Mr Adie on Bankruptcy and Catastrophe in general

This is from the meeting of Wednesday 2 April 1986,  in response to a man who was on the brink of bankruptcy. Mr Adie said:

“You tell yourself that it will be a catastrophe, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You could be homeless, but work would not be impossible. It might even be good for your work. But something in me can’t accept that I could be like that: a thundering good bankrupt, homeless. You say it wouldn’t be good for the family. And certainly one wouldn’t choose it for them. But who knows that there might not be at last something good in it for them? But I can’t accept that possibility, so I am full of fears and anxieties.”

“What you have seen should show you, even prove to you what identification means. So why is it unthinkable that I should be in all this inner turmoil situation? Have I got any alternative? This situation is the only reality there is right now. What is happening outwardly is not entirely unexpected. Businesses succeed and they fail. People make their calculations, then they find that something they didn’t allow for has occurred. It all happens like that. It’s all very lawful, including the law of accident. I can’t expect that to change.”

“I have to try and deal with these things as best I can. It is not easy, because I don’t really see what the outside position is. I am subject to my inner appraisal of the outside world, and that is invariably quite skewed and incorrect. On top of that I have my fears. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have some worry about what was going to happen. You plant a crop and you watch every sign in the sky: will it rain, will it rain too much or too little?”

“The Work is something quite other. I have to deal with my identifications, with these fears. If I am present when I decide to take a risk in business, I will see all the machinery of self-justification start up. Even if I have plunged in without seeing what was going on, I awaken to find myself in the face of these lawful anxieties, identifications and self-justification. As soon as I have some perspective, a certain calmness is possible. For a second, I can do it. I can come to myself, and try to deal with this mess. So I have to accept that the position is like this – whatever this may be. The acceptance of the fact can help me come to a moment of reality.”

“Maybe I will find that the risk I took was not connected with Work, it was connected with some fantastic idea of easy money. Then I see that, really, I was playing with a roulette wheel. It’s obviously necessary for me to have somehow acquired sufficient understanding, otherwise I shall always go on  this way.”

“So as I have been living with these idiocies all my life, and there are more in store for me, I might as well accept that my situation is just that, and try to have some presence. If nothing else, my efforts to be more conscious cannot possibly make my situation worse.

“There is a great danger here. The thought will come up in a moment: if I remember myself, will my number not come up on the roulette wheel? If I remember myself, will I not be more likely to win? It is almost a superstition. I remember during the war the question was whether I would be called up to join the army. If I did, I would not be able to look after my family. They would be forced to batten down with thousands of people in conditions of hardship. My fate was hanging in the balance and I thought, I must remember myself. But I recall being interested to see how much of my desire to remember myself was real, and how much of it was really a sort of idea that if I were more conscious things would somehow arrange themselves so that I didn’t have to join the army.”

“I could see that the desire to not join the army was actually what reminded me of the need for a certain kind of self-remembering. It was a definite moment. I could see it. But although that was the case, yet the moments of self-remembering were true. They were real. I could see that I had these concerns, and different obligations pointed in different ways, and that the worldly concern I had was quite legitimate.”

“We always want the outside to change, but if we can only settle for the outside to be as it is, then our work can go on. Practically none of our fears are immediate: they are just ahead a little bit. What a waste fearing what never happen, or if they do, are not quite what we thought they were.”

“It is absolutely just and marvellously beneficent, that if one has received the teaching and understood something, then there is a choice there. If I remember myself, then the level of choice increases. And that power of choice brings further obligations: what I was born for, and what I am beginning to desire. If I can desire strongly to be what man was intended to be … that would be the crowning moment.”

Then someone asked about hurry. Mr Adie’s reply relates to the answer transcribed above:

“Some of the things that impinge upon me are necessary. I mean, food is required. Money is required. These things exist for a reason which is not all bad. We do not seek to kill off anything. What we need to do is to be with everything as it is. And because we do not really know what everything is, it is not the impossibility which we think. Our work is to be with things as they are, and also to find out what they are. But they are not what we think they are.”

“If I remember this, if I even have a question about it, then for a second I can be free of my preconceptions. Perhaps only for a second, because I need to live on the earth. Then gradually I will find the possibility of experiencing the life of these two streams together.”

Finally, this jewel came from his answer to the final question: “I don’t look after my own body enough. I have to. But for that I need to give up idiotic ideas, and fixed thoughts, emotional aversions and bad habits.”

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