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3.8: The enneagram

The enneagram, Gurdjieff’s diagram of nine points, has been subsequently adopted by all kinds of people to classify supposed relationships between things, not always with any obvious connection with the diagram as originally set out.  I am principally familiar with it as a diagram of the relationships between the various body types, and as a way of understanding our different essences it is as good as any. Classifying ourselves and each other in this way can help in understanding our ‘mechanics,’ why we do things in particular characteristic ways, that we are not unique, and that our differences from other types need not result in selfdeprecation or negative judgements of others. We are what we are.  Rodney Collin claimed that there is a circulation within the enneagram, such that each body type tends towards the next one in the flow of the diagram. Thus a lunar type, during the course of spiritual evolution, will tend to become more venusian, venusians will become more mercurial, and
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3.7: Centres of gravity and body types

You’re nothing but a pack of cards! —Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland  I do not recall reading anywhere in Gurdjieff’s or Ouspensky’s works the idea of body types or centres of gravity. The idea of body types appears to derive from Rodney Collin’s Theory of Celestial Influence and that of centres of gravity is, as far as I can tell, an innovation by Robert Burton, although I do not know for certain.  In essence both sets of ideas are peripheral to the aim of the fourth way, but they have their uses. Both sets of ideas provide a framework in which one can identify the mechanics of one’s ‘machine.’ This enables one better to understand one’s mechanical or automatic reactions to people and situations and thus become more forgiving and accepting of oneself and others.  The idea of centres of gravity appears to be an embellishment on the division of the body into head, heart and guts, or intellectual centre, emotional centre and instinctive-moving centre, which is discussed in In Search

3.6: Man no.s 4 and 5

 Men and women no. 5 are said to be able to self-remember, that is, to enter into the third state of consciousness at will. It is also said that at any one moment one is either a man or woman 1, 2 or 3 or else a no. 5. One is either ‘conscious’ (in the sense of third state) or not. Men and women no. 4 are neither one thing nor the other. They stand at the threshold, or as it were in the doorway, neither in the hallway nor the living room. They are ordinary people who are trying to awaken. Men and women no. 5 are said to have higher emotional centre working within them. This is said to be a part of us that is dormant unless we awaken. Gurdjieff said that we do not possess a soul, but have to acquire one. In the Fellowship only two students were alleged to have become men no. 5. One was before my time, and according to reports of others subsequently left the school, and the other was told he was man no. 5 by the teacher during the time when I was a member. When asked about this by anothe

3.5: Man no.s 1, 2, 3

 In the Fourth Way system men and women 1, 2 and 3 are all on the same level. The numbers simply refer to a tendency to operate from one or other of the three ‘centres,’ movinginstinctive, emotional and intellectual respectively.  It is said to be useful to understand one’s ‘mechanics,’ as these tendencies are referred to, not to judge oneself but quite the reverse, to accept and understand oneself. Do you like parties, prefer to be with friends rather than read a book and you don’t enjoy abstract discussions? Fine, you’re probably emotionally-centred. You see the world primarily through your emotions. Do you prefer to read a book and you stand awkwardly in the background at dances? You’re probably intellectually-centred. And so on.  Each of us has situations in which we don’t fit in, and feel as though we should be different from what we are. One of the pieces of advice that was given in the school was not to judge. Things as they are, myself as I am. This seems to me to be sound. Ous

3.4: Fourth state

Fourth state we described in introductory meetings as that state that normally only occurs at times of extreme danger, when time seems to run unusually slowly and there is a calmness and clear-headedness (probably because there is no time to worry or even think). However Ouspensky gives that description for third state. Whereas third state is sometimes described as the state of being able to be objective about yourself, fourth state is supposedly being objective about the universe. Ouspensky writes, “In the fourth state of consciousness, that is, in the state of objective consciousness, we are supposed to be able to know the full truth about everything: we can study ‘things in themselves,’ ‘the world as it is.’”  We used to claim, according to the material in the introductory meetings, that one can, by practicing, be in the third state more and more often, and eventually at will. A person who, by repeated efforts had achieved more-or-less permanent third state might have occasional fou

3.3: The Fourth Way to what?

  If I were to formulate from today’s understanding what my aim was when I first joined SES at the age of seventeen, it would be to acquire a sense of peace and that clear state of awareness that went with it, and also the delight of understanding the world from a set of ideas that made it make sense. It is hard to accept that sometimes it doesn’t. Stepping back, what is the aim of the fourth way from the point of view of its basic texts? The most fundamental texts are arguably Ouspensky’s The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution and his In Search of the Miraculous , also Gurdjieff’s All and Everything .  Life is only real then, when I am starts with a summary of the intended results of Gurdjieff’s All and Everything , of which Life is the third series. The summary is as follows: FIRST SERIES: To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the

3.2: Influence C in the Fellowship

When I joined the Fellowship I never questioned its authenticity as a fourth way school. I simply accepted the rules, did the exercises and enjoyed the sense of being on a meaningful journey. I felt I was able to verify the teacher through the people around me and the teaching itself. At no point did the question of lineage arise as a problem for me. Once I was asked about it in a prospective student meeting and replied that the System came to our teacher through Rodney Collin and Alex Horn, Robert Burton’s teacher. After the meeting another student quite rightly said to me that we shouldn’t claim a connection with Rodney Collin because we don’t know this for certain. Lineage was always claimed by Robert Burton through Alex Horn, but it is not at all clear what connection Horn had with the fourth way of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. There is a suggestion that Horn visited Collin in Mexico, but there is scant evidence that he stayed for any length of time or learned anything from him. Howeve