top of page
  • Writer's pictureJeric Te

Acting According to Your Conscience: Insights from G.I. Gurdjieff

In the realm of self-development and spiritual growth, few figures stand as prominently as George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. His teachings, encapsulated in works such as "Meetings with Remarkable Men," offer profound insights into the nature of human existence and the journey towards self-awareness. One of his notable quotes, “You must learn not what people round you consider good or bad, but to act in life as your conscience bids you. An untrammelled conscience will always know more than all the books and teachers put together,” serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of individual conscience.

The Wisdom of an Untrammelled Conscience

Gurdjieff’s emphasis on an "untrammelled conscience" highlights the value of internal guidance over external validation. In a world where societal norms and external opinions often dictate behavior, Gurdjieff encourages us to tune into our inner voice. This inner compass, he asserts, has a depth of wisdom surpassing that of external sources like books and teachers.

Navigating Good and Bad

Societal standards of good and bad can be fluid and subjective, influenced by culture, time, and context. Gurdjieff challenges us to rise above these fluctuating standards and seek a deeper understanding through our conscience. This doesn’t imply a disregard for societal norms but rather a balanced approach where external standards are weighed against internal truths.

Conscience in Action

  1. Self-Reflection: Regular introspection helps in distinguishing the voice of conscience from the noise of external influences. Meditation, journaling, and mindful practices are effective tools for this purpose.

  2. Integrity and Authenticity: Acting according to conscience fosters integrity and authenticity. When actions align with internal beliefs, there is a harmonious resonance that brings peace and satisfaction.

  3. Courage to Stand Alone: Following one’s conscience often requires the courage to stand alone, to make decisions that might go against the grain of societal expectations.

  4. Continuous Learning: While Gurdjieff emphasizes the supremacy of an untrammelled conscience, he does not discount the value of learning from books and teachers. The key is to integrate external knowledge with internal wisdom.

Gurdjieff’s Broader Teachings

Gurdjieff’s teachings extend beyond individual conscience. His philosophy encourages the development of self-awareness, the pursuit of spiritual growth, and the realization of one’s potential. His ideas often intersect with other spiritual traditions, promoting a holistic view of human development.


In embracing the wisdom of an untrammelled conscience, we embark on a path of authentic living, guided by an inner sense of right and wrong that transcends external judgments. Gurdjieff’s insights remain relevant, urging us to cultivate a conscience that is informed, yet independent—a true beacon in the journey of life. For those interested in exploring Gurdjieff's teachings further, offers a wealth of resources and insights. Antonio, a dedicated teacher, hosts free weekly virtual meetings every Tuesday from 5:30-7 PM PDT, providing an opportunity to delve deeper into Gurdjieff's philosophies and their applications in modern life.

9 views0 comments


bottom of page