The following text comes from the notes taken at a lecture by Gurdjieff given in New York on 6th February 1931.
There are two parts to air, evolving and involving. Involving part only, gives vivifyingness to “I.” Only enough of this part is taken now for the Trogoautoegocrat. Not until you have a conscious wish can you assimilate more of this good part of air. This involving part comes from the Prime Source.
The secret of being able to assimilate the involving part of air is to try to realize your own insignificance, and the insignificance of those around you. You are mortal and will die some day. The person on whom your attention rests is your neighbor. He will also die. Both of you are nonentities. At present most of your suffering is “suffering in vain” which comes from a feeling of anger and jealousy toward others. If you gain data to always realize the inevitability of their death, and your own death, you will always feel pity toward others and be just, because most of their manifestations which displease you are only because of someone having stepped on their “corns” or also because of the sensitiveness of your own “corns,” but you cannot see this. Put yourself in the position of others. They have the same significance as you. They will die, like you; they suffer as you do.
Only if you always try to sense this insignificance until it becomes a habit whenever you see anyone, only then, you will be able to assimilate the good part of air and have a real “I.”
Every man has wishes and things which he holds dear that he will lose at death. From looking at your neighbor and realizing his insignificance, that he will die, pity and compassion will arise in you for him and finally you will love him.
By continually doing this exercise, real faith will arise in some part and spread to other parts. Then, already, you will be happy because from this faith, objective hope will arise, hope of a basis for continuation.