Friday, July 8, 2011

Gurdjieff and Heightened Consciousness

"It is only when we realize that life is taking us nowhere that it begins to have meaning."
-- P. D. Ouspensky --
In the attached video, the Rev. Theodore (Ted) Nottingham examines the "Fourth Way" teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, an enigmatic yet enlightened teacher who burst onto the spiritual scene in the first half of the twentieth-century. Gurdjieff's teachings express the truths found in ancient religious and wisdom teachings relating to self-awareness in people's daily lives, and are as current and relevant today (if not more so) as they were when Gurdjieff and his many students (including P.D. Ouspensky) formed various wisdom schools to pass on his esoteric teachings.

"The idea that we are not awake but live in a partial dream state from which we can awaken opens on to radically new horizons," Nottingham observes. "The illusions we foster concerning ourselves melt in the light of increased consciousness, and we awaken to new dimensions of reality that set us free. We are then able to relate to the world around us without our usual defenses, and masks, and confusion, which constitute so much of human interaction. We also become capable of a new kind of compassion."

"Ultimately," he notes, "this third state of consciousness which is our birthright (i.e., heightened consciousness beyond sleep and ordinary wakefulness) frees us from the unnecessary agonies of a little ego always struggling for self-importance and gratification, and awakens us to new insight and understanding. The world becomes a different place and we become far more than our imaginary 'selves' ever dreamt of. The potential for happiness, fulfillment and genuine usefulness to humanity are now tangible realities."

"This use of attention," he points out, "is similar to the 'Watch of the Heart' of early Eastern Christian spirituality and the remembrance of God of the Sufi mystics. To be aware of a higher reality while dealing with ordinary reality requires an effort of awareness, detachment and concentration that is the result of long practice."

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