Gurdjieff International Review

The Key to a Teaching

By D. M. Dooling

How can I speak of him without lying?” asked René Daumal when someone questioned him about God, “and how can I not speak of him without lying?” How can we, how must we, bear witness to our own experience, even if what shaped it was on another level and beyond our understanding?

Once in a long time—some say, only at moments of the greatest human danger and despair—a man appears, it seems, in order to show what has been forgotten; to put things back together again; to return to the light of reason a world tottering on the edge of madness. Gurdjieff called them Messengers from Above. Perhaps they have not all been recognized, even in the light of history; perhaps none of them were recognized, except by a very few, during their lifetimes. Many people think there has been only one such envoy from Heaven, but argue as to whether his name was Jesus, Mohammed or Gautama. For always we drift back into comparison, selection and opposition, until another Teacher appears to transform our inner world and open us for a moment to the reality of wholeness. This appearance is a world event, another chance granted to the human race; yet only a few people, in the fraction of humanity that is living at that moment, know that such an event has occurred. And perhaps the full action of the event depends to some extent on the witness borne to it by these few.

Gurdjieff was such an event for those who came in contact with him. By what chance did we cross his path? Why were we among those on whom his glance happened to rest? We must all have asked ourselves that. We don’t know why; but we were there when Gurdjieff happened, and so he happened to us, and our lives were changed. We were witnesses, worthy or not, of this earthquake.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]

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Dorothea Matthews Dooling was born in Ohio in 1910. She studied at Oxford, then married and settled in Montana where she raised and home-schooled her six children. She met Gurdjieff for the first time in 1929, and became seriously engaged in the study of his teaching in 1942. In 1953 she moved to New York and became a member of the Gurdjieff Foundation. During the 1960s and 1970s, she was responsible for the Gurdjieff groups in Lima, Peru and Boston. She took an active part in the translation and publication in Spanish of most of the Work literature. In 1976 she founded Parabola Magazine, and continued to work as its editorial director until her death in Montana in 1991.

Copyright © 2004 The Estate of D.M. Dooling
This webpage © 2004 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Fall 2004 Issue, Vol. VIII (1)
Revision: November 1, 2004