The same year that my relationship with John came to a completion, I was subconsciously preparing for "graduation" from the 4th Way school where I had been remembering myself for 6 years and culturing my "Real I", like a pearl, through using the friction inherent in daily life. John and I had been facilitating a 4th Way group in the home we shared in Scottsdale, AZ and change was brewing all around us.
All of the forms that I had grown comfortable with (Tuesday and Thursday 4th Way meetings, my relationships, my custom tile business) began to grow increasingly unsteady and I recognized this as the familiar 'beginning of the end' of one life chapter to allow the beginning of the beginning of another. Of course, I didn't want to let go so easily, but The Work had provided me with many tools and the process (as most evolutionary processes are) was inevitable.
The turning point for me occurred during or after (the intensity lasted for so long afterward that I couldn't tell when it actually began.) a 12-day "Movements Intensive" that took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. John and I met up with 40 or so fellow Gurdjieff/Ouspensky students and instructors and participated in a highly disciplined course of Consciousness building exercises called, "The Movements". Gurdjieff had discovered and was taught "The Movements" at a secret monastery called the Sarmoung Brotherhood during his long journey toward his own Conscious Awakening. A movie has been made about Gurdjieff's life called, Meetings With Remarkable Men, and there is footage of a few of these sacred dances in the movie. There is a strong Sufi influence to the Gurdjieff work and these beautiful, conscious "dances" ignited a Holy Fire within my body and my Being. When you are burning with Higher Love, nothing false can remain, and this is how I knew that it was time to move on.
Just before I left the school, a new student joined and I knew he would be important in my life before I ever met him in person. The evening of Steve's first 4th Way meeting I remember walking up to the teaching house and sensing that something profound was going to occur that evening. As I entered I saw all of the familiar faces, I "hello" hugged my friends and teachers and as I rounded the corner into the kitchen, Allura asked me if I had met our new student, Steve. I turned to see him smiling and stroking Allura's silky, black, 'King-of-Sheeba' cat, "Magi" and I thought to myself, "what a nice and gentle guy... wouldn't it be nice if I could be great friends with a guy and not get involved romantically!?" My relationship pattern has always been to get romantically involved with men whom I wouldn't necessarily want to be friends with.. and here was a man who seemed like he'd make a sensitive and nurturing "friend" but who was not my typical romantic "type"... Long story short.. we began to go on 'friendly' adventures together; hiking 4 Peaks and Squaw Peak mountain, road-tripping to Nogales, Mexico and talking for hours upon hours on the phone, catching each other up, and when his employer told him that they were transferring him to the Washington D.C. area in a months time, I said "yes" to his proposal of MARRIAGE, feeling the "rightness" - for some unexplainable reason- that it was part of the Plan to marry my friend.
We were married by the end of 1993, the same year that my relationship ended with John. The "New Beginning" I had been sensing. We were living in Reston, Va. and I donated all of the kilns, glazes and ceramics tools, that were the scaffolding of my custom tile business in Arizona, to a local high school's art department. Over 10 years of my life spent developing a custom ceramic tile business was now immaterial to a new life and in one day of deliverance (delivering lots of boxes to the high school!) I was free from the past almost completely.
I manifested a job at a nearby metaphysical bookstore called, "Crystalis Treasures" in Herndon, VA. Sandra, the owner and her daughter Courtney had created a magical fairyland in the unlikeliest of places and, as usual, I scoped out "my kind" and found new members of my spiritual "family" in this foreign land.
Right away Steve and I found a business card for a local 4th Way school tucked inside a book called, The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution by Peter Ouspensky (a sure way to find a school in your area if you're looking. There is also a wealth of information on the web now). We found a new branch of our 4th Way family, a group of 3 other men plus the Teacher and the two of us. We met weekly at a pizza 'joint' called Armands Pizza in Silver Springs, MD. to talk about 4th Way ideas. This new school was quite a bit different than the school I was in for 6 years prior, but we enjoyed the philosophical discussions plus the pizza was good!
Each week we had an "assignment" to work on. An "obstacle" to observe as we objectively maintained a 'birds eye view' of ourselves interacting with life. If you can be aware of the possibility that there is a second "You" watching "you" right now, that you can shift your awareness to.. (Imagine that you are watching yourself from behind. At the same time, notice the feeling of being watched from behind. "See" the back of your own head, notice the color of your shirt and the chair you are sitting in. Feel the warmth of the attention focussed on you from behind. You might begin to 'feel' your hair stand a little on end or a tickle in your shoulders as you allow them to relax.) Notice this other "You" there, watching you read this, aware of the sounds around you and the way the seat feels beneath you and the temperature in the air, breathe on purpose and listen again, expand your vision to see as far as you can peripherally - on each side.. keep reading theses words simultaneously... without judgment or emotion, just an Observer.
It is no longer possible to believe in the illusion that "you" are only just you.. the body sitting there, reading these words right now. If you are only your physical body, or the brain that thinks it knows, or the ego, (your name here) that is attached to things and people and expectations... then WHO is it that is watching while you're reading? How is it that you can even be aware of your body sitting there, reading these words, if you are only the body reading these words? Can you sense the impartial, benevolent, non-judgmental attitude of the Observer part of you? This is an aspect of your "real" I. The larger You.
If you can spend more moments becoming aware of yourself from the Observer's point of view, in as much as you can purposely 'rattle your own cage' of perception - and wake yourself up from the sleep of believing yourself to be merely ego - your small, usual self, you will begin to see that "you" are much more than the "I" that you think that you are most of the time. You are also the "I" that you are with your parents and the "I" that you are with your best friend and the "I" that you are with a police officer who just pulled you over! We contain a multitude of changeable "I's" that are constantly buffeted around by the winds of change and the whims of chance, and yet there is the possibility of Creating a Real "I". A way to Awaken and to Know your True Self and to steer your life purposely and deliberately with energy, focus, crispness and meaning. There is a way to Re-member Yourself.
That's where a Quantum Leap takes place...
The Work is about Observing ourselves in all of our multifaceted inconsistencies and almost as if by magic, the act of Observation releases you from the Sleep-Walk of unconscious life. You are suddenly Conscious - in a moment of Presence - and therefore, in that moment, you have the power to make a new choice, to set a new course in a more positive direction. In that moment - and in those moments, you are truly Free. You have Free Will.
The Obstacles are things like;
Inner-considering (doing/speaking/feeling to please or otherwise effect or influence another (even negatively). Being who we think other people want us to be. Doing the expected thing OR doing the unexpected/crazy thing - still - for the purpose of gaining another's approval/disapproval/attention/energy. Inner-considering is acting from 'false' personality instead of from Essence (your true self) and it is an obstacle to Being your True Self.
Other Obstacles to harnessing the potential of each Moment are;
Negative emotions - All of the usual negative emotions and also the more subtle negative emotions. Did you know that sarcasm is a negative emotion? Did you know that Worry is a negative Prayer? It puts emotional energy behind a (negative) imaginary outcome. This is what 'creating your reality' is all about.
Lying - We lie in many unconscious ways. We lie to ourselves. We lie to others. We lie everyday to get what we want.
Unnecessary talking - Some of us make small talk more than others. Most of us engage in unnecessary talking when we're inner-considering or just because we can't stand the silence in between thoughts. Sometimes talking is a buffer to deeper experiencing.
Imagination - Imagination in this sense, is not the deliberate, creative envisioning that is life giving, but rather, the automatic fears and worries that slither into our minds and play out scenarios that we'd rather not live out or that we wish we had lived out. Imagination takes us out of our body and fogs our mind with haphazard thoughts and trivial scenarios that rob us of large spans of time and creativity. Can you remember all of the thoughts that you had today? If not, where were you while your mind was absent? (How many moments of life did you miss while you were gone?)
Identification - Identification is losing ourselves into the belief that the object of our focus and attachment is a part of us or that it is ours, and we invest a lot of lifeforce to keep it with us or make it do what we want so that we can feel happy. It puts our small self in the center, attached to a certain thing or outcome, and everything around it either reflects positively or negatively about ourselves. What we think we have or own, can be taken away. It can be damaged or burned up in a fire. Or "they" can change their mind.. and only in the midst of this 'change' do we feel the helplessness of never having actually 'possessed' that thing we identified with. That helpless feeling is a feeling of losing a part of oneself, but it is actually an illusion of identification, because most likely, YOU still exist even after IT is gone. Identification is a buffer to experiencing Real Self and True Love with another.
Subjective attachment also makes it impossible to see the Truth about a person, place, thing or event. An example of Identification is speeding to a meeting that you're late for without awareness or concern that the physical lives of other drivers are endangered because you're on the road. The only thing that matters is getting to the meeting on time because YOU are never late or you're afraid you might get fired (both are inner-considering). "You" are not your job or your car or your relationship.. but we spend a lot of time and energy defending these things from possible harm or loss when what would work much more efficiently is to bring the powerful commodity of our "Attention" back into the moment, into our body and into the place that we are right now where we can See the right moves with a greater perspective and where Time seems to stand still.
Time really does slow down when more of your attention is in the moment! When I'm late, I now know that being as aware as I can of every tiny detail around me, with all of my senses, will slow time down enough to allow me to get there on time! Try it! It's amazing. This is why it is said that if YOU slow down, you will experience MORE life. And it is why the children (who are 'in the moment' creatures) always feel like summer lasts forever and birthdays take soooo long to get here.
A much more detailed description of many aspects of The Work can be read here in articles written by my 4th Way Teacher, James Westly.