Apollo Pouring Libations (Acropolis Museum)

In my experience in teaching the fourth way, I have observed that the idea that we are influenced by the movement of the moon, the planets, and the stars is one of the ideas that is most often objected to. Oddly the people who object to it are, in a way, often correct; they are not influenced by the movement of celestial bodies. The reason for this is that the influence of the planets and the stars cannot reach people who live solely in personality. If your personality forms a tight enough shell around your essence, there are many influences, celestial and otherwise, that cannot reach you. For example, essence is very affected by changes in the seasons and the weather; personality is not.

If you find the idea that humans are influenced by celestial bodies unpalatable, then I suggest that you put the idea aside and concentrate on fourth way ideas and practices that appeal to you. The ideas are interconnected, and, in my experience, concepts that you reject at first will later become understandable if you concentrate on the ideas and practices that inspire you in the moment. Belief is not required to study the fourth way—in fact it should be rightly discouraged. No one needs understand the whole of the system to practice self-remembering and begin to have glimpses of the higher centers. There is an enormous body of knowledge, and no one man, or even a school, can be expected to possess the whole of it. In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky is probably the most complete explanation of fourth way to come down to us in book form in the last century, yet Ouspensky himself wanted to call it Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. It was Ouspensky’s editor who insisted on with title In Search of the Miraculous. During his lifetime Ouspensky referred to the manuscript, which was not published until the year of his death, as ‘Fragments.’