Friday, April 22, 2016

A question about joining Fourth Way groups.

Received this email: “Do you have a group of people who meet to work with the Fourth Way ideas? <name, number removed>”

– Actually, I’ve been contemplating the idea of starting a Fourth Way meetup (locally) for a while, but due to other commitments, it hasn’t happened. If I did, it would involve going through some reading material, and working on some core practices such as self-observation, self-remembering, etc. and relating experiences with others over time.

Anyhow, before looking to join any Fourth Way group, I would recommend the following first:

- Read and become well acquainted with some of the basic, well-known material, such as Ouspensky’s ISOTM, The Fourth Way, The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, and then Gurdjieff’s main works: BTTHG, Meetings with Remarkable Men, Life is Real, Only Then When I Am, and maybe Views From The Real World. Nicoll’s commentaries are worth looking at.

- After the above, understand and look into starting the regular practice of simple self-observation, and any related practices that aid this (e.g. meditation/concentration). When ready, start to include self-remembering. The concept needs to be understood first though, and unfortunately few people (especially on the Internet and in online forums) actually understand what self-remembering involves, and most confuse it with self-observation or mindfulness of sensation (which it isn’t). Ouspensky detailed the practice best IMO in his works. Note all experiences in a journal over several months, or years.

- Then, and only then, look to meet others to share ideas, experiences and readings. Avoid any cult-like groups that seem to have a guru/leader/Gurdjieff-wannabe leading (I won’t name any here, but there’s a few out there). The “Foundation” is a reasonably safe group, but still has its ‘issues’. Don’t expect any major progress or insight to be had from most of the existing older Fourth Way/Gurdjieffian ‘hangers-on’ groups who have managed to fossilize the teachings and their glorious history, without actually putting much into practice now on a daily basis, or with the required dedication / short-term intensity. Better to wait until a local group of people appears that is accessible to you, and which has a group of people who are truly interested in the Work right now.

- In the meantime, building a ‘magnetic centre’ with ‘B and C influences’ (to use FW terminology) can go a long way.. if not _all_ the way.

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