This is from a meeting at Newport held on the evening of Wednesday 9 April 1986. I omit some of the questions, and have edited the balance, but the ideas are all Mr Adie’s. This material is not in the book George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia, recently republished by By the Way Books.
One woman said that last night she had felt like she had woken up after ten years of sleep. She saw that she was cut off from other people, and would “kick in the face” people who wanted to be friendly to her.
Mr Adie replied: “One thing you have to be careful of, now that you have this opening out, and can see the landscape, is that it is no good saying “I did it” and “I did this”. You weren’t there to do it.”
“You weren’t there. But it’s certainly your responsibility to correct and repair.”
“If you take it on yourself, you’ll suffer from guilty conscience, and you’ll be very negative. That would be useless. One will suffer: one just suffers because that moment my manifestations had been like that. But I must not blame the “I”, because any real “I” has been submerged.”
“The material conditions of your life have changed now. You have received a lot of other impressions, and new information. They’re beginning to add up, to the extent of showing the light a bit, in fact, a very significant light. In all that, you will find past traces in yourself of a certain willingness. Although there was this willingness there, it was based on a fallacy, and then of course, while I am asleep, there is always a reaction against any impulse. There is a little reserve of revolutionary power, and it can push me in the wrong direction. You have to see it, and see it, and see it yet again. These negative emotions won’t all go in five minutes. But once you start, there’s a sense of freedom from time to time, and other things from time to time which will encourage you.”
The woman stated that she had been like that as a child. She said: “From that came despair, jealousy, and all that. I had had some warmth in friendship, and other than that, I would think it was all horror.”
“Even in this past which you wish to repair,” replied Mr Adie, “you can remember spots of joy, happiness and warmth. And now you see that something like that can come. Every time a difficulty comes that’s the chance. When I joined the Work and heard people talk about difficulties and say: “It’s a good opportunity”, I used to think: “Good God, have I got to listen to that?” They were often speaking without any depth, but now I see that that is just what it is. What is the good of heroism when there’s no lion or tiger? It’s a waste of time. But let a tiny little kitten appear …”
The lady added that she had seen hysteria and despair springing up, and felt that she had something like a choice, but wasn’t sure that “choice” was the right word.
Mr Adie said: “I think choice is the right word. The choices are almost obligatorily there. You can hardly have one without the other: it is angel and devil. There is a second of time between them, and then things change round, and go differently.”
“The automatism, the inertia, is always there, like gravity. We cannot stop the gravitational pull of the moon until we have moon in ourselves: our work, a sort of symbolical representation of the need to work until something with a weight and a force is crystallised within us. All these actions that you remember, the coldness and the turning away, can only take place because we’re like a puppet whose strings are pulled by the moon. A puppet can’t feel. Punch has no feeling as he whacks his wife and the baby. No feeling at all.”
“Have some space for hope. Things are changing every second, and there are other seasons, days of the work and hours of the day: so we’re not subject to midnight all the time; there are different moments, and these bring relief. Try and build something on that: but it has to change. It will have to change, it can’t be the same. There will be a blank, and then you’ll have to be patient … and then another chance will come again. Seems like you’ve come to grips, you’ve seen what you’re position has been without any doubt So now there’s the field.”
“If you had seen all that before, you would have run away, unable to make anything of it. It’s only your work over the past years which allows you to sit there and see, and acknowledge that this is like that. And that it is possible to change my state: that is what I need to do. This is the great gift, to be able to change one’s state of being: a symbol of being-Partkdolg-Duty, duty of one’s being, for one’s being, by one’s being, Being duty.”
Then Harry spoke about how on Monday, he had come to as he was working at the office. He had never seen it like that before, and realised that it was an area of work. He began to make an effort then to pay more attention to what was taking place.
“I put some of my attention directly on my physical state, that is what I forget” said Mr Adie. “I must have the air as well. Every breath is a gift, and contains a very, very fine element, besides the element of the oxygen. It contains very fine elements. If we can send that fine part to the best part in our selves, that takes a second or two – no more. Like that, it can give me more stability and force, for the work we’re trying to do.”
“If one reviews one’s life, surely one wonders how on earth one is still alive. How have I not been slaughtered a hundred times? If I can’t change everything now, I’ve still got the possibility of the time in which to work.”
Harry continued: yesterday morning he had been appalled at what he saw taking place as so many things going wrong one after the other. As the afternoon went on, he realised that he needed to think about it in a different way. Most of the day he sits in front of a screen and types things in. He often hits the wrong key by accident, and there is a lot of moving centre – the eyes going backwards and forwards between the keyboard to the screen. He tried to type more slowly.
“Slow it just a fraction,” suggested Mr Adie. “To observe your functioning, you have to have another division, a division between yourself and what you’re doing. Observe yourself in action, otherwise you will become a very efficient transcriber, good at word-processing, or whatever it is. But perhaps you would have a nervous breakdown doing too much.”
“You must put yourself first: that is the only reality in what you are speaking about. But it’s the real self, or the representative of real self that one is putting first. One is not putting first this puffed up person who wishes to appear great, or anything like that. It’s the genuine inner self-reality.”
“And if I can have a moment of understanding without the words, this will help me. I see haste: I don’t have to think a lot about hurry, I just take measures. I think it’s very important, that at such a moving centre job, you do use moving centre and not get collared by it. As you describe it, you have that picture-frame of light: a keyboard and various wires. It’s a very small prospect compared to what is available in the universe. Yet you have to do this, and it can serve you, but the other is for you. That effort makes it possible for things to unfold while you’re paying good attention to that. But if that were all, it would be totally unacceptable.”
“I don’t think we will be able to go very far unless at the same time one’s arrogance and self-approval diminishes. As one progresses it’s got to diminish. In order to get the true experience of just being like that. All the available realities which we aim for, even without knowing them, we aim in that direction, all depend on the acknowledgement of the gift of them. Without that element I cannot expect to receive very much. The receipt of a gift, really to receive it, must involve a return; and so I find myself related in this process of flow and return – that is the purpose of man as a tetartocosmos. It was discovered that they were capable of free movement without disintegration, and so, they were chosen for service, as a people from whom force, material should flow back to make good the otherwise diminution of the Sun Absolute.”
“To be alone is important for us. It is only when I am alone that I can be consciously related. If I identify with you, I would hang on you, or hook onto you, or do something. But if we can be separate, then we can be consciously related. So if I have myself, it gives me what is objectively outside.”
Another man spoke. He awoke in a state overwhelmed by thoughts of what he was going to do during the day. How to deal with that? How to have a new way of thinking?
“Surely the way to new thinking is to stop thinking for a moment”, answered Mr Adie. “I make place for a different thought, a thought without words. Even if just for one second.”
“I wake up, but I am really continuing to dream. I have been dreaming about all sorts of things, and they are available to my apparatus. It’s the same energy which was going around in my sleep. But there’s more light, because at least I am not sleeping in the same form, but things are going around rapidly. It can be a trifle, or it can be a big thing. For quite a while I can continue like that, then I look at the clock and find that half an hour’s gone. I mustn’t forget the body, I mustn’t forget the gift of the air.”
“I take my state, whatever it is, as a starting point. Suddenly a thought appears. Ah! That’s serious, It strikes an acceptable note.”
“I have to decide, am I going to try and do this work without thinking? If so, I must limit my effort to half an hour or so. I might be able to hold that. Otherwise, I simply have this wish of some sort, and then it gets dispersed and lost in an enormous sea. But I have to limit it in time, and cut and plunge: I plunge into life when the time comes. Then at least it hasn’t been mucked up. Then it can influence me.”
“Don’t forget the octave, the intervals between MI and FA, between SI and DO. Don’t forget that. I can become identified with it, but if I can remember that if I am to maintain the line I proposed, then something will have to come in between MI and FA to keep my line straight.”
“But what is coming in? If any of the ordinary dubious things come in, then the line will turn at once. There has to be something corresponding in value which can enter of a certain quality.”
“If I can see, this suggestion is like a tool with a very sharp blade to it. I don’t approach the octave with that thought, I can forge that the idea of the octave is darn dangerous, and I must on no account be identified with it, nor pretend that I know it or ought to know it. I have to be there, observe what goes on, and realise that there are intervals, and have some being experience of it, which I find for myself, perhaps. Everybody is a unique being, and their experience will always be unique to themselves.”
The final question I shall reproduce came from a woman who said that she wanted a more caring relationship with her three year old daughter. When she threw a tantrum yesterday, she left her alone, as opposed to trying to bring her out of it, as she usually does.
“You’re there tending to do the same thing that was done to you,” said Mr Adie, “and it was not suitable. So then you make this special effort and a new influence can appear. You keep the question within you: there’s no need to try and find an answer. Have compassion. see that there is a chance for you to save her unnecessary suffering later. She is showing you. She is providing the material.”
“You try and follow: what is best? In a certain way, you have to have a corresponding feeling. That is what it is to have compassion: to have a corresponding feeling. Then she can receive help from you. That is what you wish. Is there any question arising from that?”
“Don’t forget, try and have as many moments without words as you can.”