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MAY/JUNE 2006 • Vol 3, No 5/6
Presence • Awakening • Higher Centers • The Beloved • God

Being Present

A monthly newsletter for putting Fourth Way ideas into practice.


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copyright Fellowship of Friends, Inc.

The System and Presence

As remarkable as it is, the system is only a stepping stone to divided attention. No matter how much we think about, talk about, or appreciate these ideas, they have meaning only to the extent that we use them to engage the wordless state of presence.

Because the system is so comprehensive, it is easy for us to get caught up in definitions, analysis, and endless probing of ideas, only to lose sight of what this work is really about—achieving presence. As the Philokalia says: “It is quite possible for a man to have none but the purest thoughts and yet be so distracted reflecting over them that he remains the while far removed from God.”

It is also difficult to step beyond a body of knowledge that we have worked so hard to construct mentally and emotionally. Nevertheless, like scaffolding, the system’s purpose has never been to exist for itself, and at a certain point it must be removed so the real thing can stand on its own. Here, however, we are talking about a process that often takes place every few seconds or so.

For example, in one moment we assemble a work idea or, better yet, a specific work ‘I’ to help promote presence. But in the next moment we need to focus on being present, so we cannot afford to stay on the scaffolding, nor do we want to get stuck there. Consequently, as nimbly as we assemble a work ‘I’ we must disassemble it, move it out of the way, and launch—then leap into—presence itself.

The next step, of course, is to prolong presence. Therefore, as soon as we see presence starting to diminish, which it inevitably does, we have to be ready to insert another work ‘I’—to quickly reassemble the scaffolding—so as to revive and reinforce our efforts.

Promoting, actualizing, and then reinforcing presence is the work at its most dynamic. The nature of this process also gives meaning to the misunderstood idea of abandoning the system. In this case, abandoning does not mean to refute or forego the system, or to leave it behind forever; it means recognizing that knowledge is a bridge leading to something else, something higher, in the moment. Only with this understanding can we transcend the system and use it the right way—to actually produce presence.

Using the system consciously requires more than a good grasp of concepts. We have to be firm in the realization that presence is a state of consciousness beyond thoughts and words. And we have to prefer this state over thinking about it, talking about it, or hoping for it. Even more, presence itself must want to come into being and want to stay present. After all, it is for this—our own divine presence—that we have been given the system in the first place.

OPEN MEETING In Berlin — June 25

We are offering an introductory meeting in Berlin on Sunday, June 25. For information and reservations, call:

• Line 1 (0551 790 53 08)
• Line 2 (0173 521 96 43)

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Introductory lectures

We offer two 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
• How the lower centers function
• How the lower centers displace presence
• Using lower centers to reach higher centers

Membership information

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

• Email

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• Call 1-800-642-0212

Stone sculpture of an Egyptian scribe. (This image is included here for educational purposes only and is not intended for any other use.)

About the system and presence
The possibility of change starts only with the possibility of beginning to remember yourself now. All other things are just words.
Peter Ouspensky   
What is the use of talking about the system if you do not produce the states you are talking about?
Robert Earl Burton  
The mind is not Atman. Remain resting in consciousness.
Hindu Text   
Keeping one’s proper state is the thing we are seeking.
Ultimate words depart from words.
Lao Tzu  
If you are caught up in ideas, then you will be caught up in the self. And even if you are caught up in ideas about enlightenment, you will still be caught up in the self.
Wealth lies in what reaches the Next World.
The Dharma is only a collection of words and letters that has to be discarded when we have reached the other shore.

Take aim, release the mind; let it fly to Brahman.
Muhdaka Upanishad

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