Twenty-four Hours Is All It Takes


Postpone your anger for twenty-four hours and you will no longer be angry.

“When Gurdjieff’s father died, Gurdjieff was only nine years old. The father was poor. He called Gurdjieff close to him and told him, ‘I have nothing to give you as your inheritance. I am so poor, but my father was also poor, and he gave me one thing that made me the richest man in the world – although the outer poverty remained the same. I can only transfer the same to you.

“’It is some advice. Perhaps you are too young and you may not be able to do it right now, but remember it. When you are able to act according to the advice, act according to it. And the advice is simple. I will repeat it, and because I am dying, listen carefully and repeat before me what I have said, so I can die satisfied that I have transferred the message that may have come down from father to son for centuries.’

Give a gap of twenty-four hours

“The message was simple. The father said, ‘If somebody insults you, irritates you, annoys you, just tell him, “I have received your message, but I have promised my father that I will answer only after twenty-four hours.

“I know you are angry, I have understood it. I will come after twenty-four hours and answer you.”

“And the same with anything – give a gap of twenty-four hours.’

“A nine-year-old boy repeated what the father had said, and the father died. But because it was such a moment, the message became engraved. As he repeated the message, the father said, ‘Good. My blessings will be with you, and now I can die peacefully.’ He closed his eyes and died. And Gurdjieff, even though he was nine, started practicing what had been given to him.

“Somebody will insult him, and he will say, ‘I will come after twenty-four hours to answer you because that’s what I have promised my dying father. Right now I cannot answer you.’ Somebody may beat him, and he will say, ‘You can beat me right now, but I cannot answer. After twenty-four hours I will come and answer you, because I have promised my dying father.’

“And later on he used to say to his disciples, ‘That simple message transformed me totally, because the person was beating me but I was not going to react at that moment, so there was no question except to watch. I had nothing to do do: now the person was beating me, I just had to be a spectator. For twenty-four hours there was nothing to do.

“‘And watching the man created a new kind of crystallization in me.

“And after twenty-four hours I could see more clearly. At the moment when he was beating me it was impossible to see clearly. My eyes were full of anger. If I had answered at that moment I would have wrestled with the man, I would have hit the man, and everything would have been an unconscious reaction.

“‘But after twenty-four hours I thought about it more calmly, more quietly. Either he was right – I had done something wrong and I needed, deserved, to be beaten, to be insulted – or he was absolutely wrong. If he was right, there was nothing to say in answer to him except to go and give him thanks. If he was absolutely wrong, there was no point at all fighting with a man who is utterly stupid and goes on doing such wrong things. It is meaningless, is wasting time. He does not deserve any answer.’

After twenty-four hours everything has settled down

“So after twenty-four hours everything had settled down and a clarity was there. And with that clarity and the watchfulness of the moment, together, Gurdjieff changed into one of the most unique beings of this age. And this was the basic foundation of his whole crystallization of being.

“You are always out – just watch. And the mind is always in – don’t be identified with it. Unidentified, you will become more and more clear, and the mind will die on its own accord.

The birth of watchfulness is the beginning of your evolution

“And the death of the mind and the birth of watchfulness is the beginning of your evolution. And the light will not be far away – it is the light. And the darkness will be gone, because when you are light, darkness cannot be around you.

“That’s why I said that watchfulness is not a technique, it is your nature. Just remember it.”

Osho, The Path of the Mystic, Talk #12

Suggested reading: OSHO: Emotions: Freedom from Anger, Jealousy and Fear