This continues the meeting of 28 February 1979 with the Adies. Gary said: “I think I’ve seen an attitude of being busy all the time, and my time being valuable, although the fact is that this is not do. I am quite lazy. I look upon all the people around me as being fools.”
“I don’t quite see the connection,” said Mrs Adie.
Gary then basically repeated himself, so Mrs Adie asked: “You have an idea of yourself, but you don’t how to make what you have seen practical? Does it show itself in any way?” There was a little pause, and so Mrs Adie tried another tack: “You said that you have seen this, but how does it manifest? Do you go around telling people they’re stupid, or do you just think it?”
“It shows in the way I speak to people, and in a strange feeling, not a feeling, an aura about myself.” Gary was nothing if not imaginative.
“What do you want to change in that? You don’t believe it, do you, this contempt of other people?” Again, he did not reply, so Mrs Adie continued: “You see, if you take the observation, it sort of cancels itself out because you say that you have seen this, but you also say that you see it is untrue. So perhaps it is not so very harmful to you. But if it expresses itself in some way, and if it brings negative reactions from other people, it may go further and be harmful.”
“I have an idea that it is not as bad as it was,” said Gary.
“Perhaps not. Does it show chiefly in your job, or elsewhere? When you are here on the weekends, does it appear?”
“No, only at my job.”
“Then there must be something there which you can make use of. You need to be practical about it. Understand more. Go against it. You say that you no longer believe it, but maybe at the time, and at the job, something appears in you which does believe it. You don’t believe it now because you’re more awake, but when you’re asleep and in its power, yes, then you do believe it.”
“So you need to find a way to awaken yourself when it is likely to appear, so that you can be free from it. One has to be very practical. You try to be free from it, and you try to see what takes place. Everything which takes place.”
“It is not easy, and your mind will not always be clear, but it wouldn’t be work otherwise. Nobody wants to work, at least not unless it can see a clear reason to. We are divided: there is something in all of us which is prepared to work: otherwise no one would ever try anything. And yet every effort is rewarded.”
“You will have lots of opportunities to study attitudes now: attitudes to work.”
The next question was from Napier, who said that when he speaks to his youngest son about his problems, he has an attitude of disapproval and criticism, but other than those discussions, they get on well.
“Who initiates these discussions about his problems?” asked Mrs Adie.
“Good, because you should never try and help a son or daughter unless they have asked you to. But now, the fact that he initiates the conversations makes me wonder if you really are as hard on him as you think you are.”
“Often what we call ‘help’ is a criticism. But in this case it might be a legitimate one. You have to find the right way, and by that I don’t mean getting out of it.”
“If he still comes to you, you can’t have done very much harm, but I don’t know how much you have helped. There might be some criticisms which you could keep to yourself. But how are you during the time?”
“Attention is to be much more on what is going to help him, not on what you don’t like. The attitude cannot be changed very quickly, but the people who come here have seen changes in attitude. There are deeply rooted attitudes which may need five years, sometimes more, to change from when they are seen. But there are less deeply rooted ones, which can disappear quite quickly.”
“Attitudes also have different aspects: some aspects of them are quite good, others are quite damaging. If you have a certain weakness or irritability, and you give in to it, then on that occasions and every time you give in to it, you reinforce it. If, on the other hand, you go against it, there will be a change. It may disappear completely, or permanently, but you may be much freer from it.”
Napier said that he was aiming for some sort of control.
“To see it is the first step. Until you can see it, you can do nothing, and certainly not control it.”
After a moment’s silence, she added: “It is a very important thing, this relationship: important for you and important for him. You have a chance of a real relationship, you’re not trying to put anything over. You really want to help him, to find the way how to help him without boosting anything of yours at all.”
I think that these two questions go together: they were both genuine questions about matters where the pupil knew there was something important, but could not quite see what. One raised the issue of our attitudes to work (a definite effort, in a definite direction, for a definite aim, as Mme Ouspensky said). The other was to do with attitudes to one’s children and what one likes or dislikes in them and their behaviour. But they show the critical importance of realising that we do indeed have attitudes, which are like the climate in which certain atmospheric phenomena are more or less likely to occur; and also that it is precisely there that we can exercise some control.
Joseph Azize, 12 December 2018