Fourth Way

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The Fourth Way WORK of Gurdjieff and his students:

Originally derived from Armenian and Sufi sources, the Fourth way is an alternative method for awakening one's consciousness, different from that of the fakir, monk or yogi. It is not theosophic or even religious, has no connection to Qabalah or magick. It is an experiential method, rather than an intellectual one, and those reading Gurdjieff's own books will receive little instruction in to what he did, and how he achieved his results.

A theoretical concept of the Fourth Way had to wait for Gurdjieff's early student, Russian mathematician P. D. Ouspensky, whose attempts at explanation are more cosmological than practical. Fortunately, the third wave of students contained such teachers as John G. Bennett, A. R. Orage, Maurice Nicoll, and Rene Daumal who began to explain what they had actually done under The Master's instructions. A fourth wave of teachers, Oscar Ichazo, E. J. Gold and some of the techniques employed by Tony Robbins adapted these techniques in new and original ways.

Gurdjieff's essential revelation is that there are two ways to achieve 'illumination', the "AHA" experience or as he calls it "Waking Up". There is the essentially Eastern technique of quieting the mind through meditation until the EGO collapses from starvation and the Godhead slips into our consciousness. Then there is the Western Way, where we exhaust our mind by overtaxing it until the EGO is overwhelmed and collapses, and the same Godhead slips in. Ceremonial Magick, with it's memorization, smells, colors, correspondences and Barbarous Names creates those conditions.

Gurdjieff simulated that same overwhelm by having student do precise Sufi dance movements while combining counting backwards and reciting the alphabet. So a typical exercise might include learning an intricate dance, then at each step of the dance, saying 81A, 79B, 78C etc. He developed many different techniques, but they all employ this inner mechanism to enlightenment.

Also see : Nicholas Tereschenko for a more modern student; Idries Shah and his on and off again relationship with the Fourth Way teacher John G. Bennett