The Fourth Way, which Gurdjieff offered almost all those who wished an opportunity to know, in fact is the Way of awareness, and nothing more. Unfortunately, speaking in the language of his time Gurdjieff represented man as a machine, and then developing this image, began to speak about various centers within it. Moving, instinctive, sexual and other centers must be made aware of, and their interaction followed and corrected where there is a breakdown in work. The machine had to be repaired and adjusted in order to have the opportunity to awaken and develop. And everything would have been good, if all those centers described in fact existed. That is, they exist, of course. For example, what can be called moving center is located in the pyramidal pathways of the brain; the instinctive center is the medulla; and the sexual center is spread over the glans responsible for producing sex hormones. But here’s the catch: it is impossible to become directly aware of their work, it simply will not work. You can become aware of very many processes occurring in the mind, physical and ethereal bodies, but you will not be able to become aware of the so-called centers, because it in no way is separated from the general flow of energies; moreover, it does not have to be separated. But when you establish the goal of separating the impulses and energies of each of the centers, you will not become aware of them, but will think about them, because you cannot find their manifestation anywhere, or you will have to imagine these manifestations and persuade yourself of them. As a result, instead of awareness, philosophizing begins, which Ouspensky demonstrated perfectly in the book The Fourth Way – completely pointless and useless from a practical point of view.
Working with intellectuals and giving them food for thought, Gurdjieff advanced quite a few new ideas which were also of little suited for practical use. The Law of Three, the Law of Seven, the Enneagram and other general information are useless for practical work, although they give all who wish the basis for various types of fantasies and speculations. Self-remembering has receded to the background behind the ideas and thinking about them. Sometimes it seems to me that in modern Gurdjieff groups, people are working not on awakening from the sleep of mechanicality but on deepening it, accompanied by a sense of special election.
Nevertheless, Gurdjieff knew what real Work was, and his statements about it, as well as about human psychology, have not become outdated to this day.
Gurdjieff anticipated the coming of Shah, and prepared the ground for the beginning of his Work. Shah created the possibility to develop Sufism outside Islam, in countries where it did not play the main role, dominating over all other religions. I work within the vein of that possibility which was created by them both.
The life of every human being is a drama. The life of a mystic is doubly a drama; after all, he lives on the crux of energies and circumstances about which the majority of people have no idea. The mystic always loses in our world, because that’s how everything here is already arranged – any ideas are distorted and simplified, and the means of awakening brought to people in time cease to work, because the situation changes and people change. Moreover, it cannot be said that every mystic has only one purpose in his Work. Following the Way, following God, each mystic must face the fact that his Work takes on new forms or else acquires new, even if short-termed goals. Such is the stream of life, such is the stream of Being. The life of Gurdjieff in that sense was not an exception to the rules. He did what he must, and what he could do in that situation in which he found himself. All mystics do the same, and God alone, whom they serve and for Whose sake they live, knows what works for them and what does not.