This is from the extraordinary meeting of Sunday 13 November 1988. It began with Mr Adie asking: “How do we understand “evolution”, in a wider sense?”
One man replied: “Mr Adie, it came to me that the essence of it is to transform coarser into finer.”
“Exactly,” replied Mr Adie.” That is the whole object of evolution: the transforming of negative into positive. Transformation. And what we have to understand is that we cannot take one single thought or state, anything in that direction without the negative. Therefore we have to seek for that opposition, to keep on with this striving to fulfil our possibility.”
“Broadly speaking, that was our aim yesterday, to understand more what it meant, and these flashes that we get, and in the work we do to find where the opposition lies. It is in order to receive material for ourselves, because unless we receive the material, we cannot transform it and we cannot evolve. Therefore, it is a sacred duty to become a real entity, and so our becoming only depends upon the transformation of negative into positive, first, because we are obliged to, and secondly, to achieve something for ourselves.”
“Everybody is obliged to participate in the cosmic processes of transformation, but not consciously, and they do it at terrible cost. I am looking at it in the widest sense: terrible wars and all these horrors to produce certain materials, and as it cannot come one way, it comes another.”
“Directly we start to become conscious, I mean in a second, if have learned anything, we begin to have the possibility of sensing where the opposition is. Without that, we cannot really say with certainty that we are working. It is very easy to speak of the work, but it is very difficult to do. If you like a particular kind of job, you can satisfy all your egoistic, automatic longings without doing any evolutionary work at all. How much do you do in the way of transformation? How much do you do by the sacrifice of something: I speak of intentional suffering, of course.”
“If I go about the work, if supposing I were able to do a work in that way, even by moments, I would be encountering the suffering of denying my egoistic pleasures and so on. But that does not mean that after some work there is not the essence satisfaction of seeing something right. You see evidence that there has been evolutionary work there. That gives you a certain essence-joy.”
“There were some here today who were here yesterday. Does that tie in with what you remember we were trying yesterday?”
(Someone said something indistinct).
“Certainly, this includes the great gift of this possibility. All the material is there. So in this question, it was connected also with what we had on Wednesday night, the different kinds of inner causes of negative emotion, and how, in the most severe kind, the only way was to work using the seeming cause, the seeming negative cause itself to remind you of your work, which is a very powerful help.”
“It’s like a big door opening onto life. There are all these elements, necessary elements of life, which I suffer from and over which I agonise. And now I see that I even need them. I don’t look for tragedy, of course, but if I look, there is honest material for transformation. A different life to do with the gift of the material and also the gift of the seed of the possibility. We have the seed of the possibility in us, but we have to fill the connection, we have to form the connection ourselves in the process of transforming that negative into the positive so that there can be this direction, as opposed to the involutionary.”
“When difficulties arise, and surely they arise all the time, it is the biggest gift you can possibly have to be able to recognise at the time that it is material for transformation, that it is part of automatic life, that blaming is useless, that I have this chance.”
“The whole concept of life, the whole experience is changed. In other words, you begin to live two lives. You are going to suffer, but you have another life too, which has a finer suffering in it. Try and not to forget that immediacy of the gift. We never realise that everything is a stupendous grace, a gift.”
That was Mr Adie. I chose this material in February. As I heard it, I knew that I was hearing something remarkable. Once a month, since then, I have returned to it. That feeling has never lessened, rather, it opens more doors for me – as he said. One point struck me this morning (24 May), this could explain why the Gurdjieff Work has never been and never will be popular, and even why people leave the Work so much (even if they stay in groups!). Gurdjieff’s system involves, as Mr Adie said, looking for the resistance, looking for the negative emotions which rob us of life. Surely this is playing with fire. If a person is not ready, they will be burned; and surely this is why that work of seeking the opposition within us is best done after the morning preparation: when we are more gathered.