top of page

Preparing the Way - the practice of spiritual ideas

Any genuine path of spiritual transformation has, at its basis, a practice that explicitly integrates and embodies its ideas - otherwise, it is just, as Gurdjieff would say, "pouring from the empty into the void".

Gurdjieff's cosmology, psychology and anthropology have a coherent and contingent integration with its practices - they are 'hand-in-glove'.

One must know 'how', 'what' and 'why' of the practice for it to be effective. In other words, an understanding of the practice must be firmly rooted, simultaneously, in thought (the ideas of what to try), feelings (the motivation of why to try) and body (the ability of how to try) for any real results to occur.

For example, the 'Preparation Exercise' - where the essential task is to connect the 'attention' to the 'organic sensations' of the body - has a direct relationship in connecting one 'cosmos' and its subsequent 'radiations' (as defined in Gurdjieff's 'Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson') to another cosmos and its radiations - grounding the ideas of cosmic organisation in every day life.


Those who try but can't apply the discipline of practice to integrate and understand ideas, often revert to just talking about it - and attempt to convince others that they 'know'. Those who haven't even tried to practice, often revert to just philosophising about it - and attempt to convince others in what way they should practice!


Another practice of 'enduring the displeasing manifestations of others towards oneself' offers the opportunity of working with the 'Law of Three' - whereby, one can establish a different relationship within oneself of the three forces of negation, affirmation and reconciliation. That is, to 'endure' requires restraint of some of those forces, and the invitation of others, that is uncommon in ordinary life, but leads directly to understanding the transformation process itself.

A further example of working with the Law of Three is the practice of intentionally 'relaxing the body'. One can't force relaxation, so a different relationship between the three forces must be studied, understood and then applied to produce effective relaxation 'at will' - otherwise, it just leads to more tension. Over time, relaxation of the feelings, thinking and state of being becomes possible - and demonstrates one way that 'will' works in us.

There are many exercises and practices that intimately integrate with Gurdjieff's ideas. Indeed, without thorough and grounded practice, many of Gurdjieff's ideas simply cannot be understood, let alone be an aid in personal transformation.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 KJV.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page