The Fourth Way is an approach to self-development developed by George Gurdjieff over years of travel in the East (c. 1890 - 1912). It combines and harmonizes what he saw as three established traditional "ways" or "schools": those of the emotions, the body, and the mind, or of monks, fakirs, and yogis, respectively. Students often refer to the Fourth Way as "The Work", "Work on oneself", or "The System". The exact origins of some of Gurdjieff's teachings are unknown, but various sources have been suggested.
The term "Fourth Way" was further used by his student P. D. Ouspensky in his lectures and writings. After Ouspensky's death, his students published a book entitled The Fourth Way based on his lectures.
According to this system, the three traditional schools, or ways, "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."
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.
The Fourth Way addresses the question of humanity's place in the Universe and the possibilities of inner development. It emphasizes that people ordinarily live in a state referred to as a semi-hypnotic "waking sleep," while higher levels of consciousness, virtue, unity of will are possible.
The Fourth Way teaches how to increase and focus attention and energy in various ways, and to minimize day-dreaming and absent-mindedness. This inner development in oneself is the beginning of a possible further process of change, whose aim is to transform man into "what he ought to be."
Gurdjieff's followers believed he was a spiritual master, a human being who is fully awake or enlightened. He was also seen as an esotericist or occultist. He agreed that the teaching was esoteric but claimed that none of it was veiled in secrecy but that many people lack the interest or the capability to understand it. 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 Fourth Way teaches that the soul, a human individual is born with, gets trapped and encapsulated by personality and stays dormant, leaving one not really conscious, even as they clearly believe they are. A person must free the soul by following a teaching which can lead to this aim or "go nowhere" upon death of his body. Should a person be able to receive the teaching and find a school, upon the death of the physical body they will "go elsewhere." Humans are born asleep, live in sleep and die in sleep, only imagining that they are awake with few exceptions. The ordinary waking "consciousness" of human beings is not consciousness at all but merely a form of sleep."
Gurdjieff taught "sacred dances" or "movements", now known as Gurdjieff movements, which they performed together as a group. He left a body of music, inspired by that which he had heard in remote monasteries and other places, which was written for piano in collaboration with one of his pupils, Thomas de Hartmann.
Gurdjieff taught that traditional paths to spiritual enlightenment followed one of three ways:
Gurdjieff insisted that these paths - although they may intend to seek to produce a fully developed human being - tend to cultivate certain faculties at the expense of others. The goal of religion or spirituality was, in fact, to produce a well-balanced, responsive and sane human being capable of dealing with all eventualities that life may present. Gurdjieff therefore made it clear that it was necessary to cultivate a way that integrated and combined the traditional three ways.
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. It could be followed by ordinary people in everyday life, requiring no retirement into the desert. The Fourth Way does involve certain conditions imposed by a teacher, but blind acceptance of them is discouraged. Each student is advised to do only what they understand and to verify for themselves the teaching's ideas.
Ouspensky documented Gurdjieff as saying that "two or three thousand years ago there were yet other ways which no longer exist and the ways then 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."
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."
In his works, Gurdjieff credits his teachings to a number of more or less mysterious sources:-
Attempts to fill out his account have featured:
The Fourth Way focuses on "conscious labor" and "intentional suffering."
Conscious Labor is an action where the person who is performing the act is present to what he is doing; not absentminded. At the same time he is striving to perform the act more efficiently.
Intentional suffering is the act of struggling against automatism such as daydreaming, pleasure, food (eating for reasons other than real hunger), etc. In Gurdjieff's book Beelzebub's Tales he states that "the greatest 'intentional suffering' can be obtained in our presences by compelling ourselves to endure the displeasing manifestations of others toward ourselves"
To Gurdjieff, conscious labor and intentional suffering were the basis of all evolution of man.
This is to strive to observe in oneself behavior and habits usually only observed in others, and as dispassionately as one may observe them in others, to observe thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging or analyzing what is observed.
The Need for Effort
Gurdjieff emphasized that awakening results from consistent, prolonged effort. Such efforts may be made as an act of will after one is already exhausted.
The Many 'I's
This indicates fragmentation of the psyche, 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 have nothing in common with one another and are unaware of each other, arising and vanishing for short periods of time. Hence man usually has no unity in himself, wanting one thing now and another, perhaps contradictory, thing later.
Gurdjieff classified plants as having one center, animals two and humans three. Centers refer to apparati 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's being into Essence and Personality.
Gurdjieff focused on two main cosmic laws, the Law of Three and the Law of Seven.
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.
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." 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.
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."
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. 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's death in 1949 a variety of groups around the world have attempted to continue The Gurdjieff Work. The Gurdjieff Foundation, was established in 1953 in New York City by Jeanne de Salzmann in cooperation with other direct pupils. 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. Gurdjieff himself seemed to have formed this impression some ten years before his death, which led him to divert his efforts away from the Institute and into writing. 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 of continuing the Work are not concerned with external factors, but focus on the inner results achieved through a sincere practice of Gurdjieff's system.
"There are only special schools; there are no general schools. Every teacher, or guru, is a specialist in some one thing. One is an astronomer, another a sculptor, a third a musician. And all the pupils of each teacher must first of all study the subject in which he has specialized."
The Enneagram is often studied in contexts that do not include other elements of Fourth Way teaching.
28.Tale of a Rascal sage book in Tamil by Anand KumarCenters (Fourth Way)
In G.I. Gurdjieff's Fourth Way teaching, also known as The Work, centers or brains refer to separate apparatuses within a being that dictate its specific functions. According to this teaching, there are three main centers: intellectual, emotional, and moving. These centers in the human body are analogous to a three-storey factory, the intellectual center being the top storey, the emotional center being the middle one, and the moving center being the bottom storey. The moving center, or the bottom storey is further divided into three separate functions: sex, instinctive, and motor.
Gurdjieff classified plants as having one brain, animals two and humans three brains. In Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff greatly expanded his idea of humans as "three brained beings".
In the book The Fourth Way, Ouspensky refers to the "center of gravity" as being a center which different people primarily operate from (intellectuals, artists, and sports enthusiasts, for example, might represent each of these centers).Eddie Marshall
Edwin "Eddie" Marshall (April 13, 1938 – September 7, 2011) was an American jazz drummer.Enneagram
Enneagram is a compound word derived from the Greek neoclassical stems for nine and something written or drawn. Enneagram may refer to:
Enneagram (geometry), a nine-sided star polygon with various configurations
Enneagram of Personality, a model of human personality illustrated by an enneagram figure
Riso–Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI), an Enneagram of Personality-focused psychometric (personality measurement) test
Fourth Way enneagram, a diagram used in the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and others associated with the Fourth Way schoolFellowship of Friends
The Fellowship of Friends is a non-profit religious organization. It was founded in 1970 by Robert Earl Burton as a Fourth Way group based on the teachings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky but presently it incorporates additional esoteric knowledge not directly connected with the Fourth Way system. The organization had as of April 2019 approximately 1,600 members, about a third of whom live near the organization's 1200-acre (48 ha) compound named "Apollo" in Oregon House, California, United States. Members also reside in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The organization's connection to Fourth Way teachings is controversial and disputed and claims of false prophecy, financial exploitation and sexual abuse have caused additional criticism. The Fellowship of Friends is registered as a 501(c)(3) California non-profit church organization and is a member of the International Council of Community Churches (ICCC).Fort Yawuh
Fort Yawuh is an acoustic jazz album by American pianist and composer Keith Jarrett. Originally released in 1973 by Impulse! Records, it features a live performance recorded at the Village Vanguard on February 24, 1973, by Jarrett, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, and Danny Johnson. The title is an anagram of the phrase "Fourth Way."Fourth Way enneagram
The Fourth Way enneagram is a figure published in 1949 in In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky, and an integral part of the Fourth Way esoteric system associated with George Gurdjieff. The term "enneagram" derives from two Greek words, ennea (nine) and gramma (something written or drawn).
The enneagram is a nine-pointed figure usually inscribed within a circle. Within the circle is a triangle connecting points 9, 3 and 6. The inscribed figure resembling a web connects the other six points in a cyclic figure 1-4-2-8-5-7. This number is derived from or corresponds to the recurring decimal .142857 = 1/7. These six points together with the point numbered 9 are said to represent the main stages of any complete process, and can be related to the notes of a musical octave, 9 being equivalent to "Doh" and 1 to "Re" etc. The points numbered 3 and 6 are said to represent "shock points" which affect the way a process develops. The internal lines between the points; that is, the three-point figure and the six-point figure, are said to show certain non-obvious connections, although here very little elucidation is offered.George Gurdjieff
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (, Russian: Георгий Иванович Гюрджиев; 31 March 1866/14 January 1872/28 November 1877 – 29 October 1949) was a mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent, born in Alexandrapol (now Gyumri), Armenia. Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to awaken to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. Gurdjieff described a method attempting to do so, calling the discipline "The Work" (connoting "work on oneself") or "the Method".
According to his principles and instructions,
Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness unites the methods of the fakir, monk and yogi, and thus he referred to it as the "Fourth Way".Katherine Mansfield
Kathleen Mansfield Murry (née Beauchamp; 14 October 1888 – 9 January 1923) was a prominent New Zealand modernist short-story writer and poet who was born and brought up in colonial New Zealand and wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield. At the age of 19, she left New Zealand and settled in England, where she became a friend of writers such as D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Mansfield was diagnosed with extrapulmonary tuberculosis in 1917; the disease claimed her life at the age of 34.Margaret C. Anderson
Margaret Caroline Anderson (November 24, 1886 – October 19, 1973) was the American founder, editor and publisher of the art and literary magazine The Little Review, which published a collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929. The periodical is most noted for introducing many prominent American and British writers of the 20th century, such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot in the United States, and publishing the first thirteen chapters of James Joyce's then-unpublished novel, Ulysses.A large collection of her papers on Gurdjieff's teaching is now preserved at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.Meetings with Remarkable Men (film)
Meetings with Remarkable Men is a 1979 British film directed by Peter Brook and based on the book of the same name by Greek-Armenian mystic, G. I. Gurdjieff, first published in English in 1963. Shot on location in Afghanistan (except for dance sequences, which were filmed in England), it starred Terence Stamp, and Dragan Maksimović as the adult Gurdjieff. The film was entered into the 29th Berlin International Film Festival and was in competition for the Golden Bear award.
The plot involves Gurdjieff and his companions' search for truth in a series of dialogues and vignettes, much as in the book. Unlike the book, these result in a definite climax—Gurdjieff's initiation into the mysterious Sarmoung Brotherhood. The film is noteworthy for making public some glimpses of the Gurdjieff movements.Michael White (violinist)
Michael Walter White (24 May 1930 – 6 December 2016) was an American jazz violinist.White was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Oakland, California, taking up the violin when he was six years old. His initial career break occurred in 1965, when he played with the John Handy Quintet at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and subsequently recorded three albums with Handy. White was among the first to play the violin in avant-garde jazz, and in the late 1960s became one of the first jazz violinists to play jazz rock fusion (with his band The Fourth Way). He has played with musicians such as Sun Ra, Prince Lasha, McCoy Tyner, Eric Dolphy, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Dorham, Joe Henderson, and Richard Davis. In early 2007, The Michael White Quintet's "Mechanical Man" won in The 6th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Song.White eventually settled in Los Angeles, California. After a long period of obscurity, in the mid 1990s he was involved in a reunion of the Handy Quintet, and recorded an album as co-leader with Bill Frisell, Motion Pictures (1997). In 2006 White released the album Voices.
He died on December 6, 2016.Mike Nock
Michael Anthony "Mike" Nock (born 27 September 1940) is a New Zealand jazz pianist, currently based in Australia.P. D. Ouspensky
Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii (known in English as Peter D. Ouspensky, Пётр Демья́нович Успе́нский; 5 March 1878 – 2 October 1947), was a Russian esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff. He met Gurdjieff in Moscow in 1915, and was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. He taught ideas and methods based in the Gurdjieff system for 25 years in England and the United States, although he separated from Gurdjieff personally in 1924, for reasons that are explained in the last chapter of his book In Search of the Miraculous.
Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff system directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. In Search of the Miraculous recounts what he learned from Gurdjieff during those years. While lecturing in London in 1924, he announced that he would continue independently the way he had begun in 1921. Some, including his close pupil Rodney Collin, say that he finally gave up the system in 1947, just before his death, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings", published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement.Ray of Creation
The Ray of Creation is an esoteric cosmology which was taught by G. I. Gurdjieff. It is a diagram which better represents the place which Earth occupies in the Universe. The diagram has eight levels, each corresponding to Gurdjieff's Law of Octaves (see In Search of the Miraculous, chapter 7).Ron McClure
Ron McClure (born November 22, 1941) is a jazz bassist.Secret Chiefs
In various occult movements, Secret Chiefs are said to be transcendent cosmic authorities, a Spiritual Hierarchy responsible for the operation and moral calibre of the cosmos, or for overseeing the operations of an esoteric organization that manifests outwardly in the form of a magical order or lodge system. Their names and descriptions have varied through time, dependent upon those who reflect their experience of contact with them. They are variously held to exist on higher planes of being or to be incarnate; if incarnate, they may be described as being gathered at some special location, such as Shambhala, or scattered through the world working anonymously.
One early and influential source on these entities is Karl von Eckartshausen, whose The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary, published in 1795, explained in some detail their character and motivations. Several 19th and 20th century occultists claimed to belong to or to have contacted these Secret Chiefs and made these communications known to others, including H.P. Blavatsky (who called them the "Tibetan Masters" or Mahatmas), C.W. Leadbeater and Alice A. Bailey (who called them Masters of the Ancient Wisdom), Guy Ballard and Elizabeth Clare Prophet (who called them Ascended Masters), Aleister Crowley (who used the term to refer to members of the upper three grades of his order, A∴A∴ ), Dion Fortune (who called them the "esoteric order"), and Max Heindel (who called them the "Elder Brothers").Subtle body
A subtle body is one of a series of psycho-spiritual constituents of living beings, according to various esoteric, occult, and mystical teachings. According to such beliefs each subtle body corresponds to a subtle plane of existence, in a hierarchy or great chain of being that culminates in the physical form.
The subtle body (Sanskrit: sūkṣma śarīra) is important in several Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, mainly in the forms which focus on Tantra and Yoga. According to Bhagavad Gita, one of the most sacred texts of Hinduism, the subtle body is composed of mind, intelligence and ego, which controls the gross physical body. In Buddhist Tantra, it is also called the ‘innate body’ (nija-deha) or the ‘uncommon means body’ (asadhdrana-upayadeha).Other spiritual traditions teach similar ideas of a mystical or divine body, such as: "the most sacred body" (wujud al-aqdas) and "true and genuine body" (jism asli haqiqi) in Sufism, the meridian system in Chinese religion, and "the immortal body" (soma athanaton) in Hermeticism. The various attributes of the subtle body are frequently described in terms of often obscure symbolism: Tantra features references to the sun and moon as well as various Indian rivers and deities, while Taoist alchemy speaks of cauldrons and cinnabar fields.Whitley Strieber
Louis Whitley Strieber (; born June 13, 1945) is an American writer best known for his horror novels The Wolfen and The Hunger and for Communion, a non-fiction account of his alleged experiences with non-human entities. He has maintained a dual career of author of fiction and advocate of paranormal concepts through his best-selling non-fiction books, his Unknown Country web site, and his Internet podcast, Dreamland.