The last question this evening of his last group was from Alec, who said: “I am stumbling over my preparation. I sometimes use a diary, to try and induce a state, but I use all my time.”
“Well, you have to first use sensation, then the posture, then the air. That need not take very long. You’ve only got to think for a second about your toes, and you can sense them. Do that. Take the air, and the state changes. You’re no longer fixed. Write down what you want, if you can write anything, and then you’ve got to go and get on with it. Walk out of the room knowing how you walk. It’s difficult, but keep on.”
Alec stated that he came up across “a definite barrier to seeing the possibility of seriousness”, but tonight he had had a slight taste of realising that he has weight in his feet, and to hold that while responding to people.
“You’ve been given the exercise, “I” with all my feeling, and “am” with all the sensation. “I” related to the breathing and the breast. “Am” related mainly to the spine, but also to all of you. But there’s a warning, that if you say that without, without your attention, it will do harm, not good”.
“You are not just entitled to say “I am” like that. You really have to feel. You really should, I want feeling. “I”. “Am”. Otherwise you are feeling the wrong thing. You want to be very precise. Don’t do very much, but make quite sure. And you know tension is useless, and the wrong posture is useless. The posture is very important, because if you get the right posture then you are not tense. You cannot get the right posture and retain your tension. By the time you have attained that, you open something.”
“It’s extremely practical. The breath, the passage of the breath. The effect on the blood flow. The state of my mind.”
“I am in a lot of swirling fog, but at least I can see my own body. If you drive a car in very bad fog, as one used to before the very good lighting we have today, it was absolutely essential to see something.You used to have to open the door to see the kerb. If you could watch the kerb, then you had some idea of where you were. But if you couldn’t see the kerb, you were completely lost.”
“And the kerb for us is our body. It’s our own body. That will tell us something. Try that way.”
“A little shock won’t do you any harm, a little shock. A little bit of ice on the back of the neck, or even cold water – but something. Serious.”
Before the meeting finished, Mr Adie turned to one person, called him by name and said rather than asked: ” …you’re going to see me before you go?” He then turned to a second, and said: “I expected you to ring me, Jasmine, but you hadn’t. You’re going to ring me soon?” She said she would. He added: “You don’t want to be stuck and indeterminate. It’s the last thing you want. You’re here to receive help so you’re not stuck. And you feel stuck. Well, then.”
He then spoke to yet a third person: “Dot, how are your feelings? I don’t want to know. I want you to know. I want you to know what’s going on, inside. You have to become pointed a bit. You must focus more.” Then came his final word to a group: “Well.”
It is very simple, maybe even too simple for us, but everything flows from that answer to Alec. Note the importance he gives the exercise of “I am.” I would say that there were foundations to Gurdjieff’s methods: the ideas which provide the backdrop and the essential information one needs to choose an aim (far aim and near aim); the daily programme to implement the ideas, coming to consciousness and struggling with false personality (including in that identification, negative emotion and all the manifestations of sleep); group work with questions and answers and practical work; reading his books; the music and the movements; and finally but not least of all, the exercises.
The exercise “I am”, with feeling and sensation was the last exercise Gurdjieff gave the Adies. He gave it to Mrs Adie, and told her to telephone Mr Adie and impart it to him. Perhaps that is a good place to finish for the year 2018.
Joseph Azize, 26 December 2018