This is from the meeting of Tuesday 25 October 1983, with Mrs Adie, who was sitting out the front with two assistants.
The first question was from Dolly. Dolly would speak in a soft voice, projecting sincerity, yet no answer ever seemed to help her.
“The thought has come back that I needed to have divided attention. If I try and remain within, there’s a sort of solidity, and know that I’m trying not to consider, trying to have something inside and not being taken. And there’s something there, and I know that, that’s right, but it goes. It worries me that I forget everything. I forget where I put things, I forgot where I’ve been two seconds before, and it helps to bring me out of anything that I’ve been trying.”
“And yet it could help you,” replied Mrs Adie, “if you could bring it in, bring yourself in. You could use that, it’s a matter of your attention, it’s because you’re asleep. I know that state, it makes you forget everything, but it can be useful to you.”
“I don’t know how,” answered Dolly.
“When you have decided to start, you have to start from yourself. You said you feel your solidity, you feel present in yourself. You have to start from that, then you let yourself go into the outside. But, if you know you tend to forget things, then you put your attention on that. Know what you’re doing, and that will help you to remember. This is not something new, is it something new?”
“Well, it’s a very good thing to work on; it’s because you’re asleep. Of course, and of course you gather your attention for a little while, your presence, yourself, but of course it goes, it has to be maintained by a renewal and you can’t do that all the time. How do you plan your day? It all starts in the morning, everything depends on that, otherwise you’ll sleep the way through.”
“Some days I can’t seem to get my head …” Dolly began.
“No, you don’t try, some days you don’t try. You forget. If you remember it, you can. And remembering has to be something that’s important to you. You have to realise when you start your day, when you’ve done your preparation, this moment is important to you. Because you realise, you remind yourself that it will not last by itself. So, you have to arrange something to remind you: either an hourly stop, half hourly, not actually a stop, but remembering and recording the moment’s presence. Remembering what you want, you want to wake up after the sleep. It’s only since you’ve been trying, you noticed how you forget things probably. That is one thing that has come out of the efforts that you have made. It’s not exactly something new is it?”
“No. It’s just that it gets worse, I never brought it before because I thought, well, I’ll learn myself and find out something, but I just couldn’t … and I never really succeed at all in preparation. I am always hurried, there’s a voice saying I haven’t got time, and I know I should give myself lots of time to wake up, an hour.” Dolly kept adding more problems.
“That is probably too long,” responded Mrs Adie. “And you don’t take into account your resistance to it. No one does: it’s a struggle, I don’t want to do it, I prefer to sleep. It’s an effort, I have to make an effort. When I think about it, there’s nothing there. So, what is going on in my head? Well, I have to use my head. I know with my head, it’s very necessary for me. So I have to look at that. Wait with it until I am somewhat present to my head.”
“Sometimes it seems that there has to be such a big effort to get out of my head,” countered Dolly.
“But if you think that way, of course it will become a mountain. It is an effort, you can’t find an easy solution to this, you’ve seen the difficulty in this before. What time do you start work?”
“8.15 a.m. Mostly I get up at 6 a.m.”
“And when do you do your preparation?”
“I try and do it practically immediately. Otherwise I’ll have a cold shower and then try and do it. But I can’t even say that I do a preparation, I really can’t. Not even sensation, only the finger exercise, that’s the only thing.”
“Yes,” said Mrs Adie, “because it’s self-taught. It’s a failure that you dictate to yourself. I haven’t learnt that have in fact I got my own initiative, I do have an influence over it. To make any efforts requires an act of will, actually, but I just go through the motions thinking I have done it. But now you say you start with the finger exercise? For some people it’s good to start with, because if it’s really done seriously, with some effort, it does bring the attention together, in all three centres. Others might find it better to try to call their attention without recourse to it.”
After a pause Mrs Adie added: “But I have the impression that you’re not at all moved by the idea of the preparation, you think it bad or useless, something that you have got to do, and you don’t realise or appreciate the value of it or see how it can help you. How are you going to change that? Have you never found it helped?”
“Yes. No, I do see the value.”
“But are you a bit sleepy or full of dreams? Of course we are always full of dreams. It’s a question of whether you’ve got it first is very important, I mean, you’re much better able to do it if you have a cold shower. Maybe or maybe not, a cup of coffee. A cold shower maybe is a good idea. You are very dependent on your head, what your head tells you. Your feelings maybe be completely absent, but your head can understand why it can’t do anything; it can understand.”
“Yes, when that happens, I know that’s right and as soon as feeling comes into it, then there’s dreams.”
“Oh no, that’s not right.” What Mrs Adie means that if I am conscious to feeling, then I cannot be lost in dreams. She continued: “What kind of feeling? Not real feeling, not feeling of yourself. If you have feeling of yourself and you have got into a quiet state and have found your feeling, it requires all your attention to keep it, and for the moments that you can you won’t dream. You’re too much caught by it. The one thing that can help you, your head, is also great difficulty because it’s taken by dreams. But your head sees what’s going on and can pull it back, but you must keep some attention. You clear your head, but you must keep some attention on your sensation and on your feeling, then you won’t dream provided there’s some effort there. If the effort goes then everything tumbles down. The effort is to keep the attention quiet and stable.”
Once more, Dolly countered Mrs Adie’s help: “Yes. There are times when I can do that, but that is another time when I forget everything straight off.”
“Well, I don’t think I can say anymore,” said Mrs Adie. “Of course, for much of the day you’ll forget it. But you try whenever possible in whatever you’re doing, to keep your attention on what you’re doing in a very relaxed way. It means you have a little bit of feeling of your own presence, and you follow your movements, whatever you’re doing, whatever your occupation is. You try not to dream, and not expect to be able to keep it up for hours, you can’t. On the strength of your preliminary effort, the amount of feeling that is behind it, will depend whether it will come back again or not, whether, once you’re gone whether you’re lost. But this is our problem, this is everybody’s trouble. There’s no easy answer to it, what we like best is to dream. It’s quite automatic. Without effort I dream all the time. There’s a limit to the amount of effort I can make. But I don’t really like to think about it, all I do is get disturbed when I find I’m dreaming. But I don’t really make the kind of effort that can turn it for that moment anyway. Well, try again, you have to keep on trying and to not worry about it, worry doesn’t help.”
That can sound like it is a cliché, but the comment “worry doesn’t help,” accurately pins the problem: something in Dolly wouldn’t give up the worry.