“… The most general definition of what aim means in the Work sense is that it is to hear what the Work teaches and to do what it says.”
Setting and attempting to follow aim is one of the main efforts of attention the Work asks of us. Even if we see that we failed in our aim, but continue to Work in retrospect, we still benefit; nothing is lost. Aim in the Work gives us direction.
Aims in the Work have different scales. We may have an aim on the scale of experiencing inner liberation. Our smaller, daily aims (such as struggle against the expression of negativity or observe tone of voice) are in service to these greater aims.
“You may see something in the far distance as your aim but in order to get to it you find that many lesser aims are necessary. … Mr. Ouspensky said that aim is like this: You see far off a light that you wish to reach. But on approaching it, you find many lesser lights, like lampposts along a road, that you must pass one by one, before you attain the final aim.”…
“Aim in the Work is always connected with the act of Self-remembering. This is because in the state of Self-remembering a man can receive help, which cannot reach him in his ordinary states of consciousness. … If, at the same time as he remembers himself he remembers his aim, he may get help. For example, he may understand his aim better.
“Aim may be too general, or contain an inner contradiction, or be too difficult; or it may be too complicated and must be broken up into simpler parts; or it may have no sense in it. In making aim people usually try to run before they can walk.
“In regard to Work on Being, the first aim in this Work is self-knowledge – knowledge of one’s Being. This applies to everyone. Knowledge of the Work is one thing: self-knowledge is another thing. Without self-knowledge you cannot make any aim about yourself. … All the many things you are told not to do, and the few things you are told to do, in the Work, are connected with the idea that Man can awaken from sleep and come under better influences. This is the grand aim of the Work. You must never forget this because personal aim must agree with the whole aim of the Work, which is awakening. It must lie in the same direction and not in some other or opposite one, because otherwise a contradiction appears. If you are studying a system about awaking from sleep, you cannot make a personal aim that causes you to sleep more deeply than ever.
“Personal aim can only begin after some real self-knowledge is gained through direct observation in the light of the instructions of the Work. In order to work on your Being, you must see something in your Being to work on. …
“So you must distinguish between life and the Work. There may be no reason why you should not do something in life, but every reason why you should not do it in the Work. Unless you make this distinction, you will be in a confusion about the meaning of aim in the Work. …
– All quotations from Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries. “Personal Aim,” Vol. 1, pp. 171-174
See pages 175-176 in Volume 1 for personal aim suggestions.