Tracing his roots back through the Greek Gnostics of Alexandria to Hermes Trismegistos (Thrice Great Hermes, Master of the Egyption Mysteries) and beyond to Zoroaster, Abdullah called his group the "Gnostic Society".
Initially his teaching was based on the psychological methods of GI Gurdjieff, the Armenian spirtual teacher who first taught in Moscow in 1912, then later in Western Europe and USA from 1921 until his death in Paris in 1949. His “Fourth Way” emphasised balanced development of the moving, emotional and thinking functions, together with “Self-remembering” (activation of Deep Mind consciousness).
After being intiated into the Chisti Sufi order around 1960, Abdullah included the spiritual teaching of Sufi Hazrat Inyat Khan. During 1967 Abdullah travelled to the Middle East where, in response to his inner call, he was directed to his most influential teacher Shaikh Abdul al Khyum. In Kandahar, Afghanistan, he was intiated into the Naqshibandi Sufi order, given the spiritual name “Abdullah Isa”, taught the 7 points of the Naqshibandi meditation and the method of “heart to heart” connection between teacher and student. At this time he passed through the “3rd initiation” to attain the “lesser realisation” as spoken of by the Buddha and understood by all true inner teachings.Though the conditions at that time and place demanded Abdullah first become a Muslim, he later held no similar requirement for his own students.
Seven years later, in 1974 the year I became his student, he returned to Afghanistan to complete his “realisation” (enlightenment) at age 56, in the presence of Shaikh Abdul al Khyum. This “4th initiation” involves the “de-construction of the ego”, the complete removal of the intermediate energy formations that, in an undeveloped person stand between the spirit and the physical brains. From that time on his teaching flowed purely through him from above. The source of this he called the “3rd-force of the Sun” or “Neutralising-force of the Sun”.
Stages of Inner growth
A persons spritual level is measured by the degree to which they reflect outwardly, the inner life of their spirit. For understanding the process of development, Abdullah used the model as developed by Gurdjieff. The 3 areas of functioning in life are mental, emotional and physical and the sum of all parts of the person related to thinking, feeling and moving are referred to as the Intellectual Centre, the Emotional Centre and the Moving Centre (which can include the instinctive functioning of the body). Each centre has 3 levels which themselves can be (confusingly) named the moving level, the emotional level and the intellectual level. Within these 3 centres there can be gradual growth through the 3 levels with quantum jumps at the completion of each phase.
Abdullah further divided each level into 7, giving 21 sublevels, equating this to the 21 years it takes the physical body to reach full maturity. The levels can be named infant (0–7 years), child (7–14 years) and adolescent (14–21 years) with 21 years being adult. Gurdjieff named people within these 3 levels, respectively as Man #1, Man #2 and Man #3.
By rising through any one of the 3 centres, a person could become a Man #4 stabilising themselves in the celestial realm, the highest of the 3 worlds of normal human existence, thereby gaining some contact with the 4th energy level and the spiritual dimension, while freeing themselves from the need to reincarnate in a physical body. Traditionally this was done through either the way of the Fakir, the Monk or the Yogi, albeit to arrive, after 20 to 30 years, in a potentially unbalanced state. Gurdjieff proposed a “Fourth Way”. By working simultaneously on the 3 centres, moving, emotional and intellectual, one could arrive at the door of the 4th energy level as a fully balanced Man #4, then further work could potentially break through to the level of Man #5 leaving behind the 3 worlds forever to begin the real spiritual work within the 4th energy level and beyond.
Exercises for Development
Abdullah gave his students a combination of exercises from both the Gurdjieff tradition and the Sufi tradition. From my time in London studying with 2 different Gurdjieff groups, and having met many of the people who had been personally with Gurdjieff, I was in a position to understand in what way Abdullah had enhanced Gurdjieff's system. The first requirement was effort to go against the desires of the body in order to be able to observe the hidden dependence on the body. Only effort, such as fasting would stir up the otherwise unconscious attachment, presenting the opportunity for a real beginning to inner change. To this end Abdullah recommended abstaining from food and water from Sunday evening until Tuesday morning every week.
For development of the Moving Centre he suggested daily physical work or excercise together with Gurdjieffs “Sensing Exercise”. This began with moving the mind through the body, listening to the sensations at each place, and ended with a prayer in each of the solar plexus, abdomen and head. For the Emotional Centre he suggested working to reduce negative emotions, gradually replacing them with positive emotions. As well we practised the Naqshibandi zhikr (silent repetition of a mantra) initially within the heart centre 3 fingers below the left nipple and later extended to the complete 7 points – 5 in the chest, 1 in the abdomen and 1 in the head (named: Adam; Noah and Abraham; Moses; Jesus; Holy Prophet, nafs and Light). To this he added silent prayer, according to individual inclination, during the day. The intellectual centre was taken care of through deep, long, thought on subjects more or less concerned with inner evolution. The Chisti Sufi meditation of concentrating on a 5-pointed star centred on the pituitary gland in the head, as given out by Hazrat Inyat Khan, was also offered.
Tying these together was practise of Silence. Not the outer silence of a quiet superficial-mind of course, but deep inner intelligent-being, devoid of any particular subject.
The purpose of the Silence was to allow inner guidance and help through to the outer self. As the 3 Centres act as a filter to this process the simple practise of silence without developing the 3 Centres leads to heavily distorted inner contact which will lead the person astray in their development. Abdullah taught that more important was the purification and development of the 3 Centres. Only after long struggle at that task does practise of Silence, with a clear channel of contact, assume equal importance.
Looking for inner contact carries with it many dangers. No doubt sitting quietly in a deep state for extended periods of time, with the aim of making contact to the inner worlds, will ultimately bring what is desired. But the inner world is complex beyond the ability of the human brain to understand completely, and the contact can arise from many different sources. The unconscious brain activity can come through intelligently in the Silence giving good information, on the level of body and brain functioning, that is beyond the knowledge of the superficial consciousness. Beyond that the (Deep-mind) Soul, with its intelligence on each of the 3 energy levels of human existence, may begin to shape the thoughts and feelings within the Silence. At times the Spirit itself, in the form of its lowest aspect the Deep-mind Intelligence (“Conscience” or “1st-Force of the Sun”) may become active.
Intimately inter-connected with every person on the Earth is their Inner-guide or “Guide to the Conscience”. The Guide is the individual gatekeeper at the junction of the 3rd and 4th energy levels, filtering access in both directions. As the Guide has usually passed the 3rd initiation they have competence and freedom in the 3 lowest energy levels - the sphere of human existence - and are themselves learning within the 4th energy level. As well as a guard the Guide specifically assists access to the Deep-mind Intelligence. In deep sleep a person connects directly back to these Spiritual levels, undisturbed by the workings of the superficial-mind, but is unable to bring information from there back to the brain consciousness. In dream sleep people are in an intermediate state where information flows more directly from the Spirit through the guide, than in a normal waking state, but the memeories of the dream can be confused when recalling it on awakening. For these 2 reasons dreams can be a usefull tool for inner understanding only if accurate recall has been practised.
Whether inner contact is trained through Silence or dreams or both – apart from the distortion that occurs by the brain (conscious and unconscious) and any lack in development in one or other of the 3 Centres – the main danger is influence by the Jinns. Abdullah took it as one of his main tasks to warn about this danger. Non-human spirits within the 3 lower energy levels could influence the actions, feelings or thoughts of people who prematurely opened themselves up to these levels. The Guide will do their best to protect the person in the case of accidents, but deliberately foolish actions must by natural law run their course. Lacking physical proof, modern people illogically insist that Jinns do not exist, thereby on the one hand removing the unhelpful element of fear, but on the other hand leaving all other doors ajar.