In this world where Doing prevails over Being, where human value is measured by its efficiency, productivity and automatism, who am I? What is my place? How can I connect with peace,
beauty, grace, harmony and silence? “Finding your own meditation is of utmost importance, for in finding it will be joined by great joy, more peace, more silence, more unity, more dignity, more grace.
When, in 1989 Osho asked me to start teaching the Gurdjieff Movements in his community in Poona, I was far from realizing that I would be taking my first steps on a path that constitutes the essence of my life.
For many people, too, the practice of Gurdjieff’s movements has proven to be their meditation in motion.
Very conscious of the compulsion of modern man to be constantly active, Gurdjieff introduced the Movements as one of the most essential practices to live his teaching in a direct and dynamic way.
Living most of my activities in movement and often under stress, I finally found in this approach the possibility to connect with inner stillness and rest.
Before his death, Gurdjieff entrusted the responsibility of his teaching to Mrs. De Salzmann, in particular the transmission of the movements, which she did with extraordinary intelligence and clarity. Moreover, she added a more feminine dimension, teaching the notion of effort as well as that of letting go, of availability towards a higher energy which enters through the head and is transmitted to the whole Being, particularly in the practice of the Movements. She also added sitting meditation to the more active aspect of the work.
3 ESSENTIAL KEYS
3 practices that can always be done:
– Keeping a sensation of the body or part of the body as often as possible
– Breathe consciously as often as possible
-Practicing economy of energy. Being in a state of physical, emotional and mental relaxation.
There are in us all kinds of agitation, tensions and dissimulations, linked to fear, expressed or hidden. Everything is inscribed in the body:
Something is bothering me: I have an important appointment, and here I am stuck in a traffic jam at the entrance to the city. I observe the shortening of my breathing, the clenching of my jaws and the tendency to imagine the worst.
If I become attentive to myself at this moment, I see that I have a choice:
Either let myself be tortured by anguish, or stay connected with one of these 3 keys.
I see that little by little the anguish loses its grip on me and the sun shines again!
When the body is relaxed, the heart open, the mind calm, we move consciously; arms and legs and are inhabited by a particular quality of vibration that we can call the Presence. The body then enters in resonance with a quality of energy finer and more subtle. It is freed from the prison of unconscious habits and automatisms.
WILLINGNESS AND SUBMISSION
Our attention in ordinary life often remains at a passive level, taken here and there, like a weather vane in the wind, by any external event, by any person who passes by, and which does not really concern us. …. what makes the success of the media…
Here, in the face of our inertia, we develop an attention that is more conscious, more active, more deliberate. I am learning to live the choice and freedom to put my attention where I feel it is interesting or important.
Then comes a moment in the practice when it is necessary to let go and submit to a force greater than ourselves which is the force of the group, but also that of the movement and the music itself. This moment of transition between effort and non-effort is subtle and individual: there can be too much effort, or not enough. We are walking on the razor’s edge. On one side inertia, on the other domination and a certain form of violence.
This is particularly dear to me, this feeling of abandonment to a collective wave made of music, of grace, filled with the archetype that the movement represents: a dervish movement, and it is my whole being that is set ablaze with dynamism and intense awakening; a prayer, and a fragile but tangible link is created with a space of peace and union.
The warrior and the lover
My experience with the Work of the 4th Way, the name that designates the way transmitted by Gurdjieff, has shown me how important it is to live both Will and Love. The practice of the Movements little by little connects us with the power of our will, with an inner strength, with our abilities, which if they were alone, could lead to a dangerous misunderstanding:
A certain domination over ourselves and others that is not true power.
Power is not power over others, or even over oneself, the destructive desire to dominate, comparison, competition and intransigence.
Power is our own life force, an inner flame that wants to assert itself in its totality, and lead us to fulfil our highest destiny.
Hence the importance of developing in us multidimensional sensitivity and submission to a higher dimension.
A DOUBLE STRATEGY FOR A STABLE PRESENCE
Presence is a fascinating mystery, a vibration of Being here and now.
In daily life, we are often passive, at the mercy of everything that affects us. The mind hears words it thinks it understands and immediately gets carried away in automatic associations and all kinds of stories; feelings and emotions are blindly inflamed, and the body feels abused, or apathetic; heavy and cluttered with successive desires….
But where am I really in there? Where is my freedom?
In the experience of the Presence is Freedom
A free attention, which involves my body, heart and mind at the same time
Can my mind become silent and still, and perceive what is without adding words, names, values, judgments?
Movements bring us to this state where consciousness is present as much to observe oneself as it is to observe the life around us: People, music, space, light and colors …
As the thinking mind subsides, awareness grows, the mind which sees, not thinks
While teaching the movements, I am often confronted with this delicate situation: The repetition of these movements which must be practiced in a very precise way risks reinforcing the automatism and the tendency to imitate blindly without adding consciousness.
To avoid this, a double strategy:
– Either it is necessary to guide the attention more and more deeply in the observation of the sensations of the body, of the emotions and feelings awakened by the practice, of the postures and transitions, in a slow and meticulous work.
– or you need more intensity and a faster tempo in the body, to awaken its strength. At that moment, the mind lets go of its control and awakens to the present moment. The movement is no longer thought but lived organically.
The instructor’s creativity is at this level. Speak as little as possible so as not to encourage the head to “do” the movement. And maintain vitality, alertness, and relaxation at the individual and collective level.
Or how to experience Presence, Presence to oneself and to others, Presence to what is, and at the same time this infinite joy of a movement in freedom, nourished by a new energy that leaves an undeniable taste in the depths of the Heart of the Being.
Only then can we speak of Sacred Movements.