Home 2021 July 03 Reflection on the Super-Efforts in the Spiritual Work

Reflection on the Super-Efforts in the Spiritual Work

“Within the intellectual animal exist tremendous possibilities that the mechanics of evolution cannot develop. Thus, these possibilities must either be developed or lost, because there exist no mechanical law for these possibilities to develop by themselves.

The development of such latent possibilities is only possible in well-defined conditions, and this demands tremendous, individual super-efforts and efficient assistance granted by those Masters who have already done the work in the past.”
~ Samael Aun Weor

For the spiritual work to succeed, appropriate steps need to be taken. We all start from wherever we stand, and move from there towards complete inner purification and transformation. The more we progress on the Path, the more it is expected of us. In other words, we may start the spiritual work slowly, gradually feeling out the new spiritual environment in which we are immersing ourselves, but with every stage we reach we will need to increase our efforts if we are to reach a higher stage. That is especially poignant for the initiations of the Second and the Third mountain, but even before that point, a lot of effort needs to be applied to progress in the most optimal way.

Some spiritual teachers, such as Samael Aun Weor and Gurdjeff, have called this type of efforts the super-efforts.  In a book called In Search of Miraculous, Gurdjieff is quoted giving an analogy to better understand what such efforts even mean:

“Super-effort means an effort beyond the effort that is necessary to achieve a given purpose. Imagine that I have been walking all day and am very tired. The weather is bad, it is raining and cold. In the evening I arrive home. I have walked, perhaps, twenty-five miles. In the house there is supper; it is warm and pleasant. But, instead of sitting down to supper, I go out into the rain again and decide to walk another two miles along the road and then return home. This would be a supper-effort. While I was going home it was simply an effort and this does not count. I was on my way home, the cold, hunger, the rain – all this made me walk. In the other case I walk because I myself decided to do so.”
~ G.I. Gurdjieff

The same teacher has also said that only the super-efforts count. The meaning of this is worthy of reflection. Some of the questions that one can ponder on are in the line of: “What are the super-efforts in the spiritual work? How can I know that I am applying enough efforts? Can I apply more efforts than I do now? What is expected of me to reach the goals of the Work?”

A simple answer to those questions would be to seek for the answers that we get in dreams, because over there we are shown how we are doing, and based on that we can modify our actions, approaches and efforts. However, we do not always receive clear-cut information regarding our inner work; sometimes it is expected of us to figure things out on our own, as part of a greater learning. The more dedicated we are to achieve the goal of the inner work, the more will our life become impregnated with events and situations created for passing of tests and initiations, and the dream life becomes a night class where we are taught and shown many things. Our dreams become a reflection of our inner work, and through them, we can learn a lot about how we are doing in the school of daily life. With each particle of consciousness that is liberated from the shackles of the egos, we receive greater and greater strength to live life from the state of awakeness, and it is this kind of strength that is needed to progress.

The super-efforts are not about being tensed-up all day in the mind, emotion and action, but rather doing things or acting from the point of the consciousness that is increasing. The increasing consciousness brings a lot of things with it, such as peace, virtues and a type of energy-power that is centered in the heart but can be felt beyond it, united with the free consciousness that is located in the head. The head, the heart, and the space around and between those is where we may feel our increasing sense of self – the true self and not the false personality – and from there we draw our strength for the super-efforts. In practical terms this means to push through the spiritual agenda that we have for each day, the plan we have for our spiritual progress, to be in the state of self-remembrance throughout the whole day, to self-observe the egos and to be detached from them, to die to them as much as possible, knowing why we must die from moment to moment, doing the necessary practices, giving of ourselves so that others can progress and experience of spirituality what we have experience of it, avoiding selfishness, gossip, criticism, mindless chatter, and any loss of energy. By so doing we are nurturing the call of the Being, and the efforts spontaneously increase. In the spiritual work the super-efforts are more inner than outer, though the inner efforts catalyze the outer efforts so that we become much more efficient in every respect.

As Samael has mentioned in the first quoted text, the super-efforts must be supported by the help of the Masters who are self-realized, if we wish to progress from initiation to initiation, and for this to take place we need to fulfill their requirements. A lot of it comes down to our sincerity in wanting to transform ourselves inwardly, but also to the efforts we apply to cleanse ourselves of the egos, because by so doing the light starts increasing within and with it the wish to help others. The latter is how a large part of the requirement is met, through concrete action of service to others, so essential if we are to progress to higher and higher stages of the Path, simultaneously being enabled to increase the efforts done from moment to moment.

HDP, July 2021.

Author: Dario


  1. I believe I understand what Gurdjieff meant, but didn’t he explain that rather poorly? “Super-effort means an effort beyond the effort that is necessary to achieve a given purpose.” If you have achieved the given purpose, every effort after that cannot be towards the same goal but rather the next one? Or not?

    • That sentence you quoted is in the context of the analogy. The latter shows what the super-efforts mean through the story of doing additional walking when tired and in rain, instead of just staying at home where it is warm, though there was no need to go out again. Applying this example to the spiritual work, we could say that for someone to feel better it is enough to do one or two practices a day, but to achieve the self-realization it takes much more than that.

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