This is from the meeting of Wednesday 28 February 1979.
Libby said that the new way of doing the preparation, with eyes open, has made a good difference. She looks forward to each preparation now.
“You welcome the preparation?” asked Mrs Adie. “Then you have to take full advantage of that, because it won’t remain the same by itself. Do you feel that it has made any difference to the times in-between? Has it given you any rest from the depression you have spoken of?”
Yes, it had, replied Libby.
“Then, for your work, there has to be something more than that. Now, perhaps, is the time when you can understand your depression. It’s a very definite focal point for you, not just to welcome it as a relief. It has to be carried further. This is something to remember before you start. This is something you do to prepare for the day: that is why it is called a “preparation”. You have something concrete to work on. Depression is something definite to work on. You experience that feeling of depression, maybe you know the cause or maybe you don’t? Is it lack of energy, is it centred around something?”
“I think the lack of energy contributes to it, but it is based around a new-found fear.”
“A new-found fear? Well that is what you need to bring front of you, because that is one of the only times when you can really face these things objectively, look at them, and find something positive, positive and definite, not vague.”
The next question was from Sam, who said that he wants to hide in the meetings at Newport, yet when he is in life he speaks a great deal.
“It is very interesting. When you’re in your personality, it loves to talk, but when you’re here, there is no place for it. But it hasn’t gone away. It’s still there, getting in your way.”
“And there is only one weapon against that reluctance: you have to be very sincere with yourself, and ask “what do I really want to know?” Simply to want to speak may also be considering. In fact, many people have said that they find themselves formulating questions so that they will have something to say, which is not a very good or helpful attitude. But you have to know, every week, that there is something that you don’t understand, and for which you need help, and you must find the place to speak from. When you begin, you must be clear, very clear, as you have been tonight. I understand very well what you mean. You’re not the only one. If you really know what you want, you will want to speak. But if nothing happens during the week, there is nothing to know, you’re satisfied.”
The third question was from Jake, who said that he never fulfils anything properly, whether in life or in the Work. He took as a task during the recess, to examine his attitudes, but he soon forgot it.
“You realise this vaguely, at the back of your mind? Have you actually managed to see yourself in the grip of some kind of attitude? It is a very difficult thing to do, because when you’re in its power you are asleep. When you are awake, you’re not in its power. So, there has to be some awareness when you are in its power. That is extremely difficult, but it is not impossible. But you’ve got to want it very much.”
“It means that you have, at some time, after the preparation, to call to mind the situation which you wish to observe. And you make a plan that just before that life-situation to be much more present, much more awake. And then you confront that person, and then you are bound to lose something, but you wish to keep something of that freedom to see, without inhibiting too much your behaviour. And it is possible, if you really want to see it. Very difficult, but not impossible.”
“And perhaps the next best thing, if it proves too have been too much, is as soon as possible afterwards, before it has been distorted. Maybe you will have some taste of something which is taking place.”
“Madame Lannes once said to us: “You have to try and bring a half-light there”, because it won’t stand up to a full light: it disappears at once. It won’t disappear for long, and when it reappears, there is no light. But if I can manage to achieve that half light. If you make that effort, it still may not go as you had hoped, but something will come from it, and perhaps next time.”
“You must not get too discouraged if you do not succeed the first time, but the effort must be made, and it must be made now.”
This advice was simple but potent, and even wise. One can see how it builds up. I have not changed the order of the questions, they came out like this. First of all, a question to which Mrs Adie spoke of the need to be present to difficult issues during the morning preparation. It is notable that Libby said that the use of the new exercise, which I call the “Clear Impressions” exercise, had made possible an advance in her understanding. Rather than just congratulating her and leaving it there, Mrs Adie said now, now that you have learned this, learn more. Seize the opportunity, as it were. It is also significant that Mrs Adie advised her to try and come to a clear understanding, and not to rest satisfied with something vague. We have more chances than we know, but as Gurdjieff said, something in us expects roast pigeon to fly into our mouths.
The second question related to being too easily satisfied, and again Mrs Adie advised her pupil not to be complacent, but to spur himself to greater efforts, now that he had proved to himself that something was possible. Incidentally, it was an impressive insight that he was struck speechless in groups because his personality was displaced there.
The third took her answer to Libby’s question to a higher level: on some occasions one needs to not only prepare beforehand but also to look back. If I cannot see at the time, then soon after may be the best possible. It is not as good as being present, but we must be practical, and it might lead to being present more quickly in the future. The quote from Mme Lannes about a half-light is interesting: did she perhaps mean that I may not be sufficiently present to swing a fully lit lamp onto what is manifesting, but a small illumination might be possible? Interesting.
Joseph Azize, 30 November 2018