The next question was from Mario. He said that he wanted to see his buffers. This is a very important topic, and Mr Adie’s answer was rather full, so this entire post will be devoted to just this one question.
“Nobody can see buffers,” said Mr Adie. “Do you understand why you can’t see a buffer?” There was a pause, and then he continued: “When you are in a state where you can see, the buffer is not there. It is a devilish device. I cannot see it, but the buffer is still there. I can tell this by the result. If I keep on making the same mistake, I can say to myself: “Well there is probably a buffer here.”
“What is the use of that? The use is that I search more carefully to find explanations and causes of my failure. I might be able to catch the devil’s tails as he goes around the corner, and a learn a little about it. I may notice that this failure is always associated with a feeling of inertia or of dislike, or of resentment. So I see this is related to that, and I have a go at that resentment. And I see that if I am full of resentment, I cannot do anything.”
“So, if my work is to have relation with that person, I may not see the buffer, but I know, by this time, that I often feel resentment, and so my reason can tell me that resentment may be a buffer for me. And I know that with resentment, I shall not succeed in this relationship at all. So I start concerning myself with my inner being state, and I work innerly to realise the futility, the utter futility, of any resentment.”
“By the time that is accomplished, I will be impartial, and the buffers disappear. I will then understand that my buffer lies in my mistaken belief about my situation. The belief is the buffer. I believe that nonsense is reality. I have to change my beliefs.
Mario then added that he has a happy-go-lucky attitude to the Work.
“It isn’t really,” replied Mr Adie. “It is just personality joining in. You cannot be happy-go-lucky about work. Can you be happy-go-lucky about shaving with a cut-throat razor?”
“But what you do have is the implicit notion that the Work doesn’t require attention.”
“Yes, that is right,” agreed Mario. “That is how it occurs.”
“But although you have now said that, it is not finished. There is still that habit.”
Mario objected: “And yet when I came to the Work I was more serious.”
“No, not at all. You did not think about what you would have to give up. You thought that it was alright, that Mario, just as he was, would have the Work. But now you know that that Mario could never have the Work. It’s a miraculous side of the Work that I can change my personality, which means changing my nature. Actually to change. How can I change? How can I be different from what I am? But nothing can happen if I do not change. Try and think about that? I remember thinking about that after I had been in the Work a little while. It is necessary to change, but I am as I am , so how can I be different?”
“The idiotic assumption is that I am the same all the time. The fact is that I am different at every second, so there is a chance, if I can get in among the disagreement that I represent. I have to see. I cannot choose without having a look. I cannot just say: “I’ll have a handful of that.”
“When you came you were excited. It was new and it was good. But you had no idea of the effort it would cost. You had no idea that some of your nice self-opinion would have to go. When you look back, try and understand; don’t try and perpetuate your wrong ideas, otherwise you won’t be able to repair the past.”
“I can only repair the past by bringing it into the present, and understanding it. Taking being-action against it. I can’t deny it. It’s true, if my memory is correct. So how can I repair it? The past comes into the present. See how you were when you had this excitement. You didn’t have any sense of hard work, or of sacrifice, or of anything like that.”
After a short pause, Mr Adie continued: “We have to keep on restarting. We have to restart every day. Sunrise takes place each day. Don’t think you can ever reach a place where the Work is done. There is more work to do, more work. Until the very end when the very most work of all is demanded. If you think about it, it couldn’t be otherwise. What troubles me now, perhaps won’t trouble me then, but there will be other things.”
“So don’t believe these gloomy thoughts: “it has lost the gild”, “the bright and shining promise is gone”, and so on. It’s all wrong.”
“Something in you recognised something good in the Work, but on the basis that you didn’t have to pay, that you could receive it as you were. Now you find that as you are you can’t work, and so you have to change. But now, at times, you find that what you are working for is even more desirable than you had originally thought. I rather think that if you carefully wrote down what you had originally thought of the Work, you would not now be quite so enamoured of it.”
“You will not have carefully formulated what the Work represented, to begin with, and certainly not as the acceptance of a demand. It is not a demand which anyone else places upon you, but rather a demand which has to be accepted if you are to receive anything. In other words, I work on any ordinary life basis: to get as much as I can for as little effort as possible. And if I get it for no effort then I am the cleverest, whereas the basis of the Work is the more effort the better, because it is the ability to make the effort which is just what I need.”
“The sun doesn’t rise without effort. It works very hard, but its effort is beyond our comprehension. This sun is fulfilling a cosmic obligation, which is really man’s birthright. He was made with the possibility of conscious labour, and with a possibility of understanding the need for intentional suffering. This way, I make myself arise to the source. Mmm?”
I understand Mr Adie to have been saying to Mario that if I manage to go on working so that my feeling changes, I will always be working against buffers. Even if my guess as to what its nature is was not quite correct. If my work proceeds beyond a certain stage, it will be work against buffers, and I don’t need to know that it is against buffers, but it will be. Further, the pondering of where my buffers may lie is a powerful help, offering fresh perspectives. His statement that buffers involve mistaken beliefs is very useful. My own view is that they ay often involve mistaken beliefs about justice.
Joseph Azize, 9 July 2018
The illustration is from the ancient Codex Vaticanus