In The Fourth Way by P. D. Ouspensky there are two interesting statements on long thoughts:


“The higher mental centre is still quicker and does not use even allegorical forms, as higher emotional centre does. We can say that it uses symbolical forms. It gives the possibility of long thought.” The Fourth Way, p. 234.


“I can tell you what is lacking in our thinking, but if you have no observations of your own about it, it will mean nothing to you. Each thought is too short; our thoughts should be much longer. When you have experience of short thoughts and long thoughts, you will see what I mean.” The Fourth Way, p. 345.


In the beginning of the 1990-ties, I instructed a study group to work out a long thought that could be used especially as a meditation. I gave them 40 catchwords representing as many basic esoteric ideas. The successive order was such that catchword No. 1 was to lead on to No. 2, No. 2 to No. 3, and so forth all the way to No. 40 in the consciousness of the person using this long thought. The condition was that the person in question had some theoretical knowledge of hylozoics (Laurency’s writings) and had worked practically with the fourth way system of consciousness activation. Under the leadership of Johan Niklasson the group completed each catchword with materials taken from the writings of Laurency and from the Fourth Way by P. D. Ouspensky, so that finally a rather full esoteric meditation was obtained. The result is the Long Thought No. 1 presented here.


Such a long thought as the present one can be easily learnt thanks to its simple structure in catchwords and the meditating person’s understanding of their connotations. The more he knows and understands, the more he is able to put into each catchword. Going through them all should take at least 15 minutes.


Even people who assert that they “cannot meditate” have found the work at Long Thought No. 1 to be very rewarding.


The structure is as follows: 1 to 6 inclusive sum up the results of everybody’s self-observation of their own mechanicalness, the opposite of consciousness. 6 marks the transition to the next group of ideas.


7 to 14 inclusive deal with the seven laws of life that are the most important for man.


15 to 18 inclusive concern the four noble truths about suffering.


19 to 26 inclusive are about the noble eightfold path.


27 to 38 inclusive deal with the twelve essential qualities.


39 and 40 inclusive concern the elder brothers and their work according to the plan.


All individual consciousness development proceeds under the balancing of knowledge and being. Our knowledge must increase, but also our being. Knowledge is all we know. Being is all we are: qualities, abilities, experience, minus our knowledge. Too much knowledge in relation to too little being affords just a superficial understanding. Only when being in its growth has caught up with knowledge will understanding be sufficient. Our work on Long Thought No. 1, for instance, will afford us the possibility of growing in knowledge as well as in being. The more we know, the more we can put into the 40 ideas. The more we grow in being, the more deeply we understand, and the longer we can meditate, on the 40 ideas, which are one single, continuous thought.


 The six long thoughts on the first six essential qualities are examples of how to work on the important material we have received on this subject.


Your work on long thoughts will be particularly efficient if you start by putting yourself in a deeper brain wave state, what neurophysiologists call deep alpha (average brain wave frequency about 7 Hz). Such a state is obtained if you sit down comfortably in a quiet environ­ment, close your eyes and direct your undivided attention to your breath, slowing it down, then direct your attention to all the muscles of your body and relaxing them by an act of the will, systematically and in turn (beginning with your head and ending in your feet, or the other way round). Deep alpha is our most efficient state where it is easiest to direct attention continuously and keep it on the object of our thought.