A Reminding Factor
You are not clear in you head. One idea is changed by another, better idea and so on. If you do not know what you want you can not work. You have many wants, but because ot that no attention for anything. If you do not make it simple nothing will come out of it.
Chapter 7 - Gurdjieff's Teaching After His Death
Apart from the continuation of the Work in its different 'branches' Gurdjieff left us his writings, music and the Movements. Some of his last words were: 'I leave you all in a fine mess!'
Here is a copy of Gurdjieff's letter written in 1949 announcing the publication of All & Everything.
'The mess' as regards the spreading of the teaching had been started very early and much of it was due to Gurdjieff's own actions. Different 'lines' were established even when Gurdjieff was still alive by many of his students.
Early 'Lines' of the Work
Of the people mentioned above Dushka Howarth, John Wilkinson and A. G. E. Blake are alive. Of others still alive and who met Gurdjieff in the late fourties can be mentioned Paul Beekman Taylor, Adam Nott, Matthew Thring, Kathleen Riordan Speeth and Nicholas de Stjernval. The Gurdjieff Work continues with new people in the leadership.
The Official Version of the Work
Madame de Salzmann was appointed by Gurdjieff to carry on his work and became the head of the teaching worldwide. This meant that she run the Gurdjieff Foundations in France, U.S.A and London with their worldwide net of contacts and people in charge of the organizations in the different areas.
Madame de Salzmann was in this position appr. 40 years, somewhat longer than Gurdjieff himself (even if we take the year 1912 as the year he started to teach). Having joined Gurdjieff in Tiflis in 1919 she was active with her groups and as the head of the teaching until her death in 1990, i.e. over 70 years.
The leadership of the teaching continued 'in the family' after Madame de Salzmann's death when her son Michel de Salzmann, whose father was Gurdjieff himself, continued her work until his death in 2001.
The Gurdjieff Foundation, the Gurdjieff Society of London and Institut Gurdjieff (Paris) carry on their mission of maintaining the authentic study and teaching of the Gurdjieff Work with local organizations in all continents.
Among the new inscriptions in the trade register of Geneva on the 12th of May 2003 there was a registration for Association Internationale des Fondations Gurdjieff with the address chemin Jaques-Attenville 9, Le Grand-Saconnex, which has the following text: "mettre en commun les efforts et l'expérience acquise des différents Instituts membres afin de préserver l'essence, la spécificité et l'intégrité de l'enseignement de G.I. Gurdjieff; coordonner les résultats des activités et des recherches de ses membres, etc."
Claims to teaching the Gurdjieff Work have been made by many organizations established in the past fifty years or so. It is evident that all these claims are not valid. However, in the words of C. S. Nott regarding groups being led by people who never met Gurdjieff or studying Ouspensky's philosophy: "These groups have little value as regards the inner Teaching; yet they may be a means of leading a few to feel the need for something more." (Journey Throught this World' p. 249)
There are many links to the web sites of the organizations that come under Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way.
A Letter to a Friend, Who Represents the Official Line
I felt that I had been totally misunderstood by you when I read your answer to my earlier email!
I find it difficult to believe that we really have understood the message from Mr. Gurdjieff in two entirely different ways!
If it is so that what is called 'inner work' has, after the death of Gurdjieff, become a monopoly of the official Gurdjieff organisations, then I must admit that I am wrong and you hold firmly the right view.
My view is that 'inner work' was no invention of Mr. Gurdjieff. What he added to the existing 'collective wisdom', like the Movements, which, again in my view, are his biggest single contribution to it, should be freely available to those who can use them, provided, of course, that they are engaged in the above mentioned 'inner work', because without it the effect of the Movements is easily lost and not even understood.
The inability of the 'official Gurdjieff organisations' to bring the Movements to the use of the millions who are now engaged in all kinds of other systems of moving, often called sacred dances, is one of the biggest flops in the history of spiritual transmission. I am talking of Mr. Gurdjieff's Legominism - he would be ashamed to see what has happened.
Do your really believe that he meant his message to be for the few who are in the 'official organisations' and 'sitting' on it? My view is very subjective - Gurdjieff was 'in the work' for about 40 years, Madame de S. was in it for about 70 years. I met Madame de S. on various occasions, but I had no real contact with her. It was not her teaching I came to join, but nothing else was available. I have no wish whatsoever to 'follow' Madame de S.!
Gurdjieff was a great man with exceptional Knowledge, but he did not have a monopoly over knowledge either!
Best regards, Amden 1st of March 2006
Two photos from the German film Journey to Inaccessible Places:
Copyright 2003-2006 © Reijo Oksanen