Gurdjieff: Mysticism, Contemplation, and Exercises

ISBN : 9780190064075

Joseph Azize
344 ページ
156 x 156 mm

The Armenian-born mystic, philosopher, and spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff (c.1866-1949) is an enigmatic figure, the subject of a great deal of interest and speculation, but not easily fitting into any of the common categories of "esoteric," "occult," or "New Age." Scholars have for the most part passed over in silence the contemplative exercises presented in Gurdjieff's writings. Although Gurdjieff had intended them to be confidential, some of the most important exercises were published posthumously in 1950 and in 1975. Arguing that an understanding of these exercises is necessary to fully appreciate Gurdjieff's contribution to modern esotericism, Joseph Azize offers the first complete study of the exercises and their theoretical foundation. It shows the continuity in Gurdjieff's teaching, but also the development and change. His original contribution to Western Esotericism lay in his use of tasks, disciplines, and contemplation-like exercises to bring his pupils to a sense of their own presence which could to some extent be maintained in daily life in the social domain, and not only in the secluded conditions typical of meditation. Azize contends that Gurdjieff had initially intended not to use contemplation-like exercises, as he perceived dangers to be associated with these monastic methods, and the religious tradition to be in tension with the secular and supra-denominational guise in which he first couched his teaching. As Gurdjieff adapted the teaching he had found in Eastern monasteries to Western urban and post-religious culture, however, he found it necessary to introduce contemplation.


Introduction by Professor Carole Cusack
Part I: Introductory
Chapter 1: A Biographical Sketch of Gurdjieff
Chapter 2: An Overview of Gurdjieff's Ideas
Chapter 3: Gurdjieff and the Mystical Tradition
Part II: Gurdjieff's Contemplative Exercises
Chapter 4: The Russian Years
Chapter 5: Gurdjieff to the Early 1930s
Chapter 6: The First Series: Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson
Chapter 7: The Soil Preparing Exercise from the Third Series
Chapter 8: The First Assisting Exercise from the Third Series
Chapter 9: The Second Assisting Exercise from the Third Series
Chapter 10: Gurdjieff in the late 1930s
Chapter 11: Exercises from the Transcripts of 1941-1946
Part III: Exercises from Gurdjieff's Pupils
Chapter 12: The Reality of Being
Chapter 13: The Four Ideals Exercise
Chapter 14: The Lord Have Mercy Exercises
Chapter 15: The Color Spectrum Exercise
Chapter 16: The Clear Impressions Exercise
Chapter 17: The Preparation
Chapter 18: Gurdjieff's Two Last Exercises


Joseph Azize is a priest in the Maronite Catholic Church, working chiefly in the Chancery. He is also an honorary associate at the University of Sydney. For twenty-three years, he was a practicing attorney for the Commonwealth of Australia, serving at one time as acting Senior Assistant Director of Publications. He has published academically in three areas: ancient history, litigation law, and now in religious studies, and has also written some music for use in the Maronite liturgy.