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EFFORTS TO CHANGE: AN EXCHANGE WITH GEORGE ADIE

THE JOSEPH AZIZE PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

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Joseph.Azize@gmail.com

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Efforts to Change: An Exchange with George Adie,

29 November 1979


[It is possible to actually come to a point of change. The only questions are when and how. Too frequently, we’re needlessly passive before our denying factors. But it is a fact: progress is possible.]

 

Sam opened: “Last week, Mr Adie, I’ve experienced a lot of loneliness, what I call a feeling of despair, and self-pity, and thoughts about myself being on my own. I’ve tried, with what feels like some success, to work against this by choosing one person in the day for external consideration; to consider one person in the day, particularly, to shift the focus from myself. And … along with these observations, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about where it comes from.”

Where the depression comes from? What have you come to?”

Well, the events in my life are that there’s a family living with me at the moment, and they’ve bought their own house, and are going to move out. And I’m anticipating missing them. And I think that also connects with other events in my past. Two questions come from that. One is, how am I to understand this experience, and what attitude should I have to it? And the other question is, how should I work with it?”

You try to confront it. That is, you try to be quiet, balanced, and then produce this to yourself. Really, to be separate from it.”

Yes, I’ve tried after the preparation.”

It’s part of the preparation, in a way”, replied Adie. The preparation is the morning exercise Adie learnt from Gurdjieff, referred to in his book. “You’re in this state of stillness, apart from external interferences. You try to understand it. You be patient, you be present to the question. You expect to just sort of turn up a thought and then, in a flick, just find an answer: but you can’t like that. The answer has to come in different terms altogether. For instance, you say to have external rather than internal consideration for a person.”

No, what I said was to have external consideration for someone else and to shift my focus from on my own self-pity, to have concern for someone other than myself.”

Yes, but you’ve got to do the shifting of yourself first. Then external consideration can take place. To what extent it can take place will depend upon your being there. If you really confront it, or try to think about what these things really are, you will see that you’re weaving a web of nothing, creating a big mountain out of almost nothing.”

It’s just an associative sort of dreaming”, continued Adie, “what’s going to happen? You don’t know what’s going to happen at all. Don’t you see that you’re passive, you give in to it? You have to use it to come more deeply to yourself. I can speak about centralizing myself, but I’m still working peripherally … I’m still in the head and not really strongly centred in my sensation. I want more emphatic sensation. Definite. Now, what do I think? All else is this shifting peas, trivial, lightweight … almost nothing … What is the reality?

Then you speak of the feeling of loneliness. That can be extremely useful. But it is very much necessary to change it from loneliness into being alone. I need to be alone. Who am I going to take with me when the time comes? I can take no one, I can take nothing. At that time, everything, my imagination, my perceived loneliness, will be all blotted out.”

That’s from one point of view: that’s as far as my desire to not be lonely. But in fact I should take the benefit of all that unconfronted, misunderstanding within me. That is my past, in some lower form. You can’t destroy the thing. It’s pretty horrible, so I can’t afford to give in to any negativeness. But your past also yields a higher form. You are one of Mr Gurdjieff’s pupils by second stage – that’s not nothing. That’s not nothing. Now you come very much in touch with it. That’s very substantial.” As a final comment, he added: “There’s a lot of sort of dodgy stuff about it, you know, it’s very artistic.”

I see the helplessness of it,” agreed Sam.

This is the lower element, but don’t lend yourself too much to this side. There’s no need to be lonely – you can have yourself. If you have yourself then you’re anything but lonely. This loneliness means that something in me is seeking an external prop. So, let me stop seeking external props. I need a meal, I need some recreation, so let me go and have it, but, to sit moaning for props? So, be active, innerly active. Your hope is based on your immediate presence. Very definite.”

Then you can have some hope, otherwise, no hope. And to live without hope is not very good, but it’s all based on now. Now. There’s no future hope. All hope is present. Obviously what is to come depends upon now. Don’t want it to change. Use it, find it useful. Kick against the pricks. be interested, otherwise you’ll weave a sort of miserable gloom and you won’t see what happens when they leave.”

The next question, from Mick, again related to what Adie had said about “producing to yourself” the negative emotion, and confronting it with a quiet presence.

Mr Adie, I’ve found a clear voice within me that leads me into dissatisfaction and considerings. A form of personality: a fantasy voice that comes up and says “that doesn’t sound too good”, or it says “this would sound better”.”

Supposing you give an illustration, Mick, or an experience of it. What you say is clear enough, but give an example of it if you have one.”

Well last weekend I saw an a position in a newspaper for a job that seemed to be a better job than the one I have, even though it’s a good job. This is the instance when I first noticed this voice, the voice said this job sounds better, it would sound better to say.”

That you would be a sergeant rather than a corporal?”

Yes, and during the week I noticed that voice, and realised that it had been there a long time, but I had never noticed it at all, or confronted it, but I enjoyed it, and I remember daydreaming with it, playing with it. I’d like to know how to get a handle to eliminate it.”

Welcome it!” replied Adie. “Open the door! Say: “Please come in!” It will hate it if you’re there. The difficulty will be to get it to come in: it will wait until you’ve gone to sleep, and then it will come along. This is where the flash comes in: our work goes in flashes, and in a flash you can be quicker, and confront it before it can disappear. Use it, be present to it, every time it comes trotting along, medals out and all the rest, you begin to hear it coming.”

But I’ve tried that this week.”

You tried it like that? How have you tried it?”

Well, I haven’t been present to it or welcomed it.” At this, everyone laughed.

Ah. So you haven’t had the idea of welcoming it. I’ve got to be a bit quiet inside. All this takes place inside, the corporals and sergeants and all that. I have to be very quiet, I have to take my work more deeply, relax more. But that’s a good observation, and it’s the same for everybody, there’s nobody here hasn’t got dreams and hasn’t had dreams. It’s very familiar, it couldn’t be otherwise. Couldn’t be otherwise. Everybody wants to be something, to achieve something, and things around that. Dreams of success, dreams of profit, dreams of glory. It starts very early. Look at how hero worship is educated into young children. They’re encouraged, they stimulate it with books and films. Chaps that have got long legs and can run a bit faster, they give them prizes for it, and make them into heroes. Is it clearer?”

I’m not sure what you said about taking it a little deeper.”

Be more present, be deeper inside. Don’t be satisfied with your old degree of sincerity. Just be a bit quieter and confront this thing. See the stupidity of it. Didn’t you follow what we were discussing with Sam? It relates to you, doesn’t it, although you haven’t got exactly the same conditions.”

I take my work seriously, and the only thing that is up to it is my inner centre of discrimination, but if I only discriminate in my head, it’s no good. You know how it is said that nothing can exist without three forces, active and passive and neutralising. And here are three forces, instinctive and moving force, emotional force and intellectual force – broadly – and they all have to all take part. Well. they’re not centred in the toes. if anything they’re centred here, you see. And I need that sense of myself before anything.” Adie must have gestured to a part of his body when he said “centred here”.

Love and attraction is very, very powerful. It generally comes from same central place which moves the whole of you, but when we think of something, our head takes centre-stage, the body is asleep, and the head goes dodging about, looking through queer holes, and understanding nothing.”

Mr Adie, I mentioned it a long time ago”, said Ida, “about how when my husband comes home, and he criticises me for something in the house that not’s right, or about me, I get defensive and react. When I first started to try and work on it, I saw that if I was criticised I saw a need to hit back and retaliate. Now I find that I don’t retaliate.”

Not in the same form. What form does it take now?”

It’s a sullen silence.”

In a way, that’s worse from his point of view.”

Yes, because when I tended to hit back quickly, it was over and done with, but now it tends to smoulder.”

Well now, if you relate that situation to what we’ve just been saying, then you can transform that … something more is possible.”

I see the energy that’s wasted.”

Yes, and you could have that for yourself. There’s nothing that won’t feed me if I can be in the right place. More and more we try and understand what alchemy is. Alchemy is the transformation of one kind of energy into another, negative into positive; the transformation of coarse metal into fine: gold. It is always said of the alchemist that before he can do that, he has to have some gold to start with. This gold is our presence, this is the gold that we need to bring, our presence. This will transform, so that you have more energy. Well, that is a picture, but it needs confrontation. You need to compare that, that marvellous reality, with this dubious and horrible alternative.”

You can’t expect him to change, but if you change yourself, it would help him. He would be in the presence of a different process. Of course, in that connection, you’ve got to be prepared for him to be more annoyed because you don’t react quite in the same way. But, if you have your presence, you won’t offend. If you merely disdainfully put him away or close into yourself, it’s more offensive than coming out fighting. It has to be done in the presence of.”

You can’t cut off from it: you’re right in the thick of it, you wake up inside it, and then you make your transformation. This extraordinary invocation in the Bible, “thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” What does that mean? One repeats it, but what does it mean? Here is one’s enemy, very clearly, isn’t it? Enemies of my being, and here is the table. If I eat it, if I take it, I get my food, my feast. Try and think like that, think how, and of course I have to be practical, too. Try and be practical.”

This is my inner work, it’s not concerned so much with my comfort. Things will get better if I work that way, but I want to make this alchemy the key of my effort. All the other efforts are sort of partial efforts, they’re conditional upon my getting some satisfactions and all the rest. This is the only pure, unmixed effort. If I can make a pure effort, I certainly can get the energy, no doubt, but it’s difficult, it means swallowing things which in the usual way I could never swallow. And it isn’t swallowing to take them swallow them slowly and painfully. I’ve got to take them almost gladly, and that’s hell.”

I have not included the next question. The one after was brought by Stan. “ I’ve been trying to look at my dreams in my tense state. I’ve noticed the types of dreams that have been going on supporting this state.”

Part of it,” replied Adie. “They’re together. The dreams encourage the state, the state makes ground for the dreams.”

That’s really my question. I’ll give you some examples. One dream I can remember very clearly, I sat down, I imagined very vividly, and with my whole emotions, that I was having an argument with my boss, but behind that there seemed to be a certain attitude. I was in the commanding position. But I could feel all my emotional force being drawn out through this.”

Negative imagination: a definite kind of process.”

Will I give a few more examples?”

Well, what about this example? Maybe the other examples are different: what about the question here?”

First thing I noticed about it, there was a certain satisfaction in it. There was a tense state about it.”

Yes. We’ve already been told that from our childhood we have enjoyed our negative emotions, very difficult, everybody would have said at the beginning, oh, of course I hate my negativity, I don’t like it. But as you truly say there’s a certain satisfaction: there’s some dog rather liking its bone, dog in me who finds there’s something there. This thing likes the fight it’s winning. This is an imaginary I, part of false personality enjoying itself at your expense, the expense of your blood, and not only that, but of your Kesdjan blood.”

I think that as soon as I see this dangerous negative imagination, obviously I should try and change my state, because it can go on and on, and I can bleed. I have seen what my state is now, and now, directly, I want to put a stop in. Give it a shock. Register what it is, that I need to move, and change my posture, take a breath, go for a walk. Whatever helps. I can surely take that as a point to begin work. The difficult part is that I have to somehow keep on, but eventually it will slow down. It’s only got to be unguarded, and it will go again, you see?”

So, my effort is more to stop dreaming?”

Certainly, but you described dreaming mixed with negative imagination. This emotionalism has to be stopped. But how do you stop?”

There was a pause in the conversation, before Adie continued: “You take your energy away, take it to yourself. You don’t have anything to do with this poison at all. You see, if you start to hang onto it you can destroy yourself. You go to yourself. You go and take the energy in.”

What of the attitude, Mr Adie?”

The attitude? The attitude gradually changes. What attitude can I have other than that I’m being sucked dead, and soon there will be only a corpse. I’m a compulsed, forced nothing, Immediately there’s a different attitude possible, based on finer matter, move. And then I can have an attitude, an intentional attitude. The attitude I want is based on choice. I choose not to waste my force like that, so I have an attitude grounded centrally: an attitude which can look up as well as down, an attitude which is open and not closed. An attitude which can move, which is mobile. How do you understand “attitude”? It isn’t only a mental thing. It’s everything, it’s my feeling and my thought, of course, but the thought has to be connected with feeling and sense, otherwise it’s a dead thought. People commit horrible crimes when they’re cut off from feeling and sensation. If they had feeling and sensation it would be entirely different.”

I find that my whole day is a system of dreams,” Stan continued: “not all as emotional as that, but all different things, coming all the time.”

Good, you’re finding that out. Then, what is your plan for work? Now, according to what you’ve seen, according to what you’ve received, you make a plan. If you make a plan, perhaps you don’t carry it out: but you see why you didn’t. You’re still learning something. Or maybe you do carry it out for a little bit: it’s a whole process of becoming born, and being created, or awakening, which is gradual, gradual, gradual, depending on your self-impulse, and the exercise of your own small degree of will. The more you observe yourself, the more you relax, the more you will see what your state is by the set of your face, the direction of your eyes, and it will tell you about your inner state, and again you will make small adjustments. And now that probably covers all your other illustrations, but if it doesn’t, bring the other examples.”

In my efforts, I would have to try and stop dreaming all the time, wouldn’t I?”

But you can’t do it all the time”, Adie replied. “You do it some time, by intention. Nobody can make effort all the time. But you can make efforts occasionally, when you get called. Every now and then, you come up, otherwise you couldn’t make these observations. But you don’t observe yourself all the time.”

You see that you’re manifesting like this, and become despairing. But you only conclude that it’s like that all the time, because these are the things you see when you start to awaken. When you say it goes on all day, it sounds hopeless, but choose certain moments and don’t worry about the rest. These moments when you’re called are the moments when you can make effort. If you relate this to your preparation, and plan with it, you find more light each time, you have more connection with your intention when the time comes. I have to have intent, otherwise I have no power of action, and then everything goes automatically. The whole essence of what I’m trying to say is that we really have this will-potential in us, we have this possibility. This is what I have to bring into my work – at points – and I plan to allow this to be touched as often as possible. You can prepare to make use of your periodic fits of madness, because there’s something definite. That’s the practical way to work.”

Half way through the next question, unfortunately, the tape ran out.

edited Joseph Azize, 12 June 2011


JOSEPH AZIZE  has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies.    His first book The Phoenician Solar Theology treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The second book, “Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria”, was jointly edited with Noel Weeks. It includes his article arguing that the Carthaginians did not practice child sacrifice.

The third book, ‘George Mountford Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia’ represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.The fourth book, edited and written with Peter El Khouri and Ed Finnane, is a new edition of Britts Civil Precedents. He recommends it to anyone planning to bring proceedings in an Australian court of law.

“Maronites” is pp.279-282 of “The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia” published by Cambridge University Press and edited by James Jupp.

Joseph.Azize@gmail.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book  

George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia

is available from By the Way Books.  

Gurdjieff & Christianity: part one

Joseph Azize

Joseph.Azize@gmail.com

I feel that the time has come for this blog to address the relationship between Gurdjieff, his teaching and methods on the one hand, and Christianity on the other. I have been pondering the issues for some time, but have always sensed that the issues were too big for me to tackle just now. Really, they still are, and maybe always will be. But I’ve found that the exercise of writing helps me to understand, to see where I don’t understand, where I can’t understand, and to perceive more clearly where the limitations in my thought lie. So, the fact that a topic is difficult for me, or even beyond my capacities, may be a reason to attempt it, to try to expand my range.

The impulse to broach the topic right now came from an acquaintance who asked me some pretty good questions about Gurdjieff and Christianity. Unfortunately, the information available to him is so lopsided or even distorted that he cannot even obtain a half decent idea of the possibilities of Gurdjieff’s teachings and methods. Once I addressed myself to the topic, certain very clear ideas appeared as if they’d been waiting to be articulated … and so, here we are. I’ve planned this as a series of short blogs, of no more than 1,000 words each, to present a few of my more or less tentative conclusions in crisp outline.

My first thesis is this: Gurdjieff’s teaching and Christianity have the same aim, to secure eternity with God. It seems to me to be obvious, and entirely unoriginal, to say that our lives depend upon our aim. If I have no aim, then, as Mr Adie said, everything is equal. Aim brings meaning to life and unity to our strivings. Multiple, mixed or conflicting aims lead to futility, meaninglessness and disturbance. Therefore, it is of the utmost significance that the Christian religion and Gurdjieff’s system coincide in aim.

Of course, they express this one aim in their own unique terms. But if my aim accords with that of Christianity – to attain to the beatific vision – then it also accords with Gurdjieff’s, as stated in Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. There he says that it is possible for one to become “a particle, though an independent one, of everything existing in the great universe” (183, see also 162, 244-5, 384 and 452). On the Planet Purgatory, he said, souls strive to purify themselves specifically to be able to unite with and become part of the universal “Greatness” (801). In the 1930 typescript, it states:

… the souls inhabiting that planet Purgatory might have a perfect and quiet existence, with everything uniquely favourable. Nevertheless, for them these external circumstances of quiet and comfort simply do not count at all. They are entirely absorbed in the increasing labour of their purgation; and only the hope of one day having the good fortune and the possibility of becoming a part of the Greatness which is fulfilled by our All-possible Endlessness for the good of All, appears occasionally to give them peace.

There is an important reference to the beatific vision, but it is characteristic of Gurdjieff that it is perhaps secondary to unity of being. That the beatific vision is the ultimate Christian aim is trite. Catechetic texts abound in statements such as the following: “Faith is the indispensable prelude to the beatific vision, the supernatural end of man. Both are immediate knowledges of God, faith the hearing of His word on earth, vision the seeing of His face in heaven. Without revelation there would be some natural knowledge of God, but not the knowledge of faith.” As we shall explore in future blogs, this idea of the necessity of revelation is found also in Gurdjieff, and his references to “messengers from above”.

Aquinas said that “the beatific vision and knowledge are to some extent above the nature of the rational soul, inasmuch as it cannot reach it of its own strength; but in another way it is in accordance with its nature, inasmuch as it is capable of it by nature, having been made to the likeness of God.”

This, it seems to me, is also a good summary of Gurdjieff’s position. We have possibilities, as Gurdjieff said, “according to law”. The most important of our possibilities do not depend on us, they are part of the makeup of creation as it is. What depends on us is that we take advantage of our lawful possibilities. That Christians will speak of “grace” whereas Gurdjieff does not is merely a semantic difference. Christians also speak of “providence” and “predestination”, although less frequently than of “grace”, and these all come down to the same thing. Calvin utterly misunderstood predestination, and since him, the Western Christian discourse has been somewhat confused. To my mind, Gurdjieff can best explain how these concepts all fit together.

“Grace” refers to the action of God (chiefly felt in the soul, but also manifested as the rare miracle), and to the divinely planned system of the creation.

“Predestination” in human terms, is pretty much like the way that the Department of Roads laid down a broad street between Rydalmere and Parramatta. But if I want to travel to the predestined end (my home in Rydalmere), I still have to drive my car. The road is there by providence: the facilitating of road-making, driving and navigating. That I do not crash or lose my way is due to grace: that God has freely given me (the etymological meaning of “grace”) the means of availing myself of this providential arrangement.

Gurdjieff says little about grace in the first sense, although it is actually in Beelzebub, e.g. the pardoning of Beelzebub. For this reason, among others, the apparent difference between Gurdjieff and Christianity is greater than it is. But as I have said, Gurdjieff shares the aim of Christianity, to bring humanity to God. And that is the most possible significant fact.

JOSEPH AZIZE has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies. His first book The Phoenician Solar Theology treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The second book, “Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria”, was jointly edited with Noel Weeks. It includes his article arguing that the Carthaginians did not practice child sacrifice.

The third book, George Mountford Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.The fourth book, edited and written with Peter El Khouri and Ed Finnane, is a new edition of Britts Civil Precedents. He recommends it to anyone planning to bring proceedings in an Australian court of law.

“Maronites” is pp.279-282 of “The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia” published by Cambridge University Press and edited by James Jupp.

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Jim Turner shares some thoughts on Pierre Elliot of the Claymont Community

A Pupil Cannot Rise Above the Level of His Teacher

An exploration into: “… it is a law that the pupil cannot rise above the level of his teacher; he [Mr. Adie] saw it, therefore, as his task to try to make Mr. Gurdjieff present to us as best he could.”1

Perspective is interesting. It is paramount in Fourth Way studies. It derives from the Latin word “perspicere”, meaning “to see through”. Consider the following definitions: 2

a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationship on a flat surface. Compare aerial perspective, linear perspective.

a picture employing this technique, esp. one in which it is prominent: an architect’s perspective of a house.

a visible scene, esp. one extending to a distance: vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.

the state of existing in space before the eye: the elevations look all right, but the building’s composition is a failure in perspective.

the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaning interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship: Your data is admirably detailed but it lack perspective.

a mental view or prospect: the dismal perspective of terminally ill patients.

To delve into the works and legacy of G.I. Gurdjieff, we need to broaden our limited perspectives. But how?

One way is through “entertaining” another person’s perspective 3. The circle of those who had direct contact with Mr. Gurdjieff is ever diminishing, but some have left firsthand accounts expositions, and privately held papers.

Recently, in an informal setting, I shared the thoughts of Pierre Elliot (1914-2005) with some people. They found the material useful, and encouraged me to think that others might benefit from Pierre’s unique perspective. For those unfamiliar with Pierre, the following short biography [4 ]is by his son, Hugh Elliot:

His aunt Winifred Beaumont introduced him to the work and ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky. She was married to the scientist and philosopher, J.G. Bennett. In his formative years during the 1930’s Pierre was a frequent guest of the Ouspenskys. Pierre’s higher education and professional training were interrupted by the onset of the Second World War, which began in September 1939. Like millions of others he enlisted in the British army but his complete fluency in the French language and his familiarity with many areas of France meant that the wartime authorities were bound to send him on clandestine missions and intelligence gathering directed at Occupied France rather than into military service. He once commented to his eldest son: “When I signed up, I was told that the work I was involved in was secret. It was secret then. It is secret now.”

After the war, Pierre’s personal life gravitated once again towards the work of Ouspensky as well as J.G. Bennett at his center at Coombe Springs, an estate southwest of London. In 1947 P.D. Ouspensky’s wife revealed that Gurdjieff, (from whom her husband had broken off all contact since the early 1920’s) was still alive and living in Paris, having survived the Occupation. Margaret Anderson, the American writer, was one of the first of Gurdjieff’s students to be able to return to postwar Paris to be reunited with her teacher. Pierre, like many others, including his future wife Vivien, made frequent pilgrimages to Paris from nearby London, to study and work with the Master. The teachings that were transmitted then as well as the events of those times are well documented in the many published accounts and recollections of life with Gurdjieff. With Gurdjieff’s death in 1949 Pierre continued in close contact with J.G. Bennett. When Bennett took up the spiritual practice known as ‘Subud’, brought to the West by the Indonesian teacher Pak Subuh, Pierre became deeply involved in initiating the large numbers of people who were attracted to Subud and the Latihan exercise.

Pierre’s first marriage ended in 1952. His first wife died, leaving him with two young daughters. He then married Vivien Healey whose own family members had known and worked with the Ouspensky’s. From the birth of their first child in 1954 until 1971 Pierre devoted his energies to various professional and entrepreneurial activities, his family, maintaining a home, educating his children and living a largely ‘normal’ life. However his lifestyle and household still reflected his inner passions. Persian carpets and Indian friezes adorned whatever house the Elliot family lived in and friends and visitors were more than likely associated with Gurdjieff, Bennett or the Subud organization. Every summer he took his wife and children on extraordinary journeys to far flung corners of Europe, as yet still unspoiled by mass tourism.

In 1971 Bennett asked Pierre to help him with a five-year experiment. It was to teach the rebellious ‘sixties generation’ methods of inner transformation, based largely on the ideas of Gurdjieff and Sufi practices. An International Academy was started at Sherborne House in Gloucestershire, England and Pierre was named Assistant Director.

J.G. Bennett died on 13 December, 1974 just as he had signed an agreement to purchase a property called Claymont Court in West Virginia, in the United States. Bennett was convinced that ‘psychokinetic’ communities needed to be established in the world. His legacy and vision was thence taken up by the senior figures around him, including Pierre, Elizabeth Bennett and

The task of starting the Claymont community and school fell upon Pierre’ shoulders. For more than ten years Pierre continued the work of his teachers but he also broadened the scope of influences and invited many extraordinary teachers from other traditions to come and share their wisdom at Claymont. Such luminaries included M R Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Reshad Field, Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, and Sheikh Suleyman Loras of the Mevlevi dervish tradition. Sheikh Suleyman Loras conferred the title of Mevlevi Sheikh upon Pierre in 1977. In spite of his grueling schedule of duties at Claymont Pierre still managed to find time to travel the world, sharing the spirit and work of Claymont with diverse groups of interested people. He was frequently invited to speak about his work by former Claymont students and his travels took him all over the United States, to Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean and often back to Europe. In 1986 He and Vivien made an around-the-world journey, visiting friends, communities and seekers, in Europe, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

The name ‘Pierre’ means rock or stone in French. Pierre’s way of leading the community at Claymont had such strength. He seemed to be everywhere at once and no mundane task nor major decision was shirked. He loved plants and rock gardens, birds and flowers. He was a keen collector of stamps and an avid photographer. He never for a moment considered himself a teacher of the caliber of predecessors like Gurdjieff and Bennett. His demeanor was always that of a loyal lieutenant; a practiced steward of the Work.

The following excerpts are from Pierre Elliot’s 13th and final address as Director of Studies to the Annual General Meeting of the American Society for Continuous Education (formerly the Claymont Society for Continuous Education) in 1987:

Throughout time, people of great vision have been able to pass on to us some of the ways, some of the laws which govern the transformation of man. This has been done in a variety of ways, through art, music, poetry, some of the great mystical writings of all time, but chiefly through schools of various levels. It is not possible to understand these works, but through them see openings into the real world.

To read them is reading something which for most of us is beyond the comprehension of our limited linear thinking minds, and certainly most of our ability. We hear of these inner matters; we try to live by them, yet we so often stumble on the path because there is something that needs to be said that lies between the way we can approach them and what they are really there to give us. Methods and approaches may well be different but in truth what is being said is the same thing in different ways to suit the different times and the different geographical environment in which we live.

It has become apparent that many of us do not have the necessary tools (like attention of the right quality) through which we can understand what has been transmitted. If we are strictly honest with ourselves, and look back over the last years, we will most probably find that much of what we thought was a help to us towards our spiritual goa1, has in some sense failed us. We are left, perhaps fumbling in a morass of concepts of God, truth, whatever we wish to call it, knowing that it is there. And yet….

Let us come nearer home and the particular position we find ourselves in.

Update – or a Review?

One can hardly deal with the one without reference to the other. An update must imply an understanding of the past. Last year, let me remind you, the update or observations on work, which I presented, consisted mostly in running down and questioning the validity of many of our practices and concluded with an attempt to upgrade the issues which confront a man oriented towards a life which goes beyond like and dislike and dualism generally and I said: “I am speaking about the real purpose of work. The aim I am speaking about is one which does not mean either a raising of efficiency in life, nor the development of higher powers, nor even increased concentration, or better health, but a being joined, or yoked with the divine,” and concluded “we must be single-minded about our goal. The possibility of transformation is a gift to be valued above all other possessions.”

In recent years much publicity has been given to the notion of “cults” and I think quite rightly so, because there is almost imperceptibly a tendency towards sectarianism, or say identification, with the particular way one attempts to follow. I would remind you, coming closer to home, of what for me has been a guiding principle over the years. It is a mistake to equate ‘the Work’ with the name ‘Gurdjieff’ or any other name or organization, of which there are legion. For this reason, while I was in a position to do so, I advised your board to be reluctant in accepting that a Tekke, or a Buddhist temple, or a chapel, or even a particular kind of hospital or an Indian kiva, or a latihan hall be established on areas dedicated to ‘the Work’.

Gurdjieff prescribes a course of training that has received different emphases from different students, in accordance with their predispositions, inclinations and capacities, But where this training came from and where it leads is surely what is of ultimate importance to us. If Gurdjieff had a real mission it was not to deliver a string of exercises and revelations but to point to perfection.

When he was a ‘Teacher’ at the moment of real teaching, reality was the effective teacher, not the limited individual we know as Mr. G. His aim was reality. The source of his methods was reality. [5]

There is a danger that our mechanical nature – the commanding self 6 – will filter the transformative content of teachings, leaving only an outer shell, missing the heart of the matter. And, the heart of the matter is the Teaching is the One Absolute Reality: it is unitive self-disclosure. Our preconceptions, fixed beliefs, and patterns of thought are wooden bars bolting the door to understanding. We are admonished to “burn that bar”. In returning to Pierre Elliot’s Address, I ask the question: where are we heading?

In conclusion, I would return to the authentic voice of Mr. Gurdjieff as quoted in ‘Impressions’ by my old friend Robert de Ropp, who has recently died:

‘The point is to reestablish what has been lost, not to acquire anything new. This is the purpose of development. For this one must learn to discriminate between essence and personality, and to separate them. When you have learned to do this you will see what to change and how. Meantime you have only one possibility – to study.’

Once again, the authentic voice of G. Gurdjieff. ‘Begin from where you are. You are weak you are dependent you are slaves. Above all you lie to yourself and others. As long as you continue to lie you will never know the truth. If you work with others who are struggling against their own lies you may be able to learn faster. But no one can force you to see if you don’t want to and no one can force you to awaken if you prefer to sleep. Either sleep comfortably or strive realistically to awaken.’ ”

“ ‘Happy is the man who sits in his ordinary chair. A thousand times happier is the man who sits in the chair of the angels, but miserable is the man who has no chair.’ ”

It seems to turn on this striving realistically to awaken. This comes about in many wondrous ways…”

The teacher, teaching and the taught are a manifestation of a unique moment in time. It is a direct answer to the need of the moment. One may be offered opportunities if the correct space is made. “When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear.” This environment is with the aim of placing the aspiring student at their own beginning. Then, Life becomes the Teacher.

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1. http://www.gurdjieff.org/adie.htm

2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/perspective

3. By using the term entertain, we are targeting the ability “to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind”. Ideas by their very nature are transformative. From the Greek idéā form, pattern, equiv. to ide- (s. of ideîn to see). An idea is “a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which things are imperfect representations.” [See http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idea] In our study – with the right motive and intention, we are offered an opportunity to create an opening along the horizontal axis of our daily life; thereby, allowing something outside our customary perspective to enter and foster a new point from which to view.

4. http://www.gurdjieffdominican.com/Pierre_Elliot_biography.html

5. copyright The Estate of Pierre Elliot

6. “The Sufis refer to the action of the mixture of primitive emotionality and irrelevant associations which bedevils outside would be observers as that of the commanding self.” Idries Shah, The Commanding Self, The Octagon Press, 1994, pg. 2.


Jim Turner is director of studies for the Ontological Research Society.

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GEORGE ADIE: Why do you run away in your feeling?

Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com
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Why Do You Run Away In Your Feeling?

{I have selected his material from a meeting of 5 December 1979 as a commemorative posting for 29 July 2010.}

The first question came from Richard: “Mr Adie, I’d like verification on my line of work, to be freer from the compulsion of my career.”

“You wish to be less under that compulsion? Good. What measures do you take?”

“What I have done is set aside a time to stay with my children, and also here on Sunday night after the weekend work, I was about to rush off again, doing all sorts of things, and I decided to stay behind, and help put the tables and chairs away.”

“Those are quite different, yet both could serve the same purpose, it’s true. Any sort of discipline helps, and making the work a priority will help, if you actually experience connection. Compulsive life connected with your career is one thing, and any conscious effort, or doing your duty is another. There is an unmistakable degree of contrast. And if there’s real work it will separate itself out from the compulsion in your experience. My speech even changes. Everybody can say everything they need in very few words, really. And if they say it once properly, it doesn’t need to be repeated three times.”

“Your compulsion is there in your speech, and in so much. You will be compelled in your job, unless you can use it. How? You can’t neglect it now. It’s an opportunity. It’s quite right to give place to something else, to insist on doing the preparation. It’s quite right to see your children: not to allow the whole of your life to be dominated. That’s quite right. But realize that you also have to be in it.”

“Then, understanding that you must have a job, and must come within the domain of this compulsion, the question is now: do you really wish to be free of the inner compulsion? You’ve got to find that wish in yourself. To have a wish is to have some active inner impulse. You think that we have a wish just by thinking of it? It isn’t so. You have to work until you get that wish. If you aim for it, then you will get it. Do you follow?”

“Yes.”

“That means you have before you a work to experience the wish in yourself. Try and understand that. You do a preparation or something, don’t get up until you find the wish. You have to realise: is it really worth it? What do I have to pay if I want it? Am I willing to pay for it? If you can say yes to each of those then perhaps you can begin to say that you have a wish.”

“And then you shall have to sacrifice your suffering. But if you have worked, sufficiently long and wisely, and acquired a moving balance in yourself, you will be able to bear to make that sacrifice.”

The next question, one from Azaria, came very fast upon the heels of Richard’s, she clearly felt that there was a close connection: “After the Sunday work here, I continued with the exercise, and on Monday, after the preparation, it seemed as though because of the work I could tell the subtle difference between the centre of gravity and my presence. There was an excitement in me, I had this realisation, and in looking for a centre of gravity, I found I could come to the place where my presence is real. And like Richard, I can say that I now wish to be more present.”

“You wish to be more present? Where would you look for the wish?”

There was a pause, and Mr Adie answered his own question: “In that place you cannot describe any more. Return to it, and return to it, and return to it.”

I suspect that, at this point, Mr Adie turned to Richard: “But relaxed, always relaxed. To sacrifice my suffering I must be relaxed. Could I imagine such a sacrifice being made in the midst of tension? From where could such a relaxation come? Surely from deep within, only from deep within.”

The next question was very lengthy. Opal was an elderly woman. She spoke rather hesitantly to the point of being inarticulate, saying something, withdrawing or correcting it, and then going back to her first formulation.

Mr Adie was patient with her, but when she had finished, she nervously asked whether he had understood her. “I could follow it, but then, you started using words which you disowned. You might take as an exercise to write down what your question the day before, and in the morning, read it and see.”

“We want to bring very good quality here, not just, as is said, ‘off the cuff’, not thought out. It isn’t enough to have a sincerity, I need to have my intelligence. It’s not enough to have that, I need my presence.”

“When you’re muddling things, the process of thought is absent. But if I have taken thought beforehand, there’s a process added. A conscious or partly conscious process is added. It isn’t two states, it’s more like three states, but even that isn’t a good way to speak about it. Find a better way, to formulate better. You can, otherwise I wouldn’t say what I do. Is there any question about it?”

“No. Thank you. That’s clear.”

The very next question, from Scott, about how he gets confused by words, likewise meandered. Finally, Mr Adie asked: “Did you find that anything helped you to make your aim clear?”

“No, that wasn’t very well formulated.”

“No.”

“No … it doesn’t help to find the wish,” Scott added, perhaps echoing the first two questions. In any event, Mr Adie did not think that the comment corresponded to his real question: “But you see you’ve gone back to words now. It’s a trap all the time.”

Mr Adie waited a little, and then asked: “What does it mean: ‘In the beginning was the Word?’ Surely, it means many things, but there’s a beginning, and there’s something which follows. For that to follow, the Word must change its place. The Word is essential, and yet, if it is in the wrong place, it’s the end. And the places and the forces are always changing.”

The next question, from Dmitri, was also about a lack of clarity. “I find that my difficulties start the moment I sit down to do the preparation. I’ve been trying to sit quietly, without expecting anything, just trying to see what my worries are. And after I time I give up. I feel I should logically try and draw some conclusions about what I’ve seen, but it’s all so confused in my head, and I turn away. Something in me says, come back again next time. It feels as if I’m shrinking away from doing something very definite there.”

“Supposing that is objectively true, what are you going to do?”

“I can’t make observations very clearly at that point.”

“Do you really wish to know why you turn from what is necessary?”

“Well, I’ve seen that through these years I can’t go past the first step,” replied Dmitri.

“Does that mean anything? Surely the point is that you don’t know what the first step is.”

Dmitri started arguing. “See if it is true,” suggested Mr Adie. “Can you say clearly what you mean when you say that you always fail at the first step?”

There was quite a lengthy pause.

“Surely it would mean that you are repeating yourself. So let us not evade the question you yourself started with: why do you always turn from what you realise is necessary?”

“I don’t know,” conceded Dmitri.

“No. But do you really wish to?”

“Well, part of me does,” he replied, but in such a trembling voice that people laughed.

“There you are. Part of you. You see? I can’t come to a wish partially. My wish has to really be the wish of my I, and you haven’t obtained that yet.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Now, do you really wish to? You have to face it until you do. There are all sorts of obstacles, you may not want to pay, you may not want to make effort, you may not want to suffer. Hundreds of obstacles, but if you really wish to, you will. And it’s your solitary, alone-reality which must face that question. What I am trying to do at the moment is to cleanse it a little, make it more serious, that’s all. Imagine you’re on your death bed. What would you need then? Where would you be? Face, try and come to what is you. You. Would you have any reality? This is what you, I and everybody needs, but don’t be negative about it now.”

“Yes, yes!”

“Yes, yes? … Why … why having come near a place in your intellect, why do you run away in feeling?”

“Exactly that sense of needing to flee, to look away, shows that this is your need … and that you are close to a genuine confrontation.”

“Stay, stay, stay and have a little genuine self-respect, a little genuine pride. You could be free now. What do you choose at the moment? Every second I have to choose. My old understanding is not enough. I need a new understanding, quite new. If you could realise that, you could see that nothing that I had corresponds to what I now need. I need something a bit more genuine, more perceptive, less personal. Try and have this line that you will not allow this or any of its companions to join in. You will try and have something for yourself. Try and work to find your real self. Try and find a centre in yourself. This is what we some found on the weekend, trying to find a central strong place.”

“You want to watch the posture of your eyes if you want to think. Try to place them slightly above level. You contemplate down here. You sink back into the same old quagmire time after time. I suggest to you now that when you want to contemplate, you contemplate with your eyes there. What you don’t find when your eyes are raised, you can well do without. If you can’t bring all these clever propositions, you can have a chance to free yourself. Will you work like that for a bit? Good, keep it now, for the rest of the meeting, at least.”

“Mr Adie,” said Mary, “in the past few weeks, my efforts have been very erratic, and when I’ve seen that, I’ve become negative.”

“Alright, you found you’d gone to sleep, and you became negative about it? You need to know that. Every time we awake we awake to having forgotten.”

“If we get negative every time we awake, it’s going to be rather a fruitless process, isn’t it? See, you don’t have to be negative. So go on. You make a plan, you fail. Don’t let the failure make you negative. It should have the opposite effect. You don’t deny it. You don’t pretend it isn’t a failure, but you are there. It begins to be a confrontation.”

“In confrontation I really live, you see. The ultimate confrontation: what is that?”

“The confrontation with the Absolute.” Mr Adie was speaking slowly: “Don’t receive anything negatively. Receive the failure, but don’t be negative about it. It comes like a message. You’ve got to see that. We’ve got to fail and fail and fail, and not be negative about it, otherwise we’ve got no chance. So it’s full of hope, mmm?”

“I think I expect the wrong thing from the little effort I make, because on the couple of occasions when I’ve had a better than usual preparation, and I try to remember myself at school, and I know that there are particular hours when I am particularly prone to getting impatient with the children, I still get upset …”. Denise had been in groups for quite a while.

“You mean that you’re disappointed when you don’t succeed? Then you need to see that you haven’t succeeded, at least not in that way. Exactly in that way, you didn’t quite succeed. But you still find something. You have to be more persistent. You’re rather apt to have a go and then throw your hands up if the results don’t match the ideal.”

“On the day that I saw, I became very impatient, but the next day I just didn’t want to see it.”

“Try and find a different kind of pride. It could help you. What could I accept as a genuine pride? What about me is worthy of maintaining? Is there something? It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? In a way, pride is a picture. A person who has even some ordinary pride won’t sink to certain things, they’re too proud to take an advantage.”

“Where is my good opinion? What am I proud of now? Because I serve my pride and vanity. But I forget that. If I have a genuine being-pride, could I become self-indulgent, disorganised, or lazy? That is an absence of a certain kind of pride, isn’t it? I have no pride of order, no pride of duty, no pride of reliability. I’m just a sort of tramp: although I’m a rather nice person, nobody could really trust me because I might not remember.”

“So, what quality to I really want to have? If you approach it this way, I’m quite sure, I’m quite sure that you’ll have some different kind of result.”

“After all this time what we’re all finding is that we’ve got to bring more of us to the point. I made this effort and stopped, and I’ve made that effort and stopped. But I’ve had a lot of lessons now. You have a lot of material. Why not collect it together, face the situation and see what’s possible and what I really want. Remembering that I cannot suddenly free myself from any of my stupidities, I know enough to take a more dignified way … Imagine what you thought ten years ago! Full of cock-eyed ideas, wasn’t it?”

“So you have an advantageous position. Now. It can be quite new. But for this you have to keep aware of all the old dirges and sagas of misery and failure and self-accusation, and … you know, ‘without dogs, sorcerors and whoremongers and whosoever loveth and telleth a lie’.” {This is a reference to Apocalypse or Revelation 22:15.}

“All outside. Our work is all inner. So, try. Take a fresh heart for yourself. Put some things in your room. These things are going to remind you: this is what I want to be. Model your room for a serious person. Model your room for a person with the qualities which you’ve found are difficult to acquire. Build around you some condition. That’s why people put up pictures of the Buddha, Christ, a marvellous tree. Fill your room with everything to remind you. Will you try that, and don’t worry about the rest? Have you got another question now?”

“It’s a slightly different one. I noticed that when I try to do a preparation, I get an, I don’t know, no, I’m always tight in the midriff. Once I found I could get around it when breathing, to go behind it, at the back of me, and relax it.”

“What, with your attention, you mean?”

“Yes. I wanted to ask whether … I was … sort of cheating?”

“No, you try and find your own way. And if it helps you to relax, you want to be very patient and see that everything else is relaxed. Don’t try and relax that area until your face is relaxed and until your head is relaxed, and then retain a sense of the relaxation there, you see. If the belly’s really tense, then you can even physically feel it going down, can’t you?

“Yes.”

“Well then, the next thing is, can you feel it coming up again? Or do you find that it has come up? You find it has? Alright, well now, that’s the thing! Now watch it go down, and let … now let it come up.”

Obviously, Mr Adie was guiding her as she relaxed and observed the process.

“Don’t forget the duct has to be open, the shoulders have to be down.”

“And then maybe I’m magnifying it, I may have a little bit of a special kind of sensation, a tautness, maybe that isn’t an important tension. Maybe that isn’t what is my trouble. Maybe I can still feel the pot of my belly with all its need. See that everything else is right, and then probably that’s right. Many people have a lot of difficulty here. It’s a very sensitive part.”

“But the kind of relaxation we want is not only what will come easily by being able to let a thing go. It’s another kind of relaxation, it’s – if you can use the word – an inner relaxation. Watch for what it is without saying ‘this is tense’. The question is, what do you experience? Maybe I find that it’s just an idea I had. Maybe it wasn’t very tense at all. So I have to be very poised and flexible and free from my ordinary frightening formulations.”

“Get something new every day and put it in your room. Something. Pick up anything. A leaf, grass, stone, book, picture, anything. Every day one thing different, see? Create a different atmosphere for yourself, and in that atmosphere, relax. Go into a new room each time, you look around to see if it’s new, and all the other things you put. Work like that.”

Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com

3 July 2010

Joseph Azize has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies. His first book The Phoenician Solar Theology treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The second book, “Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria”, was jointly edited with Noel Weeks. It includes his article arguing that the Carthaginians did not practice child sacrifice.

The third book, George Mountford Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.The fourth book, edited and written with Peter El Khouri and Ed Finnane, is a new edition of Britts Civil Precedents. He recommends it to anyone planning to bring proceedings in an Australian court of law.

“Maronites” is pp.279-282 of “The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia” published by Cambridge University Press and edited by James Jupp.

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‘”Our Imbalances All Balance”: George Adie 1980

JOSEPH AZIZE PAGE

Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com
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Our imbalances all balance”: George Adie, 1980

I’ve been preparing the blog for the anniversary of Mr Adie’s death on 29 July, and had thought these questions might be suitable candidates. However, I’ve since come across some more promising material. I think that while what Mr Adie says here might strike some as so obvious as to need no reinforcement, others might find them useful, as I did. Whitsunday 23 May 2010 is as good a day as any to release them. All come from a meeting held on Tuesday, 1 April 1980 at Newport.

The first question was from Mick: “Mr Adie, for some time now, I’ve noticed a lack of force and direction in my work, and a readiness to accept excuses not to work. I find a confusion. I really don’t know how to make my efforts. And though sometimes I realise my position and what I must do get out, to change things, the impulse I get from these experiences very oftens immediately disappears, and I get lost in excuses.”

“Can you really can say you get an impulse to animate yourself?”

“Yes.”

“What does that tell you?” Mick did not respond at once. Mr Adie addressed the group: “This is very important for everybody. Everybody has exactly this difficulty, amongst many others.” He returned to Mick: “Yes. What does it tell you?”

“That something is possible?”

“Yes, but for how long?”

“Just at the present.”

“It tells you that you have to respond quicker. There can’t be a gap. So where does that lead you?”

After not too long a silence, Adie said: “It leads you to your preparation.”

“You’ve got to prepare yourself when you’re willing to work, because the situation of confusion you describe is a confusion life. You get a reminder and then you don’t respond to it. But in your preparation, you can prepare to come to a place where you really find a wish when you get a reminder to respond. That is your wish.”

After a slight pause, he added: “Your attitude is that this is material, whatever your circumstance. If you have the attitude, then you’re ready.”

“What other way could there be? It’s very obvious, it’s very simple.”

“Of course, you’ll fall. You’ll get led away, covered over. But if you put that element into yourself, then there’s a possibility that when it’s not like that it will be touched immediately it’s needed.”

“That’s the work. You try and create an animated, responsive feeling centrality. It just gives more … point to your preparation.” He lightly stressed the word “point”.

I am omitting two exchanges, and passing to Tony’s question. “Mr Adie, I’m confused about the difference between being aware of myself and being present and self-remembering. Yesterday morning, I was talking quietly with my wife, and she asked me a couple of questions which were basically to do with trust in our relationship, and I immediately felt had feelings of my skin drawing together, and tensing up, particularly in the face.”

“You felt under attack?”

“Yes, yes. But I also felt very present. I was very much aware of myself. I was aware of her at the same time, but there was a complete focussing down, and I wasn’t aware of anything else at all. Yet it seems to me that if I was in a situation of self-remembering, it wouldn’t have been that way. I’m a little confused about being so aware of myself and a state that is different to that of self-remembering.”

“They’re not two solitary, labelled items. There are shades of intermingling from complete absorption to complete freedom,” said Mr Adie.

“But there is something else to learn here. We have habits, attitudes based on old happenings, and they can lead us into mistakes and then into a habitual routine. For instance, supposing someone is in the delightful habit of using an umbrella to beat their little boy. Every time she goes for the umbrella he thinks he’s going to get a beating. One day she’s going out and she’s heard that there may be a late change, so she takes the umbrella out. He thinks he’s going to get a beating. She has no such intention at all. But he’s sure she is, and he can’t see any clouds, so he reacts just as if he’s going to get a beating.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“Well, that’s happening all the time to us. The force of habit in our reactions is tremendous. We’ve got an incredible number of routines of habit, and little accidents of association. Now, with that information, I have a possibility. It’s no good telling me it’s not like that, I know that it is like that. But if am present to that knowledge, I may catch sight of a few of these routines, and I know where they lead to. I get a chance.”

“And you’re right, it’s not self-remembering to anything like an ample degree, but something is there that remembers. The question is respond more quickly, so that they recollection can awaken the parts of me which are sleeping. This takes us back to Mick and his confusion.”

“So now, where are you are now? You prepare, you want to see. It would be very useful for you if you could really see where the landslide started, as it were.”

“There must have been a predisposition to slide that way before this little remark of hers just set it off, then there was a landslide, very quick. It shows that you must have been all ready for it. It’s a condition of predisposition, built up in relative sleep, which we are. There’s also an instinctive sensing of proximity and possibilities. Something in me knows that this type of conversation can lead to arguments, crying and what not. And perhaps a little bit of head is telling me it’s fine, it’s alright. All this is quietly presenting itself, and that is the bubbling condition which I experience as a confusion. And then in one moment, off it goes.”

“Again, I have to prepare: not to escape from that, but to see what’s going on. If I were to escape from that now, I would never overcome my predisposition to it. I would escape a few times, I would think I was alright, and then it would be worse than ever. I really have to see, and go through, I have to accept, and then I can learn.”

I will interpose that these last two paragraphs, especially the last one have been of great assistance to me in coming to an interest in seeing, and in having some patience. Tony then asked his final question: “My position v is, then, how can I prevent myself from reacting in the habitual way?”

“Well, all your work will be towards that, that you will be able to help yourself. And you give thanks that you can learn. When consciously, you know how to move, that’s different. Until you understand how, you will react. So, say, alright, I’ve got to learn, so long as something in me can react like that. I need all these examples. And really, that gives you a concept, an idea of how very fair everything is: there’s nothing unfair in it. Something in us believes firmly, most of the time, in our bad treatment. I receive the most diabolical treatment, ‘it just can’t be true.’ But it is, and everything is very fair. I need just that.”

Later that evening, Joni said: “Mr Adie, I have a question, I have recently experienced a hardness inside myself that I sense very close to my inside, and … I’ve tried to think about it in order to understand more about this hardness … and I realised that I’ve been using it as a self-preservation sort of …”. Her voice trailed off. Joni had had very serious issues, literally life threatening, and these were known to Adie. Therefore, in reading his answer, bear in mind that her problems were beyond the average.

“That’s what you tell yourself,” replied Mr Adie.” Something in you’s been making a sort of excuse for it, that it’s necessary. Not very clearly, but in the background. It accepts it in a way, as acceptable and justifiable, and even, at the moment, rather necessary.”

“Yes,” Joni agreed. ”But I’ve been in a situation where I’ve been experiencing a lot of negativity around me, and I’ve felt that this was a sort of place where I wouldn’t become negative.”

“If I’m in the circumstances where a lot of that is going on, I will be affected. I can’t expect not to be. But I have to know my measure. Something is possible. If I am there I can tell if it is more than it’s advisable for me to endure, and if it is, I take myself away, or I take measures.”

“If I have a certain wish to be in the right attitude, to deal with things in the right way from the point of view of serious consideration, I will find that I have a measure. We each have a definite measure. It’s no good trying to jump over your own knees, because you never can. You realise what it means to jump over your own knees, don’t you?”

There was no answer.

“Spare a little time to think about jumping over your own knees. How would you do it? The higher you jump the higher would your knees come, don’t you think?”

Still no response, and he was clearly waiting for one.

“It’s no good trying the impossible. No good trying to kiss your own elbow. You just can’t do it, not even you. You have your measure, and you make your efforts for so long. But you’re intelligent, and if it is too much, you look for a suitable out, not in order to escape, but because you’re following what’s going on, and you see that it’s time to withdraw.”

“That helps a lot, a good deal, but I’m also wondering further on, what is the next step in understanding this sort of log in there?”

“Well, you have to be present to it, but you don’t stay too long. You can go back again. There’s plenty more coming, you’ll have a lot more opportunities, and you’re interested to see what. Start with relaxing. If nothing else comes into your head, don’t surrender to the confusion. Relax. You try and let the belly fall down, and if your head’s hanging in the same old way, move it. And then I have to be upright but neither stiff nor rigid.”

He continued: “And what about the source of the irritation? I have to be available to it, if I’m trying to do anything. If a person’s badly wounded, I must be there confronting this horrible mess: if I’m not, I’ll never help, and that is my job. I may have to run off and be sick, but doesn’t matter, I have to come back if I’m going to do anything.”

“Yes.”

“To remain, to remain. Only learn from the present. Always the present.”

“Well I think that what you’ve been speaking about is very necessary and very good for you. Couldn’t have been better, really, what you needed to see. Your own evidence of your own inner hardness. This is the wonderful thing , because you begin to see where it is, it’s localised here. You know that. And then it’s related to other things, you know how we work. It won’t be confined to that. It will affect all the outer surfaces, how it will affect the “I”s, how it will affect your facial expression. Mmm? Good. And the voice, the tone, and everything. All different points can be included, gradually.”

The next question was from Hunter. His boss had accused him of being a slack tradesman, and that was not his own opinion. This had taken place before his colleagues. His reaction had been to put his head down and shut off. He could hear the boss’s voice was coming in, but only barely recognised his words. His hand moved a pencil up and down on a sheet of paper as if it had a life of its own. He was raging inside, and every muscle in his body was “locked in”.

“You felt your own inner rage?” Mr Adie confirmed.

“Mmm.”

“Then what is the aim there?”

Hunter did not reply.

“There are two aims there, broadly. There’s the aim to adjust and somehow satisfy or rectify the job and the relationship of workman to overseer, and a totally different thing, your own inner work of being and so on.”

“Surely from that point of view, your own inner work, you really need to be quite open to any external criticism. And be available to it, and to ascertain, if possible, what degree of truth or correctness there is about the criticism. It could be very interesting for you in that state of feeling, to find out how right or how wrong he was. In a feeling of rage, you can’t find anything out, and everything he says is impossible and unjustified. But obviously he’s not a complete monster, he doesn’t live and get up, have his breakfast with the idea of terrorising you. When he arrives there, something takes place, and an incident happens. So, in such a circumstance, if I haven’t got my aim, well, I’m going to be relatively at the mercy of what’s going on.” Mr Adie stressed the word “relatively”.

“See, I’ve received a lot, I’ve heard a lot, I’ve tried things in easier circumstances … and now, I’m under attack. Can I not look at that from the point of view of my aim? Actually, of course, my aim has disappeared entirely. Could I have aim there? If I haven’t, I shall never have any purchase on it. I shall be forced into a furious immobility, and be completely ineffective. You see? So it illustrates that under that circumstance you can lose your aim and direction. And in a way, you need that again. It’s very difficult to understand, but you need just that. Some good insults. As long as they can make you absolutely disappear, that is what you need. Because I cannot afford to be disappearing.”

“I can’t appreciate with any intelligence what he says. He goes off without any satisfaction. He says: ‘Oh hell. that man, I tried!’ You haven’t said anything to relieve him at all, or explain anything. You’ve been completely unable. So from a worldly point of view, it’s not any use either.”

“It’s very, very difficult to fulfil. But there’s no alternative. Either I try, not in order to do the job, but because I realise that such circumstances can serve me. And I need them. However bad they are, I need them. It’s a stick with two ends. If I can take this situation – and accept it – I get the good end of the stick. And the result is I learn. If I reject it then I have the bad end of the stick, and I suffer. Think like that. Is that clearer to you now?”

Rather weakly, Hunter answered: “Yes.”

“ It is? Good …”

Joseph Azize has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies. His first book The Phoenician Solar Theology treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The second book, “Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria”, was jointly edited with Noel Weeks. It includes his article arguing that the Carthaginians did not practice child sacrifice.

The third book, George Mountford Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.The fourth book, edited and written with Peter El Khouri and Ed Finnane, is a new edition of Britts Civil Precedents. He recommends it to anyone planning to bring proceedings in an Australian court of law.

“Maronites” is pp.279-282 of “The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia” published by Cambridge University Press and edited by James Jupp.

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Written by SOPHIA WELLBELOVED

May 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

GEORGE ADIE on the Creator-in-me

JOSEPH AZIZE PAGE


Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com

George Adie on the Creator-in-me

[These two pieces were read to us at a combined meeting in Newport. Mr Adie simply read them one after another, yet I feel that he sensed a connection between them. He made an ex tempore comment, which appears at the end, in quote marks. I have added the titles (Joseph Azize, Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com, 18 September 2009)]

creator sun

I. The Sense of the Creator-in-me

So I go about, greatly occupied by turning thoughts. Yet, as I attend to my many duties, am I aware of the great unknowable, the infinity of the Creator-in-me?

“I waited on the Lord. He inclined unto me. He heard my complaint.”1

What can be more important than this? But for my field of consciousness to receive the ceaseless influence of this divine level, I have to be aware of my aim, of the purpose for my life on the level of the external world. I must both contribute and receive on that level also. After all, it is my life, the very life in which I must actualise my possibilities of becoming conscious.

As I go, as I work, let me not allow this awareness to be merely a background, obscured by every occurrence or influence. Let me primarily be aware of the Creator-in-me, of God-in-me. Let the Creator-in-me not be forgotten, so that I may enter the great realm of knowledge and self-certainty.

And now as I remember myself, I increasingly sense a strange self-certainty. I direct attention outwards as may be necessary in payment for my life. I voluntarily manifest this process in me with all that it implies. So let me also live and fulfil my external duties so as to benefit my fellow creatures.

This is the great life of the ceaseless sunrise of creation: may the sense of the Creator-in-me as I move leaven my being, and may my labour be also for my neighbour.
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calm-sunrise

II. Lost Loves: Repairing the Past

When I look back I see a wasteland of lost opportunities, and of repeated failures to understand life’s offerings. There have been so many moments offering possibilities for the rarest exchanges: possibilities lost through indifference, self-importance, coldness. The lost love of friends, of people who made sacrifices on my behalf. All moments of flowering love, but without response from me, so that they withered and died in pain and disappointment.

I collect myself, and I attempt to stop thought, and yet these recollections come and distract me. In the past, it seemed, I could stop thought. It seemed I could turn inside, and find myself. Then I had refreshment so as to continue, but now? How can I understand what is necessary?

Life and creation never cease. I must find my way anew, in this fresh creation of the present moment. I have often proved for myself that the way always mounts before me. It is always there and it always demands more of me, by lawful demand. And so now, more effort is necessary.

Now I have to repair these very bitter past failures which are pressed upon my consciousness in continuing process. I repair them now: now in the present.

In this state I can see and realize with an unimagined clarity that the ghostly pictures which lie behind the recurring memories, just because they still return, can be repaired now. So now I can and must recompense for the past.

At once time vanishes.

I AM, and time is no longer. All is One and I am That.

I look on the ocean, calm after endless days of storm, stretching now blue and serene to the horizon, and I hear in me the words: “Peace, be still, I AM”.2

Now I give thanks for my present pain, which awakens me and tells me just how to fill the void through reparation. I deal with present deeds in the presence of the all-merciful presence, the all-merciful present.

“You know how he spoke about the merciless Heropass? In the now, it’s merciful.”

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Editor’s Comments

Mr Adie assumes that we know both what he means and what he does when he “repairs the past”. This was a reasonable enough assumption with that audience. Besides, if someone did not understand, they could ask. These pieces can possess the power that they do only because so much background material is lift unstated. To fill it in, where necessary, only adds to one’s understanding.

I have already gathered some of his more detailed material on repairing the past for the book George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia. To try and put it simply, without suggesting that this is the only way to approach this mystery, I can repair the past because I am the past, although I am not just the past. The past lives on in me, but it only dominates and determines the man-machine. In so far as I am conscious, I can introduce a new element which is not utterly determined by the past into myself. So, in a way, my direct effort is to repair myself, and yet there is still this indirect result that the past is no longer as it was, because I am always emerging from it, and I am now more conscious.

I can experience states where I stay present before memories. I do not run away or “squirm” – a word Mr Adie used more than a few times, with artistic justice. I remain, and I cognize with the whole of myself, that it could not then have been different. I acted as I did because that was how I was then: less responsible, less understanding, less capable. I feel pity for those whom I have pained (pity, I would say now, is a form of love in which we share the sufferings of others through the legitimate faculty of imagination). In, through and by my presence, the pain is received consciously. Perhaps this is something of what Gurdjieff meant by being-remorse.

Even in ordinary life, past events are seen differently depending on the long-term outcome. In Shakespeare, for example, no good came from Lear’s impulsive and short-sighted actions in Act I. In Cymbeline, however, the king’s folly, and with it the past, was redeemed by the acts of true and faithful Imogen and others, who, although not on her level, yet possessed something of these virtues. They never deserted King Cymbeline’s best interests, although he thought all three of them to be his worst enemies. In repairing the past, Leonatus and Belarius, in particular, worked both for themselves and for others. Perhaps it must always be that way: so bound up are our lives with those of others.

Next, I am particularly struck by the truth of Mr Adie’s saying: “In this state I can see and realize with an unimagined clarity that the ghostly pictures which lie behind the recurring memories, just because they still return, can be repaired now.”

This, to me, is a perfect truth. Usually, I have a painful memory, and I identify with the pain. I react emotionally when I should be using my reason. But, as he says, precisely because the past recurs it can be repaired. After all, I cannot repair the past if I am oblivious of it. Perhaps one can even say that these painful past memories bring a certain “consciousness” with them. If so, okay, let me expand that consciousness. And then, as Gurdjieff said: “By as much as one is conscious, there is no more suffering.”

When Mr Adie says “… now I can and must recompense for the past”, he is referring to another truth, that I am responsible for what I have received. It is the parable of the talents.

Finally, at the Prieure, Gurdjieff taught a movement known as “Lost Loves”. Some notes of it have been preserved. The movements as drawn are very evocative. This fortifies me in the feeling which I have received from this piece that there is something in this concept which is not just silly sentimentality. It is really very hard to face this sort of personal tragedy. But the example of people like Mr Adie both urges those with sufficient understanding, and proves that it is possible.

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Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com

Joseph Azize has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies. His first book The Phoenician Solar Theology treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The second book, “Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria”, was jointly edited with Noel Weeks. It includes his article arguing that the Carthaginians did not practice child sacrifice.

The third book, George Mountford Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.The fourth book, edited and written with Peter El Khouri and Ed Finnane, is a new edition of Britts Civil Precedents. He recommends it to anyone planning to bring proceedings in an Australian court of law.

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Written by SOPHIA WELLBELOVED

September 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

WHERE ARE THE GURDJIEFF GROUPS HEADING?

Joseph Azize Page
Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com


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gurdjieff

Where are the Gurdjieff Groups Heading?

Gurdjieff brought a promise: the fourth way would transform people who were prepared to work (meaning here “make a practical study the ideas and methods, applying them in their lives”. Pupils of the fourth way would be in a school, and in these schools there would be esoteric knowledge. His people would be an ascending people, a people co-operating with the forces of evolution, climbing the stairs to the divine vision explicitly spoken of in “Beelzebub” and implicitly in “Miraculous”. Individual efforts would even have planetary and cosmic effects, a side given some emphasis by Jeanne de Salzmann. In addition to this there lay a social dimension: with his ideas and methods, Gurdjieff would make war on the old world of lies, suggestibility and “reciprocal destruction”, and forge a new one.
The vision which we had when we came across the Gurdjieff ideas was that it would be possible to become something like what Gurdjieff had been like: vigilant, aware, resourceful, capable of working in many fields, full of knowledge and feeling. The picture of Gurdjieff in the books, especially Ouspensky, de Hartmann and Nott, is of someone always connected with a higher level, so to speak. A life like that would surely be glorious whatever hardships came along, for unconscious suffering would be made conscious. Further, the entire group would be a leavening agent, an esoteric society of brothers and sisters within a host body. And I would be one individual in such a group, collaborating for a mutually understood higher purpose.

And why not? There had been extraordinary people in history, and here was Gurdjieff, clearly another one. And besides, religion required so much, and yet did not offer the means to carry it out. To me, being a Christian was like being in a French class where no-one could actually speak French, just deliver lectures about the theory, but forgot what they had just said or learned as soon as they left the classroom. As a young person, I never saw a single person change their character for the better except by effluxion of time or after massive shocks, such as a close escape from death. or by leaving the world, perhaps to become a monk or nun. This did not seem right: surely there must have be something tranformative there, otherwise, it was a farce, a mockery.

Gurdjieff promised to deliver in reality. And when I met George and Helen Adie, I realised that even after his death he could deliver. There was no doubt about that all, and I still have no doubt about that.

But did even the Adies ever preside over such a school of ascending individuals growing in consciousness and wisdom? Although the Adies had a great effect on literally hundreds of pupils, not one of us, not excluding myself, is at their level. My experience of the Foundation groups in New York and London, while not the most extensive is still sufficient for me to be sure that it is almost always those who knew Gurdjieff himself who had achieved the most for themselves.

It is as if the power left the Gurdjieff groups with Gurdjieff himself. And that is the fact, at least as I see it.

So, I repeat my question, where are the Gurdjieff groups going?

Joseph.Azize@googlemail.com
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Joseph Azize has published in ancient history, law and Gurdjieff studies. His first book The Phoenician Solar Theology treated ancient Phoenician religion as possessing a spiritual depth comparative with Neoplatonism, to which it contributed through Iamblichos. The second book, “Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria”, was jointly edited with Noel Weeks. It includes his article arguing that the Carthaginians did not practice child sacrifice.

The third book, George Mountford Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia represents his attempt to present his teacher (a direct pupil of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) to an international audience.The fourth book, edited and written with Peter El Khouri and Ed Finnane, is a new edition of Britts Civil Precedents. He recommends it to anyone planning to bring proceedings in an Australian court of law.

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