Hardcover with Dust Jacket • 170 pages • Back In Print After 20 Years!
The return to print of a classic text is a joyous event for those whose lives were forever changed from having read it. Toward Awakening, humbly subtitled “an approach to the teaching brought by Gurdjieff,” was “one of the first accounts to hint at the practical approach to work through giving attention to the sensation of the body, a study of which was central in Gurdjieff’s method.” Today “sensing” is openly recognized as the foundation-stone for self-remembering and the action-of-attention by which transformation begins.
Toward Awakening, provides a clear chapter by chapter summation of the major points of the teaching brought by Gurdjieff. Vaysse says about the ideas: “whoever approaches them for the first time without prejudice feels touched to the core by a truth which he cannot deny and called upon to put into question all the values his life has been based on until then.” Following a logical progression, Vaysse first expresses the meaning of an inner life, and what the possibility for that might be, then follows a logical exposition of the path to be traveled in order to move in that direction, beginning with an exposition of the key ideas of the structure of humans, the practices of ‘self-observation’ and ‘Self-remembering’, the concept of Presence, and the dual roles of essence and personality in determining the overall nature of each individual. The author outlines the obstacles to awakening, as well as the first steps towards awakening, hence the title of the book itself.
Missing in many other books about the Gurdjieff teaching is the key role played by sensation, a topic that Vaysse covers with a clarity based on his own actual experience. John Pentland, a leader of the work in North America for many years, has this to say about Toward Awakening:
“Jean Vaysse softens the rather terrifying impact of Gurdjieff’s teaching as it is transmitted by Ouspensky. He gives substance to the ideas, several of which have become popular in modern psychology, and–without detracting too much from what the pupil has to do for himself–begins to show how they are related together. His book is one of the first accounts to hint at the practical approach to work through giving attention to the sensation of the body, a study of which was central in Gurdjieff’s method and which has been carefully transmitted by Madame Jeanne de Salzmann.”