George Gurdjieff was a mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent, born in Alexandrapol, Armenia.
George Gurdjieff spent his childhood in Kars, which, from 1878 to 1918, was the administrative capital of the Russian-ruled Transcaucasus province of Kars Oblast, a border region recently captured from the Ottoman Empire.
In early adulthood, according to his own account, Gurdjieff’s curiosity led him to travel to Central Asia, Egypt, Iran, India, Tibet, and Rome before he returned to Russia for a few years in 1912.
Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep“, but that it is possible to awaken to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.
Gurdjieff argued that many of the existing forms of religious and spiritual tradition on Earth had lost connection with their original meaning and vitality and so could no longer serve humanity in the way that had been intended at their inception.
As a result, humans were failing to realize the truths of ancient teachings and were instead becoming more and more like automatons, susceptible to control from outside and increasingly capable of otherwise unthinkable acts of mass psychosis such as World War I.
At best, the various surviving sects and schools could provide only a one-sided development, which did not result in a fully integrated human being.
Gurdjieff described a method attempting to do so, calling the discipline “The Work” (connoting “work on oneself”) or “the System“.
“The Work” is, in essence, training in the development of consciousness.
George Gurdjieff used a number of methods and materials, including meetings, music, movements (sacred dance), writings, lectures, and innovative forms of group and individual work.
According to his principles and instructions, Gurdjieff’s method for awakening one’s consciousness unites the methods of the fakir, monk, and yogi, and thus he referred to it as the “Fourth Way“.
George Gurdjieff Quotes:
1. “Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”
2. “Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.”
3. “I will tell you one thing that will make you rich for life. There are two struggles: an Inner-world struggle and an Outer-world struggle…you must make an intentional contact between these two worlds; then you can crystallize data for the Third World, the World of the Soul.”
4. “The greatest untold story is the evolution of God.”
5. “It is the greatest mistake to think that man is always one and the same. A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour.”
6. “Knowledge can be acquired by a suitable and complete study, no matter what the starting point is. Only one must know how to ‘learn.’ What is nearest to us is man; and you are the nearest of all men to yourself. Begin with the study of yourself; remember the saying ‘Know thyself.”
7. “Let us take some event in the life of humanity. For instance, war. There is a war going on at the present moment. What does it signify? It signifies that several millions of sleeping people are trying to destroy several millions of other sleeping people. They would not do this, of course, if they were to wake up. Everything that takes place is owing to this sleep.”
8. “It is necessary to observe yourself differently than you do in ordinary life. It is necessary to have a different attitude, not the attitude you had till now. You know where your habitual attitudes have led you till now. There is no sense in going on as before.”
9. “With thorns in the inner world there will always be roses in the outer world, in law-able compensation.”
10. “Time in itself does not exist, there is only the totality of the results issuing from all the cosmic phenomena present in a given place.”
11. “If you are working inwardly, Nature will help you. For the man who is working, Nature is sister of charity; she brings him what he needs for his work. If you need money for your work, even if you do nothing to get it, the money will come to you from all sides.”
12. “Consider everything belonging to another as if it were your own, and so treat it.”
13. “And the second reason is that the terrestrial being who made these experiments, thanks to the knowledge of cosmic vibrations he had acquired, was the sole and unique being who, during the many centuries that I existed upon the Earth, recognized and came to know my true nature.”