dwai

Do we have to remain aware of our True Nature all the time?

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A question that I’ve asked and others I know also have — in fact it is a frequent question in the process of nidhidhyāsanam (Advaita Vedantic practice/meditation) : “How can I stay constantly aware of my True Nature?” 
 

Swami Sarvapriyananda answers beautifully  — 

 

 

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Thanks for sharing.  He speaks in such clear simplicity.  Really appreciate him.

Our True Nature is never absent; the sky may be occluded by clouds, but is never absent.

 

When we break up space with form (buildings, bodies, forests, planets and stars) we do not break up space with that form.

 

Form arises within space.  Space is constant, form is rising and diminishing. 

 

Space is.

 

Space accomodates form within its essence.  Space by its nature accomodates form.  Form does not 'break space up'.

 

For without space, what would/could exist in form?

 

and

 

The difference between memory and experience.

 

True Nature is like space and is experiential.  True nature abides of itself.  Form, idea, memory, identity arise and diminish within True Nature.   True Nature is unmarred by the arising and passing of form. 

 

 

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I'm reminded of John Blofeld reiterating Tseng Lao-weng describing Tao as it relates to form, mind and our nature.

 

Spoiler

Tseng Lao-weng:  'Your going to such trouble to visit me is flattering.  How may I best be of service to you?'

    'You mean, why have I come, Venerable?  I have been longing to meet you ever since I heard our mutual friend describe you as an illumined sage.'

    Tseng Lao-weng sighed and answered resignedly: 'Why to people talk so?  Such words are tedious.  You will find no sages here, just this old fellow and four or five other very ordinary men who are students of the Way.  It must be dissappointing for you.'

    'Do not blame Yang Tao-shih, Venerable.  He wished only to make me see for myself that Buddhists do not have a monopoly of wisdom.'

    'And does seeing an old man distinguished by nothing more than an unusually bushy beard convince you that they do not?'

 

    What could I say that would not sound like flattery, which he obviously disliked?  "Venerable, it is just that, as most of my teachers are Buddhist, I am ignorant about what Taoists mean by such terms as wisdom and illumination, and about their methods of approaching the Tao.'

    He laughed.  'How strange.  Can there be two kinds of wisdom, two kinds of illumination, Taoist and Buddhist?  Surely the experience of truth must be the same for all?  As to approaching the Tao, be sure that demons and executioners, let alone Buddhists, are as close to it as can be.  The one impossible thing is to get a finger's breadth away from it.  Do you suppose that some people -- this old fellow, for example -- are nearer to it than others?  Is a bird closer to the air than a tortoise or a cat?  The Tao is closer to you than the nose on your face; it is ony because you can tweak your nose that you think otherwise.  Asking about our approach to the Tao is like asking a deep-see fish how it approaches the water.  It is just a matter of recognizing what has been inside, outside and all around from the first.  Do you understand?'

 

    'Yes I believe I do.  Certainly my Buddhist teachers have taught me that there is no attaining liberation, but only attaining recognition of what has always been from the first.'

    'Excellent, excellent!  Your teachers, then, are true sages.  You are a worthy disciple, so why brave the bitter cold to visit an ordinary old fellow?  You would have learnt as much at your own fireside.'  (His harping so much on his being just an ordinary fellow was not due to exaggerated modesty, being a play on the words of which his title, Lao-weng, was composed.)

 

    'Venerable, please don't laugh at me!  I accept your teaching that true sages have but the one goal.  Still, here in China, there are Buddhists and there are also Taoists.  Manifestly they differ; since the goal is one, the distinction must lie in their methods of approach.'

 

    'So you are hungry not for wisdom but for knowledge!  What a pity!  Wisdom is almost as satisfying as good millet-gruel, whereas knowledge has less body to it than tepid water poured over old tea-leaves;  but if that is the fare you have come for, I can give you as much as your mistreated belly will hold.  What sort of old tea-leaves do Buddhists use, I wonder!  We Taoists use all sorts.  Some swallow medicine-balls as big as pigeon's eggs or drink tonics by the jugful, live upon unappetizing diets, take baths at intervals goverened by esoteric numbers, breathe in and out like asthmatic dragons, or jump about like Manchu bannermen hardening themselves for battle -- all this discomfort just for a few extra decades of life!  And why?  To gain more time to find what has never been lost! 

 

    And what of those pious recluses who rattle mattets against wooden-fish drums from dusk to dawn, groaning out liturgies like cholera-patients excreting watery dung?  They are penitents longing to rid themselves of a burden they never had.  These people do everything imaginable, including swallowing pills made from the vital fluids secreted by the opposide sex and lighting fires in their bellies to make the alchemic cauldrons boil -- everything, everything except -- sit still and look within.  I shall have to talk of such follies for hours, if you really want a full list of Taoist methods.  These method-users resemble mountain streams a thousand leagues from the sea.  Ah, how they chatter and gurgle, bubble and boil, rush and eddy, plunging over precipices in spectacular fashion!  How angrily they pound against the boulders and suck down their prey in treacherous whirl-pools!  But, as the streams broaden, they grow quieter and more purposeful.  They become rivers -- ah, how calm, how silent!  How majestically they sweep towards their goal, giving no impression of swiftness and, as they near the ocean, seeming not to move at all!  While noisy mountain streams are reminiscent of people chattering about the Tao and showing-off spectacular methods, rivers remind one of experienced men, taciturn, doing little, but doing it decisively; outwardly still, yet sweeping forward faster than you know.  Your teachers have offered you wisdom; then why waste time acquiring knowledge?  Methods!  Approaches!  Need the junk-master steering towards the sea, with the sails of his vessel billowing in the wind, bother his head about alternative modes of propulsion -- oars, paddles, punt-poles, tow-ropes, engines and all the rest?  Any sort of vessel, unless it founders or pitches you overboard, is good enough to take you to the one and only sea.  Now do you understand?'

 

    Indeed I did, though not with a direct understanding firmly rooted in intuitive experience that matched his own; but I pretended to be at a loss, hoping his voice, never far from laughter, would go on and on and on; for, just as his mind when lost in the bliss of meditation had communicated a measure of its joy (on my arrival), so now it was emanating a warmth, a jollity that made me want to laugh, to sing, to dance, to shout aloud that everything is forever as it should be, provided we now and then remember to rub our eyes.

...

Tseng Lao-weng's talk of rivers flowing into the ocean had put me in mind of Sir Edwin Arnold's lovely expression of the mystery of Nirvana, 'the dew-drop slips into the shining sea', which I had long accepted as a poetical description of that moment when the seeming-individual, at last free from the shackles of the ego, merges with the Tao -- the Void.  This I knew to be an intensely blissful experience, but it was Tseng Lao-weng who now revealed its shining splendour in terms that made my heart leap.  Afterwords I wondered whether Sir Edwin Arnold himself had realized the full purport of his words.  At a certain moment in our conversation when Tseng Lao-weng paused expectantly, I translated the beautiful line for him and was rewarded by a smile of pleasure and surprise.  Eyes glowing, he replied:

 

    'My countrymen are wrong to speak of the Western Ocean People as barbarians.  Your poet's simile is penetrating -- exalted!  And yet it does not capture the whole; for, when a lesser body of water enters a greater, though the two are henceforth inseperable, the smaller constitutes but a fragment of the whole.  But consider the Tao, which transcends both finite and infinite.  Since the Tao is All and nothing lies outside it, since its multiplicity and unity are identical, when a finite being sheds the illusion of separate existence, he is not lost in the Tao like a dew-drop merging with the sea; by casting off his imaginary limitations, he becomes immeasurable.  No longer bound by the worldly categories, 'part' and 'whole', he discoveres that he is coextensive with the Tao.  Plunge the finite into the infinite and, though only one remains, the finite, far from being diminished, takes on the stature of infinity.  Mere logicians would find fault with this, but if you perceive the hidden meaning you will laugh at their childish cavils.  Such perception will bring you face to face with the true secret cherished by all accomplished sages -- glorious, dazzling, vast, hardly conceivable!  The mind of one who Returns to the Source thereby becomes the Source.  Your own mind, for example, is destined to become the universe itself!'

 

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thanks that is a very important saying!

 

"But consider the Tao, which transcends both finite and infinite.  Since the Tao is All and nothing lies outside it, since its multiplicity and unity are identical, when a finite being sheds the illusion of separate existence, he is not lost in the Tao like a dew-drop merging with the sea; by casting off his imaginary limitations, he becomes immeasurable.  No longer bound by the worldly categories, 'part' and 'whole', he discoveres that he is coextensive with the Tao.  Plunge the finite into the infinite and, though only one remains, the finite, far from being diminished, takes on the stature of infinity."  

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I recall the first time I read the full excerpt of this particular meeting between John Blofeld and Tseng Lao-weng, @rene posted it here some years back. 

 

It struck me like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky. 

 

It resounded in mind and its ripples catalyzed major shift in Awareness/awareness for me.  Tseng through experience, and John, through adroit translation, was able to convey to me in words, concepts that had been simmering through my mind for years without ever quite solidifying until I read them in this account.

 

The book the quote stems from is The Secret and Sublime, which is a written account of Blofeld's extensive travels seeking out audiences with reclusive Taoist Sages across China in the early 1900's.

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Once you know or Gknow something (1+1=2) you don't forget. Gnosis is more than just an intellectual understanding or a momentary awareness.....its a process of Becoming. 

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Well said.  Gnosis as a revelation to mind of the nature of our True Nature.

 

As Sarvapriyananda reveals so succinctly in his answer above... "what you become, can never slip away from that reality."  Even though mind may become focused on emotions and thoughts... the Nature of being abides foundationally.  Awareness remains Awareness, no matter what localized awareness experiences.

 

True Nature is like space... I may suffer from the notion that I have slipped away from it, but have I?  It is always present.

Buildings are built within space, but is the space diminished?  And when the buildings (or forests, or mountains) eventually fall, through burning or decay... when the dust settles, is the space affected?  Is it diminished? 

 

Whether I have emotions of non-serenity, or serenity... Atman is Atman.

Is True Nature altered or affected by emotion?  by thought? 

 

Whether the ocean is catostrophic storm, or smooth like glass... the nature of water is the same, even though its shape and form shift to perception wildly... the water it seems, is water.

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Posted (edited)

A very normal step on the way back to non-duality is getting the initial breakthrough and then eventually when mind gets distracted, to become despondent that “I had it before, now it’s gone!” 

The key is to realize that “it’s here” and “it’s gone” are both in the mind. That (Self) is not the mind but the knower and the light that illuminates the mind. With time, the paranoia about losing our ‘spirituality’ will disappear. :) 

Edited by dwai
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Sarvapriyananda puts it in words very effectively for me in the final two minutes, where he reveals the difference between experience and memory. 


 

Quote

 

"Advaita is an experience, it is not a memory.  It is not something I experienced earlier and am now trying to remember.  The question is 'how can I always remember I am Brahman? No.  Don't remember you are Brahman.  You are always Brahman.  It's always shining forth.  Somehow we think it's not present for us.  It seems to be hidden, that's why we think we 'have to remember it all the time'. 

 

If you are looking at me.  You say 'Swami I am seeing you'. 

Yes you are seeing me, but are you remembering me?

<snip>

Nondualism is based on an everpresent experience.

 

How do I recognize it all the time?  You don't have to recognize it all the time.  Once you recognize it, it's done. 

 

Only thing is, you are right.  There might be a period in our spiritual practice when you need to dwell on it intensively, but remember that is practice, that is not enlightenment."

 

 

When we are looking at a clock... what need is there to remember the clock?  If I am doing that, I am doing something odd indeed. 

 

Whether the river is turbulent, or calm.  The water is water.

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In this thread, what awareness is and it's nature has been identified. But now, how does one let go of ignorance that is the absence of guidance of awareness?

 

- i'm not asking a trick question

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How do you see Zhuangzi's idea of Sitting and forgetting ? 

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, EmeraldHead said:

In this thread, what awareness is and it's nature has been identified. But now, how does one let go of ignorance that is the absence of guidance of awareness?

 

- i'm not asking a trick question

There is always the guidance of awareness. Simply recognizing the core of our being as awareness is sufficient - though initially some effort is needed to operate from the new ‘center of gravity’...this is called abiding as awareness.

 

Ignorance is only in the mind - Awareness is ever spotless and luminous. 

 

Edited by dwai
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29 minutes ago, dawei said:

How do you see Zhuangzi's idea of Sitting and forgetting ? 

Forgetting what? 

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1 hour ago, dwai said:

Forgetting what? 

 

Yes... forgetting 'what'  :)

 

I will apologize as I didn't watch the video ... but did now... twice !

 

Here are the powerful words I heard:

1. You suffer from the notion you have slipped away from it.  Even when you think you have slipped away from it,, ,you have not. 

2. Experience and memory battle to create a reality where the former is an ever present experience and the latter an attempt at recognition (of something we feel is hidden). 

3. There may be a period where we dwell on things but that is practice not enlightenment

 

I find concepts of Zhuangzi of forgetting... if you want to find the memory, you lost the ever present experience.  And Baopuzi who said practice is not natural...  dwelling on things turns us to 'practice' and then we have also lost the ever present experience .  Practice is an attempt to find that which we feel is lost, memory aspect.

 

This may not align with your position and thinking as I am not from the same thinking this is presented from... but I really liked it. 

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6 minutes ago, dawei said:

 

Yes... forgetting 'what'  :)

 

I will apologize as I didn't watch the video ... but did now... twice !

 

Here are the powerful words I heard:

1. You suffer from the notion you have slipped away from it.  Even when you think you have slipped away from it,, ,you have not. 

2. Experience and memory battle to create a reality where the former is an ever present experience and the latter an attempt at recognition (of something we feel is hidden). 

3. There may be a period where we dwell on things but that is practice not enlightenment

 

I find concepts of Zhuangzi of forgetting... if you want to find the memory, you lost the ever present experience.  And Baopuzi who said practice is not natural...  dwelling on things turns us to 'practice' and then we have also lost the ever present experience .  Practice is an attempt to find that which we feel is lost, memory aspect.

 

This may not align with your position and thinking as I am not from the same thinking this is presented from... but I really liked it. 

I agree with you :) 

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Posted (edited)

The idea that you always were enlightened goes completely against the experience of Advaita masters, for instance Nisargadatta meditated in the evenings 3 or 4 hours every day whilst being closely guided by a teacher.  After 2 years or so he arrived.
Buddha in the Lotus Sutra defines the skillful means and long diligent practice required.

Jesus likewise.

Of course when you discover "I" ... it is immediate.  But to get it inside the human soul takes time.

When you practice you should try to be "I", right now, immediately and fully, and by continuing with this practice for several years the human structure that houses or is the soul will accept the universal into it.

 

If you are enlightened then how could you have fallen out ... it cannot happen so logically the initial notion is incorrect.

We are seeds that may .... or may not ... one day reflect the truth.  If we fail we are recycled, if we succeed we are enlightened.

From the point of the view of the Source ... it is not so important, there are many seeds.

But from the point of view of a single acorn it is important, because it is life or death.

Some teachers like J.Krishnamurti taught hundreds of thousands of people for many decades only to completely fail.  He said you are "right now" ... and nobody really got it.  He kept telling them you don't need any path.   Eventually after so many decades of failure, he announced that nobody understood him.

This is really stupid.  If you continue to fail at least try something different don't be so attached to your ideologies that you refuse to stop falling in the same ditch.

 

Another thing, this teacher indicates the location of the Advaitic consciousness at 0:48 he says this background awareness.  Because it is at the back of the head.  Mooji also does exactly the same thing.  Because there is a like a region or chakra there which is where the witnessing and oneness consciousness is experienced.  They never point to their balls as the location, because the location is not down between the legs.
This is very useful information.
However due to total lack of interest in being intelligent and instead relying on mantras like "nonduality is the nonduality of nonduality" ... the Advaita groups seem to be in the dark even when at 0:48 they point with their hands at the location.
Of course if there is a location that would mean that you are not the all knowing whatnot Brahman, you are just a monkey merged with Brahman ... I suppose that should be good enough.

 

In terms of practice you can rest into the "screen" at the back of the head -witnessing consciousness- but then you have to "let go" so that you become the screen or the region of consciousness there are the back.  Letting go whilst remaining fully clear and present.  Full commitment.  Later after a few years you can do some work with the 3rd eye area which eventually brings the consciousness to include the human functions and human mind.

Many people do not the 3rd eye work and so the mind disturbs them for the rest of their lives ... this work should be gradually attempted only after a few years of work on advaitic consciousness and merging with the source.

 

Edited by rideforever
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Posted (edited)

Rideforever,  sounds like you are getting your interpretations of 4th way stuff mixed in here,  for if soul had to accept Spirit into itself at some point or time per the following  concept of yours (Of course when you discover "I" ... it is immediate.  But to get it inside the human soul takes timeit would not exist in the first place....what soul has to accept and work on is removal of the veils over the Spirit which already is its inner most Self. (as deeply implied by the Upanishads)   Making a better astral and or causal body  that then accepts Spirit is not it, although those bodies are very important for evolutionary workings and manifestation. 

 

I remember reading of Mr. G. being quoted  as off offhandedly saying this or that person had no soul which really missed the mark of deeper perception per Vedic related schools and teachings of Self Realized beings, a saying btw. which Mr. G  later took back.

Edited by old3bob

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Paramhansa Yogananda refining the wave in the ocean analogy further:

 

"...Imagine a bottle, he said, floating on the surface of the sea.  This bottle represents the physical body. Enclosed within it is another bottle representing the astral body.  Within that second bottle is still another, representing the causal body.  The water represented by the wave in our former analogy is contained in that innermost bottle.  It cannot merge back in the ocean until its last remaining bottle, the causal body, is broken"  

 

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2 hours ago, old3bob said:

Rideforever,  sounds like you are getting your interpretations of 4th way stuff mixed in here,  for if soul had to accept Spirit into itself at some point or time per the following  concept of yours (Of course when you discover "I" ... it is immediate.  But to get it inside the human soul takes timeit would not exist in the first place....what soul has to accept and work on is removal of the veils over the Spirit which already is its inner most Self. (as deeply implied by the Upanishads)   Making a better astral and or causal body  that then accepts Spirit is not it, although those bodies are very important for evolutionary workings and manifestation. 

 

I remember reading of Mr. G. being quoted  as off offhandedly saying this or that person had no soul which really missed the mark of deeper perception per Vedic related schools and teachings of Self Realized beings, a saying btw. which Mr. G  later took back.

Who’s Mr G?

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1 hour ago, old3bob said:

Paramhansa Yogananda refining the wave in the ocean analogy further:

 

"...Imagine a bottle, he said, floating on the surface of the sea.  This bottle represents the physical body. Enclosed within it is another bottle representing the astral body.  Within that second bottle is still another, representing the causal body.  The water represented by the wave in our former analogy is contained in that innermost bottle.  It cannot merge back in the ocean until its last remaining bottle, the causal body, is broken"  

 

I’d say that according to Advaita Vedanta, the physical, astral and causal are all appearances in awareness (Atman/Brahman) and so just the realization of what our true nature is, is sufficient. 
 

Liberation isn’t some exalted state one attains by doing actions. Liberation is a result of Truly letting go of the layers of personality and body identifications - it is an “undoing”. 

 

I think @dawei’s reference to “Sitting and forgetting” would be an apt description.

 

 

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undoing to me as in un-attachment to limitations of forms, thus nothing wrong with forms per-se.  Shakti can never be negated.

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Posted (edited)

There is an old tradition of painting, perhaps Chinese, I heard once.  For the first 10 years you learn how to paint bamboo.  10 years only on bamboo, closeup, at a distance, green, brown, at night in the day.  Everything everything.  Then for the next 10 years you paint anything except bamboo.  After that you can begin painting bamboo.

Doing, and then undoing, creates a channel.  Like a boring machine it goes down, works, digs, struggles and then finally it reverses and undoes ... and what is left is a channel.

As everything is dependent on the Source ... there are no independent existences, but there are channels that are formed.

The implication of this is that worldly life is very important because that is the first part, the struggle, which creates.  And if you refuse the challenge of worldly life you make a big mistake because someone who does not dig cannot make a channel and so is swept away.  It is for this reason Krishna says "Fight !, Don't worry I killed you all already."  Without fighting you are dead anyway.Too difficult is it ?  Is the mattress not soft enough for your backside's demands ?

What is the result of this digging and undigging ... it is the soul.  For those who want one.

The world is always full of failed people of all sorts at all levels.

They sulk and tell everyone that it's not worth it.

I suggest you don't listen to them !!!

Have some courage, if the sky is darkened by a thousand arrows then you can fight in the shade !

Ha !

 

Edited by rideforever

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, old3bob said:

undoing to me as in un-attachment to limitations of forms, thus nothing wrong with forms per-se.  Shakti can never be negated.

Nothing wrong with forms whatsoever. Just have to let go of misidentifying with them. :)   
 

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by dwai
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, rideforever said:

There is an old tradition of painting, perhaps Chinese, I heard once.  For the first 10 years you learn how to paint bamboo.  10 years only on bamboo, closeup, at a distance, green, brown, at night in the day.  Everything everything.  Then for the next 10 years you paint anything except bamboo.  After that you can begin painting bamboo.

Doing, and then undoing, creates a channel.  Like a boring machine it goes down, works, digs, struggles and then finally it reverses and undoes ... and what is left is a channel.

As everything is dependent on the Source ... there are no independent existences, but there are channels that are formed.

The implication of this is that worldly life is very important because that is the first part, the struggle, which creates.  And if you refuse the challenge of worldly life you make a big mistake because someone who does not dig cannot make a channel and so is swept away.  It is for this reason Krishna says "Fight !, Don't worry I killed you all already."  Without fighting you are dead anyway.Too difficult is it ?  Is the mattress not soft enough for your backside's demands ?

What is the result of this digging and undigging ... it is the soul.  For those who want one.

The world is always full of failed people of all sorts at all levels.

They sulk and tell everyone that it's not worth it.

I suggest you don't listen to them !!!

Have some courage, if the sky is darkened by a thousand arrows then you can fight in the shade !

Ha !

 

 

in a nutshell soul learns, Spirit already knows. (knows that there is only ONE of its Self appearing as and seeing through many forms or souls)  One does not really own Spirit, for Spirit really owns them `- so to speak

Edited by old3bob

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, dwai said:

Who’s Mr G?

 

4th way students refer to Gurdjieff as Mr. G.

 

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff , was a mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent, born in Alexandrapol (now Gyumri), Armenia. Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to awaken to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. Gurdjieff described a method attempting to do so, calling the discipline "The Work] (connoting "work on oneself") or "the System". According to his principles and instructions,  Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness unites the methods of the fakir, monk and yogi, and thus he referred to it as the "Fourth Way".

Edited by old3bob
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