Sensación de Sí Mismo

If you wish to venture inside yourself, you must find the correct physical position; otherwise you will not be able to maintain your effort for a long time. This is only possible when all the parts of the body are relaxed and centered around an axis. The vertical column holds the head and internal organs along a single line which connects it to the center of attraction of the earth. It is then possible to gather the attention of all the parts of the body in one place, without it diffusing among the different limbs and organs of perception. So what was before a sense of ordinary consciousness, fragmented and often illusory, becomes an extremely sensitive central vibration which can be truly called "sense of self".

In this position you can reach a very special level of attention that brings in its wake a different awareness of the two human natures: one that belongs to the external world and one that belongs to the mysterious source of life itself. All of the processes that occur in the everyday life of the body belong to the first nature. Once we see how easily we forget to focus our attention, immersing ourselves in the normal functioning of our thoughts and accepting the wide range of our joys and sufferings, we will have a clear indicator of the taste and quality of the ordinary world.

When thoughts and imagination disappear and only the vibrations of the body are the focus of our attention, the other world becomes accessible. Here, all patterns of desire and curiosity become completely unrealistic and a new type of thinking appears, free of form and made up of pure and fragile energy.

It is possible to belong to two worlds at once, but for this to happen there must be a new relationship between them. The current state of affairs, where the external takes all for itself, must be reversed. Our lower nature should serve the superior one because a passive element should always serve an active one.

Gurdjieff always regarded the Movements as an essential part of his teaching. At first glance, they seem to just be exercises of attention, but later they can also be understood as a language in the sense that through symbolic gestures and other signs, postures and movements, they express cosmic laws that are difficult to perceive through of the ordinary senses, aside from being beyond the scope of our current understanding. Some Movements quite clearly seem to offer a vehicle for transmitting knowledge that rational thought cannot reach; a vehicle to reach higher levels in a human being which he ordinarily cannot grasp. One may feel some sort of alchemical process taking place that gives us not only glimpses of the "way", but enables us to move in that direction.

At first, the only problem encountered while working with the Movements is to adopt the correct postures and the succession of gestures and movements that go with them. At this stage, attention should be focused on the different parts of the body that have to perform multiple movements simultaneously or in rapid succession. This is quite difficult, but soon another effort will be required - the moment for a quality of attention as refined as possible in terms of sensing oneself as a whole. For some time, our access to this additional demand for attention will be awkward. However, the dual effort of attention sometimes appears, bringing a fleeting taste of freedom that, despite being short-lived, is so memorable that we fervently seek to attain it again.

Once this type of work begins to be possible, the Movements are not controlled only by keeping a reference to a mental image, but depend on the acute sense of self that springs from a more active level of attention. It could then be said that the Movement is manifested through me, not by me. This changes everything.

Despite the desire to perform the Movement only in reference to a mental image, we cannot succeed because the mind is not fast enough to control the instrument that has to execute the required physical activity. The body feels inhibited in its attempt to meet a demand that it is not accustomed to. Movements done this way will be neither accurate nor compliant to the tempo, resulting in an emotion that muddles everything up. Such an activity remains at an ordinary level, and the ordinary contractions of everyday life become barriers to the proper flow of energy which tries to move in all directions in an uncontrolled way, and is the main cause of the common lack of contact with our own body.

When attention is dispersed this way, the Movements cannot be done or become mere gymnastics at best. If, however, a certain amount of inner attention is maintained, energy flows as it should throughout the body, using the existing natural channels for this purpose. This brings about inner clarity, and the Movements can be performed with a sense of ease and freedom caused in part by the speed of the Movements themselves, which sometimes seem to go beyond the possible limits of the body, and partly by the opening of an inner contact due to the change in the energy flow.

De-identification with interference from the mind permits new freedom of thought, a better command of gestures, and helps keep the focus on oneself. A different quality of physical activity then becomes possible; it turns into a more positive functioning of emotions. Thus, we experience three centers working together at a level that appears to be the same for all of them. In fact, this experience makes it possible to be in touch with the specific energy of each center while making us aware of mental habits and physical disorders of all types that are the basis for all internal and external activity.

This balance, however, exists under the threat of the insidious mechanicalness that is always there, waiting to be in command. As soon as the activity becomes automatic, that is, as soon as a Movement becomes known, dreams find their way in and the required level of sustained attention stops. So either all the attention is taken up to maintain a sense of self, or the pleasure of an easy and harmonious flow of movement fill us entirely; the Movement loses its true direction and should be stopped immediately. It should be replaced by a different exercise to re-activate attention and restore it to the required level. Categorically dropping the Movement when the internal attitude disappears is one of the most baffling experiences that the participant must accept.

As work with Movements deepens, parts that were previously beyond our ordinary perception will come to life in us. A new world, wrapped in the sense of inner presence evoked by the exercises, replaces the fog which shrouds our everyday mental activity and may bring about a transcendental emotion.

What exactly are the Movements? This question can only be answered through the direct experience of their practice. However, they can certainly be said to produce the achievement and maintenance of a waking state. We could feel satisfied with the sense of inner life associated with this condition, but the "question" remains alive in us and impels us to issues that are less obvious. We feel that we should continue further.

The internal sense of inner life and relaxation which comes from the work with attention and the orderly combination of gestures and postures brings a new contact with the body and a sense of lightness and fluidity that is not entirely physical. It seems that the body is the instrument of a new source of life. It is willing to do anything that is demanded of it, and in this act of service it finds freedom and joy, not only due to the functions of a harmonious movement or its greater involvement, but also due to the joy of being here as a whole in a state of self-presence.

Now we see the possibility of becoming more subtle instruments and of the opening channels for higher influences that are always flowing through us even if they are not acknowledged. Once these influences become perceptible, they can be used to feed higher parts of ourselves that help us continue with our search. Therefore, the Movements may be called, in their true meaning, "Sacred Dances", because they provide a link between the level of ordinary life and the higher level which feels as a link to the divine.

The power of the Movements to materialize a higher order of forces is not only experienced by those who act as vehicles for these forces. The revealing of the forms brings into play special internal relationships that are clearly visible, providing perceptible evidence that the dancers are carriers of forces inherent in the Movements themselves, and are charged with an influence whose effects can be felt by those who watch them. A long-standing Movements class radiates a "substance" which, though subtle, may be perceived internally the same way as color and sound are perceived by our ordinary instruments of perception.

So, for those who practice the Movements, they become a quest that makes it possible to actually live them and feel the power that doing so entails. At this level, they let us reach the world that prayer and meditation lead to in other paths, but that, in this path, includes and uses the entire human apparatus.