Take the understanding of the East
the knowledge of the West
— and then seek.
Who am I?
What am I here for?
What are my deep possibilities?
How can those possibilities be brought to light and set to work for oneself and others? The Gurdjieff teaching, from its home in Cambridge (and from centers nearly worldwide), is a Way toward oneself, toward living these questions and sharing with a community of seekers.
Gurdjieff brought to the West a fundamental teaching whose language and concerns have nourished many other teachings and schools. He offered methods, practices, perspectives—a resolutely practical work. He wished to show men and women of our time and place how it might be possible to develop a new integrated awareness and a new sensitivity to conscience.
Gurdjieff’s teaching is both personal and universal, both mystical and practical. It approaches the essential questions: How might I awaken to who I really am? How can humanity reverse the process leading to its seemingly inevitable self-destruction? We recognize ourselves in Gurdjieff’s fundamental teaching. Where to begin but with a transforming search – a work on self. Eternally practical, Gurdjieff’s teaching offers both ancient truth and unique, modern method.
The Work in Practice
Gurdjieff chose to express the teaching in many forms
To approach these questions Gurdjieff proposed an elegant system of ideas, and concrete methods based on self-observation, working with others both in meetings and practical activities, working alone in very quiet conditions, carrying out movements exercises and sacred dances, and music. The aim was to touch and develop all the parts of a human being, in the context of the great spiritual traditions of the past, and the amazing scientific developments of the modern era.
We need each other. To know oneself--that ancient advice--we also need to know others and be known by them. We each have possibilities, rooted in essence. We each have inner obstacles best explored and understood when people work together and hear one another. As Gurdjieff put it, "You can't become master of yourself by staying in your room."
During his travels in the Near East and Central Asia, Gurdjieff witnessed temple dances, the dances of Sufi brotherhoods, even dances in remote Christian settings. He saw that engagement of the body, mind, and feeling in dance could support and inspire work on attention, work for presence and being. Through his choreographic genius, Movements became an integral part of the Gurdjieff teaching.
In the 1920s, Gurdjieff collaborated with an exquisitely trained Russian composer, Thomas de Hartmann, initially to compose music to accompany the Movements and, in a later phase, music simply for listening. The result was an extraordinary repertoire, now available both in recorded performances and as printed music. It is music that resonates with the human spirit, its mystery, possibilities, and questions.
Gurdjieff Society of Massachusetts is devoted to the preservation and advancement of the Gurdjieff teaching as a living influence, a resource for inquiring people in this new century. We encourage a life of inquiry and self-knowledge.
- Date and time is TBD22 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, MADate and time is TBDThis monthly discussion group considers the potential of a rich and integrated inner life, and examines the question of spiritual practice: How might a deepened practice become interwoven into our day to day lives?