The Work is a Path for
Developing Higher Consciousness
A New, Rare Book Just Published
The Work: Esotericism and Christian Psychology
by Rebecca Nottingham
The teaching is called "The Work" and it is about the inner psychological meaning of Christ's teaching. It is a system of ideas and psychological practices derived from the Fourth Way System that originated with George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, interpreted by Peter Ouspensky, and taught by Maurice Nicoll in "Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky". Students at any stage can use this reference to find guidance into the intended aim of The Work in order to carry it forward as the sacred path it was meant to be.
Read the Introduction to The Work
GurdjieffWork.com is for those seeking to understand the nature of self and the inner psychological meaning of the Gospels message. Through whatever form Gurdjieff expressed himself, his voice must be understood as an urgent call to each of us, for he calls 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 a man will ultimately commit his entire being to. Above all, Gurdjieff asks us if we understand who we are, and more importantly, what we might become?
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, 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 Ivanovich Gurdjieff's question. Why is there life on earth, what purpose does it serve, if any? 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. 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.
"Awake thou that sleepest and Christ shall give thee light."
If a man reasons soundly, he inevitably arrives back at himself and begins
to search for the answer to what he is, and what his place is in the world.
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 a man can discover what G.I. Gurdjieff calls Real "I", and what the Bible calls the Kingdom of Heaven.
In every age, there is sown into the world esoteric teaching which gives the direction in which individual development 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.
Esoteric knowledge is not hidden. It is available, however, the vast 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. It is for those who feel there must be some greater meaning to life and who yearn to find their own meaning in life. 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 within 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.
The Work is beautiful when you see why it exists and what it means. It is about liberation. It is as beautiful as if, locked up for many 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.
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.
Man, Gurdjieff taught, is an unfinished creation. The Work may be understood as the practical, painstaking cultivation of the state of awakening to the truth of the human condition in the world and in oneself. 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 and love. Without this awakening and this becoming, nothing else can help us. But 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 an end in itself but provides the fundamental preparation for the inner search with the midst of life.
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