Gurdjieffian Thought in the New Age

By James Westly

More Practical Wisdom


Gives a brief history of the author's involvement with the ideas of the Fourth Way and states the purpose in writing this book.

Chapter One: The Terror of the Situation

This chapter begins by briefly integrating this present work with the tradition of the Fourth Way as it was initiated by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, then moves into a description of the situation modern humanity finds itself in.

This is followed by a series of subtopics that describe the individual prior to beginning to work on themselves:

Chapter Two: Consciousness

Here consciousness and its various levels are defined, giving examples that most people have in common. Extraordinary states of consciousness are addressed in particular, describing how we arrive at them, or how they happen to us. Here the existence of higher consciousness is shown as it manifests in ordinary life. Exercises are given for attaining these states more intentionally.

Chapter Three: Obstacles to Higher Awareness

This is really the meat of the book. Here the inner obstacles to experiencing higher consciousness at will are revealed. These are ordinary psychological processes that everyone is familiar with, making the experience of the book very down to earth and practical. The exercises give the reader immediate material to begin working with.

Chapter Four: Essence and Personality

This chapter describes our inner world, Essence, and our outer manifestations, Personality, depicts the present disfunctional relationship between the two, and how the relationship can be improved through inner work on oneself.

Chapter Five: Physical, Psychological and Spiritual Functions

The major functions of the human organism and their subdivisions are described, how they operate through levels of attention, and, through their incorrect functioning, how the obstacles to higher awareness occur. Also described are potential functions that appear with the advent of higher consciousness.

Chapter Six: Suffering and Other Considerations

What suffering is necessary and what is unnecessary, how do we attempt to avoid it, and how to correctly use the adversity or friction that we all normally experience, to create a higher level of consciousness.

Chapter Seven: Universal Laws

All of existence is a process which operates according to two universal laws. This includes our inner world as well as the external world. This chapter describes these laws and indicates how to use the knowledge of them in one's inner development.

Practical Wisdom 1993-2001 James Westly

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