George Adie: “You Are Dangerously Lacking in an Example” (1 November 1979, IV)

This completes the transcript of the meeting of 1 November 1979 with Mr Adie. Walter said that his line of work was to see the things he tells himself.

“Directly I begin to work, circumstances change,” said Mr Adie, “and I find myself in a different realm: so different that I can’t seem to be able to place myself immediately. And the thing is not to hurry too much, just to accept this passage; it’s a passage. All those delightful things you’ve been telling yourself are all waiting for you. You’ll meet them, don’t worry. They haven’t gone. Until you’ve seen them all and been present to them, they are all potential, and can come back.”

Walter agreed, saying that they were all subliminal, and waiting to come out.

That depends on your state. Whether they come out and in what form, all that can change again.  But when you say “subliminal”, what do you really mean?”

It starts to come up and then it stops.”

“What stops? Can you give an example, something which actually happened?” Mr Adie insisted on examples, as did Gurdjieff.

Walter’s example was that he had the name of someone he is jealous of. Something appeared, and he caught it straight away. It had been such a small thing.

Yes, but that doesn’t complete it by any means. What is that small thing? What was the rest of yourself like? It was of short duration, and so it may have to appear many times before you can understand it. I need to understand that, because one moment that was there, but the previous moment it wasn’t there. But it was potential, it was just ready. There are thousands of things just ready, and as they begin to approach, I have to have sensation of myself, because through that I may tell. It is as critical as that.”

“We’re working on sensation now, a very special sensation study which includes taste and smell and hearing and everything, because it’s all the instinctive part, the moving-instinctive part in which is the subconscious, so that we can be informed about what is happening in our subconscious.”

“That does not mean what is happening when I dream, but when I am awake and passing the marmalade, my subconscious is at work, and it was out of the subconscious came this little impulse. I need to be ready when this operation comes. Supposing I have an impulse of anger. Before that comes, certain chemicals have to do their bit, and then this certain something appears. If I can work the right way, then I shall be informed. The very preparation of these chemicals will tell me.”

“And although it’s only a thirty thousandth part of a second, I am there, because of my previous and my wish. And I can then even turn a negative emotion, which is using a very rapid emotional force. It is a big thing, that I can turn even that. It’s a very powerful experience, and a tremendously reassuring and encouraging one. It depends upon the accuracy of observation at the time. You were getting near, but you have to be more there and more available for that. The most important thing there is the way to work. Does that answer your question?”

“Yes, that answers it.”

“I need to see more and more the reason for being present, and more and more the possible gain, otherwise I won’t make the effort. Why would I? I should be bored. Who wants to sit and be silent if they’re not going to get anything from it? I have to see. It has to go on and develop.”

Mr Adie then turned to Giselle, asking: “Do you understand? Were you following? You look a little puzzled.”

“I understand. I appreciate what you were saying.”


Then Boris said that when he gets a reminder he tries to remember himself.

What kind of reminders have you had?” asked Mr Adie.

“Well, on the hour.” Boris was referring to the task of coming to oneself at certain pre-determined moments.

“Yes, but I would like you to speak of the incidents if you can,” said Mr Adie. “I am interested in what took place, so that we can speak about that. Something that actually happened, not just explanation.”

There was then some back and forth which I am not reproducing. It ended when Mr Adie asked: Why did you choose that time? What did you want to see?” The idea was to choose times which might be productive for our work, and not just to arbitrarily pluck five appointments from the air. There was a pause. Mr Adie spoke to the group and then to Boris: “See, Boris was working on criticism. He wanted to see criticism. What measures were you using?”

Boris replied that he could not say.

“Do you see that you have gone away now? I want to bring you back to this point: that you are dangerously lacking in an example. If you have no example, you are in great danger of believing that you are working when you are not really. I have to be concerned. Now what was your concern? Or, realise that you weren’t concerned – as it was. But if you were concerned, then you knew something. But what?”

“Do you see that you have been speaking of generalities, but they are not reliable. You come to a conclusion that generally you do this, or generally that happens, but it’s just the old, old story. I want you to come to the actual point of work. Now have you got such a point? Do you think you have one at the moment?”

“No. Not anything.”

“No, then realise that.And your situation has to change. You are in danger of being persuaded by this mental process, this sort of interest. It’s the same thing as we were just saying. Patrick has to be concerned that this criticism is just the same old waffle. He has to really wish to see, and not have this exalted approach of seeing about criticism. You follow? You’re not disagreeing yet?”

No,” said Patrick.

“No, but not too far off all the same. I lose my position very quickly. I can see something it, but if I have not really confronted it with my presence, it can gradually turn.”

After a brief exchange with Patrick, following up what had been said earlier in this meeting (, Mr Adie returned to Boris: “So, the chief thing is to be more specific. What is your need? What is the thread? What are you lacking? Why did you choose this time? You see, there’s a sort of habitual obedience to a suggestion. I have to put on a uniform and turn up on the parade ground. There’s an hour’s drill and what they call square-bashing. And you do your time. As long as you’ve put on the uniform, you’re alright. Do you agree with me?”


“Then this is a great danger. Somehow you’ve got to kick yourself, shake yourself. Get to the genuine part. But my genuine part is nearly always covered up by petty considerations.”

That word “measure” is an interesting one. In the context, it does not just mean “tactic” or “step”, but has the nuance of someone who has seen a job before him, and made an objective survey of it. He uses the instruments and intelligence available to him, and makes plans as precisely as he can. These indeed, would be measures. There was some tremendous material in this meeting, not least what Mr Adie said about using the subconscious elements of ourselves by observing the senses: the senses are, of course, part of instinctive centre. As Ouspensky said, doubtless having learned it from Gurdjieff, they include not only the five we speak of, but also our senses of temperature, dryness or moisture, and weight. I think that when we get into sense of the passing of time and of the presence of other people, the sense is perhaps basically emotional or moving, maybe even a bit of a mix, rather than instinctive.

Joseph Azize, 11 June 2018


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *