EnneagramFourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky School Education Concerning the Work Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and their students.
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Errors on the Way

Red flag

There are characteristic errors on the way which people can make in work on themselves. It is necessary to examine yourself regularly for the presence of any of these errors. When you find you have strayed onto one of these false paths, remember yourself and how you fell subject to it, correct the error to return to the way as soon as possible, and do your best to avoid it in future. Some of these errors feed each other.

Talk-Think Error

Talking and thinking about the Work instead of doing it. Mistaking the use of a specialised language for doing the Work. Unable to explain Work ideas in ordinary language.

Perpetual Student Error

Staying in a school or group for life without ever graduating. People who leave are shunned, ignored and treated as if they do not exist; a degenerate group often says something like 'Doing this will help them re-enter our group'. This results in nobody ever being in good standing when they leave, and no one ever graduates. Tragically, people actually do waste their whole lives in this way, as well as their lifetime earnings and resources.

Intentional Insincerity/Heavenly Deception Error

No compunction in deceiving people outside the group to attain the wants of the group, ultimately deceiving oneself. This includes violating local, state, regional, national, and international laws. Will often think about or express ideas which have an element of truth in them but, when viewed as a whole on a larger scale, are false.

Starry-eyed Student Error

Fanatical devotion to, obedience to, or belief in a 'teacher' or system to exclusion of all others.

Form of the School Error

Forming a crystallized hierarchy based on elapsed time in the Work and closeness to the 'teacher' rather than on personal level of being, and insisting that the `form of the school' must be maintained exactly as received.

Shiny New Mask Error

Forming a shiny new mask containing habits of dress, speech, movement, thought, and so on, in imitation of other members of the school or group and mistaking this for real inner development.

Lunatic Super-effort and Competition Error

Belief that one must approach the Work with a grim determination which produces feelings of tension, discomfort, self-punishment, and competition.

Sunday-Go-To-Church Error

Habit of making efforts only when in the presence of a 'teacher' or other members of school.

Energy Junkie/Addict Error

Habit of coming to school to feed off the energy of the group without making personal efforts.

Dilettante Shopping-for-a-Teacher Error

Habit of wandering from 'teacher' to 'teacher', and group to group, without staying long enough or making enough efforts to learn anything.

False Awakening Error

Delusion that `Only I truly understand the teacher', or that `Only I personally am', or `only my group or school is', `in contact with higher forces' or `God'; this error occurs in several forms:

False Messiah/False Prophet Error (subset of false awakening error)

Delusion that `I personally am':

Or, delusion that `I can prophesy the future as revealed to me personally by higher forces or God'. Usually such people are self-proclaimed higher beings or prophets (for example, `I am a man 7.2', `I am the Christ'). Often they will respond to questions about their `higher being status' by quoting the Christ saying `Thou hast said' from Matthew 26.64 or `Thou sayest' from Mark 15.2, Luke 23.3, or John 19.37. Their `prophecies' are often self-fulfilling.

Failed prophecies are explained away by:

Often will insist on followers adopting a `Do as I say, not as I do' attitude so as to justify their actions.

Disembodied Beings Error (subset of false awakening error)

Delusion that higher beings or higher forces guide, provide shocks for awakening, or work directly only with me or only with my school, but not with any other people or schools. Delusion that non-corporeal beings speak through me or through people in my group (channelling, mediums, and seances).

44 Conscious Beings Error (subset of disembodied beings error)

Delusion that only 44 people have ever awakened on the Earth (in Chinese culture, `44' symbolizes `double death').

Personal Salvation Error/Cock-on-the-Dungheap (subset of false awakening error)

Delusion that I personally will or can be saved, enter `heaven', survive death, and so on.

Living Presence/Renaissance Ark/Apollo Error (subset of false awakening error)

Wolf in sheep's clothing

Delusion that my group is the:

that we are the:

or that only my `school':

Usually such groups are predominantly white middle class with token people from other races; special preparations and efforts are made to recruit wealthy, well-known, powerful, or influential people; young people with little money are recruited for their free labour, especially those from countries that were part of the former Soviet Union.

Buy Your Way to Heaven Error (subset of Living Presence/Renaissance Ark/Apollo Error)

Buying pretty objects to `improve the impressions octave' without corresponding inner work.

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