This Is a Quick Life

This comes from a group meeting at Newport on Wednesday 2 April 1986. One of Mr Adie’s senior students said that Mr Adie had described his (the student’s) efforts as being a “bemused struggle”, and said that, usually, he finds he is lost.

“What about now?” asked Adie. “As we are talking, where are you now? It is possible to be there for a second, only for a second, and then it is gone already. I have to learn that, and try and continue my work. In this case, my work is this discussion, and then another moment will come.”

“And I have to be very quiet. It is an element which enters, and then everything is changed. There is not much room for my ordinary personality because that always tends to be pushing something, or evading something, or manifesting something.”

“One of the signs, surely, that this element of consciousness has entered, and been digested, is freedom from that need to manifest in any particular way. You present that material, for a moment I understand it, then I am in motion, and I get rather away from that. Now I stop talking, and there’s a different possibility again.”

“So there is a different time, a time when I begin to become aware of a different density of time, with very many more intervals, many more possible stops.”

“I am in action. I am living, my body is living, it’s functioning. It has some work to do, and that has to go on. But in a second or two, an enormous amount can take place. Something can bring a feeling of love for somebody, or contrition, or another feeling. It happens in no time at all. My state changes, and then it can change back again.”


“This is a quick life. The life of a conscious man is instantaneous, and then all my habits and egotistical pictures will kill that if they can, not intentionally, but by habit, by the law of inertia, and by association. So there we are: to maintain that life is to walk a razor’s edge.”

“We are so used to a lower level of life and energy that the question is how you can possibly stand that rich life, and working in that way? I have to be very quiet, otherwise I am bound to betray it.”

Mr Adie then began coughing. He made a comment in apology, but it took a minute before he could again address the question.

“For me, several minutes have passed, not more, and a whole drama has taken place.”

“I am still faced with this possibility, and now a new one. I still seek, and the possibility of search is something without stopping, without going under a Bo tree and remembering myself, with hands in this position and head in that position. To have moments of consciousness in life: this is the point.”

I thought it was interesting how Mr Adie’s coughing illustrated exactly what he had been speaking of: the calm we find cannot remain as it is without any variation in quality. There are demands made upon us by life, and we are obliged to respond to them. Each moment and each moment of response can be very rich and full of experience. A more conscious life has more of this wealth. As we are, we cannot bear it for long. But with experience we gain the strength to remain before it.

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