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APRIL 2006 • Vol 3, No 4
Presence • Awakening • Higher Centers • The Beloved • God

Being Present

A monthly newsletter for putting Fourth Way ideas into practice.

copyright © Fellowship of Friends, Inc.

Moving With Presence

The moving center is the most visible of the four lower centers, yet our own movements pass almost unnoticed by us when we are in the second state of consciousness. We move almost constantly, but it happens so habitually and so quickly that we rarely notice it. Only when we approach the third state of consciousness do we start to actually see the intricate movements of our own body.

This is because attention becomes more divided as we approach the third state. The arrow of attention, as Mr. Ouspensky called it, starts pointing in two directions at the same time. As a result, we become simultaneously aware of our movements and aware of ourselves observing them. This is self-remembering—the wordless state of presence that can flower into higher centers.

In our school, we promote self-remembering by using ordinary movements as a catalyst for divided attention. This means moving intentionally and directing our attention to what we are doing. For example, instead of grabbing the phone, to pick it up gently; instead of slamming the door, to close it quietly; instead of washing the dishes in a hurry, to clean them carefully. All of these are ways of using movement to control and then divide attention—to move with presence.

It also helps to do just one thing at a time. The reason is that doing two things at once diffuses our attention and diminishes the possibility of dividing it. For instance, if you write a note while walking, attention is required for two external tasks and little remains for the inner effort of divided attention. When you stop walking and just write, it is more possible to be present to what you are doing, and to realize that you are present while doing it.

The same thing applies to reading as you eat, or checking email while you talk on the phone. Stop doing both things and do just one, and you will find yourself closer to being present. As Mr. Ouspensky said, the point is “to realize that you are doing whatever you are doing”—which is more possible when you are doing only one thing at a time.

Hurrying is another area where the potential for being present gets lost through movement. For example, walking too fast, running down stairs, rushing to get ready, and doing things rapidly. Try instead to slow down and be less concerned with the result, the destination, of your movements. As the Sufi, Al-Ghizali, said, “Make the divine presence your destination.”

You may be thinking: Can I not remember myself while doing two things at once, or while hurrying? Yes, you can, but it takes practice, and even then you will see that too many movements made too fast inevitably diminishes the clarity of divided attention. The more important question is: how much do I want to be present? How much am I willing to make it the focus of each moment, each movement?

Sometimes just one minute of a prolonged effort to use movement for divided attention is enough to displace imagination and identification and lead the way back to pure presence. At that point, as the door to presence opens, another level of work can begin.


After a request from our European subscribers, we are offering a series of introductory meetings about the Fourth Way in Vienna, Stuttgart, Cologne, Warsaw, and Krakow on the following dates:

• Vienna: April 26-27 (0676 4243639)
• Stuttgart: April 29-30 (0800 510 0051)
• Cologne: May 1-2 (0800 510 0051)
• Warsaw: May 5-6 (0668 706 485
• Krakow: May 7-8 (0668 706 485

For information and reservations, call the numbers above.

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Useful links on our web site

• Video clips of Robert Burton teaching

Books by Robert Burton and Girard Haven

• Esoteric keys to understanding The Bible

Introductory lectures — monthly
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.

1— An introduction to the system
• The system is ancient, objective knowledge
• The microcosmos man can transcend himself
• Schools use precise methods for awakening

2— The four lower centers (requires lecture 1)
• How the lower centers function
• How the lower centers displace presence
• Using lower centers to reach higher centers

3— Promoting and prolonging presence
(requires lecture 1 and 2)
• The steward and intellectual parts of centers
• The instinctive center as the ‘mind behind the machine’
• Specific ways to promote and prolong presence

Membership information
The Fellowship of Friends, Inc. is a school for spiritual awakening with centers worldwide. Membership is monthly. For details:

• Call 1-800-642-0212.

Warriors from the temple of Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut. (This image is included here for educational purposes only and is not intended for any other use.)

Quotes on moving with presence
Always do one thing at a time, that of the present moment.
George Gurdjieff   
We can do well whatever we are doing only as much as we are awake.
Peter Ouspensky   
Self-remembering will always be more important than what you are doing externally.
Robert Earl Burton  
Haste is a gift from Satan.
Arabian Nights   
Patience will accomplish thy desire, not haste.
Beware of making a move without intending in it an act of nearness to God.
Ibn Arabi 
Human beings tend to move in the direction of their thoughts.
If there is no divine dimension to what we are doing, then whatever we do is merely killing time. On the other hand, if the presence of God overlaps simultaneously with whatever we are doing, then anything we work on performs eternity.

Stay with the ancient Tao; move with the present.
Lao Tzu

Do not let your precious movements come to naught.

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