The Gurdjieff Foundations

The Gurdjieff Foundations were founded to preserve the integrity of all aspects of the teaching brought by Mr. Gurdjieff. The Canadian Gurdjieff Foundations work closely with the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York as well as other centres worldwide that were founded by the pupils of Mr. Gurdjieff.

When Mr. Gurdjieff died in 1949 he left behind a teaching, colloquially called "the Work," with a number of disciples, some of them rather well known, scattered all over the world but mostly in Europe, England, and North America. Virtually all of them came together under the guidance of Madame de Salzmann who headed the continuation and expansion of the Work till her death in 1990. There has been also a proliferation of independent groups interested in his work, whose connection to Mr. Gurdjieff is unclear or nonexistent.

As part of this teaching, Mr. Gurdjieff left to us a number of written manuscripts, music, and a series of sacred dances and exercises. Most of his Writings and Music have now been published. Sacred dances and exercises, referred to simply as Movements have largely been kept within the groups established by him or his direct pupils, although a limited number of imitations of a few of the several hundred dances exist in other groups. In 2010 some entries from the notebooks of Mdme. De Salzmann were published. These contain many exercises, indications and directions that could be considered first-hand source material as well.

An indispensable part of the legacy is the oral teaching transmitted by Mr. Gurdjieff and now by those to whom the obligation has been passed onto. No doubt, his Work has been renewed and modified to suit the changing times. Fortunately, a few of his disciples have attained an understanding of their own, particularily Mdme. de Salzmann. We also have his writings, movements, and music and now those of Mdme. de Salzmann and can work toward the understanding of both the obvious and well-hidden meanings buried in the form.

The extent to which G.I. Gurdjieff influenced our (western) way of thinking and outlook, even our way of living, is only now becoming clear. His teachings and cosmology are, according to many, a synthesis of much ancient wisdom in an original, unadulterated form. To "wake-up," which Gurdjieff states is a requirement of many Great Traditions, involves more than grace or meditation. It requires a "work" on oneself including such efforts described as "self-remembering", and entails transformation of internal energies. No doubt, grace is also helpful, perhaps even necessary. While many feel that Mr. Gurdjieff brought the traditions into modern form it may be more accurate to say that his work can help our own search deepen.

The nature of the path one has to follow is aptly characterized by his saying: "I have given you leather but it is up to you to make the shoes." While everyone following the path has to make their own shoes, certain conditions are helpful. We work together in both time honoured and experimental ways to create these conditions.