The next question was from Wendy, who said that she felt a lot calmer after the exercise of sensing her feet on the ground.
“Good. Well then, what is the next thing to tackle?” Mrs Adie
“To keep on with the preparation?”
“Yes, but we have to recognise that by itself, that is never enough. What you say is good, but at the same time we need to query things – always. We have to look for the difficulty. There has to be a struggle. And if you struggle and achieve something, you can’t sit back. You must ask: what is the next thing? Unless you’re already going to float up to heaven.”
People laughed, and when there was no response, Mrs Adie asked: “Don’t you find somebody who irritates you?”
Again, laughter. “It’s a nice way of putting it, isn’t it?” said Mrs Adie. “They irritate me.”
“Yes,” agreed Wendy. “After my success with the exercise I sort of congratulated myself and stopped. I see. Thank you.”
I think Wendy may only have paused, but perhaps Bob came in because what he had to say was so much on a line with what Wendy had just said. Bob said that his egotism took a great deal from him, but this week he did a long preparation, and he really wanted to stay contained, not to lose energy. He had a conference, and two other meetings. He often has meetings, but this time, he wanted to listen. All three meetings went differently, and the difficulties resolved themselves. When he came back to this in the evening, something preened itself, saying he had handled it well. He lost all that he had gained. He saw that, and he laughed at himself.
“It doesn’t have to be such a substantial loss,” replied Mrs Adie. “You saw yourself laughing at yourself, but what is that? It’s a sort of a joke in personality. It always happens. Something in us is going to get in, it will get around one way or it will get around another. But you made a certain effort to be free. To be quiet. To be available for what was required. Did you have to play much of a part?”
There was no immediate answer. Knowing him, I think Bob was unhappy that Mrs Adie had not endorsed him for laughing at himself. But Mrs Adie was not deterred. She asked: “As a rule, would you say that fear comes into it, or considering of one kind of another?”
“What sort of fear, of how it might go?”
Bob said that he was afraid of a tarnished image.
“But of course you didn’t have this idea with you the whole time, you weren’t awake the whole time, but you didn’t fall into the trap. What happened? You went prepared, so you were sort of oriented the right way, to start with.”
“I didn’t have to hop in with my opinion. I chose what I would comment on, and did not feel that I had to go with one side or another.”
“But this was something you had planned for yourself,” said Mrs Adie. “It was a work. Not to fall into some attitude or another.”
Bob said that he comes out of these meetings emotionally exhausted, without energy, but now he felt like he had to conserve something for himself.
“Maybe you didn’t identify so much, so that you can be freer, so that if someone congratulates you, you are not obliged to believe it.”
“That is true, something in me did not believe it,” he answered.
“So now,” said Mrs Adie: “it is the same as with Wendy. “You have to look for the struggle. When you review the day at night, ask yourself, where do you give in? Or more precisely, where do you disappear?”
Sadie said that she could not finish the reading from All and Everything which had been allocated. Then, when she realised how much time she had wasted, she “felt nauseated”. But her problem is that she does not have enough time to do the reading.
“It is quite untrue that you do not have time,” said Mrs Adie. “If you find this seems to be the case, then you need to make a plan. If you have a plan you can always manage better for some reason or other. We have heaps of time to do such a modest amount of reading, but we make excuses.”
“So, is this really just a confession? There is no question? No, then I would strongly advise you to read what we all read last Sunday, and then to go back and try and catch up. Try not to miss a day without reading some. I mean, it sounds such a terrible chore, the way you put it.”
Then Mr Adie joined in: “The book is on such a high level, and we are on such a low level. We haven’t really got the taste for it. That is why we do not long to read it. We’re identified with all the mundane things, and something that is high, we miss, because our level is here and the level of that is very high. But it relates to everybody, the reading. Most who were here have kept up with the reading, have they not?”
“We’ve begun reading the Planet Purgatory, and we read the first twenty pages last weekend,” said Mrs Adie. “So try reading that.”
That was the end of the meeting, but I’d like to note just a couple of things. The first is that, as Mrs Adie, there must be a struggle if we to achieve being. If I am too comfortable, there is a problem. I can be, as it were, confident or trusting in my efforts – but even using those words, one does not wish to suggest complacency. The questions from Wendy and Bob showed very well the danger of making some effort, finding a result, and then going to sleep: in this case, a self-satisfied slumber. Bob clearly had more insight into the matter, but even there, he was hampered by this other issue – a self-conceit that he had to be able to laugh at himself. As Mrs Adie saw, this is just a figment of his personality. It is interesting to reflect on how these figments appear. Perhaps, as children, we hear someone speaking about not taking oneself too seriously, about how good it is to be able to laugh at oneself, and that then gets caught up in an entire “philosophy” as it were.
Returning to the deeper issue, the need for a struggle in my daily life: this relates to what I posted on 13 January 2018 about the programme. That is, we need to go out to meet our weaknesses, each day, in accordance with a plan. That would indeed be work worthy of the name.
I was also impressed how Mrs Adie said to Sadie that she did indeed have time to read from All and Everything. I have always found that the people who most complain about a lack of time are the ones who most identify with this “lack” and who also fail to respect other people’s time. And I do agree with Mrs Adie. I have always find that you can do what you need to – but there may be some things you have to omit. You also have to respect other people’s time. If I were to offer a formula, it would be something like this: “Those who do no respect time, waste it and waste others’ time. Hence they find it slips through their fingers. Those who do respect it, and respect others’ time, use it better, and find there is enough for what is necessary” It seems to be a law of nature. As Gurdjieff said, time itself must bend to a person who is objective.
Joseph Azize, 19 December 2018