Mr Adie on Using Very Short Stops

This is the transcript of Mr Adie’s morning address on Saturday 5 April 1986, at the start of a work weekend. I also include the first question. The idiot whom Mr Adie likened to an organ grinder’s monkey with a paper cap and brocade was as well known to me as myself.

“What we very much need,” said Mr Adie, is to understand what it means not to do. We are always involved in so-called “doing”, and that takes us away, and empties us.”

“The key for our work really will always be that application of the stop. A very fine inner stop, for the briefest second, whenever I go to do anything, or to change my position, or to answer a question. A conscious man knows before he answers a question. But people such as we are, we do not. Just occasionally we may be there, and then we notice the result, and our state is entirely different.”

“It’s just our question: all of our work can be expressed in seeking the ability to be there at any second.”

“All these things are little challenges: someone speaks to you, or you drop something, or a thought appears by association: it’s all there or there or there, but there’s no centrality.”

“So, try today, particularly, as often as you can, whenever you can, just to have a fraction inner stop before you do anything. See what you can make of it, because if you practice well enough, you may find a sort of linkage coming. It’s almost as if you were there. And then you get taken away, some time will pass, and you will wake up again. But try and have more choice, more immediate possibility, otherwise, really, one is nothing.”

“Without choice, without intention, nobody us has any significance at all, I’m just so much material subject to the law of accident. Our practice is to use the understanding that we have no intention. Use that, it’s just an inner thing, very, very quickly. It only lasts a flash of a flash, but it makes a difference. I have to try and understand how. If I am shovelling, for instance, I can’t have a stop between every spadeful, it’s too much. And it’s not even necessary.”

“But if I have a stop between every tenth spade, then that might be something. But just for a moment. And then when I change my job, take another stop just before I move. I then speak to Jeff. Just before I do, could I have that? What a difference it would make!”

“But the idea of speaking is there, and already I am turning like this, a puppet without any intention. Instead of consciousness, I am tense. I stop. But a conscious stop is filled with this possible sense of self-reality, self-remembering. I begin to understand what self-remembering is.”

“… Do I know? It’s a second. Everything can change in that flash. So try and have that. See what is practical in it for you. Everybody will have their own possibility in degree of practicality. It stretches out. This day could become a year for us if we really put that into operation. Of course I have to be relaxed.”

After lunch

This is an edited version of my question: In the morning, “I asked someone: “Could I speak with you for a minute?” But I saw that something in me placed an inordinate stress on the word “I”. I saw that as I had been walking towards him there had been an egotism present, something like how important I must be to speak with such an important person.”

“Could you think of anything smaller?” Mr Adie asked. He was serious. “Anything less significant? Anything more pitiful?”

 After a pause he added: “Good. You’ve seen it. And what have you see it? Just your normal posture, perhaps. But that makes a difference. If I could free myself from that! Ah! Then I wouldn’t be attacked in that way. Mmm.”

 “You heard it in the tone, so it shows you were fairly near. You need to see it as it begins to come, before you approach that person. You have to have it in you. And this is really directly connected with what I suggested today as a sort of thought to help our work, every possible second we can, if there’s any change of movement or idea, just for the briefest flash – pause. Stop, Just the recollection of that, nothing in words, but if I could start my conversations, like that … and finish like that. And not only conversations: what we do, how we react and so forth. Then, I’ll be going towards having no unintentional manifestations. That would be an enormous thing, but that is what we aim for: the manifestation of intention. Yes.”

“You want to think of yourself as a little red monkey on the top of an organ grinder’s machine. You have a little paper crown, which you imagine is that of a king. And a little jacket with braid on it. Marvellous. Every child that comes up with a penny or a sweet …”

“We’ve all got one.”

Later on, Mr Adie would insist that our efforts, all our efforts, must involve the activation of all three centres at once: that even if I was aware of my body (what Gurdjieff sometimes called “organic instinct”), I still need the impulse of my feeling, my feeling of myself as present and related to the Creation, for the Work to have a true and lasting effect. In that respect, let me refer to my recent blog: “Why Do we Stop?”

Joseph Azize, 5 January 2017 

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