Noticing Reminders

These are questions asked at the weekend work of Saturday 21 June 1986. The morning address was the one which I have posted dealing with the idea of seeing my predispositions. The first question came from Doris. She said that she had wanted to be very simple. She saw that when she speaks she repeats herself, and that showed her what a predisposition was.

“You have to be, to a certain extent, there. And because you have that wish, it calls you,” said Mr Adie. “But there has to something awake in you, perhaps expectant, watching, for that call to be heard and responded to. Supposing your attention was taken, the recollection of this need not being available to you, the reminder could come, but you might not notice it. There are two sides: the work of preparation and the working in the moment.”

It was a very short answer, but it was important. My effort is more subtle, more animated, if I realise that, as Gurdjieff said, I am always being heard, but as I am, I do not hear the calls. If I wish to awaken, I need to be watching, to be “expectant.” The next question came from Teresa who said that she had been aware of a tension building up inside her during the day.

“What form does the tension take?” asked Mr Adie.

“My muscles are tense.”

“Which ones?”

“My shoulder muscles.”

“Yes, they raise and they come forward a little, like this.” I am sure that Mr Adie was demonstrating what he meant “You will have lots of opportunities to see it, don’t worry. But you need to see what the tension is. If you don’t see that, then it has taken a form before you notice it. If you see that it takes that particular form, then as it begins to take that form – because it takes a fraction – you can notice it.”

“It is possible to stop a breath half way. You have to be pretty quick, but it is possible, if you know how you breathe. And so, if you notice this attention, you can use this experience, and actually follow the tension. That is one aspect of it.”

“Another aspect is that you begin to understand, physically and organically, your functioning and what it does. You feel it in your body. The tension will call you. That is why I asked you what form it takes, because otherwise you also miss its significance. If you can tell that it is that form which makes you lose yourself, then that form will call you. But if you just say: “Well, I am tense,” and you haven’t located it –”

Teresa then interrupted to say that it had happened four times, and she found that she could relax and stop the tension.

“If you go on working, you will probably be able to relax it without having to stop your functioning, picking up sticks or something. You will find that you will pick up the stick in a different manner. You will be able to do two things at once, even to do many things at once, by habit, and sometimes by choice. Without that power, it is not so easy, for I cannot always stop in the middle of what I am doing. I may be running to get out of the way of a vehicle and I cannot at all stop. But it is better if I can run without carrying my fear with me. Maybe if I have to get out of the way, I shall do it better if I am less tense. If I stop to relax, all may be lost.”

“Do you follow? This is the theory. You had a good experience, and the observation was good. But now the question is whether I can expand my understanding of it. If I could see just the nature of this tension, I notice it isn’t my knees, or my tongue – or if my tongue is tensed, I haven’t noticed that yet – but I definitely notice that it is my neck and shoulders. So that gives me a point of reference. I am more likely to be taken my something which I do not recognise.”

“Do you understand? You do? Then relax to acknowledge. You’re still a little bit tense. You can see it in other people: some ask a question and they actually accept the answer. Others hear the answer, but they remain like that: no acknowledgement. That then raises the question for me: how do I receive the answer? Good. Good material.”

The significance of “form” can hardly be overstated. Manifestation appears in a certain form, and takes other forms. Existence is a movement from form to form. It is fatal to become too identified with any form, but to just ignore them as if to recognise forms is “rigid” is plain stupid. But the discussion continued. Michel said during the morning he had seen the tendency to become frustrated at a disposition in himself.

“The word was “predisposition,” wasn’t it? Let us not use the word unnecessarily, but if we do, let us use it correctly. So you noticed a tendency in yourself?”

Yes, said Michel. When he went to get a bag, he was taken.

“It sounds, rather, as if you were taken before you went looking for the bag. Could that be right?”

“Yes, but I saw it as a part of “old me,” said Michel.

“So it had taken you, but it had not yet brought to right to the end of the road. You were dragged along for a few steps, and then you noticed.”

Michel said that he had a thought about reorganizing his life, saw that it could be very seductive, and advised himself not to get carried away with such thoughts.

“What feeling accompanied that advice you gave yourself?” asked Mr Adie. “That’s a question for you: don’t try and answer it now. When you give yourself an instruction, who gives it, and what is your feeling?”

A strong tension in the chest came up, and it is still there now, said Michel.

“Can’t you let that tension go now, before finishing your sentence? You have seen it and brought it. That is good. But what about the action? What action is called for? What action is demanded of you? Surely that you relax. But you don’t proceed to that step. You are satisfied with the verbalisation, with the writing out of it.”

“Do you see that?” continued Mr Adie. “You mustn’t be satisfied with that. It is free talk. You have to instead pay if you wish to develop being. Otherwise, when are you going to practice? If you talk about a thing and don’t experience it at the same time, it is just talk.”

There was a lengthy silence. “I am not asking you stop,” said Mr Adie. “Did you wish to add anything?”

No, I think I understand something from that, said Michel.


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