conscious what is unconscious, to shine a light on one's internal dark spots is the inner work. Any moment may be used to do that. The Sojourner Pass Community within all of its daily obligations, is the stage upon which the personal struggle to become more than one's self, is played out. It is the backdrop against which one begins to observe one's self as well as the multiple selves of others. Being demanded to do more physically, mentally as well as emotionally than one is used to doing all are used to see as well as help change habits, patterns and reactions which limit the self as well as the spirit.
J. G. Bennett, a student of Gurdjieff, writes in his book, Transformations, "if we can bear to see ourselves, and go on seeing, the conscious energy begins to concentrate, and our will has the chance to doing something about it far more effectively than our usual mechanical reactionswe can scarcely ever observe any mental activity unless we struggle with it. Struggle brings the conscious energy that makes 'inner seeing' possible. Struggle consists in checking the manifestation of some mental process, and this is quite different from eradication the tendency to do it."
The School at Sojourner Pass Community is a place to concentrate conscious energy. It is set up as well as organized for its students to see and to go on seeing. Students work to observe mechanical reactions, to stop for a moment so as to be able to choose, consciously, a positive, conscious way of acting. Students strive to express rather than repress mechanically, but also by observing one's self as well as others. Students consciously aim not to attach or identify with incidents or events. Community support is invaluable in amplifying the effects of these efforts; if one person flounders, slides or alters the truth to avoid personal responsibility, other are there to see, remind point out as well as lift up. Most students have probably experienced something similar. There is a strong group aim to see as well as to bring to light issues that lie at the heart of any problems.
At the end of his second book on Gurdjieff, Nott writes the following paragraph:
Many people are becoming interested in Gurdjieff's Teachings and most want just to be interested. When their vanity and self-love begin to be hurt, as it must in any group, pupils take offenses and leave. Yet, those who can compel themselves to see themselves as they are, whatever the suffering, reap a rich reward...they begin to live, they become the twice born. The practice of this Teaching is the most difficult thing in the world. Everything is against - both the inside and the outside - the knowing of ourselves, against efforts to be conscious of ourselves. The Sufi's call it 'Sirat', a road or path, a bridge from the old life to the new, but by following the path and crossing the bridge a man receives blessings beyond price.