Tuesday 3 March 1983 (Part 2)

Jeanette said that she had found problems sensing the tongue. She remembers to make the effort, but find a lot of commentary about it.

“The task is to sense it, and to know its position, that is all,” said George Adie. “It is too simple. And don’t be concerned about the internal talk. You need that commentary. You need it right now, because you don’t live in direct contact with your moving/instinctive centre, so you formulate in words. It’s there, so you have to have it until you work more directly, but it will take a long time. See, the head works tremendously with words. The ordinary head is the slowest. Formatory centre is much, much slower than ordinary instinctive centre, and feeling. So if you take count of that you will see that there’s bound to be that situation. So you notice, in paying attention to your tongue, there are words going on, or a sort of talk commenting on its position. But, the comments may be more valid or less valid, nearer the truth or further from it. I need to know that, so I’ll be present to what’s going on there.”

“And that’s building up a presence, after all, Mr Gurdjieff called the head a policeman who directs the traffic. He is capable of saying; “Pay attention,” and directing the attention. That then puts me in touch with my sensation and then my feeling, perhaps, and then the fact of being in touch with those things begins to affect the way they operate. They don’t operate any longer as if they were the only factor. If I am aware of the tongue and of something else and of something else, then the tongue isn’t free to rip away as it does normally.”

“But you will never really succeed in observing, particularly the tongue, unless you are also relating it to other things. You cannot really observe that by itself. You have to observe other things as well.”

“Simultaneously?” asked Jeanette?

Yes. For my work, I require three things simultaneously. And when they are balanced in degree, then that’s the best situation. Then I am not leaning over.”

“Try and think about it. What other senses, or what other sense functions could it be related to? You are considering it in relation to its position, but then how is it connected with other senses? How is it connected with the sense of the eye? How is it related to the question of relaxation, whether I am relaxed? Or with the movement, what sort of movement is going on in me? It has vast implications. What does it signify? What does the position signify? Positions signify do they not? My tongue signifies too. And if I find that my tongue in a certain position does that, or goes with it, that tells me something. I would like to know. So I have to expand my observation.”


The next questions came from Seamus, who had spoken with Mr Adie on the phone, and had a lot of considering afterwards.

“You had a lot of considering, yes, but not only that,” said Mr Adie.

No, not only that.” Seamus agreed. He then went on to say that he had noticed in himself a lot of automatic postures.

Let us take just one. What is the posture, in fact?”

Clasping hands, Seamus offered. Sometimes he clasps then, in front, but sometimes he holds them behind.

“But in front or behind is not the same. That sounds silly, but it isn’t. What I mean is that they are different in effect,” replied Mr Adie, to which Seamus said he did not understand.

“No. How does it feel? What is the difference in the feeling between when you give something, and when you receive something? There your hands are in front in both cases, yet surely there is a big difference.”

Seamus did not speak. Mr Adie continued: “It’s formatory as long as it remains in the head, but to the extent that I can sense the postures and the gestures, then it ceases to be formatory.”

“We learn behaviour, and in learning the behaviour, we have formulations. Animals don’t learn behaviour. They do things instinctively, compulsorily. Their moving centre is free from thought. It’s automatic. In being free from those formulations and considerations, their movements are relatively perfect. You hardly ever see them failing until their time is up. Birds don’t go around crashing into trees, unless they have, for example, been deceived by a mirror, and they think that there is a space, or by something else which they are not used to. So what is the difference between the feeling which goes with the posture when I am receiving something, and that when I am feeling something? How do I sense the difference? Or do I? Supposing I offer you water on a hot day, do I just go and shove it at you like that? There’s a difference. And this of which we are now speaking is not formatory. It’s passed to the instinctive and the feeling centres. These can tell the quality of the giving when something is presented.”

“So, you see that your thought had been formatory. This is the point. We need to be really interested in our work. You were caught: you had a conversation, you knew that you were coming to a meeting, and your formatory thought got a hold of it. But now if, when you saw that, you asked yourself: where is my feeling? Am I glad to be coming to the meeting? It could have been quite different.”

“We have no idea how we are bound. Do you see that what you speak of is a person who is bound? It is often easier to see that in someone else: someone who is bound and confined, with no perspective on what they think are their own free actions. But our actions are not usually free, they are dependent on many things we have no idea of. I am so out of touch that I can offer something and find that it is peremptorily knocked out of my hand because someone was furious. Or I can find that I have had my pockets picked, yet I had no sense at all of what was going on.”

“Where does all that discourse leave you now? Does it mean anything? It is a waste of time if it doesn’t.” There was still no answer, and Mr Adie finally added: “Free yourself now, and breathe. notice that you have a body that can move. If things can change a little, then I can understand something, and that makes a big difference.”


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