Patterson was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was an exchange student at the University of Vienna and graduated from Bowling Green State University with a B.A. degree in English and minors in philosophy and psychology. He worked in New York for IBM, J. Walter Thompson, BBD&O and Harcourt Brace. He founded and edited In New York magazine and ran it for five years before selling it in 1969. Thereafter, he was the editor-in-chief of Food Management magazine and high-tech editor of Industry Week magazine. He resides in California.
Patterson was a longtime student of Lord John Pentland, who was appointed by Gurdjieff to be the leader of the Work in America and was the president of the New York and San Francisco Gurdjieff Foundations. The Danish mystic Alfred Sorensen, who was given the name "Sunyata" in 1936 by Ramana Maharshi, lived with Patterson starting in 1982 and introduced him to Advaita Vedanta. Sunyata died in 1984 at the age of 94, but in the previous year he introduced Patterson to Jean Klein, a Western Advaita master with whom Patterson studied until Klein’s death in 1998. Klein provided the foundation for a direct experiencing of the body, allowing Patterson to incorporate Work principles with Advaita Vedanta, which he has named "conscious-body-breath-impressions". Klein also provided the necessary catalysis and encouragement for the writing of Patterson’s first book on The Gurdjieff Work, Eating The "I": A Direct Account of The Fourth Way.
Patterson is the founder/director of The Gurdjieff Legacy Foundation through which he teaches study groups, as well as organizes seminars, workshops, and talks on Fourth Way themes. He also founded and directs The Gurdjieff Studies Program, which allows students living out of the reach of ongoing Gurdjieff Legacy Foundation groups to participate in study through correspondence, seminars, and scheduled private meetings.
Sample group meetings are found in the "Fourth Way Meetings" section of Patterson's latest book, Spiritual Survival in a Radically Changing World-Time. The section consists of 324 questions and answers arranged in 36 subsections. Group study includes weekly meetings and "Days of Exploration" where practical work with Fourth Way ideas regarding attention and the triadic brain functioning of the body is explored, experienced, and refined.
After many years as a student of The Fourth Way and discovering no answer to the question that had gradually formed in him—what is the 'self' in self-remembering, Mr. Patterson was called to explore Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism). In doing so, he realized the full significance of the ideas and practices of The Fourth Way and how this sacred and seminal teaching provided not only the necessary foundation, but was applicable on the very highest levels.
He is the founder/director of The Online Fourth Way School and has led groups, as well as given seminars and talks throughout the United States for many years. He has written nine books on the teaching and directed, written and narrated the award-winning film trilogy The Life & Significance of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, Introduction to Gurdjieff's Fourth Way: From Selves to Individual Self to The Self and the just released film Spiritual Pilgrimage - Mr. Gurdjieff's Father's Grave. A new film talk has recently been released. Watch the film: William Patrick Patterson Explores The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda.
He is the founder/editor of The Gurdjieff Journal (est. 1992), the first domestic and international Fourth Way journal. More information can be found about William Patrick Patterson on his Google+ profile page.
Mr. Patterson has also recently been interviewed on three talk radio shows: Radio 3Fourteen, Simple Life Radio and SOTT Talk Radio.
In order to spread the teaching as fully as possible—Mr. Gurdjieff's last wish—Mr. Patterson gives four public seminars a year.
Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff — The Man, The Teaching, His Mission
Eating The "I": A Direct Account of The Fourth Way (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA, 1992)
Struggle of the Magicians (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA, 1998)
Struggle of the Magicians (Greek Translation, Metaekdotiki, Thessalonika, Greece, 1999)
Taking with the Left Hand (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA, 1998)
Taking with the Left Hand (Japanese Translation, The English Agency, Tokyo, Japan, 2004)
Ladies of the Rope (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA, 1998)
Gurdjieff et Les Femmes de la Cordée (La Table Ronde, Paris, France, 2005)
Voices in the Dark (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA, 2000)
The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA, 2008)
Spiritual Survival in a Radically Changing World-Time (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA 2009)
Adi Da Samraj Realized or/and Deluded? (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA 2011)
Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff — The Man, The Teaching, His Mission (Arete Communications, Fairfax, CA 2014)
The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda
Introduction To Gurdjieff's Fourth Way: From Selves To Individual Self To The Self
Documentary Trilogy: The Life & Significance of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff