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Entering the Work

Rebecca Nottingham
Before you begin practicing the psychological Work of the Fourth Way, you
must first have a strong desire to change the kind of human being you are; a
reaching out metaphysically, seeking meaning and authenticity and growth
into what you were born to become. This kind of dissatisfaction with yourself
as you are is a prerequisite because the Work can then use the energy of that
desire to fuel the real change it is aimed at. Since the Work is a path devoted
to concrete change so must the student be seeking actual change. Each
student must be willing to undertake the efforts necessary due to a sincere
The Work must be done willingly and this is a most critical point. First, you
must understand what you are doing and why you are doing it before you can
do it willingly. If you try to engage in the Work practices in an uninformed or
casual way, or out of curiosity, or if you are simply following the directions
given you by your Teacher, in a legalistic manner, you will find that you have
bitten off more than you can chew and the Work will become hazardous to
you. Again, if you are generally satisfied with yourself the Work will only
offend you. Or if you imagine that you can gain the kind of self-mastery which
will give you the power to fulfill your dreams and desires and thus be
satisfied, you will be in for a rude shock. None of these approaches will get
you anywhere in the Work. From the outset, you must willingly be seeking
sincere self-change in order for the Work to work in you. If you understand
this clearly and you have the right attitude, which is Conscience toward the
Gaining knowledge is the first effort in the Work because you cannot get the
right results until you understand how and why and what you must do. Since
the Work is esoteric knowledge it is of a special quality which requires
thinking. You cannot learn about the ideas and exercises intellectually, by
rote using your ordinary memory, and get any results. The ideas of this
system need to be assimilated into your consciousness by way of
understanding which is not the same thing as knowing. This requires personal
Work, thought and reflection and a flexible mind which doesnt presume it
You can spend your lifetime studying the knowledge of the Fourth Way,
becoming a technical expert, and never actually be in the path of the Work.
Knowledge comes first but it goes nowhere until you apply it to yourself, to
your Being. No amount of knowledge alone creates change, but when you
begin to practice what you have learned you receive light and gradually the
ideas become organic understanding by way of the personal experience you
Studying this esoteric teaching will give you small shocks of awakening if you
reflect on the ideas. The idea that humanity is asleep is a shock only slightly

less alarming than the idea that you are asleep. The idea of self-evolution and
different levels of consciousness is a shock. And the idea of Multiplicity and
mechanicalness can leave you reeling. You can find momentary mind
expansion but not permanent personal transformation in the knowledge of
this teaching. Transformation, which clearly indicates change, happens in and
through your individual effort to apply this knowledge to yourself by way of
practicing its teaching. Too many students confuse knowing about the ideas
of the System with understanding that only comes with the enlightenment
gained in practical efforts. You may know that you do not remember yourself,
but that knowing doesnt mean you are remembering yourself. You have to
make the efforts to actually remember yourself in order to understand what it
means that you dont remember yourself. You may know quite well that you
must observe yourself but never get beyond merely noticing this or that
randomly, or you may have a very clear grasp of the idea of mechanicalness
without ever having observed your own. You cannot have the perspective of
the Third State of Consciousness unless you reach up into it in a practical way
Getting into the Third State of Consciousness -- awakening -- is made possible
mostly by way of making your personality passive; by going against the
mechanical momentum of sleep which is always asserting your personality.
Remember that the Third State is available to you at all times, above your
ordinary state, accessible by the means of practicing Self-Remembering and
Self-Observation and Non-Identification which are conditions of consciousness
in the Third State. You can create these conditions yourself by doing the Work
This is an incredible idea -- that you can raise yourself up into higher levels of
Being and Consciousness within yourself by doing the Work, and in doing so,
you can receive enlightenment. The magnitude of this gift of opportunity
exceeds words, yet it is verifiable and true. Your valuation of the Work will
deepen and grow as you learn to appreciate the significance of this gift. If you
find this esoteric path, you may consider yourself blessed.