Why did you abandon the 4th Way?
What I am about to say refers to the teaching I learned in the Fellowship of Friends and how it was practiced based on the books by Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Rodney Collin and Maurice Nicoll. I know there are various other groups in that tradition and I am not referring to how they interpreted the system which, may or may not have been correct, I have no way of knowing.
As Ouspensky aptly named his book, those were fragments of a teaching. The teachings I was exposed to were exactly that: “fragments”. Pieces of objective psychological and cosmological knowledge. Mixed with those there was a significant amount of subjective conjectures, mixing of unrelated ideas and regrettably, distortions of objective knowledge. And by objective knowledge I mean knowledge that comes from the designers of this reality through the mental realm, rather than knowledge created empirically by humans while incarnated. That is, the guys who designed the machinery also supplied a diagram and a user manual along with it.
As far as books are concerned, one may want to consider that some, if not all of those 4th Way books were written during the time their authors were seekers. They cannot be taken wholly as pointers to Truth.
A system bearing the same non-physical origin as Gurdjieff’s 4th Way is presently available as part of the Michael Teachings which contain a more complete and accurate system of psychological delineation. It provides tools to effectively neutralize false personality.
So, as a system of psychological delineation I have not abandoned it. I still use it when communicating. It is the most accurate psychological system I have ever come across. It is an example of objective knowledge. But not in the original form I learned it.
Can you give examples of 4th Way system errors?
You cannot fix a broken car if you do not know all the parts, where they are located, and their functions.
The problem I saw in the 4th way system I learned was that the understanding of the meaning and place of fear in the work was unfocused and unclear because the psyche was not delineated completely or accurately. Thus the core of chief feature could not be addressed effectively. The psyche must be delineated entirely and accurately. No stones can be left unturned. Unconscious stuff obstructs Spiritual Realization.
Fear is at the core of false personality and is the mother of all self-centered negative emotions. But the notion that there is “a chief feature of fear” is wrong. There are seven chief features and all seven are based on fear. And each of the seven features has a different flavor of fear. We must know our favorite flavor very well.
If we think we have a “fear feature” as was common to hear in the FOF then our mind is fuzzy and we cannot put our finger on the particular type of fear that holds us back. It remains non-delineated and thus we remain unconscious of its moving parts, functions, and effects.
Other than pathological fear due to violent past trauma, what was referred to as the “feature of fear” in the FOF is an exaggerated manifestation of caution, in the form of exacerbated phobia, which people who have a “caution mode” are prone to. Caution being a genuine trait of true personality, while phobia is not. Phobia is stimulated by one of the seven chief features, it is not “a” chief feature of false personality.
The idea of “mode”, along with other equally fundamental psychological traits such as “goal” and “attitude”, was not in the 4th way system; it was incomplete. So, we cannot understand the car we want to drive, let alone fix it. Some area of the psyche is bound to remain obscure.
If fear is not seen and understood deeply enough, and sincerely enough, false personality remains the active force. There is no freedom there. We are stuck in purgatory.
After all these years I see students and former students who are still suffering and embroiled in false personality’s defensive buffers after decades of work. Certain manifestations of their favorite fears remain intact and unaddressed, and worse, they do not want to hear about it. Or, to be more pertinent, their chief feature does not allow them to learn. And thus, they cannot break free from unnecessary psychological suffering.
Being stuck in false personality can be due to many reasons and is not to be judged lightly. But using a blunt tool such as distorted system ideas does not help at all.
The parts of the system that I consider to be relevant to my message can be found in some of my articles on the website. More specifically the articles about false- personality and chief feature.
Fear is intrinsically linked to the root of suffering. So, having a clear understanding of fear by using an objectively correct system of psychological delineation is extremely useful and can be effective in neutralizing false personality and the useless suffering it produces. Without which neutralization any lasting peace arising from awakening or spiritual realization is bound to remain unstable or simply unfulfilled.