Law of Three

The Fourth Way Teaching

          "What is the sense and significance of life on Earth and human life in particular?" This question arose in George Ivanovich Gurdjieff after coming "to a whole sensation" of himself at an early age. The answers of religion and science of his time did not satisfy, and intuiting that the wisdom societies of ancient civilizations held the answer to his question, he and a group of friends, traveled to remote areas in search of this esoteric knowledge. He discovered the "true principles and ideas" of the ancient teaching in pre-historic Egypt and Ethiopia. The teaching could show Man his place on Earth and the meaning of his existence, as Gurdjieff said, "It will seem strange to many people when I say that this prehistoric Egypt was Christian many thousands of years before the birth of Christ, that is to say, that its religion was composed of the same principles and ideas that constitute true Christianity." Gurdjieff then traveled to Babylon, the Hindu Kush, Tibet, Siberia and the Gobi desert to gather elements of the teaching that had migrated northward over time. He then reformulated the teaching and introduced it to the West. Gurdjieff called it The Fourth Way.

          In the traditional ways, the way of the fakir, the way of the monk or the way of the yogi, a man attempts to gain will over either his body, emotions or intellect; he is asked to give up everything at the start and retire from life. Upon entering the Fourth Way, sometimes called the way of the "sly man," a man does not give up anything in his ordinary life. He stays in life and works with all three sides of himself, his instincts, emotions and intellect; this re-aligns and balances him. As being and knowledge increase so does understanding. Seeing himself as he is, he begins to feel his contradictions, conscience is awakened, not the morality of personality, but conscience that is the same for all men.

          Never before known, The Fourth Way is whole and complete by itself and it is not a permanent way as the three traditional ways. Gurdjieff introduced the teaching to the West, for he said, "Unless the 'wisdom' of the East and the 'energy' of the West could be harnessed and used harmoniously, the world would be destroyed." In view of the current world situation, the attack on the World Trade Center, the subsequent Afghan and Iraq wars and maybe even Iran and North Korea, this is not difficult to envision.

          Gurdjieff overcame many obstacles to introduce The Fourth Way teaching to the West, yet not in the way he initially envisioned.

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