From GI Gurdjieff’s pupils and other interesting people
“Man remains a mystery to himself. He has a nostalgia for being, a longing for duration, for permanence, for absoluteness — a longing to be. Yet everything that constitutes his life is temporary, ephemeral, limited. He aspires to another order, another life, a world that is beyond him. He senses that he is meant to participate in it.
“He searches for an idea, an inspiration, that could move him in this direction. It arises as a question: ‘Who am I — who am I in this world?’
“If this question becomes sufficiently alive, it could direct the course of his life. He cannot answer. He has nothing with which to answer — no knowledge of himself to face this question, no knowledge of his own. But he feels he must welcome it. He asks himself what he is. This the first step on the way. He wants to open his eyes. He wants to wake up.”
— Jeanne deSalzmann, from The Reality of Being.
“The work of movements provides special conditions that enable us to understand, through experience, certain aspects of the teaching that would otherwise not be so accessible.
“The first aspect has to do with the role of the body. Usually the beginner does not really understand the meaning of the movements. He is unaware of the relationship that exists between the state of his body and what he is searching for within himself. The movements are a specific way of studying this relationship. . . .
“Another aspect has to do with the importance of effort in the Work. The movements show us the profound effect that efforts can have when they are made under conditions created on the basis of precise knowledge. When seemingly insurmountable difficulties are overcome, the inner state of being changes. Fatigue and other obstacles vanish. Then one could say that the effort itself has had a truly transforming power. . . .
“Then there is a third aspect having to do with aim. Theoretically, this may appear obvious, but in practice it is not so obvious. One has to realize that the quality of what is experienced depends, above all, on the quality of one’s aim. If the aim is merely the pleasure of being in movement, of following the music, of being able to respond to the demand, a certain threshold cannot be crossed. The movement only has meaning when it is accompanied by that inner collectedness which Gurdjieff called a state of presence. . . .”
— Pauline deDampierre, from Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections.