Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gurdjieff, Moshe, living and sensing and waking


Picture this: Into a group of goody, goody, vegetarian,
sugar avoiding, meditating till their knees dropped, make up avoiding,
purple and die dye wearing, oh so pure souls
storms a
chain smoking,
over weight,
wildly naughtily and profoundly profanely humorous,
sugar and meat eating,
Television watching,
attention as It promoting

Moshe at Amherst?
I don't know. Wasn't there.

But this certainly was my Gurdjieff teacher breezing into Berkeley to save a bunch
of us from SAT (Seeker After Truth), a goody, goody group,
as deep as possible into the "spiritual materialism" that Chewing Gum
Trungpa talked/wrote about .

Said SAT, was Claudio Naranjo's baby, and since Claudio
was greedy/ open to everything,
we were greedy/ open to everything, Tibetan Buddhism, Gestalt
therapy, Scientology (just the methods, a few, not the cult,
sorry if anyone is offened), the Gurdjieff legacy (Claudio's gal friend
had been a small child around the infamous G.), the Sufi stories of
Idries Shah (highly recommended, today, tomorrow and forever, including
the humor branch in the stories of Nasrudin),
and lots and lots from Claudio's year in the desert with Oscar Ochazo,
later of Arica fame.
With The Arica-ish influence came the endless route of torturing ourselves
and others with the Eneegram, and that's another, very long story.

But, we were very good
and Kathy and Claudio were crashing and SAT was crashing,
and in breezed above mentioned overweight swearing
chain smoking New York Jew.

He had a group in New York, which included writers for New Yorker,
and founder of National Lampoon. They, east coast branch, had bought
a farm in upstate New York and spend the weekends doing the
Gurdjieff version of meditation:

sense both arms, fingers to shoulders
sense both legs, toes to hips,
be awake and aware to sounds coming in the ears,
be awake and aware to reflected light coming
in the eyes

go about your entire day doing this,
and doing real things:
making gardens,
build barns,
dig pounds,
move rocks,
create pathways.

Stay up late working,
sanding floors, painting walls with one inch
wide paint brushes,
sometimes stay up all night,
sometimes two nights in a row.

This group didn't do the G movements,
and another group, the group of this fellow's
teacher, did, sort of.

But even with this other group
(which ended up also, like the first guy's East coast
group) migrating to warmer, tree and space and fun Berkeley,
was more interested in working as meditation,
and they had a theater group, Theater of the Blue Rose.
A play a month, ten months of the year, Rose Tatoo, Cabaret, Glass Menagerie,
and so on, not light stuff, two weeks rehearsal, two weekends on, bam it's
off and on to the next play.

So, anyway:
This was a great experience,
that also feel apart with the leaders not quite
able to be as awake at all times
as they wanted us to be,
but at least:
real work,
meditation as something that isn't on a pillow
but in real life.

I often think, that if Moshe had copied this
aspect of G,
and had his "followers" out in the country,
doing their five lines
and awareness through movement while doing
"real things"
the whole indoors, martial arts, aspect of the work
might have been expanded to rather amazing
levels.(For example, Anat, who adores Moshe,
might not have a dungeon of darkness as her learning space)

But, what an experience:
the West coast branch,
since we already more or less lived in country
beauty by living in Berkeley,
didn't buy a farm to practice work/ meditation:
we rented a big factory space and
restored an old car,
eating cookies and drinking coffee after work
'till twelve or so each night,
a nice, amazing shift for many of us,
and certainly a switch from habitual patterns.

And the sacred dance:
second teacher, teacher of first,
and everything first was
except overweight,

(and the war they got into
another, long story)

did teach, via one of his ex girlfriends the
"movements" for awhile, on the stage of above mentioned
Theater of the Blue Rose
(when people in that group were between jobs
and needed to save money, they'd sleep on the stage at
night..... and the jobs: what can you do and cultivate
consciousness: lots of cab drivers, carpenters, garden makers...
last two I found big fun, frustration, huge learning in,
and need, occasionally, long before I came to FM as career,
the need for ATM for aching back).

Oh,yeah: Movements on the stage.

Don't remember much:
beautiful music.

Here's the way my mind works:
the main thing I remember is Virginia,
the teacher of the movements, complaining
to David, the G teacher, about people coming
late, and David saying,
"It doesn't take a genius to come on time."

Maybe this is enough,
on what was a long, weird and wonderful
fifteen year,


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