Two stages on the way to the Being
Before getting into the core of anything, we have to undergo a process of some preparation, to establish the fundamental support for any further development. It is much like building a house: you need to have it built on good foundations or it won’t last. If we wish to get into any study of the Being, we must at first recognize a few hard facts regarding the true reality of the Being.
The Fourth Way can utilize the necessary shock needed to awaken us to the basic truth of Being. The ways of the Zen or the teachings of Zen are necessary as we advance onwards to live a life of Being. These two teachings present two stages on one’s way to the Being: The first stage is destined for the common person, who comes from the usual common consciousness, knows nothing and is in a need for a firm and basic instructor, a backbone. The first stage of learning must be clear, bright and hard, to engrave the basic different philosophical views. The second stage is destined for the awakened person, who wishes to live life without the interference of the mind. This stage should be vague, soft, unknown, to allow the inner Being a space in which life may occur.
The First stage is presented by the Fourth Way. This is a hard, uncompromising way based on conscious understanding that engraves few revolutionary truths that create new order. The word that goes with it is: different. The bridge to the second stage is best presented by the teachings of Zen Buddhism, a very soft way, very introvert, where logic is totally absent. While in the previous way the human needs to make a conscious effort to remember himself all the time, in the Zen way there is no pressure, no conscious effort. All intentions and habitual thinking should be melted, to allow life to occur.
In The Fourth Way one needs to remember.
In the way of Zen one needs to forget.
In The Fourth Way there is a fight against idleness and one needs to be full with one’s intention.
In Zen one needs to be empty, for as long as the human wont be empty, nothing can manifest and happen through him.
The Fourth Way is previous to the Zen way because first we need a purpose on which to focus. The human needs to realize that he ‘thinks’ that he exists, that he ‘thinks’ that he can do, that he thinks that he has got a self-center of gravity – but in fact there is nothing, all of it is nothing but illusions and dreams. In fact, he needs to shad all that he imagines that he is and to realize that he is nothing. Only then, can he begin.
The beginner has to move from nothing to something, from non-being to full being. The beginner student needs The Fourth Way to realize that intact things are black and white, and that one needs to choose between black or white, between being wasted or going to do something with one’s life. On this way, The Fourth Way, one is a novice in a recruit service. But no one can stay a novice-beginner all ones life. One day, you need to move to actualization, let what you have learnt become real. In order to become a soldier of life, you need to connect back to your instincts, which were lost due to the pressured lifestyle of modern culture.
The Fourth Way is the beginning. It is called so, because its teaching says that in addition to the 3 common approaches to inner awakening (or higher consciousness), there is a fourth way, a way which combines all three. The first path is the fakir’s way, which demands full physical control through laborious exercises. The second path is the monk’s way, which is the way of devotion and faith, the heart’s way. The third path, which is the Yogi’s way, is the way of knowledge, of wisdom.
These three ways could be likened to the three main sections of the human himself: The first section is the body including the two twin centers: the instinctive and the motor-centers – this could be the level of the fakir. The second section is the emotion. This has to do with the emotional center and is on the level of the monk or priest. The third section is the head and the mental faculty. This has to do with wisdom and is on the level of the Yogi.
Gurdjieff said that in fact each path alone is not enough, for it is out of balance with the other two, therefor he spoke of working on all 3 at the same time. This approach is called “The Fourth Way”. So the main mission of the Fourth Way is to wake up and to have a grip on one’s life. With the Zen, we need to loosen up totally, otherwise life will not happen through us, and above all, we need to become passive in the right way, not to force anything to happen. For life is delicate, is fragile.
If we are too aggressive towards life – it will run away. The great German children writer Erich Kustner wrote in a prefix to his book “Thirty Fifth of May “, how he gets the inspiration (muse) to write: firstly he lies on the carpet, as though he was bored and aimless. Then, the frightened muse puts her head carefully through the door, and as she sees Kustner starring at the ceiling, she slips in a hasty leg and then another, until she’s really near the carpet, at that moment Kustner really uninterested turns the other side, and after awhile the muse becomes brave and get even more closer to the disregarded Kustner, and then she almost touches him, he turns at ones and holds her nape, and then she is his.
Instead of coming to the muse in a harsh and straightforward manner, we need to learn from nature, where meeting of a yearning object isn’t by compulsion but rather by initiation: round and gentle courting. Upon coming from nothing to something, one needs to be tough and insistent (the Fourth Way approach), but once we have something in our hands, we should be soft in order to get to know and to acclimate to the new state. The Fourth Way shows how to lay down the temple’s foundation. The Zen shows how to fill it with content (the spirit of life). The Fourth Way has made us great service by teaching us the dialect of black and white, but there is no use in being colorless, so we need the Zen to notice the different hues.
Of course, people ought to come and question the Fourth Way against him: how dares he conclude that the human race is degenerated and unaware. Why doesn’t he take compassion measurement and gives common people the possibility to think that they are working on themselves, and they are O.K. and that god loves them. The great religions and people who say this, adopt a righteous and hypocrite stance, because the Fourth Way says the actual truth: humans do not work on themselves, humans cheat themselves, Thousands of ‘selves’ exist in us, where each one of them pulls to it’s way. In the human culture, the inner Being is being conquered by the social norm. The Fourth Way’s teaching is to awaken us in the manner of a shock (a blow). And also, afterwards ‘alarm clocks’ are needed because all the time we fall back and doze off to sleep.
Most people are situated in the state of sleep, there is the need of remembering ourselves, says Gurdjieff, because an awakened person is distinct from an asleep man by being aware to the fact of his existence, he remembers himself, while the one asleep doesn’t even know he exists. And in order to start something, there is a need to start with a bit of force and then to allow things to happen. The Fourth Way deals in the hard transition from nothing to something, which is the utmost novitiate, for which iron discipline is needed, recognizing that you know nothing about army life and where all complacent and negligent conduct could cost life. The Zen approach comes after the novitiate process and says: “until now, you’ve played soldiers and enemies in a secure base which was your hotbed, out of the state of army seed to a state of a fighting flower, where it is time to move a side and allow this potential potency space to occur.”
Ouspensky’s and Gurdjieff’s way is to awaken us in the manner of shock, and this can be demonstrated by the story (if I recall, told by Gurdjieff himself) of “the donkeys taming”: A childless old couple had a donkey whom they loved dearly. They took great care of him, almost as if it was their child, and of course let him live with them inside the house. One morning, the donkey refused to get up from his resting place and did not respond to any plead or other external stimulation. The old couple became very worried and looked for a donkey specialist to come over and cure their beloved donkey. The only specialist they heard of, lived very far away and was very old, so he arrived only after three days. The specialist stipulated the healing so that the couple will not interfere with his work, although occasionally it may seem queer. After he had checked the ‘patient’, he took a heavy rock and dropped it on top of the donkey’s head. The donkey jumped from his place, but immediately went back to lay in his rest place. Then, the specialist dragged the donkey out and lashed him with a rid. Once again, the donkey jumped, but soon went back to his rest place. The concerned old women told her husband that the doctor must have forgotten how to cure donkeys, but her husband asked her to be silent and demanded that he will be given another chance. The specialist came into the kitchen, and after he roasted a potato, he lifted the donkey’s tail and shoved the hot potato inside. The donkey jumped and leaped out of the house and kept on running. The old woman fainted. And then the specialist explained, that the first lesson in donkey training, is to catch the donkey’s attention. The waking up from sleep is not at once, what the donkey trainer did is just moving the donkey from being fast asleep to being less asleep, this is moving from one level of consciousness to another.
Gurdjieff is talking about 4 levels of consciousness, four stages of moving from sleep to awakening. The first stage is sleep in the literal meaning level, the external circle, the exoteric level where things seem to be what they are literally: a tree is a tree. Most people exist at this level of consciousness most of their life. We are physically passive at this state and the only means of awareness are the dreams. The second stage is: sleep while awakened. This is the mystery level, the meaning here is derived, symbolic, analogy, allegory. It is the medial circle, the mesoteric. This is a state in which the awareness is relative, and in this relative awareness we walk, talk, and come in contact with other people. The third level is a conscious level of self-awareness. This is the being level, the meaning here is metaphysical, of laws, of regulation, of supreme organization. It is the internal circle, the esoteric. A state where consciousness is subjective, here we see ourselves as we are. The forth level is the objective consciousness level. This is the secret level, there are no circles here but wholesome unity. This is a state where we see the world as it is.
The first two stages present two different levels of sleep. The last two stages present two different levels of awareness. The transition from the first to the second is either by inclination or by learning. But the transition from the second to the third occurs only after becoming a student of a school (like The Fourth Way) or after finding a teacher, or by going through a constructive shock, or by meeting ones complimentary half (via marriage or deep relationship). A common person is usually based in level one or two. An ordinary person at level one and a more educated person, artists and religious people – at level two.
These two levels mean being asleep and awake – asleep to the inside, awake to the outside. There is no self-awareness, the person is not aware to what actually goes on inside him. He isn’t aware of his true motives, or of where what he does leads him to. That means that he actually doesn’t know himself or his place in all that’s around him. People are usually physically awake and automatically function, but not more than that. They are asleep to the inner essence of their life which is the unconscious. The difference between level one and two is not fundamental but a matter of degree. The being level begins at level 3. The Fourth Way is causing a masculine shock, to make a movement between level two to three. But if the female way, that of reception and letting go, does not happen in level three – then the person is stuck in the middle of level three, he has the power to penetrate to the being, but without the life – to let it come to life. The Fourth Way starts the awareness of moving from two to three, the Zen compiles this by letting the breath of life come into it. The transition between sterile knowing and real being – in the midst of level three – is in passing through the female bottleneck, Yin, through the mental quietness, because only in the state of mental quietness one can absorb, only in the state of inner peace a human is able to have something from the outside to come inside.
In a masculine state, extrovert, active – the human is unable to accept something in, not to speak of inner absorption (but mainly, instead of absorbing, we put labels on things). This ability to inner absorb is described beautifully, by carols Castaneda, in “The Journal of Applied Hermeneutics: The Warrior’s Way”: “Don Juan explained that a tree as we know TREE is more interpretation than perception, He said that for us to deal with TREE, all we need is a cursory glance that tells us hardly anything. The rest is a phenomena which he described as THE CALLING OF INTENT: the intent of TREE, that is to say, the interpretation of sensory data pertaining to this specific phenomena that we call TREE”. What is being talked of here by Castaneda is the movement into the second half, the feminine, yin part, of level three. Here, the being is in full bloom, here we are in RECEPTION of the world (feminine) instead of trying to engrave on it our interpretation (masculine). The man in the higher level of consciousness of the third level- although he is very quiet inside, it doesn’t mean he is passive, because in the state of mental & emotional quietness and state of awakened consciousness, the human is loaded with inner potency.
So then, Gurdjieff is talking about four levels of consciousness: Wakening Sleep, Sleep Awakening, Subjective consciousness (being), Objective consciousness. When he speaks of self-remembering, he means moving to the third level. Most people are in the state of sleep. Self-remembering helps to move from second to third level of consciousness. In the third level, self-remembering is automatic, but in order to start anything, one needs to start with a little force and then it is possible to allow things to happen. Gurdjieff is into the most difficult transition of all: from nothing to something, from sleep to being awake.
At the beginning, the student acts as if he has already arrived, he suffers the frustration and knowing which he has not yet come to. In a certain island in Borneo, there is a similar ritual. The people there live on fishing and there is a season when it is most difficult to fish, because fish don’t get caught in the net. What they do is, that one of them throws himself into the water, acting as if he was a fish caught in the net. Apparently a real fish did get caught in the net. In The Fourth Way, one IMITATES the fishes behavior. The student tries to behave as though he is awake, although he is not. Being really awake means to have the female portion of level three, only then one is awake, has a Being. The Zen should come AFTER the novice time with the Fourth Way, and then and only then there is meaning to the words: “Enough with this fooling around, now let the fish come, move aside, and let things happen alone, WITHOUT YOU!”
The Zen way teaches how to give up control, to stop trying to be. When one succeeds to cease from interfering – then ones real being can come to be, and only then one does fully inhabit level three. The Fourth Way teaches us to swim , the Zen comes and teaches us to lay on our backs and wait for THE TIDES to come and happen to us, being that the muse wouldn’t have come to a swimming person for he wouldn’t have felt her. BUT WITH IT- he who doesn’t know how to swim will never win her visit by not being in the water at all. The Fourth Way-approach speaks of building a house, foundation, bricks, roof, windows, doors and so on. Zen speaks of connecting to the telephone network and electricity. The Fourth Way approach speaks of hard work, the Zen speaks of soft essence. The Fourth Way work is masculine, aggressive, total, fact stating, brings from nothing to something- The Zen allows this something to be, to live, the Zen is the feminine approach which allows the essence to be born, do the quantum leap and take over the wheel – and be.
Two stages on the way to the Being