Towards a New Paradigm

“Even the finest teaching is not the Tao itself.
Even the finest name is insufficient to define it.
Without words, the Tao can be experienced,
And without a name, it can be known.

Though words or names are not required,
To describe it, words and names are used,
That we might clarify the way of which we speak,
Without confusing it with other ways
In which an individual might choose to live”.
Tao Te Ching

Everything manifest in the world is to obey to a certain extent the governing laws of the world herself. In this particular world, name, address and parameters of individualization are given much importance; our ancestors used to give their entire lineage while introducing themselves, while we give away our e-mail address or mobile number during an encounter. Hence the first limitation of “naming”, “labeling” a “truth”, while knowing that Truth is always dynamic, ever changing.
It is out of this necessity to define and isolate an entity that we had to name this beautiful gathering for its nature and purpose. A name was chosen; a symbol was drawn.

Here opening a parenthesis is a must. The Fourth Way is a term first used by G. Gurdjieff in early 1900’s and defined to be a path of self-realization based in everyday life. It stands in contrast to the 3 traditional paths (those of the yogi, the fakir, and the priest) in that it does not demand severe conditions and a renouncement of the world to reach Truth, but instead glorifies all aspects of Life. In this sense it is a path open to every one of us.

The 3 circles in the centre in the primary colors represent the 3 Paths, while the fourth circle that contains them all is the Fourth Path. Its color is red as the Fire in the Heart, reflected in the figure’s heart.
In order to show that the group involves physical activity, a characteristic Taiji Quan posture was chosen, one whose movement evokes opening up and pushing forward. The figure is also partially outside the framing circle, to express the fact we are not limited by the systems we work in.
This symbol illustrates our own angle of perception: how we would apply the Fourth Way concept in the emerging Path Four organization. It is used to define the framework of our activity.

A little bit of timeline

What has been known as Path Four starting 2004 was a temporary name chosen by Avo and Joumana who were faithfully transmitting the principles of group work described by Razmig, summarized in the following statement: “the Science of Being and the Art of Integrative knowledge”. Yet, the early steps were taken in the year 1998 when Razmig first started sharing upon his return from China his work; a compilation merging the traditional richness of Chinese Internal Arts with the timeless wisdom of spirituality as stated by the Fourth Way method. It was to be a system of embracing life through movement. Taiji Quan’s water-like flow, Dao Yin’s internal work, Qi Gong’s prevention of imbalances, were all the practical aspects of working on Self with Razmig (from within); Wushu’s sublimation of body movements, and modern compilations of TaiJiQuan forms, were the equivalent with Avo (from without); together they were targeting to make up a comprehensive training system allowing us to be active on many levels and contribute with modern input to these ancient arts.

In 2002-2003 when Razmig started withdrawing for personal reasons, his gaze fixed on new Horizons, it was Avo’s share to fulfill the dream of creating the group that was to be independent from “leaders”, a vision of individuals working together, participating actively and sharing transformative knowledge. And that is exactly what was needed: Active Participation, the answer lied with the members. It was only a question of Time. And so indeed, Joumana was the first person to feel attracted to this active polarity and with her efforts the website as we knew it in the latter two years along with the “virtual” Path Four came to exist. Since like attracts like, volunteers started emerging, dedicating themselves to the Creative energy in movement, simultaneously working on their skills to help Avo and replace him when needed. This gave birth to the Instructor Qualification Program, and as you know, now we have reliable assistants in the transmission of the basics of Chinese Martial arts, mostly in internal styles. The latter months, especially after introducing the Initiatory meaning of JI-s in our newsletters, the energy of change was once more felt in the air, and the inevitable was meant to manifest. To change the very core of the definitions, especially one that is a living school of change!

Remember our statement on the website saying: “Yet the mind that identifies with flowing things cannot be trapped within rigid doctrines or belief systems, and so, though we are passionate about the disciplines we teach, we do not feel bound by them nor do we ask anyone to lose themselves in them”.
Well, it was time to UN-lose even ourselves from it.

Always remember that this kind of change is not done out of weakness of previous definitions but out of strength, it is not done out of caprice but of obedience to higher order reflected in the governing dynamics of the universe, because by working on a system we create attachments to it (like a mantra), at one point we even forget to remember that we are Free Beings… that’s why if a system is temporarily needed, then it has to obey the law of change and mutate every while and then. That is the way to move in stillness! You all know the concept of change through your classes (external or internal). But what you may not be aware of, movements create a favorable context of saving information in dynamic content. What does that mean? It means that you discover a new method of storing information which is not storing at all. It is rather tuning-in to the ever-present source of all Information, thereby understanding processes in their context, in their dynamic format.
This was mentioned in the old definition with these lines: “And as life is defined by movement, it is through movement that we attain this understanding – whether it is the abstract motion of our psyche, source of inspiration and creativity, the sensations of our internal organs, or the movements of the body, practiced with an aim for perfection…”
I must tell you though, the next shift of paradigm should not necessarily take place with the 2nd yearly newsletter, but when next Time window manifests itself; heeder of those words by feeling it in your blood, you will know…

Mapping Consciousness

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
There is no objection to anything in the world;
When no discriminating attachment arises,
The old mind ceases to exist.
Let go of things as separate existences
And mind too vanishes.
Likewise when the thinking subject vanishes
So too do the objects created by mind.
Xin Xin Ming

There are many levels to the mind before it ceases to exist as we know it. On a much deeper level than our chattering mind, we have a very powerful tool of transformation affecting the very structure of the universe, thanks to the Creator “hidden from the knowledgeable and revealed to the Children”. To access this raw energy we need to take the road to the subconscious, to the symbolic mind whose gateways are guarded by archetypes of old; Dragons, demons, it could be the Minotaur, or The Sphinx, even Archangels testing your “essence”, your “heart”, your “truth” before you are considered a worthy initiate to enter those mysteries…This explains the discretion and extreme secrecy found in every esoteric society on the face of this planet. Therefore only a man who has mapped all the zones of his consciousness (some of these inner planes being habitable, other zones filled with nightmares and dark sides, some inspiring and divine, others worthy of the names of purgatory and hell) may have a safe passage through the symbolic mind, through the valley of the shadows that must be at all times crossed alone. But how can a human being fulfill a task so complex alone? Is there no other way to catalyze this process of returning home?

The solution that the Fourth Way presents is group work. We can not experience EVERYTHING during one lifetime. And since we are on the Way of Integrating all our selves Past and Future, incarnate and disincarnate, and are willing to do it Right Here, Right Now, we had better start observing fellow human beings, familiarizing ourselves with other paths, widening our horizon, to integrate all aspects of ourselves. But as always it is easier said than done, even group work needs to be done in a very systematic way to ensure we are mapping all aspects of a given symbol of consciousness and not stagnating in a given zone only. (which itself is nothing but a bridge to a higher level of Integration). Consider the TaiJi symbol for exemple. An individual on his own would have to find a way to experience all the aspects of the symbol, from extremes (extreme Yin state, extreme Yang state), to the state of dynamic homeostasis and that on all levels (body, mind, emotions). I am not implying here it is not possible to do it alone, but it is less probable, and that only due to the lack of practice of integration, because no one taught us about this aspect of spirituality or it could also be that no one knew…
But some did, and they are remembered until today after thousands of years.

The Path Four (or Fourth Way) method consists first of understanding the limitations of our egos, and how narrow our experiences can be to start with genetically (we are either born a man or a woman physiologically); then to harmonize with each other within a global awareness (which can be used within a system of mapping) take the Yin/Yang for example. Each manifesting to a certain extent special zone of this symbol we are able to learn simultaneously, resonating each and every moment as a whole together, without becoming carbon copies of each other, by keeping our sense of individuality, one of the most blissful experiences promised to us by the creator on such level of existence. That is the essence of group work. That is the advantage of group work orchestrated in such a magnificent layout.
One final limitation though, there is not one symbol to map, but an infinity of them… this is where the notion of Pathlessness comes to plain light. The “-less” quality of Pathlessness can only be truly experienced after contrasting it to the Heartful Mindedness and the Mindful Heartedness of the “Path”, only to put it all aside later; like a vehicle that served its purpose to take us to a faraway place, but now needs to be discarded to fulfill the true reason of why we wanted to be there in the first place. This letting go takes place within our psyche (letting go of the system of mapping that we were using); to live in the insecurity of the flowing river; to be a living symbol of fearlessness.

The Present

“Overcome Space, and all we have left is Here.
Overcome Time, and all we have left is Now”.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The name chosen in this particular period according to the dynamics within the group is “Path-Less-Ness”.
Let us take a closer look at what the name implies. It is made of the word “Path” implying the existence of a point of origin, a purpose, a way and a destination. “-Less” as a reductive quality to the path indicating absence of constraints and “-Ness” a quality, a virtue derived by the collision of these two parts constituting the name, it is the flourishing of the seed! Consider the dynamics of collision of an electron with a proton. Doesn’t it give birth to a neutron? And isn’t a neutron far from being Nothing in this known universe?
Pathlessness is not about being lost and erring un-purposefully. It is being a wanderer. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien: ”Not all those who wander are lost”.
In old times Planets were called “wanderers”, and we all know their pattern of movement is not chaotic at all, following a higher though we may be able to label it with names such as “gravity” but still be far from understanding this force that binds all.

Let us Now take a look at the modified logo.

The Three “Traditions” are still alive in the background. The individual may still choose according to his preferences a traditional path to be instructed in the older ways. But he lives now is a new world where the Power of DNA was unleashed, the sleeping Dragon is now in its “hypnopompic” state, slowly awakening. The individual’s task is dual. In his Heart he carries a seed coming from times immemorial, wise in the old ways and innocent to the new. He needs to awaken the Light of Understanding and Integration in his mind, working with the gifts that he has been given in his current lifetime, not being attached to anything (still one foot out) to break free even from the shell he has created Purposefully for himself/herself to allow better concentration and down pouring of universal energies, as he steps out of the cocoon into Pathlessness…

Although all dualities arise from the One,
Do not be attached even to the ideas of this One.
Sen Ts’an
(Xin Xin Ming)

He carries to the world starlight of hope, without ever losing respect to the choices people are making even at an unconscious level of their existence, and to the masters of older ways. It is like the inscription of the sword that reads in the Last Samurai:” I belong to the warrior in whom, the older ways have joined the new”.
This is the inevitable “becoming” of our earlier logo, which is not to be interpreted as invalid or contradictory but as complementary in macrocosmic schemes of existence

Dearest friends, all that is required from you in the “Pathlessness” paradigm is full participation in life, appreciating it as through the eyes of a child. The Universe has already given us signs, even physiological ones for moment to moment living. You can not breathe for tomorrow, as you can not eat for next week. Every action serves you in the present moment only. Isn’t it said:”give us today our daily bread”? In this paradigm, we are not asking you to quit your job or families, to go to monasteries and chant some mystical mantras, or torture yourself 40 minutes daily with bird sounds. If the Creator wanted us to be birds, He would have made us so. Be Silent and Hear the Wisdom of your Heartbeats for a moment and tell me if that is not a mystery, tell me you can control that which is keeping you on this level of consciousness to have an amazing experience that somehow on the way we transformed it into doctrines, nightmare and war zone. Admit how fragile Life Force is, like the morning dew passing all in a blink, vaporizing into faraway shores. Remember your Death, for it has already happened. Anyone who practices Awareness will sooner or later come to this inner sanctum and praise Life; but it is only by remembering that death is the Soul of a man is rejuvenated, the Heart is refreshed, the eyes glitter with tears, for not all tears are bad… do not worry, for this will not affect your love for your children, or the long list of the habits you are fighting against, it won’t even affect your stress levels if you don’t want to, but it will affect the choices you make in your life, and that makes all the difference. The universe is Alive. All is Living, isn’t this enough to overwhelm your heart and fill it with Joy, and isn’t Joy the only missing link in the chain we are all longing for. Isn’t this an authentic improvement of the quality of Life?

I leave you with
Peace and Burning Love
Avedis Seropian F.H.