The Gurdjieff Teaching

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866?-1949) was born in Russian Armenia. He spent years searching in Central Asia, North Africa, and other places for a hidden tradition whose traces he had encountered in youth. During this search he came into contact with certain esoteric schools. In the early 1900's he brought to Europe a teaching that he had developed from the results of this contact.

Gurdjieff's basic teaching is that human life is lived in waking sleep; transcendence of the sleeping state requires a specific inner work, which is practiced in private quiet conditions, and in the midst of life with others. This leads to otherwise inaccessible levels of vitality and awareness.

Though Gurdjieff's name has become familiar in recent years, the real nature of his work is still little known. The Way of Gurdjieff is an oral tradition. The understanding of his work can only be received by direct contact between teacher and pupil, and by the work of pupils together in organised groups. Under conditions of a special atmosphere of trust that can exist in such a group, people working together learn to face their own inner poverty and confusion. Working in this way, conscience is awakened along with consciousness. Consciousness, Conscience, and Sensation form the tripod upon which an integrated development of human potential must be based.

Gurdjieff prepared a nucleus of people to be able to transmit his teaching after his death. This nucleus with the assistance of others who have subsequently been prepared maintains a series of centers throughout the world where Gurdjieff's methods are practiced.

For an introduction to the teaching of Gurdjieff, see  The Gurdjieff Work, by Jacob Needleman.

For further study, there are several valuable Books by Gurdjieff and his key pupils.

Another article: Gurdjieff In America, by G. Baker and W. Driscoll.

An article on a key idea of Gurdjieff: Sleep and Awakening

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