What it means to be a fourth way student

This fakir disciplines his body- thereby purifying his soul- by lying on a bed of nails.  From the Islam and Sufi tradition.  Image from Wikipedia. 

This fakir disciplines his body- thereby purifying his soul- by lying on a bed of nails.  From the Islam and Sufi tradition.  Image from Wikipedia. 

I was surprised to see that this Enneagram Global Summit thing was offered during the day.  Usually they record it for people who have to work during the day, but I couldn't find where it said that.  I signed up anyway, thinking, "oh well, I can listen in during my lunch hours."  When I got the e-mail confirmation, I eventually found where it said that the recordings would be available for 48 hours after the initial session.  Yay!  But it got me thinking about why I'm a Fourth way student in the first place (or Enneagram student.... or Gurdjieff student). 

If you look up Fourth way in wikipedia, it says George Gurdjieff- the guy who brought the modern Enneagram to the western world- called his school that because the first three ways weren't really relevant anymore.  It was the early 1900's and the world was changing really fast with industrialization, and if you wanted to work on yourself, the only three ways that were available at that point were the way of the head, which was to become a yogi, the way of the heart, which was to become a monk (or nun), and the way of the body, which was to become a fakir.  Gurdjieff was from eastern Europe, so of course there were other ways in Asia and the Americas that had their takes on those incarnations.  That's just what he knew and how he categorized them- according to our three "brains".  So he called his school the fourth way because he was like, "it doesn't make sense to be packing up and leaving home to some monastery in the other side of the country anymore.  This way of spiritual work is for people who want to have jobs and families, who still want to participate in the world."  Because he recognized the world isn't a "bad" place that we have to leave- it's what makes us stronger if we have the right tools to deal with what it throws at us.

I'm grateful that I found this school because in 2010-2011, I was inquiring around about becoming a nun and there just aren't that many options for someone with really liberal views on religion and society.  There's a Benedictine monastery for women in Madison, Wisconsin, and they're the most open-minded I found.  Anyway, thank god I found Enneagram work instead.  It means I can still have a career.  Which is why I'm happy that the Enneagram Global Summit is not requiring that I take a week off work to participate.  (Although I know it's free, which means I probably wouldn't have been able to complain either way.)