Guest Post by Molly Knight Forde
The first time I was exposed to The Gurdjieff Movements I was transported to another time and place, perhaps even another dimension. The combination of gestures and music created a sense of deep reverence in me for all things spiritual. I could hardly believe something so profound existed and that I was part of a lineage just by being in the room. I could feel the transmission of something rather inexplicable.
The irony of this is that my first exposure was not as a participant in the class but as the pianist. I had an infant on my back, was new in town and had been hired by a friend to play for the class. I did not know what I was in for and my friend was unaware that I had been an avid participant in a Zen Dojo, meditating daily for 9 years.
The second irony is that I had been living in Paris where Gurdjieff had lived for many years, choreographed some of his best movements, and where many “Work” groups had formed.
The third irony is that I took Martha Graham dance classes twice a week in a studio where the Movements were being taught next door. I can remember passing by a closed door late one evening after my class, hearing a hauntingly exotic middle eastern melody wafting through the cracks, and stunned by the feeling that overtook me. It called to me and I did not realize until much later when I had devoted my life to work with the Movements that it had been the very same Movements music written by Thomas de Hartmann.
The only way to really know what the Movements can offer is to experience them for yourself. The first time I was a participant in a class, I struggled to keep track of the different patterns, often irregular ones, and the interplay between my arms and legs. Adding the head took me into an emotional tailspin, inner self bashing, and somehow anger. My Ego wrestled with the fact that as an amateur dancer, I should have been getting this pretty easily.
After many classes I began to see a process that was occurring within me and the only way to do the correct gestures was to calm down the emotional histrionics occurring on the inside. It would be countless classes before I made the correlation between my reactions to the movements and how I dealt with real life. They had revealed to me an aspect of my automatic behavior in a flash and with full participation I could learn to be present, enter into the dance and replace those patterns.
This revelation was a life changing extraordinary moment for me. From then on, I treated these Sacred Dances as a means to my own transformation and I am deeply grateful to my Teacher John MacPherson for leading me to places within my Being that I would never have known otherwise.
Through The Movements, I have come to understand the concept that Gurdjeiff taught so often, “With the present moment, repair the past and prepare the future.”
I learned to do this not just in the movements class but in regular life and that is the valuable gift they can offer to everyone. Their power should not be underestimated for they transmit certain energies that work within our bodies to create change.
As a pianist, a participant, and a teacher of the Movements, I can unquestionably say that I have seen countless people make breakthroughs in their life because the movement has unlocked patterns that resided in the body on a cellular level and were otherwise inaccessible.
I have touched realms that I am unable to see through my mind alone.
With struggle and intention to synthesize the body, the emotions and the mind, I have found a vehicle and method that creates real and permanent results.
When I am finally able to actually dance the dance, feel the dance and be the dance, I know certain patterns have been replaced and I can fully participate. This is how they become Sacred Dance.
This concludes Part 1 of a 2 part series of posts from Molly. We hope you’ll return in a few days for the companion piece on “The Fourth Way.” (Scroll down to fill a form to be notified when Part 2 goes live.)
Want to learn some of these techniques? Molly has an online group that does bi weekly mindfulness exercises.
Learn more: The Awareness School
Movements Retreat August 21-25 Music, Movement, and The Moment
More about Molly: Molly Knight Forde
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