Robert Earl Burton


Robert Earl Burton, born in 1939, founded the Fellowship of Friends on New Year’s Day, 1970, after a period of study with the Fourth Way teacher and theater director, Alex Horn, who was affiliated with the Gurdjieff Foundation in the 1960s. Alex Horn also studied with English writer and playwright Rodney Collin, Peter Ouspensky’s pupil, late in Collin’s life, in Mexico.

The Fellowship of Friends grew so rapidly that in 1971 its students collectively purchased the land that became Apollo, located in the Sierra foothills of California. Over the decades the external form of the school—Apollo, the Fellowship’s worldwide centers, and the teaching—took shape and flowered from Robert’s conscious vision.

Basing his teaching on George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky’s Fourth Way writings, Robert focused relentlessly on “self-remembering,” the effort to increase consciousness by a direct effort to be present within this moment. He has directed his students also to study related teachings in esoteric schools from all eras, isolating the common thread to reveal their universal message.

Robert lives at Apollo, together with more than five hundred members of the Fellowship, and teaches at many events each week. His students live in more than eighty cities around the world, traveling regularly for special gatherings together.

How to describe a conscious teacher? He does what no one else will or can do—teaching the most unpopular of all truths: that our illusory sense of “I” must die before presence can be born. He is a living reminder that it is possible to awaken, and that presence means humility, acceptance, and conscious love.