This is the final report from the meeting of Tuesday 25 October 1983 with Mrs Adie.
Moses said: “I really want to ask about, how to begin a plan of action to change certain attitudes which I have to my father. It’s quite a complicated matter. And where I see someone else acting the way that I do, I would think of them being rather pitiful, rather sort of despicable character. I find that I can’t really talk to my father about anything, even very small things, even if it’s the weather.”
“Why, because it’s the way he reacts or because you have an attitude making it difficult?”
“I start thinking he’s a very stupid man. Mr Adie said I get filled up with conceit. And I can see that, that sort of thing comes into it where if he’s expressing an opinion about something. I just think its way off beam, and I have the right opinion, but he doesn’t seem to know what’s happening at all. I close down and that completely eliminates any possibility of any conversation with him at all. And that happens on the better occasions. Most of the time I really avoid him.”
“So, you’ve really got a very good field of work with that. Yes. You’ve got so many fixed ideas, fixed attitudes; that’s what have to be changed, somehow. You have seen that you are too much shut up inside yourself and your ideas about him. That’s what you need to free yourself up from, your ideas about him. Try to look at him as a new person that you’re meeting for the first time, as a person to whom you have certain obligations, certain responsibilities. May I ask how old he is?”
“He’s in his late fifties.”
“His late fifties? Well, that’s not old. You have to be much more flexible, not so stubborn about your views about him. Let him be what he is, and don’t criticise. Do you quarrel with him, argue with him?”
“No, but you harbour these feelings inside. Well, try and stop the words, put an end to them when they start. Try to change your inner feeling to more an affirmative one. You have a negative attitude towards him. You can’t immediately make it affirmative, but you can at least make it neutral, you need not be negative. Try to be open to him, realise that you don’t really know him at all.”
“You know, Mr Gurdjieff made a very big thing about our attitude to our parents. “Your Father is your God,” he used to say. Nearly everybody has a difference of opinions with their parents, and very bad attitudes – very frequently. Often. It depends on how you think of him. Try to have a more open mind. Don’t put him into these categories and then shut the door on him.”
“People have often spoken to me about their difficulties with their parents, and they often have an enormous surprise at how they respond to humane treatment. It’s good for him and even better for you, very good for you. It’s very strange that it should be like this You see, in a way, it’s like animals, who are most devoted to their young, when they’re small. But when they get to a certain stage, they say, “get out, it’s finished.” It’s that way with animals. Yet while humans are like them in a way, parents seem to cling to their children. You could do a lot for him. Just listen to him with an open mind and try to lose your prejudgements and things, your fixed ideas about him, which probably date back many, many, years, when you weren’t able to take a more objective point of view, but judging him anyway. I think it’s very important.”
Deep inside us is an essence love of our parents. As I see it, that can never be destroyed. But it can be overlaid by personality, by the history between ourselves and our parents. How to awaken the one and pierce through the other? Really, all our work will do that. The question is whether certain efforts can accelerate the process in that direction, at least.
As ever, I think it comes back to aim. If my aim is to be friendly with my parents, that is one thing, and not of much interest from the point of view of consciousness. After all, people tend to like others who agree with them, but they really appreciate worship. This even applies to those people who are in the grip of something that seeks to cause arguments, that cannot live for too long without a good old fight. So we know how to be friendly with parents.
Is my aim to feel good about myself? Again, we know the way: just tell myself I am in the right.
But if my aim is to be free of negative emotion in respect of my parents, that is something different. The advice Ouspensky gives about overcoming negative emotion is unmatched and probably unmatchable. But as I shall say in a future blog, I think it is also vital to realise that the methods he recommends are not methods to be used by one I on the same level as the other I’s. The action needs to come from a higher level within me. And very often, the best way to find that place is in the morning Preparation.
Joseph Azize, 5 October 2020