“All work begins with the control of attention, and in this connection much can be learned from the Movements.”
Movements at Northeon Forest
Movements and Breathing
(Gurdjieff - Quoted from ISOTM Chapter 18)
You must realize that there are three kinds of breathing. One is normal breathing. The second is 'inflation.' The third is breathing assisted by movements. What does this mean? It means that normal breathing goes on unconsciously, it is managed and controlled by the moving center. 'Inflation' is artificial breathing. If for instance a man says to himself that he will count ten inhaling and ten exhaling, or that he will inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left—this is done by the formatory apparatus.
But as I have already said, there is a third way—breathing through movements. This third way needs a great knowledge of the human machine and it is employed in schools directed by very learned people. In comparison all other methods are 'homemade' and unreliable.
The fundamental idea of this method consists in the fact that certain movements and postures can call forth any kind of breathing you like and it is also normal breathing, not 'inflation.' The difficulty is in knowing what movements and what postures will call forth certain kinds of breathing in what kind of people.
Here are some Movements that may modify your breathing:
Regarding Movements As Preparation For Life
How can the Movements be used in preparation for the choreography of everyday life consciously danced?
There are several ways that the practice of the movements may assist us in our everyday life by applying the principles and techniques to our daily work efforts. While doing the movements we may experience a heightened sense of awareness, a sharpened attention, an inner quiet, an harmonization of the three centers, an overall increase in energy. These results of our efforts are the reconciliation's which feed our being and, if not creatively used in further work efforts, will be squandered thru mechanical habits such as wiseacring, gregariousness, inner considering, etc. In the long term the movements aid in the development of the will, in the the growth of the soul and in the recognition of the higher emotions. Some of the principles and techniques are enduring, imagination, visualization, relaxation, breathing, sightless gaze, sensing and others listed below. I hope that the following observations may serve co-seekers as guidelines for the creative construction of daily work agendas.
First, the Movements are a training ground for the attention.
As we all know from past experience with movements, we can loose the sequence if we let our attention wander to distracting stimuli such as thoughts, emotions, impressions, sensations or anything that lies on the "it" side the separation of "I and it". This process of discrimination starts with self-observation : separating "I" from "it" releasing ridgid identification with sensory traits observed to be associated with daily life. In life we can also loose the thread of the work and our daily activities. We will be unable to maintain an intention, aim or effort without sustained attention. Movements train us to keep our attention on the task at hand and also develop our will. Control of attention enables us to shift some of our mechanical, hypnotized attention and apply it instead to our inner work. With increased attention our work efforts will be stronger and more continuous. Slowly, with practice, we acquire the ability to hold more than one thing before a quiet mind. Doing a movement with vocalizations and inner work exercises requires a division of attention. This divided attention ability is invaluable in everyday life for with it we have gained the possibility of simultaneously engaging in inner work while we live our daily life in an expanded sense of awareness. Pondering requires holding a question before the mind for a prolonged period as well as an impartial noticing and setting aside of intruding thoughts and emotions.
Second, they are a medium for the cultivation of "doing".
Do the servants obey the master? Do the three centers harmonize and work in unison to carry out the wish of the master? We are fully present to the task at hand when I wish, I can, I am are working together towards an aim with an economy of movement and an abundance of conscience. We aren't really working until we are doing nothing. we assent to allow the total situation to elicit the appropriate harmonious pattern of action. We see what is necessary and it is done. We are neither active nor passive. We are relaxed and poised. Our lives can benefit from those moments when we are one with the movement and we can no longer say whether we are doing the movement or the movement is doing us; when there is no separation - no "I am doing this" or "this is doing me."
Thirdly, they are a tool for harvesting the Reconciliations which feed the soul.
Balanced being requires that our resistances become energy which enables greater affirmation. The soul is nourished out of the struggle and harmonization of the two great forces of god - creation and return , involution and evolution , holy denying and holy affirming. The process follows the law of three as expressed by Gurdjieff in his Holy Equation :
Transubstantiate in me,
For my Being.
Holy Affirming - Intention to do a movement, sustaining that intention. Effort involved in learning and later perfecting the positions. Enduring awkward postures
Holy Denying - Laziness, lethargy, pain, forgetfulness, emotions, thoughts, distractions.
Holy Reconciling - Those moments when it all comes together and we are "doing" the movement. Transubstantiation for being. Coatings on an inner being embryo. We must enter this gate a thousand times.
Practical suggestions :
Take daily activities and ritualize some of the postures and motions as a sequence to which may be added some inner exercise.
Use the manifestation of holy denying traits as triggers for the adoption of a predetermined posture (internal or/and external).
Observe and study the effects of various postures on the quality of ones presence.
Try to discover if there are certain postures which assist the evocation of faith, love, hope, compassion, conscience.
The Endless Search © 2004 Ian C. MacFarlane