Gurdjieff - J G Bennett is healed
Type of spiritual experience
Bennett was staying at Gurdjieff's Fontainebleau Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man when this occurred, and Gurdjieff himself was in charge of the 'exercises', based on Dervish dances. The aim of these exercises was according to Gurdjieff, 'to arouse man to a higher degree of alertness, to enable him to gain total control of his moving centre'; they involved an incredibly complicated series of movements - sometimes doing quite different things with the feet, the hands and the head.
Bennett was also suffering from dysentery and feeling physically exhausted. One day, he found himself shaking with fever.
'Just as I was saying to myself: "l will stay in bed today, " I felt my body rising. I dressed and went to work as usual, but this time with a queer sense of being held together by a superior Will that was not my own.'
In spite of extreme exhaustion, he forced himself to join in a new and particularly difficult series of exercises. They were so complicated that the other students dropped out one by one; Bennett felt that Gurdjieff was willing him to go on, even if it killed him. And then:
'Suddenly, I was filled with an influx of an immense power. My body seemed to have turned into light. I could not feel its presence in the usual ways. There was no effort, no pain, no weariness, not even any Sense of weight.'
The exercises were over, and the others went off for tea. Bennett went into the garden and began to dig.
Bennett seems not to have realised that Gurdjieff effectively healed him by the transfer of energy.
A description of the experience
J G Bennett - Witness
I felt the need to test the power that had entered me, and I began to dig in the fierce afternoon heat for more than an hour at a rate that I ordinarily could not sustain for two minutes. I felt no fatigue, and no sense of effort.
My weak, rebellious, suffering body had become strong and obedient.
The diarrhoea had ceased and I no longer felt the gnawing abdominal pains that had been with me for days. Moreover, I experienced a clarity of thought that I had only known involuntarily and at rare moments, but which was now at my command. I returned in thought to the Grand Rue de Pera and discovered that I could be aware of the fifth dimension. The phrase 'in my mind's eye' took on a new meaning as I 'saw' the eternal part of each thing I looked at; the trees, the plants, the water flowing
in the canal and even the spade, and lastly my own body. I recognised the changing relationship between 'myself' and 'my Pattern'.
As my state of consciousness changed, 'l' and my 'pattern' grew closer together or separated and lost touch. Time and eternity were the conditions of our experience, and the Harmonious Development of Man, towards which Gurdjieff was leading us, was the secret of true freedom.