Gurdjieff’s system of ideas is complex and challenging for the mind that has been educated and cultivated in a way that subverts what is true and objective of life. The ideas are formulated in a way that gradually opens the mind to the prospect of a real relationship with our self and so to the vast scale of the natural world. In other words the Gurdjieff ideas in practice are meant to be a means for awakening to the latent possibilities in the human being. Gurdjieff maintained that modern western civilization in particular is lopsided, too heavily rational and that man’s feeling of “I” is an illusion built up around his thoughts. Consequently, the ideas are meant to reveal this false sense of self. For Gurdjieff, man is in the making and that unless an enlightened approach to the awakening of the true self is undertaken, then the channels leading to the truth of the reason for human existence will remain closed.
According to Gurdjieff, the truth can be approached only if all the parts which make the human being, the thought, the feeling and the body, are touched with the same force in a way appropriate to each of them – failing which, development will inevitably be one-sided and sooner or later come to a stop. In the absence of an effective understanding of this principle, all work on oneself is certain to deviate from the aim. The essential conditions will be wrongly understood and will result in a mechanical repetition of the forms of effort that never surpass a quite ordinary level.