For the 29th of July

This is from the meeting of Wednesday 21 November 1979 at Newport. I have had a number of the old cassette tapes transferred to MP3 because they will no longer play, and I had a feeling that there was more unique material available than had already been transcribed. When I heard this recording, about six months ago, I was glad I had gone to the trouble. I knew that this would make an appropriate transcript for the 29th of July.

One of Mr Adie’s great friends, a young man of Russian descent, brought a question about how he has a negative state when he comes home from the office and criticises what he finds. He makes a resolution not to, but forgets it when he walks through the front door. Although he has been able to see it coming up, it still manifests.

“When you receive the reminder, sense your eyes, and be impartial, impartial to yourself, to this, to everything,” advised Mr Adie.

He answered that he had once even sat down and sensed himself before entering, but as soon as he had got up, that better state had gone.

“We don’t always succeed, at first, in getting enough presence. But, with practice, a different being quality can come with the wish. I need to be quiet and patient. It is of little benefit if, when I sit down, and I get to the actual point of intentional suffering, I stand up and take off.”

“Bring it before you, and accept it as nothing but your meal. You have to eat it and digest it. But I am often deprived of this banquet because something in me can see it, and turn away from it too soon. If you can prepare sufficiently seriously it will leave you, so you can smile at it. It will come back, but not so much. And you will have the recollection of your previous effort.”

“You have to accept it in order to confront it, and then when you have swallowed it you will see that it’s really nothing, although it was choking you. Then you realise that the suffering was all in your subjective attitude. But the suffering has to be endured.”

“Why can’t I see that at the time?” he asked.

“Well, it’s different at the time. You establish a balance in the morning preparation, and then when the time comes you are closer to that place. You look for that place in yourself. You can’t be thinking it all out exactly as you are walking up the garden path, but you can have a flashing reminder. Sometimes it is enough to look at the trees before you walk in the door.”

“There is no way out. You can’t get around this one. You might as well face it. You can’t treat it lightly, or have the wrong kind of disrespect, because you know what takes place. It’s undesirable.”

The man asked whether swallowing is the same as accepting.

“If you don’t accept it, you can’t swallow it. … For this sort of suffering you have to be quite alone. You’re not lonely, but completely alone, alone with your subjectivity, to be prepared to be connected again but now to a different kind of world, one which is not distorted.”

“The trees will be the same, there will still be bills to pay, the garden gate will still hang a bit. But everything’s different. And then, from the more detailed point of view, what kind of attitude, what kind of posture, what kind of tense stride and gesture goes with this negative state?”

“I need to see that man-eating animal coming through. I need to experience in myself, in my bones and my muscles, how it strides, how it hastens towards its grievance. Now if I see that state, then what is the other state that I know?”

“Sometimes I do feel something of that,” the man said: “I see it, and it subsides.”

“Good. You’ve got some definite work there, so accept it, and be free from it right now. What something in you really wants is for this to be different, so then you can forget all about it, so that you can run off and you don’t have that work to do.”

“It will hurt, but that work is part of the equation. It is one of the factors you have to deal with. So you don’t run away because there is nowhere to run to. The same factor is around the corner, the same factor is there in the equation tomorrow, only it’s a bit worse tomorrow. So I am helped by realising that there is no escape. All these concepts, when I prepare, can help. It’s very important for everybody.”

“Mr Adie,” said a young woman: “I find that I have a blind spot in a way, in regard to plans I make: in regard to what I need when, what sort of effort to make.”

“And what is the nature of the blind spot?”

“I’ve just found that the right concepts and ideas don’t come at the right time.”

“Yes. I see. Wait just a moment,” said Mr Adie, and then he paused a little before continuing: “See, this is where sensation of yourself, of my presence, can help me. I can’t expect to have all these concepts in which my rather slow-turning brain also joins. I can’t expect to have that process, which takes place in the shelter of my preparation, when life comes. When life comes it’s different, but when I am in life, I can have a connection through the sensation: how I am. We want to work very, very much on sensation: it’s the key. The key. The subconscious.”

“I’m probably usually complicating it,” she said.

“Yes, we always complicate, but sensation is the direct life connection with some kind of understanding. When we are born, we have this possibility of reason, the essence of it, the seed of it in us. It generally isn’t developed, but this is what we have to try and work on, and this is in our subconscious, connected with our instinct. Our sensation takes us to that, so we can get a reminder through the sense of sensation. This isn’t like the sense of a table touch, this is a deep inner sensation which has understanding, and takes in its state, the tension, the volume. We begin with the peripheral sensation, but we must never be satisfied with that, thinking: “Oh, I’ve got it.” The greater my need, the deeper I need to go.”

“So the concept would come, then, would it?” she asked.

“You won’t want quite the same old concepts. They can flash, they could flash up, but what you need is this sensing of your own presence, and then maybe I can find my way just as I go on, with some quality of feeling of myself, and then the concept will appear later, something which I have understood with more than just the head.”

“It’s just that I’ve found that something’s been going on,” she insisted: “and I didn’t realise till later what it was, because it was just one idea which didn’t occur to me.”

“Then you confront that idea. Confront it when you are in a suitable state of collection, and bring it. Turn it around. Look at it. See what it means, completely impartially. Don’t try and alter it. If its implications are very painful, don’t alter them; see it in all its connections and ramifications – the concept, the thing which is troubling you. Of course, it is a misconception, but you need to see it in your work of preparation, in your work of pondering.”

“I have really to wish to understand. How should I be endowed with a power to change my very way of living without a tremendous desire for this tremendous reward that I seek. it’s the pearl of great price: the man went and sold everything he had to get this one pearl. Mmm?”

“So, not to go over all the mental processes at the time, I can have a flashing reminder, but this is where I need a sense of myself. I don’t need all those arguments any more. I need the sense of myself: sense myself having a different form of functioning, a connected form.”

“Do you follow? Same thing, see.” I think that this comment must have been addressed to the man who asked the first question.


 By the way, the parable of the pearl of great price is found in Matthew 13. It was one of Mme Ouspensky’s favourite parables.

It is interesting, reviewing this, to see that the first person had made the right type of effort, but, it seems to me, had not had the patience to persevere in it: he had come right to the point of the work, and something in him became alarmed at having to sustain the pain, and caused him to jump up. The impatience comes through, too, in the way he kept asking questions and objecting while Mr Adie was speaking, a feature which I edited down. Then, when Mr Adie advised him to “be free of it now,” one can see that Mr Adie was aware that the impatience was manifesting even as he asked a question about becoming free of it.

I have been pondering, for a little while now, Our Lord’s words about “denying ourselves” to follow Him. It is not so easy for anyone, even someone willing, to accept suffering. I recall that Mr Adie said that Gurdjieff said he had trained Jeanne de Salzmann by forcing her to eat “tack sandwiches.”

Joseph Azize, 29 July 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *