These three questions are also from the meeting of Thursday 21 June 1985.
A woman whose voice I cannot identify made a short declaration: “Mr Adie, I understood you to say the other day that acceptance is necessary.”
“What of? What is to be accepted? Everything in reality is to be accepted, even if they are wrong and terrible. There they are. Take them away and what is left? Before the war ended, there was an idea that when peace came, all would be different. Yet the same internal slavery was there, maybe even worse, because easy conditions are sleep-inducing. When things are going nicely, you give your orders and you are obeyed. So the first thing to be accepted is myself. Not praised, but to be accepted – the reality of what I am. I am not grateful for my life, but how can I be lacking in gratitude for this incredible gift? I am given all I need.”
“That said,” she insisted, “I have seen there is a lot which is not acceptable.”
“My state,” said Mr Adie. “My state is not always acceptable, and yet it is the externals which I reject. I do not think to try and know my state. I’ve been putting my money on black all these years, and then I look beneath the table and see that it has been fixed. If, when I see what I need to know, I turn negative, this is awful. If there is something bad in myself, I need to see that it is there. It is an obstacle.”
Then Terri brought a rather tangled observation, saying that she now had questions she had never had before, such as why she is alive.
“Nobody can answer that question in the ordinary way. Part of my duty is to find out. I have been given life. There is no doubt that you are alive, and you ask why you are alive, but perhaps the real question is why I am dead.”
After a little while, Mr Adie added: “Maybe I am dodging something. Maybe I am fearful. But do I see that this is not life? Until I can sense my life as something real, as an element in reality, how can I answer the question why I am alive? It is worse than theoretical, it is meaningless. Who asks such a question and who will answer?”
There was a brief pause.
“I can neither accept nor receive the gift of life unless I give something in return,” said Mr Adie. “To feel that, to realise that, is a very valuable moment. How do I have such a realisation, to realise that this is my life, my given life? What do I make of it? Each moment is different. But something in me is solid. It can continue despite the interruptions.”
A third woman spoke of what she had felt when someone was criticising her sister.
“So there is a quality of feeling you had not known before. So maybe what I’ve been occupying myself with has not been on that level. Surely I can feel a reassurance from this that what I’ve been trying is at least not totally wrong. You see, life increases, it expands. I now have a relation with my own sister. Before this, it had not been there at all, not even in my mind.”
He turned to Terri and asked her whether she saw the connection between this and her own observation.
The third woman then said that, on another occasion, she had been angry, and her child had started crying, although she had not been angry with the child.
“This is a classic example of the expression of negative emotion. There’s an irritation, and you express it to the detriment of everybody, especially the child, making it tense and start crying. So now you have the possibility of feeling the irritation but not manifesting it. If you try to see the irritation and at the same time not to express it, you will see that the feeling of irritation will pass. It is one thing to have the feeling, but another to express it. Feeling changes. It has to. That knowledge should give you a further possibility.”
“Suppose you had been eating a pound of garlic a day. Your breath would stink. And if you decide to stop, then you have to be able to take the sight of the garlic as a reminder that you will not eat it. The work is as practical and straightforward as that.”
Just one final comment from me” when Terri asked the question about why she was alive, and Mr Adie responded that the real question for her was why she was dead, he exemplified both his wisdom and his surprising ability to shock us, and pull us up short. He was fertile in surprises.
Joseph Azize, 16 September 2017