Seeing Self-Importance (25 October 1988, Pt II)

This is the second question from the meeting of Tuesday 25 October 1988. Tony said: “I’ve been having strong and repeated negative emotion. Sometimes it’s expressed as negative emotion, other times it doesn’t get beyond a huge tension. A tension that physically overcomes me, I sort of feel hot and tight. I realised that this was getting more and more, these were sort of occurring two, three times a day, so I have worked.”

Tony stopped there. Rather than speak to a generality, Mr Adie asked: “For example?”

“This week I have worked to make a list, and it’s helped a lot and I started sitting down each night and writing what examples I had in the day, and as the week progressed I found it harder to find examples because I was sort of letting them go during the day. An example would be a car trying to cut into my lane in the traffic and not letting the person in and just forcing my way so they couldn’t cut in. Another example would be, someone in the hardware store walking in front of me slowly and I just got infuriated every time I tried started to pass them there would be a stack of goods there.”

“So that’s the opposite of the car,” Mr Adie remarked. There was some laughter at that.

“The car one got worse,” said Tony, “the man wound his window down and shouted at me, so I went over to my window and shouted at him. I’m not trying to be amusing. By the time I finished I was really quite exhausted. My work is trying to find the common link between them. I’m sure, there’s always a strong sense of my importance, or, “I’m in a hurry. Don’t they realise I’m in a hurry?”

“What I need to realise is that anything that I observe is a start,” replied Mr Adie. “If you can see this sense of self-importance with any clarity, you will see that it is a lot of rubbish.”

Tony cut in: “Yes, I sort of realise that and it’s been a great help and weeks have gone by and it’s been getting worse and worse. This week I realised that if I didn’t work, nothing would change.”

“It begins with observation, and that observation going deeper,” replied Mr Adie. “It’s very difficult to see the self-importance, because self-importance depends upon not being seen. When this self-importance takes the stage it won’t let people cut in, but on the other hand it wants to tread everybody else down and go forward. Self-importance doesn’t wish to be seen. So if I can see it, that’s the thing. Can I see and feel it, and become impartial to it? I need to do something about it, but not get into wars and fights. It’s the moment of being conscious, it’s the moment of noticing in what way you’re related to the world and to the people in it, and to heavens above, if you like.”

“We forget about all about creation, the sun. It doesn’t exist, there’s only this infernal fellow trying to get in front of me: that’s all. What a hopeless situation.”

“Now it doesn’t mean that while I am walking or driving in traffic, that my head is filled with visions of starry places or something like that. It doesn’t mean that at all. But it does mean that within me there can be something which is beginning to remember myself in relation to the creation. I am a person, on the earth, under the sun, in a galaxy. So, I see that we’re like a couple of ants duelling. If anything we are much less, much smaller, because ants of course don’t fight like that, they go side by side and let each other pass. I mean, they treat each other as if they’re the same family.”

“I need to know what’s going on, and especially what’s going on inside me. Unless I know that, I don’t know what’s outside of me, of course, I can’t know that at all. This fellow that was trying to push you off the road may have had a sick daughter, or there was some terrible news he was trying to deal with. You don’t know what is making him rush. See, it might have been anything. It might have been something you would have quickly helped him with if you knew about it. But in any case, whether it was or not, your reaction is very costly, isn’t it?”

“When I have those experiences or a series of them, I need to try and understand what I ought to do about them, from the point of view of making use of it. How not to forget it. It would be very good if you could remember it, wouldn’t it? If I even tried to remember it, it would be very good. So, how can I remember it? I may not be driving the car the next day, so the same situation doesn’t seem to present itself, but I still get negative.”

“One doesn’t realise that whole lifetimes pass in a few seconds. If we could have that realisation, it would make such a difference. We think it terms of, “this is terrible, and all that is terrible, time has disappeared.” But instead of that it’s moving, moving, moving. You see, there’s a limit to our times. If you take perfume, it’s a great gift man has, that he can sometimes stop and smell a rose. It only lasts a second or two, you couldn’t go on puffing around the roses after having smelled a few, you have to wait a little while in order to get an equal impression. So how am I to be towards all the extraordinary impressions that are available? See, I’m halted, there’s no easy answer, we’re trying to find a way, so we halt before this corner at the moment, but now, just consider what is to be the way.”

This was taken at a fairly basic level. That is the most important level. There are at least things to remark on for those of us who have been trying for a while: first, what Mr Adie said in passing about the need to register my observations with the feeling, too. In fact, an observation registered with all three centres is quite a different event, really, it’s a being-event, of a far higher quality than one seen by just the head, for example. The second remark concerns will. At some point, we must start to exercise will more consciously, more deliberately.

Joseph Azize, 3 April 2020

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