George was born in 1951, and raised in an experimental spiritual community at Coombe Springs, near London, England, led by his father, J. G. Bennett. The community was inspired by the ideas of G. I. Gurdjieff, and other spiritual and scientific teachers. One of its aims was to find ways to combine western scientific thought with eastern spritual traditions. After gaining a bachelors degree in history in 1973, George attended a ten-month residential course run by Bennett at Sherborne in Gloucestershire, England.
After the Sherborne course, George completed a master’s degree in US politics and then spent seven years as an international truck driver, traveling across Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. In the early ’80s he began working as a journalist and editor, before setting up his own company to publish magazines specializing in trucks and transport. Having sold the business, in 2001 George qualified as a schoolteacher in England, and currently works as a 4th-6th grade teacher at The Village School, a private elementary school in Royalston, Massachusetts, aimed at educating children in a way that balances their intellectual, emotional and physical natures. Since the early ’90s, George has been part of an international group running annual seminars concerned with practical spirituality in the UK, and has helped run longer residential courses in Royalston.
George discussing a landscape drawing with one of his 6th-grade students at the Village School in Royalston MA
The Teaching Team
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Nanji has always had an interest in blending the ancient wisdom of the East with the modern science of the West. To that end she majored in physical chemistry at university, and has since studied Japanese calligraphy and art, the use of the Five Transformations in cooking with the seasons and balancing the energies of foods. She received a Master Gardener certificate through the UMass Extension Service and continues to apply science and art in her cooking and gardening.
Nanji’s interest in the wisdom of the East was developed during one of the ten-month courses at J. G. Bennett’s International Academy of Continuous Education in England. These courses were designed to give people an experience of the reality of spiritual life, establish practices that could be developed over a lifetime, and to impart a sense of the spiritual task that confronts every individual, and humanity as a whole. Nanji continues with her work with others in a community established in Royalston, Massachusetts in the early 1980s.
Nanji leading a group discussion of gardening techniques
Stefan was born and raised in Germany in a family of craftsmen, and apprenticed in Germany as a pipe organ builder. Subsequently he studied with masters in organ building in France and the United States before establishing his own business as an organ technician in Massachusetts in 1993. In 1987 he graduated from a four-month intensive course from the American Society of Continuous Education in Claymont, WV. This course spurred a lifelong interest in methods of balancing the development of the inner qualities of the craftsman with the refinement of his outer skills; a way of working that is meaningful, and challenges and develops the human being in all its aspects.
Recently Stefan started Domestic DC System, a company that installs back-up and off-grid electrical systems using renewable energy sources. Stefan’s interests include woodworking, music, acoustics, philosophy, meditation, small-scale farming.
Stefan tuning a large pipe organ - with 2500 pipes!
Ana graduated with a degree in German before studying for four years full-time at the European School of Osteopathy in England. She practiced in the UK for many years before moving to the USA with her husband George, and their two children. She continues to work as a cranio-sacral therapist in Massachusetts.
Ana has taught and directed a number of postgraduate osteopathic courses in England and Germany. She also attended a four-month course in Royalston in 2006, involving many of the ideas and practices derived from G. I. Gurdjieff and J. G. Bennett, some of which underpin the Skill-for-Life program.
Ana treating a patient using osteopathic techniques