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My Meeting with Dushka Howarth

The first time that I happened to come close to Gurdjeff Movement was in 1991, at Osho Ashram. Before I heard about them ad never saw them, but a friend told me once: “I think you will like them, it might be your story”. I did belive her and registered to the course. For two years I attended to the one month training, beside several other shorter groups, and shortly after life gave me the oppotunity to start teaching them. At that time Movements were still kept “secret” and beside the Gurjeff Foundation there were very few tecahers sharing the teaching. At that time internet was not so developed and one had to look for things in different ways. Since then a kind of exploration has started, which lasted years, to try to come more and more close to the original source, to learn the core of Gurdjeff messagge, through a direct ligneage.

This was my goal. I was wishing to come to know someone who had directly and consistently worked with Gurdjeff and who had been spending with him enough time to really have absorbed his message wth his blood and bones, to be able to communicate it to me as well. There were not so many people still alife who had worked with Gurdjeff, since he had died in 1949, and more than 50 years had alreay passed. After years of studying, doing groups and work around the world, in the summer 2001 I went to the States, to attend to a group on the Movements; while being in New York a friend asked me: “Would you like to meet Gurdjeff daughter?” I couldn't belive it! I didn't even know that Gurdjeff had another daughter, beside the one he had with Madam De Salzmann. I answered: “This is the best gift you could ever give to me”

                                                                                     Dushka, in her flat in Manhattan and with the handwritten book: “It's up to Ourselves”         

We went to see her one afternoon, Karen, her husband and mine. I was very excited, not really knowing what to ask... We bought some flowers. When she opened the door I immediately recognized his father face, on her own, oval shaped, similar face lines, great vitality and strenght combined with exquisite kindness and sincere warmth. She was a wonderful woman, full of love towards everything and everyone. She was not making any difference between people. The only thing she was interested in was a sincere search for truth. The moment she could feel the same interest in another person she would open up and give, she was able to give a lot, everything that she had. To be in her presence was a joy, a gift that life was giving to me.

Whoever met Duksha knows how much she could speak, she could go on talking for hours, telling every kind of story, but mostly she was sharing on her own experience with the father, with the Movement and with the “Work”. And never she was talking just for talking. That day I stayed at her for 5 hours in a raw, listening to every word, every suggestion that she was giving to me and when the moment came for me to ask her something I said: “I teach and I feel resopnsible. I would love to know the thruth on the Movements and to learn them from you” This was my wish. She smiled and said that she was not teaching anymore. By then she was having difficulties to move. Although she was still well. Years later she told me that she appreaciated the courage I had that time being sincere and direct.

That evening, while sitting in the subway on the way back to the hostel were I was staying in new York, I wrote down everything that I could remember and that I had been touched from. Everything that could help me to deepen the study and the understanding of the Movements and the Work. Her words were for me precious and they still are. Yes, because by studying the Movements I always had the feeling that something was missing, not knowing what it was. The following days I went back to her twice and spent there 5 hours once and 6,5 hours the other time.

The second day I innocently asked her if I could record her words, but she firmly answered: “I don't like to be recorded!”. She was right, but she also saw how thirsty I was to know and how much importance I was giving to all what she was saying. When I was with her my attention was to its maximum, not wanting to loose even one word being said.

Dushka Christmas Greetings 2005

I returned to New York often in the following years and everytime I was going to visit her spending there always long afternoons and evening asking for every kind of clarifications around the Movements that meanwhile I was studying. Slowly slowly I realized that, concerning Gurdjeff Work, her house was the centre of the world and that her knowledge had a quality of depth which I never was meeting before.

At one point I decided to move permanently in New York and to enter the Gurdjeff Foundation. She gave me many preciuos suggestions. She helped me understanding many things and more than anything else, the righ approach to the whole experience. In that time I had chance to see her many times and I could deepen the study of the Movements and verify their precision and authenticity. She was available to all the people whom she felt really committed with the Movements. And we had so many laughters together as she was a brillant woman full of sense of humor. It was like that she was seeing things from above and often she was smiling with amusement (sometimes she was also getting angry!) around the distortion happening around “Gurdjeff Work”. She was amused seeing that even within the so called spiritual world there were people wanting to have carrier and get special postion there.

She loved simplicity.

Her knowing was not separated from love.

It was all one.

This was her secret, so simple and so big at the same time. True and authentic love, simple and big, able to include everything and everybody. You could feel around her a great sense of responsability, the one of protecting Movements from distortion and the one of communicating them the same way she had them taught by the father and the mother, Jessim Howarth, who had been with Gurdjeff since the Priurè times. This one has been her life task and she fully devoted herself to this till the very end of her life. Along the years her body was getting ill and full of problems, but her mind and vitality remained untouched. I saw her often, especially in the last years, facing healthy problems, which were always heavy and difficult to be acccepted, and I've always been impressed by her capacity of keeping her smile and serenity. Even then she was able to find strength, courage and humor. She always used to ask me how my life was going: from my relationship to my connection with “the Work” and she was always interested into my world life, giving great relevance to practical life too. She was not making any difference between daily life and “the Work”.

When she left the body I heard from a teacher of the Foundation that her last message was the one of love. An authentic and strong love, sincere, true, unconditional, generous, without judgments and essential. I'm not very interested into esoteric things but the day that she left the body, the 28 march 2010, I was in Italy and a message came to me, from heart to heart, where she was telling me with firm love to communicate the Movements and the Work with responsability.

It is what I'm now trying to do with all my being.

To preserve, practice and transmit Gurdjeff teaching without distortion, Dushka founded, together with a community of people with the same vision and intention to serve the same cause, the GURDJEFF HERITAGE SOCIETY.
Their website can be visited and info are available also regarding her book.