Ouspensky -Move from this Dead Spot (28 March 1989, final)

This is the final question from the meeting of Tuesday 28 March 1989. It was asked by Muriel: “In the last couple of weeks Mr Adie, I’ve had periods of very intense work followed by periods where it’s very difficult to renew effort or to make effort, and I remember some reading from Jane Heap on renewal of effort after periods of work. I’m interested in how to move from this dead spot, but I’m not quite sure how to apply that.”

“What do you think that it might be?” he asked her.

“I hesitate to use the word ‘resistance’,” she replied, “because it doesn’t feel quite like that.”

“You’re given a bit of advice: ‘move from this dead spot’, and you see that you do not know how to think about it, what to do.” I will pause to note that Mr Adie often referred to how Ouspensky would say: “I need to move from this dead spot.”

“It is so difficult to understand, but perhaps the difficulty is more in my state. After all, you wouldn’t take it literally, would you? You don’t imagine that it means just to move ten feet along, does it? However, if you think what is required in order to move, you’ll find it expands very quickly. First of all, movement requires a direction. But what direction? Ah! My aim! I had forgotten that. And then it needs an impulse: and that comes from my feeling. My feeling!”

“Yes, thank you.”

Mr Adie waited a little, then added: “Try to take a certain amount of time, in order to try to think, to try and ponder, because we need that. We need that in a serious way: how to ponder with new values, not according to those values which we have picked up in ordinary sleep? Our thinking usually goes by chance association.”

“This question of ‘pondering’ has many aspects, and we must try and learn how to think. Thought takes a certain form: it certainly cannot be formless. But what form has thought? What form has to do with my state in relation with the effort to think?”

“I take two elements there: first, I am trying to think, and second, I also realise that this action will have a certain form. There are a million of ways to think, in order to learn my state, in order to not lose energy, in order to not go down a level but to go up, in order to try and understand my life so that I might understand more about life generally.”

“All this in order that I might confront what passes for my values. If I can remain there for a little while, I will really see my desire, because my desire attracts my thought. I will see that my thought begins to move in that direction. You have quite strong desires some of you. What are they, what do they depend on, what would happen if you don’t succeed, and when, and how long?”

“All sorts of things come into this. Well, please do try and bring more questions, you should. If we as individuals are serious, we will have material, we will try to think. Thinking is not easy, it leaves questions, and the questions can then be brought, and exchanged. When a certain level is reached, we could have a busy exchange, but you can’t say that this has been a busy exchange. I think I make it too easy. What do you think, do I, make it too easy? Or do you think I’m terrible?”

(We laughed)

“Try and understand what happens. There are about twenty-four people here. And we’ve been here for an hour. What has transpired? There have been questions, but there could be more; and in particular there could be more force here. If we were interested, we would be saying: ‘Yes, that’s my question, yes,’ and we would find something, something which could build up, you see. If only we had that attitude, but why to sit silent? There is a whole week of life before us now. All of us, when we arrive next week, will have had a week of life, given life. Bring something of it. It’s freedom that we need, the presence to be free, so refreshing and so different.”

With that, Mr Adie ended the meeting. But I wanted to point out how his answer held together. The question turned around how sometimes Muriel could make efforts, but sometimes she could not. She tried to use the consideration Ouspensky had suggested, that I need to move “from this dead spot,” but had not been able to use it practically. Mr Adie then broke down what must be implicit in such a statement: the direction, and the impulse, just to start – in other words, the aim and the feeling. Further, to “move from this dead spot” must include becoming able to think without being at the mercy of chance associations, and beyond that, of being able to revalue our values.

But before I go I will refer to something which alludes to something said earlier in the meeting, but which I had been pondering; that is the importance of understanding that an experience may not be deep or accompanied with an impact, but yet may be significant. By that, I mean that we sometimes make efforts, and feel that they are lack-lustre; that compared with other moments when we have made efforts, they were dull, they did not move me. That may well be true: it would probably mean that there was little positive feeling, and it takes many years of diligent work until I can summon my feeling of myself.

My point is that even if the impression of my effort is weak, what I see may yet be significant. If I am looking for the signpost to “Parramatta,” for example, what is important is that I see the signpost well enough to read it. It is not so important that I might not be able to read it with great clarity. It is sufficient to have the information it conveys. I think more of our efforts convey information than we usually admit to ourselves: something in us likes to be dismayed. Why? Do we misread it as a sign of sincerity?

Joseph Azize, 6 March 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *