What do you do?
Gurdjieff’s teaching is referred to as “The Work”, and is specifically designed for contemporary living and understanding. The work has been transmitted by students establishing centers of practice around the globe, through oral tradition and practice in diverse forms, according to their best understanding of the individual members’ current states and needs.
Work activities include practical efforts in one’s daily life, meditation and quiet contemplation, as well as readings and regular exchange with fellow seekers. We also practice special forms of dances and movement exercises, as well as art, music, crafts, and writing. We work to bring the focused practice of mindful presence as we move through our lives: laboring, cooking, gardening, eating, building, traveling, helping others.
The Gurdjieff work is a sort of practical mysticism, and mystical pragmatism: spiritual effort and understanding in the midst of life, through attention to body, breath, emotions and thoughts. It is carefully designed, disciplined, non-religious spiritual work. Nothing is given, or taken, on faith; all is verified through experience.
If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch with us to continue the conversation.
Do I need to give up my current religious practice?
No. In fact, many students of The Work report a new, deeper understanding and appreciation of their various religious practices, and a recognition of the common esoteric core of all religions.
Have my past experiences and education prepared me for this practice?
Yes and no. Our culturally indoctrinated education about ourselves, life and society is, according to Gurdjieff, the common source of our distorted understanding of Reality. We have to unlearn in order to discover this Reality hidden by our misunderstandings. There is little in the educational background of ordinary people to prepare for Gurdjieff’s revolutionary ideas and practices. On the other hand, people drawn to this approach may have had tastes of “mystical” experiences or intuited a deeper meaning behind appearances. Such a partially developed deeper perception may signal an already existing opening to what Gurdjieff is pointing toward.
Do you do community service?
Gurdjieff “schools” have three primary service aims as part of the practice. These are known as “Work on Oneself, Work with Others, and Work for the Work.” These are designed to facilitate development of objectivity towards oneself and others and the development of real “Conscience”. These capacities will then be naturally carried into manifestation in ordinary life, as part of the responsibility to reduce negativity in the world and model the possibility to others of living a Conscious life of Presence in the moment. Gurdjieff observed that it is naïve to believe that we can help others without first truly knowing how to help ourselves. In current parlance, one must “walk the walk” rather than just “talk the talk”. Sometimes a group may manifest an outward service activity, but the primary reason for doing so is to create conditions for inner work of being Present. This facilitates the practice of compassion and objectivity towards others without sentimentality or consideration of one’s self-image.