12. DOCTRINES THAT LIVE-ON
THROUGH INDIVIDUAL INVESTIGATIONS
Praxis grew out of certain experiences that have developed over more than thirty years, beginning 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 the 'Holy Mountain' - as it is known. The writings of the saints and their modern successors - little known by modern Christians, 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 if I would help to make the modern 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. For thirty years I have continued to retreat regularly to monasteries on Athos, and 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. Athonite Christianity is quite different from certain New Age ideas, in which people too often invent their own teachings, something fundamentally in conflict with traditional doctrine. In Praxis, everybody is a student but attempting to follow guidance originating - as I now know for certain - from people who have gone beyond this stage.
Now, 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. 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.
Robin Amis - Director, Prxis Research Institute “