Our farmer sits at his feasting table on the final month of the year with the fruits of his labors spread before him. He’s well-positioned for winter, enjoying meat from livestock sustained by hay harvested in June, bread from wheat harvested in July, and wine from grapes harvested in September. He raises his glass to us in celebration: “To the fruits of our labors,” he toasts. “To the fruits of our labors,” we respond in unison. We eat, drink, and make merry. Can anything taste better than the fruits of our own labor earned by the sweat of our brow?

In the course of this past year, we associated these three harvests with the three principle brains in the microcosmos-man: the body, the mind, and the heart. “You must understand that these three principal centers are connected together,” said George Gurdjieff. “In a normal man, they are always working in unison. This unison is what presents the chief difficulty in work on oneself.” After all, if our habits weren’t a collaboration between all three brains they’d be quite easy to break. But since all three brains habitually collaborate to generate imagination, identification, or negativity, then a serious effort to pull against habit must include a corresponding collaboration. Anything short of this may afford us glimpses of consciousness, never prolonged gazes.

And it is only prolonged gazes that fulfill the promise of this work. “Higher emotional centre,” says Peter Ouspensky, “needs more or less complete self-remembering.” Complete, sustained from moment-to-moment, breath by breath. By this token, the December labor invites us to attempt prolonging presence by harnessing our three primary centers to this aim; placing our three harvests on a single table. The commands formulated in November were a prerequisite for this endeavor. They helped us harness the heart to the mind by connecting understandings with words. What remains is adding the third primary center to our effort: the body.

Schools brought this about in various ways. Some achieved it through combining their prayers with movement. Others used a rosary. And yet others attuned their efforts to the rhythm of the breath. Whatever the technique, such threefold-harnessing would have been the original intent in Judeo-Christian ‘prayer’ or in what Hinduism and Buddhism called ‘meditation.’ The methods differed, but the principle always remained the same: harnessing the three primary brains to a single aim; forcing our cosmos to unity. The online workshops of December will put this theory into practice.

On January 1st this year, our community set an aim to superimpose its teaching onto the labors of the month. Having now completed this cycle, we see how a work grows when we add to it a little each day. I’d like to thank all who put their trust in this experiment, who persisted in applying the inner meaning of each labor, and whose personal verifications contributed to making this a living school. It feels like we’ve made a worthy contribution to the fourth way, which in itself is a cause for celebration. Let us raise a glass, then — like our December farmer — to standing on the shoulders of our predecessors, using their legacy to pave the fourth way into the twenty-first century.