Posted April 1, 2018
The most striking aspect of Gurdjieff’s method of self-study is that it approaches the inner life in a scientific spirit. It holds up no dogmas to be blindly accepted; only statements to be examined and used as material for experiment. In effect, Gurdjieff said, “Believe nothing, including what I tell you, until you have found it true in your own experience.”
Thus, the first requirement of Gurdjieff’s teaching is to put in question everything one has previously taken for granted – one’s whole store of ideas, beliefs, convictions, principles and ideals. For without such a housecleaning, how do we know what is our own? If we are sincere, we shall discover that almost everything we have is, in fact, borrowed. And this laborious job each person must do for himself.
(Is There a Way in Life?)
"Are there any conditions for joining your group?" I asked.
"There are no conditions of any kind," said G., "and there cannot be any. Our starting point is that man does not know himself, that he is not" (he emphasized these words), "that is, he is not what he can and what he should be. For this reason he cannot make any agreements or assume any obligations. He can decide nothing in regard to the future. Today he is one person and tomorrow another. He is in no way bound to us and if he likes he can at any time leave the work and go. There are no obligations of any kind either in our relationship to him or in his to us.
"If he likes he can study. He will have to study for a long time, and work a great deal on himself. When he has learned enough, then it is a different matter. He will see for himself whether he likes our work or not. If he wishes he can work with us; if not, he may go away. Up to that moment he is free.
(G.I. Gurdjieff; In Search of the Miraculous; p. 14)
...you will have to make a choice, to decide —to seek either to become completely mechanical or completely conscious. This is the parting of the ways of which all mystical teachings speak.
(G.I. Gurdjieff; London, 1922)