The Inner Journey: Views from the Gurdjieff Work: Including the DVD Meetings with Remarkable Menby Jacob Needleman, G. I. Gurdjieff
The Gurdjieff tradition, commonly referred to as "The Work,” describes people’s daily lives as completely mechanical, conducted asleep. Gurdjieff's intent, as with many sacred traditions, was literally to aid in one's awakening. The tools for doing this are many but integrated. The various methods of "The Work" are intended to specifically integrate a
The Gurdjieff tradition, commonly referred to as "The Work,” describes people’s daily lives as completely mechanical, conducted asleep. Gurdjieff's intent, as with many sacred traditions, was literally to aid in one's awakening. The tools for doing this are many but integrated. The various methods of "The Work" are intended to specifically integrate a person’s physical, emotional, and intellectual centers into a fourth way of consciousness. Like Zen, this tradition has been an oral one emphasizing the relationship of teacher to student. But there have also been extensive writings on this tradition, and The Inner Journey collects some of the best of these in the form of essays, interviews, and fables. To expand readers’ experience and understanding of both Gurdjieff's life and his teachings, the book is bundled with the feature film Meetings with Remarkable Men, Peter Brook’s critically acclaimed adaptation of the early years of Gurdjieff’s search for meaning.
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The book is a mish-mash of articles by experts and selected quotes from Gurdjieff himself. As an introduction to his work it is not useful, because it will come across as weird. You'd ask, what's the big deal here? A much better introduction work would be the book Meetings With Remarkable Men, which also is the basis for the accompanying DVD. Gurdjieff as a man, according to all accounts, had something to say and had skills of teaching that were unusual. He tended to be practical, which is rather refreshing. He composed music, orchestrated sacred dance, smoked a lot, drank a lot. Not a pure image, but he didn't care about that. One biography states that the autopsy performed on his body when he died in 1949 found a liver that was riddled with cancer. The doctor estimated that he should have died years earlier. The film is interesting, more as a document than as a feature adventure film. It fails in that last regard, but it succeeds extremely well in painting the early life of Gurdjieff. One scene, opening the film, has always stood out in my memory. A musical contest held in the rugged mountains of Armenia or Afghanistan. Musicians sit on a platform. One after another they perform. After each attempt everyone is silent and looks around at the mountains, as if expecting something to happen. Then at last a singer creates the effect that wins him the competition: he makes the mountains sing. This is really done well in the film. By Stephen Muires, author of 'Ordained - a novel'