The Moving Center is simply the part of us that is concerned with movement. This is any kind of physical movement or action that one undertakes, including physical expressions and mimicry of others, as well as dreams. Sometimes Fourth Way schools will also add the Instinctive Center and Sexual Center to this center, since these are all connected to the physical body and its uses and maintenance. For our purposes we can group them under the same heading as their use is not different enough to warrant multiple articles.
When a person desires to learn something they must use the Intellectual part of the Moving Center to plan and organize their actions by copying another person or testing out different actions to see what is more preferable. This process is the slowest part of the Moving Center’s work as it requires conscious awareness of the action, even when it is simply unconscious mimicry of another person. This is why it takes a long time for a person to learn a new skill such as riding a bicycle or learning a musical instrument.
In connection with the Intellectual part, the Emotional part enjoys the process of physical movement, and delights in dancing and physical prowess. In order to learn a new skill in the most efficient manner, it is essential to engage the Emotional part of the center because it makes attention to the act easier and it has more power to draw from than the other parts.
Finally, once a skill has been learned and practiced enough times with purposeful repetition and focus, it is taken over by the Moving part of the Moving Center. It then automates all actions and is what we now call the muscle memory. Of course there are many instances where unhealthy or dysfunctional movements have been taught to the Moving center and are repeated until they are consciously stopped in a way that damages a person or shortens their life and/or enjoyment of life. A good example of this is physical tension, oftentimes connected to emotional responses and facial expressions, that rob us of much of our available energy.
The Instinctive Center is very similar to the Moving Center, except that no conscious action is needed to learn or process its actions. Things like a person’s heart beat and breathing are instinctive, and while one can take control of them, they will continue without any effort on the part of the other centers. Like some of the other centers, it has two halves, which in its case are focused on pain or pleasure, and it reacts negatively or positively based on these impressions. Other centers can restrict or damage these processes and they are best left alone for the health and balance of the individual as they are typically essential processes for maintaining our existence.
The last center to discuss is the Sexual Center, however there seems to be no consensus on what part it plays in the Work, except that it clearly controls the sexual functions and other centers tend to steal its energies. Some Fourth Way teachings suggest it is a higher center, others simply lump it in with the Instinctive and/or the Moving centers. Obviously it has an important part to play in our existence, but as there is very little said of it in the original Fourth Way literature of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, I am reluctant to say too much to avoid complete fabrication.
These final three centers are the ones most worked on by people of our modern, physically-focused society. However, there is still much dysfunction and ignorance bred into them, and plenty of habits we build into them that rob us of energy and health. The Moving Center is a particularly important center to keep self-awareness on, as we are able to relearn physical skills and processes that have become dysfunctional, once we have become aware of them.
Of course this is the Carriage in the Horse and Carriage analogy, and if one attempts to drag a broken or poorly maintained carriage, even with a healthy horse and insistent, knowledgeable driver, one will not get far and will in turn do much damage to a reluctant physical vessel.