Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Sunday, August 9, 1998

Self-Remembering by Robert Burton

Fellowship of Friends "featured" book review:

Review by the Dutch Society of Libraries

The Fellowship of Friends is a worldwide philosophical community and school, founded in 1970 by Burton and following the tradition of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky that is called the “Fourth Way.” Burton has a brilliant and stimulating vision that evokes all kinds of experimenting with the “machine,” with one’s ego structure: “The soul, like any pearl, must be created by transforming irritation. Voluntary suffering can serve this purpose.” Try sitting in an uncomfortable way - for example, on a cassette - for fifteen minutes; then try something else. Turn your heater down. Create friction. Avoid self-pity. Hide your suffering. Burton stresses educating and disciplining the emotions and being permanently alert - i.e., self-remembering. “What one gains, all gain,” he says as he explains personal transformation for his group of pupils. In an equally compelling way, he describes “Influence C” - conscious, immaterial beings who assist man. An extensive glossary describes the specific terminology of the Fourth Way.

Peter den Harin


Alternate universe book review from the Gurdjieff Journal:

Fourth Way Reinterpretation or Distortion?

Self-Remembering
by Robert Earl Burton
Weiser, 216 pp.

(#) Parentheses indicate footnote number

THE CENTRAL IDEA AND PRACTICE OF the ancient teaching of the Fourth Way is self-remembering, yet in his published writings Gurdjieff rarely refers to it. Only twice in his First Series, for example, is it mentioned. Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous gives only a preliminary explanation. Now Robert Earl Burton, founder and spiritual leader of the Fellowship of Friends,(1) devotes an entire book to the subject. Given the decisiveness of Mr. Burton's title—Self-Remembering—and its 216-page length, a reader might be justified in expecting a detailed and knowledgeable exploration of the special state of self-remembering. Strangely, that is lacking.


Burton begins by describing self-remembering as "your dormant self is remembering to be awake."(2) Although the formulation sounds good, its usefulness is limited to nil since Burton does not say what he means by the key terms self and awake.(3) Later, he will say, "It's not easy to discuss self-remembering because, in its highest form, it is a non-verbal process."(4) Of course, in their highest forms, all spiritual practices are nonverbal. But as lower forms can be delineated and discussed, it's not clear why Burton isn't more helpful.

Now and then concrete statements are put forward, and this is helpful, although perhaps not as Burton imagines. "Generally, self-remembering must originate in the intellectual part of the emotional center," he says, "because remembering oneself is an emotional experience."(5) Logically, this is consistent, but is it true? As Ouspensky says, emotions do need to be involved to reach higher levels of self-remembering, but the self-remembering needn't originate in the emotional center. For beginners in particular, it first originates in the intellectual part of the intellectual center.

A whole chapter is devoted to divided attention. Here Burton says: "Divided attention is self-remembering: they are synonymous. The state of divided attention encompasses a wide spectrum of emotions."(6) While the division of one's attention is important, it is simply the first of many actions that the process within the state of self-remembering requires. Burton's formulation, as far as it goes, is only preliminary. It's somewhat akin to saying that to drive a car you put a key in the ignition.

About the division of attention itself, only the vaguest, most generalized instruction is given and the explanation, unfortunately, is circular. "When you are in essence,"(7) advises Burton, "you try to divide attention. Try to look at these flowers and, at the same time, be aware that you are looking at them. Dividing attention puts one in essence." This raises a number of questions: Must we be in essence to divide attention? Or does dividing attention put us in essence? How does one come into essence? How does one know it is essence? Gurdjieff quite flatly said the work must begin from personality.(8) We cannot work from essence until we have worked through personality.

Burton's Real I?

As to what attention is divided between, Burton makes only one comment: "Self-remembering means that one is aware both of oneself and of what one is viewing."(9) Is the "one" which Burton speaks of as being aware what he takes to be the real, or permanent I? Interestingly, if one has a strong mind and ego-will, one can resolutely keep the mind relatively clear and, so self-locked in the mind, suppose that is the real I of which Gurdjieff speaks, when in fact one's center of gravity is still located in the head.

There is a tendency for pupils to make the act of observing, or the awareness, into an observer, an entity, thus maintaining the self-image, which now is reinterpreted as the "spiritual I." This objectification of observing into an observer-entity was Gurdjieff's criticism of Orage. One wonders if Burton has fallen into the same trap and, not having a teacher to point out this fundamental error, has unwittingly guided himself (and thereby his students) into a spiritual backwater. In passing, the question occurs, too, as to why Burton does not speak of "I"s, other than making a few references? This is a major psychological tenet of the teaching.

Burton appears to be very much interested in control. "Although we do not meditate in our school," he says, "we do try to control our minds, not under special circumstances, but under all circumstances, and in each waking moment....When one meditates, one tries to control one's mind."(10) [Emphasis added.] What Burton is teaching may be a form of mind control such as one finds in EST, Scientology, and Silva Mind Control. But in reference to the teaching, let three points be made. One, Gurdjieff gave his students a variety of meditative exercises. Two, not only is Burton's belief that meditation is trying to control the mind so elementary as to be odd, it also demonstrates how little he understands its role in Work. Three, the notion that one can exercise control "under all circumstances and in every waking moment" is an impossible ideal. Self-remembering requires energy of a very refined quality and who can manufacture enough energy to remember themselves for 16 consecutive minutes, let alone 16 waking hours? Gurdjieff, himself, admitted that he couldn't do it.(11) One must work for short times. As remembrance becomes more organic, its duration and depth change.

Interestingly, Burton says nothing about a practitioner's realization that we do not remember ourselves but are remembered. That is, there is no person to remember. It is grace, a gift. When one's attention is not subtle enough to see this, the work unavoidably is for the ego-I, the "spiritual doer." As Mme de Salzmann once said: "We do not do it. But without us it cannot be done."

Concerning being, Burton says, "The highest dimension of being occurs when one's self remembers to be."(12) Again, which self? If he's referring to self-remembering initiated by the organism, this is only the second plateau of self-remembering, certainly not its highest level. Gurdjieff persistently spoke of our sleep, our mechanicalness, our lack of real being. Oddly, Burton rarely mentions sleep or Gurdjieff's many negations of our ordinary beliefs about ourselves, such as individuality, will, and the ability to do. Gurdjieff often made clear why this "negative" approach is necessary. It is not pleasant but it is fundamental to Fourth Way teaching. Burton presents instead a "feel good" approach which, interestingly, he buttresses by telling his students that he loves them.(13) This is totally antithetical to Gurdjieff's teaching. And strangely, for all his proclamations of "love," Burton's prose gives the opposite impression. It is guarded, flat, and lacking not only in originality but in warmth and generosity.

So elementary is the overall discussion that the question begins to arise—as inconceivable as it seems—as to the actual quality and depth of Burton's experience. So much could have been said about self-remembering that he does not say. Anyone truly experienced in the practice of self-remembering, for example, knows it is a dynamic and fluid term which is world-specific; that is, the vibration of self-remembering in World 96 is not what it is in World 48, 24, or 12. One wishes Burton would have made similar distinctions, as it would be supportive, at least in part, of his claim to have experienced what self-remembering means in "its highest form."(14)

Burton's Bookmarks

Burton's primary readership, one supposes, would be members of his Fellowship of Friends. But the book could only be useful, if at all, to someone who has never practiced self-remembering. Perhaps it is a promotional tool for attracting new members; like, for example, the four-color bookmarks promoting the Fellowship's "Gurdjieff-Ouspensky Centers" which he has students place in the pages of Fourth Way literature (thus suggesting an association to the unsuspecting reader when, in fact, there is none).

In the book's introduction, a Burton student speaks of the ideas of verification, understanding, and personal transmission. The juxtaposition is worth a close look because it's one currently in vogue, often proclaimed by many who use it to justify their personal preferences and avoidances. "Because the Fourth Way is based on individual verification and understanding, as well as on personal transmission, each teacher reinterprets it anew. Robert Burton's teaching, while based on the knowledge transmitted by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, has expanded to embrace...."(15) This is an implicit admission that Burton has received no 'personal' transmission, but has only read books.(16) (Most novice readers may miss this qualification.)

There is what is termed an "oral transmission" between teacher and student. Here the fundamental principle is passed. There is no interpretation because it is wordless. What is and what is reflected is the truth. Interpretation occurs only when one reduces experience to thoughts and words. Reinterpretation suggests that the teaching is given a new form. Man number seven is the only one capable of taking such a responsibility. Burton, in fact, claims to have the understanding of a man number seven. "You all do very well just to hear me. It is the discrepancy between a man number four and a man number seven, the discrepancy between your understanding and mine."(17) That such a reinterpretation would be needed only a generation after Gurdjieff's death is dubious at best.

And even were it needful, that Burton's 'interpretation' would be legitimate is strongly suspect for two reasons. One, Burton never had a genuine Fourth Way teacher. And two, he has never submitted to the discipline and training of the Work.(19) Burton finesses the question of legitimacy and lineage by positioning himself as a kind of Work-Gnostic who is in contact with a school on a 'higher plane' with astral teachers, and so, of course, he has had no need to study in a lesser, earthly school, under a merely human teacher. Embarrassing questions involving core issues of esoteric transmission are thus deflected. Given the level of his recitations in Self-Remembering and his lack of genuine connection with Gurdjieff's Fourth Way, one wonders whether Burton is actually teaching "Burton" under the guise of Gurdjieff?(20)

Higher Centers and Art

Art and art collecting plays a very large role in his "reinterpretation." Asked why he encourages art collecting, Burton explains that "Beauty produces its likeness in those who pursue it. This wonderful system stresses raising the level of impressions around one. Our school invests in art to strengthen the impressions octave."(21) He also believes that "True art is founded upon transforming suffering, and a true artist is a world unto himself. Art is synonymous with one's self and there is no higher art form than one's own individual soul."(22) This too is at odds with Gurdjieff who devotes a whole chapter in the First Series to art. Nowhere does he indicate that art "is founded upon transforming suffering" or that an artist is "a world unto himself." These are commonplace contemporary notions which stem from the post-renaissance secularization of art and artists. Instead, Gurdjieff describes the deliberate, conscious process of creating objective art by the members of the club of the "Adherents of Legominism."(23) Referring to the place of the arts in the life of the Fellowship of Friends, Burton says "It is interesting how we develop the habit of saturating ourselves with culture: the concert, this room, the music, the impressions, all these hydrogens are higher hydrogens. From this we try to create self-remembering."(24) Contrast this with Gurdjieff, who said, "Culture creates personality and is at the same time the product and the result of personality. We do not realize that the whole of our life, all we call civilization, all we call science, philosophy, art, and politics, is created by people's personality, that is, by what is 'not their own' in them."(25) Also, work conditions at the Prieuré were harsh. The chateau was often not heated, food was meager, and conditions were intentionally made uncomfortable. Compare this with Burton's penchant for lavish dinner parties, art collecting, opera-going, and the like.

Rewriting History & Grandiose Claims

The book's introduction positions Robert Burton as a central figure in the spiritual world. Nearly every sentence has been carefully crafted for deniability. Ingenuously, it presents Gurdjieff ("a Greek-Armenian mystic and teacher of sacred dances"(26) and Ouspensky as equals, with Gurdjieff having cobbled together a teaching from various Eastern sources and taught it to Ouspensky. Gurdjieff, we are told, was master of the physical. Ouspensky was master of the intellectual; and now Burton is introduced as master of the emotional.

Anyone familiar with what is known of the history of Gurdjieff's teaching will recognize this interpretation's untruthfulness. Gurdjieff brought an ancient teaching, complete and carefully reformulated for our time.(27) Ouspensky, despite his assimilation of part of what Gurdjieff brought, and his recording that part as faithfully as he could, did not. Just as it can be seen that St. Paul, despite his illumination and labors, was not on a level with Jesus, so Ouspensky is not on the same level with Gurdjieff. Once this is recognized as the fact it is, the argument for Burton and his place alongside Gurdjieff and Ouspensky falls to pieces.

At times Burton departs so diametrically from Gurdjieff's teaching, making any connection whatsoever is difficult. When asked, "Is our ability to self-remember controlled by the gods?" he replies, "Yes. One is paced through nine lifetimes, and each life is all that one can bear. Each person who enters the way will become immortal—that is why the way exists."(28) Burton makes much of the gods, even changing the name of the town in which the Fellowship is located from Renaissance to Apollo. It would seem, given his references, that his orientation is pagan. This would be in high contradistinction to Gurdjieff who never spoke about gods as such and had a high regard for Christianity (of which he speaks as having the purest of all teachings before it was corrupted). Burton goes on to prophesy that "Our school will produce seven conscious beings. Apollo [his school] will not reach its peak for centuries or millennia. Our school is one of the greatest schools in recorded history, and that is why suffering is so abundant."(29) [Emphasis added.] If his assertions are not vague, they usually are not verifiable. However, with apparent candor, Burton admits that "I still have considerable difficulty transforming negative emotions, primarily due to the violence of the suffering I must absorb to lift a school and humanity out of the chaos of impending hydrogen warfare."(30) He warns of impending disasters, hydrogen warfare, which, of course, only members of his school will survive.

Who Is Burton?

At times, Burton's tone is wise, kind, patient, gentle, and somewhat feminine. It is an amalgam of the conventional seriousness of the plaster saint with the intellectual appreciator of art and nature who believes in his feelings. He perhaps hasn't read what Gurdjieff says about feelings—Faith of feeling is weakness... Love of feeling evokes its opposite... Hope of feeling is slavery(31)—much less Objective Reason.

Burton seems never to have had a messy moment in his life. Speaking of having "a little difficulty hearing the music tonight," he says, "A work 'I' advised me, 'You cannot speak if you cannot listen.' in a gentle, non-judgmental tone of voice. It was a third line of force for helping me to listen."(32) Self-remembering begins with the shock of the realization that one has forgotten. Is "a little difficulty" a euphemism for forgetting himself? What was it that replaced listening? Contrast this with any of Gurdjieff's books, particularly the Third Series. In it, Gurdjieff reveals the depths of his despair at his failures to remember himself or convey his teaching, contemplates suicide, and realizes what he must sacrifice to remember himself and to have the energy to continue. It's not pretty.

In a defining passage, Burton confesses, "During, September, 1967, I met Influence C through my first teacher. I have never been so impressed with anything else."(33) Although Burton makes reference to his first "teacher," there's no need to mention the teacher's name since he was merely the instrument for contacting "Influence C." Burton makes much of his relationship with "Influence C," which he reifies into angels and gods with whom he is in direct contact [see footnote 38]. All of this, he carries forward in a severely distorted form of Ouspensky's diagram of influences (which few people realize was invented by Ouspensky, not given by Gurdjieff, who dismissed it without comment).(34)

The only living "teacher" Burton has had, and this only for a short time, was Alex Horn. And Horn was a faux-Gurdjieffian. Burton, then, has made himself in his own image. Having a strong mind and ego-will, Burton seems to have reduced and misrepresented the teaching as a Norman Vincent Peale mentalism by which all experience is interpreted through the medium of mind and imagination.(35) By not working with and through the body, one intuits that Burton has unwittingly imprisoned himself within what he takes to be 'higher mind,' which is really the psyche, and so put himself at the mercy of its 'gods.'(36)

The teaching is nothing to toy with. As represented by Ouspensky, the teaching may seem simple enough but this is deceiving. Gurdjieff often warned that taking the teaching wrongly or only in part(37) would make one "a candidate for the lunatic asylum."

Having denied the body and controlled the mind, not surprisingly, Burton's sexual center appears to be controlling him. Plagued with a series of lawsuits over the years by former students—young boys and married men—only costly out-of-court settlements kept his name out of the papers. That ended, however, when Burton and Apollo were featured last November in a Los Angeles Times front-page article.(38)

The question now moves from Robert Burton and his level of understanding to a much more serious and significant one. Namely, is his teaching a reinterpretation or a distortion of Gurdjieff's Fourth Way? Or worse, is it a deviation? In his The Reign of Quantity and The Signs of the Times, the esotericist René Guénon speaks of the destruction of a teaching beginning with its distortion, which is a preparation for later deviation. The deviation, in turn, prepares for a "counter-initiation" whose effect will be, wrote Guénon, "the reign of what has been called 'inverted spirituality'...a parody of spirituality, imitating it so to speak in an inverse sense, so as to appear to be its opposite."(39)

We do not presume to know who Burton is. Obviously, he is an unusual and powerful personality with a special gift for promotion and organization. Whoever he is, a careful reading of his book and study of his life makes clear one thing: Burton is not—and never has been—in the Gurdjieff line. Thus, the 'reinterpretation' of the ancient teaching of the Fourth Way by Robert Earl Burton is, at the very least, a decided distortion.

Notes

(1)In 1971 Burton incorporated the Fellowship of Friends, which set up "Gurdjieff-Ouspensky Centers" in major cities around the world. The Fellowship has some two thousand students world-wide, an annual income from tithes and other sources of $48 million, and owns and operates its own large ranch-vineyard and winery in Apollo, California.

(2)SR, p. 1.

(3)When a student later asks, “Do the higher emotional and higher intellectual centers constitute the self?” Burton replies, "Yes." But Gurdjieff and Ouspensky rarely refer to the self. The Guide and Index to All and Everything gives one listing of the word "self," unhyphenated; it appears only three times in Search. Almost always the word is the first part of a compound such as self-remembering, self-observation, self-will, or self-love. It's used to refer generally to the whole of a person, whatever their level of knowledge or being, not just to the two higher centers.

(4)SR, p. 10.

(5)SR, p. 17.

(6)SR, p. 28.

(7)SR, p. 26.

(8)P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, p. 248. See also p. 163, and the discussion of chief feature.

(9)SR, p. 28.

(10)SR, p. 14.

(11)G. I. Gurdjieff, Third Series, p. 19.

(12)SR, p. 6.

(13)SR, pp. v and 192.

(14)As long as something remains within a form, even at its highest expression, it remains within the world of form. But true experiencing begins in the formless. Otherwise it remains in the subject-object world with a dualism of form and that which experiences the form.

(15)SR, p. ix.

(16)Burton's use of the word "personal" is another indication he hasn't had a teacher. What is transmitted is experienced as impersonal.

(17)SR, p. 181.

(18)For example, Burton has invented a deck of cards metaphor to represent centers and parts of centers by which he "reinterprets" Gurdjieff's teaching. It boils down to a shorthand labeling formula which, like other work-derived personality or body typologies, lends itself well to "solidification" and abusive usage by individuals obsessed with power and control.

Gurdjieff, although he wrote and spoke of types in many different contexts, refrained from codifying them in a system which could be exploited indiscriminately by people at lower levels of being. The only exception to this rule was his toasts to the "Idiots." But by enshrining the types as "idiots," he made sure the typology wouldn't be abused—referring to someone else as an idiot puts them on guard and makes it difficult to convince them of one's noble motives.

(19) Burton's only teacher was Alex Horn who was never in the Gurdjieff Work. An actor with a dramatic flair, Horn learned of the Work through his second wife, who spent a number of months in J.G. Bennett's International Academy of Continuous Education at Sherbourne, England. After a short period with Horn, Burton was expelled from the group.

(20)According to former students, little mention is made of Gurdjieff. Ouspensky and Nicoll are emphasized because their level of development and logical discourse make little esoteric demand on the reader.

(21)SR, p. 164.

(22)SR, p. 165.

(23)G. I. Gurdjieff, First Series, pp. 449–523.

(24)SR, p. 33.

(25)P. D. Ouspensky, Search, p. 162.

(26)SR, p. ix.

(27)"The teaching whose theory is here being set out is completely self-supporting and independent of other lines and it has been completely unknown up to the present time." Search, p. 286.

(28)SR, p. 153.

(29)SR, p. 185.

(30)SR, p. 176.

(31)G. I. Gurdjieff, First Series, p. 361.

(32)SR, p. 76.

(33)SR, p. 151.

(34)P. D. Ouspensky, Search, p. 204.

(35)"But in consequence of the wrong work of centers it often happens that the sex center unites with the negative part of the emotional center or with the negative part of the instinctive center. And then, stimulation of a certain kind of the sex center, or even any stimulation at all of the sex center, calls forth unpleasant feelings and unpleasant sensations. People who experience unpleasant feelings and sensations which have been evoked in them through ideas and imagination connected with sex are inclined to regard them as a great virtue or as something original; in actual fact it is simply disease." P. D. Ouspensky, Search, p. 258.

(36)In the late 1970s Lord Pentland, the man Gurdjieff appointed to lead the Work in America, visited Burton's mansion to interest him in financially supporting the film, Meetings with Remarkable Men. Burton believed, however, that Pentland was coming to hand over all his students because he had realized Burton's higher development. As a gift, Burton gave Pentland a beautiful and expensive sleeping pillow. Seated with them at dinner were a number of Burton's top students. The next day one of them left Burton to study with Pentland saying, "There was just no question of which man was awake and which asleep."

(37)We see this with the so-called enneagram movement of Helen Palmer who believes the "oral tradition" of the enneagram was passed on to her by Claudio Naranjo, who Oscar Ichazo exiled for grandiosity. Using the enneagram as a personality tool is akin to taking confession from Catholicism and thinking you have something. Though the enneagram first appeared in the West through Gurdjieff, his role has been diminished and both Ichazo and Naranjo are now held, according to their clique, to be the "father of the enneagram." Former Gurdjieffian Kathy Speeth, who left her teacher Lord Pentland for the arms of Naranjo in the 1970s, now disowns the enneagram movement she helped to create. Naranjo, too. But with scores of books and newsletters and the 1994 First International Enneagram Conference at Stanford (complete with T-shirts) having drawn 1500 people, the popularization and debasement of the esoteric symbol continues unabated.

(38)"Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary" by Jennifer Warren, Los Angeles Times, November 11, 1966. Besides mentioning the financial exploitation of members, the article speaks of the young boys and married men whom Burton seduced under the guise of being an angel, representing Influence C, who wished to have sex with them. (This is a very refined vibration which the body may initially register as sexual energy. But this is only one of its colorings. Any identification or imagination in regard to such an influence immediately aborts the elaboration.) The article also speaks of the bitter irony that Burton under the pressure of lawsuits, and having long denied homosexuals membership in his Fellowship, is now forced to admit his homosexuality.

(39)René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and The Signs of the Times, p. 321.



"The King of Clubs" posted the following excerpts on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 21, 2007 at 6:51 pm:
From Burton’s book “Self-Remembering.”
[The following is posted as a review of the content of the book and comes under fair use provisions.]
“A cataclysmic disaster may be imminent that could be a prelude to hydrogen warfare. If California fell, there would be no major population center near Renaissance and so the coast would be clear.” (page 53)
“Almost all of Christ’s disciples died an unnatural death. We must talk of these things to prepare us for what is to come. Enduring suffering, one takes up one’s own cross. We are chosen to play these roles.” (page 87)
“They [C Influence] have given us some prophecies that are facts for them but, until they turn into facts for us, they must be called prophecies.” (page 142)
“Influence C ushers us to Heaven’s gate.” (page 151)
“We have been chosen by Influence C to awaken, while almost all others have an indifferent fate. That is, they are left alone to a great extent by higher forces. Influence C wants something for us: an astral body. And they want something from us: an ark to survive hydrogen warfare.” (page 155)
“Hydrogen warfare seems inevitable, and one no longer has to be a prophet to predict it. Incredible events may happen in our lives, and I will be very surprised if anything but us survives.” (page 156)
“We are truly involved in tremendous events, such as hydrogen warfare, and yet these events favor us because they have evoked a school on earth from higher forces.” (page 161)
“I still have considerable difficulty transforming negative emotions, primarily due to the violence of the suffering I must absorb to lift a school and humanity out of the chaos of impending hydrogen warfare.” (page 176)
“Our school will produce seven conscious beings. Apollo will not reach its peak for centuries or millennia. Our school is one of the greatest schools in recorded history, and that is why suffering is so abundant.” (page 185)


[ed. - Some reviews of Self-Remembering from Amazon.com. It should be noted, Peter Ingle is a Fellowship member, and has written on similar topics. "Ivan Osokin" is likely long-time Fellowship antagonist G. Goodwin.]
1 of 22 people found the following review helpful:

5 of 5 stars A teacher conveying his understanding to students, June 11, 2000
Reviewer: Peter Ingle from California
Being intimately familiar with the writings of Mr. Gurdjieff and Mr. Ouspensky, I can say that Robert Burton's teaching is a direct extension of everything those two men practiced and taught. Also, as a 25-year student of Robert Burton's, I know that nothing is easier to misunderstand than a teacher and a school. Mr. Burton's book, Self-Remembering, is a pure encapsulation of how he teaches and how he himself works, and the fact that self-remembering is the hub of practicing the Fourth Way. But, more importantly, this book offers readers an emotional--not just an intellectual--handle for determining whether they see something unique in the idea of self-remembering, and in the idea that an individual cannot work or evolve alone; that a school is necessary for establishing a correct foundation of knowledge, methods, and guidance. Readers may also want to keep in mind that this book was not written originally for publication, but for Mr. Burton's students. It was not intended to persuade anyone of anything, but rather to convey the understanding of a conscious teacher to his students, largely as a reminder to them of how to re-connect emotionally to their own need to make efforts to actually awaken.

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99 of 100 people found the following review helpful:

2 of 5 stars Teaching Through the Backdoor, February 14, 2002
Reviewer: Ivan Osokin (see more about me) from Moscow, Russia
After carefully reading Burton's book and searching the internet for further information it seems more than clear that Burton's teaching enters the student through the backdoor. No doubt many have experienced the painful entry. Once the student is nailed I'm sure casual walking becomes difficult. This is not the kind of teaching followers can take standing up, it appears necessary to bend over to receive the full thrust of this kind of blunt message. The news in the esoteric world is that Burton has slammed the meat of his teaching into hundreds of surprised "gentlemen".

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

1 of 5 stars This book has nothing to do with self remembering, November 26, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Maryland, United States
Burton is confused. He thinks he is conscious. He operates a cult that labels itself a "Fourth Way" school. This group has nothing to do with Gurdjieff or Ouspenski's work other than being an excellent example of how one can misinterpret the work through lunatic. Burton and all of the Fellowship of Friends / Apollo followers are strictly A type influence. There is no support of Burton or this group by C influence.

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