The next question came from Annabelle, who became very emotional as she told her story of how she had had a “tradition” of working at the preparation each morning, but the children kept her so busy that she no longer could. She makes efforts, she said, but then, today: “I got self-pity and negative feelings and every now and then the horse just bolts.”
“It might help you to realise that this situation is not going to go on forever, it’s a special opportunity for you,” said Mrs Adie. “And the most exhausting thing is the self-pity.”
“That’s right,” agreed Annabelle, with some vigour.
“That’s what you really want to have nothing to do with. Now that you understand that, no matter what the situation, no matter if you have no chance to make the preparation, remember that: no self-pity. Perhaps the struggle with self-pity is most effective precisely when the circumstances are in reality hardest. It means when you can hear these words going on in your head, you break away from it. And it’s much better if you can to do it as it is starting up.”
“But the opportunity to work at the preparation will come. You may not know when it will come in the day, but some opportunity will present itself on some days. It may seem hard to sit down when the chance appears, perhaps you wanted to do something else, but if you can see that this is just the opportunity you have been waiting for, it’s much better of course. If you could work something out to make it possible, I don’t know. It’s hard to work much with small children.”
“If I knock the self-pity, I’d set the alarm to get up,” said Annabelle.
“That you need to work against. It’s terribly destructive and it goes on so much and seems to roll on and get heavier and more, collects. It’s rather a non-stop performance for you at the moment, I have no doubt, day and night. But it is also an opportunity really for a super effort almost. If you try and not let it eat you, try and accept what takes place, and again don’t get lost in your sort of panic, with your self-pity. Think about it from a practical point of view, it’s extraordinary what one can devise to keep kids quiet in the morning when they wake up.”
“It is possible sometimes, the baby will be difficult, but also rewarding. The very fact of the children being dependent upon you brings a certain feeling force, does it not? There is no need to give up even though you are absolutely unable to do the preparation in the morning. It’s never too late in the day to do something. Try and make your caring for the children a more serious and constructive effort. Certainly, grapple with the self-pity, and remember, don’t forget that this is temporary, it seems to be going on a long time but it’s temporary, it’s a specially unique chance. Try.”
The next question was from Hannah, who said that her problem was the opposite – her life is running too smoothly.
“Roses, roses. That’s a special difficulty,” replied Mrs Aide.
Hannah said that her “driving force” had been struggling with considering, but now it didn’t seem to cause her much anxiety.
“But is it still there?” asked Mrs Adie. “Is it there but not causing anxiety because you’ve gone to sleep under it?”
Hannah did not really answer the question.
“What do you think that still makes you come?” Mrs Adie now asked. “In many ways it’s more difficult when life is going easy, perhaps I don’t see something to grapple with.”
Eventually, Hannah suggested that she feels something when she attends, and that keeps her coming back, although she was no longer feeling anything in movements.
“One goes through these phases. Try to recall why you ever came, and to understand what it is that you do get here, what is it that you feel. Something attracts you about the idea of work, you feel that there is some purpose. Try to think how your life would be without the work. Do you want to just sleep your way through? It won’t be always roses, roses, either.”
“You’re not totally unique, you know, this happens to everybody at some time or another. You go rolling along, something or rather prevents it from completing slacking off, but sometimes it doesn’t, it does stop. There must be something that you feel that can be acquired by coming, try and find out what it is and try to start immediately and not to let this go on like this, be more practical. Have some aim in your day, have some aim for the next hour and then for the next hour, some aim, some effort which is towards awakening. Otherwise, you won’t remain just as you are. You have to either go on or go down: we never stand still.”
“You are now rolling down, but you’ve seen it. So, you must stop, and immediately begin to make effort. Now is the moment, now. Now. You make effort and you feel your presence, you sense yourself. Then you have to think, how you can put that to use, how you could make use of that, how you can be constructive and make your life useful to you in some way? Some of your relationships can’t be perfect; your activities must have material for you: it’s a question of your attention. Try and be more awake to what is going on. Has the preparation gone completely, or do you still sit down?”
“Yes,” replied Hannah, “but I have lost my line of work with considering.”
“It’s rather vague,” said Mrs Adie: “What kind of considering? There are hundreds of kinds. Was it some some particular considering?”
“It might have been with the people that I worked with.”
“Yes, but what kind of considering is it? Vanity? It’s mostly vanity form some sort or another, but I have to be a little bit more specific. It’s a great discipline on everybody’s part to really think this out. For some reason or another it goes against the grain very much, but that in itself is very much an effort worth making. If you really succeed in making something clear you would already feel differently. It’s necessary to make a move to get out of that rut before you come to a state that you don’t want.”
“It’s not too late even now. Everybody has their own variety of considering you know, there are so many different kinds. Realise how it eats your force, takes your force. Try and see more of what actually takes place, it will help you, you have to know what takes place first. Where you get taken, where you get lost. If you find yourself considering, try and be more specific: what are you considering about? Is it that you don’t want somebody to know something, or see something? Is their opinion of you too low, or is it the wrong one? Are you considering their opinion about you or that they don’t notice you? There’s different things.”
“And then you have to have attitude towards that. When you see one of those things, you try to come away from it, the association about it in your head, try to direct you attention away from it. It’s very interesting. Try to have some sensation of yourself and some feeling of your presence and also spare some attention for the outside so that you can’t dream and there is no room for considering.”
That ended Mrs Adie’s answer. She had put a lot into it. It occurred to me when I was editing this, that perhaps it was just because Hannah had taken “considering” as her line work, a notion too general to be useful for long, that she was no longer bothered by it. It was not that there was no work to do: she had effectively sabotaged her own efforts by not making her line of work specific enough. It is significant that when Mrs Adie asked her about the line, she said that it might have been with her colleagues at her job. As I recall, Hannah left the group about that time. She certainly was no there for long afterwards.
Joseph Azize, 9 May 2019