Sport: Legitimate Interest or Identification? (11 July 1989, Pt II)

This continues the transcript of the meeting of Tuesday 11 July 1989. The next exchange was with Daisy.

Daisy:   I’ve been making a serious effort to work with unnecessary talking. After last Tuesday’s meeting, somebody had spoken about failing at their plan, not being able to carry through with their plan for the day. And you had said to stay with that and to see why, why the plan hadn’t been carried out.

Mr Adie:   That’s what you’ve been trying?

Daisy:   My plan has been to set a time when I know I will be with people and to attempt no unnecessary talking, so I chose lunch last Wednesday.

Mr Adie:   Who was there?

Daisy:   At lunch it was a very good opportunity, there were other people and a person who was unexpected, and there was quite a bit of conversation.

Mr Adie:   But who was there? I mean, were they friends outside the work or in the work? That can make quite a difference when it comes to such efforts.

Daisy:   No, they were people in the work and one person who normally isn’t there. There was conversation, there was more conversation than usual.

Mr Adie:   Yes, but what I want to try and do is to get to the important point which we can share. There’s quite a lot of setting the stage in this report. Surely what is important is that there was a meal, with other people in the work. But now, what did you find? You see, if it takes so long to come to the point of the inner work, one loses, it has been conversational.

(There followed a silence.)

Can’t you come direct to what you want to say about your efforts to remember yourself, and not get lost in unnecessary talking?  What did you find?

Daisy:  I found although I didn’t speak unnecessarily, I had many associations going on in my mind. I then tried not to own those associations and not to grab onto them, to be free of them to observe them but not to …

Mr Adie:   Get lost in them.

Daisy:   Get lost in them, and I realised in getting lost I would manifest by unnecessary speaking, there was a very strong connection.

Mr Adie:    So, you managed to keep down the speaking to a minimum?

Daisy:   Yes, and to realise that, very much of unnecessary talking is a manifestation of negative emotion, identification, pride …  I’ve seen it when I’m in periods when I haven’t specific plan or specific time. At the end of the day, I was able to see that I speak unnecessarily, almost without control.  

Mr Adie:   Quite without control, but I need to see it at the time. Because, otherwise, I don’t really remember the impact and what it is. It’s no good afterwards seeing you punched a person in the eye, it isn’t the same thing as the actual fact of the matter. And my thoughts might easily achieve that at times.

Do you have a taste of the difference? It is better to have seen it in retrospect than never to have any inkling of it, but it would have had more life, it would have carried more conviction had you seen it at the time. And then, perhaps, had you seen it at the moment, you would have focussed more immediately upon it. Perhaps the rather discursive nature of the introduction was related to not having been quite present enough there for you to come to the surface. That is why all this was seen only later in the evening.

Well, let’s continue with this meeting and try and bring questions which cut through this fog, because, if we could come to the vivid moment and bring the question, it would help us to work. Otherwise I am vague. I must have a point in my work, I must have some idea, why this and why that, why I try that. All the arrangements are details, just details. What I saw is important, and why I don’t understand it, and what it means.

What you want to be able to say to yourself, what out of that, what is the essence for you? And how can you proceed? What effect is going to have, you hope, on your future efforts? Without such questions it isn’t very, so to speak, very concrete.

I have to have been present sufficiently for such questions to arise, because the jabbering I’s which are identified with this sort of unnecessary talking never consider it from this perspective at all. How could they? It would be pouring cold water on their little frolics.

Pavel:   Mr Adie, last week you mentioned, to try and see what our interest are, just in the ordinary sense, and when I thought about that, I knew one of my major interests is sport.

Mr Adie:   From an early age? That’s right we share it. Have a look at the back of the paper first. (laughter)

Pavel:   So, I made an effort while there was a cricket test on, not to turn on the TV which I tend to do all the time. That helped a lot because I could keep on seeing how it was drawing me like a magnet to go and just switch on and a score and, so that was good. And, on Saturday there was also a football game on, and I turned it on to watch it, and my son had just woken up and he was sitting in my lap, and after a while he got bored and didn’t want to sit there. I was sort of drawn to it like a magnet, I couldn’t move to do anything to attend to his needs. A friend turned up who wanted to talk to me, but I was so in gripped that I felt sort of guilty, embarrassment, but I couldn’t get up and free myself to just to talk to him like a friend.  

Mr Adie:   Did he understand that?

Pavel:   I don’t think he did. He didn’t want to talk he just sat behind, I could feel him looking at me … (laughter) It was interesting to see how gripped I was by that interest.  

Mr Adie:   Yes, one is gripped, it’s true, gripped by habit, by values. You find that by the age of eight or ten, we are identified with scores, colours and competition and Australia against England or some other nation. Terrific. And then the enormous glory if they score a hundred, and terrible agony if they get bowled out, all the anguish.

Yet, at a certain level, and to some small extent, there is a legitimate pleasure in watching sport, only we become identified and it all becomes mixed with competition, vanity and pride. There is a certain interest if you can appreciate the beauty of some of the movements. For instance, take the world’s most famous cricketer. What is his name? He must be an Australian, of course. What was his name?

Pavel:   Don Bradman.

Mr Adie:   Top Marks. Don Bradman, his movements were pleasing to watch, the way his limbs moved, the bat in action. Marvellous seeing him go down the wicket.

So, there’s a mixture of identifications and interests. That’s informative. You learn something subtle like that. Sport has that in it, but as we become more and more identified the more sensational it has to be. Perhaps this is why Rugby is so popular. You know how fiery it gets: they lose their tempers, they suffer concussions, and they break their necks, all that. I expect you don’t like the blood?

Pavel:   I like it all … (laughter)

Mr Adie:   Yes, well. You have got something interesting there. But now, you wanted to wake up, so, as you said, when the test was on, you didn’t just automatically get up and turn it on for the score. What part of me does that effort feed? It must be a more sensible, rational part, less taken by fascinations and obsessions. It can also be useful to make a definite decision to watch it for a definite limited period, thirty seconds, trying to remember myself, aware of my sensation and my feeling but not identified. Thirty seconds, but what a tale is told, tugged this way, that way, drawn out, repelled, fascinated. And then, it is an interesting exercise, if you feel in a bad mood, switch the TV off, especially when the sport is on, and then go and sit in front of it, looking at the blank screen for a quarter of an hour. (laughter)

It is a humorous picture, but it’s also a serious suggestion. A real test, but of being and will-power, no? To submit to something so absurd when the cricket is on! Then, if your friend dropped in at that moment, you would be able to get up and greet him, but free. What a way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Joseph Azize, 26 December 2019

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