A talk with Roger Lipsey, Ph.D., author of a new biography Gurdjieff Reconsidered: The Life, the Teaching, the Legacy. Joined by special guest The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, author of the foreword.
“All is story,” Gurdjieff once said to a young man in his circle. “In story you make yourself known to others.”
Story is part of every wisdom tradition, every practice tradition. Guidance and instructions about practice are typically austere: they speak to our possibilities and require understanding and perseverance. Stories are of another nature. They lighten the burden. They are precise entertainments, memories carefully preserved, little revelations. If you listen closely, they reveal the lives and character of teachers and the deep humanity they embodied. And, no less, they reveal the lives of pupils.
G.I. Gurdjieff lived among his pupils for nearly forty years. He taught them with force, precision of word and gesture, and ready humor. As part of his unique approach to teaching, he was a consummate teller of tales — and was himself the subject of innumerable anecdotes. In this talk and exchange, Dr. Lipsey and Rev. Bourgeault will share some of these tales, and also look at teaching tales drawn from other traditions, both ancient and modern.
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Gurdjieff Reconsidered is a discerning look at Gurdjieff’s profound influence on
contemporary Western spirituality. Seventy years after his death, centers dedicated
to his teachings now quietly thrive in cities throughout the world. With new insight
and with great sensitivity, Dr. Lipsey revisits Gurdjieff’s contribution to the essential
ideas of man’s evolution and spiritual potential, a living teaching that continues to
be handed down through practice and story.
There will be an opportunity to discuss the new biography with the author.
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Dr. Lipsey is the author of Hammarskjöld: A Life, recognized as the definitive biography of Dag Hammarskjöld, of two studies of Thomas Merton Make Peace Before the Sun Goes Down: The Long Encounter with Thomas Merton and His Abbott, James Fox and Angelic Mistakes: The Art of Thomas Merton, and many other books and essays. Forthcoming from Shambhala Publications (winter 2020) — Politics and Conscience: Dag Hammarskjöld on the Art of Ethical Leadership.
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault is an Episcopal priest, widely read author and retreat leader. She divides her time between solitude at her seaside hermitage in Maine and a demanding schedule traveling globally to further the discovery of the Christian contemplative path. She is the author of numerous books, including The Wisdom Jesus, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, The Holy Trinity and The Law of Three, and The Heart of Centering Prayer.