This is the third extract from the meeting of 27 September 1979. After the powerful exchange with Jerry, Seth asked a question. Incidentally, it was a measure of the usual level of these groups that, in a meeting, Mr Adie would accept the energies which came with such charged questions, and then move on without lingering or indulging in sentimentality; and the fact that he could do so helped us – at the very least, it gave us an example.
Seth stated that he gets reminders but cannot find the inner action to make. He gets lost in dreams.
“Well, I think you have to prepare for that a little bit more,” said Mr Adie. “You do a preparation in the morning? Try and prepare for those moments. You receive the reminders, this is very good. But how can it be different? How, at any moment, can I be different? I am awakened by a moment, and there is a certain demand. There is always a demand. There is a demand for the presence of I, which is not there enough.”
“How could that be changed, how can there be more presence, in which case I shall be able to prepare for what I need. If I am prepared for this, When my presence is on me, I need to understand more about the reminders and from what they arise: was it a negative shock, a positive shock? What causes my recalling? Is it something repetitive which I don’t like? Then I choose that. I wish not to waste that reminder.”
“And then, how am I when that occurs? Maybe I know very well, but maybe I do not, and usually I am holding forth or cursing or tense or something. So in me now, when I am not subject to this compulsion, and I am thinking, I really wish to be able to understand what is going to take place, I wish to.”
Mr Adie then returned something which had been central to the previous exchange with Jerry: “The nearest I can get to a dedication is that at that moment, the wish I have at that moment, when I really sincerely wish to be able. Then, when the incident comes, there may be a connection with that moment.”
“I put a connection in me, so that I am no longer entirely at the mercy of all automatic associations and my formatory apparatus and all its history, at this very moment. I put in some active wish, and I find, from time to time, that some connection is made. If I work in that way. If you want, you can prepare in that way. You see, your preparation is so that you will be able to fulfil at that moment of challenge, not that it will be given to you, like “God help me.”
Then Mitch spoke: “Mr Adie, I’ve been more removed from the Work in the last five weeks than ever before, and somehow I feel a lack of remorse about it. I have been under enormous pressures, most of which are my own doing, almost to the point of being physically sick. But I have not been able to come to any sense of aim.”
“Well, perhaps you find out what has taken you away? Politics, or something?” Mr Adie asked.
“Well, partly that, but mainly commitments in different areas.”
“Over-committed? Bankrupt? You needed to see that. Now there is a chance of putting myself under a certain law. Can you make a law for yourself that you WILL NOT enter this bloody politics? That it is a waste. At no cost will you take part in that. You place a certain barrier there; you know that if you cross that line, you will get poisoned and done. Put down that barrier. It’s not exactly like that, but it’s something in that direction.”
“Well, I thought that the Work could work better if I got –”
“That is an excuse for getting tied into knots. You have got plenty of difficulties without going and taking too much on. I am understanding, you am I?”
“No, that’s just conceit to try all that. Try not to get involved. By your own definition, you already have all sorts of pressures. You already have all that you can cope with, and if you add on more, it has the effect of taking you away from the influence of the Work.”
“I am so far in that it is hard to get out.”
“From what?” Adie asked.
“Well, from many of these areas.”
“Just imagine that you have small-pox or something, you’d be out.”
“I want to, there’s no question about –”
“Yes, but you have to be sick. You are sick, anyway, so why not be sick? Call it chicken-pox, call it tonsillitis, call it anything you like. (mimics speaking with a faint, hoarse voice) “I can’t come, I have tonsillitis.” Don’t have a guilty conscience, they’ll find someone else that wants to do it, don’t worry.”
“It’s at work, too. It’s an absolute madhouse.”
“You can get out of it, but you may need to find some dodges. If you relieve yourself of a little bit, you will find a difference.”
“My question wasn’t really, I know that has to be done, my question is –”
“Then why don’t you do it?”
“Well, I will do it. I still need to find a way of coming back to an aim.”
“You have got into a state where aim is not understood. If you see that quite clearly, you do something to try and rectify your state, beginning with making your preparation, that will allow a better preparation, and a better state will return. It couldn’t be otherwise. You will have the state of being responsible for your being instead of being idiotic. Mm?”
After a pause, Mr Adie continued: “Yes, you have to make definite payment.”
Another pause, then: “There is something odd which can happen with people in the Work. They get a little bit free because of the Work, they save a little bit of energy, they get out of certain bad habits which were costing them dearly, and then they go and look around and find what kind of vise they can put their head in, and go and engage themselves so that they are not available. And they miss out.”
I found this last exchange quite unusual. I do not believe that I ever heard Mr Adie give this type of this advice, but I was not in the group in 1979. Usually, Mr Adie would say that in the face of difficult circumstances, one should work on one’s internal response. But here, Mr Adie was counselling Mitch to call in sick. Now as it happens, I did on one occasion do so: I felt, I think correctly, that my willingness to help was being abused by my employer, who gleefully used me, but gave little in return, and I had an important personal matter which I had been reluctantly putting off, and was becoming critical. The problem was that it could not be adequately done in spurts, it really needed a few hours together. So one day, I called in sick, and did what had to be done, well and in leisure. The next day I was back at the office, and it was exactly as Mr Adie had said to Mitch: there had been some minor piece of work to be done, they had got someone else to do it, and there was no big deal. Oddly enough, when I did return, my attitude was much better. I was even sorry for the boss because of my lying. My work in the office was better, I was free of much needless anxiety, I was calmer, and that important personal matter had been attended to, with felicitous results.
Incidentally, that comment about how people benefit a little from the Work, and then go and lose themselves, sometimes worse than before because they are a little freer of issues which had been debilitating, is very true. Very true indeed.
Joseph Azize, 18 June 2019