From time to time, videos of events that we believe worth preserving will appear on this page.
Gurdjieff Reconsidered: The Man, the Teaching, the Legacy
Book Talk at Potter's House Bookstore, Washington, DC
with Roger Lipsey, author
To guide you to topics of particular interest in the talk, please use this list:
Gurdjieff’s voice: fire and ice. A teaching, when spoken, is not an abstraction. It comes to expression in the moment of contact, in response to a situation, to a student’s need.
“St. George, a very expensive saint.” Gurdjieff’s teaching about conscious labor and intentional suffering, and the need to confront oneself.
The organization of Gurdjieff Reconsidered reflects changes in Gurdjieff himself and in the development of his teaching: the Russian years prior to the Revolution, the long migration to the West, the Prieuré, Paris in the 1930s, the war years, the late years of fulfillment with pupils who would carry on his work.
Criticism of Gurdjieff in the press.
Katherine Mansfield at the Prieuré in the last three months of her life.
“How to define a right attitude toward Mr. Gurdjieff?” Henri Tracol and François Grunwald, two of his most gifted pupils, respond.
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Tell the Tale: The Wisdom of Story, a talk with Roger Lipsey, Ph.D., and Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault
To guide you to topics of particular interest, you may navigate using this list:
0:59 The nature of wisdom tales and their role in an authentic spiritual teaching.
The history of tales: Chinese, Greek, early Christian, Islamic, the Hasidim, Zen, Gurdjieff.
8:30 Through story, Mulla Nasruddin teaches the willingness to be here and fully human, instructs Tamerlane in the true nature of esotericism, and speaks of egoism.
14:43 An approach to stories: What stories work? What stories convey spiritual truth and transform people’s hearts and minds?
a young dervish teacher sees his pretentiousness.
a hunter learns moderation.
a brother monk learns not to account either scorn or praise.
a student learns non-judgment.
a student learns to ask Who am I? and not judge.
students hear the tale of the camel, burdened with stolen goods, refuses to get up until it is unloaded.
an abbot advises us to “wake up where we are.”
Roger and Cynthia
38:00 The zen mondo: the unplanned question, the spontaneous answer
Stories from John the Dwarf and Holy Father Ischyrion that address the responsibilities of those who pass a teaching on to the next generation.
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What light does the Gurdjieff teaching shed on religion?
A conversation with Roger Lipsey
The Gurdjieff teaching is not, and has never presented itself as a religion. It has no creed, no demand for faith in
things unseen. It is strictly about what Gurdjieff called work on oneself: a search toward self-knowledge and presence to oneself and the world. But then, it speaks of a living cosmos in which we human beings have the obligation, insofar as possible, to "lighten the sorrows of His Endlessness": in other words, to help God on this disturbed planet of ours. And then, the search for self-knowledge can uncover internal zones of insight and feeling that are recognizably religious: they have to do with our human depths and a sense of belonging to something vastly beyond us. The Gurdjieff teaching is not a religion, but it throws light toward what religion might be.
During a conversation in the 1920s, Gurdjieff said, quite severely: "Only he who has succeeded by persistent and conscious efforts in freeing himself from the chaos resulting from his own lack of consciousness can be aware of what religion really means."
For continuity, much of Roger's talk is included in these four videos:
Meister Eckhart's words -- “You must have an exalted mind and a burning heart in which, nevertheless, reigns silent stillness." Magical words, a call to being in the richest possible way. And then the biblical Psalms, calling in their own way and language. We rest today, if we only can know it, in a magnificent spiritual tradition encouraging empathy and wisdom, awe and mystery, dialogue with the Highest, knowledge of our frailty and mortality, willingness to suffer and to learn, commitment, and self-remembering.
Gurdjieff's views on traditional religious practice and work on oneself to become a real human being: remarkable, original, personally challenging. Here is his teaching about attention and three-centered prayer — prayer that fully engages thinking, feeling, and the physical body.
The first half of religion has been communicated again and again over centuries in the West on the basis of Hebrew and Greek scriptures. The second half has been forgotten. The second half is method. Gurdjieff provided a method that is more traditional than one might think: work on oneself within a community.
What is our Jerusalem?
How did Gurdjieff view other authentic spiritual traditions?