William Patrick Patterson
illiam Patrick Patterson is a leading exponent and teacher of The Fourth Way, the ancient, esoteric teaching of self-development brought to the West by G. I. Gurdjieff. Practicing its principles of self-sensing, breathing, stopping thought and dividing the attention between subject and object, Patterson verified that he was not an indivisible I but many 'I's, as Mr. Gurdjieff maintained. Learning to become sincere, the deepening experience led to the creation of the Work I, conscious egotist, and to the individual self. Patterson was a longtime student of his seminal teacher Lord John Pentland, who was appointed by Gurdjieff in 1949 to lead the Work in America. He helped found many study groups throughout America and acted as president of the New York and San Francisco Gurdjieff Foundations from 1954 until his death in 1984.
Recognizing that Gurdjieff's repeated use of the word "self" in self-sensing, self-remembering and self-observation pointed to an even higher level of Being, he came to California where he met the rare-born Danish mystic Sunyata, the name given to Alfred Emmanuel Sorenson in 1936 by Advaita sage Ramana Maharshi. As Sunya had recognized Oneness from birth, he saw in ordinary life "there was nothing to teach, nothing to sell." It was all "shakti-business." Patterson attended his weekly satsangs and beginning in 1982 Sunya lived with Patterson and his family. Through his Beingness, Patterson was introduced directly to "no-thingness" and the first experiencing of no-self. In 1984, at the age of 94, Sunya died. Fortunately, the previous year he had introduced Patterson to his Advaita friend Dr. Jean Klein, a Czech medical doctor and an Advaita and Kashmir Shavism master. After nine years of combining Work principles with Klein's level-less teaching, Patterson was told he would soon "come through" but warned "don't become Shiva." Experiencing the Self as Consciousness-with-no-object (and therefore no subject), he continued the exploration with Dr. Klein until his death in 1998.
Deeply centered in stillness and silence, Dr. Klein also provided the foundation for a subtle, energetic experiencing of non-doing which slowly dissolved the body-mind to the blank state of which there was only awareness and that awared which then dissolved further into the double-absence.
Patterson incorporated Work principles with his teacher's body-breath-self approach, which he speaks of as a form of Haida yoga. This, along with active-being mentation, working with connecting centers, to being-in-contemplation, Patterson sees as fulfilling Gurdjieff's presentation of the teaching of The Fourth Way as being "completely self-supporting and independent of other [spiritual] lines."
He is the founder/director of The Online Fourth Way School and has led groups, as well as given seminars and talks throughout the United States for many years. He has written ten books on the teaching and directed, written and narrated the award-winning film trilogy The Life & Significance of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff which he has now completed with Spiritual Pilgrimage to Mr. Gurdjieff's Father's Grave. He has also completed the series Introduction to Gurdjieff's Fourth Way which includes From Selves to Individual Self to The Self, The Movement From Sex To Love, and What Is the Meaning of Human Life on the Planet Earth?
He is the founder/editor of The Gurdjieff Journal (est. 1992), the first domestic and international Fourth Way journal.
In order to spread the teaching as fully as possible—Mr. Gurdjieff's last wish—Mr. Patterson gives three public seminars a year and leads Fourth Way Study Groups in Marin County and Sacramento, California.
For more information visit WilliamPatrickPatterson.org.