Gurdjieff's teaching is a way for a human being to develop his or her latent capacities - physical, mental and emotional - in an integrated way. This process, in time, leads to a deeper understanding of oneself, a more vivid interaction with life and the possibility of connecting with spiritual influences.
The great religious traditions have evolved special environments (e.g. anchoritism and monasticism) outside of the ordinary conditions of life, each with its special emphasis on development of the body, the emotions or the mind.
Gurdjieff brought to the West a "fourth way", a way which cultivates work simultaneously on all sides of oneself, a way which does not require withdrawal from life, but shows us how a new relationship with oneself, with one's life, provides the material for inner work.
One could speak of the search for presence, self-knowledge, an awakened state, being and consciousness - but it is only through real experiences that these words take on meaning.
"... there are different degrees and different levels of consciousness. Both consciousness and the different degrees of consciousness must be understood in oneself by sensation, by taste."
G I Gurdjieff