Mr Adie turns to someone and asks: “What about the chapter what you are reading? The first question?” The man Mr Adie addressed said that Ouspensky wrote that the wrong functioning of the moving centre causes dreaming, and he could not understand this. “Do you think that dreaming takes place in the function of the mind?” Asked Adie: “Do you think it’s a real function of the mind? It is not illogical, it’s just associative. The moving part of the mind may come in to it, but dreaming is movement – associative movement. Don’t forget that I am in movement, with everything that happens to me. Whether I am asleep or not, the moving centre is still there. If it isn’t sleeping, it associates, and brings up images, dreams. Everything goes on. It’s a very good thing, otherwise I would wake up dead, which is a very difficult thing to do. All my instinctive functioning is proceeding. All my moving functioning is proceeding. If the dreams are sufficiently absurd, they may touch me and even wake me up. But ponder on it. All this association is movement. It is indeterminate, non-intentional movement.”
The young man said that last week had a moment of remembering to divide his attention. “And then?” asked Adie.
“Then I fell asleep again.”
“But for that moment there were none of the customary goings-on?”
There was no reply, and it was left there. The next person said: “I am not always clear whether I am thinking or dreaming.”
“You are dreaming,” replied Adie, at which everyone laughed.
“Don’t forget that as you read it, it is theory,” Adie continued. “We have to be careful how we read this chapter. We have to be present as we read it. It is so excellently put, it is so logically based that we read it, and we think “Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, it’s true”. And then when we have finished we can remember nothing except the words, but they have no meaning. I asked another group, what is the first definition of “psychology” which he gives?
I remember well, only one person offered a half way correct answer. Mr Adie corrected him). “And what is the second?” The same person put up his hand. “Yes, and having located the first, you know the second. It is very simple, but we miss it. It is the study of myself. And he says that everything he is going to discuss from now on is the discussion of myself. This has to enter into it, from the point of view of my possible development. Not the possibility of me as I am with a full stop. So the possibility off development has to be there. The words are very clear but why is that I don’t realise, yes I have to be here?”
“Some people read it fifteen years ago, but it is still necessary to take it now and use it. Many of the things need to be understood because if they are not understood they can be taken quite wrongly. I have to be able to read it. He makes a statement: if you can’t do this, then that will be the result. I have to be there to savour the truth of the statement, and realise that in that condition, that means that, but in another condition, another order will prevail. I need to see that there is no way of understanding without entering into the thing.”
Another person said that he tried to have some sort of presence, and take it in. “Yes, I think you have. Not fully, but there’s always an obstacle and there’s always a potential. There’s always this weight of sleep which is going to be there, unless I pursue this recollection of the need to be awake.”
“Try and understand many things simultaneously. One thing will not give it to me. I can do nothing if I do not receive impressions. Impressions are always available, but I do not receive them consciously, so they stop at DO48. And that’s it. And I believe in dreams, and I am self-satisfied, and everything. But if I am there to know that I receive the impression.”
“See, when a child cries, or is irritating, if you just receive that impression and it goes no further, then anything can happen. But I see that, and know that I am seeing it, that makes a tremendous difference, because I am present to it. If I am present, I am not at the same loss. Without me, any idiot can manifest as it likes.”
“It’s the phrase we discussed in the combined meeting: the “completed sense of presence,” “the completed sense of being.” And then no one remembers it. We have to put life into those otherwise lifeless lines.”
One person, “Bob,” asked whether Ouspensky was saying that in a state of normal waking consciousness, self-observation is not possible?
“No, he doesn’t say that, exactly. Our normal consciousness is waking sleep. Semi-awake. Still not awake, but able to not knock tables over. Do you sense your presence at the moment? There are many degrees. We want to nail it down, but there are many degrees, and they move vastly quickly. And there are different levels of life going on at the same time: the mental level, the emotional level and the physical level. All different levels working at different speeds.”
“The concepts have to be added together. If I take one concept, it’s a lie. We can only talk about one thing at a time. But other things have to be spoken of, too. So that if I can speak one word which embraces twelve things at once, then I can approach something truer. But I could only have such a word in my presence. My presence can speak such words.”
“Ouspensky writes in clear-cut categories. He was well aware of the details, but if he had put them in it would have lost its simplicity. The danger is if I allow the simplicity to be a trap for me. He presents this sort of line-drawing so that things can at least be presented in a logical way. Anyone picking it up can recognise that there are some facts there. He presents amazing ideas, such as that of the I’s. One can be interested, and then forget it at once. I once gave a talk at the University of Sydney. The press officer came and saw me, and he expressed himself to be thunderstruck: “Man is a machine. He does not remember himself. How obvious, yet I never thought of it before.” It took him about ten days to realise that he didn’t want to publish it. He had been tremendously struck, but it didn’t bear any fruit. What was there at that moment was never there again: it got crowded out.”
Bob then asked where God fitted into all this.
“When we are in the lower centres, we only have subjective knowledge. If God fits into that lower sort of thought, it is because I bring it. I can only speak with any degree of truth about my own experience. But, as we are, everybody sees something different. So they can speak of God or not, depending only on their subjective state. You ask where God fits into that lecture. It depends on who is reading, and on their state. Could it depend on anything else?”
“But then there is objective consciousness. And that is really a function of God. Mr Ouspensky doesn’t speak about that very much, he only touches on it. From one point of view, everything is objective. Then, from another point of view, everything is subjective. But I can have both points of view together, because the creation which never ceases is both subjective and objective.”
“You might as well ask where life fits into it? Or where the creation fits into it? The question which matters is my state as I read, and what I can receive, and what can take place within me. I am considering an experience in my life, an event in my life.”
“This is the key to the whole of our study. It depends on what we bring, on our effort, and our understanding. It depends upon my relatedness. To be related I have to be alone and to be open. If I am alone but I am closed – nothing. If you ponder like that, while you are present, you can find something.”
Gerry said that he used a dictionary while reading. “As soon as I see the word “psychology” I tend to keep it away,” he said. “But as soon as I read in the dictionary that it came from the Greek word for “breath,” the whole thing changed completely. I read it the ordinary way, and on re-reading, I used the dictionary for some more words, and I found that the real meaning of the words was very different from what I had thought.”
“Yes,” said Mr Adie, “back towards the origin of the word, towards the life which is in the word, at the time of its creation. Others should also use a dictionary too. Towards the end of Mr Ouspensky’s life he spent a great deal of time reading the full Oxford Dictionary, and he was already a past master with words. And there is this wonderful statement: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God.” The Trinity. Three aspects. This has been a very good meeting: it shows how valuable the effort of reading this short book is. We cannot jump over it as if we knew it. To understand each word of that chapter would need quite a bit of work. But we also have our work to try and see the manifestations …”
Another chap, Cyril, said he noticed a tendency of looking for beauty in nature to be more conscious.
“Yes, this is one aspect,” said Adie. “But continue looking, only not only in nature. You have to bring yourself there, and for that you have to look inside. Is my state such that I can understand? How can I understand a tree? I cannot understand a tree, particularly not in my ordinary state. I need to be in an emotional, safe place to understand a tree, or a stone, or a rock.”
“It can put an artist or a geologist into a sort of train of thought, but to understand. I have to bring myself there, so when you seek your external conditions which are more conducive, you look inwards, also. If everything beautiful could make me look in, and everything horrible could make me look in, that would be towards development. And as I look in, then the external changes, and a tree starts to have a meaning which it hadn’t got before. A moment ago, it was a trunk with some branches and leaves. Now I look, and it’s a different tree. Before, I looked and there was no God, now I look and there’s something of God in it. Everything. But how far one is from that. So it isn’t misleading as long as I do not forget this need for an inner. I need to have the two directions.”
“I need to know that my life is a relativity. A small microcosm which stands in relation to the macrocosm. So that some of the divine intelligence now,
Mr Adie then asked John what his difficulties were. He answered by reference to someone else’s question, but Mr Adie was having none of that!
“No, no. Your difficulty. It’s very difficult, so if you’ve been trying to carry the exercise out, you must have encountered difficulties. But having a very active type of mind, you can get waylaid by that and not carry it out at all. It’s quite possible. Now I want to know how it’s going. The same thing with any of our exercises and our efforts. I am bound to fail. But there is a next step. I am not able for the next step. What is happening? Am I related? What is holding me back? All these questions.”
John then ventured that the difficulty is to make time for it.
“Then that’s no good, you have to start at the beginning of the day. First thing. That has been said many times. You have now to work differently. It is very necessary, otherwise, you start getting lost, and then it will be very bad that you ever heard anything. It must go into a different channel. It must go into a different channel. You must concerned. See, if you were more concerned you would have questions and want help. Now get down from your onlooker’s throne, and descend from that place, and take part. And the fact that you could remember that first definition of psychology, but not understand them. That is not a very good state to remain in. You agree with me, I hope. Then keep that to yourself. Don’t forget that. Yes. You must bring questions. Other people will bring your question, or a question like it. That is alright. But you must participate.”