The Movements – Sacred Dances of the Gurdjieff Work
Gurdjieff brought a spiritual teaching to the West in the first half of the twentieth century through ideas, music, practical methods of self-study and development and the Movements.
The Movements are not for the body. They are not a therapy for improving physical capabilities and they are not for performance or entertainment.
The Movements constitute a form of the teaching for the development of higher consciousness and deeper conscience in human beings. Work in Movements, when it is combined with a practice and study of the ideas, with work and exchange with others, can aid the search to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos, to awaken and to live fully and responsibly.
The Movements are a tool for the transformation of being. There is a recognition that everything is in the body, but that although we inhabit this body which is the place of the energy and the life we are given, we are not present to it. We live as machines with automatic movements, thoughts and feelings, and we react to all stimuli and impressions with a limited repertoire.
The Movements bring a possibility of becoming freer of the automatism of our habits. In taking unaccustomed positions accurately and in moving differently than we usually do, we can experience different qualities of energy and we can experience ourselves in new ways.
Although Movements require that the body, mind and feelings be active and available, they are especially for the mind, that is, for the development of attention and for the development of the connection between the mind and the body. When the mind is related to the body, we can be aware of and present to the energy within, and to the life in this body. Then we can open to the feeling that comes from this connection and to a new way of being. The quality of feeling is supported by the music which has been composed for particular Movements or is improvised. The music is an important element of the work in Movements.
In participating in the Movements, I will meet myself, my own limitations, my reactions to the demands of attention and for continued effort and I may begin to see myself as a part of a larger movement of energy in the class, and eventually in the cosmos.
The first requirement is a willingness to participate in a form which is not personal. The Movements are not given for me, but for the possibility that I will become other than I am now. They provide an opportunity to participate in something which is larger than each one of us and, in those Movements which were brought by Gurdjieff and Madame de Salzmann, in a knowledge which is more objective than our own.
Within the Movements there are exercises, dances, marches, dervish rhythms, complex exchanges, prayers, and representations of cosmic laws. All of these are ways to connect with the source of our being. All of these can be a practice of prayer.