What is the sense and aim of human existence?
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Is there a call to contemplate these questions?
Around the turn of the 20th Century, these fundamental questions led George Ivanovich Gurdjieff on an epic journey in search of real knowledge ---- often deeply hidden. and at risk of being lost forever--- at the heart of sacred teachings and the essence of the world’s great religions and practice. After years of travel to some of the most remote and ancient parts of Central Asia and the Middle East, he returned to the West, arriving in 1912’s pre revolutionary Russia, a time of great turbulence and upheaval--- very much like the world we live in today.
What Gurdjieff brought back continues to live and grow in the study and practice of “ The Work” through groups throughout the world, nurtured and guided authentically through the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York. The powerful influence of The Work can be seen in countless writings, paths, and derivative movements.
The teaching continues to be lived in the steady perseverance and interest of Group Work. In Atlanta our group has been meeting weekly since 2000. Meetings include a sitting meditation, discussion of our own self-study and the ideas of the Work, music, movement and readings. Monthly we get together for “Work Saturdays” which may include watercolour, crafts, and practical work at tasks such as sewing and preparing meals together.
“But by observing in yourself the appearance and the disappearance of consciousness you will inevitably see one fact which you neither see nor acknowledge now, and that is that moments of consciousness are very short and are separated by long intervals of completely unconscious, mechanical working of the machine.”
“Self-observation brings man to the realisation of the necessity of self-change. And in observing himself a man notices that self-observation itself brings about certain changes in his inner processes. He begins to understand that self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening.”
Gurdjieff as quoted in In Search of the Miraculous, P.D Ouspensky
“To be alive is a unique miracle---to have the possibility of Being in place of Non-Being. Think of what it has cost Nature in the preparation of planetary conditions, the long periods of experiment, perhaps, so that, in addition to serving her, we might become Sons of the Father. And in return, what do we do?”
“…the highest aim and sense of human life is the striving to attain the welfare of one’s neighbour, and that is possible exclusively only by the renunciation of one’s own.”
Excerpts from Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson, G.I. Gurdjif