Every once and awhile a person comes along in the human family that completely upends standard thought in such a way that entire movements, religions, and other organizations are founded from. These people do not come along very often. I tend to think they come along more often than we think, the problem is that the opportunity does not align. They have the ideas, they have the thought process, but they become lost due to missed opportunity. However, there comes times when this special person and the opportunity align and transformative things happen.
This is not always good, and can sometimes be very destructive. Just think through history for the last few hundred years. Powerful, influential thought leaders can produce many different types of results. You could say that Jesus, was probably the most impactful of these types of people. The thought process so different, and so revolutionary that the impact is still being felt today. Of course there are others, and those are well documented.
The “new age” philosophies seem to have their roots in this russian philosopher names Peter Ouspensky. He was in search of meaning and came across a person named George Gurdjieff. These two would start the beginnings of a whole world of thought that we label new age thinking today. The both wrote and taught about the forces of the universe for which humans participate. The creative, or forward force. the destructive of backward force and the neutral force. The law of the three, if you will. Funny, how other religious thinkers also come up with those three, albeit they are called different names.
Gurdjieff had this concept that the three man schools of thought surrounding the mastering of the physical, the mastering of emotions and the mastering of the mind. Ouspensky who was very prolific in introducing these teachings to the Western world, coined Gurdjieff’s main concept of what he called the Fourth Way. This was effectively the idea that you could combine all of these, what we call balance today, and you do not need to abandon the world. Rather you could live in the world and have a conscious mind regarding all of these three. This was effectively being, “awake.” Most people spend their lives asleep, unaware of these forces.
All the new age fancy talk aside, there is some clear truth to this idea of being asleep. If you are not careful, you will find yourself mindlessly doing things that hurt one of these three areas. Physical, emotional and mental. When you are truly awake, you are very aware of what you are doing and therefore can avoid being destructive to yourself and be generally more healthy.
These are concepts widely taught today and are generally accepted. Walk into any yoga studio, or even a Christian church congregation and you will hear a similar adaptation. Interesting how thinkers can have such an influence on our society.