Fourth Way | George Gurdjieff | Be Community

Posted: December 23, 2018 at 4:47 am

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Self-remembering is the bridge between knowledge and wisdom. It is an effort to be aware of oneself in the present, to break away from whatever imaginary world one may have delved in a moment ago and return to reality. It is an instantaneous internal reorganization: pushing ones mechanical thoughts and emotions to the background while bringing ones Higher Self to the forefront remembering ones Self.

Gurdjieff introduced self-remembering in one of his early talks with his Russian students, inviting them to share what they had seen by observing themsveles. None had noticed the most important fact: that they didnt remember themselves. Ouspensky, who narrates this discussion, begins experimenting with self-remembering and subsequently realizes its key role in the work towards consciousness.Here, as before, Gurdjieff borrows and translates an old practice. The Upanishads were an extensive treatise on the Self, on the need to remember it and bring it to the forefront. Sufism speaks of Remembrance of God in terms very similar to Gurdjieffs later expression. But the term God had lost its meaning by the twentieth century, associated too deeply with religions connotations that prevented people from relating to it practically. Gurdjieff was translating older systems into language palatable to modern western man.

Hence the difference between the system and the Fourth Way: while the system is Gurdjieffs twentieth-century expression, the Fourth Way is the sum of all past and present expressions of this way the long body of tradition that appeared and disappeared on the stage of mankind.

Earlier expressions of the Fourth Way would not have called themselves Fourth Way. Gurdjieff called his presentation Fourth Way to distinguish it as one of four possible ways to awakening. All four lead to the same end: awakening of consciousness, becoming real, being able to Be. The spiritual paths that lead to that same goal, however, may differ in character, like different roads leading to a similardestination.

We will not expound on the three ways to avoid straying from our main focus. These are well described in In Search of the Miraculous. What isnt clearly emphasized there, however, is that, while Gurdjieff presents three archetypes of ways based on human types, this is true only in theory. In practice, any way will prove a blend of all three ways with a center of gravity on one. The Fourth Way differs from these in that it strives to blend all three ways harmoniously.We say strive, for that is the idea. Normally, though, a teaching will begin as Fourth Way and evolve to place emphasis on one aspect over the others. It may gradually assume an emotional, religions hue; or it may gradually assume an intellectual, academic hue. This seems to have happened in both Gurdjieff and Ouspenskys teachings, where each began at a similar place but gradually gravitated towards an emphasis closer to his own natural tendency; for Gurdjieff it was physical movement, for Ouspensky it was intellectual discussion.

A fundamental aspect of the Fourth Way, absent in most modern practices of spirituality, is that the spiritual evolution of man has to be linked to a scale greater than man. Man does not evolve solely for his own benefit. He is generally not meant to evolve spiritually, but serves organic purposes, for which his normal undeveloped condition is sufficient. Evolution is a rare exception, a going against the stream, an escape from the general law.

The reason spiritual evolution is, at all, possible, is because its benefit to a higher cosmos. Parallel to the downward movement of universal growth of the endless physical expansion of the universe there exists an upwards movement towards consciousness, for which a minority of conscious individuals is indispensable. These are the broad and narrow ways mentioned in the Gospels and likened by Gurdjieff to acorns in a field. Of the billions of acorns produced each year, how many will mature into trees?

The Fourth Way is, therefore, exclusive by definition. It is not for all. It flatters none. Neither is it a path that can be traveled half-heartedly. It is a last resort, a way for those disappointed with everything else, who have sought yet havent found. It is a way for disillusioned people who know too much who know they have nothing to lose.

Fourth Way | George Gurdjieff | Be Community

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December 23rd, 2018 at 4:47 am

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