“The energy spent on active inner work is then and there transformed into a fresh supply, but that spent on passive work is lost forever.” -G.I. Gurdjieff 
What did Gurdjieff mean by “… active inner work”? I believe he meant consciousness-raising. In his writings he refers to it as doing the Work. He capitalized Work every time he was referring to working on ourselves. In Celestial Psychology we call it Holy Work because it truly is the way to the divine. Mastering our emotions, thoughts, actions, and energy body is actually the highest form of work a human being can do. In his book, Gurdjieff: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas, John Shirley paraphrases Gurdjieff on this topic:
“Then and now, there are some- alcoholics, addicts, and others [with mental illness]- for whom Work on oneself is a lifeline, is their only hope as they thrash in the turning chaos of their lives. Such people may be more deeply motivated than other Seekers. They’ve been to the bottom– and feel the only way to stay free of it for good is to keep moving steadfastly, if slowly, toward the heights.”  pg. 77
Since introduced to his teachings in the 70s I have hung on to this notion that there is no more nobler work in life than consciousness-raising as my personal life-line. Let me know if this concept helps or has helped you in any way.