The Bennett Wessex Group - who we are and what we do
Some goup members have been meeting since 1982 in various locations from London to Derbyshire, Somerset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and currently Dorset. We meet once a month to participate in a programme of inner exercises, practical work, the movements, meditation, psychology, themes, observation and discussion.
Some of the group members studied with J.G. Bennett Coombe Springs and at the International Academy for Continuous Education in the 1970's at Sherborne House in Gloucestershire.
The Gurdjieff Movements
These were introduced by G.I. Gurdjieff when he came to eastern Europe in 1912. He called himself a teacher of dancing. This complex series or collective body of sacred dances are called the movements. They are no mere dance, but a mode of communication or an experiential way of acquiring knowledge without language. The music for the movements was written by Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann as well as British composer Edouard Michael. Practical work
Time is given to working outside at 'practical work' which gives an opportunity for the group to experience and make observations on the psychological theme which is undertaken for the day and discussed at the end of the day. Practical work usually consists of gardening or some light construction which works hand in hand with some of the principles of reciprocal maintenance (see Gurdjieff Making a New World, J.G.Bennett, chapter 9) and using some of the methods of permaculture to work with nature in a sensitive way.
Psychology - Themes, Observation and Discussion
Our study work is taken from J.G. Bennett, G.I. Gurdjieff and other related sources. A reading is chosen for the month's study and a theme is given to work on experientially, so that we can share our observations at the next group meeting. Observations on a theme are not intellectual concepts for discussion, but rather what we notice directly of our inner experience. We try to bring a genuine observation in order to gain insight for ourselves and help one another in our quest for reaching our human potential.
There are a series of Inner Exercises handed down from J.G. Bennett which he learned during his time with G.I. Gurdjieff. They are only available by means of direct transmission from one person to another and are not available in written form.
The Inner Exercises aim to open awareness in an active manner; in perceptions and potentials that man has, which allow him to develop his own individuality, or as it is sometimes said, his own Being, to become master of his own destiny and fulfill his rightful place in the natural order of which we are all part of.
These exercises are unique in themselves and without them the rest of the Fourth Way system would be rendered useless.
Meditation is not done every month, because we start the day with an 'active' form of Inner Exercise. One of the meditations we do is called the Green Meditation, taught to us at Sherborne by the Venerable Bhante Dharmawara (Ven. Samdach Vira Dharmawara Bellong Mahathera Bhante: 1889-1999). He was a Cambodian-born monk who lived to the age of 110. At the age of 40 he walked into the forest to follow the teachings of Buddha. Before that moment, he had been a lawyer, judge and provincial governor in Cambodia. Bhante lived in huts and subsisted on raw fruits and vegetables. He spent 45 years teaching and building a monastery. Bhante became well known for his abilities in treating people with a healing process involving green light.
Until his death, the world-renowned healer, Bhante Dharmawara, taught the benefits of using green light for the purposes of meditation.
For information and contact details of UK groups meeting regularly, please fill in the 'contact us' form telling us where you live so that we can put you into contact with a group near you.