The online zoom classes are one of Whidbey Akhaldans school offerings.When the pandemic hit, Carol rose to the challenge of sharing the Gurdjieff Sacred Dances online as we were not able to meet in person. This allowed seekers from over a dozen countries to gather once a week and practice the movements from their own homes.
If you feel called to explore with the Gurdjieff Movements, feel free to contact Carol – we have a wish to share this inner Work with those who have a sincere wish to study themselves. You can continue reading about the form that the online movement classes take at Akhaldans school, or jump to see the schedule of the online zoom classes that we offer down here.
An Introduction to 4th Way Work with the Gurdjieff Movements Online
The 4th Way is a pragmatic spiritual path to achieving our highest human potential through the simultaneous development and integration of our intellectual, emotional and physical centers. Effective 4th Way groups provide work-food for all three centers; yet each person is responsible for their own development. Only I can observe myself. Only I can learn the specific way my automatics of thought, feeling and behavior have kept me from healing, growing and transforming. Only I can know what kind of work my centers require at a given time.
Over the past 70 years since G.I. Gurdjieff’s death, 4th Way groups have developed patterns for work in community – on weekend, week-long or longer retreats – that provide group members fresh opportunities to work and learn together. With many variations, schedules include activities for all centers that strengthen capacities of sensing and attention, that provoke reactions that are observable so as to be worked with, and that provide fresh ideas and insight.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began and it appeared likely that our scheduled international retreats would be cancelled, group members asked if we could meet and work online. Because our members have varying degrees of comfort in English, our in-person retreats work with translators, smaller common language groups, and more limited large group discussions of 4th Way ideas than other events. We use group work activity and, particularly, the Gurdjieff Movements, to create the conditions for work on oneself, to observe our behavior and emotional and intellectual reactions. We provide space to articulate our observations to ourselves in journals, to others in pairs and more concisely in the large group.
When asked what they were missing from the retreats and wished for from online meetings, the members highlighted a wish for a space to work together and share. They wanted to do the Movements despite being in lockdown, often in very small personal spaces.
The Movements are ideally done in groups. Choreographed for mathematical displacement, canons and moving figures, they require and develop a sense of being part of a moving whole. That clearly isn’t possible to experience alone in front of a computer screen.
However, the Movements are also ideal vehicles for developing a sense of presence in the body, for stretching our muscles of divided attention and for observing ourselves in challenging circumstances. We began our online experiment with “Gurdjieff-like” exercises that I developed to be done while sitting, focusing on inner sensing, chants, counts and arm and head gestures. As our confidence and technological proficiency grew, we expanded to using parts of actual Movements. We now have a hybrid group with a limited number of members in a mini-line and the rest of the participants on-line.
Keeping the Whidbey Akhaldans’ international retreat members’ original wishes in mind, these sessions are not intended to only teach the Movements. Rather we use the Movements as vehicles toward increased presence, with opportunity for self-observation and a place to share what emerges from 20 or 80 minutes of intense practice. We trust the Movements to provide appropriate work for all three centers and our own ability to observe and integrate the experience. Because of language and time constraints, we do not engage in the intellectual or academic discussions that are more readily available to us in other contexts.
For further information, please contact Carol at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule of the online Gurdjieff Movements offered by Akhaldans
Meditations in Presence and Movement
Fridays: 8:00-9:00 AM Pacific Time
ZOOM. All meetings are recorded and shared in a private folder for participants’ use only.
A donation of $20 is gratefully accepted, but not required. Please express your interest and request the zoom link by writing to Carol at: email@example.com
This is a continuing 4th Way Group Meeting. The aim is to provide substance, continuity and community. The Movements will remain the primary vehicle for the transmission of 4th Way Ideas. While we encourage regular attendance, participants can also drop in for a weekly dose of presence.
A centering preparatory exercise will be displayed 15 minutes prior to our starting time.
We usually start with a short sitting/guided sensation exercise. We sometimes share observations we have of ourselves in the moment or discuss 4th Way themes. There may be suggested homework to keep the Work alive during the week.