Winter workshops by Alan FrancisJanuary-February, 2018
Christopher Fremantle (1906–1978) was born 17 December, 1906. He received a degree from Oxford, after which he studied at the Royal College of Art and became a painter. He met Anne Jackson in 1927, and married her 1930. In 1935, they jointed Ouspensky’s spiritual group in London.
During the Nazi’s attack on London, Fremantle lived in Ouspensky’s estate at Lyne Place. Fremantle organized Ouspensky’s lectures in the United States, and he continued being Ouspensky’s pupil in Mendham, New Jersey, until the latter’s death in 1947. After that, Ouspensky’s widow suggested the Fremantles to go to Gurdjieff, which they did, studying with the latter, until his death in 1949.
In 1951 Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff’s successor, sent Fremantle to Mexico, to take charge of spiritual groups there, which he did for the rest of his life, spending his summers there and making numerous short visits during the year. In 1962 he returned to Paris to work with Madame de Salzmann, staying there until 1966, when he was asked to go to the United States to help instruct groups in New York, Chicago, and other cities. He continued this task until his death on 19 December, 1978.
In the 1970s Madame de Salzmann asked some of Gurdjieff’s elder pupils to write about their experiences studying with him, Fremantle started to dictate notes about his spiritual experience. His special field of studies was painting and, similarly to Zen painters, he taught his pupils to feel the life in the objects of the paintings they gazed on, paying special attention to the nature of color and shades.
"You know of course about the famous Zen Tea Ceremony? Well, what is it? It is really just people performing the very simple daily activity of brewing and drinking tea. What makes it extraordinary is that they do it in a special way, with attention. If we could drink our coffee with attention, people would come from all over the world to watch us. Maybe they would call it the Coffee Ceremony".
"Conscious forces are trying to help you. You are not alone".
"Try to be clear for yourself on your own personal impulse, your personal wish and aim; no one else can give you theirs."
A letter to a pupil from Christopher Fremantle's Notes
"When music is heard, a book read, or a conversation is in progress, the stream of impressions provokes continual associations; these tend to absorb the attention, creating gaps in the stream of conscious reception...active attention is not continuous, it consists of moments of voluntary renewal. One may say, 'now I will have an active attention resting on such and such a thing,' but at every moment it has to be renewed; and it is renewed by one's wish, or by one's will".