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In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching Paperback – 29 Sep 1988

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Product Description

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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I RETURNED to Russia in November, 1914, that is, at the beginning of the first world war, after a rather long journey through Egypt, Ceylon, and India. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For me, this was perhaps one of the most important books I have read in the last ten years. P D Ouspensky was a Russian mathamatician/Philosopher of astounding intellect, who spent most of his years trying to answer those questions that have plagued mankind since our ancestors began to comprehend their existence. Why are we here, what should we be doing, and how can we improve, amongst others. With his scientific background he is not led nor blinded by the ideas of the fantastic, as so many 'new age' authors are, but by the determined resolve to find the truth in things. Although more famous for his time spent with Gurdjieff and subsequent works on his 'system' his earlier books still stand out like breaths of fresh air, still shining new light on old problems unafraid to look from different angles and dispute that which is unfounded of defies common sense. This book is more of a diary of his time with 'G' from the moment they meet to the moment they depart, and the fatastic accounts of in between. Ouspensky is no fool, and is instantly likeable for his honest,unshakeably grounded approach to all the ideas of 'the master'. What happens is a fantastic account of a 'no holes barred' system, that isn't afraid to tell poeple that which they dont wish to hear, whilst at the same time giving us a glimpse of the light at the end of our tunnels. This book inspired me to go on and read his other works, and those of gurdjieff - which together have given me a new direction for understanding some of the most difficult areas of philosophy and religion. I am not saying I agree with all the ideas, but if you want a book to make you really think about your life. This is about the best start you can get.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most extraordinary books ever written. Ouspensky, a mathematician, writer, and intellectual meets a system of spiritual development, ancient but at the same time strikingly new in its formulation, and descibes it in lucid and even entertaining prose.
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.
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Format: Paperback
These are mostly transcriptions of Gurdjieff's Moscow teachings. But whilst Gurdjieff writes horribly, with a cumbersome and awkward style, Ouspensky is a fine journalist and documenter, showing the basis of Gurdjieff's system and the divergence between this and the teacher's own, often frustrated path. It is as if G knew many of the answers but was not able fully to put them into practice.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Gurdjieff represents one of the most important metaphysicians of the 20th Century. His philosophy and system of development is hard to pin down. It contains austerities, rituals, magic and astrology as well as a melange of theoretical and rational teachings designed to awaken the individual from a mechanistic state that we are all unwittingly embroiled in. Ouspensky was one of Gurdjieff's foremost pupils and this book is a succinct presentation of all of Gudjieff's major teachings.

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).
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