From A Convent In Avignon To Le Prieuré à Fontainebleau
When I was younger, I spent some years studying the teachings of an Armenian called Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff. He was a teacher of his own philosophy, based on his experiences and learnings with many Sufi and Dervish teachers, of whom he wrote in his book, ‘Meetings With Remarkable Men.’
His system taught, movement and dance, the appreciation of good music and the importance of maintaining oneself in a waking state. Waking meaning in an aware state, which it is possible to maintain for a few seconds, before one drifts off into the normality of the waking dream state.
I started to lose faith in Gurdjieff, primarily when he claimed to have relinquished his ability to read the minds of those around him, the loss of which in some way, reminded him to ‘stay awake,’ an explanation which refused to convince me of its truthfulness. I felt it to be an excuse to cover up his lie of his ability to read minds and nothing more.
I relate that little tale, which I suppose is an indication of my inability to accept, what everybody else in the group also refused to accept, without any mention of the disappointment, which we all no doubt felt. However I was reminded of these things, when a couple of weeks ago, I was introduced, in the cloister of a Convent of Carmelites, to a young lady, who during our conversation, mentioned Katherine Mansfield.
I told her that I loved the writings of Mansfield and that I had most of her books. The young lady explained to me that for some time she had been the curator of the Katherine Mansfield Museum in Menton, France. I remarked that it was tragic the way that she had died at Fontainebleau. The girl had thought that Katherine Mansfield had died in the house which was now the Museum.
She was quite surprised when I explained to her that at the time of her death, Mansfield had been with a group of students, which included Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife, along with many other luminaries of the day, studying the system of Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff in the Château Le Prieuré at Fontainebleau-Avon, near Paris.
Mansfield was suffering from Tuberculosis. Gurdjieff had suggested that the best treatment for her condition, was to sleep in the cow-shed, because the aroma of cow dung was efficacious, as a treatment for her illness. Apparently Katherine Mansfield, actually died with the odour of cow dung in her nostrils.
The young lady explained to me that Katherine Mansfield was not a very nice person and she thought that she had died from a sexually transmitted disease, so perhaps the time she spent in the cow-shed was not all it seemed.
I hope you found that little tale of some interest. There is more to be found: