This comes from the group meeting of Thursday 25 November 1982. Together with one of the contemplative exercises, each person was asked to make three hourly appointments, for example at 10, 12 noon and 2.
The first question came from a man who had planned to stop at 10, 12 and 2. He did stop, but felt that it wasn’t quite complete. He realised that he lacked a wish. Without that wish, there was no relation to the effort. It was the difference between something he wanted to do, and something he ought to do.
“This happens to everybody, of course,” said Mrs Adie. “It is important to see that it gradually becomes automatic. I remember about it. I may even have some sensation, but my feeling is not there. I have to remember myself every time, and to seek that feeling of presence. Feeling doesn’t come by itself.”
“The task, which is an aide to my work, tends to become a sort of duty, and I completely forget why I do it. It is not very easy to find an answer at that moment, when I’ve been completely in my personality, which has no wish. I may not find words for that wish so quickly, at least not the right word, but I can always go to my feeling, my feeling of myself.”
“There is a tendency that stopping at certain times to remember myself becomes, not a habit exactly, but rather an affair of the head alone. Yet, there is a part of the head that understands, and thank heavens there is, because I depend on it very often.”
“If you keep the appointment, even as you are, that is not nothing. You have a prepared a place, and then while you are there, it can be filled with the real force of your feeling. Your sensation may come rather quickly, and it seems to come by itself sometimes, but feeling, no. Feeling has to be sought.”
Another person asked about the exercise, and added that his thoughts kept going outside, taking him away from the exercise.
“Yes, because your attention keeps going to the thoughts. To some extent, you can’t stop the attention from going out to them, but you can direct your attention to your own presence. When your attention is collected you don’t hear the words, you follow them. The thoughts go on, but your presence is that much more stable.”
“How you start the preparation is very important. If you start in dreams, you will sit in dreams all the time. In a way, you have to prepare for the preparation before you sit down. That comes into it. Then you make an effort of will. You try and make an effort of will; not in any sort of tense way, but in a firm sort of way.”
“Your only interest is in your inner state at that moment, in the complete relaxation of your body and the feeling of your presence.”
He then said that he had become lazy because some of the exercises have given him a definite structure.
“It does help you to begin with. The structure itself helps to counter that sort of mistake. To begin with, you sense each limb individually, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t continue to do so, if it’s necessary, if it helps you, otherwise you may be able to come to an immediate sensation of your whole, in which case there’s no necessity to spend that time, and then you can spend more time in the collected state. I need to be in that state for a little time. Your question was about associations. You cannot stop associations in that way, you can only put your attention elsewhere, and it can only be held there by your interest and your will – ”
Mrs Adie was interrupted: “But aren’t thoughts like a physical force that go out towards what you’re thinking of?”
“Yes, of course they are, which is one reason why I try and keep them inside. But in any case I have emanations. I have an atmosphere the same as the earth has. So you have to reinforce your effort, from what you tell me.”
Then Mrs Adie said something which I feel is of the utmost importance: “Even if you don’t feel like it, you can’t wait to feel like it. The effort is what counts in that sort of case, where you feel disinclined. It is an effort to sit down and do it at all. But having sat down … You tried earlier, because there was some force in your effort, but even if it is a short time it is concentrated. You don’t allow your attention to wander.”
The young man objected that he sits down and dreams.
“Yes, so don’t sit down then. You imagine that you’ve done something when you haven’t. It’s a complete loss. you have to – even if you can’t quite feel why you have to do it, you stop before you sit down and try and come to the feeling of yourself. The feeling of presence. You make that your interest. You gather a lot of force that way. It is absolutely essential, especially at one of those periods when my work is going down, it is very difficult because it all seems to have lost all its life. I don’t know what I’m doing any of it for. But still the right part of your head understands something. You have to try it. You have to insist. You will feel quite differently after that.”
From objecting, he swang to agreeing, and said that he did feel different this week.
“That’s very good, but don’t waste it. Take advantage of it, because you know we’re all very lazy. This is a moment when you can bring more life into it. I know that it’s going to flag after a time. I have to constantly reinforce it. At that time I don’t know what I’m doing it for. But if I continue, I find out.”
“How do you get on with the three hourly appointments?”
He replied that it had been “very variable.”
“Very much depends on the moment of your decision,” replied Mrs Adie, “which you do after the preparation. How I keep the appointments is a function of how I am when I make the decision. It’s a different moment, but they’re connected.”
15 July 2017