The Fourth Way & Haida Yoga
Reijo Elsner July 2002
Both concepts originate from Gurdjieff. The Fourth Way was defined by him as a possibility for development for those people, who did not want to give up everything and resign to become a 'Fakir', a 'Monk' or a 'Yogi'.
'Haida Yoga' is a term he used in the early days to define his teaching. The Russian word 'haida' can be freely translated as 'very quick', in other words it was a way to express that the results of this 'Yoga' were attained very quickly.
About Haida Yoga later - let us look briefly into what the words fakir, monk and yogi mean in our millenium.
I have only seen pictures of fakirs. However, with some differences, some professional sportsmen of to-day can be well compared to the fakirs of the old. The fakirs were trained to perform some spectacular acts by the yogis; they often came from poor families and the family earned money by selling their son. More often than not the motive behind the sports is to earn more than you ever could dream of to earn in any other way. It does also happen that like the fakir, the sportsman in hard training with a coach exceeds the limits of what his body can endure, which results in ill health and sometimes even death. As to the development as a human being in Gudjieff sense, neither the fakir or the sportsman achieve other things than a strong will in relation to their physical body. If they want to develop further, to Do anything, they have to start from the beginning and work on their emotions and thoughts.
The monks that I have met live in the Valaam Orthodox Monastery in Finland. The monastery was established during the second World War by monks who managed to get away alive from USSR. The Valaam tradition of the 'staretz' (plural 'startzy'), a teacher and spiritual advisor for the monks and laymen, originates in Finland from the Russian Valaam Monastery (now being rebuilt on the islands of lake Ladoga) and goes back to the hesycast movement in Mount Athos and goes further back to the Desert Fathers in the third century.
While I do agree with Gurdjieff that one has to 'give up everything' to enter a monastery, I know that these Orthodox monks work not only on their emotions and emotional center/second body/second floor. Gurdjieff knew also very well that going through the sacraments and religous services, as they do, the monks use all their centers, although they predominantly work with what may be called 'religous feelings'. The monks do normally a fair amount of physical and mental work.
There is an interesting 'co-incidence' of names in Beelzebub and the practice of the prayer of the heart in Valaam. Gurdieff writes many pages of Archangel Hariton, who had invented a new type of ship for intersystem and interplanetary communication (First Book, Chapter 5). In Valaam (USSR) abbot Hariton, who was the abbot of Valaam during the World Wars, published a book on the prayer of the heart. This book is translated into English as The Art of Prayer.
To be continued...