The Art that Counts (Tuesday 13 October 1987) Mr Adie

Zara:   About eight months ago I had a car accident and everything that was natural to me like talking, walking, etc, had to be relearned. I tried to remember that this was a favourable situation for my being.

Mr. Adie:   Well, you did for a certain extent and it made an enormous difference to you. You would never have made that progress if you hadn’t had that thought there, which was a big thought.

Zara:   It is a big thought, but it still felt flimsy.

Mr. Adie:   Well, of course, it’s threatened all the time, I have to supply something. But then for that I have to receive something, and everything I need is provided, including suffering. So, if I don’t flinch from that, I have all the material for all I need and in me I have the seed of that possibility of transforming a low material into a finer material. Actually, the material of my being. So, that I could become a real man and not just an automaton. And your accident, no question, has confronted you with life or death.

Zara:   That’s right. I wanted to use this situation and not wallow in the depths of despair as I did. I’m a professional artist and I was identified with that. The loss of my painting ability caused me to become so identified, very sad, and frustrated. So, instead of just thinking of this concept of “being in favourable circumstances,” I decided to use that depression as an alarm to remind me. So, for the past week, whenever I experienced the sadness it would wake me up. And I found myself thinking, “I don’t paint as well” and I could hear the thoughts and they would stop.

Yesterday, I was reminded about my predicament by a situation that caught me unaware, it was so very quick, and I found myself crying, but at that time the alarm went off and immediately, almost immediately, it stopped and changed, was transformed. So, I’ll continue to use this depression to remind me. But it’s not just depression, I found today that just doubt, doubt in my artistic ability woke me up, set the alarm off. So, it must be just identification with my painting wakes me up: the identification.

Mr. Adie:   Surely you have to accept and you wish to accept your painting for what it is, better or worse. You have to. If you don’t, you won’t even appraise it and be able to tell where it is. It’s quite possible you may not be able to paint as you did before. Maybe you paint better in a different way, some other how. Who knows? It’s all very equal, and perfect. It’s up to me to find the perfection though. There’s full compensation and more if I look for it as you’ve been doing. Go on, because you’ve got the sort of principle there. You’ve used the principle. You’ve proved it. Alright, then, that takes you to more work. You might not even be able to follow the old profession. Tree’s still growing, sun is still rising, food still tastes good when I’m hungry, snow is still marvellous if I see it. And there’s no lack of work of one kind or another.

Zara:   Do methods become stale when you frequently use a certain method?

Mr. Adie:   It’s necessary always to be examining the method that you’re using in relation to the situation as it is. But don’t get shut off by saying, “well, the methods no good.” That’s a sort of dangerous alternative. Look round and see because I come to a particular step, it’s always in steps. I come to a certain stage, certain things have happened, so that I’m now in this position. Eventually by trying this and trying that and find that won’t work, I find something that will work, and I actually get up on that step.

I can’t expect to find exactly the same things on the next step. Everything’s going to be totally different. So, I have to find what won’t work, until at the end, I mean at the very end of my life, I have the biggest step of all because this is what I’m working for, to be able to make that final step.

It’s very important what you said, it’s a testimony which you mustn’t on any account betray. To be almost dead and then come alive again is an enormous thing. And to recognise the principles that have allowed me to take part in that and help me, it’s a big thing. It could hardly be bigger.

So, paint for your life – innerly. This is the art that counts.

Herbert:   I’ve been working not to complain particularly when I’m with my mother. She was doing some washing up and I was wiping and I found myself in this thing and it was just going along.

Mr. Adie:   Was she going too fast for you or?

Herbert:   I can’t even remember now, I’ve tried to recall what it was, but suddenly I found myself, I remembered that I didn’t want this. And I just paused for a second, it didn’t, I don’t think it was for very long. And I put my head down and then looked back up and looked her in the face and all of a sudden we both were just laughing. But just the second before I started to laugh, I saw there was something that wanted to hold on to the complaint.

Mr. Adie:   What was the complaint?

Herbert:   The actual object of complaint I can’t recall, but it was something completely petty.

Mr. Adie:   But you need to recall; this is what I have to try and see because otherwise you won’t know next time. It’s so petty I don’t know it and yet it takes me and I’m complaining.

Herbert:   Yes, it was some criticism of her.

Mr. Adie:   That’s what I asked. Was she going too quick for you? SHE saw it of course, and was all ready with a smile when you were ready.  Marvellous mother. Good example. Almost had a moment of humanity. You need to see what it means for a mother like that to have a complaining son, and still she can see that and be ready to laugh. It shows how free she is.

You’ve got a great chance there. Sharing life with a person like that is a great help. You have a very fat conceit – and that’s valuable, I hope you don’t overlook that. Your conceit is very fat. You don’t know what life showers upon you, its bounty to you. You’re alright, yet in almost any circumstances you can complain.

Try and see what sort of an image you’ve got there, think about it, the ingredients and sort of make your own sculpture of it. How does it look? And then you place alongside it the sculpture of your mother, then you’ve got a comparison.

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