This continues the meeting of Thursday 20 July 1989. Penny said that she had been trying to see her buffers. To this end, she had been concentrating on her criticisms of other people. She has left work, and is at home. It is a strange time.
“You are housekeeping?” Mr Adie asked.
“Yes, but I loathe housekeeping.”
“Alright, but you have to do it, don’t you? So there is your work, right there. Get in and do it. What more do you want? Have you been doing the work?”
“Then what is the result of that? I don’t mean the whole week’s history, but what to you is the internal result of your effort to do something which you say you don’t like doing?”
Penny replied that she felt that she can in fact be different.
“That gives you cause for encouragement, no? So make another resolve, not to waste it.”
“I resolved to speak with the other two people in the house about the housework, but the thought made me ill and tense.”
“What would have been your purpose in speaking?”
“It was because I felt it was reasonable to share the housework, but then because I saw this fear in myself.”
“And you wanted to find out about the fear?”
“I decided whether I should ask you if it was appropriate to speak.”
Mr Adie was often wary when people asked him for advice about external matters: not always, but often. On this occasion he wanted Penny to exercise some responsibility, and replied: “Unless you take some steps to deal with it, you won’t find out.”
“But I become asphyxiated with it, and I can’t move.” This again, happened a fair bit: people would try and insist that he had to tell them what to do in their social life. Mr Adie masterfully brought her back to her internal work.
“Then it’s obvious: you need to move. Try and do your preparation simply, make your decision, and carry it out. If you do a proper preparation, that fear won’t be there. You haven’t got that fear. That fear is it. It is robbing you. It’s quite a simple thing. What happens in the house is that either they do their fair bit or they don’t. You think at least one of them is not, so, if you are balanced, you can just speak simply and say to him that he is not doing his fair share. Be present to it, and see what happens.”
“What is the alternative to making even that small amount of effort? Who can do it for you? I can’t. I mean, I don’t know how many teaspoons you wash up, and how many he washes. How can I?”
“There must be some reason why I am so tense”, said Penny, “but I just can’t see it.”
“No, you have not yet seen it, but unless you take the step to act in accordance with a plan which cuts across it, you will not find out. So take the step. What’s going to happen? He isn’t going to shoot you, is he? Alright then. Don’t play around any more. You notice this hop-scotch you play. Stop it. It’s too small. You never move. It’s so trifling, you want to know something about yourself, now.”
“What is the cause of this idiotic blabbering about? Mmm? The only way to tell is to be present to it. Take considering: what is the nature of this considering? You want him to love you, you complain when he doesn’t love you, but what relationship is possible when there is this fear?”
There was a pause, when Mr Adie evidently turned to Dot and asked: “What are your feelings, Dorothy? I don’t want you to tell me: I want you to know what you are feeling. You, I want you to know. I know. Look inside, you are stuck. You were stuck, where you not? Unstick! Do something, breathe.”
The next question was from Reg, who said that he had wanted to stop thinking about his work while he was at the weekend work. It had seemed possible, and even after the weekend, that effort had helped him in the morning preparation, and now he wanted to take that further, but didn’t seem able to.
“You can’t achieve anything with just one spade-full. I see that it could work, but there is a lot of stuff to shift, so you have to do a bit more. And keep on until you see. What we are trying to obtain is immeasurably big, and we can’t just do it with one little prod, although one little prod may show me the way, and how to change my whole approach. And then I learn more.”
“I come up against something, and even I, in my wooden-headedness, see that it is important to take some steps, to do something. And with that, that difficulty has helped me. There are plenty of other difficulties. I have to be prepared for them and try. All those obstacles are a help. None of us can attain anything without looking for the obstacles. It is the obstacles we need.”
“How can you work without material? You can’t. So where is the material? It is here, and it is of every kind. It is provided by my own nature, in this circumstance, with the kind of formation I have received, which has to be greatly changed. That is the position. If only I can understand that, life becomes very interesting.”
“Life becomes possible. I can be a bit more human after a time. It makes an enormous difference.”
It does make a difference if, instead of complaining that difficult people and circumstances are making things hard for us, and holding us down in a low state, we saw those people, their manifestations and all these circumstances as being the very material of our awakening. It is, perhaps, analogous to a sculptor receiving a block of marble. Does he complain that it is not already a statue? The formless stone and its resistance to his carving are exactly what makes his work possible.
Joseph Azize, 20 November 2018