- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Arkana; New edition edition (29 Sept. 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140190309
- ISBN-13: 978-0140190304
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching Paperback – 29 Sep 1988
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About the Author
Peter D. Ouspensky (born March 4, 1878– died October 2, 1947) was a Russian esoteric philosopher known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. In 1924, he separated from Gurdjieff personally, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings," published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement nor does Ouspensky's emphasis on "you must make a new beginning" after confessing "I've left the system", just before his demise. While lecturing in London in 1924 he announced that he would continue independently the way he began in 1921. All in all, Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff System directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. Ouspenky's book In Search of the Miraculous is a recounting of what Ouspensky learned from Gurdjieff during those years. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The teacher of this system was G.I.Gurdjieff. The origins of both the man and his teaching are obscure, and Gurdjieff did his best to make the teaching itself obscure to the point of absurdity. The reason for this, as stated in the introductory chapter of Gurdjieff's own book, 'All and Everything,' was to shake up our habitual thinking, to prevent the ideas being simply amalgamated with our habitual ways of thought. Gurdjieff having achieved this, it fell to Ouspensky to untangle the system again and present it for the modern mind. This he achieved not merely by an intellectual effort, but by verifying the system in himself. This book records the unfolding of the teaching almost in the style of a novel.
It is in this book that Ouspensky states most clearly one of the core ideas of the fourth way system: 'we do not remember ourselves.' Contrary to all our usual assumptions, we do not possess consciousness. Ouspensky's achievement of this initial and very humbling realisation is recorded with great candour. Yet this is the foundation of all that follows: a programme for the psychological and spiritual development of human beings.
In the opinion of this reviewer, this book, together with the much more intellectual 'The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution,' are Peter Ouspensky's greatest books. They contain insights, obvious to those who have studied the system seriously, which remain entirely absent from mainstream psychology and philosophy.
Gurdjieff teaches self-awareness through self observation. Notice that you notice, ask what is doing the noticing and then remember that point which notices in each and every moment. Then you will begin to function as a person rather than a thing which responds only to internal and external stimuli.
Gurdjieff then explores the nature of what a person is: a complex layer of being, of various levels which he describes using often confusing metaphors from music (octaves as layers of being) and chemistry (hydrogens as the materials; of a physical or existential sort which noursih these levels)
The point of life is to realise ourselves fully; a path which cannot be isolated and requires us to help others.
Gurdjieff is often mischievous in his teaching style, exposing pomp mercilessly, but never cruelly, and demanding an authenticity worthy of a follower of Kierkegaard. You often feel he is deliberately challenging you, throwing in random absurdities to check you are of independent mind and not a blind proselyte, and even gently taking the piss.
A book to read many times.
The book should be a revelation to the receptive beginner by which is meant someone not satisfied with conventional modes of knowing and understanding and above all conventional solutions to what are ultimately unconventional problems. His teachings apparently have their roots in Sufism and other magical systems but have a very close parallel to Buddhism, notably mindfulness or "Self remembrance" as a method of waking up. People familiar with esoteric methods will find much to celebrate in this book.
The book is also biographic and traces Gurdjieff and his students' departure from the old Russian Empire at the time of the revolution during the First World War. A time of crisis that adds to his teachings. The book finally marks a point of departure between G and Ouspensky.
Gurdjieff was not a great writer and his teachings are best represented by his pupils except for the specialists who could actually wade through G's own writings like Beelzebub's Tails which is rather complex and abstruse. He approved Ouspensky's primary rendition which this book represents. Whereas Ouspensky does not possibly convey the great warmth that G possessed, this book is the best starting point for a beginner compared to more modern biographic commentaries. Further interest can be added to by an excellent series of books summarising G's teachings in the form of collected talks (by his students) published by Arkarna Penguin (e.g. Meetings with remarkable men on G's formative years).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the Kindle edition of this book there are a large number of typos and formatting errors and it also does not contain the diagrams which I presume exist in the printed version . Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lakeside
I read this book about twelve years ago and around the same time Thomas Campbell published ‘My Big Toe’ and that really shook things up and was the foundation of where I moved... Read morePublished 3 months ago by originalisa
Obviously these things are a matter of personal taste but in my opinion ISOTM is a masterwork. Ouspensky is very good writer and does a great job of giving his take on the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nelson Pine
I read this book first time over 30 years ago in Russian. Still easy to read it in Russian, thanks to the early internet era enthusiasts who scanned and typed thousands of books... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Anette Mor
I have it from people, who were there at the time, that Gurdjieff himself was grateful to Ouspensky for noting down so much of what he, Gurdjieff, had taught and said. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Pete Howcroft