This is the first selection from the meeting of Tuesday 28 June 1983 with Mrs Helen Adie. Jack spoke first: “Mrs Adie, today I was able to observe myself in a very unusual circumstance: I had to detain a couple of criminals while the police were sent. After the police came and arrested the chaps. I had a very strong impulse to walk around the office collecting accolades and praise, and I went against this impulse and in fact, I went off elsewhere and didn’t seek any praise at all.”
“That needs a different kind of effort,” said Mrs Adie. “To see what seeks applause, not just to repress it.”
Jack agreed: “Yes, completely yes. In fact, when at home I tried not even mentioning the episode, but I just had to let it go and bring out a great gush of what a hero I was, basking in reflected glory from wife and family. By this time there was a rampart beast inside me, screaming and clambering, flexing its muscles saying you deserve this, you’ve earned this, I demand this. I was really powerless in the face of that and I have to admit I only put up total resistance to it this time.”
“Yes,” said Mrs Adie.” But the resistance you put up the first time had a certain amount of tension in it, it was just a suppressing; you hadn’t really given up your wish for applause. You managed not to express invite it, but you haven’t given it up, you were still identified, and hoped it would come.”
“Yes, oh yes.”
“So, you only half did the job, and when you got home, you weren’t able to resist very powerful this urge anymore. That can happen, that’s a very typical example. One doesn’t make the effort in quite the right way. Outwardly, one has the appearance of not looking for praise or whatever it may be, but internally one hasn’t lost, or accepted that I don’t need, that I don’t want it.”
“It’s the same thing when I am expecting a certain negative emotion to express itself very violently, I resist it at the time, but I’m still identified inside. You were still expressing it inside to yourself, so, later when you went home, you no longer had quite the same feeling to resist it.
“It’s there, you can’t lose it, it’s still there, but you can come away from it and look at it impartially. But out it came. So what is to be learned from that?”
“I’m trying to go against something in myself, but I can’t do it in a forcible way. This thing is present; but something in me has got to understand it and be free from it, not fight it, just be free from it. You can’t fight it.”
“Can I say,” added Jack, “this brings to mind that since I’ve been in the work I have quite definable cycles where every two or three years or so, I feel very inclined towards physical violence, and remembrances of days when I was boxing. I don’t go out and pick fights with people, but I do very much have very vivid representations of seeking confrontations. They come in well-defined peaks and in between them … But the peaks in these periods dwindle, there’re dwindling all the time.”
“That’s most important,” said Mrs Adie: “That’s good, that’s a sign that at least you have some result of your efforts. But you can never sit down. It has to be watched. Of course, it goes in cycles, all our work goes in cycles, and in waves too. We have waves where we have much more feeling for it, understanding of it and then it gets to its peak and then begins to drop, that is the law. It’s a very important time for me, I can’t get that same feeling, but I have to try and maintain something even without the feeling, very difficult. But if I do, then the feeling gradually will come back as a result.”
The next questions was from Carlotta, who was trying to apply what Mr Adie had said to her about opening her eyes to try and see people as a step to communicating. Somehow, sometimes there had been more communication, but she could say little more.
“It’s never easy, this sort of is not easy,” said Mrs Adie, “and you have to expect not to have full results to start off with. It’s a great help to look at people without thinking about it, regard them. Regard them as another person, listen to them, accept that you may say something stupid because my head is so awfully completely out of control and it is always got to say something. But then I consider about that, which is adding more wastage. Bit by bit do it, it’s a very good idea to try and look at people.”
“You have a way of sitting with your eyes staring; they’re not really looking at anything. But now you are looking. Try to be free of worrying about what you’re going to say, try be free from that. Try and have an open mind, listen to what they’re saying. Bit by bit, your head will also be under more control, and you’ll be able to reply.”
“It doesn’t all come at once, it’s quite a big thing. Normally everything we try is bound to fail, but I don’t say I can’t, because I don’t know. And I have to remember at the same time, why I do it: what is my particular aim in that? You may not be able to find the words so easily about that, I can understand something without words.”
“What do you think it is in you that makes you not really look at people, is it sort of hiding or what? Is it an embarrassment?”
“Yes. A fear.”
Mrs Adie agreed: “Yes, that’s right, it’s a fear. Always an effort of relaxation. If you sense your body and your breath, then as you travel around the body, adding, you can quieten everything inside as well as outer tensions. You must quieten your feelings, it can be done. As you sense the body, you try and feel your presence much more, that is something much more important that you don’t want to lose. You can’t do it every time, but especially try when you’re caught unaware. The more you could be expecting and ready for that situation and of course more chance you could have. But I can’t always wait for that. I have to try, it has to awaken me, this feeling, it will respond. There’s a silence there in the right way.”
Joseph Azize, 18 April 2019
The art is Mongolian Buddhist.