As part of the ongoing project of transcribing the tapes of the meetings with Mr Adie, I typed up this. It is the beginning of the morning address of Sunday 11 October 1987. What happened was that Mr Adie was now having readings from All and Everything before breakfast, lunch and dinner. For years there had been a reading only before lunch. But now, with the extra readings, he often commented upon the morning reading, and then brought a practical idea (although, as I often say, ideas can be of such a high level that if we receive them with some presence, the study of ideas is practical.) This is the first section only, the discussion of the reading. The first words of the address were lost. It beings mid-sentence.
Mr Adie … represented like that: what was his aim? I mean, we have to ask ourselves such questions all the way through, otherwise it cannot be terribly important to us, can it? The whole thing is a great mystery: there’s an intelligence operating all the way through All and Everything. Either we read it or listen to it with an attempt to understand, or we accept it without thinking, or we take it as an exaggeration, but we really need to ask: why did he choose to present things just in that way?
In this case, why did he choose to represent this scene in such a way? Obviously he would not have sung: “Let her with the saints repose, now that she’s turned up her toes”, because that’s Armenian, or at least he was born into the Greek and Armenian languages at that time. So he has used a different language, and that itself makes some adjustment necessary. How did he remember his infancy? It’s all very vivid, and it happened, obviously, like the argument about the big toe of the pigeon, of course it happened, but why did he choose that?
Surely one reason would be to convey the enormous effect of the early instructions and impressions made on him by his grandmother. You see from the first the dominating factors which affected his essence, his understanding right through his life. So it’s an indication: if we want to understand our own lives, we’ve got to be able to begin to acquire the memory to go back. Everything is written in each of us: it is all there, but we are not accustomed to be in a state where we can get hold of it. However, our practical work develops that.
Some of you have already found that you are beginning to remember things which are connected with your operation as it is, and which it is valuable to know because they aid your inner work. These are often things you haven’t remembered for a very long time, maybe not until just now. If I cannot remember any of that, then I am at a great loss to understand the qualities of my constitution.
I want to know why my thought is like that, you see. My thought always goes like that, and it is not at all productive for me, and leads me into a rather grim sort of circle of repetitive complaints. I never chose to have that thought, that tendency. So how did I get it? Why? Or why does my left arm always move up like that?
Without this knowledge, I blame myself. I don’t know any better than to criticise myself for having those thoughts, or being subject to that tendency. But no, I didn’t choose it, I was presented with it. It was a lousy thought I heard somewhere and it has stuck. But I have forgotten all that.
And of course there are other reasons for these things being in us. It is part of our work to learn this.
Deidre then said that she was interested in the fight, the seven roots and the seven colours on his tooth. She finished with a question: “I wonder what he was trying to give?”
“You wonder? Good, then you have some material to ponder. Think of the octave, consider that, and see. But don’t be too superficial about it, or try and draw useless conclusions. Perhaps it indicates only that at that time laws were entering into the events of his life. Perhaps a child senses laws which an adult cannot sense.”
“Christ said unless you become like one of these little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. And that was as if to say: “Unless you become as simple as a child, as a clean, not with all these apparatuses, these pre-possessions, assumptions and theories which prevent one from seeing anything”. Could it be?”
Pierre then said that in becoming a little familiar with the works of Mr Gurdjieff, he (Gurdjieff) seems almost superhuman: even the glimpses of what he achieved in comparison with what I (Pierre) have achieved are vastly different. Pierre wonders if Gurdjieff shows himself as a child to show that he is a person just as we are?
“Certainly it has that aim. In other words, it is put there purposely to serve for the evolution of everybody who will read it, try and understand it, and use it.”
“So perhaps it isn’t so surprising when we behave like chubby mites, or disgusting little brats. Young boys with promising exteriors and dubious interiors?”
Kildare said that he had always puzzled me over the boy with the extremely complex long sentence. It was obviously not supposed to have occurred just like that. It wasn’t supposed to be literal realism, but the boy may have said something very long-winded.
“Yes, that is very interesting,” replied Mr Adie, “because I have not been at all able to understand the last six or eight lines of it. But that may be the point. Was he just comping out with everything that had been stuffed into him? There was no mistaking his opening words.”
Kildare then wondered if there was a problem with the translation.
“No, Mr Gurdjieff intended it like that. I think he was satisfied, more or less you know, with the book. No, I don’t think it is a mistranslation. Anyway, there it is. He thought it was right. This was his life’s work, make no doubt, to write that book. Year after year, it took him seven years to write, all over the place, hundreds and hundreds of notebooks, he said he could remember which pile, and which one, and when he wrote it, which cafe he was in, and in which town, and which place. A great work. This is what he put down, and it was marvellously translated into a special sort of English by Orage, because Mr Gurdjieff had no – he could not have produced very many of the English words and sayings and things – and Orage has just created this almost like a special English. It is English, but it brings a sense of the mystery, don’t you get a sense of the Eastern surroundings, by the use of this English?”
I had wondered how people missed the important point of what Mr Adie was saying: that we need to understand the processes by which we have been conditioned. Rather, they wanted him to clear up issues or answer tangential questions for them. Truly, we did not think enough for ourselves. One of the dangers of having a real teacher like Mr Adie is the temptation to rely upon him.
Yet, I should not be rash. That last question, which I had in my conceit thought double-dumb, elicited Mr Adie’s wonderful answer about the writing of the English book, and Orage’s near-miraculous achievement.
Joseph Azize, 2 May 2019
These rainbows were photographed from my room in the seminary in Karam Saddeh, probably in 2008.