My Posture Helps me to Notice (1 March 1989, Pt IV)

This concludes my report of the meeting of Wednesday 1 March 1989.

Part One

“Mr Adie,” said Davida, “on my way here this afternoon, I became very aware of a very strong anxiety in my stomach and the feelings that followed were of self-pity, first about my body. There was also a negative complaint about everything, my aches and pains. And my thoughts about my own inner effort were all drawn together with this self-pity. It’s the clearest I’ve ever seen of how powerful it is in me, and when I sat down the same anxiety in my stomach returned, I had this posture of feeling sorry for myself. But I realised that that anxiety was a form of considering that I have in relationship to the work, of being seen as a nullity, someone making no effort.”

“When I see that, it gives me a real possibility, surely?” Mr Adie replied. “I am dispersed, am I not? So, let me come into myself, let me straighten myself, maybe again I straighten myself, and try and think. In a collapsing posture the quality of thought we need is not possible. You’ve already found that, surely. A careful posture allows thoughts of a certain kind. If your chin is declining like this, you just can’t have those thoughts.”

“It’s worthwhile to say: ‘I will do without the thought that I missed through giving up this posture’. You can afford to not to have it. Experiment with the posture. Everything flows then, the blood flows more freely, the air enters and penetrates.”

“The posture helps me find a place in myself which is suitable and trustworthy. We’re told the belly should be down, yet it’s always drawn up. We’re told we have to be upright, and if we’ve studied the Egyptian pictures and representations of people of stature, or from different periods of history which we put up in the library, all of them, practically speaking, present a good posture. Always erect, never tumbling downwards like that. We have to use the body much more.”

Davida added one more comment: “I have been trying to come to an understanding of what it would mean to play a role as a teacher, a real teacher. I found when I remembered during the lessons, I was able to stop inside and somehow the space between how I was and the students changed. It was a different contact. I was able to ask myself a question, what was it that they needed? I could look and see.”

The next question was from Janine: “Mr Adie, every long recess the work peters out in me. But this time it wasn’t so bad. I was reading Meetings with Remarkable Men, just different sorts of readings I set myself, I let that peter out and I sort of accept that I feel thin. I do my preparation now, in this sort of thin way. When I try and make a plan, I don’t relate, it’s not a being wish.”

“It depends what kind of a plan,” he replied, “whether it’s an external plan for your daily life, or if it’s an inner plan for your inner development. It has to be very clear. See, the plan may be something that is necessary for the house, the children, the family or something of this kind. That’s one thing, but if it’s for your inner life, it’s another thing, different level. And you have to be present for both, ideally. In fact if you’re not a little present the plan will be futile, won’t it? That’s why I have to decide, am I now attending to my life on earth, or am I trying to attend to my being needs, the needs of my possible development?”

“I can work on that perhaps, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and try to come to something. This is the time to work for that. Time has to come into it. And if I can’t have a little time for this self-collection, self-examination, there will not be much development. I have to face that. So, I have to find out what’s possible and what’s necessary, and come to a just proportion. It’s extremely interesting, even astonishing, how when I try and work like that, things change and it becomes possible. I need to stand back a little bit and have a little time for myself. Even if I took a little time from my sleep, that would help. A good quality sleep, relaxed, is far more valuable than a lot of turbulence in turning and waking and dreaming.”

“The life we live is interesting if there is some consciousness of awareness. I look at a tree. I notice the bark. Do I have a sensation of the roughness? If I touch the bark, it will scrape me. Do I feel the dampness just under the leaf there?  To understand what I see, the body has to take part. If I see the quality, the body enters into it. I mean I begin to contact the actual objective condition of the tree, it’s smoothness or roughness. It’s almost as if my skin is scraped because I touched it. Imagine if I looked at everything like that. Some people can look at a plant and see that it needs water, with other people it could die in front of them and they won’t notice it. Same thing with people, some people would notice if others are failing or needing, others just don’t notice it.”

“If you relate that to what was said about posture, you will see if I take a good posture which allows all my energies to move and inter-communicate within my body, I would notice far more. I would be connected to the impressions which I receive more vividly. It’s a force for a higher life.”

Part Two

There is a posture of the eyes which is connected to the posture of the entire carriage. There is even a certain posture of the ears. The ears do not move very much, but if my carriage is upright, and I am conscious of the placement of my ears, the nature of my hearing is fuller, it becomes a sensory act. Then I might find that the posture of the eyes has been forgotten, so I adjust. As Mr Adie said, I experiment with the posture. My attention carefully expands so that the entire body is held without the tensions which bend me into a hoop; and the placing, I might say the “horizons” of the eyes and ears, the fields of their impressions, are increased and inter-related. And the more conscious receipt of impressions brings me to a certain sanity, a certain freedom from turning thoughts, and facilitates my taking the next conscious step.

Joseph Azize, 25 July 2020

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