Gurdjieff International Review

Working with the Movements

by Henri Thomasson

Copyright © 2002 Institut Gurdjieff, Paris

If you want to get inside yourself, you must find the right physical position, otherwise you will not be able to sustain your effort for any length of time. It is only when all parts of the body are relaxed and centered around one axis that this is possible. A vertical spine keeps both head and internal organs in a single line that connects with the centre of the earth’s attraction. It now becomes possible to collect attention from all parts of one’s body in one place, rather than have it dispersed among the various limbs and organs of perception. What was a crude, fragmentary and often quite illusory sensation of awareness becomes an acutely sensitive central vibration that may truly be called ‘a sensation of oneself’.

In this position a very special level of attention can be reached, and it brings with it a distinct feeling of the two natures of man: the one belonging to the external world and the other to the mysterious source of life itself.

All the physical processes that take place in the ordinary life of the body belong to the first nature. Once we recognise the ease with which we slide from most of our efforts of attention into the habitual functioning of our thoughts and accept the whole range of our everyday joys and sufferings, we have a clear indication of the taste and quality of the lower world.

When all thoughts and imagination drop away and only the vibrations of the living body are the centre of attention, the other world becomes accessible. Here all accustomed motives of desire and curiosity become completely unreal and a new kind of thought, liberated from form and composed of a pure but very fragile energy, appears.

It is possible to belong to both of these worlds at once, but for this a new relationship between them must be established and the present state of affairs, where the external takes everything for itself, must be reversed. The lower nature should be at the service of the higher, for a passive element can never be other than subservient to one that is active.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]
Copyright 1980, 2002 The Estate of Henri Thomasson
This webpage © 2002 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Spring 2002 Issue, Vol. V (1)
Revision: April 1, 2002


First published in The Pursuit of the Present, Two Rivers Press, 1980, pp.53–58. The book provides a powerful and lucid record of Thomasson’s thoughts, feelings and inner struggles during his twenty years of group work in France.