The True Fourth Way: The Way of Conscience

If Mr. Gurdjieff were alive today, he would probably be very surprised to know that people who follow his teaching describe themselves as followers of the Fourth Way.  I am sure that he would have immediately set out to find where this expression came from because he did use the term fourth way, and only one time, but in very specific terms and not as a Way.  If that had been the case, he would have determined that the expression refers to those who do not follow the way of the fakir, the monk, and the yogi. Following my train of speculative thoughts here, I think that Mr. Gurdjieff would have said that he indeed spoke about the ways of the fakir, the monk, and the yogi at one time during the giving of his teaching in Russia and faithfully recorded by Ouspensky in his book In Search of the Miraculous, but that later he corrected himself and spoke of three other ways :  The Ways of Faith, Love, and Hope.

And then he would have probably added:

“The Fourth Way is the Way of Conscience and that the Way of Conscience exists in the fakir, the monk, and the yogi, and in all of us because ‘Conscience in three-centered beings is sometimes called the REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CREATOR.’

In the shortest chapter of Beelzebub’s Tales with the title “A Change in the Appointed Course of the Falling of the Transpace Ship Karnak,” located precisely between Russian and France, Mr. Gurdjieff is telling us, in allegorical language, that after Russia and while in France he changed and completed his Teaching to make it more accessible to humanity and not for the people accustomed to his way of thinking (read the Prologue to Life is real only then, when “I am.”).

And the change, and this is really the heart of the matter, is not only in content but in form as well: “sequence and form. “

In this respect, and no long ago, I received a private mail from a friend who read about all this in another list where I used to participate. Here is the exact content on one part of his mail:

Gurdjieff A Master in Life – Tcheslaw Tchekhovitch
P46 (Gurdjieff is talking)
“There also exists a ‘fourth way’, based on the sacred impulse emanating from conscience, of which a germ is deposited in each human being. This leads to another specific form of teaching, a new approach to religion’’

I must confess that when I read this statement I experienced genuine inner satisfaction. This is the quote I had been searching for in a long time. For me this also means that I do not have to read books and that reading the Legominism contained in Beelzebub’s Tales is all I need. Somehow the information I need from other sources will come to me one way or another. According to my friend who read Tchekhovitch’s book, this was said by Mr. Gurdjieff when they were in Constantinople on their way from Russia to France. It was already there that Mr. Gurdjieff was thinking of another “fourth way” that has nothing to do with the Fourth Way Ouspensky and others have made so popular.

Yes, what Mr. Gurdjieff brought to us is a new approach to religion and in this sense his teaching is not founded on Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam, as so many people have claimed. The teaching he brought is founded on the whim of his life:

To bring a new conception of God.”

What Mr. Gurdjieff brought to us is a merciless compassion for the human condition and a heartfelt call to awaken a dormant Conscience.

This is the true Fourth Way that has nothing to do with the Fourth Way that others have popularized.




About willmesa

I have been studying and working with the ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff exposed in his Opus Magnum Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. The intention of this blog is to share these ideas with people around the world. For more information about me, please search in Google for Will Mesa
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13 Responses to The True Fourth Way: The Way of Conscience

  1. willmesa says:

    Here are the paragraphs from the a Prologue of Life is real only then, when “ I am” in which Mr. Gurdjieff tells us that he had to change his way of exposition in the first series of All and Everything, that is to say in Beelzebub’s Tales, in order to make it more accessible to humanity:

    “As I had the intention of publishing the first series of my writings the following year, I therefore decided, parallel with working on the books of the second series, to hold frequent public readings of the first series.
    I decided to do this in order, before finally sending them to press, to review them once more but this time in accordance with the impressions with which different fragments were received by people of different typicalities and different degrees of mental development.
    And in view of this aim, I began from then on to invite to my city apartment different persons of my acquaintance of corresponding individuality to hear the chapter proposed for correction, which was read aloud by somebody in their presence.
    At that time I had my principal place of residence for my whole family as well as for myself at Fontainebleau, but because of my frequent visits to Paris I was obliged also to have an apartment there.
    During these common readings, in the presence of listeners of many different typicalities, while simultaneously observing the audience and listening to my writing, now ready for publication, I for the first time very definitely established and clearly, without any doubt, understood the following:
    The form of the exposition of my thoughts in these writings could be understood exclusively by those readers who, in one way or another, were already acquainted with the peculiar form of my mentation.
    But every other reader for whom, strictly speaking, I had goaded myself almost day and night during this time, would understand nearly nothing.
    During this common reading, by the way, I enlightened myself for the first time with regard to the particular form in which it would be necessary to write in order that it might be accessible to the understanding of everyone. “
    Pages 13 and 14 of Prologue of Life is real only then, when “I am.”

    • Roland Lindgren says:

      Yes, obviously he did write for ‘the ordinary person’ to understand when I am able to understand most of his ideas from his books other than BT which I personally have found difficult to consistently follow through on. Possibly because I never was under the guidance of one who did understand BT.

  2. Gregory says:

    Thank you, again, Will.
    I find Tchekhovitch’s book reveals something “other” behind the Ideas through its sustained warmth of presentation. There is much uncommon feeling throughout its pages.
    For all the intellectuality written around the subject of Gurdjieff and the Teaching, I’ve always sensed that its main concern was to connect us to the emotions we are never in touch with.


    • Gregory says:

      Those emotions I am referencing above are around us, ready to enter us.
      But we are too calloused, too hardened, too “busy”, even, with self-improvement and the like.
      Without softening towards this “stuff”, how can we even approach Conscience?

      • Gregory says:

        “For all the intellectuality written around the subject of Gurdjieff and the Teaching, I’ve always sensed that the Teaching’s concern was to connect us to the emotions we are never in touch with.”
        I am still learning how to articulate online. Without the massage of the heart provided by the physical act of handwriting an important element is removed.

  3. One of the many “secrets” that Gurdjieff desired to share (with those that have true eyes and true ears) was the value of learning to look at and too the sun for the fuel and the essential food that only the sun can bestow. Once the value is understood (nothing in nature has more “light” to give and nothing in nature is more intelligent than the sun) the rest is only techniques that are easily learned.
    Small incremental doses for a few months is a good beginning..incremental is the key.
    We teach the how and the why as Gurdjieff here discloses..the bone and the dog.

  4. willmesa says:

    Hi Gregory,

    Conscience has to do with feeling to begin with, in the same way that consciousness has to do with thinking.

    Yes, great part of the transformation Mr. Gurdjieff speaks of has to do with feeling, a new feeling from which conscience can arise and the real consciousness which is now in the subconscious can arise too in us.

    Our function of emotion, as it is called in Beelzebub’s Tales, is rather poorly developed. Hadji -Asvatz-Troov showed with his works on the laws of vibrations that the function of emotion is sometimes more developed in a two-brained being than in a three-brained being.

    Thanks for your comments,


    • Roland Lindgren says:

      Yes, as Nicoll pointed out so well too, we need to feel bad about something in our own behavior. This leads to Conscience being activated in my experience. Jesus also pointed to this when he said to follower “You see the splinter in other’s eye and miss the log in your own”.

  5. willmesa says:

    Hi Robert,

    How are you?

    The awakening of the Divine Impulse of Objective Conscience does not involved staring into the sun. The only sun we have to work with is our 9inner sun which, as Beelzebub says, neither lights nor heat. It is that sun that we have to stare into and then make it light and heat in us.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Be well,


    • Gregory says:

      Hello Will,
      The thought crossed my mind last evening that Mr. G’s statement in ISOTM regarding his teaching “esoteric christianity, if you like” might, amongst other things, be a dropped hint that what he was teaching at that point was related to a historical past and was therefore prefatory and already dead.
      Any chance we will see your TREATISE ON COSMIC ENGINEERING in print or is that a purely private enterprise?
      Good wishes,

      • willmesa says:

        Hi Gregory,

        yes, while in Russia Mr. Gurdjieff was working on his greates whim which he described as bringing a new conception of God. He did it with Beelzebub’s Tales and he fulfilled the sense and aim of his existence on Earth. That is why, according to Dr. Welsh who was present at his death place in the America Hospital in Paris, he died like a King.

        If you send me an email with your address, I will send you a manuscript of my book. I have already sent it to at least ten people. My email:

        Thanks for your participation in my blog,


  6. Gregory says:

    Thanks, Will! Sent you and link and communique.

  7. Roland Lindgren says:

    Will, is your book about understanding the content of Beelzebub’s Tales? If so, would it be possible to send me a copy?


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