I’ve changed this site’s name from InnerTradition.net to CreationofNow.com to better reflect its subject matter.

Inner Tradition was just too general. My main focus is highlighting Maurice Nicoll’s influence on contemporary spirituality. While this falls within the original name’s parameters, so does so much else. “Inner Tradition” designates a very broad field; it doesn’t really capture this site’s particular focus within it. So I’ve chosen something more specific.

Why Creation of Now? This was a chapter title and phrase Nicoll used in his book Living Time, and describes the act of becoming conscious in the present moment.

“What raises the level of consciousness and opens us to a different aspect of the WORLD is the creation of now. The time-man knows only state, hurrying from one into another. Now is vertical to this, and belongs to the scale of degrees. In now we get above state. Inner space is changed, enlarged.”[1]

“Something must be brought into every moment, the cumulative effect of which is to create now. Now is not given. While living our ordinary life we must always be doing something else – internally. Consider the exercise of self-knowledge in this respect. Whatever we understand by self-knowledge, one thing we certainly do not understand, that it has to do with now. The time-man in us does not understand this. [Meister] Eckhart says: ‘Mark how to know yourself. To know himself a man must ever be on the watch over himself, holding his outer faculties. This discipline must be continued until he reaches a state of consciousness….’ The object is to reach a state of consciousness – a new state of oneself. It is to reach now, where one is present to oneself.”[2]

The phrase sums up a theme for which Nicoll’s influence is very significant—present-moment spiritual practice in daily life for self-knowledge and inner change.

As I’ve discussed extensively, this was a primary thrust of the practical “work on oneself” of the Fourth Way tradition.

This modern esoteric tradition, with ancient roots, was first introduced to the western world by G.I. Gurdjieff and his onetime pupil P.D. Ouspensky, after they fled the Russian revolution and civil war. It’s had a lasting impact in many ways, but Nicoll’s descriptions of its self-knowledge aspects have been particularly influential in that space where psychology and spirituality meet—which Nicoll sometimes called “esoteric psychology.” As a qualified psychiatrist who studied personally with the leading psychologist Carl Jung and the preeminent esotericists Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, this was a role he was especially equipped for. Nicoll put his medical career aside to study, and, eventually, teach the Fourth Way full time (read more about him here).

The two key practices of the Fourth Way are self-remembering—being conscious in the present moment—and self-observation—watching one’s unconscious psychological reactions as they happen in the moment without being identified with them.

This approach to life, and the self-knowledge and inner transformation it’s said to make possible, is what Nicoll focuses on in his extensive Psychological Commentaries on the teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. He frequently links this “inner work” back to other currents of western esotericism—particularly the teachings of the Gospels—giving practical dimensions to ancient ideas of inner transformation.

While Nicoll doesn’t use the phrase “creation of now” in his Commentaries, his largest body of work, he discusses the same essential idea it expresses at length. He tells us, for example, that the present moment “only becomes now in its full meaning when a man is conscious” within it.[3]

I chose the name “Creation of Now” because it references both the author and ideas I focus on here. One of my early articles also carries this name, and highlights the Fourth Way’s significant impact on modern approaches to present moment spiritual practice. Mindfulness is now popularly practiced by regular people in ordinary life (not just by renunciants in traditional monasteries or retreats for example) but not everyone realises the Fourth Way emphasised and, in many ways, pioneered this approach in the West decades earlier.[4]

I’ve since focused on Nicoll’s particular influence in this field. I’ve argued this little-known author has had a substantial, unrecognised cultural impact by highlighting similarities, both descriptive and conceptual, between his work and that of bestselling author Eckhart Tolle—the most popular independent spiritual teacher today.

Some of these similarities are uncanny. Case in point: while Nicoll wrote of “the creation of now” and quoted the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart in the process, Tolle changed his first name to Eckhart before publishing his debut book titled “The Power of Now”—a phrase that also describes becoming conscious in the present. And incidentally the term “inner space,” which you can find Nicoll using above, is also used in Tolle’s books.

Readers can refer to my articles on self-observation, self-identity, the law of opposites and the “pain-body” for a detailed comparative analysis of their work on different topics. A selection of similarities, drawn from these research articles, can be viewed in a slideshow of quote comparisons.

So to sum up, “Creation of Now” better expresses what this site is about. In case you’re wondering though, any old links with the former name will still work; they’ll just redirect to the new pages.

“All insight, all revelation, all illumination, all love, all that is genuine, all that is real, lies in now – and in the attempt to create now we approach the inner precincts, the holiest part of life.”[5]

– Maurice Nicoll


[1] Maurice Nicoll, Living Time and the Integration of the Life, (Utrecht, Eureka Editions, 1998 [First published, London, Vincent Stuart, 1952]), 267

[2] Ibid., 263

[3] Maurice Nicoll, Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, Vol 1: 102

[4] I’m not suggesting the self-knowledge methods of the Fourth Way are exactly tantamount to mindfulness as taught today, since there is much more to the teaching than that, but there are obvious overlaps.

[5] Nicoll, Living Time, 262