Three Aspects of Work: A Combined Meeting from 1983

Mrs Adie began the meeting with a preparation, and then playing three pieces of music. Mr Adie then delivered this material:

There are three aspects of work, as I mention here. There’s a great danger that I can, as it were, I be in it, but yet not in it. This is a great danger: failing to work, even when I’m in the work of a group. A great danger is that I can fail to start actually doing any work. I can actually fail to experience what it really means to work. This happens without my knowing it. I cannot know what it means to eat an apple if I’ve never eaten one. I don’t know what I miss. I may have the word, but I have no idea what it is. As so, I can go through the motions of work. I can join the building, gardening team, the sewing team, the cooking team, building team, I can go through the motions of work, but actually not work. I simply go through the motions.

Another great danger, even if I start and actually begin to experience something about work, is that I can while seemingly remembering myself or seemingly remaining in the work, actually leave it. In such a case, I just remain as an inert obstacle to work, and even as a hindrance to the work of others. This is by no means impossible.

There’s nothing comparable with work: work with others, for others, and for the work. And this is why there is a law, it is a law, that those who are not in the work cannot achieve their freedom by themselves. Freedom cannot be gained by anyone without their own conscious effort of work. So that when it occurs as described above and they remain inert and non-participant, although seemingly included, they may still remain for a time within the realm of the possibility of the work. This can continue for a time, and the work of a group may and continue and carry its burden, despite its harmful influence, provided there are not too many such sleepers, non-participants. But as said, only for a time. After which, for one reason or another, I go. But having left, it will become more difficult for me in any other future approach which might occur for me.

But we cannot and must not indulge in any negative attitudes. The sleeper does not know that he fails to work; he does not know what work means, and he has to be treated with compassion. Then perhaps his negative feelings will not be aroused, and it will be easier for him when his next chance occurs.

So there are three aspects: never to begin work, to begin but then to come to a stop and to imagine that I am working, and finally, to begin and to continue working: and that will mean that I am work by myself, and with others, and for the work. But I do not work with others just by being in their company. And there something extraordinary must enter. The second line of work we don’t choose it ourselves. We participate in it with others, and yet we must do it on our own. The work is very difficult. The work provides shocks. The fact that we are all different types gives us shocks.

The first line of work is the work for myself, I only can do that, nobody can do that for me. I’m responsible for it myself. The second line of work is the work with others. I may be working with somebody that, anyway, in the beginning I wouldn’t work with. But I do, because this is what is provided. I wouldn’t do this work, I would do something else. This gives me shocks and friction. It’s an element that I cannot provide by myself. I need the others. They’re absolutely essential to me and yet sometimes I dislike them, I even hate them. This is the material of the work. I’m jealous of them, I criticise them, I dislike them.

And then, the third line of work, is for the work; that it should continue. Of course, that is based on some inner impulse which recognises the value of it, and which is to contribute towards it. So, there are three lines of work, which again is the work triad.

At this point, Stan asked a question: “When you were talking about participating in the work but not going through the motions. I’ve found myself a lot like that.”

Yes, certainly,” Mr Adie replied. “You weren’t participating in that case. No one should imagine that we’re free from this horrible thing. Yet, sometimes it applies and sometimes it doesn’t.”

It seems impossible at those times to know that I am not,” Stan said.

Yes, but don’t forget, we’re at a school. We begin to sense the difference between when we’re closed and shut and tense, when there’s a reaction in us and resistance. We begin to recognise this because we are now receiving shocks. Because of our work and because of our association we receive shocks. We come into a realm which is quite unique; this affects us, and we begin to see. If we can respond to that, gradually more consciously, then there begins to be a change. We then see that this time, I refused, but I begin to see my refusal. This is something. If I see what is wrong, I get a chance, and in a way, I have to manifest. I think I am wrong for the work because, I have automatic habits and so on, which I don’t know. But I don’t have to stay that way: because of the work I’m shown these things, and I get a chance. If I estimate it more objectively, less than my ordinary rubbishy I’s, my conceit for a moment is missing, I see that it’s costly, I don’t need that, it’s a waste, it’s bad. I start the work of reparation.”

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