Scale and Relativity
It is important to find a middle path between two pillars of spiritual enquiry - practice and non-identification:
Practice - to use a variety of profound tools and techniques e.g. pranayama, meditation, asana, and apply them in a thoughtful, sustainable way. This approach is synonymous with Yoga. However, practice needs to unfold in a manner that is not too rigid or limited to one particular technique i.e. avoiding the current tendency to place too much focus on postures.
Non-identification - to understand that our true Self is not the body/mind/senses that are utilised during the initial stages of practice and enquiry. This approach is synonymous with Advaita Vedanta. However, 'effortless effort' needs to engage with attention and awareness in a way that allows a subtle shift away from habitual patterns i.e. acceptance with discrimination.
This means that practice and non-identification need to go hand-in-hand and be applied simultaneously. Correct practice will occur in a state of non-identification. Gradually one develops the being to live more deeply from this understanding. This is what Peter Ouspensky meant when he said, “no work can be done in sleep.”
The Fourth Way acts as a bridge between the two great philosophical systems/wisdom traditions of Yoga and Vedanta. The Fourth Way introduces the profound concept of Self-remembering (the esoteric origin of contemporary mindfulness). Self-remembering is a subtle, invisible practice in non-identification and being present; one Fourth Way teacher expressed the profound nature of presence, saying, “There is no greater miracle than being present. Everything begins and never ends from this.”
This trinity is an holistic way to love your life - to have an inner place of peace and calm from which to navigate all experience. The secret is to bring a balance of discriminating intelligence and relativity to apply the correct tool or non-doing to each situation or 'moment' - and this applies whether we are on the mat, in the office or at home with family.
My wish is to help people become self-reliant in dealing with the roller-coaster of modern life, and to realise the joy and contentment that is accessible regardless of the challenges that life brings. And to do it in a way that communicates the values that are needed most by humanity - love, compassion, tolerance, wisdom.
The Fourth Way introduces another radical concept - the transformation of negative emotions. Ouspensky stated that negative emotions are 'artificial' and unnecessary. It is possible to liberate oneself from the grip of one's own negative emotions. This understanding correlates with the Yogic concept of karma - and taking full responsibility for everything that occurs in one's life (an idea that also permeates Buddhist philosophy). In the same way, no one else is to blame for one's negative emotions; rather they exist as potential energy to be transformed into higher states of consciousness through self-remembering.