Using a Word like “Discipline” (25 October 1988, Pt III)

Part One

This is the third excerpt from the meeting of Tuesday 25 October 1988. At the end of the previous excerpt, Mr Adie had been asking Tony about the way forward and, in particular, how he could benefit more from the wealth of impressions. He then said: “Boris found one way. What was that way, Boris? Do you remember what it was you said, the exact word? It was “discipline”?

Boris agreed: “Yes, that is what I said: “Discipline.”

“Yes, “discipline” was the key word, a valuable word, “discipline.” Now, where does it come in? I can bring myself to repeat the word “Discipline,” as if I have never heard it before. In the ordinary way, when I am in waking sleep, I am totally undisciplined. What I am is a machine with habits. But, for us, “discipline” must be some kind of control over impulses, otherwise, I’m just one of Pavlov’s dogs and nothing more.”

“This is a fact: every now and again we get an insight like that. A word suddenly appears in our exchange, like “discipline,” and the need for it is apparent. Then I get a whole host from that. I see that I am undisciplined, there’s no person there to do the disciplinary admonitions.”

“And if there were, who would be the subject of this? All the idiotic imaginary I’s , of course. I really must try and think, I can’t just go off in a blue dream, I want to really try and use the thing to think. Then the word “discipline” begins to acquire meaning. See, we don’t think. If you recall how we were as we walked in, as we took our places here, what did discipline have to do with any of us? It wasn’t present in our whole gamut of words, it just wasn’t there.”

“And it’s a vital word in a way. There are many vital words we totally lack. When we get a reminder, that is really what is valuable. Even Boris will be in danger of losing this, just this word “discipline,” only a word, but a real word expands so much.”

The next question was from Lorna: “I’ve been working with posture this week, very useful, I’m finding it very difficult because there’s a lot of resistance in my body to maintain a certain posture. But I found that there’s a different feeling to me when I’m in this posture, I’m more open. I don’t know if it’s because this is new.”

“Partly, partly,” said Mr Adie. “When I find adjustments, it may not make a big difference, but then again it may: just a little movement, and I do sometimes find that everything changes inside, even my perspective on myself and my world. So this shows that I need to practice. Presently we shall come to be chanting and that sort of thing, very interesting, very related to our work. It’s a question of vibrations. I have to listen, I have to listen with my feeling, I have to listen with my sensing, and suddenly out of this, here, here, comes a marvellous hum, harmonics will appear, but I need to sense and find the place. And I need that kind of searching for any work, for any inner work, a really, careful, careful searching. I really don’t see how a person can do that unless they have a sort of sense of prayer, because they can’t just put their hands on it like that. If they wait and try, then it comes and then it’s comes a sort of gift – not a sort of gift, as a gift.”

Lorna moved on or changed the topic, I am not sure which: “I noticed with internal considering when at times during the week how different my posture was and how cringing it is.

“Yes, sometimes cringing, sometimes ingratiating, yes.”   

“Kind of undignified,” Lorna added.

Mr Adie did not quite hear: “Was it “undignified” you said? Yes. Well. What would you wish to dignify in you? It’s not necessary, if you’re really there, the reality of presence is the dignity, it’s the dignity of reality. Can there be any dignity about unreality?”

“But now, don’t lose what you brought before. You spoke about your efforts to have a more becoming posture, and the difference it made. That search is more important than concerns about how I appear to others. I should study that, if I were you.”


Part Two

It is difficult for an editor to resist the inclination to add words, phrases, even entire sentences to clarify the meaning of what he has transcribed. It is especially difficult when the editor knew the speaker, and sees that what was said does not present a balanced picture of what the speaker understood. I think, on balance, the best course will often be to transcribe what was said, and then to add a note. That is what I am doing now.

In his answer to Mr Adie, he did not intend it to be understood that we should always have the word “discipline” in our heads. He meant that we should it in our being-state. I am certain of this, and it would have been so understood by others because he was forever saying it. I recall once when he was speaking about an exchange where the theme had been “duty.” He conveyed to us, quite vividly, how it had been almost offensive to hear people speaking of “duty” with no sense at all of the reality of the duty, in the very moment they were speaking of it.

But that was by no means the only example. He was sensitive to people using words like “brother” and “sister” sentimentally, without any feeling of themselves as they mouthed it. I think it would be a very inexperienced person who never came across the urge in themselves to pretend to sincerity, enthusiasm, and warmth, by using words cheaply.

The next comment concerns Lorna’s question, or more precisely, her questions. Mr Adie often told Lorna that she jumped around, too much frenetic activity with the kind of energy which escaped from her rather than being measured. The expenditure of that kind of energy does not serve anything higher. It is just dissipated in futility. She had real possibilities, and Mr Adie had a great deal of affection for her. I hope she has developed them.

Joseph Azize, 13 April 2020


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