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My Presentation on Gurdjieff and Chi Nei Tsang in Russia

October 12, 2013

Some 20 years ago, during a visit to Russia, I was invited by the head of a team of consciousness researchers, scientists, medical doctors, and alternative healers at the Russian Medico-Military Academy in  Saint Petersburg to speak on my understanding of the Gurdjieff Work and give a demonstration of Chi Nei Tsang, a Taoist healing modality involving internal organ chi massage and breathing, which I had learned in the Healing Tao and practiced in a well-known acupuncture clinic in San Francisco, even working on people with AIDS. The person I worked on with my hands and conscious intention gave his impressions in Russian to the rest of the group as he lay on the massage table.

At the end of my three-hour presentation to the 10 people who were there, the leader, a big bear of a man, gave me an enormous hug, intentionally readjusting my spine as he did so (I was tired, and he noticed and wanted to help). When he finished hugging me, he said–with a huge, engaging smile–something like: “here in Russia we are not parochial; we go beyond our training and specialities; we welcome and integrate all approaches and understanding.”

We then continued to talk (his wife spoke good English and functioned as the interpreter, as she had for the presentation), while one of the team, an energy healer, sent me energy from across the room using all sorts of novel (for me) movements and gestures. Here was a group of people who were open to influences other than their own, a rare occurrence in today’s world. And they really seemed to listen, not just to my words, but to my very emanations.

I think of these researchers often when I see the ways in which we in America treat our own frequently narrow, reductionist approaches to knowledge and understanding as somehow sacrosanct. We have paid a heavy price in many areas of life for this reductionism. Though I have spoken to numerous people and groups over the years, the great openness I felt among these Russian researchers was both rare and inspiring. We had a vital exchange on many levels.

Copyright 2013 by Dennis Lewis

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lani Walsh permalink
    October 12, 2013 6:09 pm

    Dennis I enjoy your page, and postings on FB I too had the pleasure in 1985, of going to the Soviet Union, while President Gorbochev’s was in power, for a month, as a guest of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Program was sponsored by the National Council of Churches, and intended to be a People to People Peace Exchange. We were some of the first guests allowed into The Soviet union. While we met with leaders of the Orthodox Church, several Synagogues, and Mosques we also me with the Youth Communist Party, several Atheist groups and members of the National Peace Party, (mostly ex-military).

    The experience profoundly affected me. I experienced the same openness and willingness to share, dialogue and explore and accept difference, and accept and know and learn from us as we were. i was struck by how much easier it was for Russians, (humans) to see the similarities we had, rather than the differences amongst us. Far more than my traveling companions. I felt embarrassed at times. Many of us , including me, had far more difficulties letting go of our pre-conceptions and biases. I had always considered myself an open and tolerant and unbiased individual. Needless to say I saw many of my blind spots, thru the lack of pre-conceptions extended to me, and no need on their part for me, to fit into a mold. While there was a sophistication to the individuals and groups I encountered, there was also a childlike curiosity and openness that I admired. I could share much more.

    Thank you again for your postings and emails. Lani

    Lani Walsh

    W: (404) 320-6808 C: (678) 427-8543 F: (404) 320-9478 laniwalsh@comcast.net

    • October 12, 2013 6:36 pm

      Lani, sounds like you had a wonderful time in Russia. Thanks for commenting here and recounting your experiences.

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