When Ouspensky first met the Whirling Dervishes in 1904 he sensed a mystery, not so much of how they did it but why they did it. 12 years later in 1920, having finally escaped from the Russian revolution and after spending 8 years of intense self-study with George Gurdjieff he was in a better position to understand and assess the true significance of the Mevlevi Tradition and practice.
The system he had studied for those 8 years made it clear that to discover ‘the miraculous’, the Divine consciousness present at the centre of every human being, it was necessary to learn how to become free of the dominance of the mechanical body-mind which rules our lives with such insistence. Not that there is anything wrong with the body-mind, but for a higher life, for divine consciousness to flow naturally through us, the body-mind and the changing ego it generates must happily become a servant rather than the master.
In his talks with the Mevlevis Ouspensky found ample evidence of the similarities of their approach to his own: the fundamental unity of man and the creation; the essential need for self-knowledge at the beginning and the following equal development of knowledge and being; the practical relativity of ‘personal’ truth and the consequent demand for tolerance of all; the need for constant practice and self-observation to balance the energies of mind, heart and body so that the divine inner presence can be allowed to manifest in the midst of ordinary life.
All these things and more show that the Mevlevis were exemplary practitioners of the Fourth Way — where the mystical revelation of universal love and eternal consciousness can be allowed to flourish and illuminate human life in the midst of the daily cut and thrust of worldly existence.