Home | Articles | Books | Languages | Contact | About Us

Bookmark and Share

Oksanen, Reijo
Real and Fictive Consciousness
Newly edited: Kristina Turner Interviews Reijo Oksanen
Deep In Self-Sufficiency
The Meanings Put into the Isenheim Altar
Gurdjieff Internet Guide
Puutarhuri - The Gardener
G. I. Gurdjieff
The Three Pilgrimages
Objective Art & Intentional Inexactitudes
Valaam Monastery, Orthodox Tradition & Symbolism
Comments on Beelzebub's Tales
Ashoka the Great and the Enneagram
A Wish
Self-remembering - an Email to a Friend
Early Morning in May
Gurdjieff & Orthodox Christianity
Reijo Oksanen Interviewed by Guy Hoffman
Are Icons a Form of Objective Art?
How to Put an I on the dot?
Letter to a Friend - Amden 14.06.2005
Fourth Way Schools I - The Anthonites (Antonites)
Gurdjieff and Astrology
Fourth Way Schools II - the Brothers & Sisters of the Common Life
Gurdjieff Movements - Some Comments
About the Enneagram
Malcolm Gibson
Flash Memory and How It Works
Getting the Best out of Gurdjieff
How Do Things Come Together? An Email to a Friend
Walking High
The Policeman & the Policewoman
Ouspensky, Palmer and Father Nikon
The Importance of the Other -
My Story 1962 - 2012

Back to Articles Home

Oksanen, Reijo

Reijo Oksanen

Reijo Oksanen was born in Helsinki 1942, heard of Gurdjieff and also the Orthodox Way in 1962 and came to London to join the Work in 1967. He moved back to Finland in 1971 and joined the Orthodox Church. In 1990 Oksanen moved to Denmark and in 2004 to Switzerland. After a long career in textiles, clothing and furniture industries, he set his mind into putting Gurdjieff properly into the internet.

From 2004 Reijo Oksanen is actively engaged in the activities of ars sacra Life Workshop.

Printer friendly format

Malcolm Gibson

Malcolm Milne Gibson was born in Australia. He was a former war and airline pilot, who moved to London from Melbourne after he had studied books, among others Lobsang Rampa, which he mentioned as a curiosity. In London he got in contact with John G. Bennett, but after a short time found his way to the Gurdjieff Society. (By the time I met him he did not have a very high opinion of Bennett.) Malcolm became a teacher of the Movements, but his heartproblems put an end to this career, as it had also done to his business career at The Expanded Metal Company in London. Having lost his job as a director in the big business, Malcolm started his own antique furniture repair shop in Putney; he had his workshop at the back of the house in Lower Richmond Road.

There is no doubt that the biggest single influence for Malcolm Gibson in the Gurdjieff Society was its leader Madame Henriette Lannes, who he had a deep respect for. Madame Lannes' influence was also strong in the group work, the Movements, Comon Aim, the different study groups, like the puppets, and likewise the weekly work days at Bray, where Malcolm passed away in 1993.

Getting Tarzan Up in the Tree

I met Malcolm Gibson on my first visit to London in 1966. The idea for the meeting was to see if Malcolm could help me to get a job, which would enable a move to London. Things started to happen soon after this meeting and I visited half a dozen of Malcolm's different contacts, though not without any other concrete result than a definite 'no'.

In this situation Malcolm had an immediate solution: he would employ me temporarily in the Expanded Metal Company as his assistant and I could then find another job while in the U. K.. We entered a correspondence about the details, but in the middle of the arrangements the company was getting into problems and put a total stop to employ any more people. However, what remained was Malcolm's offer to put his flat into my disposal and when I got to London next year we moved to 43, Elsham Road.

When in London I started in my employment in Finlandia Travel Agency in Finland House on the Haymarket and it was quite clear that the bookkeeper's income could not support an evergrowing family. Malcolm put me further in contact with some of his friends and I got on to greener pastures.

The 'Finnish Intellectual' in London 1967 - 1971

By the time I took possession of the flat Malcolm moved to Pamela in Kensington High Street, which became for me a place of many meetings and often also meals. Around this time Malcolm bought the Cherry Tree Cottage near Newbury, where we met and worked together, mainly in the garden that to start with was a veritable jungle. By the time Pamela passed away (1972) and we planted flowers on her grave and a pear-tree in the garden to her memory, it looked rather civilized.

It was no more than two summers before in 1969, that I had had my first and only premonitive dream that involved Pamela. At the time I left for Finland I was clean shaven and without a beard, which I grew on my face on and off. When in Finland I started growing a beard and had the following dream: I was driving the car when another car pulled on the side in traffic lights, where we stopped. I looked and saw Pamela, rolled down the car window, while she did the same, and she said: "you are growing a beard again". Back in England we were on our way to Bray and what I described above took place.

Pamela and Malcolm at 43 Elsham Road

Malcolm called me 'the Finnish intellectual'. At the time it even felt qood to hear it! After all: to be an intellectual is often considered to be a merit, so it was easy for me to be satisfied with the label. Today I am grateful to him for giving me such a good description of what is often referred to 'being in your head', which I can now see to be one of the biggest obstacles in my life in 'waking up' as 'being in my head' is a big part and cause of the sleep I want to wake up from.

During this time when we met at the cottage we worked together; there was no 'intellectual' teaching or direction involved. When I look back I can see now the patience that Malcolm showed towards me, with my constant questions and intellectual curiosity. What better medicine is there in such a case like mine than hard physical work? Malcolm stressed often the 'three p's': practice, patience and perseverance. It was clear that intellectually I could go no further; or as it is put much better in a wise Finnish saying: 'he goes not far who runs only in his thoughts'.

Lambchop Party at the Cherry Tree Cottage
I have a beard & Pamela is putting food into her mouth

Three Meetings in 1978 - A Summary

I returned 'home' to Finland in the Summer 1971 disappointed at what I had achieved in the four years in the Gurdjieff Society; I came back feeling like I was beaten up (these are the only words I ever found to express it). I was in contact with some Finns who had had a connection with Bennett, but never came as far as to start any activity in Finland. In the seventies I met Malcolm regularly while visiting England - I worked in or with British companies until 1982 and even after that time had regular contact with England.

Over the years I got excellent teaching in the classical Patanjali Yoga and started to find more and more also in the Orthodox Christianity.

At the end of the seventies and early eighties I had some important meetings with Malcolm, during which he was able to deliver what I would call 'the essential message of the Gurdjieff work'.

Three of these meetings took place in 1978 in a coffee place and a restaurant, which were both not far from where he lived, and the third one at his home. The preparation for the meeting was my letter in which I told Malcolm about what I was doing, including Yoga practice and the studies in Orthodox mysticism.

Malcolm: when I heard that you are intending to become a Christian I nearly fell down from my chair! You are saying that you want to create a religious home, but what do you understand about religion? You are sitting not only between two stools, but four or five stools! Let us agree that the aim of this meeting is to raise the question 'what you want'?

I answered that as I see it for me it would be important to have a contact with the Fourth Way and to start a group in Helsinki.

Malcolm: I can tell you that you certainly are not the person who is the link for bringing the work into Finland. The efforts to become less dispersed are the first injunction of any teaching. Your 'would be' interests are far too wide and center around words.

All processes take place in the body. I have no authority over any of them. I need to prepare for Work by becoming more skillful and demanding towards my body and what I want it to do.

Reijo: I do not understand my 'disappearance' when facing the question 'what do I want'. There is only one right answer right now and that is that I don't really know. One thing is that it is important for me to become more practical and a good husband and father.

Malcolm: That is fine, but for that the Work is not necessary; it can be achieved without the help of the Work. Do you also have a bigger aim?

Reijo: To pay back for the patience shown towards me when in London.

Malcolm: There may be something behind that, but it is something else. You are not clear in you head. Your ideas go here and there. One idea is changed by another, which always looks better and so on. In my life I only met very few people who were clear in their head. If you do not know what you want you can not work and there is no point in you joining it again. You want to be a monk or a yogi, but because of this you have no attention for anything, not for one single idea. If you do not make it simple nothing will come out of it. Giving away one's attention like this is death!

Your aim to become a Good Householder, Obyvatel, may well be your aim, but again it is not a Work aim. Why do you want the Fourth Way? What bugs you? Have you any idea of what are your strengths and weaknesses? We all have some rubbish in all our centers and we need it. Otherwise there is no material to work with. Nobody knows what is possible for you and what is not. Can you try to walk when you are walking, establish a rhythm! Can you listen, see, taste, smell and touch! The body and the senses are essential - to be!

There must be something that you want! When you are with your children can you be with them without criticism? When you are having breakfast together do you see what is happening to them? When you go from one room to another can you prepare yourself?

If I could be silent I would not need to work. When I was in my first group someone asked why I never speak. Another gave the answer: ' He only speaks with himself - all the time'.

Everything is dependent on the small things: relaxation - you can always relax more; acceptance, oneself and others - can always try; house-cleaning - will always be just as difficult, but at least you have done it before. It is important to do all these little things every day.

Usually we are flat - only two-dimensional. It is difficult for us to sense the dimensions of the body. But in fact we are breathing three-dimensional organisms. When we are not aware of the organism we are paper-men.

Put all your attention to be a good husband and a good father. Use your body, not your tongue! Any other aim, for some considerable time will be and can only be sheer illusion. The reason is that the machine takes all and uses all the tools of seduction to convince you that it is the real you.

If you wish to prepare for the Fourth Way you need some strenght in three centres and to follow the above is the only safe way together with acts like listening, looking, smelling, tasting, walking steadily at speeds you intend in advance. Plus patience and perseverence.

Occasional Meeting by the Thames
How can two people meet in London without prior arrangement?

Some Conclusions

I went home after these meetings feeling like I had been hitten on the head. Some time later I was back to see my friend again. Meanwhile we had written to each other and Malcolm had more to say.

Some of the things that I remember from these meetings are:

  • Everything is dependent on the small things.

  • It is important to prepare oneself many times a day.

  • To ask myself what do I want now, today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year, this life.

  • Once we get something we want more - let it go!

  • We think we are making progress, but unless we start again every moment...

Of course Malcolm Gibson said many other things that helped in my work. One such general thread was: "external considering is a big thing", and another: "keep at the back of your mind that you are only mechanical".

What is most important for me is that I can come back to the KISS rule, which is: keep it simple, stupid!

About getting a group together and starting groupwork he said: "it is not necessary to get in contact with other people; there are enough problems as it is and it would only add to them. For Work you need many people around and still it is very difficult."

"Everything that can be given has been given"!

Reijo Oksanen 2006


my dear partner and teacher
Malcom was a great help in my life keeping me together, I was young and he was always wiser , so I would like to thank him for all the time and help .he is very much in my heart and thoughs forever more and so be it . Jake radford

, United Kingdom
added 2015-03-09

Add a Comment