For those who are entering this space
for the first time, some background…
George Gurdjieff was an Armenian. A spiritual master
and mystic, who lived on earth from 1872-1949. He set
out at the age of 20, searching for the answer to the
basic question, why am I here, on Earth? His search
took him to ancient monasteries, & temples of learning,
from Egypt, across Central Asia, to Tibet & India.
He discovered secret sufi brotherhoods, guarding knowledge
of the truth he was seeking. He emerged, 25 years later,
in Russia, & began to share the rich learnings from
his travels. He escaped, during the Russian revolution,
with a small caravanserai of pupils, to France, where
he set up the institute for the harmonious development
Among the teachings
that were transmitted at this institute, were
the sacred dances, movements and gymnastics. Based
on The Science of Movements, these are vehicles
for inner transformation. A source of living existential
One has to experience them in one's own body,
to understand their impact on body-mind-emotions.
They demand an extraordinary kind of attention,
divided simultaneously between several different
activities of the body and mind.
Each Movement's external form is 'mathematically'
predetermined from beginning to end.
Every posture, gesture, rhythm has its own place, duration
There is minimal reliance on habit, reflex functioning
The dancer's arms, legs and head must often conform
to independent , contradictory rhythms.
Interior exercises in sensation and counting in canon
may be added, and silent or spoken prayer.
You can do all this only if you are completely centered,
and present. Emotions come up strongly, and are acknowledged,
and dealt with, in the present moment. The process is
designed to cut through masks, & many layers of
personality, to reach the essence, hidden deep within
each of us.
Each dance has its own music, designed by Gurdjieff,
and Russian composer, Thomas de Haartman .The strange
and beautiful rhythms and melodies evoke feelings and
sensations that enhance the process …
Gurdjieff designed many movements and dances around
This 9 pointed star, is an ancient Sufi symbol that
was re-discovered by Gurdjieff during his search for
the Sarmoung Monastery [somewhere in Asia.] This symbol
represents the union of two great universal cosmic laws
& is central to Gurdjieff's teachings.
The Law of Three…states that every manifestation
is the resultant of three forces…Affirming, Denying,
Reconciling. Affirming & Denying forces can stand
in useless opposition & nothing new can emerge,
but when the third force is present, an act of creation
The Law of Seven…states that when a manifestation
evolves, it does so non linearly.
This law explains why, when something begins, it does
not continue, ad infinitum
Why a rainstorm abates, and why a grudge finally loses
its venom…and why there are no straight lines
This law is very visible in the western musical scale,
which is composed of unequal steps.
Doh, re, mi are equi-distant, but between mi & fa,
there is a half step instead of a full step. As we proceed
up the scale, sol, la, si, are equi-distant, and there
is a half step between si and doh. These half steps
become stoppers, where the movement of energy slows
down, & we need additional energy, or SHOCK, for
the process to go past the block, on to its conclusion.
According to Gurdjieff,
both these laws are present in all processes,
from the creation of the universe, to cooking
a meal, to building a house, to writing a book…It
is a symbol of unity in motion.
A few years ago, I wandered into the Commune in
Pune - something I had resisted for 25 years -
and found myself drawn to these strange movements.
Impulsively, I signed up for a 6 week intensive
What followed was the harrowing , quite
terrifying, experience, at the age of 54, of stretching
my unfit, & unwilling body, to impossible limits.
I stuck on, kicking and screaming, resisting all the
way, until one magical moment , a breakthrough, when
I emerged completely centered , and peaceful…
I then went on to explore a new reality.
I trained as an instructor, and , am now teaching any
one who wants to search for themselves, through (what
one of my students calls) this little known form of
We are not dancers. We are all searching for our truth,
through the dances, and movements.
We have all taken time out, to follow this path, while
still engaging fully with life, at all levels.
This work cannot be done as a hobby, or a pastime, or
an easy route to fitness and health. It requires a passionate
commitment to self and to life.
We have, by no means, reached anywhere close to the
standards of precision set forth by Gurdjieff. This
is work in progress, and we watch ourselves, as we are,
mistakes and all. The process of learning these dances
is as beneficial as the actual performance. Through
a series of focused movements, learned in silence, accompanied
by specific music, we have a chance to become more aware
of our inner dialogue. Without the distractions of conversation
and the pressure of our "daily rounds," we
are able to focus on our feelings, reactions, and location
of pain and tension in the body.
We watch ourselves struggle, compare, judge, gloat,
give up, get angry, sad, or frustrated, and, eventually,
let go and accept.
Then we feel the body go through the gestures without
effort, sensing the energy flow that seems to connect
us all to something greater than ourselves.
Learning the movements is learning how to move consciously
those who are ready, within the safety of the group,
sharing affords the opportunity to explore whatever
has come to awareness during the movements, and meditations,
under the guidance of a qualified therapist.