Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Quotations from Robert Earl Burton - 2003

From "Thoughts from the Teacher" (on the Fellowship of Friends Wikispace site)
I feel our good fortune quite deeply this morning. We are at the dawn of another year of working with the Gods. We have been chosen out of six billion people to consciously evolve. (January 12, 2003)

It is a long wait with Influence C. I am into my best period as a teacher. When I turned sixty, my higher centers matured in a certain way. I can now see what is in front of me. I can see the obvious in everything. For example, if I read a thought by Peter Ouspensky, I can see whether it is right, and appreciate it, or whether it is not, and correct it. (January 26, 2003)

I do not think; I am present. Therefore I am—a conscious being. (January 26, 2003)

[To a student traveling with Robert for the first time] You will start to alter your essence. You will eat things that you did not grow up eating. Everybody does it: the Japanese learn to eat Italian food; the Chinese learn to eat French food. You will also gain more experience with wine. You own a vineyard now, so you want to educate your essence in wine and move towards a Mediterranean aesthetic. (January 26, 2003)

On my level, I see sleep wherever I go. I cannot see it otherwise. I would have to be asleep to see it as awake. (January 26, 2003)

Student: I try to understand how you think.

Robert: I do not think—that is my virtue. I just see. I have immortal vision. All these people have mortal vision. (January 26, 2003)

One reason there are not more schools is that there are not more teachers who care about their students—and there is nothing I care for more than my students. (February 2, 2003)

I turned down the air-conditioning one degree—but I did it with presence. It is so important to do your work in private. One by one my students will join me in Paradise. (February 2, 2003)

I find it unique that I am the first man in history who asked for “Presence Please” from his students. (February 2, 2003)

Only I can love all of my students. What parent does not love all of his children? (February 2, 2003)

We will be celebrating the miracle of the almond blossom around February 6th or 12th of each year. We will also be celebrating the Chinese New Year, as well as each conscious being’s birthday. We will invent dates for those we do not know, to fill the sparse months. (February 9, 2003)

I see these things as the Gods see them. (…) Increasingly, I tend to look at the success of Apollo and of your evolution in terms of how long I shall live. The longer, the better. (February 9, 2003)

It is within my power to make my students immortal, and it cannot be achieved in any way other than that which the Gods dictate. Immortality is yours—you just have to accept their methods. You cannot expect to have a normal life with Gods in your life, because it is already abnormal to have Gods in one’s life. (April 6, 2003)

I was looking into a fireplace the first time my higher centers appeared. They were aware of themselves, and aware of the fireplace, and it lasted about twenty minutes. That was my first experience with myself. (…) There were two reasons why the Gods had me look into a fireplace. First, the eternal flame of cosmic consciousness had been established by the Gods. Secondly, I was looking into the inferno of hydrogen warfare. (April 6, 2003)

I crystallized in what was then the Blake Cottage. My last ‘I’ before going to bed was, “It is not going to happen tonight,” but I was wrong. I awakened between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. and it hit. I was facing Mount Apollo with my back turned to California, and my higher centers fused. There was thunder and lightning, and when it cleared my world six was looking straight ahead, completely unfazed by the event. In a school, what one gains, we all gain, and my story is your story. Self-remembering is the greatest gift that one can ever receive, and one must give it to oneself. (April 6, 2003)

Having founded Apollo and a civilization, I will appreciate the perfected nature of Paradise more than any other conscious being. Augustus said that he found Rome brick and left it marble. I found Apollo dust, and I will be fortunate to leave it brick. (April 6, 2003)

One thing I have been wondering about is how much time elapses between lifetimes for ascending souls. The only thought I have encountered on this subject is from Plato, who said that the soul takes a new body about every ten thousand years. I do not know if this is true, but I am certain that the period between lifetimes is not uniform. One of the first things I want to know when I complete my role is when I will be reunited with you. (April 13, 2003)

Student: Why is it that the soul takes only one female body during the course of its nine lives?

Robert: To strengthen and soften the higher emotional center. (August 17, 2003)

Should I live to become old, I will not take any pride in my age, but I shall feel grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve my fellow ascending souls. (November 2, 2003)

It is such an incredible experience to circulate in life; with immortal vision I observe mortal sleep. In my students, however, I see the Promised Land. (November 2, 2003)

Curiously, we are the only people on the Earth attempting to stay out of imagination. (November 2, 2003)

I cannot think of anything more important that I will do with my eternal life than helping my students escape. Although I have all eternity before me, the work I am doing now is the most important I will ever do. (November 23, 2003)

Monday, December 1, 2003

The Fellowship of Friends "Fourth Way" glossary

[ed. - From the "Gurdjieff-Ouspensky Centers" (not Centres) website. Contrast this with the "post-Sequence" glossary of 2017.]

This Glossary contains brief descriptions of special meanings of Fourth Way terms from the teaching of Robert Burton. More complete descriptions may be found in the Fourth Way books that are listed in our Suggested Reading section. Girard Haven has graciously supplied this glossary from his book, The Prize Is Eternity

References to other terms in the Glossary are indicated by SMALL CAPITALS. 

ABSOLUTE, THE: The totality of everything which exists or could exist on all levels, in all worlds, and at all times; more specifically the CONSCIOUSNESS and understanding which exists at that level and thus comprises the highest possible intelligence.

ACTIVE FORCE: FIRST FORCE: that which initiates a change or action.

ALCHEMY: (1) The degree of refinement of an IMPRESSION; the quality of the energy associated with an impression. (2) A characteristic of ESSENCE referring to one's capacity to be sensitive to the refinement of the IMPRESSIONS.

In general, more refined impressions reflect higher, more conscious energy; they possess greater harmony, beauty, and order. The alchemical metals of lead, copper, silver and gold refer to four levels of alchemy.

The process of changing lead into gold is the process of making coarser impressions into finer ones. This can be done externally in one's environment and actions, internally by developing sensitivity to impressions in one's ESSENCE, and psychologically by BEING PRESENT to impressions and so experiencing them more fully.

APOLLO: The headquarters and main teaching CENTER of the Fellowship of Friends. Some members live there; many others visit for weekends or holidays. All participate in the spiritual life of Apollo and in its maintenance, construction and operation.

ASCENDING OCTAVE: An OCTAVE in which there is growth from the more mechanical to the more intentional or conscious, for example, pieces of wood being given form and purpose by being made into a table. Ascending octaves are characterized by the need for effort, especially at the two INTERVALS.

BEING: The accumulated mass or effect of direct experience; more specifically in relation to awakening, a person's ability to experience, and participate consciously in, their own life. In Robert Burton's teaching this is equivalent to their ability to remember themselves.

A person who has accumulated experience in a particular area, as opposed to merely acquiring knowledge about it, is said to have being in that area. People who have being in cooking, for example, are able to do more than follow a recipe; they can engage many sides of themselves in the preparation of food, and so do it more creatively.

BEING PRESENT: The practice of paying attention to one's immediate environment, both externally and internally, without IMAGINATION or IDENTIFICATION.

BODY TYPE: A system, described by Rodney COLLIN and elaborated by Robert Burton, which classifies all human machines according to seven basic types. It links the cosmos of an individual to the cosmos of the solar system by establishing a link between the endocrine glands of the human body and the visible celestial bodies of the solar system, after which the types are named. Typically, an individual's physical and psychological characteristics can be described as a combination of two types, according to a definite progression. This progression, also referred to as the circulation of types, begins with the Lunar type, then proceeds to the Venusian, the Mercurial, the Saturnine, the Martial, and the Jovial before returning to the Lunar. The seventh type, the Solar, exists separately from this progression and can be found in combination with any of the other types. The progression of types is also seen in the way in which a person may develop characteristics of the type ahead to balance or minimize weaknesses of the type behind. See The Theory of Celestial Influence by Rodney Collin or Human Types by Susan Zannos for more complete descriptions.

BUFFER: (1) A psychological mechanism which prevents one from experiencing the reality of the present moment and seeing one's true mechanical condition; in particular, the mechanism by which FALSE PERSONALITY protects one's imaginary picture of oneself. (2) To use a buffer, as in "buffering an unpleasant situation."

CENTER OF GRAVITY: The tendency in ESSENCE to relate to the world predominantly on the basis of attitudes which characterize a particular CENTER, and more specifically a part, and a part of a part, of a center. People usually favor their center of gravity over other parts of their MACHINE; its needs are unconsciously given a higher priority, and they tend to react from its point of view whether or not that is appropriate to the circumstances.

CENTER (FELLOWSHIP): The name given to local groups of members of the Fellowship of Friends in various cities throughout the world.

CENTERS: The different independent intelligences or brains which exist for a human being. Four of these are present in all people: the INSTINCTIVE CENTER, the MOVING CENTER, the EMOTIONAL CENTER, and the INTELLECTUAL CENTER. Each of these centers is further divided into an INSTINCTIVE, a MOVING, an EMOTIONAL, and an INTELLECTUAL PART. The parts are distinguished by the kind of attention which manifests in them. The intellectual parts are characterized by intentional effort to hold and direct attention. The emotional parts function when attention is drawn to and held by something. The moving and instinctive parts function automatically and without awareness, and are sometimes referred to together as the MECHANICAL PART of a center. This division can be carried one level further, to the instinctive, moving, emotional and intellectual parts of each part.

Centers, and their parts, are also divided into positive and negative halves. The positive half affirms and leads one toward things which seem beneficial to that part of that center. The negative half denies and leads one away from things which seem harmful or dangerous to that part of that center.
All of this is represented in the deck of playing cards. Each suit represents a center: clubs, the instinctive center; spades, the moving center; hearts, the emotional center; and diamonds, the intellectual center. The face cards represent the parts: the JACKS, the mechanical parts; the QUEENS, the emotional parts; and the KINGS, the intellectual parts. The numbered cards represent the parts of the parts: the eight, nine and ten being the mechanical, emotional and intellectual parts of the king; the five, six, and seven the corresponding parts of the queen; and the two, three, and four the parts of the jack. The ace represents the center as a whole.

In addition to these four LOWER CENTERS, there is also a SEX CENTER, which is a source of higher energy that can be used for such things as procreation, artistic expression and awakening, and two HIGHER CENTERS: the higher emotional and higher intellectual centers. These higher centers exist separately from the machine and manifest in higher states of CONSCIOUSNESS. They can be considered to be the functions of the soul.

CHIEF FEATURE: A person's most strongly expressed FEATURE. As the core of FALSE PERSONALITY, it determines the fundamental way in which people view themselves and the world, and affects virtually all of their actions. Other features in a person's personality serve to support the chief feature and provide BUFFERS for it.

COLLIN, RODNEY: A student of Peter OUSPENSKY who established his own school in Mexico following Ouspensky's death. His books, The Theory of Celestial Influence, The Theory of Eternal Life, and The Theory of Conscious Harmony, are a major influence in Girard Haven's thinking.

CONSCIENCE: Peter OUSPENSKY describes conscience as the emotional side of CONSCIOUSNESS; a state in which one is aware simultaneously of all one's contradictory emotions about a subject. It is often experienced as a feeling of the right action in a situation.

CONSCIOUS BEING: A person who has achieved at least the level of MAN NUMBER FIVE and so has created higher bodies and developed a state of uninterrupted CONSCIOUSNESS independent of the physical body. The term is used to refer to such beings both before and after the death of the physical body.


CONSCIOUS SHOCK, FIRST: SELF-REMEMBERING, particularly as it applies to BEING PRESENT to and TRANSFORMING IMPRESSIONS. The term is taken from the "Food Diagrams" in In Search of the Miraculous and The Fourth Way, where this effort is described as the SHOCK needed to initiate the digestion of IMPRESSIONS.

CONSCIOUS SHOCK, SECOND: The TRANSFORMATION OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. The term is taken from the "Food Diagrams" in In Search of the Miraculous and The Fourth Way, where this effort is described as the SHOCK which bridges the MI-FA INTERVAL in the OCTAVE of DIGESTION of IMPRESSIONS and the SI-DO INTERVAL in the octave of the digestion of food.


CONSCIOUSNESS: The ability to use attention to be aware. Consciousness can be measured in terms of what one is aware of, how long that awareness can be sustained, and how deep or profound the awareness is.

CRYSTALLIZATION: The process of psychological characteristics becoming fixed and permanent. Right or correct crystallization refers to someone who has made HIGHER CENTERS permanent within themselves. Such a person has evolved into a CONSCIOUS BEING. Wrong crystallization refers to someone who has become set in mechanical patterns that are incompatible with awakening.

DENYING FORCE: SECOND FORCE, seen more from the point of view of that which opposes or provides resistance to the FIRST FORCE.

DESCENDING OCTAVE: An OCTAVE in which manifestations proceed from the more conscious and flexible to the more rigid and mechanical, with a resulting loss of possibilities. Descending octaves have a momentum of their own and normally require little external effort. INTERVALS manifest more as places where there is an opportunity to interrupt or deviate the octave with an external SHOCK than as places where additional energy is required to keep the octave going.

DEPUTY STEWARD: A group of ‘I’s, larger than OBSERVING ‘I’ and smaller than STEWARD, that observes the MACHINE and attempts to direct it in accordance with the aim to awaken.

DIVIDED ATTENTION: An intentional effort to be aware of two or more things simultaneously, in contrast with IDENTIFICATION, in which attention is focused on only one thing. More specifically, divided attention sometimes refers to SELF-REMEMBERING seen as an effort to be simultaneously aware of one's environment and of oneself within that environment.

DOMINANCE: A FEATURE to which order and control are major concerns. Externally, it may manifest as an ability to organize and direct others; directed internally, it causes a person to appear reserved, self-controlled, and slow to act.

EMOTIONAL CENTER: The intelligence in a human MACHINE that is expressed as feelings and emotions.

EMOTIONAL PART: The PART OF A CENTER in which attention is held by a stimulus. In the positive half, this is experienced as pleasure, enjoyment or attraction; in the negative half, as discomfort, dislike or repulsion.

ESSENCE: The qualities of a human MACHINE which are inherent at birth, such as physical characteristics, BODY TYPE, CENTER OF GRAVITY and ALCHEMY. An experience of essence is often accompanied by a sense of child-like wonder. According to the teaching of Robert Burton, essence can develop beyond the limitations of the human machine: when essence is aware of itself while observing an object, and not in fascination, it leads to the awakening of one's HIGHER CENTERS.

EVOLUTION: In the FOURTH WAY, the process of individual development to higher LEVELS OF BEING.

EXTERNALLY CONSIDER: The practice of considering one's relation to others from a point of view which places equal importance on oneself and others, and is in that sense external to oneself. More specifically, it sometimes refers to the fact that when one is practicing external consideration one will usually be more considerate of others.

FALSE PERSONALITY: A person's imaginary picture of themselves, together with all the psychological mechanisms which are necessary to protect that picture. It develops in childhood in response to the pressures to receive adult approval and to behave in a socially acceptable way, but soon grows beyond its original role of protecting ESSENCE and acquires a life of its own. In the end, it completely dominates the lives of most people with a network of attitudes and patterns of behavior which are contrary to their true nature in essence.

FEAR: A feature which has at its roots feelings of insecurity and powerlessness. It usually manifests as timidity in action and exaggerated concern about possibly harmful or dangerous consequences.

FEATURE: Fundamental attitudes in personality about oneself and one's relation to the world, along with all the psychological mechanisms which are needed to support and express those attitudes. In Robert Burton's teaching the principal features are VANITY, POWER, DOMINANCE, NONEXISTENCE, GREED, TRAMP, FEAR, NAÏVETE, WILLFULNESS, and LUNATIC. In each person, one of these is the CHIEF FEATURE, one or two others are strongly expressed, and there are traces of the remainder.

FIRST FORCE: The force or element which initiates a change or action.

FIRST-LINE WORK: Efforts made to promote one's own awakening; work on oneself.

FIRST STATE: The state of CONSCIOUSNESS ordinarily called sleep.

FORCES, THREE: The three elements or energies which must be present before any real change or action can occur. The first, or active, force initiates the action. The SECOND FORCE, also called passive or denying force, in some way provides resistance for the FIRST FORCE; for example, it may be what is acted upon. The presence of the third, or neutralizing, force allows the opposition between the first two forces to be resolved. It is sometimes seen as the medium in which the other two forces act, and sometimes as an additional factor or influence. Together the three forces are called a TRIAD, and before it is possible to achieve a desired result, the right triad, or combination of forces, must be found.


FOURTH STATE: A state of higher CONSCIOUSNESS in which a person can be objective both about himself and the world around him. It is associated with the functioning of the higher intellectual center.

FOURTH WAY: The path of awakening practiced by George GURDJIEFF, Peter OUSPENSKY and their followers, including Robert Burton.

FRICTION: In general, the internal struggle between the part of a person which wishes to awaken and the mechanical patterns of behavior which interfere with that aim. More specifically, friction refers to external events which precipitate that struggle, particularly when suffering is involved.

FUNCTIONS: CENTERS, with an emphasis more on their mechanicalness than on their intelligence.

GOOD HOUSEHOLDER: A person who values things according to their true worth; also the values held by such people. In particular, good householders make efforts to care for themselves, their belongings, their environment and their relations to others.

GREED: A FEATURE characterized by an exaggerated valuation for external things. It causes people to wish particularly to accumulate and possess things which others consider to be valuable as a means of asserting their own worth.

HIGHER CENTERS: The higher emotional and higher intellectual centers. The higher emotional center is capable of perceiving the connectedness of all things and is the seat of conscious love and compassion. The higher intellectual center perceives the laws which govern all things and is the seat of conscious wisdom.

HIGHER FORCES: Any of the levels of intelligence and CONSCIOUSNESS above man. In particular, Girard Haven often uses this term as a synonym for INFLUENCE C.

HIGHER SCHOOL: A reference to the idea that even after they no longer possess physical bodies, conscious beings continue to evolve under the guidance of yet higher beings.

IDENTIFICATION: (1) The state in which all of a person's attention is focused on a single thing to the exclusion of anything else; the opposite of SEPARATION. (2) The tendency, especially of FALSE PERSONALITY, to place one's sense of identity in things which are external to one's true self.

IMAGINATION: (1) The state in which a person's attention is devoted to things which are not actually present, often to the complete exclusion of awareness of the immediate environment; the opposite of BEING PRESENT. (2) The condition of believing something to be true which is not true, often used in the phrase, "to be in imagination about...."

IMPRESSIONS: In general, any thought, feeling or sensation; more specifically, perceptions which are received through the senses.

INFLUENCE A: Influences on a person which arise as a consequence of life on earth. In general, these influences include such things as the desires for food, shelter, rest, and sex; relations between parents, children, spouses, and friends; and the influence of society and culture. More specifically, in the modern world the emphasis is on the desire for material possessions and social position.

INFLUENCE B: Influences on a person, such as religion and esotericism, which are not directly connected with life on earth and point toward other forms of existence. Such influences originate with CONSCIOUS BEINGS but cease to qualify as INFLUENCE C as soon as they lose their direct connection to a conscious source.

INFLUENCE C: (1) The direct influence of CONSCIOUS BEINGS. (2) Conscious beings without physical bodies who are working directly to assist people who are trying to awaken.

INNER CONSIDERING: Considering one's relation to others from a point of view which places oneself at the center and considers others only in relation to that center. Inner considering leads to excessive concern over the way one appears to others and the way they react to one, at times to the point of producing an incapacitating state of fear and confusion.

INSTINCTIVE CENTER: The intelligence in a human MACHINE which controls, or manifests as, instinctive functions, such as the activity of the senses, intuition, the growth of the body, the distribution of energy within the body, and so on.

INSTINCTIVE PART: The part of a CENTER which functions most automatically and satisfies the most basic needs of the center.

INTELLECTUAL CENTER: The intelligence in a human MACHINE which manifests as thought and reason.

INTELLECTUAL PART: The part of a CENTER which functions when an effort is made to control and direct attention. It is the highest intelligence in that CENTER.

INTERVAL: In general, the point in an OCTAVE where the movement between events slows and the OCTAVE may deviate. The word is most frequently used to refer to the times when extra effort is needed to advance a project, and to the times of confusion and doubt which characterize a loss of direction in a person's efforts to awaken.

'I'S: The short-lived thoughts, emotions and sensations which one takes to be the expression of oneself in the moment they occur, with emphasis on their expression in words in the INTELLECTUAL CENTER. People have a tremendous number of 'I's, many of which are contradictory, but ordinarily fail to notice any of this.


JACK OF HEARTS: (1) The MECHANICAL PART of the EMOTIONAL CENTER. Jack-of-hearts emotions occur without effort or attention and are superficial. Examples are greetings, greeting cards and crowd emotions. (2) A CENTER OF GRAVITY. Jack-of-hearts people tend to be ruled by their likes and dislikes.


KING OF HEARTS: The INTELLECTUAL PART of the EMOTIONAL CENTER. It is called the gateway to higher centers because it can, if properly trained, experience life in a non-literal, symbolic way very close to the experience of the higher emotional center.

KING OF DIAMONDS: The INTELLECTUAL PART of the INTELLECTUAL CENTER. It is the seat of logical, intentional thought directed toward a specific goal.

LEVEL OF BEING: Degree of CONSCIOUSNESS. People with higher levels of BEING are more conscious, more awake, than those with lower levels of being; consequently they are better able to remember themselves.

LINES OF WORK, THREE: Work for oneself (FIRST LINE), work for and with others (SECOND LINE), and work for one's teacher or school (THIRD LINE). Robert Burton's teaching emphasizes the need for balance among these lines.

LISTENING EXERCISE: The practice of bringing attention to the sounds in one's environment as a means of BEING PRESENT and DIVIDING ATTENTION.

LOOKING EXERCISE: The practice of looking at an object long enough to BE PRESENT to the act of looking at it, and then, before one starts to have 'l's about it, shifting one's attention to another object. Typically, one keeps one's gaze on one object for about three seconds.


LUNATIC: A FEATURE which is based on an inability to recognize the relative value of things. It manifests as a tendency to attach too much importance to relatively trivial matters and too little importance to truly significant ones.

MACHINE, THE: The physical body, and the FOUR LOWER CENTERS which comprise it, from the point of view that all their activity occurs automatically and mechanically in response to stimuli.

MAGNETIC CENTER: That portion of a person's personality which is attracted to INFLUENCE B and may eventually lead him to seek a school of awakening and INFLUENCE C.


MAN NUMBER TWO: A person whose CENTER OF GRAVITY is in the EMOTIONAL CENTER. Men number two are dominated by likes and dislikes.

MAN NUMBER THREE: A person whose CENTER OF GRAVITY is in the INTELLECTUAL CENTER. Reason, logic and ideas are more important to men number three than they are to others.

MAN NUMBER FOUR: A person who is working to awaken and who understands himself well enough to begin to separate from his mechanical CENTER OF GRAVITY and replace it with a 'center of gravity' in the WORK. This means that men number four react to stimuli on the basis of their relation to their aim to awaken, rather than on the basis of one of the LOWER CENTERS.

MAN NUMBER FIVE: A person whose CENTER OF GRAVITY is in the higher emotional center. Men number five are fully objective about themselves.

MAN NUMBER SIX: A person whose CENTER OF GRAVITY is in the higher intellectual center. Men number six sees both themselves and the world objectively.

MAN NUMBER SEVEN: A person who has achieved all that is possible for a human being. Men number seven have complete unity and possess will and consciousness which are independent of any of their FUNCTIONS.

MECHANICAL PART: The moving and instinctive parts of a CENTER.

MASTER: HIGHER CENTERS, especially from the point of view of their ability to observe and direct the LOWER CENTERS.

MEETINGS: The regular gatherings of members of the Fellowship of Friends to discuss the ideas of the SYSTEM and their application to members' efforts to awaken. Typically, a meeting is lead by a relatively senior member, who asks for questions to which all present share 'angles of thought'.

'MI-FA' INTERVAL: The first INTERVAL in an ascending OCTAVE, for example, the interval between preparing plans for a project and beginning the actual work. In general, the 'mi-fa' INTERVAL is easier to overcome than the 'SI-DO'.

MOVING CENTER: The intelligence in a human MACHINE which orients it in space and directs its external movements.

MOVING PART: The part of CENTER which functions automatically without attention but is more externally directed than the INSTINCTIVE PART. It can often be seen as using or manipulating the material provided by the INSTINCTIVE PART.

NAÏVETÉ: A FEATURE characterized by a relative inability to see the unpleasant aspects of life and the potential harmful or negative consequences of one's actions.

NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: Any of the emotions, such as anger, jealousy, indignation, self-pity, and boredom, which are negative in character. They are the principal BUFFERS used by FEATURES and FALSE PERSONALITY to prevent people from seeing and accepting their situation objectively. Because negative emotions are always based on IMAGINATION and IDENTIFICATION, it is possible to eliminate them through long, hard work on oneself, and this is one of the major emphases of Robert Burton's teaching.

NEGATIVITY: Any negative expression in one of the FOUR LOWER CENTERS, especially when accompanied by a NEGATIVE EMOTION. Negative or threatening postures, complaining, and gossiping are examples of negativity.

NEUTRALIZING FORCE: THIRD FORCE, with an emphasis on its role as that which resolves the tension between the FIRST and SECOND FORCES.

NON-EXISTENCE: A FEATURE characterized by a lack of valuation for oneself and often by a relative lack of internal activity, resulting in a tendency to live through others.

OBSERVING I: A small group of ‘I’s that observes the machine from the point of view of the system; the beginning of SELF-OBSERVATION and the first stage of awakening.

OCTAVE: Often used to refer to an activity or project as a reminder of its connection to the LAW OF OCTAVES.

OCTAVES, LAW OF: A description of the way in which any sequence of events eventually loses its force or direction. Also known as the Law of Seven, this law is embodied in both GURDJIEFF's Enneagram and in the major musical scale. In the latter, each note corresponds to an event in the sequence, with the half-steps between mi and fa and si and do representing intervals where the progress from one event to the next slows and a deviation or interruption will occur unless a SHOCK is received from outside the OCTAVE itself. Octaves may be ascending, that is, proceeding from more mechanical and limited manifestations to more intentional, conscious and flexible manifestations, or descending, in which case the manifestations proceed from those which are more conscious and have more potential to those which are more mechanical and fixed.


PASSIVE FORCE: SECOND FORCE, seen more from the point of view of that which is acted upon by the FIRST FORCE.

PHOTOGRAPH: (1) An observation of a mechanical manifestation, either made oneself or given to one by another student. The emphasis is on seeing oneself more objectively, as if one were looking at a snapshot. (2) To make such an observation and, when it is of another student, to share it with him.

POSITIVE EMOTION: In the SYSTEM, an emotion of the higher emotional center. It differs from the emotions of the positive half of the EMOTIONAL CENTER not only in its depth and understanding but also in the fact that it cannot become a NEGATIVE EMOTION.

POWER: A FEATURE characterized by concern over the ability to direct, control or influence the activities of others. People with this feature are usually extroverted, and tend to be somewhat manipulative and political in outlook.

QUEEN: The emotional part of a CENTER.

RAY OF CREATION: A representation of the universe as consisting of worlds of lower levels contained within worlds of higher levels. The Ray begins with the ABSOLUTE and ends with the earth and the moon. The worlds below (or within) the ABSOLUTE are referred to by the numbers 3, 6, 12, 24, 48 and 96, reflecting the increasing complexity and mechanicality of existence in each world.


RELATIVITY: The practice of considering something, such as an event or another person, from different points of view. It is an opposite to identification, in which all awareness is trapped in a single point of view.

RIGHT WORK OF CENTERS: The condition in which each CENTER and each part of each center responds only to the stimuli which are appropriate to it; contrasted with WRONG WORK OF CENTERS.

SCALE: The ability to view an event or experience from larger and smaller perspectives. It is especially useful to combat IDENTIFICATION. For example, faced with the prospect of a difficult encounter, a person might focus on the immediate environment (in which the encounter is not yet occurring) or attempt to view the situation in terms of a full year, thus rendering it insignificant. HIGHER CENTERS enable a person to apply scale by experiencing life from the perspective of higher worlds, in comparison with which one's ordinary existence may be seen as an illusion.

SECOND FORCE: The force or element which balances the FIRST FORCE in the sense that it opposes it or is acted upon by it.

SECOND-LINE WORK: Efforts made to help other members of one's school; work with other students.

SECOND STATE: The ordinary state of CONSCIOUSNESS of most people, in which they act and react with little or no awareness of themselves, that is, without SELF-REMEMBERING. For this reason it is called "sleep."

SELF, THE: HIGHER CENTERS, particularly as seen from the point of view of their independence of anything external to them.

SELF-OBSERVATION: The practice of being aware of one's internal functions at the same time as one is aware of one's actions and environment; the aspect of SELF-REMEMBERING which involves being aware of the manifestations of one's MACHINE.

SELF-REMEMBERING: As described by Peter OUSPENSKY, the practice of bringing a sense of one's presence or existence into the moment; being aware of oneself as well as of what one is doing or experiencing. Robert Burton has made self-remembering the central idea of his teaching, and speaks of such disciplines as SEPARATION, DIVIDED ATTENTION, and BEING PRESENT as aspects of self-remembering.

SEPARATION: The practice of maintaining a sense of self separate from one's actions, environment or experience; the aspect of SELF-REMEMBERING which involves a withdrawal of a part of one's attention from one's experiences and using it to be aware of that within one which registers, or is aware of, those experiences. The emphasis is on the fact that the part which registers the experience is not directly involved in or affected by the experience.

SHOCKS: In general, anything which occurs at an INTERVAL in an OCTAVE to cause the octave to continue, with or without deviation; in particular, events which interrupt a person's usual state.

'SI-DO' INTERVAL: The interval at the end of an ascending OCTAVE, for example, the struggle to bring a project to a final state of completion and clear up all the loose ends.

STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS: A man's degree of CONSCIOUSNESS in a particular moment, generally measured in terms of the FIRST, SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH STATES.

STEWARD: A group of ‘I’s that grows out of DEPUTY STEWARD and is usually able to observe the MACHINE and control it in accordance with the aim to awaken.

SYSTEM, THE: The ideas of George GURDJIEFF, particularly as expounded by Peter OUSPENSKY and his principal followers.

THIRD FORCE: The force or element whose presence allows the tension between the FIRST and SECOND FORCES to be resolved.

THIRD-LINE WORK: Efforts to serve one's teacher, one's school, CONSCIOUS BEINGS, or the WORK of awakening in general.

THIRD STATE: A state of CONSCIOUSNESS, induced by efforts of SELF-REMEMBERING, in which a man SEPARATES from his personality and observes himself objectively. It is characterized by self-awareness and an absence of IDENTIFICATION and IMAGINATION, but lacks the ability to be fully objective about the external world.

TRAMP: A FEATURE characterized by an inability to value things, both physical and psychological. To a tramp feature, nothing matters much; there is no need to get excited; and it is fine to "go with the flow" of things.

TRANSFORMATION OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: The practice of turning a NEGATIVE EMOTION into a POSITIVE EMOTION. It begins with the effort of SEPARATING from the negative emotion by not expressing or justifying it, and then involves intentionally choosing to experience the cause of the negative emotion in a way which evokes understanding rather than negativity. For example, if one is reacting negatively to a rainstorm, one might instead cause oneself to look at the rain from the point of view of the good it does.

TRANSFORMATION OF SUFFERING: The practice of SEPARATING from suffering and experiencing it in such a way that it can be accepted freely and without NEGATIVITY. In its highest expression, transformation involves the activity of HIGHER CENTERS and leads to powerful experiences of increased CONSCIOUSNESS.

TRIAD: A combination of three FORCES from different levels in the RAY OF CREATION at a particular place and time.

TRUE PERSONALITY: Personality based on an understanding of one's ESSENCE and the needs of one's work, and which therefore serves and promotes both essence and the WORK; opposed to FALSE PERSONALITY, which is contrary to the true needs of essence and the work.

UNNECESSARY SUFFERING: Suffering which could be avoided by more intelligent behavior; in particular, suffering which is a result of IMAGINATION or IDENTIFICATION and so would not occur in higher states of CONSCIOUSNESS.

VANITY: A FEATURE characterized by concern about oneself, and particularly about how one appears to others. It may manifest internally as self-pity or self-deprecation and externally in attempts to attract the attention of others.

VERIFY: To convince oneself of the truth of the ideas of the SYSTEM through direct personal experience. The emphasis is on the idea that more is required than intellectual activity.

VOLUNTARY SUFFERING: The practice of creating relatively minor discomfort or inconvenience for oneself in order to interrupt one's usual state and remind one to remember oneself.

WILLFULNESS: A FEATURE based on feelings of helplessness, which are expressed as a desire to hold on to what one has and to resist change as the only means of avoiding being swept away by the flow of events.

WORD EXERCISE: The practice of not using a specific word in one's speech as an aid to BEING PRESENT to that speech.

WORK, THE: (1) In the FOURTH WAY, this word is often used to refer specifically to the efforts which a person makes to raise his LEVEL OF BEING in the struggle to awaken. (2) When capitalized, the Work refers to the GURDJIEFF-OUSPENSKY movement as a whole.

WORK 'I'S: 'I's which remind a person to make efforts to further his work to awaken.

WORLD 96, 48, 24, 12 AND 6: The different levels in the RAY OF CREATION. In psychological terms, World 96 is the level of FALSE PERSONALITY; World 48, the level of TRUE PERSONALITY; World 24, the level of ESSENCE; World 12, the level of the higher emotional center; and World 6, the level of the higher intellectual center.

WRONG WORK OF CENTERS: The condition in which the FOUR LOWER CENTERS and their various parts routinely react to stimuli in ways not appropriate to them. Examples include becoming emotional about balancing a checkbook, responding logically to another person's emotional distress, and fidgeting or feeling ill when experiencing unpleasant emotions. Such wrong work is the usual state of humanity.

"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 27, 2019:
I see use of work language as an important indicator of the distance I have traveled away from the thrall of the school and Burton’s domination of our lives. After I left the school I began to see how the 4th way was by no means unique in adopting a special jargon by which members of a club recognise other true believers and cement their feeling of belonging to a special family group. I see it in politics, professional circles, art cognoscenti and musical trends. When I was still a member and not in opposition, I remember another member mentioning he had been with a good friend who had recently left the school. He told how he had felt offended by his old friend’s continued use of the work language – he had enough insight to know this was a somewhat irrational reaction – since it felt to him that his old buddy should realise that by leaving the school he had lost his “right” to blab on about chief feature, body types etc etc. There are people who leave the FoF but who retain their faith in the insights of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. Fair enough. I am not of that persuasion. It was a conversation I had by letter with Miles Barth who had left several years before me that allowed me to see that the 4th way was the real problem. I had used the phrase “Objective Knowledge” and he picked me up on it, saying all knowledge is clearly subjective since it comes from humans, whose view of the world is by definition subjective. After that time I made a big effort to remove the work language from my discourse, and after a few years had almost forgotten the old ways of looking at things that the work language enables. It is an all encompassing view, that treats us as children who need to be told how to live and what is good. This is not to say that there is no truth in the descriptions we get from that way of thinking. Chief feature, centres of gravity, body types, etc probably all have a kernel of truth in them. But the 4th way dogma (that falsely claims to require no faith, only verification) is not advanced as a scientific hypothesis, but certain knowledge granted us by Higher Mind, there lies the rub for me.

Dear Friend: Letters Based on the Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky is published

Dear Friend by Fellowship of Friends leader and Robert Earl Burton disciple Girard Haven
Dear Friend by Girard Haven

[ed. - Among the most loyal followers of Robert Earl Burton, Girard Haven joined the Fellowship in 1973, at the age of 28. Girard and his wife Barbara succeeded Miles and Helga Barth as Los Angeles Center directors. Girard also followed Miles into the elite (and seemingly arbitrary) ranks of Fellowship "conscious beings," becoming a "Man Number 5," according to Burton. The following is from Amazon.]
About the Author

Girard Haven was born in March 1945 in Fort Benning, Georgia, and lived in North Carolina, Ohio and Utah before his family settled in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale a few weeks prior to his twelfth birthday. After receiving a degree in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1966, he spent the next seven years programming computers and hiking in the mountains of California and the Southwestern United States. Although he had always been interested in spiritual matters, apart from reading a few books and dabbling with yoga, Girard made no serious attempts to pursue them until July 1973, when he simultaneously learned of the Fellowship of Friends and began to read In Search of the Miraculous by Peter Ouspensky. Upon encountering the idea of self-remembering, he immediately recognized that he had found the purpose which had been lacking in his life. Three days later, he joined the Fellowship, where he met Robert Burton and accepted him as his Teacher. In July 1975, Girard Haven became the center director in Los Angeles. Subsequently, he also directed the centers in San Francisco and London, England, before returning to Apollo at the end of 1983, where he remained for the next eleven years. At various points during these years, he served on the Boards of Directors of both the Fellowship of Friends and Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, and held the positions of President of the Fellowship and Dean of the Fellowship Council. His primary role in the Fellowship has been to teach the practical methods of personal evolution taught by Robert Burton. In this capacity, he has traveled to Fellowship centers around the world and has led over one thousand meetings. He also maintains active correspondence with Fellowship members worldwide. Some of this correspondence has been published under the title With Love, Girard, while excerpts from transcripts of some of the meetings have been collected in the book Notes from a Conscious Teaching. In addition, in 1983 Girard Haven started the Fellowship Forum, a monthly publication for members for the discussion of the ideas and methods practiced in the Fellowship. The material that he wrote during his ten years as editor and publisher of the Forum was eventually used as the basis of the books Creating a Soul and The Prize is Eternity. Girard Haven now lives at Isis, where he continues to serve both his own evolution and the members of the Fellowship by writing, teaching, traveling, and remembering himself.