Our Approach to Movements and to the Reality of What We Are
What moves us?
In most cases, a group is a gathering of people who share a
similar goal in their mind. My focus in forming and maintaining a
group, however, is not so much on our goals as on our motives. This is
based on my observation that a group organized around a goal is hardly
able to generate within itself an energy of such quality that justifies
the goal, a fact that becomes painfully evident when the group attempts
to work on the Movements. Trying to solve this problem by heady
discussions aggravates the situation. Thus, as I see, the first
responsibility of a group leader is to facilitate the group to meet in
the depth of motives than on the highness of aims. Similarly, though I
understand concerns about the authenticity of teachings and methods,
the authenticity of our motives seems more important at least in the
beginning of a journey, where I find myself and many of my fellow
The presence of a man like Gurdjieff and Osho, or even of someone who slightly has became aware of a presence of similar quality within oneself, acts as a force that enters us from outside but moves us from within. Such a force also comes from pieces of objective art including Gurdjieff's music and Movements. This force is not available through worship; rather, it originates in the realization that I am Him, He am I, with the combination of happiness and sorrow in recognizing in oneself the same potential for being but so unattended to. A movement that originates in a space closer to the source is distinct from a movement motivated by our personal goals. If I find it more rewarding to work on the Gurdjieff Movements with Osho's sannyasins, those who wished to open themselves to his provocation at least once in their life, than those whose interest in Gurdjieff's idea is mostly intellectual, it is because they have acquired more sensitivity and openness to this phenomenon.
In the beginning, however, we are barely aware of any desire of soul buried within us. Rather, all our motivation in life seems to come from a part of us that is biologically determined, in the sense that they are all connected directly or indirectly with impulses related to the larger meaning of the word survival, that is, of the body, of the species, and of the ego. Even though these impulses could be beneficial to our nature as a biologically-evolved organism, they are constantly diverting our attention away from something extra that is evidently in us: our second nature. A little control we have over our mental attention often gives us an illusion that a little more training of this attention may give us larger freedom. However, given a fuller realization of the extent to which these impulses are governing the major direction and involuntary movement of our attention, it seems evident that a more satisfactory manifestation of ourselves as a man - a double-natured being - would first require our discovery of desires and needs inherent to the second nature of man.
Through persistent inquiry into the sources of our actions and the causes that move our attention, I attempt to bring ourselves to sincere realization of the situation as it is and only then bring our attention to urges that comes from this realization. This comes as a result of persistent asking of more basic questions. What moves us in life? What do we really want? Through sharing these questions of mine with others, I came to realize how unmannerly these questions are. It seems that asking of such questions to ourselves and to others is inhibited not only by social manners but also by our biological conditioning. A group is a situation in which the distinction between survival-based impulses (including ego strivings) and motives based on qualities unique to man becomes clear. The survival-based impulses, in whatever form of disguise, cannot be shared with other group members in a way that contributes to the group energy. Stronger an animal, more separate from others it lives. Since we sense the non-sharability of these survival-based impulses through our animal instinct, the working of which we are not so conscious about, we often manifest a strange form of reluctance and even an alarming drop of intelligence when we attempt to speak honestly about them. I recently learned about the results of an academic study about a similar phenomenon through my latest work of translation: "Emotional Intelligence and Emphathic Accuracy" in a book titled Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life.
In Zen, it has been known for long that one reacts or responds to a question like the ones mentioned above in either one of the two ways: a way that leads him in or a way that leads him out. While our ordinary response to a question is an effort to explain away contradictions, a serious questioning reveals our contradictions and like a sword cuts into the gap between our two contradictory natures, which in terms of physical sensation is like harakiri. As the group goes through this process, one eventually comes to a realization that he has no motives or wishes that he can call truly his own. One typically needs some external help at this point because alone it is difficult to understand the value of this realization. In fact, only after this realization, one can be open to reality and the benefits of the work we may do together.
This realization eventually connects us with what Gurdjieff called the striving to become aware of the aim and significance of the Being of beings, and though less obviously, also with another line of striving Gurdjieff repeatedly mentioned, that is, the striving to free oneself from the consequences of the organ Kundarbuffer. When the group can meet on the ground of these strivings, it is sometimes possible to create among ourselves through our collective efforts a space which we may perceive as sacred in the sense that it temporarily enables us to be aware of the aim and significance of ourselves. In these rare moments, we find ourselves more capable of understanding and pronouncing the words Lord Have Mercy, as we are instructed to do in certain Movements . . .
The above is a part of a longer article linked from the homepage of the Osho Institute for Sacred Movements [gone 2007], Japan. For those who have not heard of Osho and also for those who only have heard rumors about him or read dubious artibles about the communal movement which happened around him, the same homepage provides a link to some of his words that touch on themes relevant to those who are acquinted with the teaching of Gurdjieff.
Please note that in my writings I don't intend to represent or speak on behalf of others who have made themselves available to the influences of both Osho and Gurdjieff because the degree to which one can truly reconcile the two should depend not only on the power of his/her being but also on many other factors. The process of such reconciliation is unsharable because it happens in the depth of one's being but its results can be manifested in what one does. The two other articles ("Entropy. . ." and "Working with Arrows") available from the links on the left are examples of such manifestations even though I have not made it explicit.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to ask the leaders of Gurdjieff Foundation/Society groups worldwide to reconsider about their rules, if any, that prevent their group members from making a contact with anyone associated with Osho (or with any outside group?). I suspect the existence of such rules because more than one such group members worked or made a contact with us in the past, invariably asked me to keep the contact secret. One of them told me that their group leader banned even an E-mail contact with us. To any concerns or criticisms held by those group leaders who believe that such contacts are harmful, I can respond personally (firstname.lastname@example.org). Who knows whether we are moving in entirely opposite directions or not? Whichever the case may be, it is good to check it out. For my reason for regarding such mutual contacts beneficial, please read the other two articles of mine.
movements are Sacred
Perhaps the "skin" of a Gurdjieff group is wrapped loosely,
however I do believe that any contact is not casual as one enters or
exits a group. For instance the movements are not just for individuals
but make possible a connection within the room and the organization,
congealing carbon-connected tissues (via the air breathed as the
muscles and minds align, between teacher, students, and the teachers'
teacher) into an organ of perception for the Planet Earth. One must, as
a "cell", chose one's master or if possible "attract" one.
Arlene Rodgers, United States
exactly so . . .
Yes, I agree. It is exactly so. I also would use the word
"skin" in the same way. Any organism - any group- needs a skin for its
existence, which should not be too thin nor too thick.
In fact, the Foundations and Societies differ somewhat from
each other in their relationships to the outside world. This is a
direct result of the 'level of the leader(s)' of any particular
organization. But it applies to all of us.
In connection with the Fourth Way Contacts site and the entries that I have activated on it over the past week there are some that give the contact and some that give the contact and what I would call 'their view of the Gurdjieff World'. Overall the Foundations do this in a very good way.
The view is based on what the head of the organization thinks and is subjective. In a similar way the attitudes and opinions to others and other organizations, who are outside their world, are formed on this basis.
I sympathize with you and just want to add that these people are also only human and we all seem to have similar properties.
Reijo Elsner, Denmark
Confusion about names
Dear Reijo, the subject of your comment is related to what
we may call “confusion about names” that I touched upon in the “Working
with Arrows” article. Also it concerns the Fourth Way Information site
that you recently started with Martin.
With my previous contacts with a few of Society/Foundation group leaders and some of their group members, I have been vaguely aware of major differences in the quality and content of the work carried out by different groups in the world bearing the name of Society or Foundation. If such is the situation today, their sharing of the same name inevitably produces in others the mirage of unity where there is none, especially if many of them carry on the policy of not publicly revealing much about themselves.
My major concern is about the presence of a few groups among them that seem to promote or take advantage of the above-mentioned mirage of unity often with a formatory statement about the lineage. Example: “We are similar to what’s called Society in Britain and what’s called Foundation in America,” “We are in the authentic lineage of the Work brought by Gurdjieff and transmitted through Jeanne de Salzmann and Henri Tracol,” with the group leader’s comment saying “it is always somewhat impolite to speak on one's own behalf” but he was asked to be a group leader by so-and-so.
In my opinion, for any group that associates itself with Gurdjieff, it is obligatory to present something more than a contact address and a stylized description about Gurdjieff’s teaching. Talking much about the teaching and remaining silent about oneself is not only in gross violation of the principle of self-remembering but also shows one’s dependence on the authority of Gurdjieff and his older pupils, which may be close to the misuse thereof.
The quality of a group work depends much on how the group leader has reconciles and help other reconcile a collision between the teaching and the subjective side of oneself. One has to say something about it when he invites others to join him, especially if he is so dare to use the name of Gurdjieff as a part of the name of the group he leads.
Words from a Zen master: “Manifest! Manifest! If you don’t, your silence is not of meditation but of dumbness.” To be impartial, finally I say that the above view of mine applies also to those who are reluctant to reveal their connection with Osho in their contact with the Gurdjieff community at large.