All efforts to divide
attention and be present
revolve around one aim: to reach higher
centers and experience higher states
This is represented in esoteric literature
as the ‘second birth’ and the
‘mystical inner marriage’.
When we are not dividing attention, we exist
externally but we are not present internally.
Our awareness is being drawn out of us and
diffused as imagination
The value of divided attention—where
we become aware of ourselves and our surroundings
at the same time—is that it lifts
the veil of imagination and replaces identification
with presence. As a result, we start to
see things more vividly. This is the higher
emotional center beginning to emerge
in the third
state of consciousness.
The third state can happen in flashes when
you find yourself in a new place or when
something unexpected happens, like suddenly
meeting a friend you have not seen for years.
The newness or awkwardness of the situation
prompts you to be more aware of yourself
in your surroundings. This is the third
state, and if it is deep enough you never
forget it because it is a higher state of
consciousness that exists out of time.
There is also another state—the fourth
state—which can occur, for example,
in moments of danger. People who have had
life-threatening experiences often describe
a state of extreme clarity, the perception
of time halting, and an unusual ability
to perceive what is happening in the moment.
These are perceptions from the higher
intellectual center in the fourth state
of consciousness. But they, too, are usually
very short and cannot be sustained.
Although we call them ‘centers’,
the higher centers differ from the lower
centers in every way. They are a different
order of creation, just as the sun is a
different order of creation from the earth.
Higher centers do not produce
‘I’s. They are wordless
and conscious. They are the divinity within
us. This is why esoteric schools throughout
history referred to the lower centers as
‘earth’ and the ‘world’,
and referred to higher centers as the Beloved,
God, or Lord.
Robert Earl Burton often reminds us that
the presence of higher centers is the hidden
meaning of life on earth. Yet most people,
not knowing about higher centers, search
for meaning in their lower centers. For
example, the intellectual
center looks for truth in books while
center looks for faith in religions.
centers pursue physical achievements and
strive for well being through things like
diet, yoga, and meditation. Meanwhile, the
higher meaning they are all searching for
is inside us. It is our true Self—the
divine presence of our own higher centers.
The purpose of esoteric schools has always
been to distinguish higher centers from
lower centers and to use lower centers to
promote the presence of higher centers.
This is the symbolism of card XXI in the
Tarot where the instinctive and moving centers
(taken as one) are represented by the bull,
the emotional center is represented by the
lion, and the intellectual center is represented
by the eagle. The angel symbolizes the steward,
which is a part of the emotional center
that guides all our efforts to be present.
Governed by the steward, the intellectual
parts of centers are promoting the presence
of the higher emotional center in the third
state of consciousness.
When the steward initiates divided attention,
we turn from the upside-down state of imagination
and identification (card XII) to a state
of clear presence. This prepares the way
for higher centers which gradually become
stronger, appear more often, and stay for
longer periods of time (card XXI).
our web site in 8 languages
Robert Earl Burton teaching
reading about Fourth Way ideas
Esoteric keys to understanding The
We offer a series of free introductory lectures in cities around the world. To register:
Call our USA information line (1-800-642-0212),
Find a center nearest you.
An introduction to the system
The system is ancient, objective knowledge
The microcosmos man can transcend himself
Schools use precise methods for awakening
The four lower centers
(requires lecture 1)
Observing how the lower centers function
Recognizing when lower centers displace presence
Using lower centers to reach higher centers
Promoting and prolonging presence
(requires lecture 1 and 2)
Developing the steward and intellectual parts of centers
The instinctive center as the ‘mind behind the machine’
Methods for promoting and prolonging
of Friends is a Fourth Way school with centers worldwide. Membership is monthly.
Find a center nearest you.
Card XII (the Hanged Man) and Card XXI (the
World) from the Marseilles Tarot deck.
Thoughts on higher centers
aim is to reach higher states of consciousness
and to be able to work with higher centers.
All the rest is for that, in order to achieve
steward emulates higher centers while understanding
that it is designed to serve one’s own
master, a state without words. We are not
the many 'I's. Even the steward is not real.
However, the wordless higher centers it produces
Robert Earl Burton
the whole world is imagination while God alone
is the true reality.
Nimatullah (14th century Sufi)
am the silence that is incomprehensible.
Nag Hammadi text
man married to the world is like someone chained
hand and foot.
John of the Ladder
you find the one you seek, abandon the world
and let it go.
everything you do in order to come close to
is no other satisfaction, save in the encounter
with the Beloved.
am going to my Lord from one state to a better
state and from one station to a higher station.
am born in love now. I am more than myself,
for I have been born twice.
seek after a great rarity.
The Arabian Nights
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