Q. Is there any proper way to leave the Work?  P.K., Santa Fe, NM
A. Absolutely. People can and do leave the Work all the time. Note: it does not help the Work Itself to have unwilling, incompetent students who remain sound asleep, while working in imagination. Leaving the Work is just as much a "test" as joining. The true questions is how can you leave the Work without creating even more bad karma towards yourself?

[Hint: if you have to be right, you're wrong.]

Far too often, students feel that they have to justify their decision to leave. For someone sound asleep in life, their own lack of progress appears to them to be the result of a poor and/or inadequate teacher.

This attitude itself proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the departing student lacks the requisite levels of self-observation required for true spiritual development.

One approach that reflects well upon the student is for the student to thank their teacher for the benefits received up to the departing moment. This suggestion used to be called common courtesy. In addition, the student might add that they would like to try to stand on their own for a while.

Speaking personally, any student who leaves the right way is welcomed back. Since inner sincerity is key, it's been my experience that some time on one's own frequently leads to a newer, deeper desire within the student to wake up.

It goes without saying that any student so foolish as to vomit their lack of being upon a teacher remains too stupid to save.


Q. How can a student tell if they have encountered a true Work teacher?
M.D., Sydney, Australia
A. It is true that out of 100% of Work groups world wide, probably less than 25% are Work groups as Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Nicoll and Bennett would have described them.


Q. How can a neophyte tell the real from the false?
A. Welcome to the first hurdle that a fledgling Work student encounters. Perhaps this dilemma (the discrimination between the real from the false/imagination) is one of the reasons Gurdjieff stressed the value of inner sincerity. One of the first lessons that the incoming student must learn is that all that glitters is not gold.

There appear to be some rudimentary Work principles which should be present in any Fourth Way group:

  • A balanced form of teaching all of the three basic forms of Work knowledge:
    Esoteric Christianity - Esoteric Psychology - Cosmology
  • A balanced form of working along the octave of knowledge, coupled with the development of an octave regarding level of being.
  • Any valid Work group should have aims to go against oneself in all lower centers. Advanced Work groups should have aims in all three divisions of all lower centers.
  • Any valid Work group devotes extensive time to teaching its students how to effectively apply Work principles in the form of Work aims, in order to engender valid self-observation, which would lead to even deeper Work efforts.
  • Anyone fortunate enough to have been taught the Gurdjieff movements, appears, at first glance, to be on the royal Gurdjieffian road to self-transformation. Speaking as an "outsider" Work teacher, personally I compensate for the lack of knowledge regarding true Gurdjieff movements with the various Work principles contained within these movements. Fortunately, for us all, there remains more than one valid road of self-transformation within the Fourth Way.

There are some unusual signs of invalid Work Groups:

  • Individuals who work in imagination never develop in the real world of the body. When people say one thing, yet continue to do something else, they remain asleep. To be awake means that the individual can "do" (with the help of copious levels of Work grace) what they "know".
  • Any form of elitism, especially in the form of participation mystique, is another sign of working in imagination.
  • Anyone who states, much less believes, that the way they do the Work is the best and/or only way to do the Work, is sound asleep. To even "think" at such a low level indicates that the student has not developed beyond the supremely egotistical form of consciousness.

Speaking as a Work teacher, when I first began teaching, I would teach anyone who came to my door. I did not see it as my right to turn away those who asked to be taught. I did not see it as my right to turn away those who asked to be taught. Now that I have been seasoned by life and the Work, I realize that I can only teach one way of "getting out". The only effective way that I know of is the route which I took. Consequently, I now only accept the creme de la creme of incoming Work students, not because I am so great, but because it has been my personal experience that the Work takes all that you've got!

Similar to Gurdjieff, I can see the value in creating the right conditions. People who have to work full time jobs, coupled with the duties and chores of a rich family life are not in the right position to Work with me. Fortunately, there are thousands of valid Work groups that achieve Real Objective results with these over-worked, struggling individuals. I applaud their efforts and effects.

New Knowledge
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