Movement and purification


Original Commentary

By Lee van Laer


From the Zen, Yoga, Gurdjieff Blog, June 2013


Following up on the post about the hidden ways (June 6), some observations regarding the nature of work on both sides of the enneagram.

 In both the spiritual and the natural realm, a distinct kind of three centered work takes place. This is reflected by the two triads 142 and 857. However, the three centered work acquires a different set of aspects on the left side of the diagram.

Work within the conscious, or spiritual,  half-circle of influences begins not with materiality, which is the lowest level of vibration anything can start with, but with a feeling quality, that is, a work from the heart, a sensation of Being from an emotional point of view. The position on the diagram, as well as Gurdjieff's comments, make it clear as to why no real work can take place in the spiritual or conscious arena until feeling enters.

What is most interesting to me about this is that the next position after feeling, or motion, is clearly purification — and this has to take the place of the physical work, that is, in this case, the movements. So the movements that Gurdjieff brought us are actually intended as a ritual of purification.

These appear at the level of the throat chakra, which traditionally represents speech. Because the left side of the diagram represents an inversion of the traditional understandings of these things — The transformation of the natural to the spiritual changes and mirrors each of their qualities — it actually represents silence.

It does, however, still denote language, because Gurdjieff's movements are in fact an extremely complex and extraordinarily beautiful language, a kind of poetry which is written with the body, in conjunction with the mind and the emotions. This is a new language, not of the mind, but of the body — in other words, an excursion into the exact realm that we consistently refer to when we say that many understandings lie within the range of a language, but that range is a range without words.

 The movements are intended to purify. Once we come to a Being-Feeling sense of real "I," we must engage in an exchange that includes more than ourselves: and this is why the movements are practiced exclusively in community, in the realm of "we," which is the territory that "I" must move into as it surrenders its ego to a higher place. The movements actually represent, in a certain way, Swedenborg's love for one another, which he cites as an absolute necessity in heavenly or spiritual endeavors— along, of course, with a love of God.

 Anyone who has participated in the movements understands the strong emphasis, which is explained by the role of the movements in this second phase of work, indicated by its position on the diagram. The movements also represent part of the whole force of intentional suffering — which, among other reasons, is located early in the diagram, in the wrong location, in order to indicate that intentional suffering must suffuse the entire arena of work in the spiritual realm.

 As to the final note before Do,  wisdom, or knowing, we come here to the highest that can be attained by a human being who is working, as Ibn Arabi so often explains. But even this must be penetrated by intentional suffering — because the feeling quality with which this side of the triad opens, driven by the opening of the heart, sets the tone for all of the work that is to follow.