The Other Four Ways
updated November 30, 2009
When I learned from Shivamokshananda, there was a mix of Sources of his Knowledge. The scope of stories and data he would pull up out of his memory was staggering. Mainly, Taoism and Vedic spiritual way and The Fourth Way, as described by P.D.Ouspensky, John Bennett, and Orage, G.I.Gurdjieff's students, and Gurdjieff himself, who spoke in conundrum...leaving the student to figure out whether what he said was true or not. Shivamokshananda also reviewed Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, Sphereland by Dionys Burger, and the works of Robert S. DeRopp, Colin Wilson, and the Rishi, Patanjali. He guided us to see the Truth as it arose from each System of Thought. He gave us many gems from the Hebrew Religion, and tirelessly, for many years... described the meanings of Gurdjieff's meanderings. He had us study Logic.
His own books: Tao and T'ai Chi Chung, The Reality of Living Yoga, Willingness to be Wrong and Transcendental Aim were the foundation of our studies, Astanga Yoga (Yoga of 8 Limbs) and T'ai Chi brought our bodies down to earth, calmed our emotions and enlivened our Spirit, focusing our minds into more clarity and revealing our weaknesses and strengths; both physically and emotionally.
I still hold those and many new/other books/teachers/authors in correspondence with Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way. Don Miguel Ruiz' The Four Agreements align greatly with the Fourth Way also.
We practiced Self Observation, and alliances were made in the Gurdjieffian and Guru-based fashion, to assist each other to SEE ourSELVES. We had Liasons.
The idea is that no one has the right to correct another's behavior unless that person has given permission...unless the Student/Neophite/Practitioner has requested that the Guru Teaches him and helps him see where he fails himself. Or...herself.
The Four Ways Gurdjieff talks about are
the Way of the Fakir
The way of the Fakir is a way of struggle with the physical body....a long and difficult journey. Incredibly difficult physical exercises are practiced relentlessly in order to develop will and power over the body and mind. A Fakir may stand motionless in a bizarre position for years. He may put his legs into Ant heaps. If he lives he may acquire will but his emotional intellectual and skillful faculties remain undeveloped. He cannot make use of the will for self-perfecting. He will normally be too old to begin new work on himself. If he's lucky, he attains his goal and is taken in by a School for Yogis, where the Yogis heal the Fakir, restore his power of movement and then teach him, as though he were a baby, the use and development of his intellectual and emotional functions.
2. the Way of the Monk
The Monk's Way is the Way of Faith. religious feeling, and religious sacrifice. It is a long and hard way also. Where the Fakir struggles with his body...the Monk concentrates his struggle on feelings, emotions. He channels all his energies into Faith, develops unity in himself and builds a Will over the emotions. In this way s/he reaches the destination s/he has planned. If the Intellect and Body are ignored, however...there will be huge imbalance from that standpoint. To refresh the climb toward a complete and unwavering wiill, the Monk takes on fresh sacrifices, renunciations and hardships.
A Monk becomes Fakir and Monk! He encompasses life and the human condition step by step. Many die first or become Monk in outward appearance only. The Monk has a Teacher whom he pledges his complete obedience and faith to; placing his very life in his hands. Ultimately though, even before his Teacher, he strives for ultimate faith in and love of God consistently serving and obeying the God of his definition.
3. The Way of the Yogi
The Yogi's is the way of mind and knowledge. It consists in working on the intellectual part of many. His body and emotions, however, can remain undeveloped...and like the Fakir and the Monk, he is unable to make use of the results of his attainment; being deficient in part of his wholeness. He knows everything but can do nothing. He must now gain mastery over body and emotions by periods of more serious work. However, the Yogi has the advantage of understanding his position, of knowing what he lacks, what he must do and in what direction he must go. But, on the way of the Fakir or the Monk, very few acquire this understanding on the way of the Yogi...that is, that level in his work on which a wo/man knows where s/he is going. On the way of the Yogi a person can do nothing and must do nothing without a teacher. In the beginning he must imitate his teacher like the Fakir and believe in him, like the Monk. Afterwards, however, a wo/man on the way of the Yogi gradually becomes his/her own Teacher, because the ways of the Teacher have been learned and applied to him/herself.
4. Then we have the Fourth Way
...No retirement into the desert; no renouncing the former way of life. The Fourth Way begins much further on the way of the Yogi. This means that a person must be prepared for the Fourth Way...and that preparation is acquired in ordinary life, and remaining in ordinary life; we are touched on all sides with all challenges to our physical, emotional and intellectual centers.
The Fourth Way differs from the other ways in that the principal demand made upon a person is for Understanding. A person must do nothing that he does not understand, except as an experiment under the supervision and direction of his teacher. With more understanding of what one is doing, the greater will be the results of efforts to evolve...the more clear the Intent that fosters one's actions.
Here is a fundamental principle of the fourth way. The result of work comes to us in proportion to the consciousness applied to the work. On the Fourth Way, a person must satisfy oneself of the truth of what he is told. Until being satisfied; do nothing. The method of the Fourth Way consists in doing something in all three centers: physical, emotional and mental...at the same time. They must advance together. Thus developing evenly through the three centers, the knowledge gained can be utilized.
Much of this page contains notes from my studies in those privileged times with Shivamokshananda and the staff and students of the Wholistic Health Center for Self-Development and Research...it was a special time to treasure, and I do...like a Slice of Reality a rare number were privileged to know. I am so grateful.
originally written in 2002
at this revisiting in September, 2009...I am gratefully reconnecting to people with whom those amazing days were shared. Yes, Return is part of Life. We can make use of its Benefits and Evolve again and yet further.
With Love to You Brilliant Minds and Gentle Spirits!
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