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The Forgotten Language of Children: A Journey in Living Authentically. (Used)

by Firestone, Lillian

Publisher: Indications Press

Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket

Book ID: 9780963910042, 0963910043


The Forgotten Language of Children represents a new contribution to the literature of spiritual education. Lillian Firestone, writer and international teacher of the Gurdjieff method, reveals her dual process through her unflinchingly honest work with children and with herself. Part memoir, part parenting and teaching aide, her narrative unfolds with vivid accounts from children and poignant insights into her own process of self-discovery.

Ms. Firestone describes an experiment pioneered in the 1960s, meant to encourage children to live both practical and spiritually-inspired lives. Her work is based on the teachings of George Gurdjieff, who advocated the practice of presence in each moment of everyday life. The practical work and real-life skills, brought by a team of adults, aimed to demonstrate a more attentive way of life. Rather than attempting to impose any set of beliefs, the children were encouraged to search and question for themselves.

According to Gurdjieff, the harmonious development of man includes mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects. To encourage harmonious growth, the work with children was designed to build practical skills in a wide range of areas: carpentry, cooking, crafts, theatre, music, and travel. The goal was to encourage children to face new and unexpected circumstances with confidence and courage, to think for themselves and not to be afraid. In addition to practical tasks, the children were given simple exercises in self-observation and were encouraged to become aware of an inner landscape as they worked on their outer tasks.

The dual nature of this work included the adults who were working on seeing themselves as they worked with the children; and a spirit of inquiry permeated the work of those who participated. The Forgotten Language of Children also describes a method of communicating with children in a way they innately understand, through the emotional imagery of myths and fairy tales.

This volume is rich in practical suggestions, spiritual themes, and projects that bring moments of contact with the authentic self and raise questions regarding the meaning, purpose and sense of life. Accounts from the children themselves, looking back as adults, offer a further glimpse into the otherwise invisible reality of their inner world.

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