Fourth Way Magic: How Hermetic and Indigenous Traditions Interface with the Gurdjieff Work (Rob Schmidt and Stuart Goodnick)
The Fourth Way is a Western spiritual tradition founded by George Gurdjieff, a mystic of Greek and Armenian origin who taught in Russia, Europe, and America and died in 1949. The system he developed out of his own spiritual search which is shrouded in mystery was completely unique and geared toward working with a modern mindset of “waking sleep” in the West. The Gurdjieff Foundation purports to be the holder of his legacy which in some ways may be true and in others not. It has often been considered to be humorless and dogmatically committed to a rigid system of practices and ideas which, when this has been the case, ignores Gurdjieff’s own flexibility ranging from playfulness to seriousness. Approaching the spiritual path as a smorgasbord of different traditions does not support the deepening of transformational opportunity. There is value in both going deeply into one tradition and in being open to exploring and integrating teachings of other traditions, including indigenous paths, from one’s foundation in a tradition. Life provides opportunities for us to grow in unexpected ways. To learn from indigenous traditions that we are not culturally attuned to, we must be passive and let go of our ideas and judgments about the spiritual process. The power of ritual and of western hermetic and indigenous teachings, including West African and native Californian, are considered in this talk. The speakers discuss how these traditions have enriched and expanded upon the indispensable foundation they have in Fourth Way work. Rob and Stuart are the spiritual directors of the Tayu Meditation Center. They are students of Robert Daniel Ennis, who died in 1998, and owners of Many Rivers Books and Tea in Sebastopol, CA. They have hosted 400 episodes of The Mystical Positivist, a radio show which broadcasts conversations with practitioners of different traditions.