Jane Heap

Gurdjieff International Review

Jane Heap

As Remembered by Some of Those She Taught

by A. L. Staveley


Jane Heap left no lectures, no books, only the notes she wrote down for herself. Her legacy was a living one, passed through her pupils. Her teaching touched one’s feeling as well as thought. She had an exceptionally brilliant mind and a dazzling gift for exact formulation. She was an artist in words as well as materials of all kinds. The precision with which an idea was presented, the fact that it appeared as a picture rather than as verbal thought, was a little shock and entered a pupil as an unforgettable impression. For example, she could say of a man, “He is still tripping over his umbilical cord”—a phrase which said more than pages of psychologizing about over-devotion to a parent.

Jane told us, her pupils, that when she met the teaching in the person of Mr. Gurdjieff she turned her back on her old life, locked the studio on Long Island and painted no more. It was so, but nevertheless, hers was still the eye of an artist in all she did. And because she could see the design in all things she made us see it too. What she was interested in was Man—man as he is and Man as he could be—to, as she said many times, “the aching of the heart and the sickness of the stomach.” Sometimes to “the sickness of the heart and the aching of the stomach.” Her interest was real, never theoretical or lost in the realm of ideas.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]
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