Gurdjieff’s Movements: Exercise#39 (Prayer)

“All work begins with the control of attention, and in this connection much can be learned from the Movements.”           

 Mme. Ouspensky

The movement 39 is the last exercise created by Gurdjieff and, in my  opinion, this motoric sequence is one of the most singular (for its accessibility in performing it) and, at the same time, the most interesting practice of this teacher: indeed, it keeps in some aspects, the core of his teaching.

It is strictly connected with the perception of the human centers or, rather, to use Gurdjieff’s words, the “three human brains”. Indeed, the psychophysical structure of every human being is, basically composed of three main fields: physical, emotional, and mental. This exercise allows exploring and experiencing in depth these three fields.

For the reason that the music for this exercise is strictly connected with the movements that must be performed, it would be best to use this piece during the practice.

This exercise is basically composed of four postures which are coordinated with the music. The duration of each posture lasts for six beats. It’s not difficult to notice when the sixth beat ends, because after, there is a short pause in the music. Besides the four postures of the body, the main point of this practice consists of three inner fields on which our attention should be synchronized: physical – sensing the whole body; emotional – keeping calm with a neutral emotional state; mental – keeping the mind clear and free from thoughts.

The first thing that should be done before beginning the practice, is to deepen our attention on the perceptions of the body, of the feelings and, in this way, calm the mind. A scan of the whole body with our attention would be a good preparation for the movement.

So, sit with crossed legs, and always maintain part of your attention on the perception of the body (this attention should be maintained during the whole practice). Hands are rested on the knees, and the back is straight. The breath should be synchronized with the music beats: a gentle inhalation that lasts for six beats, a pause between the beats, and a gentle exhalation during the following six beats. This breathing rhythm should be also maintained during the whole motoric sequence.

During the whole sequence of movements, pay attention on what’s happening inside of you.

1)      The first six beats: remain still in the above described position;

2)      Bring slowly and gently your right arm on the left side of the chest synchronizing the movement so that it begins from the first music beat and finishes against the chest on the sixth beat. Perceive the whole arm from the inside and, at the same time, focus your attention on the center of your head (a place 1.2 inches inside of the head, behind the area of the bridge of the nose);

3)      The second six beats: now, guide the left arm to the right side of the chest, crossing it over the right arm; perceive the arm from the inside, and now gently move  your attention on the heart (emotional function);

4)      The third sequence of beats: tilt the head forward pulling it up gently towards the chest. The attention is focused on the whole perception of the body.

5)      During the fourth, fifth, and sixth sequence of beats, sequentially bring back slowly and gently, first the head in a right posture (fourth sequence of beats), then the left arm on the left knee (fifth sequence) and, finally, the right arm on the right knee;

6)      Repeat again, the whole six sequence of beats;

7)      The movement lasts till the end of the music;

8)      At the end of the exercise, remain still for a while, pondering on the results gained during this exercise; you can also state some words of affirmation like: “May the results of this practice become part of my being”

You can download the music for this movement here

Photos by: Clara Stella

About mr Sarmoung

Andrea Dandolo je pisac i istražitelj razvoja svijesti i duhovnosti uključen u razotkrivanje drevnih učenja s ciljem olakšavanja unutarnjeg razvoja ljudskih bića. Jedan od načina kojima se time bavi je i kroz blog koji je preveden na engleski, španjolski i od nedavno hrvatski. Od rane mladosti je u svijetu duhovnosti i rada na sebi sudjelujući u radu grupa koje potječu direktno od Gurdjieffa, tj koje su bile vođene od strane samog Gurdjieffa U skladu sa drevnim znanjima, naglašava razvoj svjesnosti kao primarno sredstvo za psihološku transformaciju i duhovnu osvještenost individualaca. Karakteristike sistema koji predlaže su jednostavan jezik i moderni prijevod drevnih učenja kao i njihove praktične primjene u svakodnevnome životu. Njegov blog čitaju ljudi iz svih krajeva svijeta. Samorazvoj je ne religiozni i ne dogmatski put; sastoji se primarno od naprednog dostizanja viših stanja svijesti, p prisustva i konačno od ostvarivanja svoje prave intimne prirode, koja je poznata u mnogim tradicijama pod imenima poput esencija, duša, biće. Kroz takav razvoj individualna osoba ulazi u nove dimenzije svijesti koje mu omogućuju da vidi stvarnost sakrivenu iza iluzija. To mu omogućuje kreiranje osobnosti neovisne i otporne na vanjske situacije i vanjska uvjetovanja. Posljedice takvog razvoja su oštra inteligencija, izvanredni kreativni kapaciteti, ravnoteža i smirenost u svakoj situaciji i stabilno stanje višeg stanja svijesti koje je poznato u drevnim tradicijama pod nazivom “buđenje”.
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9 Responses to Gurdjieff’s Movements: Exercise#39 (Prayer)

  1. Greg Frucci says:

    this i will do tonight at the end of my day…
    thank you…

  2. Morevalme says:

    Hola me puedes explicar como descargar la musica de este movimiento Nro. 39. Gracias por compartir esta informacion.

  3. Michal says:

    Hey, the music link doesn’t work, but I’ve found this:

  4. Sarah Saleh says:

    Hello, I tried to go to the link but it says that the page doesn’t exist.. Is it possible to find it elsewhere?

  5. Sarah Saleh says:

    I found the link on YouTube, but I am perplexed as for number 5, the way they were doing it in the video is: neck and arms come back together, not in a sequence…?

    • mr Sarmoung says:

      Sarah, I apologize for the delay in answering your question, I’ve been busy in the last months.
      There is no need to be perplexed. The thing lies in the description: visually, the arms and head move in the same moment, but in practice there is a slight delay in each of these movements: the push begins from the head and immediately the left arm is released a minimal moment before the right arm (indeed, if you try to do the opposite, namely to release the right before the left arm, I ponder you’ll find the left arm blocking the right); in the end of the last beat, you seat in the final position of the “circle”, head and body straight and hands on the knees. What is ignored is that these movements are not a mechanical but fluid, harmonious, so made in a specific sequence, even if the delays are minimal, but required. If you don’t mind, I can tell you that this sequence has been taught to my grandmother from the group that was under the guidance of the group of Jeanne de Salzmann (just as information that could be interesting or not).
      Best regards,

  6. Corinna says:

    Hi where can all the series of exercises can be’ founded? I would love to learn them

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