It will be very useful for you to try to be sincere with yourself. Sincerity is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new. You must go on trying to be sincere.
Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little....
Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, ‘I.’ And each time his I is different. Just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man’s name is legion.
~ George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Teacher and Mystic
Gurdjieff believed that many humans move through life like a world-wide sonambulistic colony of automatons who never detect their core of spiritual identity, their own true divinity trapped in human flesh.
As an antidote, he developed a "system" of treatments and activities that combined mysticism with psychology, and incorporated movement as therapy. He believed the holy nature of a human being could be revealed through movement, and especially through certain dances. He even treated patients in several mental hospitals, those who were bound in drifts of catatonia and seeming paralysis.
He began simply. Lift your arm, drop it to your side, and lift it again. Walk in circles.
With each day, more movement. There was noticible improvement in those being treated. Soon, patients who were once statue-like and vacant, could move, dance, run - and communicate.
Gurdjieff believed that movement and dance could impart not only beneficial physiological changes, but could dispense esoteric knowledge and spiritual healing, as well.
As an advanced example of the unification of movement and spirit, he favored the dances and music of whirling dervishes.
Some claim that Gurdjieff, the Armenian mystic and spiritual teacher, was a guru, a divine healer; others consider him a charlatan. But - genius or madman - I have to agree with him on several counts:
- It's all about the "I"
- The mask must come off
- You gotta move
Some of my worst days are the those immersed in the "I". Generated by mental anguish, stress, obsessive thinking - whatever - the "I" of life dominates. When the "I" rises like a huge, red planet that blocks out the sun - internal growth and movement cease, life wanes, my mask is impenetrable and firmly in place.
I hate that.
I have briefly considered, on days like that, activating my health insurance plan - the part that is devoted to "mental health treatment options." I imagine that I check myself in to a dreamy, flower-filled facility, where I am asked to change into darling silk pajamas and fluffy slippers. I obediently take my meds. Then a long nap. I have a nutrituous lunch on the patio, then recline and bask in the sun. I take more meds. Eventually, I fingerpaint - maybe make a little covered box out of popsicle sticks, with a cat's eye marble glued on top as a handle. Another nap. Catch up on some old episodes of Rhoda or Ironsides. Meet with a therapist and talk about me, the Great Grandiloquint "I".
In that scenario, meds and medical magicians might fix me.
How else am I to navigate the trecherous straits of demands and constraints and obligations that sometimes threaten to overwhelm? Can I - by myself and unaided by professionals - remove the mask from behind which I peer at the world? If I commit myself, with sincerity - to movement - will it truly effect changes in my physical body and my spirit, as well? What if I'm not quite ready to whirl, but maybe just move - move forward, step by step - will that work, too?
Yes, it will. I have had glimpses. I will have more.
Walking, along shore or in town, through old neighborhoods or the blooming foothills surrounding us, will beautify and tone not only the outer self, but will edify and strengthen and enrich the very innermost spiritual me, as well. The Great Planet "I" will wane, and disappear from the horizon. The mask will slip a little and I will see that I am safe, and sane, without it. And I will let it slip away even a bit more.
And I will keep walking, and moving, until I can let go and dance like a dervish.
(Here's a link to a great dervish video....)