The Fourth Way

THE FOURTH WAY is a rich and practical teaching of great scale that shows seekers how to use their ordinary life to come to real life.

An ancient and seminal teaching, The Fourth Way is whole and complete in itself. It was discovered, reassembled and reformulated for modern times by George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.

Said Mr. Gurdjieff, "The Fourth Way is completely self-supporting and independent of other [spiritual] lines, and it has been completely unknown up to the present time."

Unlike the three classical ways—the way of the body, hatha yoga; the way of the heart, the monk; and the way of the mind, jnana yoga—The Fourth Way works with all three centers at once. Thus, there is a harmonious development of the centers.

The Fourth Way is not a retreat from life but instead teaches students how to consciously experience and engage ordinary life to come to real life. In doing so, each seeker verifies for himself or herself the truth and applicability of the practices and ideas in their own lives.
There are a number of faux Fourth Way groups led by people who have never had any contact with an authentic teacher, or very little. Because of their coercive measures, including financial and sexual exploitation, the reputation of The Fourth Way has been tarnished. The arrogation of many of its ideas by so-called "New Age Teachings"—self-styled inventions which take elements from a number of teachings—has also served to cast the teaching as outdated. This is profoundly not true, as any direct contact with the teaching will show.

There is also a confusion among those who would like to merge the teaching with Theosophy and Western occultism. On this point Mr. Gurdjieff was very specific. He said they "have resulted from a mixture of the fundamental [spiritual] lines. Both lines bear in themselves grains of truth, but neither possess full knowledge and therefore attempts to bring them to practical realization give only negative results."

A genuine teaching of self-transformation cannot be an "invention," something put together by taking a little from this teaching, a little from that, and giving it a new name. So much of what purports to be a spiritual teaching is in reality simply spiritual theft.


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