Most people think that they are in control of their body. If you want to stand up, you stand up without problems, right? However, in fact, most people are grossly overestimating their control of their body. And as a consequence they overstate the control of their Self. The ultimate price for this lack of control is the loss of your sacred potential. And the possibility to attain your soul.
I can hear you think: ‘WTF! What do you mean that I need to earn my soul?! And how would a stupid dance solve this?’. But please hear me out and allow me to explain in less than a 1000 words.
Let’s start with body control. For example, everyone is able to lift his right arm horizontal sideways. But are you also able to do this when moving other parts of your body as well? And if yes, to which degree? With this I mean: are you also able to lift your arm horizontal sideways on the 2nd measure of a total of 7 measures? Next, are you still able to do it when you also do a step sequence backward? Finally, are you also able to do the same when including a sequence of six different alternating head positions?
Some time ago, I had an interesting realization about the nature of the Gurdjieff Movements which is exactly about this: the degree to which you are able to control your body in action.
Gurdjieff Movements are a type of dance meditation where different parts of the body move on the music in different tempos. One can only master the Movements by a technique called divided attention. This means that you are both aware of your inner centre (body, emotions and mind) and your surroundings at the same moment. The different tempos of the different parts of the body give a glimpse of and a chance to connect with a higher cosmic reality.
I got my realisation when I recorded a Gurdjieff Movement practice and I noticed that I made the similar mistakes in different configurations (combinations of feet, arm and head positions) of the Movement. I was surprised of this, because I felt that I was able to take the correct positions. I started making mistakes when adding the head sequence. This sequence consists of six measures with four different positions: up, down, left and right. When you look at the short clip of this practice below, you see that my right arm is too far back when looking left and down. Also my arm is too low when looking up and right. Although in rest mode I am perfectly able to put my right arm horizontal sideways, in action (the dance), I have difficulty with the proper execution of the movement.
This experience made me realize that although I think that I master the ability to put my right arm horizontal sideways, it differs of the context to which degree I am able to do so. When I only need to lift my arm, I manage perfectly. However when other elements are added, I start to struggle and make mistakes.
Why is it important to be in control of your Self? Many spiritual practices argue that the goal of mankind is to be free. Freedom comes with the ability of choice. And in order to be able to choose according to your Will, you should be able to be in control of your Self (roughly consisting of body, emotions and mind). This is the reason why many spiritual practices advocate some form of discipline in one way or the other. Gurdjieff Movements are designed to achieve complete total control and harmony over body, emotions and mind.
- Remove the unnecessary and the archetypical appears
The idea of the Gurdjieff Movements is that by practicing them you will gradually achieve control of your Self. As a consequence you will exterminate all unnecessary activities in your Self (body, emotions and mind). Removing unnecessary movements are a result of a clear sense of will and the outcome of this is that the movements become archetypical. By practising the Gurdjieff Movements you more and more align yourself with archetypical positions and energies and it is exactly because of this that Gurdjieff called them objective art. Archetypical movements raise your energy frequency and allow to tapping into cosmic energies. There are many different Gurdjieff Movements in order to be able to align to many different cosmic energies. Attaining your soul is then the successful and sustainable connecting your Self to these cosmic forces. It is like achieving the alchemical stone of the wise.
This brings us to another quality of the Gurdjieff movements: its configurational and integrative approach. Many Movements consist of multiple elements (arms, legs, head, torso, etc.) which (can) have their own count, rhythm, energy and archetypical qualities. However, they all coexist at the same time in the Movement. They can be seen as planetary influences and because of this the Movements are also called cosmic dance. The combinations of the different elements have their own astrological quality.
- Cosmic dance: as above, so below
And this is the final revelation of the Gurdjieff Movements: they are in fact astrological dances. The different rhythms of the different parts of the body represent astrological energies of the classical 7 planets of our solar system. This does not mean that in each Movement always all planetary energies are represented. Sometimes 3 elements of the body represent the sun and a 4th element represents Venus. But every planet has its own rhythm and movement and together they move in orbit around the sun. When planets meet or come in aspect different energy combinations are raised. And although some energies are more pleasant than others, there is always order. And this is what the Gurdjieff Movements teach us. First, as above, so below, our hearts are like suns with our limbs as planets dancing around us. Secondly, although there are many different energy configurations, there is always order. You only need to be atuned to these energies in order to be able to experience the order. Otherwise you perceive chaos.
With help of the Movements you learn the cosmic dance by aligning yourself with cosmic energies. By disciplining the movements of your Self, you train away your inefficiencies, become archetypical and slowly attune yourself to the energies of the universe. You experience the mystical experience of being a part of the cosmic soul. And because as above is so below, as a consequence you will have attained your soul.