See this newsletter in 8 other languages
MAY 2005 • Vol 2, No 5
Presence • Awakening • Higher Centers • The Beloved • God
Being Present

a publication of Fellowship of Friends

The Steward

Mr. Ouspensky explained that, without self-remembering, our being is like a house with no master and the many ‘I’s are like servants in complete disorder. He added that when a few of the more sensible servants—collectively known as observing ‘I’—realize this, they appoint a deputy steward to ensure that all the other ‘I’s stop interfering with each another and start doing their correct jobs. The deputy steward does this to prepare the house for the steward who in turn will prepare for the master—the presence of higher centers.

In the work, deputy steward represents our ability to see mechanical ‘I’s and start resisting the pull of imagination and identification. But this is just one stage of self-remembering. The next step is to actively engage work ‘I’s that divide attention and promote presence. This is the steward entering the house and preparing for the master by making repeated, conscious efforts to promote and prolong presence. As Robert Earl Burton has said, “Work ‘I’s enable us to leave mechanical ‘I’s for the wordless presence of the divinity within us.”

Being fully conscious would mean that higher centers are promoting their own presence and using the steward as needed to help prolong presence. To reach that level, however, we must first develop a steward—which is one way to understand why a school is necessary. By ourselves, we can realize that the house is in disorder and we can even try to organize some of the ‘I’s. But to understand that even then there is no master at home, and to know how to prepare for the master, are stages of work that require objective methods and outside help.

The steward resides in the emotional center—the fastest of the four lower centers. As soon as the steward realizes that we are drifting into imagination or identification, it immediately engages work ‘I’s. For example, it may alert the emotional center to be simultaneously aware of ourselves and our surroundings; it may have the intellectual center produce intentional thoughts such as, “Come out of imagination,” “Be present,” “Try to stay present;” it may prompt the moving center to use intentional movements that sustain divided attention. As Mr. Burton puts it, “The steward emulates higher centers while understanding that it is designed to serve one’s own master, a state without words.”

The steward is not consciousness; it is a level of trained emotional awareness that can realize we are not conscious. Like a compass, it keeps steering us in the direction of being more conscious. This ability varies depending on how well it is developed. The stronger the steward is, the more resilient it is in dealing with the constant onslaught of mechanical ‘I’s and the more definite it becomes about doing everything it can to promote presence. Mr. Burton said recently that, “The steward must not tire of promoting presence. The moment the steward stops promoting presence, sleep rushes in.”

Mr. Burton also points out that knowledge of how the steward uses work ‘I’s to promote presence is evident in the literature of conscious schools and conscious traditions throughout history. For instance, the Bible speaks of the soul (steward) enlisting the help of angels (work ‘I’s) to reach God (the presence of higher centers). Likewise, the Sufis describe the lover (steward) whose passionate pursuit of the beloved (presence) is reinforced by word soldiers (work ‘I’s).

The inner work of developing a steward that can promote and prolong presence has always been the purpose behind esoteric schools. As Mr. Burton has said: “It is the role of the steward to find the way to the present, and in schools we do everything we can to be in a permanent state of arriving in the present.”

See our web site in 8 languages

  English English        Deutsch Deutsch      Español Español      Français Français

  Italiano Italiano       Magyar Magyar       Português Português    Russian Russian

Links of interest
• Videos of Robert Earl Burton teaching
Suggested reading about Fourth Way ideas
• 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 overview of 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)
• Observing how the lower centers function
• Recognizing when lower centers displace presence
• Using lower centers to reach higher centers

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

Membership information
The Fellowship of Friends is a Fourth Way school with centers worldwide. Membership is monthly. For details:
Find a center nearest you.
• Email

• Call 1-800-642-0212.

Poseidon fountain, bronze. Collection of the Fellowship of Friends.

Thoughts on the steward
Deputy steward develops from observing 'I' and begins the task of eliminating what opposes self-remembering. One's steward
has an ever-greater ability to do this. Work ‘I’s represent the wise counsel of the steward, speaking in an even voice. Their task is to bring you as close as possible to the third state of consciousness.

Robert Earl Burton
Guard the threshold and prevent troops of fantasies from entering.
Francesco Petrarca
You must learn what kind of work to do, what kind of work to avoid, and how to reach a state of calm detachment from your work.
He cannot do anything, cannot survive for even one moment, without his Beloved. He constantly recalls his Beloved, as his beloved remembers him.
Jalaluddin Rumi
And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, …and he shall be their shepherd.
Ezekiel: 34:23-24

Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.
James 4:8
Lovers pray constantly. Once a day, once a week, five hours a day, is not enough. Come and sit in the innermost room, where you will be safe from the love-thief.
Jalaluddin Rumi

And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, who his lord shall make ruler over his household?”
Luke 12:4
As a knight guards his castle gate, so one must guard one's mind from dangers outside and dangers inside; one must not neglect it for a moment.
He does not slacken in his remembrance of God, and he does not tire from the reality of God, and he does not keep company with any other than God.

Newsletter contact
Have a question or concern? Write to the

Forward this issue
Please forward the newsletter to anyone who may have an interest in learning more about the Fourth Way and the Fellowship of Friends.

Go to our sign up form.

Send us your comments
Is this newsletter helpful? Let us know on our response form.

See back issues

Use the ‘safely unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Fellowship of Friends
(a non-profit religious corporation)
P.O. Box 100 · Oregon House, CA 95962
copyright © 2005 · all rights reserved

No part of this newsletter may be copied, reprinted, or reproduced in any form without written permission from the Fellowship of Friends.