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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 174 May 3, 2019

Posted by fofblogmoderator in Uncategorized.

Welcome to the newest page of the Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence Discussion.

Here, you can share your thoughts, your stories, your own experiences as a former member of the FOF.  If you are considering becoming a member, you are invited to read the discussion to better know the organization you are considering joining; we welcome your questions. Participants in the discussion may post under their own name, or anonymously.

The first comment of all new participants will be moderated before they can start communicating in real-time.  You will need to register with a valid email address and be able to reply to the welcome/verification email you will receive. If you are new to the discussion, your comment will appear within a day after it has been submitted; any subsequent comments will appear instantaneously.

At the Moderator’s discretion, excessive abuse, such as personal attacks, taking up too much space, as well as deliberate attempts to unmask people taking part in the discussion anonymously will prompt a warning. Continued abuse will result in your removal from the discussion.

To visit the official site of The  Fellowship Of Friends;



1. Nancy Gilbert - May 3, 2019

112,113,118. 44th Way, WhaleRider, Ames Gilbert:

Perhaps this discussion regarding the nature of self-remembering and whether or not it is a hyper-vigilant state can be seen as a discussion about ‘who/what’ is, or is not, the doer of this state called self-remembering? The 4th Way contains a very odd contradiction, IMO, which is that it is clearly stated in the 4th Way that ‘Man Cannot Do’; then the system goes on and on about all the efforts, sacrifices and struggles with ‘the machine’ that students must ‘Do’ in order to attract and sustain the state of self-remembering, and hopefully awaken from our state of sleep.

What I see as missing from this seeming contradiction is the power of ‘grace’, or what in work language is termed ‘third force’. When spiritual aspirations become a struggle between ‘the machine’ and “I’s’ that wish and work to awaken, it would be wise to ask: what/who is this ‘I’ that wishes to be more aware, present or permanently awake? I suggest that more often than not, it is our ego/false personality that becomes the commander in chief and therein lies the conundrum. If our ego (whether ‘false’ or ‘true’ personality) takes credit or blame for ‘doing or failing’ awakening, then yes, self-remembering becomes an endless effort akin to WhaleRider’s state of hyper-vigilance, which is counterproductive, increases our identification with achieving our aim, and is energetically exhausting.

The 4th Way is dualistic in nature, at least the way we were taught by REB, and ‘grace’, aka ‘third force’, has been materialized as actual external angels who intercede for those in the FoF, and no others on planet earth. If instead of this elitist view of spirituality, ‘Grace’ is understood as being available to all who remain truthful, honest and sincere, as well as grateful for each moment of presence, then ego has no place at the table. If we see so-called ‘higher states’ as a gnostic gift of seeing one’s true nature, that is ‘I AM That’, then self-remembering is experienced as a letting go into a relaxed state of ‘All is well just the way it is’.

2. brucelevy - May 3, 2019

Swami Kriyananda was a greasy little predatory prick. And the fucking morons that licked his ass…well..it’s self explanatory.

3. brucelevy - May 3, 2019

But it doesn’t even approach the criminal activity that that this flaming fairy had perpetrated. I’m really surprised nobody has taken out this cock sucker.

4. WhaleRider - May 3, 2019

Nancy Gilbert:
Oh my. I imagine there are quite a few current followers who might actually agree with you, since you are speaking their language.

Maybe this has changed, but in my day, followers didn’t really talk about angels hovering over the table, that was burton’s gig, which left followers to verifabricate their own beliefs about how they “remember” themselves.

I’d like to respectfully say that it seems all too familiar to hear from you that if one isn’t getting the desired results of “self-remembering” it’s due to “false personality” within oneself, and that one should direct one’s attention outward for the so-called, “third force”, whether that be from others, the group, from what you call “grace” or from a disembodied spirit “guiding the school”. So correct me if i’m mistaken, I gather that you do not ascribe to the possibility of having an inner guru.

Frankly, to me the idea of receiving “grace” carries with it a connotation of “specialness” with overtones of narcissism and a hint of exclusivity.

However, I think you missed my main point.

In describing “self-remembering”, nearly everyone as far as I can tell, refers to a heightened awareness of the senses in various degrees and in any particular moment in time, (which IMO makes it addictive and really no different than animal awareness) with the extra step of attaching a mystical identity to that heightened awareness, such as when you say, “I am that”, “I am the observer”, “this is my true nature”, “I am pure “consciousness, no longer mere mechanical functions”, which in my view indirectly excludes that which one is not, i.e. one’s unconsciousness, (the seat of creativity, among many other qualities) and therefore renders one with a skewed awareness of the totality of the Greater Self, especially the parts of our human nature that will always remain hidden to us; for example such as how burton’s destructive and selfish predatory behavior remains hidden from him.

This is what makes the “self-remembering” concept toxic, IMO, coupled with the inherent inability to sustain the so-called, “state”.

(Notice how burton has absolutely no tolerance for dissent and expels anyone who challenges his grandiose self-concept. This is due in part to his distorted and skewed awareness of himself. There is no ‘other’ compared to him, all others are objects.)

So since FOF followers like most people disavow their unconscious, they unknowingly project their hidden unconscious parts, healthy or unhealthy, guru or life person, onto others in order to maintain a fairly consistent personality. (Projection is a psychological term.)

I wonder if you’d be willing to describe, in your own words if possible and based upon your own personal experience, examples of when you are “asleep”, (i.e. not self-aware, not “present” or not “remembering yourself”, if you agree these terms are synonymous.)

Thank you for posting.

5. Cult Survivor - May 3, 2019

This blog is about the Fellowship of Friends cult, his founder Robert Earl Burton, and the off-shot organization BePeriod founded by Burton’s disciple for 20 years, Asaf Braverman.

According to the paper “Cult Formation” by Robert J. Lifton, MD (“The Harvard Mental Health Letter”, Volume 7, Number 8 — link below), these are the three characteristics of cults:

1. A charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power.

2. A process called “coercive persuasion” or “thought reform”.

3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling elite.


The Fellowship of Friends has all three characteristics above plus a fourth one that classifies it as a “doomsday cult”:

4. Proclaiming that people in the organization are the only ones that will survive an impending catastrophe, global war, apocalypse or Armageddon.

If you are interested in joining Robert Burton’s Fellowship of Friends or Asaf Braverman’s BePeriod, make sure you read the material on this site and the one below before making a decision.

Another source of information about Burton’s Fellowship of Friends and Braverman’s BePeriod:

Please feel free to ask questions if you need more information.

6. Nancy Gilbert - May 3, 2019

4. Whalerider:
You have misunderstood and twisted my comments. I don’t enjoy the process of dissecting the meaning of another’s words in order to prove some point or other, so will leave off pursuing the anatomy of self-remembering with you.

As far as the unconscious affecting our thoughts, emotions, behavior, perceptions, dreams, etc. I am in agreement with most of what Jung has to say on the topic. You state that “burton’s destructive and selfish predatory behavior remains hidden from him (aka unconscious?)”. How do you know this behavior is hidden from him? Maybe he is aware of what he is doing to others for his own gratification, which is even more sinister, IMO.

7. Linda Jo - May 4, 2019

A revised and updated version of the 2007 documentary

8. Linda Jo - May 4, 2019

Gurdjieff on Sex: Subtle Bodies, Si 12, and the Sex Life of a Sage

By Johanna J. M. Petsche


Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (c.1866-1949) was an Armenian-Greek teacher of esoteric doctrine. His rather candid teachings and views on sex and sexuality, which are scattered through his writings and those of his pupils, are seldom discussed by writers on Gurdjieff, though they are intrinsic to Gurdjieff’s overall vision of human beings and their potential for spiritual development. Gurdjieff’s fundamental teaching hinges on the precept that human beings are mechanical, habitually carrying out their lives in a sleep-like state. In his system, this is largely explained by the body’s continual squandering of the potent sexual energy produced by its ‘sex centre’. The ultimate aim of Gurdjieff’s teaching is to harmonise the different ‘centres’ that exist within the individual, so that the individual might ‘wake up’ and break out of their usual somnambulistic, mechanical state and, in this way, develop within themselves subtle bodies. The sex centre plays a surprisingly significant and unique role in this soteriological process, as will be demonstrated.

This chapter will begin with a brief background to Gurdjieff and his teaching. Gurdjieff’s views on the sex centre, which governs mechanical behaviour but can potentially liberate individuals, will then be examined and positioned within the context of his ‘three-octave’ system of food transformation outlined in Pyotr Demianovich Ouspensky’s (1878-1947) In Search of the Miraculous. Following this, Gurdjieff’s views on heterosexuality, homosexuality, masturbation, and gender, with a focus on his contentious statements about women, will be assessed within the context of his teaching. Finally, Gurdjieff’s own flamboyant and controversial sex life will be considered.

https://www.academia.edu/5838382/Gurdjieff on Sex Subtle Bodies Si 12 and the Sex Life of a Sage


The Devil’s Mark
The Evaluation of Evil, the Measurement of Morality, and the Statistical Significance of Sin

By Robert Stern

Click to access DevilsMark.pdf

9. WhaleRider - May 4, 2019

Nancy Gilbert:
Please understand I mean no disrespect, and I apologize if what I said offended you.

From my perspective the language of the fourth way which burton employs has also twisted the meaning of words which the follower is over time indoctrinated to accept face value without scrutinizing or dissecting the hypnotic effect it has on an individual, enabling burton’s hidden or not so hidden agenda of accumulating money, sex, and power. Hence the emphasis on pursuing the “divine present” at the expense of critical thought.

We share the same feeling. It pains me to hear words like, “sleep”, “consciousness”, “teacher”, “life”, “false personality”, and “higher and lower self” weaponized and deployed against the user in an effort to disempower others, rendering them compliant and dependent upon the guru’s will and selfish motives.

Using fourth way language in that manner isolates one from from one’s family of origin and excludes one from intellectually participating in society in general, which promotes cultishness and is unhealthy, IMO. In my case, it took quite some time to hear my partner say, “sweet dreams” at night and not take that as a criticism.

As far as what I know of burton’s mental status, I am basing my assertions and opinions upon the time I spent with him in the most intimate of circumstances. I am convinced he truly believes that what he does is for the good of his followers, despite the fact that thousands of followers have left him, displaying a profound lack of empathy for the pain and suffering his behavior causes others.

He is unconscious of how the Greater Self includes ‘the other’, even those whom disagree with him, those whom he and his followers are shunning and arming themselves against.

We others are regarded as the hoards of zombie “life people” about to descend upon Apollo to gobble up their brains…yet as the German filmmaker, Fassbinder, graphically illustrates,, “Fear Eats the Soul”.

The idea that “maybe he is aware” and how “sinister” that would be, only proves my point.

The “unconsciousness” which we are readily aware of in others, (i.e. the lack of self-awareness which carries with it the treatment of others as objects), will seem sinister or downright evil because of the disavowal of our own “unconsciousness” or lack of self-awareness. We fail to see that in different circumstances or in our past as babies we could or actually have acted in “sinister” and selfish ways, hurting others without realizing it.

Nobody is perfect, myself included.

10. WhaleRider - May 4, 2019

…actually, forgive me, toddlers acting selfishly would be more accurate to say than babies.

11. Linda Jo - May 4, 2019

On the bright side

12. ton2u - May 4, 2019

Raised to believe that one has to work hard to “get ahead” in life, indoctrinated from early childhood, imprinted by “judeo/christian” ethos, embedding ideas motivating the almost instinctive need to continually improve – oneself and one’s station in life. If you can’t do better than your neighbor then you at least have to keep up with the Joneses. Thrown into the game, the treadmill already in motion, like it or not we’re set upon it from an early age through socialization and cultural conditioning.

The cult can utilize this type of social conditioning for it’s own purpose… “man”s possible evolution” is an imagined ‘state’ easily grafted onto the aforementioned already-implanted ethos…. mind, body, soul and behavior are controlled by an imagination which revolves around striving to be what one imagines one should, or could become… as imagined, it’s a state or condition in all ways “better than” the existing reality of who/ what “I am.” Cult programming promises realization of an idealized self, an idealized condition – this is an imagination of what life, of what “I” might be like in a future state. The ‘promised land’ is imagined to be achieved through certain ‘efforts’ – a.k.a. “the work.” That is, by following the program, the “student” is lead to believe they’re taking the necessary steps toward making real, an idealized version of “me”, a “conscious” “me” – you know, like the exemplar ”teacher.”

The cult relies on formulaic intellectualized abstractions, ‘exercises’ and prescriptions to follow, dressing up and reinforcing the already embedded narcissistic notion of continual self-improvement by immersion in a complicated “system” – an invented “work” language, indeed a whole psychology of “man’s possible evolution.” It should be emphasized that a basis of mind control in the cult begins and ends with the “student” who brings the motivation which may be based on the aforementioned culturally implanted ethos, or a general existential dissatisfaction with the reality of his or her lot in life, or, to frame it a little more positively, the “student” aspires to be something or someone more than s/he is… to paraphrase a U.S. army recruitment slogan: to “be all you can be…” in other words an imaginary something or someone other than the reality of what s/he is.

It should be emphasized that an idealized version of “me” that will appear somewhere in the future, is a figment of imagination requiring constant and continual “work” of a certain sort – it’s thought to require vigilance, even “hyper-vigilance”, certain types of continuous ‘efforts’ are indicated through the programming… and eventually, by following “the system” it’s imagined that with enough of the right kind of efforts, you too could be as ‘conscious’ as you imagine your “teacher” to be.

The perpetual “student” s/he will never arrive at the “promised land” because “the work” and all the required “efforts” are based on an imaginary condition and an imaginary future… so the existential dissatisfaction continues, the goal is never reached, the efforts continue as long one is trapped in the belief of ‘becoming’ the imaginary idealized notion of what a “conscious being” is. The cult relies on this cul-de-sac, this trap, for retention of a hard-core base of true believers. In attempting to live up to an idealized version of one’s ‘possible’ self, the idealized “me” is projected into an infinitely remote and imaginary future, so the “student” is always and forever becoming, without ever fully being.

It seems to me a problem is created, or at least perpetuated by an imaginary idealized self…all the efforts and “work” simply go into feeding this particular imagination, the cycle continues, the “student” remains hungry as more ‘efforts’ never fill the void, a bottomless pit of desire created by this imagination. What is it anyway one hopes to become through “the work” and all the “efforts” toward an imaginary self ? What do you imagine you’ll do with your imagined “powers,” with your acquired “consciousness” ? Start a cult like your “teacher” ? What is it that desires to become something / someone other than what you really are right now ? and why isn’t that good enough? IMO it has something to do with ego inflation, egoism, vanity.

I should add that “imagination” in “work-speak” was always used to connote a negative condition of mind… a large part of the “efforts” in “the work” involved the admonishment to “stay out of imagination.” In fact and of course, in and of itself imagination can be a wondrous, creative thing… but the musings above would point to a negative aspect of imagination instituted in service of a type of mind control used by the cult.

13. Golden Veil - May 4, 2019

Wondrous imagination ~ the Devil’s discourse

14. John Harmer - May 4, 2019

Funnily enough, everything that Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Burton ever said was false.

There is no absolute.
There is no life after death.
Imagination is fun and not at all enervating.
Identification gives meaning to our lives.
Being present, taken to the extreme, leads to self obsession.
Negative emotions are necessary.
There was never a time in the past when Higher Mind existed.
Humanity are not asleep.
It is not healthy to create a single ruling self.
We are not machines.
The inner circle of humanity does not exist.
All claims to psychic powers are fraudulent.

Hey, I just needed to get it out of my system.

15. Linda Jo - May 4, 2019

16. Phutatorius - May 4, 2019

for 14, John H.: …no feeling thought or choice, nor is there consciousness, no eye ear tongue body mind, no color sound smell, taste touch or what the mind takes hold of, nor even act of sensing, No ignorance or end of it, nor all that comes of ignorance, No withering, no death, no end of them, nor is there pain or cause of pain or noble path to lead from pain, not even wisdom to attain, Attainment too is emptiness….. n’est pas?

17. brucelevy - May 4, 2019

14. John Harmer

Sounds like malignant narcissism to me. But whatever blows your skirt up.

18. Golden Veil - May 5, 2019

15. Linda Jo – May 4, 2019

Thank you. I think that the film on the Hutterites is very interesting and relevant. At first Maple Grove Colony seems Utopian and benign but by the end of the one hour film you understand how extreme the mind control is and the oppression of individuality. I felt for the 16 year old who had dreams of becoming an architect but was consigned to working in vast dimly lit barns of caged chickens six days a week. I followed it up by viewing a short documentary about the photographer (a gay 23 year old young man) who is seen leaving at the end of the film. Like those who leave the Fellowship of Friends, ex-members of the community are shunned.

19. Golden Veil - May 5, 2019

Correction: Waylon, who dreams of becoming an architect, is 15 and works in the chicken barn seven days a week – before and after school and on the weekends. This is abusive child labor. It may be that the his urge to be creative is stimulated by the dark oppression he has to endure. It is a kind of slave labor, like the low paid workers at the Fellowship of Friends. But at least he doesn’t have to look forward to evening duty as well and enduring the sexual demands of the head of the church when he becomes the “age of consent.”

20. John Harmer - May 5, 2019

#16 The Heart Sutra indeed touches on the big question, I offer another approach to the topic by Sean Carroll:

#17 I’ll own narcissism, but balk at malignant, but then we all tend to forgive ourselves, don’t we?

I’ll have a punt at prophecy, and predict that the blog will top 1,000,000 hits on July 11th 2019, this prophecy is dictated by C influence, obviously.

21. Phutatorius - May 5, 2019

#20, John: watching an hour and 20 minute video doesn’t much appeal to me right now. Can you summarize his take on it?

22. Cult Survivor - May 5, 2019

20. John Harmer

Influence C must be talking about us, not people looking for information the FOF on the search engines since the all time number of hits is 7,093 (4,968 from the defunct Animamrecro site and 2,125 from this blog).

We are now averaging between 20-25 search hits per month:

That’s without considering Tim’s REB blog that is averaging 120-130 search hits per month:

By the way, these are the keywords that people use to find the blog on the search engines:

This means that in 13 years a minimum of 7,093 people learned about the FOF cult through this blog.

23. Cult Survivor - May 5, 2019

Click on the images to see more.

24. 44th Way - May 6, 2019

1. Nancy Gilbert.
I agree with almost everything you said. There is a mystery at the heart of all this and our danger is that we throw what we have genuinely learned away with the rather large pile of poo that surrounds it.

To those who reject self-remembering as harmful I would say that there is much around it that can make it harmful, and that a good teacher would have helped students avoid those misunderstandings and incorrect applications of the idea.

At root it is the same idea as mindfulness. This is the way I have always understood it. It is as you say a gentle state of no judgement, no blame, simply awareness. Done correctly it leads to understanding, tolerance and compassion. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that our former teacher did not understand or apply it.

This is a good description of mindfulness as I understand it, from a non-religious point of view:


25. WhaleRider - May 6, 2019

44th Way:
I applaud your effort at stepping outside the comfort zone of “fourth way work language” to find the contemporary equivalent of “self-remembering” in the sanitized idea of “mindfulness”, rooted in Vedantic and Buddhist thought. The main difference here is that you don’t necessarily have to join a cult for the rest of your life and compromise your dignity to practice it.

You now have the opportunity to be exposed to scholarly articles based upon verifiable evidence that can provide a counter narrative, and a broader perspective instead of accepting these ideas without scrutiny and critical thought.

The potential harm has nothing to do with neither whom the teacher of the ideas is but the context in which the idea is taught, i.e. a cult without proper supervision and screening…nor the practitioner doing it incorrectly being mired in judgement as you suggest, but the practice itself.

”When meditators embrace judgment-free awareness and acceptance, their reality-monitoring accuracy may be impaired, increasing their susceptibility to false memories.”

“Much as we would like to see the world and our thoughts and memories in black-and-white terms and selectively discard negative thoughts whilst keeping positive ones, such a thing is very hard to do. As we try to cull our negative baggage and get rid of it with mindfulness practice, we may find we have left behind some precious and strengthening baggage with it.”

“Some people use mindfulness strategies to avoid critical thinking tasks. I’ve worked with clients who, instead of rationally thinking through a career challenge or ethical dilemma, prefer to disconnect from their challenges and retreat into a meditative mindset.”

“Buddhist meditation was designed not to make us happier, but to radically change our sense of self and perception of the world. Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that some will experience negative effects such as dissociation, anxiety and depression.”


In my experience, joining a cult like the FOF will only numb you and amplify the negative side effects, which is why so many people have left the FOF. If it were a drug with such a dismal success rate, it would be banned by the FDA.

26. Golden Veil - May 6, 2019

What could these charismatic amoral people with savior complexes and a penchant for apocalyptic predictions – who attract cult followers all share? I think their particular beliefs and abilities could be an expression of brain malfunction or brain damage. And a brain function issue would mean that rather than pulling an overtly criminal con job on their followers, leaders like David Koresh, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh and Robert Burton are mentally ill. Mentally ill in a way that manifests peculiarly in a cult leader role. As some here have expressed, Robert Burton may be delusional but sincere.

Here, a new article written by a former cult member of the long-time Lyman Family. Still in existence and self-sustaining through their Los Angeles-based construction business, the cult has already been written about extensively. But Guinevere Turner reveals its dark underbelly like no one has before. She is also an actress and filmmaker with a new film opening Friday, Charlie Says, about the Manson girls who were convicted of murder. See that trailer.


27. John Harmer - May 6, 2019

#21 Phutatorius, yes it is a bit long. He is ruminating on the existential question often attributed to Liebnitz “Why is there something rather than nothing?”. He has a solid background in physics which informs his thoughts. Around an hour in, he talks about how nothing is particularly empty (The heart sutra thinking about nothingness was the association). He points out that it is emptier than an empty space time. You can imagine our visible universe, and then imaginatively remove all the galaxies, all the stars in the milky way, all the solar system planets, and the sun, no light or matter, but you still have empty space. “Nothing” is less than that, he points out.

#22 Cult Survivor – I am looking at the blog stats displayed on the right hand side near the top of every page, in a pale purple font, currently shows:

Blog Stats
989,146 hits

28. Cult Survivor - May 6, 2019

27. John Harmer

That includes the regular contributors.

First time visitors: 7,093 hits
Regular contributors: 982,053 hits

That means that regular contributors are responsible for 99% of the hits, which makes sense.

29. Golden Veil - May 6, 2019

28. Cult Survivor – May 6, 2019

Could these particular analytics be more accurately described as:

Unique visitors 7,093

Total blog views 982,053

30. Cult Survivor - May 6, 2019

29. Golden Veil

Actually it would be:

Unique visitors 7,093
Total blog views 989,146

The total number of views includes the unique visitors.

31. brucelevy - May 6, 2019

This is really turning into a wankathon.

32. Phutatorius - May 6, 2019

27. John H. Thanks for the summary. I checked on wikipedia and saw there were several people by that name so I figured it was the physicist. If you really want to get confused about empty space and where matter, consciousness and all the rest come from there’s always Dion Fortune’s, “The Cosmic Doctrine.” But I’m guessing that most people here would rather “pass” on that. It’s like a less prolix version of Gurdjieff’s “All and Everything,” and written around the same time.

33. brucelevy - May 6, 2019

32. Phutatorius

I liked Dion Fortune when I was a teenager, along with Franz Bardon and the Hermetics crowd.

34. Linda Jo - May 6, 2019

Gurdieff and the Fourth Way: A Critical Appraisal


35. Associated Press - May 7, 2019

174/34 Linda Jo:
“Gurdieff and the Fourth Way: A Critical Appraisal


Digging further found:
A project of:
Learning Institute for Growth, Healing and Transformation (LIGHT)

36. Golden Veil - May 7, 2019

35. Associated Press – May 7, 2019

I found it, too. Fellowship of Friends former members Joel Frielander is quoted [in the part below] footnoted (22) and William Patterson (24) in “Gurdieff and the Fourth Way: A Critical Appraisal” in the section Contemporary Status of the Work, pages 6 – 17, which I have excerpted below. In footnote (24), the Fellowship of Friends is specifically mentioned.

~ ~ ~

The techniques used by some “teachers” to transmit Work ideas can have a powerful and potentially negative effect on students if not properly employed:

“It has been reported that in an effort to provide the ‘friction’ or difficulties that are deemed necessary to the Work, ‘teachers’ have made their unwitting students endure extreme periods of sleeplessness, fasting, silence, irrational and sudden demands, extraordinary physical efforts, and so on.” (22)

A more extreme distortion of the Gurdjieff group dynamic occurs in the case where the leader manipulates students for ego satisfaction or personal gain. (23) Some of these groups have all the characteristics of a cult. (24) Psychologist Charles Tart warns of the dangers of becoming involved in such groups:

“Gurdjieff’s ideas readily lend themselves to authoritarian interpretations that turn work based on them into cults (in the worst sense of the term), giving great power to a charismatic leader. Some of these leaders are deluded about their level of development but are very good at influencing others. Some are just plain charlatans who appreciate the services and money available from devoted followers. It is dangerous to get involved with any group teaching Gurdjieff’s ideas. It may be led by a charlatan, it may be only a social group with no real teaching effect, it may be riddled with pathological group dynamics that hurt its members.” (25)

FOOTNOTES for the above:

(22) Joel Friedlander “The Work Today” Gnosis No. 20, Summer 1991, p. 40.

(23) Frank Sinclair, a past president of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, with many years experience observing various Work groups, writes in Without Benefit of Clergy (Xlibris, 2005, p. 15) that many group leaders are “subject to weaknesses and sins, not to speak of downright ignorance, appalling self-conceit, unexamined arrogance, and presumptuous elitism: how many there are who profess to have been ‘specially prepared’ and singled out (often only by themselves) to carry the torch.”

(24) An example of a cult masking as a Fourth Way group is the Gurdjieff Ouspensky Center, also known as the Fellowship of Friends. The organization refers to its studies as a Gurdjieff/Ouspensky teaching (although Ouspensky is clearly their major inspiration) and claims that it has expanded the scope of these teachings by introducing cultural and philosophical material from the world’s great spiritual traditions and thinkers. This organization differs from most Gurdjieff groups in their active recruitment of followers; and there have been a number of serious allegations about the organization and in particular the leader of the movement, Robert Burton. See James Moore “Gurdjieffian Groups in Britain” (Religion Today, Volume 3(2), 1986, pp. 1-4), Theodore Nottingham “The Fourth Way and Inner Transformation” (Gnosis No. 20, Summer 1991, p. 22) and William Patterson Taking With the Left Hand (Fairfax, California: Arete Communications, 1998).

(25) Charles Tart Waking Up: (Boston: Shambhala, 1986), pp. 288-289.

~ ~ ~

Word about the Fellowship of Friends does get around! At times, former members even broadcast their own experiences and raise awareness about “The School” without revealing that they, too, were once members.

37. Golden Veil - May 8, 2019

34. Linda Jo – May 6, 2019

I meant to thank you for posting the link to

Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way: A Critical Appraisal

At first I found myself being a bit dismissive about the LIGHT “critical appraisal” of Gurdjieff, but the section on Contemporary Status of the Work is quite good, I think. And it is amazing that the Fellowship of Friends was especially picked out to exemplify The Work gone wrong, an “example of a cult masking as a Fourth Way group…”


38. WhaleRider - May 8, 2019


From: A1, the Absolute

Date: Eternal Now

Re: Notice to Cease and Desist of a Specific Activity

Dear Mr Robert E Burton, et al:

This letter is served upon you due to your claim that someday soon you will enter into Paradise with your band of followers.



If you continue claiming that soon you and your followers will become exclusive Permanent Paradise Residents, I will seek a temporary restraining order in the District Court of Public Opinion against you and any accomplices in this matter.

I will also request you publicly apologize and make monetary amends with everyone you have mislead as a result of your absurd, insulting, and fraudulent claim of kissing my non-existent feet (for I am the All and Everything), to be proved in a court of public opinion.

Hopefully this recourse is not necessary, I have human interests at stake and ethical standards to protect and will vigorously remind you using the letter “A” coupled with the number “1” on street signs and license plates.

You will not receive another warning letter. If you do not confirm in writing by May 12, 2019 that you will cease violating my Permanent Resident Entrance Guidelines, then another in a long line of lawsuits will be immediately filed against you and your enablers of this falsehood.

the Absolute

39. Linda Jo - May 10, 2019

Remembering. . .

40. Linda Jo - May 14, 2019

Captive Minds: Hypnosis and Beyond – 1983 documentary

Conclusion: “Groups which have all-powerful leaders who control the environment, control all information and eventually control the way their followers think, have one basic thing in common: They have found people who are willing to take that essential first step of surrendering to an authority figure they hope has all the answers. Throughout history, many people have taken that first step. Sometimes joining a small group, sometimes a large group. And sometimes a group that engulfs an entire nation.”

41. Insider - May 14, 2019

Is it not just about the supreme irony that this group of people, the Fellowhip of Friends, that sees itself as the only awake and conscious beings, not just on Earth, but in the entire universe (except for the angels in Paradise), is in fact completely unaware of, and asleep to, the fantasy world created by Robert Burton, and accepted and sustained by each and every follower? The first shall be the last.

42. Cult Survivor - May 14, 2019

41. Insider

“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes)

43. Golden Veil - May 14, 2019

40. Linda Jo May 14, 2019
I signed up for “The Fellowship of Friends” – not to be under the control of a figure of authority. Sure, I read the engraved, preciously printed “angles” of “The Teacher”, adorned with Old Master painting prints – but he lived in another country. Once I finally met him and the people in California, I knew “The School’ was not for me. I was beguiled for a while by the Fellowship, but thankfully, not fully bamboozled.

44. rich - May 15, 2019

a stage many pass through (like 10,000 ex-students, many
gone), we can’t get the time back or our teaching payments,
many have moved on, some need more healing, hope the
blog helps current FOF members…

45. Ames Gilbert - May 17, 2019

Over there in Asaf Braverman’s dream world, where he is the uncontested Source of Higher Knowledge™, he is churning out invitations to join his fantasy.
The latest: “Searching for a Teaching and Practicing One”, a free online introductory peek into his ‘school’ hosted by his followers, May 19th at 9:00 a.m. PST in the U.S.
“(Transitioning from Magnetic Center to Observing ‘I’)
What are the necessary steps from the discovery of a teaching to putting it into practice?”, etc. Followed by a ‘two–day group exercise’ on WhatsApp.

The mind boggles.

O.K., that is enough free advertising.

If anyone doing due diligence stumbles across these words, know that Asaf Braverman’s “teacher” is none other than the infamous Robert Earl Burton, and that Braverman spent TWENTY years learning the business of how to run a cult in Burton’s organization, “The Fellowship of Friends”, headquartered in Oregon House, California. Braverman was a Big Honcho in the organization, in fact Burton anointed him as a Future Conscious Being™—until they had a falling out a couple of years ago. Braverman got very used to exercising power, led meetings, raised money, and generally indulging his considerable vanity, while supporting Burton in all his financial and sexual exploitation, chronicled on these pages. Go over to… https://robertearlburton.blogspot.com
…to find out more, even see pictures of them enjoying each other’s company over the decades, and so on, if you are so inclined.

The fact that Braverman’s BePeriod gig continues to exist is a testament to his need to ‘teach’; he is simply unable to let go of this act, honed over the decades. Now he is in his forties, and it is all he knows how to do. Everything he ‘teaches’, he learned from Burton. The details may differ, and obviously the application of current technology is different, but the basics—the authoritarian ‘transmission of knowledge from the higher to the lower’, the giving up of power and presumption of dependence by the followers, his taking of that power and his psychological dependence on his disciples in turn, the lack of any map or path to graduation—all the warning signs are there.

My message to you? Don’t be a chump, look elsewhere. It’s hard, I know, there are so many charlatans out for your money, body or obedience. Some are more delusional than others, or at least, their delusions are more obvious to observers. But they are all deluded. Take your time, ask yourself why you think you need help, and if you do, why it should be anything but temporary with a clear, pre–planned exit strategy.

46. Artemis44 - May 17, 2019
47. Artemis44 - May 17, 2019

Coincidentally, the FOF revamped its official site:


48. Golden Veil - May 17, 2019

Living Presence and Robert Earl Burton online

As helpfully pointed out by Artemis 44, The Fellowship of Friends is re-branding once again. The Who We Are tab on the website navigation bar leads to a page about Robert Burton that includes an attempt to present a Fourth Way lineage to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, tempered finally with the statement “He has directed his students also to study related teachings in esoteric schools from all eras, isolating the common thread to reveal their universal message.” As we know, it’s all about HIS teaching, his interpretation of the rhino poop; The Fellowship of Friends is not a “Fourth Way” school.


On that same page, if one clicks on “more…” on the upper right side beneath Books and Publications, you will find a selection of books by Robert Burton – but not his most recent, Fifty Years with Angels: September 5, 1967 – September 5, 2017. Hmmmm, I wonder why? Could it be that it has been finally recognized the book is a bit airy fairy, and for the most part, ego fluff?


The lack of that book may indicate that a realization of some kind… it’s a bit airy fairy.

With the de-emphasis on the Fourth Way, I find it odd that besides a handful of Robert Burton’s books, that the only other books listed as recommended reading are Fourth Way books. Pdfs are helpfully included. I guess that means that all these publications are in public domain? That seems very unlikely! I reproduce the list here.

The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution by P.D. Ouspensky PDF

In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching by P.D. Ouspensky PDF, PDF, PDF

The Fourth Way, by P.D. Ouspensky PDF

Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson by G.I. Gurdjieff PDF

Meetings with Remarkable Men by G.I. Gurdjieff PDF

Life Is Real Only Then, When “I Am” by G.I. Gurdjieff PDF

The Theory of Celestial Influence by Rodney Collin PDF

The Theory of Eternal Life by Rodney Collin PDF

The Theory of Conscious Harmony by Rodney Collin PDF

The website needs an SSL certificate – see the Not Secure in the upper right corner of the browser. That’s important if they are taking people’s credit cards. It indicates that personal information entered is encrypted. I find the white background a bit cold and corporate; the gold color scheme was much better! They have retained the lavender color on their other website.


But the Being Present website also lacks an SSL certificate. This website has one, by the way. See the small padlock in the browser on the left side?

Still the same old mularkey as always.

“How to describe a conscious teacher? He does what no one else will do or can do—teaching the most unpopular of all truths: that our illusory sense of “I” must die before presence can be born. He is the living reminder that it is possible to awaken, and that presence means humility, acceptance, and conscious love.”

Robert Burton is more the living reminder of what not to do!

49. Golden Veil - May 17, 2019

46. Artemis44 – May 17, 2019

The Wikipedia page is absolutely fantastico!

50. Golden Veil - May 17, 2019

Artemis 44, did you see in post no. 36 footnote (24)? Its references could be used in the Wikipedia article. I reprint here:

(24) An example of a cult masking as a Fourth Way group is the Gurdjieff Ouspensky Center, also known as the Fellowship of Friends. The organization refers to its studies as a Gurdjieff/Ouspensky teaching (although Ouspensky is clearly their major inspiration) and claims that it has expanded the scope of these teachings by introducing cultural and philosophical material from the world’s great spiritual traditions and thinkers. This organization differs from most Gurdjieff groups in their active recruitment of followers; and there have been a number of serious allegations about the organization and in particular the leader of the movement, Robert Burton. See James Moore “Gurdjieffian Groups in Britain” (Religion Today, Volume 3 (2), 1986, pp. 1-4), Theodore Nottingham “The Fourth Way and Inner Transformation” (Gnosis No. 20, Summer 1991, p. 22) and William Patterson Taking With the Left Hand (Fairfax, California: Arete Communications, 1998).

51. Artemis44 - May 18, 2019

50. Golden Veil

I’m not an editor of the Wikipedia article.

52. Golden Veil - May 18, 2019

It would be very supportive of the Wikipedia article if someone other than its original author would add in a sentence or two about the Renaissance Winery that existed from the sometime in 1990s to 2015. There is an excellent article about it that has the bonus of being recent, August 23, 2018 and in The San Francisco Chronicle. Especially click on the link in the first , “a project that I’ve been working on for many months” within the article that leads to “Ruins” for more information


Link to “Ruins”

53. Insider - May 18, 2019

47. Artemis44

Thanks for sharing the Fellowship of Friends new website. On a sub-page called “Robert Earl Burton,” is written the following:

* * * * * * * * * *

Robert Burton, born in 1939, founded the Fellowship of Friends on New Year’s Day, 1970, after a period of study with the Fourth Way teacher and theater director, Alex Horn, who was affiliated with the Gurdjieff Foundation in the 1960s. Alex Horn also studied with English writer and playwright Rodney Collin, Peter Ouspensky’s pupil, late in Collin’s life, in Mexico.

* * * * * * * * * *

Burton managed to found and operate the Fellowship for over 35 years without ever being sure about his own “lineage” connecting back to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. The missing link was always Alex Horn, and where and with whom Horn studied. (And what in the world does it mean that Horn was “affiliated” with the Gurdjieff Foundation? Is that supposed to validate Burton’s claim of an unbroken lineage?)

Note that Horn apparently never mentioned meeting or studying with Rodney Collin. If he had, Burton would certainly have heard about it during his time with Horn. Why would Horn withhold this information, unless it never happened?

When Horn died in 2007, a Fellowship member took it upon himself, or was asked, to look for and to come up with this missing link. The member was Hugh J@mes, a Ph.D. in philosophy, a prolific writer, and (we now know) a very “imaginative” researcher. Here is the “report” that Hugh presented to Burton in 2009:

* * * * * * * * * *

Shortly after Alex Horn’s death a man who had known him at the University of Chicago in the early ‘fifties published a short obituary on the internet. It included some fond memories of their university years, but no information about Alex as a teacher or conscious being.

More recently another man, who had been at the University of Chicago at the same time, posted an anonymous response. This man had only a very external idea of the work, and no idea of the level Alex reached later in his life. He claimed to have been a close friend of David Daniels, who had been one of Alex’s closest associates at university. During the early ‘fifties both Alex and David became involved with the ‘Compass Players’, which was a theater group loosely affiliated with the university. The third man would often go to watch their rehearsals and performances.

He wrote that, at a certain point, a number of the Compass Players … “took an ‘esoteric’ trip to Mexico, on account of Horn’s interest in Ouspensky biographer Rodney Collin, who had settled there.”

Clearly the writer had only the vaguest idea of who Rodney Collin was, or what the group might have been doing on their visit, and this very fact gives the ring of truth to what he wrote. I deduced the date of the Compass Player’s trip to have been 1953 – three years before Rodney Collin’s death. Alex would have been 24 and Rodney 44 at that time. Additionally, Alex almost surely knew Rodney Collin before having invited his friends on the trip.

There was nothing else of interest in the posting and no further mention of Rodney Collin. But what once appeared to be a strong possibility now seems to be a fact. So, from this point of view, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Collin, and Horn each had one fully conscious student, and the ‘Fourth Way’ lineage to ourselves is direct.

* * * * * * * * * *

It is obvious to me that Hugh’s weakness as a researcher consists in the fact that he begins with assuming various conclusions, each the product of relentless repetition (brainwashing) courtesy of Robert Burton, then finding “facts” to support them. E.g., (1) Alex being a “teacher” and a “conscious being;” (2) the high “level Alex reached later in his life;” (3) the high level of Rodney Collin, the “writer” having “only the vaguest idea” of this; (4) Alex having surely known Rodney Collin before going to Mexico; and, very conveniently, (5) Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Collin and Horn each having had “one fully conscious student.”

Yes, Alex Horn did go to Mexico sometime between 1953 and 1955. And, before this trip, he might have mentioned that he would like, someday, to meet Rodney Collin. But Horn’s trip to Mexico had nothing to do with trying to meet Rodney Collin, or even going to Mexico City. The trip to Mexico with a number of fellow actors from Chicago was not “esoteric,” but rather related to the study of new acting techniques.

We know this from a chapter in a book, “Birimisa: Portraits, Plays, Perversions: The Work of George Birimisa.” The chapter in question was written by one of the Chicago acting students, Caty Cook Powell, which she titled, “Memories that Bless and Burn.” Here is what she recalled about Horn’s “esoteric trip to Mexico” (my comments in parentheses):

* * * * * * * * * *

In 1954 or ’55…George (Birimisa) entered…into my life. I was then a neophyte actor living on the South Side of Chicago and helping to start Compass Players, the first glimmer of an improvisational movement that led later to SNL (Saturday Night Live) and Second City. A young and impoverished Elaine May was our teacher…Elaine knew charismatic and controversial director Alex Horn from earlier days, so throughout the summer she told us about the doings of some “real” New York actors who had gone to Mexico with Alex planning to work for a year on their craft with no interruption and then create the greatest theatre ever seen…However the artists only lasted in Mexico for a few months due to fights or backers backing out, though they reportedly did do some wonderful work. Toward the end of summer one day into our workshop like a tornado blew George with Jerry Cunliffe, both bronzed from the tropical sun, wearing Mexican worker pants and sandals…Elaine turned the class over to them and they put us through a series of newly developed acting exercises. I was smitten. Turned out that George and Jerry were the vanguard of the Mexico group, now down to a handful but still coming on like an army of conquering heroes. Alex, Anne Raim and Charles Bennett soon arrived and set up a collective, living together, pooling their money for the eventual theatre…

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s been thoroughly documented elsewhere that Horn did not “study” with John Bennett or with anyone else previously connected to Gurdjieff or Ouspensky. And it now seems beyond any doubt that Horn never met or studied with Rodney Collin, although he may well have known about Collin. Horn was an actor who primarily acted the part of a “conscious being,” whatever that might be. And Burton has been doing the same for nearly 50 years now.

54. ton2u - May 19, 2019

Insider: thanks for a scholarly deep-dive into the horse shit !

You write: “It is obvious to me that Hugh’s weakness as a researcher consists in the fact that he begins with assuming various conclusions…”

Seems to me, at the root, that is, at the very beginning of erroneous 4th way assumptions which go into supporting false conclusions is this notion of the exclusivity of “a conscious being” – this implies and assumes a false corollary that all others and everything else is “unconscious.”

To burtonites who might be reading here, the good news is: beyond this self-limiting, self-imposed belief system, a world awaits you where everything is consciousness. Unbind your mind!

Your ‘daily card:’

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

55. Golden Veil - May 19, 2019

45. Ames Gilbert ~ May 17, 2019

I thought I’d check out the “Searching for a Teaching and Practicing One”, free online introductory workshop you mentioned – but cannot locate it. You probably have to formally sign up.

If someone does take it, why not review it on Yelp?

By the way, the fourth “live” sort of photographic image that cycles through when one visits the Be Period Home page is quite odd. It looks like a teaser glimpse of the students doing The Movements – no, make that learning to fly? with war paint on their faces!


53. Insider ~ May 18, 2019

There is more of the same lineage-seeking on Asaf Braverman’s Be Period website, illustrated with rather lurid miniature-style portraits, including one of Robert Burton. Asaf spins out a quaint story about his grandmother living over a bookshop and his finding The Fourth Way by P.D. Ouspensky on his eighteenth birthday.


56. Cult Survivor - May 19, 2019

55. Golden Veil

Visiting the beperiod.com and asafbraverman.com sites it’s obvious that Asaf Braverman’s “online school” is as narcissistic as the FOF. Now it’s clear why Braverman was expelled from the FOF: there was no room for both Burton’s and Braverman’s egos in the FOF.

An important question is why people relinquish their self-will and power and join organizations with authoritarian leaders like Burton and Braverman.

A clue about the reason is in the seminal book “The Guru Papers – Masks of Authoritarian Power” by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad. Here is an excerpt from the chapter “The Attractions of Cult Hierarchy”:

Participation in an authoritarian hierarchy is an easy route to purpose and meaning that also offers security, if one follows the rules. Moving up the rungs brings power and respect. All this, however, is totally dependent upon accepting the ultimate power the leader. This, of course, brings a deep attachment to and dependency on both the hierarchical structure and the leader on top. (…) People are specially vulnerable to charismatic leaders during times of crisis or major life change. Most often those who enter into this kind of authoritarian group are having problems bringing meaning, human connection, and good feelings into their lives, all of which become instantly available upon joining. (…) This makes it very difficult not to accept, rationalize, or deny any incongruent, greedy, or corrupt behavior on the part of the guru or the organization as a whole.

Predators prey on vulnerable victims.

57. Ames Gilbert - May 19, 2019

Artemis, thank you for sharing the new version of the FoF Wiki page, seems like it has started on a sound basis. And thanks for alerting us to the latest look at the Fellowship of Friends main website, livingpresence.com

Judging by the looks and content of the latest iteration of the Living Presence website, it seems likely that Asaf Braverman probably took most of the talented graphic and web page designers and IT people with him when he made his break with the FoF!
Lackluster presentation, broken links, really pretty shoddy.
One link that does work, though, is to the ‘online magazine’, Fourth Way Today , where one can find articles that purport to explain how the FoF is a ‘real Fourth Way school’, and such. Page after page of unsupported assertions based on false premises (such as the self–reported “permanent consciousness” claimed by Burton), page after page of circular reasoning. Readers can save themselves the trouble, it is all on the level of the Hugh James ‘research’ Insider presented in #53, just above, very amateurish. I can’t be bothered to look through it all, but I’m sure that there is no explanation therein for why Burton decided to ditch the Fourth Way altogether for twelve years—and then resumed offering the old bait when his and Asaf Braverman’s new invention, The Sequence™, failed to take the world by storm.

Anyway, if one follows the menu: Living Presence > Who We Are > Worldwide Membership…
…at the bottom of the page there is this come–on: “If you do not live near a center, we offer an introductory online membership”.
Fortunately for naïve seekers, clicking on the link at this moment takes one to a ‘not found’ page, but it looks like the plan is to compete with Asaf Braverman for those juicy dollars that flow so easily to him for comparatively little effort. Linda and Kevin have probably gone over the figures Cult Survivor kindly provided for Braverman’s BePeriod group ($200–250k a year!) themselves, and decided to compete for those dollars.
Time will tell.

Golden Veil, yes, one does have to sign up for Braverman’s workshops, even the free ones. If you were searching today (May 19th) and can’t find it, my guess would be this is because the workshop is now over…

58. Golden Veil - May 19, 2019

56. Cult Survivor. – May 19, 2019
Although Asaf Braverman is clearly “holding up the lamp” for his students, Be Period, at least on the website, appears to be more a community-oriented than guru-centric organization. The Fellowship of Friends was for me personally a community – rather than a guru thing.

Does Asaf Braverman kick out students who question? Does he require students to cut off all contact with ex-students? It appears that he likes to interpret the “esoteric” meaning of art for his followers, much like Robert Burton.

59. Cult Survivor - May 19, 2019

58. Golden Veil

I agree that the Fellowship of Friends is a community-oriented group (Robert Burton is too senile to overview all the activities at Apollo and the centers) but Beperiod — Asaf Braverman’s “online school” — is definitively a guru-oriented group.

Here are some signs of that, according to a friend of mine that was part of Braverman’s group:

1. Braverman monitors all the messages that his “students” exchange on a platform called Slack (when he doesn’t understand the language he uses an online translator). I was told that he often corrects or deletes messages that he considers inappropriate. I included a screenshot of Braverman’s Slack platform at the end of this message.

2. Braverman refuses to talk about his experience during the 20 years that he was very close to Robert Burton (he uses phrases like “I had a very happy marriage for 20 years but it’s over now. It’s not good taste to talk about former spouses”).

3. To my knowledge, Asaf already expelled 4 members that questioned him (including 2 former FOF members, Fabrizio A. and Mario F.).

4. When people leave Braverman’s group they are removed from the Slack so current members don’t have a way to contact them.

Link to a screenshot of Braverman’s Slack platform from one of his introductory workshops on YouTube:

(Click on the image to enlarge)

60. Cult Survivor - May 19, 2019

In case you are curious, the link to the online workshop on the screenshot I posted above still works.

Password: 2beornot2be

61. Ames Gilbert - May 19, 2019

Cult Survivor, thanks for the peek into the BePeriod fantasy.

If Asaf Braverman oversees internal communications between his followers, and ‘controls or deletes’ messages, then he is an out–and–out control freak, and another sign he is making his followers more asleep, not more awake. Really quite similar to Burton. And although Burton cannot personally micromanage his 1550 or so followers’ thoughts and words, he does have a small army of spies to report on the sayings and doings of the flock. Not to mention the 81 angels, who presumably are monitoring them all, including the tattle–tales, 24/7/365.

As far as Asaf’s “20 years of happy marriage” to Burton is concerned, I wonder if he recalls the physical consummation of that marriage with similar affection?

62. Golden Veil - May 20, 2019

59.- 60. Cult Survivor – May 19, 2019
61. Ames Gilbert – May 19, 2019

I imagine that although Asaf Braverman has people removed from the Slack conversation, many of the students are still able to connect with each other via, for example, Facebook. The question is, does he try to control alternative means of communication by telling his students not to connect with those that he has excommunicated – as does Burton?

I took a look at the “Centers and Its Parts” workshop (thank you very much, Cult Survivor) and all the presenters are speaking English as though it is a second language. I wonder if, especially given the topic, the presenters are all former Fellowship of Friends students – or not…

But what struck me is this question: with English as their second language – are online members of the Be Period community (and now the copy cat Fellowship of Friends) and prospective students from other countries searching in English to research Robert Burton, the Fellowship of Friends, Be Period and Asaf Braverman – prior to joining their organizations / cults?

It appears that there are two Americans taking the workshop, clearly not very diligent in vetting the organization before coming onboard. But since the workshop is from at least six months ago, at least some of these presenters / students may no longer be involved with Be Period. Maybe one of the former Be Period students will eventually find their way here…

63. Cult Survivor - May 20, 2019

62. Golden Veil

I imagine that although Asaf Braverman has people removed from the Slack conversation, many of the students are still able to connect with each other via, for example, Facebook. The question is, does he try to control alternative means of communication by telling his students not to connect with those that he has excommunicated – as does Burton?
I was told that there is no task from Braverman to avoid contact with former members of his group. On the other hand, since the connections between members in an “online school” like Beperiod are much weaker than in a physical one like the Fellowship of Friends I assume that when a person leaves Braverman’s group and is removed from the Slack platform they just vanish.

I took a look at the “Centers and Its Parts” workshop (thank you very much, Cult Survivor) and all the presenters are speaking English as though it is a second language. I wonder if, especially given the topic, the presenters are all former Fellowship of Friends students – or not…
None of the participants are Fellowship of Friends students. Braverman expelled all FOF students from his group in order to be able to present his teaching as his own. Besides, having FOF students in Beperiod was also inconvenient to Braverman because they know where the skeletons are buried so to speak.

But what struck me is this question: with English as their second language – are online members of the Be Period community (and now the copy cat Fellowship of Friends) and prospective students from other countries searching in English to research Robert Burton, the Fellowship of Friends, Be Period and Asaf Braverman – prior to joining their organizations / cults?
Initially people search for “Gurdjieff”, “Ouspensky”, “Fourth Way”, etc. and find Braverman’s sites right at the top. After that, people don’t search for “Robert Burton” or “Fellowship of Friends” since there is no mention to Burton or the FOF on Braverman’s sites. They may search for “Asaf Braverman” on Google and see the following links on the first page (as of today):

1. Asaf Braverman – YouTube
2. Asaf Braverman | Facebook
3. Asaf Braverman, Author at Be Community – BePeriod
4. Asaf Braverman | Founder of the Be Community
5. Backstage – George Gurdjieff | Be Community
6. Asaf Braverman, California, Author at George Gurdjieff | Be Community
7. Asaf Braverman – Israel | Professional Profile | LinkedIn
8. Asaf Braverman departs and Robert Burton reveals his petty dictator…

Not long ago all the links pointed to Braverman’s sites — only recently the link to Tim’s REB blog started to show at the end — so people searching for “Asaf Braverman” had no clue that he was associated with Burton and the FOF. That was intentional, of course. Braverman is very aware that any connection to Burton or the FOF is “radioactive”, to use his own words.

It appears that there are two Americans taking the workshop, clearly not very diligent in vetting the organization before coming onboard. But since the workshop is from at least six months ago, at least some of these presenters / students may no longer be involved with Be Period. Maybe one of the former Be Period students will eventually find their way here…
I hope so. Now that Tim’s REB blog is showing on the first page, people will be able to connect Braverman to the FOF and the chances are considerably larger.

64. GoldenVeil - May 20, 2019

63. Cult Survivor – May 20, 2019

This is good.


But am I going crazy? Probably… but just a couple of days ago, I say a portrait of Robert Burton and Alex Horn by the same artist who did the portraits on this page – somewhere – and a lineage from Gurdjieff to Ouspensky and the others, through Horn and Burton to Asaf Braverman. Where was / what happened to that page!? Okay, here it. Asaf may say that an association with Robert Burton is “radioactive” but he still touts it extensively, with illustrations, on one of his websites.


Really hoping that someone will post about the winery soon on the Wikipedia page…

65. Cult Survivor - May 20, 2019

64. GoldenVeil

ggurdjieff.com is a 7-year-old site from the time that Braverman was in the FOF so that’s probably an oversight. A sign of that it’s an old site is that the links to the images on the section that Braverman mentions Burton are broken:

Gurdjieff’s Legacy in the 21st Century
[NO IMAGE] And so ends the arguable history of the Fourth Way as it manifests in the 20th century. Arguable, I say, because many will claim that it ended with Gurdjieff’s death in 1949, denouncing even Peter Ouspensky from the title of heir to its spirit (let alone giving any credit to the later generations of Nyland, Horn and Burton). History is, inevitably, an inexact science, one subject to the interpretation of the historian. But since those interested in Gurdjieff – who has passed away – may find interest in his influence – which stays on – I have here given its outline as best as I could.

[NO IMAGE] I encountered the Fourth Way in 1995, joining Burton’s Fellowship of Friends. I moved to the California headquarters in 2000 and began working closely with Burton on his teaching. In 2007, I was forced to set out on a two year journey, which brought me in contact with the origin of the ancient wisdom that I had been previously studying in theory. I traveled to all the major ancient sites of the world, spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America.

Those two years of travel were an odyssey – a genuine encounter with the miraculous – which is always bitter-sweet and involves as much payment as it bestows reward. The experience was proof, if any were needed, that the spirit of ancient wisdom is as alive and accessible today as it ever was in previous days. The spark didn’t leave with Gurdjieff’s departure nor had it arrived only when he set foot on the stage. But to tell more than this would require a retelling of the entire teaching, which has been the aim of BePeriod.

According to my friend that was in Braverman’s group, people that join his group are not aware of his connection to Burton or the Fellowship of Friends. Joining an “online school” is not like joining a physical one — the level of commitment is much lower — so I assume that people are not very concerned about the integrity of the founder thus they don’t do any research before joining.

In the online world it’s very easy to join and to leave, that’s why I believe that Braverman has plans beyond his “online school”: his ultimate goal is the Fellowship of Friends after Burton passes away. Time will tell.

66. Associated Press - May 20, 2019

“I was forced to set out on a two year journey,”

Wasn’t that forced exile due to Asaf Braverman being married to two different women at the same time; as I seem to remember it? Or, possibly, some other U.S.A. visa violation? A minor infraction perhaps, however, I remember him as being a ‘wise-ass’ of a person – who, like Robert Earl Burton, felt like they could do anything they wanted as long as they could get away with it.

67. Artemis44 - May 21, 2019

66. Associated Press

40 people had to leave Apollo in 2007 because their religious visas were cancelled. Asaf was one of them.

68. Ames Gilbert - May 21, 2019

I had looked at the collection of Asaf Braverman’s “Ark in Time” websites when they first came to my attention, years ago. Now I’ve been reminded of them, I took another look, specifically at the “Backstage” web page mentioned above.

My analysis: The white spaces between the words and paragraphs are believable, and possibly the punctuation. The rest? Pure self–referential fluff, basically a word salad with various ‘esoteric keywords’ posing as salad dressing. Meaningless, by any criteria, and even below the low, low standard of Hugh James ‘research’ (#53, above) in that there is a higher proportion of lies by omission.

69. brucelevy - May 21, 2019


Knight is “The Secret” psycho.

“Now QAnon has a new group of allies: a woman who claims she’s a conduit for a 35,000-year-old warrior god, and her thousands of followers. Since February, at least three top QAnon promoters have made plans to visit a sprawling Washington-state property owned by J.Z. Knight, a New Age guru whose former acolytes have accused her of running a cult.”

“Knight claims that she can channel the spirit of Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old warrior spirit who supposedly waged war on the mythical city of Atlantis. Skeptics say Knight’s “channeling” of Ramtha is just her speaking in a different voice.”

70. brucelevy - May 21, 2019

Just Google QAnon if you don’t know what this group of misfits represent.

71. Cult Survivor - May 21, 2019

69. brucelevy

Those are the people behind the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know!?”:


Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment:

J. Z. Knight:

72. Insider - May 21, 2019

69. brucelevy
Around the mid-80s, 3 FFers left Burton to follow Knight, moving to Yelm, WA.

73. brucelevy - May 21, 2019

71. Cult Survivor

Also “The Secret”.

74. brucelevy - May 21, 2019

71. Cult Survivor

Also several on their casting disavowed the whole shtick. Especially the physicists. They said they were misled and mis-edited.

75. brucelevy - May 21, 2019

And why Marlee Matlin worked with them is a mystery, unless it was just for money.

76. brucelevy - May 21, 2019

Amit Goswami was especially upset.

77. Ames Gilbert - May 22, 2019

Heh, heh! I well remember the hype about “What the Bleep…”, it was an artful public relations exercise, definitely overseen by professionals, IMHO. In this area (Nevada City/Grass Valley, northern CA), there were posters/flyers, stickers, opinion pieces in the alternative press (and even in the Union, IIRC), for several months before the premiere. All insinuating that the movie was symptomatic of and a signal to start an underground rebellion against the status quo, and heavily insinuating that officialdom, both political and scientific, was against it coming out.

Well, it certainly tickled my curiosity, and I was one in a full house up there in the Nevada Theater. Lots of excitement and expectation throbbing in the air…

What a let–down! The movie started off well enough, but gradually descended until it was basically advertising for ‘magic water molecules’ and of course, appearances by the charismatic female leader, ending with invitations to make contact and take the ‘revolution’ further. Great production values, obviously lots of professionals and $$ behind it.

I thought the $7 was a good entertainment value, both the movie and the audience. Listening in on the conversations afterwards in the foyer, there seemed to be two distinct groups. A small section, excited beyond measure, and the cynics/realists, by far the majority.

78. Golden Veil - May 22, 2019

To hasten enlightenment, J.Z. Knight has encouraged her students to drink wine and smoke tobacco and take a daily elixir that includes industrial lye. In a 2 minute video clip from one of her meetings she appears drunk, stoned or both, and at one point proclaims “F-ck God’s chosen people! I think they have earned enough cash to have paid their way out of the g-ddamned gas chambers by now.” In the link below to a short article in the South Thurston Journal, a newspaper close to her RSE compound, see the second video.

She is clearly a nasty piece of work, a delusional guru, much like Robert Burton.


79. Insider - May 22, 2019

78. Golden Veil (which in Qspeak is code for Grass Valley, so be on the lookout for hidden messages)

So J.Z. channels Ramtha. Not to be outdone, Robert Burton has direct communication with 80 “men who became angels,” the oldest angel, and finally the Absolute herself/himself. Must be all those meds and drugs Burton has been enjoying all these years.

80. Artemis44 - May 22, 2019

The Matrix, The Secret, What The Bleep Do We Know… we used to call it B Influence remember? No matter how you call it’s all the same horse shit.

81. brucelevy - May 22, 2019

80. Artemis44

Are there people who believe that The Matrix is more then a s/f movie? I would never have placed it in with these two scams.

82. Artemis44 - May 22, 2019

I was in the FOF when The Matrix came out and everybody was talking about it at lunches at Apollo d’Oro. Definitively B Influence.

83. brucelevy - May 22, 2019

82. Artemis44

Well, they’re fucking morons living on bizarro earth.

84. Golden Veil - May 23, 2019

Work language, make that Fellowship of Friends “Work” language: you’re the Queen or King or Jack of La-Di-Da, and identified (or not identified), expressing (or repressing) negative emotions and using sex energy (maybe to make art) and making payment with your body, hard earned cash, the vouchers, or your trust fund. Oh, and if you’re not a current Student, but doing research on this “esoteric Fourth Way School”, forget about joining – or make one of the biggest mistakes of your Life!

85. Artemis44 - May 23, 2019

84. Golden Veil

You forgot the body types and the chief feature mate. You must be a Venusian with tramp feature.

86. John Harmer - May 23, 2019

#84 #85 well, if all else fails, you can always blame the phase of moon 🙂

87. brucelevy - May 23, 2019


They’re ALL the same. If they are a “teacher/guru” you can be sure they are sexual predators, sociopaths, narcissists and criminals. All of them. Period. The real teachers are invisible.

88. brucelevy - May 23, 2019

If there are any.

89. Insider - May 23, 2019

87. brucelevy

We could also say that a certain proportion of human beings, for whatever reasons, become sexual predators, sociopaths, narcissists and criminals. To fulfill their desires, some go into business/banking/Wall St, some into politics, some into the military, some into higher education (non-teaching), some into entertainment, some into athletics, some into the “healing/therapy” professions, and some become “teachers/gurus.”

Water must flow until it finds the swamp.

90. brucelevy - May 23, 2019

89. Insider

Also true

91. Artemis44 - May 23, 2019

84. Golden Veil

What happened? Drunk blogging?

92. Cult Survivor - May 23, 2019

89. Insider

We used to call it the process of crime, disease or corruption, remember?

In that sense, this blog represents the process of healing — “the process by which errors and disasters can be repaired, a damaged organ return to health, and men approach normality by right understanding of natural law.” (Rodney Collin, “The Theory of Celestial Influeence”).

The Fellowship of Friends is the bacteria, this blog is the white cells — vaccines are created from infected cells — and the internet is the blood stream that transports the antibodies to the healthy cells for them not to be contaminated by the bacteria.

It’s only a matter of time until the contaminated cells die because of lack of food from new cells that would feed the infection.

93. Phutatorius - May 24, 2019

82. Artemis44: I was long gone from the FOF by the time The Matrix appeared. Certain scenes in it reminded me of Jodorowsky’s “The Holy Mountain” – almost like it was a ripoff of that very disturbing Gurdjieffian movie, or perhaps it was an anti-Gurdjieffian movie. (A “student” at the Chicago Centre [sic] recommended it to me back in the late 70s.) Was that ever discussed at those lunches?

94. Cult Survivor - May 24, 2019

93. Phutatorius

I was also in the FoF at that time so I remember what happened.

When “The Matrix” came out FoF members divided in 3 groups:

1. A group that was saying things like “Wow, The Matrix is so amazing!”, “Did you see the part were the water molecules were changing depending of the energy of the person looking at them?”, “Did you notice that the song that played at the end of the movie with the credits was saying ‘Awake! Awake!’?”, “I’m going this week to Yuba City to watch it for the third time!”, etc.

2. A group that was looking at people in group 1 with judgement and saying things like “I can see your magnetic center is still open, if you don’t stop feeding it you will lose the school”, “your lower self is using B Influence to take you out of the school”, etc.

3. A group, usually composed of older people, that was totally lost and saying things like “What are they talking about?”, “Is that a recent movie?”, etc.

By the way, the same division in 3 groups happened when “The Secret” and “What The Bleep Do We Know” movies and Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” came out.

Regarding Jodorowsky, an interesting variation of this phenomenon happened when Robert started to “key” the tarot and asked some students to research his work (he is connected with the tarot of Marseilles — he even asked an Argentinean student to contact him (Jodorowsky is French-Chilean). Some people started watching his movies, reading his books, etc., but this time group 1 was stronger and group 2 was weaker because “the Teacher is interested in Jodorowsky”. Group 3, the older crowd, was still saying things like “What the heck are they talking about?”.

95. WhaleRider - May 24, 2019

At least ya’ll got to go to the movies. In earlier days at Renaissance we were so cut off from outside culture, I didn’t find out John Lennon had been shot until a week later.

There were signs back in the 80’s of how anal burton and the cult would become.

I remember at one point during my grooming process, I was invited to attend a chamber piano recital with limited seating at what was known then as the Goethe Academy.

burton controlled who sat where, and rather than sit among the audience, I was seated in one of the two single arms chairs placed directly in front of the audience on either side of the pianist, in full view by burton who sat in the center front row.

As many of us on salary can attest, after a long day toiling in the sun, staying awake for a concert at the end of an equally long week often took a Herculean effort, and so there I was, exhausted, seated as an “impression” in front of burton, in a soft cushy chair, worried about the impression I would make.

Lucky for me, although I was dead tired, the recital was music I loved.

I began intentionally nodding my head slightly, keeping time with the music, as a musician or conductor…or maybe even just a person who loves music…might do. This kept me engaged in the music and awake at the same time, lest I nod off right in front of burton and never be invited again.

By the end, I was so relieved and proud of myself that I didn’t nod off once, and god forbid if I had; I wasn’t expecting a compassionate response from onlookers, especially burton. I was afraid had I nodded off it would somehow symbolically broadcast how “asleep” I was, so I was determined to stay awake at any cost.

Afterward at the reception I remember burton approached me and commented that I looked like I had enjoyed the music, to which I responded that I had.

However, his tone of voice and demeanor conveyed a subtext that maybe I had enjoyed the music just a little too much.

This came as a destabilizing shock after all the conscious effort I had made to stay awake, which was incredibly hard to do. I didn’t dare close my eyes during a concert, or I felt I would be judged harshly. The idea of sleep had been weaponized.

So needless to say, although my efforts did create memory, despite my hard work, apparently they did not appear to be the “right” efforts, and I don’t recall being seated there again.

That’s how I felt most, if not all of the time I spent near burton…you never quite knew where you stood.

After all, I had been indoctrinated to believe “confusion is a higher state”…reminds me of the Walrus and the Carpenter.

96. Linda Jo - May 25, 2019

An Apple Seed and Trained Monkeys
By Harriet Lerner

97. warpage - May 25, 2019

There is, perhaps, more or less some validity in posting one’s FOF personal experiences. There is, perhaps, less validity in the links to other cults with similar power, sex and money crazed leaders. The post, some pages back, where a cult leader had been prosecuted and his ‘church’ disbanded I would have thought caught the eye of many (it was not made clear if this leader had been jailed – yet).

We do not have to look far for cult qualities in our daily lives as ‘outees’. It could be someone in our street manifesting socio- or psychopathic tendencies or any manner of manipulation to make us dependent on him/her and give them just what they want.

As the saying goes…

“Beware the smile on the face of the tiger.”

98. John Harmer - May 25, 2019

#96 I found Harriet’s stories of her childhood strangely disturbing. Though she appears calm about it now, it seems her elder sister was very cruel to her. It also seemed that the three instances she relates all depend on lies being told and believed by others, and also an environment where children can feel deep shame because their family has less money than others, and that you know you are loved if you are gifted with impressive presents. Thinking about why it might be relevant to the Blog, I wondered if Harriet ended up in a cult – then I saw she is writing for a psychotherapy journal, and psychotherapy is a mild form of cult, with charismatic leaders, and the group think over the theories favoured by the leaders of that school of thought.

99. Phutatorius - May 25, 2019

94. Cult Survivor; Thanks.

100. ton2u - May 25, 2019


101. ton2u - May 25, 2019

Stated previously, occasionally a FOF themed nighttime dream occurs to me – as did last night. burton was challenging all comers to a boxing match, I was preparing by affixing small metal shards to the punching surface of my boxing gloves – cheating in order to do more damage to the foe (?) While I was preparing another match was finishing, a young woman had just whipped burton’s ass and I walked away with her, congratulating her, asking how she managed to defeat him, she being small and slight, he having a weight and reach advantage. She indicated that she fought him “on the inside.” burton now beaten and bloodied was not going to engage in another match, instead, as a sort of diffused form of retribution / blame, he threatened to fire anyone he saw as not doing their job….

An anima / animus / shadow relationship comes easily to mind…. the little lady as anima beating up on a shadow figure…. and replacing a shady tactic (cheating) with a highly symbolic strategy – ‘fighting on the inside.’ The weight and reach advantage v.s. fighting on the inside seems highly symbolic of a waking situation…. experience with FOF and burton still “weighs” on me – at least “subconsciously.” – these experiences still reaching out to me over the distance and expanse of time. I, continuing to beat up on burton through the blog, fighting on the inside with memories…. If he cares to Whalerider might be able to add to interpretation/amplification if anything leaps to mind ?

102. ton2u - May 25, 2019

And there is humorous irony in how the dream is presented to the waking state – e.g. burton and “all comers”

103. WhaleRider - May 25, 2019

Awesome dream and excellent interpretation! Had I had that dream, I would have interpreted it the same way. I believe it is an act of bravery and shows strength of your character seeking to confront the shadow, instead of fleeing from it.

One small observation: in describing the “metal shards”, and from what you have shared on this blog, it seems to me that they could symbolize the pain or painful memories that burton caused you, but I leave that to you to determine for yourself. It appears to me that the psyche craves justice.

I’m always grateful when my feminine side shows up in my dreams, and from what I can remember, she is always a positive force, not just window dressing. Often I have the same theme in my dreams, that my feminine side somehow saves me from my shadow side.
(which would be reversed in a woman, I believe, which means burton could appear in a woman’s dream as a positive force)

Despite claiming to be “a goddess housed in a man’s body”, your dream also illustrates for me why burton has a hostile relationship with the creative and insightful feminine side of a male, he mischaracterizes as “feminine dominance”, his nemesis; the obstacle to his obsessive pursuit of seducing heterosexual males. He is under the delusion that he is that positive force for his male followers; he would like to be perceived as female in his gayness, but acting out from his shadow side by exploiting his position of power, he is the opposite, IMO, causing psychic damage.

On the other hand, for women, we witness there is moralistic “male dominance”, as evidenced by the recent laws enacted by men restricting a woman’s right to have an abortion.

104. ton2u - May 25, 2019

Much appreciated. In corresponding literature it’s said that the male seeks a balance through connection with an anima figure, symbolically/metaphorically through dream-life or ‘literally’ through union with the opposite sex… just wondering aloud here re: burton’s so-called and supposed embodiment of a “goddess” i.e. a female symbol – how this might factor into the naive “unconscious” attachment/attraction which draws some heterosexual males to him ?

105. ton2u - May 25, 2019

… “metal shards… could symbolize the pain or painful memories…”

Thanks for that finer point I hadn’t considered… symbolical weaponization of fragments from a shattered life to use against a perpetrator of transgression. Brilliant… and the innate intelligence of dream life!

I’ll get off it now so the blog can return to lighter fare…

106. fofblogmoderator - May 25, 2019

#97 is a new contributor

107. fofblogmoderator - May 25, 2019

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