This exchange with Mr Adie from Saturday 21 June 1986 has hardly been edited. It is a great example of how, in the being-confrontation with him, one could receive real help, provided one was open to it.
Shep, who was new to the group, said that he had many difficulties. “Your situation is difficult,” said Mr Adie, “but try now to formulate something.”
“I have observations, but then a commentary on them commences, and I wish it would just shut up.”
“What actually happened at one instant?” asked Mr Adie. “That is what we want. Your conclusion may not be totally right, or it may have omitted some aspect. Can I bring something which I am certain about, that is to say, at that moment as I picked up that brick, such and such. But how much can I bring that I know? Could I demand of myself the truth, without getting too tense about it? The question is your being-state, this very second. Why should I be tense now? I have just heard some questions, they were interesting, and they apply to me at least sometimes. That has been your experience here at this table, has it not?”
“I am telling you what your experience has been, because it is quite evident. So why should I be in this condition? You may not be ready to speak. That is alright. You need, desperately, to be able to try to locate the source of your attention, what takes you. You changed your address to be able to come here. You get up early to travel by public transport to a place where someone can give you a lift. But then, when you arrive – you are transfixed. Do not throw away the value of what you have done. You want experience so that you can hear yourself as you speak, or – often enough – hear myself not speaking.”
Shep said that he could hear himself explaining things to himself as he was walking along.
“You can’t remember what it was explaining?” There was no reply. Mr Adie asked: “Are you sure? Where were you?”
“I was up near the work shop.”
“And what were you doing?”
“I was going to get a saw.”
“In order to?”
“Cut a log.”
“You were working on the fence, were you?” There was no reply, at least no verbal reply. “I need to be there, don’t I? Otherwise, what is going on?”
“But I was making an effort,” insisted Shep. “I was listening to this conversation in my head.”
“Ah, that is a start,” said Mr Adie, “but that is not yet our work. If you had been remembering yourself, rather than listening to the conversation, you would remember more of what the thought was, you see? By listening to the conversation, you were taken in your thought, and that is proved by the fact that although you had been listening to it, you cannot remember it. But if you had been trying to remember yourself, your sensation, your feeling, then someone would have been present to hear that conversation, and to hear it well enough to recall it. Then, when that conversation arises again, I could use it. Your thought was sufficiently interesting for it to hook you. You found yourself partly hooked. What in me is interested?”
“I didn’t see that,” replied Shep.
“No, but it is possible. If I am present at that moment it means that some part of me which might see is active. You may find nothing in it is appealing, and yet it takes you, What an experience, to see that you lose your life in nothing. You took a little step, you saw that there was an internal conversation. But now this would take you one little step further. There is always a question of how I can go further, of how I can understand more, and understand more deeply.” There was a pause, then Mr Adie asked whether Shep wanted to add something.
“Yes, this discussion now has reminded me that what was occupying me was the reading from the morning, and that word. But it took my attention away from myself.”
“Which word? “Predisposition”? Some ideas take me to hell, and some take me only half way. This idea in your thought meant that it was not as vicious as some of your thought. You did not find yourself led to negative emotion, for example? If it had, you would not even have seen as much as you did!”
I cannot recall the meeting, but as Mr Adie had been asking Shep about the events of the morning, I had the expectation that Shep would suddenly recall some useful details of what had been going on in his head, and that is what occurred.
“It is very interesting,” said Mr Adie. “There is an incident, and I know it to this degree. But now I wish to understand it more. Have you ever learnt to ride a horse? If someone asks you which of your horse’s feet is on the ground, I have to be able to feel it, I can’t stop and look around if I am trying to jump a hurdle. But after some practice, you know, quite exactly, which of your horse’s feet are on the ground. But you can’t tell by looking: you tell by feeling and by sensing. You are aware of the movement of your body, and you know how the horse is moving, but before you could answer someone, another foot is down and that one is up. It is a good example of how my observation is made in movement.”
“You saw what you did because you were more relaxed. Your general state has, recently, been more relaxed. If you could see more of what takes you, you could go that further step. For instance, did you notice from what place you spoke? Is it an acceptable place for you?”
“Yes, I think I’m now in a place where I am willing to learn.”
“Certainly. You are. Good for you. And if you can feel how you are when you are in this place, you can be saved by it. This should prove to you the value of the work and the conditions here, but it has to gradually affect your whole life. The first thing to notice is that speaking from such a place, I am freer. I do not become tense if I am misunderstood. I am related to what I am. I sense my presence. The question is: what do I need at any given moment? All the questions so far have touched just that question. I need more relaxation, more understanding.”