Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the Week of February 21, 2022


Group Work 

(Fourth Way Practice: 13)

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Like other practices of the Fourth Way, work in groups has ancient roots. Group meetings are a mode of transmission of spiritual knowledge, methods, approaches, energies, and will. This transmission flows through each of the group members and even more importantly through the group as a whole. A spiritual group can be much more than a collection of individuals: the energy generated and the depth of will can go well beyond what one person could do on their own. The group can have a life, identity, and action of its own.

Fourth Way group practices include group inner exercises/meditation, sharing of observations about inner work, Gurdjieff movements, shared tasks and themes, shared meals, and group practical work, such as cooking, gardening, etc., combined with inner work.

While certain Fourth Way sittings and movements enter the domain of prayer, Fourth Way groups sometimes also encourage their members to maintain their own, perhaps religious, prayer practice outside the group. Thus, Fourth Way practice is generally compatible with any of the major religions.

The purpose of Fourth Way group work can be summarized as:

    1. Working together for the benefit of self and society by generating more and higher quality spiritual energies than could be done individually.
    2. Approaching the Sacred through the selfless identity of the group, being both uniquely oneself and a particle of something much greater.
    3. To bolster our individual will-to-be by sharing in the group will-to-practice.
    4. Learning from others' observations about their own inner work.
    5. Deepening our understanding through shared exploration and exchange.
    6. The transmission of practice and theory.
    7. The love that grows among the group.

It is valuable for us to take the general practices and teachings of a path and apply them to our own personal case, through our own trial and error. That way we build discrimination, sensitivity, and wisdom. That way we work toward creating ourselves. No one else can do our work for us in any case. We still might ask a more experienced person for advice or explanations of practices, but this can work well because the initiative comes from us. Nevertheless, we do not blindly obey; we test and judge for ourselves. We aim to become ourselves.

And even though no one else can do our work for us, a group of individuals, each bringing their own uniqueness, can work together and help each other enormously thereby. Efforts and energy are contagious, as are insights and persistence. The most useful spiritual groups are based in mutual respect, kindness, and joy, and in the sense that we all serve the One, the same and only One.

For this week, please look at the role played in your life by the groups you participate in, especially spiritual groups.


     

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