Those who follow the spiritual tradition established by George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866?-1949) call their methods "The Work". There are schools practising the work established in most cities of the western world. The teaching aims to help the seeker to awaken from "Sleep" and develop their true self, the "essence" thus ending the rule over their lives of the "False Personality" or "the Machine" as it is known by them. Students often undertake manual work supervised by a teacher who helps them to observe themselves in order to attain higher consciousness. Some of these techniques include "stop" exercises, studying mental "photographs", self-remembering and acknowledgment of one's "chief feature". The Work also involves dance, literature and music. This struggle with the self is claimed to bring about enhanced vitality and appreciation of life, in short, awakening of "man's latent possibilities".
The Work as it is found today stems from the various schools set up by Gurdjieff's own pupils, Including P.D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicholl, J.G. Bennett, Rodney Collin and Robert de Ropp.
It is thought that Gurdjieff developed his teachings after an encounter with the Kwajaghan, a Sufi brotherhood, during his travels and there are clear Sufi elements in Gurdjieff's work.
Gurdjieff wrote the following books:
The best introduction to Gurdjieff is Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous".