George Adie and a new Gurdjieff anecdote (Sunday 13 November 1988 II)

This continues from the meeting of Sunday 13 November 1988. It has an interesting anecdote of something Gurdjieff said once to someone with a daughter. I am sure that Gurdjieff was serious, but I am equally sure that what he said was meant to encourage the man to see the situation and take action, not to say that it was now hopeless. I leave the anecdote in its proper place.

This first question was from Alex. “The statement this morning that we could work for hours from ego really struck true with me in my normal job. Because, in my normal job that is what I do.”

“Yes, Alex, everybody has that. But not only in their job, also when they play, or when they’re out having a good time.”

“I thought I was lucky that the job I was given is a job I normally do. I made myself an exercise that every ten minutes I would stop for a moment. The tensions were unbelievable, and the magnetism of the job – and the thoughts “If you do this then you must do that”, and I was going to say I had to work very hard, but that is not the right expression, but just put my thought on my sensation. It was so strong, but the stop with a large number of people helped me to be a little bit in the middle, not lost, I had some sensation, and I got quite a lot of work done. I also think that all these thoughts I had had were things I would have come to in a natural progression, so I didn’t have to be going over them in my head all the time, I would have done them anyway without going over them in words. That was interesting, because at first I thought that the thoughts were useful.”

“What were the thoughts?”

“Well, the thing I was going to do next, and when I do that, what happens.”

“How much of that is legitimate in orderto carry out the work? I mean, are the suggestions something that, if you don’t do them, you’ll find out by making mistakes?”

“I know from experience that I would have thought of almost all these things, but it was as if I had to go over it all in my head for some reason, they were coming back from association. About 10 per cent might have been useful. But the power was very strong, and I think I would not have seen that but for my efforts.”

“Have you finished that work? Will you be back at it this afternoon?”

“Yes. I have finished what you read out, but there is a lot more work there which I can go on with.”

“Then I suggest that you remind yourself each five minutes this afternoon, just for fifteen seconds. Time it from the watch. Fifteen seconds. Time that. And then begin again. You don’t leave it entirely, you return to it.”

The next question was from Boris. He had been with Mr Adie for many years, too many, in my opinion. It would have been interesting if Boris had been asked to go away for a period, maybe even try and start his own group. However, while Mr Adie was aware that Boris was in something of a rut, he felt that he could help Boris. This is true. But if a person is not willing to accept any help … On this occasion, Boris said that he was unhappy with the job he had been allocated, until he realised the he had to just accept it. He had, he said, got into a type of “automatic thinking” about the work here.

“Yes, although the question is really the other way around: when can I get out of this automatic thinking?” answered Mr Adie: “this is an important difference, because if I am not making a specific effort with an aim, I will be lost in formatory thought. How could it be otherwise? I can’t stop it because it’s produced by the forces of life. It proceeds so easily by association and there is nothing to stop it. All history, apart from the Work, promotes that. Based on my view that my least opinion is objectively true, and based on all these fantastic notions which produce self-pity, envy and discontent and everything, there is a whole wave of automatic habit.”

“So, unless I am actually there, I am liable to formatory thought the whole time. It may be produce a depressing effect upon me, and if I am not particularly violent, it gets no worse than that. But I cannot really say that I am so alive.”

After a moment, Mr Adie continued: “It is also interesting that I should have this innate capacity to mislead myself. You had told me yourself that there were other trees to deal with, and then, later on, there you are, with only this tree.”

“Yes. It was as if the other trees were too hard. It was very rich, really, to see how that allowed me to get myself into automatic thinking,” said Boris, thus showing that he may have heard, but had not listened to, Mr Adie. However, Mr Adie was aware, and corrected him:

“You didn’tget out of it. That is the point. It isn’t that you allowed yourselfto get into it. This is what I’ve been trying to highlight for you: this idea that you allow yourself to get into it is the completely wrong concept. You didn’t notice it and get out of it. That is just the big mistake.”

Mr Adie continued: “We’re all inclined to say: “I let myself get negative”, but it doesn’t work that way, it’s rather the other way that it works. I must aim for and work to snatch a few moments of consciousness out of the continuity of my life. I would never allowmyself to think that way. But I can appear, and bring a higher level of thought.”

The next question was from Milo. He said that he had been breaking stones, when a thought from his external life came, and he had a strong negative reaction. Then, next thing he knew, Mr Adie was speaking to him, and asked him if he was aware that he was just standing there. Milo realised at once that he had not been aware. When he came that day, he was somehow assuming that he would be working, and made no serious intention. Milo’s conclusion was well formulated: “It has to be such a new, really big kind of thing each time.”

“This is true, except that it is big in significance, yet it can’t be bigger than the possibilities. It’s no use imagining that I have to have something so bigthat I can hurl mountains, because I can’t. But it is big in the fact that it’s of a higher level. The state which I come to must correspond to the kind of obstacles I encounter. But the bigger the obstacle, the more the possibility, of course.”

“But the plan you’re making, and it cannot be over-emphasised, is a very good one, and for that you need to have a definite resolve. The more definite and the more witnessed by your presence, and your intention and your state, the more likelihood of fulfilment. And as more and more collects in that direction, the state, the blood, the breathing, the carriage of the body, the recollection of all things, the more it becomes reconciled, the more of a prophet one becomes with one’s intention, until one’s intention becomes a prophecy, and then it is carried out.”

“It all refers to the point of work: a moment of work, when I can do something about my thought. Just a moment. The higher centres go at a far greater speed. Were it not so, we would not have a chance, because if our seeing, in a moment, has to be much more inclusive, you see all that it has to cover in just one section. It may cover thought about things which are miles away, it may cover different experiences, all at this moment, and you see that there is a tremendous quickness there – and that is because of the fineness of the material in the centres.”

“This higher part of centres actually exists. This is the great, the big step is if we can get in touch there for a moment, until we can receive thought of a different quality, a different kind of a key. And then I have to crystalliseit. I have received that impression. Now how can I crystallise it? I don’t want to lose it. So, I am only allowed so much time at the moment. Say I receive an impression while I am waiting for the train. It comes in a minute and a half and then I am obliged to alight and go. I cannot remain on the platform. I use the time I have and then when it arrives, I must not become so identified with catching it that I forget my own feet. I remember that if I hurry I will receive nothing.”

“This work must be related to my individual circumstances. It is very individual. In the ordinary way, we are not individuals. We are a lot of chimeras, dreams, one replacing the other. Take the way we are when we quarrel. It is this attack, then this defence, then we want to make up, and the make up isn’t accepted, so it’s another fight, and it is all haphazard, dragged out of us to meet the needs of the quarrel.”

“How can I, for a moment, be more basic? There is so much to learn, so much to get. Remember the Book of Ecclesiastes, which says: “with all thy getting, get understanding”.”

“Compare the description of this active element, papaveroon, that it has seven basic different elements, and each of these seven different elements contains seven other different finer elements, and then each one of those contains seven other. Now this is a particle of opium. What about us? We contain more things than opium. So there is this possibility already constructed, but we live in the basement, we never go up to the higher floors in the ordinary way, and here is the Work to help us go up to the higher floors.”

“One is prepared to accept this idea of the multiplicity of particles of different densities. It agrees with science. It agrees with chemistry and physics. So we are freed of any disagreement, which might otherwise prevent us from seriously considering it, but we never apply it to ourselves at all. We are never educated in that manner, so it never occurs to the teacher to convey to the learner the connection between these things which he studies and himself. But now we have our chance.”

“I remember someone saying privately to Mr Gurdjieff that he had a daughter. Mr Gurdjieff asked him how old she was. He said: “Eleven”. Mr Gurdjieff said: “Already spoiled.” Very curious. He didn’t understand what Mr Gurdjieff meant at all, but he was referring to our ordinary education.”

“This is the prospect of this afternoon’s work: it is interesting or boring? Which part of myself am I going to look to? Do I have a choice about my opinion? Is there a part of me which has not been spoiled, or if spoiled can be refreshed? Try and see what my attitude this afternoon really is. Perhaps it is not settled. That would mean that I can be a little freer from my idée fixe. I can remember certain things, I can value the air which I am going to breathe between now and when I go out of the door.”

“Why have I got to sacrifice the whole of my state in order to think about something? It is not necessary. Let me appreciate this breath, and as I breathe, now what about the question? The answer surely is: “It’s rubbish. Don’t ask such stupid questions.” But it’s not entirely stupid. After all, I have attitudes and opinions, and we’re about to start work once more, but surely this question brings me back to the present second to find what is there. I often expect that when I remember myself I shall find some brilliant idea, but surely I have to clean the muck up first.”

“We never look on our brains as Augean stables, but that is what they really are. If we could clear them out, how wonderful. Free from all these torturous turns and twists. Some people will have to sacrifice their cleverness, but as it never existed, it wouldn’t matter. And then perhaps I find that much more is available to me than the present second. But do I want much more? Isn’t it enough, almost, as I am not yet a prophet?”

“Doesn’t it mean that I can dispense with 99% of my ordinary thinking? I can be very happy without it. By very, very short moments that is possible. For a brief second, I can be free.”

That was the last question from lunch. Mr Adie then gave the direction that at 3.30 the men would take a walk around the site, and the women at 3.45.

Joseph Azize, 5 April 2018 (This is another picture of the Itsukushima Jinja)

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