This is from a Saturday Weekend Work of 8 March 1985. It assumes a knowledge of some of Gurdjieff’s simpler terminology, such as “moving centre”. I set out below Mr Adie’s introduction to the day, and then the first question and answer at lunch. The basic format of weekends with the Adies are set out in the book George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia, available from bythewaybooks.com
Mr Adie: Our question is always the same: it never varies. But the thing is that we are never with it, almost never. The question is always this instant. How am I this instant? This is what the whole of our work is about – this very instant, which I can speak of but not have.
See, to have an instant means that I am in contact with the universe, with life and all sorts of different levels. It’s very easy, even without much training or discourse, to imagine the universe with many levels. We are even getting familiar with it in our minds. But to experience this, to have this as a fact …
It’s far, far too simple. It’s too pure. Man is a duality: he is capable of things higher and lower, and his reality is in-between, which takes account of both simultaneously. That’s the two lives. If I escape from one to have the other, if I indulge in cars and other things, eventually, it’s a descending into densities, it’s clearly involution. But I need that level, and I need the other level, and I mediate between the two, and here is this immediate experience of this symbol of the Holy Trinity, the three forces, any one of which not being present, nothing eventuates.
So, today, how are we going to increase our presence, our consciousness of the moment. How now? How are we, now?
It’s almost like an hour and a half since I started to speak just a moment ago. How are we going to be? We know that we’re going to be lost a lot of the time, very much of the time, but if we, from experience, realise the difference in our total count during the day, when we have a few moments of sharper consciousness, then we can see that the disparity in the density and the speed of the different levels is reconcilable. And in this way, then, we need to value it more, and understand that it can’t last as an unassisted fact.
Then the question is: how do we respond to this reality? We have all sorts of different jobs to do during the day. How are we going to do them? The pattern of our work is that we use our job to try and come between the job and imagination, between the inner and the outer.
But make no mistake: our “outer” is not the real outer. It’s a projection of something internal. So we have to come between the imaginary and the reality. Some degree of inner reality, and a large degree of projection: we project our external world. Nobody sees the same tree, nobody sees the same room, nobody has the same history.
We are all unique beings sharing this moment.
So we try and do the work assigned to us intelligently. Today, let us see if we can anticipate the next movement.
If I need to move glass from here to there, I need to know that it’s here right now, but directly it’s going there. Then I don’t drop it. But if I do it quickly like this, I may spill something. As I take it there, I anticipate the movement, and the next moment, I have the same, and so I don’t knock over the next glass. As I take some material from the store, I am aware that this is where it has got to go. I take it.
This is an expansion of my attention, a spatial expansion. If I can divide my attention a little like that, I am much less mechanical, and I begin to have other possibilities of division. My feeling begins to work, and I can then hold other divisions of attention within my conscious awareness, noting other densities. I do not remember in those words, but this is what my experience amounts to.
That is what we will try today. We have the stops. One minute to stop. Then one minute, we turn to each other, like that. Together. Acknowledge it. We can’t force it: it’s a discovery. We don’t know what we’re going to see.
And then the idea that the whole of my life is a gift. A certain acknowledgement can appear. Immediately I begin to become aware of something finer, some sort of gratitude can sometimes arise, and my entire being changes. One never thinks of life, an entire life, as a magnificent gift, a creation of not only the gift but also of the one to whom the gift is given.
But what alternative conception is there? What sort of accidental or even grubby thing do we think the creation is? It is the supreme gift, designed, intended, and achieved with all the miracles and movement of every kind of insect and bird and animal and human. But we just … there is so much lacking in our centre. It is an immediate wonder. It is all taking place.
I can’t stand about gaping at it. I have this job to do. But I can confront what is automatic in myself, and today’s task should be a help in that. I have been born into this world, but the automatism, the inertia, is tremendously powerful. There it is. It is a force, the involutionary force. It is even the force of the creation of the universe; it has an outward flow and an inward flow. It is the two lives, separated, which we shall read about later today.
After lunch someone said that there had been a problem on the job, but the team had discussed it and found a solution.
Mr Adie I had not said that one should think about it. You say that you were thinking about it, but it is not exactly a question of thought. If I have to move a rock, and I am working with you, and there is a question of where, then yes, this can be for thought, for discussion, but in the morning I was speaking about when I am in movement, and I do something which does not require thought or calculation or anything of that sort.
I know, when I am shovelling earth, that it is going into that hole, but in the course of the job, some of it will fall around about the hole, simply because I haven’t been paying attention. I was speaking about the dividing of attention between this movement and the next one. It is not quite the same as thought. But you were speaking of the thought required in planning the operation, were you not? Yes.
Thinking about a job is quite a different thing from that. I may have some preconceived idea. I may think that my notion is better. Many things enter into it.
But this division of attention I am referring to is really a being present to the work of my moving centre. Have you ever noticed that if you start to think about how you’re walking, as you’re coming down a flight of stairs, there’s a very good chance that you will have to stop, or even that you’ll stumble, because you cannot think with your ordinary mind at anything like the necessary speed to follow your own movement? That is the work of the moving centre.
Nonetheless, what is the value of that fact, of that discovery you made? Were you surprised?
“It was more a confirmation than a discovery,” was the reply.
Mr Adie Then, in the afternoon, try what we have been discussing. You don’t need your partner for this effort. I can take a very simple motion, and anticipate that, by myself. If I reach for this cup of tea, I can see my hand, I know where it will go, and then, how do I put it down? I doubt I’ll make a good deal of noise. Try like that, and experiment in different circumstances and at different tempos.