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Extract from "Heart without measure" by Ravi Ravindra


“You are something, but you don’t know that something. You have to acknowledge that you don’t know who you are and that you need to know it. This openness is the most important step. You can read about what it means in Hinduism or Buddhism, or you can read about it in the books by Mr. Gurdjieff. No difference. There are different energy levels. And it is possible to be, sometimes, in a truer path. You need a kind of knowledge which cannot be provided by books”. “…what you need is direct perception. Movements will help you. The most important thing in them is not the positions themselves but the impulse, the energy from one position to another. No one can teach that. You have to observe it in yourself”.

Extract from “Interview with Pauline de Dampierre”, The American Theosophist, Wheaton, IL, LXXIII, May 1985.


“How to describe them—perhaps there’s no better way than the answer Gurdjieff gave his pupil Ouspensky, when he told him to imagine that there was a mechanism for studying the planets which represented visually the laws governing their movements, reminding the onlooker of all he knows about the solar system. He said there was something like that in the rhythm of sacred dances; and he stated enigmatically that through these strictly defined movements and the patterns made by the dancers, certain laws are made visible and intelligible to those who know them”.

Extract from "The pursuit of the present" by Henri Thomasson

“There are several aspects to the movements. In the first place, they are an exercise of attention. Some of them are also a language, in the sense that they express, through signs, symbolical gestures, postures or displacements, cosmic laws which are difficult to understand by ordinary ways and which, for the moment, still lie beyond our comprehension. However, some others clearly appear as the means through which a kind of knowledge, inaccessible to reason, can be transmitted to the higher levels of the human being; and, due to a sort of alchemy whose effects are experienced by the individual, they provide an insight of the path that would enable contact with the said knowledge.

At first, for the performer, it is all about materially executing the postures and the succession of gestures and displacements which compose the movement. At that level, attention is completely focused towards the parts that initiate the gestures, whose first difficulty lies in the simultaneity or rapid succession. But another effort is soon required, the interior effort of the sensation of self, to which the most refined part of our attention is directed, quite clumsily and for a long period of time. In spite of what this double movement begins, and an unforgettable taste of freedom arises, which is soon lost and is necessary to recover”.

Extract from "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson" by G. I. Gurdjieff


"And in order that you should have a better idea and understanding of the way in which they indicated what they wished in these dances, you must know that the learned beings of this time had long been aware that, in accordance with the Law of Sevenfoldness, every posture or movement of any being always consists of seven 'mutually balanced' tensions arising in seven independent parts of his whole presence, and that each of these seven parts in their turn consists of seven different what are called 'lines of movement,' and that each line has seven what are called 'points of dynamic concentration', and finally that all this is repeated in the same way and in the same sequence, but always on a diminishing scale, down to the minutest particles of the whole body, called 'atoms.'

"And so, in the movements of their dances, which were lawful in their accordance with each other, these learned dancers inserted intentional inexactitudes, also lawful, indicating in them in a certain order the information and knowledge they wished to transmit.

"This branch that reached beings of contemporary times is called "sacred dances".
"Thanks exclusively to the survival of these sacred dances from Babylonian times, a very limited number of three-brained beings now have the possibility, by means of certain conscious labors, to decipher them and learn the information hidden there which is useful for their own being ..."

Extract from "Our life with Mr. Gurdjieff" by Thomas de Hartmann

“We soon began a Sacred Gymnastics. We started with simple exercises, followed with more complex ones, of concentration and memory, which absorbed the whole of our attention.”
“The Gymnastics began again, starting with the compulsory exercises that I myself also practiced when I wasn’t needed in the piano. The first one, based on simple movements, became more complicated with arms, legs and head which had their own sequence and canon repetitions. I knew every movement fairly well, but doing them was not an easy task. I came to acknowledge that I could not do them just with intellectual knowledge. Doing those exercises in the right way demanded a great deal of energy and concentrated attention. At first, as a naive child, I kept asking myself when were we going to do the esoteric exercises of Tibetan monasteries. I had to learn that the value of an exercise does not lie in the fact of knowing its origins but in what is experienced while doing it”.

Extract from "Views from the real world" by G. I. Gurdjieff


You ask about the aim of the movements. To each position of the body corresponds a certain inner state and, on the other hand, to each inner state corresponds a certain posture. A man, in his life, has a certain number of habitual postures and he passes from one to another without stopping at those between.

Taking new, unaccustomed postures enables you to observe yourself inside differently from the way you usually do in ordinary conditions.

You saw our movements and dances. But all you saw was the outer form—beauty, technique. But I do not like the external side you see. For me, art is a means for harmonious development. In everything we do the underlying idea is to do what cannot be done automatically and without thought.

Ordinary gymnastics and dances are mechanical. If our aim is a harmonious development of man, then for us, dances and movements are a means of combining the mind and the feeling with movements of the body and manifesting them together. In all things, we have the aim to develop something which cannot be developed directly or mechanically—which interprets the whole man: mind, body and feeling.

The second purpose of dances is study. Certain movements carry a proof in them, a definite knowledge, or religious and philosophical ideas. In some of them one can even read a recipe for cooking some dish. In many parts of the East the inner content of one or another dance is now almost forgotten, yet people continue to dance it simply from habit.

Thus movements have two aims: study and development.