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gurdjieff 2The Fourth Way refers to a concept used by G.I. Gurdjieff to describe an approach to self-development. [1] that combined what he saw as three established ways, or schools: that of the body, the emotions and the mind. [2] Gurdjieff referred to the concept as "The Work," "Work on oneself," or "The System." [3] The term "The Fourth Way" was used by P.D. Ouspensky in his lectures and writings. Posthumously, Ouspensky's students published a book entitled Fourth Way, based on his lectures.

According to this system, the chief difference between the three traditional schools, or ways, and the fourth way is that "they are permanent forms which have survived throughout history mostly unchanged, and are based on religion. Where schools of yogis, monks or fakirs exist, they are barely distinguishable from religious schools. The fourth way differs in that it is not a permanent way. It has no specific forms or institutions and comes and goes controlled by some particular laws of its own."

It always has some work of a specific import, and

  • “is never without some task around which and in connection with which it can alone exist. When this work is finished, that is to say, when the aim set before it has been accomplished, the fourth way disappears, that is, it disappears from the given place, disappears in its given form, continuing perhaps in another place in another form. Schools of the fourth way exist for the needs of the work which is being carried out in connection with the proposed undertaking. They never exist by themselves as schools for the purpose of education and instruction.” [4]

The Fourth Way mainly addresses the question of people's place in the Universe, their possibilities for inner development, and transcending the body to achieve a higher state of consciousness. It emphasized that people live their lives in a state referred to as "waking sleep", but that higher levels of consciousness and various inner abilities are possible. [5]

The Fourth Way teaches people how to increase and focus their attention and energy in various ways, and to minimize daydreaming and absentmindedness. [6] [7] According to this teaching, this inner development in oneself is the beginning of a possible further process of change, whose aim is to transform a man into what Gurdjieff taught he ought to be. [8]

Overview

Gurdjieff's followers believed he was a spiritual Master, [9] possessing higher consciousness; a human being who is fully awake or enlightened. He was also seen as an esotericist or occultist. [10] He agreed that the teaching was esoteric but claimed that none of it was veiled in secrecy; rather, Gurdjieff claimed that many people either don't have an interest or the capability to understand certain ideas. When asked about the teaching he was setting forth, Gurdjieff said, "The teaching whose theory is here being set out is completely self supporting and independent of other lines and it has been completely unknown up to the present time." The exact origins of Gurdjieff's teachings are unknown, but people have offered various sources. [11]

The Fourth Way teaches that humans are not born with a soul, and are not really Conscious, but only believe they are Conscious because of the socialization process. A person must create/develop a soul through the course of his life by following a teaching which can lead to this aim, or he will "die like a dog," and that men are born asleep, live in sleep and die in sleep, only imagining that they are awake. [12] The system also teaches that the ordinary waking "consciousness" of human beings is not consciousness at all but merely a form of sleep, and that actual higher Consciousness is possible.

As exercises in attention, Gurdjieff taught his pupils "sacred dances" or "movements", now known as Gurdjieff movements, which they performed together as a group. [13] Gurdjieff left a body of music inspired by what he heard in visits to remote monasteries and other places, which was written for piano in collaboration with one of his pupils, Thomas de Hartmann. [14]

Three ways

Gurdjieff taught that traditional paths to spiritual enlightenment followed one of three ways:

  • The Way of the fakir
  • The fakir works to obtain mastery of the attention (self-mastery) through struggles with the physical body involving difficult physical exercises and postures.
  • The Way of the monk
  • The monk (or nun) works to obtain the same mastery of the attention (self-mastery) through struggle with the affections, in the domain, as we say, of the heart, which has been emphasized in the west, and come to be known as the way of faith due to its practice particularly by Catholic religious.
  • The Way of the yogi
  • The yogi works to obtain the same mastery of the attention (as before: 'self mastery') through struggle with mental habits and capabilities.

Gurdjieff insisted that these paths – although they may intend to seek to produce a fully developed human being – tended in actuality to cultivate certain faculties at the expense of others. The goal of religion, the goal of spirituality was, in fact, to produce a well-balanced, responsive and sane human being capable of dealing with all manner of eventualities that life may present to them. Traditional methods as such generally failed to achieve this end. Gurdjieff therefore made it clear that it was necessary to cultivate a way that integrated and combined the traditional three ways. Gurdjieff saw himself as being one who presented such a teaching.

The Fourth Way

Gurdjieff said that his Fourth Way was a quicker means than the first three ways because it simultaneously combined work on all three centers rather than focusing on one as is done in the first three ways, that it could be followed by ordinary people in everyday life, requiring no retirement into the desert and it utilizes sexual energy not only in procreation but also in sublimation.

The Fourth Way does involve certain conditions imposed by a teacher, but blind acceptance of them is not encouraged. Each student is advised to do only what they understand, and to verify for themselves the veracity of the teaching's ideas.

By bringing together the way of the Fakir (Sufi tradition), the way of the Yogi (Hindu and Sikh traditions) and the way of the Monk (Christian and Buddhist traditions, amongst others) Gurdjieff clearly places the Fourth Way at a crossroads of differing beliefs. However, the Fourth Way bears striking similarities with such integral paths as, for instance, Natya Yoga, where the "divine acting" is one of the core concepts too.

One of the notable factors in Gurdjieff's teachings is that all different subjects fit together and relate to each other. Thus by studying one thing, Gurdjieff said that the person simultaneously studies many other subjects. [15]

Ouspensky documented Gurdjieff as saying that "two or three thousand years ago there were yet other ways which no longer exist and the ways now in existence were not so divided, they stood much closer to one another. The fourth way differs from the old and the new ways by the fact that it is never a permanent way. It has no definite forms and there are no institutions connected with it." [16]

In the book, "In Search of the Miraculous," it was noted that Gurdjieff taught that once the initial school with the real teacher is finished, all the other schools which try to continue the work presented by the initial school are no longer real.

Fake Schools

Ouspensky quotes Gurdjieff that there are fake schools and that "It is impossible to recognize a wrong way without knowing the right way. This means that it is no use troubling oneself how to recognize a wrong way. One must think of how to find the right way." [17]

Origins

In his autobiography, Gurdjieff credited certain people in Asia for many of his ideas, while he nevertheless did not divulge the origins of his system. For the origins of his system and his teachings various intellectual and spiritual debts have been suggested:

Similarities with other teachings

There are some similarities between the Fourth Way teaching and other spiritual teachings.

  • The stop exercise is similar to the Uqufi Zamani exercise in Omar Ali-Shah's book on the Rules or Secrets of the NaqshbandiSufi Order. [22]
  • The insistence on the realization in the waking state, the "waking up" techniques are very similar to those used in Karma yoga
  • Well after the promulgation of Gurdjieff’s ideas throughout the 1920s and '30s, subsequent writers have adopted various aspects of Gurdjieff’s teaching. Such is the case with Carlos Castaneda Don Juan's teaching. An example of this type of adaptation is Gurdjieff's moon symbolism, which asserts that humans aren't aware because of the moon. Don Juan taught that humans' awareness is eaten by higher beings. [23] In Gurdjieff, an undeveloped soul is annihilated at the moment of physical death and becomes "food for the Moon"; in Castaneda, "the Eagle" is the metaphor used for the consciousness-begotting and -destroying cosmic force. The only way to keep one's awareness to oneself after death is to offer an exact duplicate of one's every memory to the Eagle.
  • The teachings on psychology by Samael Aun Weor also seems to have adopted similarities to those of the previously established ideas of Gurdjieff except on Kundalini which is where they have radically different views. [24]
  • The integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother comprises similar techniques and a holistic way.
  • Chatral Rinpoche believes Gurdjieff spent several years in a monastery in the Swat valley. [33]
  • James George theorises that Surmang, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery now in China is the real Sarmoung monastery.
  • The "stop" exercise is similar to the Uqufi Zamani exercise in Omar Ali-Shah's book on the Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order. [34]
Teachings and teaching methods

The Fourth Way's focuses on raising the level of consciousness a person can experience, with the ultimate aim of creating a permanent higher level of consciousness. Specific methods are employed to achieve this aim, some of which are described below.

Self-Observation

One aspect is to strive to observe in one's self the certain behaviors and habits which are usually only observed in others, and to observe them in one's self as dispassionately as one may observe them in others; to observe one's self as an interesting stranger. Another aspect is to attempt to discover in one's self an attention that can differentiate between the actual thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are taking place at the moment, without judging or analyzing what is observed. [26]

The Need for Efforts

Gurdjieff emphasized that awakening results from consistent, prolonged efforts. These efforts are the ones that are made after a person is already exhausted and feels that he can't go anymore, but nevertheless he pushes himself.

The Many 'I's

Many I's is a term which indicates the different feelings and thoughts of ‘I’ in a person: I think, I want, I know best, I prefer, I am happy, I am hungry, I am tired, etc. These feelings and thoughts of ‘I’ usually have nothing in common with one another, and are present for short periods of time. They tie in directly with Gurdjieff's claim that man has no unity in himself. This lack of unity results in wanting one thing now, and another, perhaps contradictory, thing later.

Centers

Gurdjieff classified plants as having one center, animals two and humans three. Centers refer to apparatuses within a being that dictate specific organic functions. There are three main centers in a man: intellectual, emotional and physical, and two higher centers: higher emotional and higher intellectual.

Body, Essence and Personality

Gurdjieff divided people into three independent parts, that is, into Body, Essence and Personality.

  • Body is the physical functions of a body.
  • Essence - is a "natural part of a person" or "what he is born with"; this is the part of a being which is said to have the ability to evolve.
  • Personality - is everything artificial that he has "learned" and "seen".

Cosmic Laws

Gurdjieff focused on two main cosmic laws, the Law of Three and the Law of Seven.

  • The Law of Seven is described by Gurdjieff as "the first fundamental cosmic law". This law is used to explain processes. The basic use of the law of seven is to explain why nothing in nature and in life constantly occurs in a straight line, that is to say that there are always ups and downs in life which occur lawfully. Examples of this can be noticed in athletic performances, where a high ranked athlete always has periodic downfalls, as well as in nearly all graphs that plot topics that occur over time, such as the economic graphs, population graphs, death-rate graphs and so on. All show parabolic periods that keep rising and falling. Gurdjieff claimed that since these periods occur lawfully based on the law of seven that it is possible to keep a process in a straight line if the necessary shocks were introduced at the right time. A piano keyboard is an example of the law of seven, as the seven notes of the major scale correspond exactly to it.
  • The Law of Three is described by Gurdjieff as "the second fundamental cosmic law". This law states that every whole phenomenon is composed of three separate sources, which are Active, Passive and Reconciling or Neutral. This law applies to everything in the universe and humanity, as well as all the structures and processes. The Three Centers in a human, which Gurdjieff said were the Intellectual Centre, the Emotional Centre and the Moving Centre, are an expression of the law of three. Gurdjieff taught his students to think of the law of three forces as essential to transforming the energy of the human being. The process of transformation requires the three actions of affirmation, denial and reconciliation.

How the Law of Seven and Law of Three function together is said to be illustrated on the Fourth Way Enneagram, a nine-pointed symbol which is the central glyph of Gurdjieff's system.

Use of symbols

In his explanations Gurdjieff often used different symbols such as the Enneagram and the Ray of Creation. Gurdjieff said that "the enneagram is a universal symbol. All knowledge can be included in the enneagram and with the help of the enneagram it can be interpreted ... A man may be quite alone in the desert and he can trace the enneagram in the sand and in it read the eternal laws of the universe. And every time he can learn something new, something he did not know before." [27] The ray of creation is a diagram which represents the Earth's place in the Universe. The diagram has eight levels, each corresponding to Gurdjieff's laws of octaves.

Through the elaboration of the law of octaves and the meaning of the enneagram, Gurdjieff offered his students alternative means of conceptualizing the world and their place in it.

Working conditions and sacred dances

To provide conditions in which attention could be exercised more intensively, Gurdjieff also taught his pupils "sacred dances" or "movements" which they performed together as a group, and he left a body of music inspired by what he heard in visits to remote monasteries and other places, which was written for piano in collaboration with one of his pupils, Thomas de Hartmann.

Gurdjieff laid emphasis on the idea that the seeker must conduct his or her own search. The teacher cannot do the student's work for the student, but is more of a guide on the path to self-discovery. As a teacher, Gurdjieff specialized in creating conditions for students - conditions in which growth was possible, in which efficient progress could be made by the willing. To find oneself in a set of conditions that a gifted teacher has arranged has another benefit. As Gurdjieff put it, "You must realize that each man has a definite repertoire of roles which he plays in ordinary circumstances ... but put him into even only slightly different circumstances and he is unable to find a suitable role and for a short time he becomes himself."

Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man

Having migrated for four years after escaping the Russian revolution with dozens of followers and family members, Gurdjieff settled in France and established his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Château Le Prieuré at Fontainebleau-Avon in October 1922. [28] The institute was an esoteric school based on Gurdjieff's Fourth Way teaching. After nearly dying in a car crash in 1924, he recovered and closed down the Institute. He began writing All and Everything. From 1930, Gurdjieff made visits to North America where he resumed his teachings.

Ouspensky relates that in the early work with Gurdjieff in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Gurdjieff forbade students from writing down or publishing anything connected with Gurdjieff and his ideas. Gurdjieff said that students of his methods would find themselves unable to transmit correctly what was said in the groups. Later, Gurdjieff relaxed this rule, accepting students who subsequently published accounts of their experiences in the Gurdjieff work.

After Gurdjieff

After Gurdjieff's death in 1949 a variety of groups around the world have attempted to continue The Work. The Gurdjieff Foundation, the largest organization directly spawned by Mr. Gurdjieff, was organized by Jeanne de Salzmann during the early 1950s and was led by her, in cooperation with other direct pupils. [29]J. G. Bennett ran groups and also made contact with the Subud and Sufi schools to develop The Work in different directions. Maurice Nicoll, a Jungian psychologist, also ran his own groups based on Gurdjieff and Ouspensky's ideas. The French institute was headed for many years by Madam de Salzmann - a direct pupil of Gurdjieff. Under her leadership, the Gurdjieff Societies of London and New York were founded and developed.

There is debate regarding the ability to use Gurdjieff's ideas through groups. Some critics believe that none of Gurdjieff's students were able to raise themselves to his level of understanding. Proponents of the continued viability of Gurdjieff's system, and its study through the use of groups, however, point to Gurdjieff's insistence on the training of initiates in interpreting and disseminating the ideas that he expressed cryptically in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. This, combined with Gurdjieff's almost fanatical dedication to the completion of this text (Beelzebub's Tales), suggest that Gurdjieff himself intended his ideas to continue to be practiced and taught long after his death.

Other proponents are not concerned with external factors, but focus on the inner results achieved through a sincere practice of Gurdjieff's system.

In contrast, some former Gurdjieffians joined other movements, [31] [32] and there are a number of offshoots, and syntheses incorporating elements of the Fourth Way, such as:

The Enneagram is often studied in contexts that do not include other elements of Fourth Way teaching.

Gurdjieff's pupils

Gurdjieff's notable pupils include [30]:

Jeanne de Salzmann, originally a teacher of dance, recognized as his deputy by many of Gurdjieff's other pupils. She was responsible for transmitting the movements and teachings of Gurdjieff through the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, the Gurdjieff Institute of Paris and other groups.

Willem Nyland was, after Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff's closest pupil; he was appointed for an undisclosed special task by Gurdjieff in the USA. At present, Mr. Nyland's groups exist in small concentrations across the United States, most notably at two locations, one termed "The Barn" in rural New York, and another termed "The Land" in Northern California. These groups are thought to be unique amongst recognized Gurdjieff groups, in that they are the only groups to have recorded their original meetings, resulting in an audio library in excess of many thousands of hours featuring almost exclusively talks by an first-hand student of Gurdjieff.

Henry John Sinclair, 2nd Baron Pentland was a pupil of Ouspensky for many years during the 1930s and 1940s. He began to study intensely with Gurdjieff in 1948. He was appointed by Gurdjieff as his representative to publish Beelzebub's Tales, and then Gurdjieff appointed him to lead the Work in North America. He became president of the Gurdjieff Foundation when it was established in New York in 1953 and remained in that position until his death.

Jane Heap, an American publisher met Gurdjieff during his 1924 visit to New York, and set up a Gurdjieff study group at her apartment in Greenwich Village. In 1925, she moved to Paris, to study at Gurdjieff’s Institute, and in 1935 to London in 1935 to set up a new study group.

Peter D. Ouspensky, a Russian esoteric philosopher met Gurdjieff in 1916 and spent the next few years studying with him, later forming his own independent groups which also focused on the Fourth Way. Author of In Search of the Miraculous.

Thomas de Hartmann, a Russian composer and prominent student and collaborator of Gurdjieff; first met Gurdjieff in 1916 in Saint Petersburg. From 1917 to 1929 he was a pupil and confidant of Gurdjieff. During that time, at Gurdjieff's Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man near Paris, de Hartmann transcribed and co-wrote much of the music that Gurdjieff collected and used for his movements exercises. Olga de Hartmann was Gurdjieff's personal secretary for many years. Olga collected many of Gurdjieff's early talks in the book Views from the Real World (1973).

Alfred Richard Orage, a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. In 1924 Orage was appointed by Gurdjieff as the assistant of another old follower of Gurdjieff to lead study groups in America, but due to Gurdjieff’s near to death automobile accident, the one who was supposed to lead the groups never went to US and Orage decided to lead the groups on his own initiation.

Maurice Nicoll became a pupil of Gurdjieff in 1922. A year later when Gurdjieff closed his institute, he joined Ouspensky's group. In 1931 he followed Ouspensky's advice and started his own groups in England. He is perhaps best known as the author of the five volume series of texts on the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky: Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky (Boston: Shambhala, 1996 and Samuel Weiser Inc., 1996).

John G. Bennett, a British technologist, industrial research director, and author best known for his many books on psychology and spirituality, and particularly the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, whom Bennett met in Istanbul in 1921.

Books about Gurdjieff and The Fourth Way
  • In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky, 1949 (numerous editions)
  • The Fourth Way by P. D. Ouspensky, 1957
  • Teachings of Gurdjieff: a Pupil's Journal by C. S. Nott, 1962
  • Our Life with Mr Gurdjieff by Thomas and Olga de Hartmann, definitive edition,1964, definitive [3rd] edition, 1992
  • The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution by P. D. Ouspensky, 1978
  • The Harmonious Circle by James Webb, 1980
  • Gurdjieff: the Anatomy of a Myth by James Moore, 1991
  • Idiots in Paris by J.G. Bennett and Elizabeth Bennett, 1991
  • Gurdjieff and Orage: Brothers in Elysium, by Paul Beekman Taylor
  • Gurdjieff's America: Mediating the Miraculous by Paul Beekman Taylor, 2004
  • Gurdjieffian Confessions: a Self Remembered by James Moore, 2005
  • G. I. Gurdjieff: a New Life by Paul Beekman Taylor, 2008

Videos and DVDs about The Fourth Way and Gurdjieff

References
  1. P.D. Ouspensky (1949), In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 2
  2. P.D. Ouspensky (1949), In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 15
  3. Gurdjieff International Review
  4. P.D. Ouspensky (1949), In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 15
  5. G. I. Gurdjieff and His School by Jacob Needleman Professor of Philosophy
  6. G.I. Gurdjieff (first privately printed in 1974). Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am'
  7. Olga de Hartmann (1973). Views from the Real World, Energy and Sleep
  8. G.I. Gurdjieff (1950). Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson
  9. Meetings with Remarkable Men, Translator's Note
  10. Gurdjieff article in The Skeptic's dictionary by Robert Todd Carroll
  11. Anthony Storr Feet of Clay, p. 26, Simon & Schuster, 1997 ISBN 978-0-684-83495-5
  12. P. D. Ouspensky In Search of the Miraculous, p. 66, Harcourt Brace & Co., 1977 ISBN 0-15-644508-5
  13. Gurdjieff Heritage Society Book Excerpts
  14. Thomas de Hartmann: A Composer’s Life by John Mangan
  15. Olga de Hartmann (1973). Views from the Real World, Glimpses of Truth
  16. In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky p. 312
  17. In Search of The Miraculous (Chapter 10)
  18. Idries Shah: The Way of the Sufi, Part 1, Notes and Bibliography, Note 35
  19. [1]
  20. [2]
  21. The Fourth Way Bennett's last public lecture, available on CD from J. G. Bennet website).[3]
  22. Omar Ali-Shah: The Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Order. See also: Eleven Naqshbandi principles.
  23. The Active Side of Infinity by Carlos Castaneda.
  24. PierLuigi Zoccatelli, Note a margine dell’influsso di G. I. Gurdjieff su Samael Aun Weor (English translation available online), Aries. Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism, Brill Academic Publishers, vol. 5, n. 2 (2005), pp. 255-275
  25. G.I. Gurdjieff (1950). Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, pg 242
  26. Gurdjieff & the Further Reaches of Self-Observation, an article by Dennis Lewis
  27. A Lecture by G.I. Gurdjieff
  28. Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man
  29. The Gurdjieff Foundation
  30. http://www.gurdjieff.org/ (click "His Pupils" on the left side)
  31. Neo-Sufism: The Case of Idries Shah
  32. Gurdjieff and Bennett
  33. Meetings with Three Tibetan Masters
  34. Omar Ali-Shah:The Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Order. See also: Eleven Naqshbandi principles.

External links

Fourth Way Introduction

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The psychology of George Gurdjieff: Implications for counseling

The psychology of George Gurdjieff: Implications for counseling

  The psychology of George Gurdjieff: Implications for counseling     From: Counselling, Psychotherapy and Health Click to view larger image Abstract This paper examines aspects of the teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff in the light of the current knowledge base of contemporary applied psychology, and in particular, that of current counselling theory and practice.  It focusses on enunciating relevant aspects of Gurdjieff’s teaching in the idiom of modern day psychology and counselling theory so as to draw out the parallels between some of the ideas of the major schools of thought in psychology and the coinciding resonances of those same ideas in Gurdjieff’s teaching. It is argued that there are many such resonances, and given this, there is great potential for a meeting of Gurdjieff’s ideas and counselling practices.  It is further argued that Gurdjieff’s teaching, or at least certain aspects of it, hold the potential to help extend our understanding of many matters of a psychological...

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Debt of Existence

Debt of Existence

Click to view larger image   Debt of Existence    From: JG Bennett website – by Ben Hitchner My experiences with wonderful Teachers, John Bennett and Joseph Rael. Beautiful Painted Arrow contributed to the derivatives of this paper. Kali Yuga Kali Yuga from the Hindu knowledge of cosmic cycles has this a dark time of reduced spirituality and progressive materialization. Civilization especially in the West has rendered an enlightened view of materialism but left obscured the spiritualization of existence. Revealing information and teachings have now come forth in the crisis of the ending of the Kali Yuga long-term cycle.

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Entropy and the Laws of World-creation and World-maintenance

Entropy and the Laws of World-creation and World-maintenance

  Entropy and the Laws of World-creation and World-maintenance       From: Gurdjieff Internet Guide “In the beginning, when nothing yet existed and when the whole of our Universe was empty endless space ... our Most Great and Most Most Holy Sun Absolute existed alone in all this empty space. . . It was just during this period of the flow of time that there appeared to our Creator All-Maintainer the imperative need to create our now-existing Megalocosmos, that is, our World. . . The Sun Absolute, on which He dwelt with His cherubim and seraphim, was almost imperceptibly, yet steadily, diminishing in volume. As this fact ascertained by Him appeared very serious, He decided to review immediately all the laws which maintained the existence of that still unique cosmic concentration. During this review, it became clear to our Omnipotent Creator for the first time that the cause of this gradual diminishing of the volume of the Sun Absolute was...

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Sly Man and the Devil

Sly Man and the Devil

  The Sly Man and the Devil       by: Tony Lutz Is it possible the Fourth Way is but another limited hangout? It undoubtedly was a release of previously hidden information, but was it done in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details? If so what are the missing details? Could there possibly be missing information that is even more important for a seeker to understand than the fundamental concepts of self-remembering, identification, unnecessary talk and negative emotions? Here we examine the story The Sly Man and the Devil. —  Gurdjieff's reply to questions about the origins of the Fourth Way. The story can be found under the "Excerpt" tab below. Apparently, due to the wealth of information contained and the verifiable results produced, its origins are of little consequence to those who study and practice "the work".

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What is the Work?

What is the Work?

  What is the Work?       by: Tony Lutz Gurdjieff strongly condemned masturbation, contraception and homosexuality as affronts to the proper order of nature. (LINK) I guess that helps to explain why he was a prolific unconscious procreater. I give that label to Gurdjieff not to diminish his contribution to the collective wisdom, but to merely point out his normalcy bias (ostrich effect). [edit: 02/10/14 | According to Mark Pilkington,"He was highly charismatic and a notorious womaniser, said to have fathered over 100 children."] Much has been written about what "the Work" is (see here, here, and here). My intention is not to restate that which has been well defined. I've been trying to come up with a suitable allegory for the Work, and what first came to mind is an automobile factory in which new cars are manufactured (new-born human beings), but soon after being driven off the assembly line the air filter is removed, the tires are slashed, it's then run on the rims and...

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Confluence and waking sleep

Confluence and waking sleep

Confluence and waking sleep       From:  Cassiopaea Glossary Moravieff uses the term confluence to designate a peculiar hypnotic state in man where he is identified with the mental currents that flow through him and mistaking the thoughts that are engendered from this current as his own thoughts. Man's submersion into this mental current is what Gurdjieff calls 'waking sleep' or 'relative consciousness' and it is this level of consciousness that an ordinary man is born into, lives his everyday life, and then dies, without ever waking up into more objective states of awareness.

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Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949

Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949

  Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949       by: Tony Lutz A couple of days ago, I posted How I began "the Work". Today, I was thinking about that title, and the fact that few people would have any idea as to what "the Work" is and means. So, I set about looking for a web page that I could copy which provided a brief and easy to understand definition of what exactly the Work is. I browsed at least 20 web pages, but did not find what I was looking for. What I see is a repeat of the basic definition as quoted below from The Gurdjieff Foundation: The Gurdjieff work remains above all essentially an oral tradition, transmitted under specially created conditions from person to person, continually unfolding, without fixed doctrinal beliefs or external rites, as a way toward freeing humanity from the waking sleep that holds us in a kind of hypnotic illusion.– The Gurdjieff Work Today To me, that is "The...

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Sense and Significance

Sense and Significance

  Sense and Significance     by: Tony Lutz Gurdjieff's Lifelong Question What is the sense and significance of life on Earth, Click for footnote ¹    [1] “What is the sense and significance of life on Earth,    and human life in particular?”      (a typical "answer" is given below ↓) Excerpts from: The Gurdjieff Studies Program - G.I. Gurdjieff      At an early age he awakened to a profound experience of the "whole sensation" of himself, a deep, dimensional self-remembering that became the foundation of his Being. Thus at an early age, Gurdjieff had already realized a high degree of being.      Experiencing wars and descrution, and the mindless mechanicality of man who he saw as asleep to their self and so living in needless confusion and misery, the question burned in him: What is the sense and significance of life on Earth and human life in particular? Feeling "an irrepressible striving" to discover why is there life on earth, what purpose does it serve, if any, Gurdjieff...

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Remember Yourself

Remember Yourself

  Remember Yourself       From: gapingvoid [Today's guest post comes from Mark McGuinness.] “Remember yourself always and everywhere.” These words were inscribed on the walls of the study house of the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Château Le Prieuré, Fontainebleau-Avon, the home of the esoteric teacher George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. They summarised the essence of his teaching and were written there as a reminder to his students. Gurdjieff taught that human beings are divided into two parts: Essence and Personality. Essence in man is what is his own. Personality in man is what is ‘not his own.’ ‘Not his own’ means what has come from outside, what he has learned, or reflects, all traces of exterior impressions left in the memory and in the sensations, all words and movements that have been learned, all feelings created by imitation … “Essence is the truth in man; personality is the false. But in proportion as personality grows, essence...

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Man Is in a Prison

Man Is in a Prison

  Man Is in a Prison       From: fourth way® gurdjieff ouspensky school When I was younger, for my sins, I spent time locked up in several of Her Majesty's prisons. In this Work Mr. Gurdjieff and others have often made use of the analogy that Man is in a Prison, of the need to escape his situation and of what realizations and efforts are required. When I look back upon my experiences of suddenly finding myself in prison – the austere and cramped conditions, the atmosphere and rules and regulations, the loss of what little dignity I had – I am immediately struck by how quickly one adjusts to the alien and hostile environment one finds oneself in. It immediately becomes normal and acceptable.

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The Mevlevi Path Versus Gurdjieffism

The Mevlevi Path Versus Gurdjieffism

  The Mevlevi Path Versus Gurdjieffism    Why Gurdjieff's "Fourth Way" Teachings are not Compatible with the Mevlevi Sufi Way by Ibrahim Gamard, 11/6/04, revised 12/3/05 ♦ From: Dar-Al-Masnavi The Present Confusion The following article is intended to share information, based on the author's conclusions after studying this subject for many years. Though it may be controversial, the intent is to stimulate respectful discussion — not angry debate. And the aim is certainly not to blame or condemn individuals currently involved practices based on Gurdjieff's teachings. After all, a number of contemporary Mevlevis in Western countries were themselves trained through such teachings to some extent, and report that it was quite helpful in preparing them for the Mevlevi dervish path. There has been much confusion for decades about the so-called "sufi origins" of Gurdjieff's teachings, beliefs that Gurdjieff himself was a sufi (of the "blame-seeking" [malâmâtî] kind, as some have speculated) and assumptions that the spiritual training he...

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The Five Strivings

The Five Strivings

  The Five Strivings   All the beings of this planet then began to work in order to have in their consciousness this Divine function of genuine conscience, and for this purpose, as everywhere in the Universe, they transubstantiated in themselves what are called the ‘being-obligolnian-strivings’ which consist of the following five… - Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson

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Gurdjieff, Beelzebub, and Zecharia Sitchin

Gurdjieff, Beelzebub, and Zecharia Sitchin

  Gurdjieff, Beelzebub, and Zecharia Sitchin       From: Dark Star For a couple of years between 1999 and 2001 I was part of a private and informal online group of researchers from around the world engaged in study of the so-called “secret history” of the human race. This involved looking into ancient scriptures and texts from Sanskrit, Sumerian, and Hebrew sources amongst other things.

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