One of my favorite books that I have read over the years is Boyhood with Gurdjieff by Fritz Peters. It is Peters’ account of spending four amazing years as a young boy under the tutelage of George Gurdjieff.
Many miraculous events have been attributed to Gurdjieff by those who have had direct contact with him—especially as a teacher of human spiritual transformation. Gurdjieff claimed that humans do not comprehend what potential abilities lay undeveloped in them because of the abnormal conditions of contemporary life.
Fritz Peters also experienced some of these “miracles.” Each of these miracles seemed to underscore Gurdjieff’s teachings and prove some point—especially about the human condition and human possibilities.
One particular miraculous event mentioned in the book is, for me, worthy of mention.
Fritz Peters was given the chore of housekeeper in Gurdjieff’s personal room at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Chateau du Prieure in Fountainebleau-Avon, France.
One day while bringing a tray of coffee and brandy to Mr. Gurdjieff’s room, Peters heard loud and violent sounds of shouting from inside. He knocked on the door but got no response. So he cautiously walked in.
Inside, Peters reports that Gurdjieff seemed to be in a state of uncontrolled fury. He was yelling at A. R. Orage, who was a renowned editor of literature and a top disciple of Gurdjieff’s methods. Apparently, Orage had done something wrong with his own students and Gurdjieff was laying into him. While Orage was a physically bigger man than Gurdjieff, Peters observed that he seemed withered, crumpled and sagging due to Gurdjieff’s tirade. Meanwhile, Gurdjieff looked immense during his seemingly full embodiment of rage.
Peters had to walk between the two men to set his tray on the table. He was shocked and astounded by how Mr. Gurdjieff, a so-called “superior” human, could lose his control so completely. He felt pity for Orage but just as he began to lose his feelings of respect and admiration for Mr. Gurdjieff, something remarkable occurred in the space of an instant. For a split second, Gurdjieff’s whole personality and demeanor changed as he gave the young lad a broad, warm smile that communicated incredible peace and inner quiet. Gurdjieff then waved for the boy to leave the room and resumed his tirade with undiminished force.
Fritz Peters said this event happened so quickly that he did not believe that Orage even noticed the break in the tirade. The boy left the room with his feelings completely reversed. Gurdjieff had done something miraculous.
Peters then realized that Gurdjieff was not identified with, or a slave to, the external anger and shouting of his outburst and was always in complete control and completely conscious of everything from a deeper sacred place. In fact, Gurdjieff had the presence of mind to use the so-called heat of the moment to teach Peters a lesson about human potentials.