BePeriod was established in 2016. In the previous year, an introductory video: Paving the Fourth Way into the 21st Century, was published on YouTube followed by a series of 20 tutorials, the last of which was published in January 2016. As these videos were coming out, viewers started asking for help with putting the ideas into practice. We began meeting regularly in mid-2016, marking the founding of this school.

At that stage, I was unaware we were establishing a school. I was aware that we were establishing a teaching. The Old New Method had been my main takeaway from traveling the world a decade earlier in search of ancient wisdom. My travels through Europe, Asia, and the Americas revealed a consistent pattern that was present in older societies, but absent in our modern experience. By necessity, all older cultures lived in synchronicity with the forces of nature. Everyone knew that the Spring Equinox was arriving, that Harvest had ended, or that the Winter Solstice had just passed, because these milestones regulated their lives. Specific things had to be done, by Easter if you were Christian, or Diwali if you were Hindu, or Hanukkah if you were Jewish. They were not just religious festivities. They were signposts in the annual cycle that reminded people of the gift of life and its obligations.

My research had revealed that these festivities carried inner meanings; they delineated the seasons of human psychology. The proverb: As above so below; and as within so without, traditionally attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, would have been self-evident in pre-industrial societies. It would have been unthinkable to attribute it to a particular person, like crediting someone with the discovery of the sun and the moon. It was understood that sowing seeds was an objective and all-encompassing process unrestricted to farming. Everything started as a seed. Everything needed proper nourishment to grow, and growth yielded some sort of harvest. Everything was firmly governed by the same natural laws, whether above or below, within or without.

This holistic view of the world was steadily eroded with the industrial revolution. Dependence on the forces of nature was gradually substituted by dependence on the forces of technology. The sun was replaced by electricity, the horse and carriage by the automobile, the bull by the tractor. Removed from nature, people’s lives were no longer obviously reflected in nature. Easter, Diwali, and Hanukkah were no longer indicative of something above and below. If they were celebrated at all, it was because of societal tradition or custom.

Zodiac Window, Chartres

Window of the Zodiac | Chartres

When BePeriod was established, I was aware that we could not simply repeat the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky verbatim without them becoming an empty ritual. We had to find a fresh way of approaching and breathing new life into them. The Old New Method was the perfect solution. One of the first places I took my students to visit was Chartres Cathedral. I showed them how we would take our cue from the cathedral’s Window of the Zodiac. We would assign twelve fundamental topics of practical work to the twelve months of our year and call them the Labors of the Month. Each month would focus on one of these topics, and December would tie them all together. It took a few cycles to properly formulate and then refine these monthly labors. The teaching had to be put into practice by as many people as possible, from as diverse backgrounds as possible, so that the cycle’s wrinkles could be straightened out and its strengths sharpened.

I initially harbored doubts about how this new approach would work out in practice. We were venturing into uncharted territories. For the most part, we were a digital school; would we be able to put ourselves under the necessary pressure in order to practice the work? Would we be able to bridge the challenging gap between theory and practice? And would students be able to overcome the digital barrier and form emotional connections with each other? My doubts were gradually assuaged as I began to more and more frequently detect the looks of discovery and understanding on students’ faces. They were working; and they were changing. A new form, that had captured the spirit of inner work, was coming into being.

Now, seven years later, the formulation of the Old New Method is complete. BePeriod has a core of students well-experienced in its theory and practice. What we have can be used as a foundation for future developments. What exactly this means is unclear to me as of now, but so was BePeriod at the outset of our first regular meetings. In this era of political instability and mass migration, the time feels ripe for establishing physical communities in which this teaching can be practiced both internally and externally. I trust that, as we venture onward into this new unknown, the right path will reveal itself and lead us to wherever it is that we are destined to be. Thank you all for coming together on this journey and making it possible. Thank you for putting your trust in me and answering my invitation.

Happy New Year; Happy New Cycle in the Old New Method!

Students in Chartres Cathedral