Gurdjieff's teaching: for scholars and practitioners

G. I. Gurdjieff's teaching, research, books, conferences

Posts Tagged ‘morning preparation

GEORGE ADIE: a task on hurry from 1981

A Task on Hurry, from 1981

On 24 February 1981, Mr Adie gave this task to one of the Newport groups. His statement of the task comprises Part I. Over the next week, the groups attempted to use the task to help their line of work. Then, the next week they brought their observations. Some extracts from one of those meetings, that of 3 March 1981, taken by Mrs Adie, is Part II.

Part I

Mr and Mrs Adie were in front of the group. Mr Adie introduced the task:

“How are we going to approach work more practically?

“The tasks that are given are only there as a help to work. The actual work, the actual choice is my own responsibility to do what I think is best for me. I may be wrong, but it doesn’t matter. I shall find that out. If I try, and then bring my experience to the group, I shall find it out. If I don’t try, I shall find nothing out.

“And the exercise is given, and has to be done as near as possible as said. I don’t have to think about that. Or at least I don’t have to think it out, it’s already presented. I do have to try and fulfil it and relate it to my own line of work. I must have a near aim, I must be going against something. I must be trying to achieve some change in my being state. Now how?

“Again, want to see how I am. Again, I may already know that certain habits, certain tendencies are unquestionably against my aim. Whatever my own individual aim, it takes me away. So that’s a thing I have to try and work against. Maybe I need to see more in regard to that. Alright then, in that case my aim is to see more in regard to that. And I have to relate that aim to this exercise given, and see how the connection is, and how it can be supported. I know that if I do make a resolve, and do my preparation, I shall get more reminders.

“Now this week, there’s a particular exercise given, which will be gradually expanded. But this week, I have to choose when. I have to do my preparation. It’s my own responsibility how I prepare myself, to sense myself, to relax, to become centrally placed, I know that. And I have to try and remind myself of the kind of work I’m going to do: where I’m going to be impatient, where I’m going to be irritable, where I’m going to be afraid, what habit I’m going to try to get over, laziness or gluttony or irritation, or I don’t know what.

“And in relation to that, what is going to remind me? I choose in the morning. I must do my preparation early, first thing, first thing on awakening. Then, I choose in the morning for one half hour during which I will not hurry. That doesn’t mean to say I do things slowly. I may find I do them much quicker, but I will not hurry. I will try and do everything without hurry.

“Hurry is terribly costly, it produces tension, fear and consternation and flurrying, throwing things, and catastrophes. Nothing can be done with hurry. How can any artist work in a hurry? Impossible. That’s an artist, and our work is on another plane. We cannot work if we’re in a hurry.

“The central idea of this half an hour is that I wish to observe myself. I am going to be in life: if I have an interview, a job, cooking, accounting, carrying, whatever it is. I know that this is the kind of work I shall be doing. I choose that half hour, but in that half hour I am not going to hurry. As said, it doesn’t mean to say that I have to slow down.

“Is it clear to everybody?

“Do you smell the possible result that might come from that? That one is always in a hurry, either in a hurry to escape doing something, or to get a result with less effort, or to get onto something more pleasant. Try and see. See what is required. You have some data now. See how it goes. Make a note of what you find.

“Of course you have to try and be present. And I shall need my feeling of myself. See how the requirements expand? Does it seem possible? For the whole week I try not to be in a hurry, but to do twice as much. Mm?

Mrs Adie prompted Mr Adie: “You also suggested that if they succeeded, they could …”

“Yes, thank you, I forgot that. If I make the appointment and I remember, then I am entitled to choose another half an hour in the second half of the day. But if for some reason I don’t remember, and I don’t have that half an hour, then I must leave it until the next day. It’s not like an ordinary appointment; this is something for half an hour where you’ll be working in a special way. If you fulfil, it doesn’t matter how successful you were, but as long as you fulfil it, you can then try again in the second half of the day. But if you don’t, then you miss the second half of the day. Try and see what use you can make of this to help your own line of work, your own aim.

“In the preparation, it’s a question of ten or 15 minutes, as early as you can in the morning, if you wish on one or two occasions to have a considerably longer one, you can, but at the same time, don’t just sit in a dream and think it’s work.

“If this is productive, the exercise will be built upon, so see what we can find. Don’t forget to make a note.”

Part II

When Mrs Adie came down to the meeting, perhaps 25 minutes after it had started, Ivan, who had been taking the meeting, said: “One of the things people brought, Mrs Adie, was that they couldn’t maintain the exercise for half an hour.”

“What do you mean by ‘not maintaining it’? Of course you couldn’t maintain it without any lapses.”

Pauline spoke: “I had sort of a moment … I can’t remember times.”

“But you mustn’t be too identified with the time. Can you say what happened? What your experience was?”

Pauline had a good deal of trouble even stating what had happened. After several questions and Pauline’s responses, it appeared that she had had a few moments of presence, but felt discouraged because they were so few. She had noted a tension in the stomach, and saw what she called a “boorishness” manifesting. It reminded her of something Mr Adie had reminded her of, but all she could feel “was a wall”. Her question was: “When I found it so difficult, do I keep trying to continue for half an hour?”

“If at that moment of difficulty, you realise how unstable your attention is, you have a chance. Don’t let that just slip away. You have less than half an hour before you. Can you somehow or another approach to the wish to do it?

“At first, you find there’s no wish there, because really, what can wish? However, even if you’re not fully present, but you have a feeling that there’s something lacking in your presence, then there is something there that can lead you on. Take advantage of that moment. Don’t let it go too quickly. You can’t hold it indefinitely, but if you want to, if you feel it enough, your weakness, that inability, you are working. What else could one ask for?

“You may not be able to maintain it unbroken, but it will come back, and much more often. And that is what we hope for. Everything depends on having more moments of this presence. Yet it’s no good working directly for the wish. You can’t produce a wish like that, by just saying “I want to wish. I wish.” It’s not there. It comes as a result of something. It comes as a result, sometimes, of making an effort in spite of the fact that you haven’t a wish.

“It can come when your head understands that it’s necessary. Although in many ways the head is a great obstacle, or at least the lower part of it is, we also rely on it. The head understands. The body doesn’t understand, and the feeling doesn’t understand: they have to be disciplined.

Pauline asked: “Can you say more about the different parts of the head?” You can hear, even over the tape, that the person asking this was a lot simpler and clearer than the one who had been speaking earlier.

“Well, you’ve read it of course, but until one has a real question, people forget. One wants to be careful not to become formatory in your understanding, but it’s important to know that your head is divided into three. There’s lowest part, which is completely mechanical, where really you could say there is no attention. Your attention is dragged out of you, so to speak. Then there’s the middle part, which has some feeling, and is not completely mechanical; there’s an interest, you’re attracted to something, and you find it easy apply your mind to it. And then the highest part requires a big effort, because you’re not attracted to it, it’s something you’re obliged to put your attention on. Some people find that with Beelzebub, for example [reading Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson]. There has to be an effort, you read in spite of the fact that your inclination is not to read it. Many people in their accounts spoke about the lack of wish, and it’s perfectly true, but the practical question is how do I produce it? What is going to help me feel it more?

“I’m nearly all the time in my personality, and my personality does not wish, because personality is in my head, very largely. And the feeling is in my essence, and my essence is what is real. Yet, sometimes something in personality can realise that. We couldn’t live without personality. Without the help of the more real part of personality, we should not be here: it’s largely personality that takes the initial interest in the ideas. So we to be careful not to confuse that.

“But very often personality is completely imaginary, and apart from not wishing, it’s very much against it. There’s nothing in it for that part of me, and some have seen how much that operates – that’s a very big discovery. It takes a long time sometimes. You don’t get upset about it, you can’t help it, this imaginary part is going to try to come in and spoil everything. But if you just don’t believe it, it loses some power, you’ve seen that now.

“So what else? Have there been many questions?

Gerry spoke: “Mrs Adie, there’ve been moments where I’ve known that I need to be watchful to observe myself and really try to see what’s happening, but when those moments come, and they are such that I know when they’re likely to come, but when they come, I don’t seem to be able to observe, I seem to be caught. I know in my head, anyway, that I need to plan for these.”

“Yes,” replied Mrs Adie, “you’ve spoken about that before. It certainly is a thing which seems to bother you. Of course with your present exercise something is very much more possible. In a way it doesn’t matter which time you choose, if I have an intention. You can choose a particular time when you know you’re going to have that tendency to hurry, but it’s much easier to see, I think, don’t you? It’s more restricted, in a way. It’s more specific, and a lot can be seen from it apart from the fact that whether you do or do not hurry in that time. But any other line of work should go on at the same time. It can help it.

“Yes, I feel there’s a necessity for me to care more about these moments, but when I do try and look, it seems a futility.” Gerry continued: “I feel a futility, in that when I try to observe, when there’s a negative process happening in me.”

“Did your effort not to hurry commence before that process began, or did you awake in the middle of it?”

“I wake up in the middle, or even after it.”

“If it awakens you, then that’s a moment of possibility. If you weren’t there at all, you’d have forgotten it, but if you’ve remembered it, that’s a great gift. At that moment you actually have some choice.”

“A moment of choice is a terrific thing, which has to be worked for. But what is aware of your state isn’t caught up in it. So, how can it serve you? You need to hang onto that awareness, even if the process apparently goes on. The force goes out of it. Some force is available for myself. And at the same time, it’s very difficult but you can actually observe what is taking place.

“It can’t last very long without a break. Maybe the impulse is too weak, but any kind of recollection is a moment of choice nevertheless. You have a certain choice at that moment. Your head will understand that something is possible at that moment. But it hasn’t enough power, the head hasn’t enough force. Those moments have to be cherished and fostered, and I agree, as it were, that the fact of my experience makes an impression on me at a moment when I’m a little bit more impartial, less lost. If you have that valuation, something may grow up in you.”

After a pause, Mrs Adie advised: “Don’t concentrate so much of your attention on whether I can do the exercise it or not. It’s what can come out of it. If I try, quite unexpected things can follow. I shall see many things I had not known. Does anybody have any interesting observations about it at all?”

John spoke: “I think just from being given the exercise to do, I’ve seen a lot clearer the running around, and the sort of madness going on inside. It’s even the time of the day outside of the half hour appointments. It began as soon as Mr Adie gave it, before I’d even made the first appointment. I felt: “ I need this”.

“It’s quite true”, said Mrs Adie. “ An intention has an effect. I make a plan, and if I have any presence, it has an effect, it isn’t restricted to the time planned for. Especially with something like hurry, because even if I’m not doing anything. I’m never at peace, never quiet inside.”

Jethro brought his problem: “Mrs Adie, I find that I just go at two speeds, flat out or not at all. and really there’s no half way. Maybe I misunderstood the point of the exercise, and gave way, but I found that to interfere with the speed at which I operate, my machine operates, results in real failure of coordination.”

“But you’re not asked to interfere with the speed at which your machine operates. You’re asked to not to hurry, which means not to force it to go faster. What would you say hurry is?”

“It’s putting a kind of nervous energy into normal movements …”

“Yes, and it doesn’t make you any faster, just more hectic. It can even make you do things more slowly, because everything’s chaotic, you drop something, or … all the centres are completely in chaos. Hurry is a state, a sort of agitation. The mind isn’t working, the mind is in confusion. But Mr Adie did not suggest that you interfere with the speed at which your machine operates.”

“I’m in a situation where I’m under pressure from my boss to do quite complicated repair jobs, to help get musicians and artists out of trouble. I work with a firm of specialists, so I’ve achieved a kind of concentration which enables me to do sometimes quite complex work, at a high speed, while the customer is waiting, while they should really be sort of …”

“And you find you do it quicker if you do it in a hurry?” Mrs Adie asked.

“Much quicker, yes.”

“No, that’s not right.”

Jethro was not to be moved. “Well, the job gets done somehow, and the customer is delighted.”

“Yes, but if you were not in a hurry you could probably do it quicker. If you’re in a hurry, your attention is either dispersed or completely identified with one thing, getting it finished.

“Oh, well, yes, that always happens, that always happens. I curse the phone and I curse the intercom.”

Mrs Adie laughed. “Alright. You say it’s the only way you can do it, yet you haven’t tried any other way. To do something without hurry doesn’t mean to slow down. It doesn’t mean that at all. On the contrary, it means not to hurry inside. It’s inside that all this hurry is going on, in your so-called feelings.

“This hectic, agitated feeling that you’ve got to get on with it, get it done quickly, is the resistance. You can try times when it hasn’t got to be done in half an hour, or whatever it is. But try to do it with your head operating in the right way, and your emotions quite quiet. Your emotions have got nothing to do with it. They’re not needed at that time. You need your head and your moving centre. Maybe a certain amount of instinctive centre, too, to do with tuning the instruments and that sort of thing, but it’s the emotions that interfere and make you hurry, that get in the way. If my feeling can then appear, that will even ground me.

Ivan made an appropriate remark: “May I give an example? I think if you consider a concert pianist who plays something very very fast. He’s never in a hurry: he’s extremely relaxed. I went to the Opera House the other evening, and the pianist was playing some tremendously fast passages, but his hands just went … there was absolutely no hurry about it. I think that’s what we’re trying to convey.”

“Yes, it’s quite true,” said Mrs Adie, who was herself a concert pianist as well as a composer. “I remember that was a very vital thing, always, it was even impressed on me, by my professor, to take my time beginning, for example, never to be in a hurry.” She addressed Jethro directly: “You’re a pianist yourself, if you hurry, you’ll play a lot of wrong notes.”

After a pause, Mrs Adie added: “I think you’re rather settled, you’ve taken rather a stand about this. Try and be a little more flexible in your understanding. Make an experiment at a time when you can afford to make an experiment.

“You know this about your nature that you are a very tense person, and it’s not only physically tense, you’re tense in your feelings. You agree that you’re rather tense?”


“It’s not a sin. Many of us are. I think it is very largely in your feelings. It means that you should sometimes, when you have a moment’s peace, just watch your breathing without changing it. Your breathing indicates your emotional state, very much. If you’re calm, breathing is calm. Directly you get excited, the breathing gets quicker and more shallow. Remember that when you’re doing something. It can be anything, just for a moment put your attention on that area, it’s the area of your feeling. Where you breathe is the area of your feeling. Try and quieten it a little bit, and when you do that your body will also relax more.

“You need to put a little more attention on that, I think. It’s one of your big difficulties. But you’re not as tense as you were, in any case. It is already better than it was: much better. But it would help you with everything that you’ve been mentioning, especially with the particular job that you have, which is very demanding in a certain way, and needs a sort of sensitiveness, doesn’t it? If you’re dealing with musical instruments and that sort of thing, you need to be free from this sort of turmoil that goes on. I think you agree that it does go on? That you’re in a turmoil a lot of the time, and it doesn’t serve any useful purpose?”

“Oh yes!”Jethro was emphatic.

“It really is your enemy. Well, I think you need to choose your half hour very carefully, to being with, to start with, anyway. Choose an occasion when you’re doing some quite simple thing, and see if you can do it when your feeling’s absolutely quiet, and your movements very measured, and intentional, with the assistance of your head.”

Silvio brought an interesting cameo: “One day this week I did my preparation, and I made the appointment for 11.00 o’clock. As I was typing, I kept saying to myself, “I’ve got an appointment at 11.00 o’clock.” And I did that until 1.00 o’clock in the afternoon.”

“Then learn from that. Something in me gets very frustrated. But I accept that that is how I am. And then I need to be patient. I accept the fact that that is how I am, but I am not satisfied with that. I accept it, but not passively. From that there can come a wish. The realisation of that. It’s necessary to see how completely powerless I am.”

“What I wonder is, what in me was saying to myself: “I’ve got an appointment at 11.00 o’clock”?

“No one can say, only you can know. It is suspect, but maybe it is the best I have for the moment. Something in me always wants to do: to succeed in doing what I set out to do, which is nothing to do with my real wish at all. I’ve decided to do something and I’m going to do it. But it isn’t like that, a real wish. It’s a very subtle thing, and very difficult to put into words exactly.”

I have omitted a few questions. At the end of the meeting, a woman brought this last question of general application: “Should we keep the same time each day?”

“It depends on what you find,” answered Mrs Adie. “If you find it’s a practical time, no need to change it. If not, then you change it. Sometimes it’s good to change it, it depends on what you find. But if you know there’s something that you tend to spoil by hurrying, make more mistakes, choose that time, certainly.

“If the quality of the effort seems to fall off, better to make a change. It will always run down unless I apply some sort of a shock to it. And also, one becomes rather lazy about it: taking the same time saves a lot of thought, so choosing another time can be good, giving plenty of opportunity. You judge by the result. Try something, then you try it again, if it seems to yield less, change it.

“Good night.”
11 January 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.



From: Joseph Azize

Part One

When I started writing this blog, all I had in mind was to present some rather interesting and powerful material from a meeting of Wednesday 9 March 1983, taken by Mrs Adie. As I worked at the introduction, however, more and more ideas came together. Answers appeared to queries I had long had about group work, and these in turn raised new questions as I contemplated the significance of these new ideas.

This all brought me to the concepts of “group depression” and “group resistance”, the sort of depression and resistance which can strike a person only in a group: the sort of depression and resistance which a person doesn’t experience until they find a group, and can take the person right out of the way of conscious development irrespective of whether they stay in the group or not.

Time and again, I was struck by how many of the questions on this old tape really came down to this: “I can’t work. I feel a resistance, I’m not getting anywhere, and I feel depressed. I want a quick fix.” I was also struck by how true this was of all my experience in groups. This attitude is contagious, as it were. Even when the Adies provided the answer – and it is an answer – people could not apply this to themselves. Even when people saw others going around in the same circle, they could not help but tread that circle, too.

As Mr Adie very acutely pointed out, when people first come to groups they are often enthusiastic and willing. Why not? They have been excited by Gurdjieff’s ideas and the thrilling prospect of conscious development. They come asking what to do. But then, relatively soon afterwards, this question has disappeared. “It is as if we have lost the realisation that an action of doing is essential to any real work.” (George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia, p.112) We find that it is not so easy as we had imagined, and being told that we cannot do, we take this too literally, too absolutely. And yet without the possibility of being able to do, to attain a projected aim, as Gurdjieff defined it, the method is meaningless (see In Search of the Miraculous, p.132).

I had long been puzzled by Jurgen, who had been bringing his extremes of elation and depression to groups for 30 years and perhaps still is. Only last year, I realised that something in him did not want to change: it preferred the performance and the attention of the audience. That is, he brought his questions and observations not to have the ostensible concern addressed, but for the sake of the show, rather like the ritual changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace where the military or security value of the parade is negligible. The resistance he spoke of is a resistance which takes that form only because he can bring it to a group and be the tragic problem. Others heard him, and although they had initially tried not to indulge in negative emotions such as depression, as they became accustomed to his constant wringing of hands, they feel free to indulge it, too.

I know that something like this happened to me. I had a very healthy attitude about not complaining. This is not to say that I never did complain, or indulge in self pity, but I had always felt that it was a problem I had to address. Then, after Mr Adie died, I had a good deal to do with Jana. She was like the patron saint of complaints, or perhaps the demon assigned to them. She had been in groups for probably 25 to 30 years at that point, and was one of the senior women. Others in the group all said “Yes, Jana’s concerns must be taken seriously.” Not until much later was one of the women willing to concede that Jana was “negative.”

And because it is “wrong” to be “negative”, that is only said about people in groups if the person has already been marked as not fitting in. So as she was not a black sheep, no one could say that she was negative. Then, gradually, something in me was not impeded from imitating her attitude. It has taken me a long time to try and repair that part of my past. I never sat down and articulated such ideas to myself: something in me just wordlessly picked this up. This is “group resistance”. The prevalence of certain negative qualities in the group hallowed them for me, because this was the group. So too, the prevalence of silly ideas among “group leaders” justifies them. Who am I to know better than Sadie Schmutz from Group 1 in New York?

People frequently brought this observation: “I cannot work, it is hopeless.” The Adies frequently showed what was wrong with that and why it could not be trusted. But people had “learned” in the group that it was alright to bring the question and not to use the material offered. This is “group resistance”.

When you read the material in Part Two, you will see how familiar Mrs Adie’s answers are, even if she expresses the ideas in her individual way. Imagine what it would be like if before bringing their questions, people had followed her advice, and then brought questions about what they had seen while making the efforts she had recommended. The group meetings would have been charged like suns.

What could have been done? Well, I think people are kept in groups too long. Why can people not be sent out when they are in a rut, and then, if they can overcome the resistance, they return?

This shows the significance of the fact I have commented on before in these blogs: Gurdjieff did not found the Gurdjieff groups. Ouspensky did, and he was copied by de Salzmann. The idea of being in groups for all of the rest of your life does not come from Gurdjieff. I think he was too wise for that.

Part Two: The Meeting of 9 March 1983
The first question was not recorded. The tape starts somewhere in Mrs’ Adie reply. “Yes, but we’re not trying to change anything externally. It will change of itself if we work, but we change from inside, not from outside. Relationships are a very useful source here. I have a tendency either to be hurried or to be slow, or even lazy. Certain people I am irritated by, and with certain people I am always anxious for their good opinion. That sort of thing. Take what strikes you as the strongest tendencies, and so make a serious plan each day when you know more or less what you’ll be doing, who with, what you’ll come up against, that kind of thing. And then you plan to be present to it. Then, if you are present to it, the chances are that you will not react in the same way. But that is not the object of it: the object of it is not to lose yourself in that situation.”

“We have had this task before, but it is difficult to get to grips with it, and very few people have actually got down to it, because we don’t know well enough what goes on. But we know more or less certain things which we can start with. And some things really stand out: I always expect people to be different, I cannot accept people as they are and not be disturbed by them. And then once you have started, it becomes more possible. I shall see more, because I shall be more awake. A great deal can from it, but we’re always in a sort of fog.”

{This question of preparation, intelligent and focussed preparation is absolutely critical. I shall return to it in a future blog.}

The next question was difficult to transcribe. The woman who asked the question was arguing with Mrs Adie, and spoke over her. She started by saying how she did not feel keen to do her preparation, and found the rotation exercise very tedious.

Mrs Adie replied: “As for the preparation, does it really make a difference if I am keen or not keen? Sometimes if you are not keen you get more from it, and if you really start in a serious way, the feeling changes. Something in you knows that it is important, but that is not uppermost in you at that time.”

The woman objected that she does “not feel stirred by it”. Mrs Adie acknowledged this: “No, your personality is not stirred by it. But is there not an interest attracted not by the thing in itself, but by the fact that you are taken by it, that it takes your energy, and also that it is unreal? Considering, for example.”

Another objection followed from the same person, who did not even acknowledge what Mrs Adie had said. She now changed tack: she has no line of work. Her son should be a help, but she keeps putting off doing what she should do. Mrs Adie’s reply was: “If you cannot spare him time when he needs it, then he has to understand that, somehow. But then when do you make time, do not imagine that he is bound to enjoy it. Some children do not enjoy such times.”

The next question was from someone who said that he found it difficult to find chief feature, as he has so many, lack of feeling, dreaming, etc. But, he added, he did not really care about the exercise (sic). Mrs Adie replied: “But something in you does care. It might be present only for such a short time that it seems it doesn’t count, but it’s not true. When I really need to think, it is more possible to be free of dreams. I can come away from certain recurring dreams, and I need to, because they often have other effects as well, but to stop dreaming altogether … no, that is not possible.”

Then Jana asked a question. She said that she had decided to give up her job, and thought it would be good, because she has a tendency to always be doing things. At first she could use it, but now she is “very resentful against all factors that were involved. That was Jana for all the time I knew her. She went on: “And I find I spend a lot of time and energy justifying my negative approach now, and I can’t honestly confront the conflict in me, something turns away.”

Mrs Adie replied, sensibly: “If you know that, that is already half the battle.” But Jana was not to be mollified. “But I only just see it, I don’t see it enough to act.”

Again, Mrs Adie’s reply was spot on: “In a way that is an excuse, telling myself that. I think that you see it very clearly. Try not to encourage these thoughts which disagree with the action you’ve taken. It must be very hard, I am sure, to see the other side, but it is a struggle with the denying part. You have a lot to occupy you, a – ”

Jana interrupted Mrs Adie with an insistent: “Yes, but I feel I am occupied with what Jana does not want to be doing.”

Mrs Adie patiently replied: “Your big chance is that you can formulate it to yourself. What is there? There is a denying part, but there is something also which understands that this is not to be accepted. Try and bring both sides more in front of you, and for that you need to do away with the words in your head.” Jana had to have the last word: “Yes, I agree, it’s the words.” I am sure Mrs Adie felt deeply stirred and encouraged to know that Jana had agreed with her last comment.

The next question was from someone for whom I had a good deal of respect, because she did change over the years. Iris said that something came up at her work (she was an art teacher) which made her depressed. It affected her in the stomach, and then she found she had no force at all.

“You need to have some thought, or an idea that will help you at those moments. You now know, in advance, that after the preparation, you feel better for a while, but after half an hours, this depression comes back. But although the preparation seems to be all in the past, yet there’s some recollection of it, and the purpose of it, and that a different state is possible,” Mrs Adie said. Iris agreed. Mrs Adie continued: “Then this depression is something you could really be grateful for. It is hard to see this until you’ve been able to use it, but it is material for you. Once you have seen it, you can acknowledge it, “I am depressed.” I don’t try and free myself from it exactly, not try to push it back – you can’t do that – but if you can come back, to some extent, even while you’re doing things, to this feeling of another part. Accept the depression, alright, I’m depressed. Don’t try and argue, you are depressed, I’m depressed. But I separate out from it.”

“Don’t try and prolong it, but I am aware of it. It is almost as if it isn’t you. It’s part of you, it’s an external part of you: but you’re not lost in it, you’re not drawn out of it. This is a good example of a line of work. All of these moods and states I go through … if I could only see at the end of the day how many states I have been in … it’s a thing we should do much more often, ask myself, what is my state now? If possible, without words. I try to see what is going on. I may not understand it. It doesn’t matter, but I see it and I accept it, and I separate to some extent from it. Something is separated from it. It’s going on at the same time, in another life inside.”

“And it’s not in order to lose it. It’s in order not to be taken by it. I see the force of it, but I don’t get lost in wondering what it’s all about. This seems to be something around you at the moment. But then you also have this thing about art, too, don’t you? Which is really a sort of considering. You have to accept that you do what you do, well or not so well, I don’t really know. Don’t let it concern you. Accept that that is what is what you can do, and don’t criticize it, meaning don’t consider about it. This one is above me, or this one is down there. They are all individuals, and their talents are not the same as yours: it doesn’t matter.”

“Try to accept that you are as you are, with all the ups and downs, but to see the ups and downs, and in a way to be separated from it. There is something that doesn’t go up and down, and is either there or isn’t there, and it will always come when it’s called. It’s longing to come when it’s called, but it is smothered, it can’t breath. And you can use these strange considerings and states to all upon it, but without expecting your state to change immediately. It may, or it may not.”

“Try not to look at it as something which is permanent. Try to look at it from the point of view of how it can be of use to you, how a certain struggle is required, producing just that friction which you need. It is a force. The struggle is not exactly a fight with the thing itself, it’s a struggle to come alive inside. It is a dead thing, it has a lot of force, but a dense heavy one. You try and find a finer force, which you can, don’t doubt it, as long as you free yourself from the head.”

The final question which can be made out on the tape came from a lady who complained that she had not changed in all the years she had been coming to the groups. “Oh no, I can tell you that there’s been a big change,” Mrs Adie assured her. But the woman was disappointed because “things get hold of her”.

Mrs Adie would not agree. “You see it more, because despite what you say, your sleep is not so deep as it was and not so unbroken. There are degrees of awareness, complete sleep is one thing. But the change is very gradual, and you sound more aware of what is taking place. But instead of being glad to see it, and taking action with it, you get annoyed with it, which is just throwing good money after bad.”

“But I get depressed about it, “she retorted. I love Mrs Adie’s reply: “Well that is very silly, isn’t it? Because when you see it you have an opportunity. We don’t trust to the simple effort which has to be made. I just have to come to myself and recognize the life which is in me. I always want to do something sensational.”

As Mrs Adie said time and again, once one has seen it one has an opportunity. Try not to look at it as something which is permanent. And don’t let anyone persuade you that it is.

%d bloggers like this: