The Fourth Way is the name given to a specific spiritual teaching which was brought to the West by G.I. Gurdjieff (1877 – 1949). It is recognised as one of the most original, enduring and penetrating teachings of our time.
The method of the Fourth Way is a process of ‘inner development’ which takes place within the conditions of ordinary life. It consists of 3 parts….. the ideas, the music and the sacred dances. The ideas part consists of Esoteric aspects of Psychology and Cosmology which are connected through the Hermetic Tradition and the axiom, ‘As Above, so Below’.
A teaching of this kind is necessary in order for the human condition to change. We say we want to change and then discover that we don’t have a method or understanding as to how a change can be brought about. The advances made in science and technology can make our lives more efficient and more comfortable but do they have the ability to change the fundamentals of what it means to be human?
There is great knowledge available concerning how the world functions but barely any understanding as to the workings of our ‘inner world’. In ancient times various groups of people knew about this ‘inner development’ but it had been lost.
Gurdjieff’s Search and the Fourth Way
Gurdjieff searched for 20 years for knowledge he felt was necessary for his life. He travelled widely in parts of the Near East and Asia, receiving instruction from spiritual masters. Returning from this search, he brought with him a remarkable teaching, deeply traditional in its roots yet original and contemporary in expression so that people living in technological societies can respond to the call to awaken and live consciously. This teaching has become known as ‘The Fourth Way’, or ‘The Work’.