The Fourth Way of G.I. Gurdjieff
The Fourth Way has been recognized as one of the most original, enduring, and penetrating teachings of our time. The Fourth Way provides a method of inner development to be followed in ordinary life conditions, and consists of three aspects, the Ideas, Music and Sacred Dance. The Ideas themselves consist of Esoteric aspects of Psychology and Cosmology, which are related through the Hermetic axiom, ‘As Above, So Below’. The Leeds Gurdjieff Society recognizes the importance or the Delphic Maxims which are closely related to the Gurdjieff Teaching.
Three maxims are known to have been inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi at least as early as the 5th century BC, and possibly earlier. These inscriptions are referenced and discussed by ancient authors; Plato, for example, mentions them in six of his dialogues.
The maxims are as follows:
001: Know thyself
002: Nothing too much
003: Give a pledge and trouble is at hand
Although great advances have been made in science and technology, can we say that the human condition has also advanced? We may have acquired great knowledge about the world, but understanding our ‘inner world’ requires effort in another direction, one which the ancients knew about, but which has been lost over time. The Fourth Way shows a way to restore the balance between ‘knowledge’ and ‘being’, vital if we are to regain our status as integrated human beings.
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’. The Leeds Gurdjieff Society continues the Work of Mr. Gurdjieff in the North of England.
Gurdjieff’s book, ‘All and Everything‘, is of special significance now, when the world is helplessly struggling to control the intensification of technical achievement which threatens to destroy the essential values and purpose of life. This book rediscovers the path which man was destined to follow in the universal scheme and from which he has gone so far astray.
Leeds Gurdjieff Society
The Leeds Gurdjieff Fourth Way Group endevours to provide a framework for seekers interested in the Fourth Way, to come together and work towards the development of consciousness, and to provide help in furthering the struggle against mechanical forces. This has involved a variety of activities which were originally devised by Mr. Gurdjieff at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in the 1920’s. The Leeds Gurdjieff Group is committed to continue the ‘Work’ of Mr. Gurdjieff as it is done in Gurdjieff Groups worldwide.
Group meetings provide a framework to allow personal observations to be brought, and also give a ‘light along the way’ so that a connection is maintained with the principles and practices of the Fourth Way.
Sometimes powerful forces are at work, especially when the effort is to work ‘against the current’ of ordinary life, and so the group itself gives a positive force that members can use to ‘wake up’ in the midst of everyday life.