By Mike Zonta, H.W., M.
The subject of 4th Way teacher came up at the Trustee’s meeting on Sunday morning (November 10, 2019) and independently at the Sunday Night Translation Group. It was concluded that since Thane Walker is no longer with us, we no longer have a 4th Way teacher in our midst.
To catch up, if you are unfamiliar with the term “Fourth Way,” here’s the Wikipedia explanation:
Gurdjieff taught that traditional paths to spiritual enlightenment followed one of three ways:
- The Way of the Fakir
The Fakir works to obtain mastery of the attention (self-mastery) through struggles with [controlling] the physical body involving difficult physical exercises and postures.
- The Way of the Monk
The Monk works to obtain the same mastery of the attention (self-mastery) through struggle with [controlling] the affections, in the domain, as we say, of the heart, which has been emphasized in the west, and come to be known as the way of faith due to its practice particularly in Catholicism.
- The Way of the Yogi
The Yogi works to obtain the same mastery of the attention (as before: ‘self mastery’) through struggle with [controlling] mental habits and capabilities.
Gurdjieff insisted that these paths – although they may intend to seek to produce a fully developed human being – tend to cultivate certain faculties at the expense of others. The goal of religion or spirituality was, in fact, to produce a well-balanced, responsive and sane human being capable of dealing with all eventualities that life may present. Gurdjieff therefore made it clear that it was necessary to cultivate a way that integrated and combined the traditional three ways.
Gurdjieff said that his Fourth Way was a quicker means than the first three ways because it simultaneously combined work on all three centers rather than focusing on one. It could be followed by ordinary people in everyday life, requiring no retirement into the desert. The Fourth Way does involve certain conditions imposed by a teacher, but blind acceptance of them is discouraged. Each student is advised to do only what they understand and to verify for themselves the teaching’s ideas.
So Thane, who was a student of Gurdjieff, may no longer be with us, but his teachings are . . . and the Truth is. And it is my contention that Truth is still a 4th Way teacher. All It requires are 4th Way students.