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A bronze of the Greek playwright Sophocles, 3rd century BC
A bronze of the Greek playwright Sophocles, 3rd century BC. His play Oedipus presents the drama of a human being whose quest for truth begins to awaken him.
Copyright © 2008, FOF.
September 2008

The Fourth Way II

The gift of Heaven is free. The gift of knowing how to attain it is priceless.

From the Temple of Karnak


While the traditional ways of the fakir, the monk and the yogi recommend seclusion from ordinary life, the Fourth Way embraces it. This is the secret of the Fourth Way; the distractions of life are the material for awakening. For the fakir, this material is pain, for the monk doubt and for the yogi confusion, while the Fourth Way includes these and other aspects of psychology for awakening. When the Fourth Way accepts that the conditions for awakening are ‘the man himself,’ this means who and what he or she is, at any given moment. This also means that whatever the reason for joining a school—for one person, it is ‘tired of being a machine’, for another, the desire for conscious love—consciousness is produced on its own terms, for its own sake, regardless of the person’s mechanics.


A Fourth Way school works by providing opportunities for students to ‘observe’ themselves. By observing sensations, thoughts, emotions, opinions and beliefs, weaknesses, desires and tendencies, a Fourth Way student has all the material needed for awakening. A student awakens in the midst of ordinary circumstances, circumstances that may have no association or intent towards awakening. And as a student does not have the identity of the traditional ways, a fakir, monk or yogi, they awaken as they are, in what they do. To accelerate this potential for awakening, a Fourth Way school engages a student in many roles, ranging from menial to managerial, exciting to tedious, roles for which they are suited or completely unsuited. The roles themselves are not important, since it is consciousness that is being produced, an awareness that is separate from the role.


From this, a student learns to become an actor in the play of life, performing in its many scenes, dialogues and monologues, exits and entrances. Whether a life is ‘difficult’ or ‘lucky’, ‘cursed’ or ‘charmed’, this view changes in relation to awakening. ‘Fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate’ are events in the great drama of awakening, the heroic exploit to conquer sleep. Knowing that a part is played for the sake of awakening, there are no regrets when the part is finished and fades away. The actor puts down the mask, the writer finishes the script, the puppeteer puts away the doll. Life is a play, and one is a conscious actor, awakening in the role that one is playing.
The work needs nothing external. Only the internal is needed. Externally, one should play a role in everything.
As he observes himself in a new way, that is, from the point of view of consciousness, the student begins to realize that everything happens to him. Whereas before it seemed to him that he was arranging his life, either well or badly, now he sees that his life happens to him, his behaviour happens to him, his friends happen to him, his quarrels and loves all happen to him. — At this stage, the idea of ‘acting’ becomes connected with conscious intentional conduct.
Rodney Collin