“You Need it more than Air” (Thursday 11 March 1982, Pt I)

These are the first two questions from the meeting of Thursday 11 March 1982. They were clearly inter-related. The first question was from Mitch, who said: “Mr Adie, I’m finding it very difficult to work at the moment there seems to be so much going on in my external life that I’m so identified with. I know in my head what is needed, and I do my preparation, but still seem unable to free myself from thought adequately in the morning.”

You see the picture as it is,” said Mr George Adie. “That’s what the position is. You don’t deny it, it’s a fact for you. So, in that situation that you see it. Now, having seen that, what is necessary?”

Mr Adie really was asking him for a reply. There was a silence. Mr Adie turned to the group: “Anybody?”

After a further silence, he continued: “We’re all in this position. What is necessary if we arrive at that point that Mitch has arrived at, where he’s seen that, taken it like that? What then is my need?”

Still no one spoke. He asked again: “Exactly in that situation what do I need?”

Finally, Mitch offered: “I experience another possibility here than I am able to come to during the week.”

“Yes,” said Mr Adie, “it means I want an experience of something which helps me at a higher level. In that situation, what is going to help me? Surely after all this I don’t deny in myself the possibility of change.”

I will just note here the importance of this, that I do not deny that I have the possibility of change.

“You say you know what to do,” Adie went on, “you remember, but, the fact is that you don’t, really. The knowledge is not near enough to you. I really have to experience it inside.”

“See, there are different approaches at different times. Fifty years ago there were no books, and we were given pieces of the system and it was tremendous, the impact of the idea of energy, the idea of being, the orders of man, the four bodies of man. All these amazing ideas were given, once, they were given once like that. And sometimes if somebody introduced a friend or someone into the work they could hear it again.”

I take it that Mr Adie is referring to the days with Ouspensky, when the talks now in The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution were given to beginner. He continued: “Today we have books and writings which circulate, but perhaps that does not support the same tremendous valuation for the ideas, so that now we haven’t enough valuation. We don’t today go to the ideas the way we used to when they were written nowhere. As a result, we don’t recognise the active element in the ideas. What idea in your situation, exactly as you described it, is necessary?”

To free myself from identification and come to a centre of being,” said Mitch.

“In your position, it is the question of need. And if I accept that, then how am I in front of that idea? Do I remain just as I was?”

You’re right,” agreed Mitch, “I tend to take it very habitually and that’s part of the problem.”

“Like that, it is just information. It isn’t your understanding. To be knowledge it has to be active, or more to the point, I have to be active towards it on the inside. I actually have to have an impulse. So ask yourself now: what kind of impulse is there in me? Can I answer? What kind of impulse? Am I free from denial at the moment? Is there anything really active in me? Have I got a wish of any sort?”

“You see, in the situation that you describe, when you are there, who’s going to help you? You have to find the help from yourself, from what you have been given.”

“You have to place yourself so that you can understand it. That means to feel about it, to have an inclination, an impulse. You won’t stop identification, you won’t stop anything, won’t do anything, won’t understand anything, unless you have an inner impulse, a wish. So, what is my attitude to that idea? Having said that, surely, I can approach the idea and it is not so dead.”

“There’s very much to be said on this. I’m glad you brought it just like that because, as I said, everybody is in just that position. They may not see it, but it relates to everybody now. I need something. What is it? What am I trying to build up within myself? Keep the question, keep it in that situation, keep aware of it.”

“If you were strolling along and saw something that you believed, a fairly substantial lump of gold, you wouldn’t just look at it and pass on, would you? You’d do something about it, you’d pick it up and polish it, you’d dust it and see, test it and find out, wouldn’t you? What do we do in that way? Somehow, I must find an impulse.”

This was developed in the very next exchange, initiated by Jilly: “Mr Adie,” she said, “those words and thoughts very much apply to myself, and I have been thinking, along that line, to go with the fact that I’m so identified endlessly with my everyday job, that I don’t spare the time to think clearly about the importance of this work and I came to the conclusion that, perhaps my problem is that I don’t dislike myself enough. I haven’t got so sick of myself … although I’ve occasionally had feelings like that on the weekend.”

You see obstacles in yourself,” said Mr Adie.

Yes,” said Jilly, “But I don’t examine them and I haven’t enough impulse to change.”

“This idea of the impulse to change can’t remain just an idea, that’s the thing. I think I need ideas, but an idea alone is not enough. I have to bring myself to the idea, otherwise it’s just a passive thing, something of the head alone, with no force. So how can I find the impulse towards it? The realisation that I need the impulse is already something. But what do I know, definitely, from all my experience of impulse? How do I recognise an impulse, what is an impulse, in this sense? It’s like fishing, I have not much chance of catching it unless I know something about it. I mean I wouldn’t even recognise if I caught it, would I?”

I must go on something I know. I realise that something I have known is not there at the moment. But something in me knows something. I can only try and make place for it. I need to stay with a recognition of the lack, the recognition that I need something. I’m not sure what it is, but still I need. Then it can come. I have to find the impulse within me, otherwise nothing will change.”

“Now the ideas themselves surely have force, they’ve touched me at times. But if have no sensation, no feeling, no reality, I’m just a lot goings-on about things, including that I can’t do anything, that I’m so identified and so much, personal psychology. It’s not worth having at all.”

“I have to put that aside for a moment and bring myself into a state where something is possible. This re-collection brings the recognition which is more important than air. I say more important than air because you can go on breathing automatically. But this is never automatic. In this sense, the quickening of realisation that I must change my state is more important than the air you breathe. Everybody has something, and everyone here, practically speaking has already received a great deal. I have to make place for it, I have to connect with it and so on. I have to take action. I have to take action. I’m thirsty. I want to drink, and unless I take the glass onto the tap I shan’t drink, shalt I? It’s just as practical as that.”

Joseph Azize, 10 July 2019

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