The Fourth Way, Your Way, and Transcendence

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff believed the knowledge of reality was a way to inner freedom, liberation. To him, knowledge of "reality" was knowledge of "being" and that knowledge of being was a flowing stream of knowledge passed on from ancient times, from generation to generation, from race to race, from culture to culture. Gurdjieff knew that an individual searching for meaning or searching to understand reality could break into the flow of this stream of knowledge and that to "know" was to "be." Gurdjieff taught that in order to "know", we have to learn "how to know." Gurdjieff referred to his ideas of how to know as "the way" which later became known as The Fourth Way. He categorized three approaches, "ways", to transformation within traditional religions and spiritual practices. The Way of the Fakir focuses on mastery of the physical body. The Way of the Monk is based on religious feeling and faith, the heart. The Way of the Yogi is concerned with development of the mind. The Fourth Way encompasses work on all three aspects, body, heart, and mind at the same time, the practice of which can call forth an awakening of an intelligence, a deep and rich essence, of knowing and understanding; a transcendental knowledge.

Each of us views the world through our own perceptual lens, based on our experiences, culture, education, relationships, et cetera, that contribute to our understanding of reality at any given moment. I am certainly no exception. My "view" about Gurdjieff's ideas is filtered through my own perceptual lens. I am choosing to use the term "ideas" in agreement with John Shirley in his book,  Gurdjieff". Shirley pointed out that a "teaching" implied something that must be mindlessly, passively ingested; whereas "ideas" implies there are concepts to be tested and explored by those who use them.

One of Gurdjieff's key ideas regarding awakening, as he believed that humankind was (is) asleep, was a practice of self observation; a conscious awareness of what is happening physically, emotionally, and mentally at any given moment and being honest and non-judgmental with oneself about whatever is happening. Being present to the moment, in the "now", is not an easy task for most of us. Being non-judgmental can be a trial. But, I suspect that the rewards for self observation are truly transcendent.

And, I also suspect that we all, in our bodies, hearts, and minds "know" our tendencies toward transcendence. There are many "ways" home. I continue to search for mine and invite you to continue searching for yours.  May the searches through the Fourth Way, Your Way, and Transcendence be inspired and inspiring .