Studies in Inner Christianity
Praxis grew out of certain experiences during the late 1950's, long before the beginning of Praxis Research Institute, when I lacked any clear knowledge which might help me to interpret those experiences and put the lessons they taught me into practice in my life. My investigations in search of an accurate interpretation among the confusions on offer in the 'market place' of Western life took me to the 'Fourth Way' teachings, and from there, through an early love of the Bible and later an awakening of Christianity in my heart, to the one place in the Church to which students of the Fourth Way had been referred for further information at the time of its founder's death - the monastic republic of Mount Athos, in Northern Greece.
My studies up to that date were essential to this purpose. They helped me penetrate through massive obstacles, and after forty long retreats to that Holy Mountain - as it is known - Athos. The writings of the saints of long ago helped bring it to life for me; helped me penetrate beyond unfamiliar words to experiences that had already become familiar. It was there also that I was asked that I should also help make the English speaking world aware of the importance of those ancient truths of the heart.
For a long time, this task narrowed down to translations from early and recent Christian documents concerning the teachings of the saints and the way those teachings might be put into practice. This also led into research into the ways in which monasteries and other serious followers of the ancient teaching understood it, and its practical application in the spiritual life.
Since then, this situation has progressively changed. I continue to retreat regularly to monasteries on Athos, and more recent researches have made it clear that I now have a working relationship with the inner tradition hidden on Athos for so many centuries. This situation, in which certain people investigate the tradition and are followed for a period of time by others, some of whom will take the lead in their turn, so that there is a continual chain between those who have succeeded in the search and those just beginning, is a normal element of the tradition, well defined in Figure 20 of Boris Mouravieff’s Gnosis Volume 1.
This is quite different from certain New Age ideas, in which people invent their own teachings, something fundamentally in conflict with the traditional teachings. In Praxis, everybody is a student, but all are attempting to follow guidance originating - as I now know for certain - from people who have gone beyond this stage. Having clarified certain aspects of the tradition, I myself am now giving more time to my contact with the tradition in the attempt to complete the journey within my lifetime; to go beyond the knowledge we have found towards sanctity itself, but this journey is long, and for me it is far from complete. Meanwhile, I cannot claim more than that I am an experienced student of this way. By now, perhaps, I have the map, but I have not yet finished my journey.
Founder and Director of Praxis Research Institute Inc.