The Fourth Way of Self-Transformation
"Real love is a cosmic force which goes through us. If
we crystallize it, it becomes the greatest power in the world."
— G. I. Gurdjieff —
Views from the Real World
"With the right methods and efforts, a man can acquire consciousness.
What this implies we, in our present state, cannot even imagine."
— P. D. Ouspensky —
GurdjieffWork.com is for those who are seeking to understand the nature of self, the universe, and the inner meaning of the Gospel message. It is for those who care about our world — a world which seems tragically out of balance — not what we imagine it could be. It is for those who sense the urgency of participating more consciously in their own transformation, and thus the transformation of the larger world.
We must realize that man cannot expect to live in harmony if he cannot undergo a definite and radical transformation of his consciousness as it relates to the significance of human life on earth. If we are unable to achieve the needed transformation, we can expect more of what we have seen throughout man's tragic history: violence, wars, and the slaughter of innocent men, women and children to settle our racial, religious, and political differences.
GurdjieffWork.com is a comprehensive source of information and material on the Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, known as "The Work" and the "Fourth Way," including numerous contributions from many of his closest students such as P.D. Ouspensky and Maurice Nicoll as well as articles, audios and videos from well-known Fourth Way teachers such as Theodore Nottingham, James Parkinson, Jacob Needleman, Tim Cook (Church of Conscious Harmony) and many others. In addition, GurdjieffWork.com also includes selected writings, videos and audios of J. Krishnamurti and a Fourth Way Bookstore. These teachings and resources are offered to sincere seekers to help you gain access to a living truth referred to throughout the Gospels as the "Kingdom of Heaven", and in the Work as "Real I" ... spiritual understanding that resides in the minds and heart of every soul.
The Terror of The Situation
"We see everywhere a preponderance of vulgarity and stupidity of all kinds,
and in life, we only see new divisions, new hostility, new misunderstandings."
Gurdjieff called this the terror of the situation. Through whatever form Gurdjieff expressed himself, his voice must be understood as an urgent call to each of us. He calls each of us to free ourselves from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls us to open our inner awareness. He asks us why we are here, what humanity wishes, and what spiritual forces will we ultimately commit our entire being to. Above all, Gurdjieff asks us if we understand who we are, and more importantly, what we might become.
Gurdjieff Calls Us to Awaken
"Man's possibilities are very great. You cannot even
conceive a shadow of what man is capable of attaining."
Go out one clear starlit night to some open space and look up at the sky, at those millions of worlds over your head. Look at the Milky Way. The earth cannot even be called a grain of sand in this infinity. It dissolves and vanishes, and with it, you. Where are you, and is what you want simply madness?
Man's possibilities are very great. You cannot even conceive a shadow of what man is capable of attaining. But nothing can be attained in sleep. In the consciousness of a sleeping man, his illusions and dreams are mixed with reality. He lives in a subjective world and he can never escape from it. And this is the reason why he can never make use of all the powers he possesses and why he lives in only a small part of himself. For a man who wishes to wholly be himself one day, the search for the truth of what he is becomes the most urgent necessity.
What is the sense and significance of life
on earth, and human life in particular?
This was George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff's question. At an early age he had realized a high degree of being. Experiencing the mindless mechanicality of man, the wars, the destruction, the misery, the question arose in him: Why is there life on earth, what purpose does it serve, if any? Gurdjieff studied orthodox religion and science but their answers didn't satisfy him. He came to intuit that the wisdom societies of ancient civilizations held the key to man's true identity and purpose. Humanity, he recognized, was in dire need of this knowledge, for humanity had entered a crucial period in its development. "Unless the wisdom of the East and the energy of the West," he said, "could be harnessed and used harmoniously, the world would be destroyed." In 1911 Gurdjieff took a vow to awaken people to a new level of being, of consciousness, of conscience; in a word, to a new type of man. He vowed to introduce and establish in the West the esoteric teaching of self-transformation he had discovered, one he said that was completely unknown up to the present time. He called it The Fourth Way.
In his talks, Gurdjieff gave a keen analysis of the modern dilemma. "There is a growth of personality at the cost of essence, that is, a growth of the artificial, the unreal and what is foreign, at the cost of the natural, the real and what is one's own. We see everywhere a preponderance of vulgarity and stupidity of all kinds, and in life, we only see new divisions, new hostility, new misunderstandings. To avoid a complete disaster, it was necessary to achieve world harmony as soon as possible. It could not be achieved by politics, philosophy, religion or any organized movement that treated man in the mass. It could only be accomplished through the individual development of man. If enough individuals could develop themselves, even partially, into genuine natural beings, each such individual would then be able to convince and win over as many as a hundred others who would, each in his turn, be able to influence another hundred and so on." What Gurdjieff was saying was that everyone, like Atlas, would hold up, be responsible for, their own world and thus the larger world.
We Are One Humanity
The Golden Rule — Norman Rockwell
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your
soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
"He on whom your attention rests is your neighbor; he also will die. If you acquire data always to realize the inevitability of their death and your own death, you will have a feeling of pity for others, and be just toward them.
From realizing the significance of your neighbor when your attention rest on him, pity for him and compassion toward him will arise in you, and finally you will love him. Also, by doing this constantly, real faith, conscious faith, will arise in some part of you and spread to other parts, and you will have the possibility of knowing real happiness."
— G. I. Gurdjieff —
Living a Conscious Life
"If a man reasons soundly, he inevitably arrives back at himself, and begins
to search for the answer of what he is, and what his place is in the world."
— Maurice Nicoll —
Psychological Commentaries on the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, by Maurice Nicoll, provides a roadmap that leads one to liberation from self-illusions into the inner sanctuary of the heart where he can discover what G. I. Gurdjieff calls 'Real I', and what the Bible calls the 'Kingdom of Heaven'. It is from this heart where a man or woman can develop the wish, as the Gospels instructs, to love God with all your heart, all your strength, and all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
In every age, there is sown into the world esoteric teaching which gives the direction in which individual evolution should take place. In our epoch, we have been given the esoteric teaching in the Gospels indicating the direction in which individual evolution should take place at this stage. The word esoteric is commonly misunderstood to mean secret or hidden. Esoteric schools have existed for many thousands of years, but in the pre-industrial technological world they consisted of relatively small isolated groups.
The vast majority of humanity has never heard of esotericism and extremely few people came into contact with a real school. The 'secret society' mentality connected with esotericism arose partly from this ignorance due to circumstances, and it is used in current Fourth Way schools as a selling tactic. People love secrets; they love elitism, 'hats', and agreed-upon delineated hierarchical groups. But esoteric does not mean secret or hidden; it refers to the inner meaning of a thing. In the first place, this knowledge is not concealed and in the second place it cannot, because of its very nature, become common property.
There Exists Great Meaning to Life and The Universe
Esoteric knowledge is not hidden, it is available, however the enormous majority of people cannot hear it or, if they do, they find it fantastic or, at least, unnecessary. Esoteric teaching is for those who are not satisfied with themselves or with life as it is, those who feel there must be some greater meaning to life and who yearn to find their own meaning in it. If you are mostly satisfied with yourself, with the kind of person you are, the esoteric path is not for you. You must have a question in yourself and feel a longing for understanding, for completeness and for personal meaning and direction. Then, if you seek, and when you find, you will be able to hear.
This work is beautiful when you see why it exists and what it means. It is about liberation. It is as beautiful as if, locked for years in a prison, you see a stranger entering who offers you a key. But you may refuse it because you have acquired prison-habits and have forgotten your origin, which is from the stars.
Whoever meets these ideas without prejudice feels touched to the heart by a force of truth that cannot be denied, and also called upon to question all the values which, until then, have supported him through life. Ideas of this magnitude are such that, in front of which, one's personal ideas and prejudices must stand aside to make way for the deeper meaning of the thoughts to penetrate a man's understanding and affect his being. However, by finding again and again in himself the taste of these ideas, a man can receive practical help in his search for an unchangeable truth.
There is something in us eternally young, that can understand beyond the visible world, beyond phenomenal reality, but this one thing in us is lost to us in the world of objects, and the external things of the senses and using the logic of the senses.
"The Work is something living in our hearts and minds. Follow the path, see what changes take place within you, and what light begins to dawn in you."
— Maurice Nicoll —
The Gurdjieff Work
Introduction to The Gurdjieff Work by Jacob Needleman
Introduction to the Gurdjieff Work
Man, Gurdjieff taught, is an unfinished creation. He is not fully Man, considered as a cosmically unique being whose intelligence and power of action mirror the energies of the source of life itself. That the fate of the earth is somehow bound up with the possibility of the inner evolution of individual men and women resonates with the contemporary sense of impending planetary disaster.
"The Gurdjieff Work may be understood as the practical,
painstaking cultivation of that state of awakening to the
truth of the human condition in the world and in oneself."
How are human beings to change this state of affairs and begin drawing on the universal conscious energies which we are built to absorb but which now pass through us untransformed? How is humanity to assume its proper place in the great chain of being? It is necessary for individual men and women to awaken, to remember who they are, and then to become who they really are, to live it in the service of truth. Without this awakening and this becoming, nothing else can help us. But it is very difficult. An extraordinary quality of help is needed. To this end, Gurdjieff created what has come to be called The Work.
"The practice of self-observation, in accordance with the overall
aim of the Work, is not a form in and of itself, but is fundamentally
a preparation for the inner search within the midst of life."
The work of self-observation acquires a completely new meaning as the developing attention lets go of its effort, joining and willingly submitting to a higher conscious seeing. Through such experience, a man or woman begins to come into contact with an ever-deepening sense of an inner need which allows an opening to a powerful conscious influence within oneself. According to Gurdjieff, without a relationship to this more central aspect of oneself, everyday life is bound to be an existential prison, in which the individual is held captive, not so much by the so-called forces of modernity, as by the parts of the self that cannot help but react automatically to the influences of the world.
Journey to Essence Newsletter
The Kindom of Heaven
"For a human being, any serious critique of reality must commence with himself, that is, with him who is making the critique in the first place."
— Charles Daly King —
"The level above Man is called the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God in the Gospels. It has many other names in different writings. In the Gospels, it is said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. It is at a higher level of a man. To reach it, a man must reach a higher level in himself. If everyone did this, the level of life on this earth would change."
— Maurice Nicoll —
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