“If I Run away, I’m Lost” (Tuesday 20 August 1985,Pt II)

The next exchange on 20 August 1985 was with Robbie. I have left in rather a larger amount than usual of his question: his comments were intelligent and deep. It was a shame he left so soon after joining. I don’t know what happened, but while he was there, he brought something serious. On this occasion he began by saying: What you said on Sunday morning at breakfast, made a big difference for me. You spoke of failing and negativity. The last few months I’ve been immersed in a sense of failing and negativity.”

Yes, you have. You have.”

 “The reason for this is, I think, that I am only sporadically making my preparation in the morning.”  

“And so you spend the rest of the time feeling guilty.”

“Over the weekend I’ve been doing it every morning, and this has sort of jolted me back, and it’s been my aim to without fail, do the preparation within a few minutes of getting up. On the weekend when I woke up one morning, a thought occurred to me that I was just about to roll back to sleep again as I normally do. I’ll wait a little while, I could get extra fifteen minutes sleep, and the just idea of fifteen minutes sleep, the word “sleep,” was enough to spark something in me that didn’t want to sleep, meaning “unconscious”. So, I made the effort to get up. Also, on Sunday morning another thing that you said, just before we left, you said, the sun is shining outside, is the sun shining inside? This impressed me as well, quite often, almost all the time I walk around at the weekend work and other times that I’m here with this horrible look on my face. This “working” face which reminded me of the first time I came here for the weekend work and this mask was there.”

That’s a relief isn’t it? You see it and you understand a certain amount about it. Things go either way, I mean you’ll find difficulties and get a bit of help, and find more difficulties again, I have to sort of keep an eye on what’s happening in the immediate time: are the waves breaking rather steeply? You have to take note of that. You can’t expect to not get some water aboard, if they’re big waves. But not to get depressed because you’re shipping a bit of water. That is one condition. You follow?


If external circumstances change, a meal or something happens, then there’s fresh material again, a fresh possibility. Then I may have some, some experience of the marvellous beneficence of the whole arrangement of life; how the essence of a man has to obtain his own I and develop it by his own effort. It is a stupendous arrangement; it includes the provision of the various materials to enable that development to take place. When I understand that, the whole arrangement begins to become practical.”

“Man has to become God of his microcosmos. That is the aim of a fully developed man, to be God of his microcosmos. For that I have to learn how to free myself from all the rubbish I’ve been covered with since I’ve been born. You’re not very old, you’re young so you only got twenty-three, four years or so to undo. Sometimes people come into the work at forty-five or even sixty-five, they have some tough work there, they have sixty-five years of habit to overcome. So, the ones that meet a genuine group while they are young are very, very fortunate.”

“So, be serious now. Serious is not to be gloomy, it’s to be alive and to notice. And all this mock seriousness, self-accusation and guilty conscience is very expensive. I’ve got to understand it and become free from it.”

The next question was from Dot: Mr Adie, prior to the last three Tuesday group meetings, I worked two work weekends and I got a lot out of them and had a lot more presence than usual. But after the combined meeting I had a lot of resistance to the work, it was really strong. When my daughter was sick and I couldn’t come to the Tuesday night meeting, it was like a relief. It was so strong, and I ended up missing the other three by getting sick, and I don’t know whether I got sick because resistance, or something in me didn’t want to come or not. It’s only really tonight that I realised what I probably missed. I am speaking about it because it seems such a loss and now, I wouldn’t like it to happen again.”

I will just note that Dot never overcame this resistance: it took her out of the group after Mr Adie’s death. But tonight, Mr Adie said this: “I need it because I have it and I have to see it, so I need the manifestation, you see? And then I need not run away from it and confront it.”

“In fact, if I run away, then I’m lost. I want to look at the difficulties that come up against me, I want to look at this faint heartedness, or this reaction against. You dare not leave it like that: it is important to you. Be present to that. If it’s strong and you’re present to it, what does that mean? It means that you’ve become strong. “You” in this case is a representative of “I”, you can’t have a real I yet, but there’s a representative. As you confront the resistance, that representative becomes stronger. In that work the third force, the force of understanding, creates a small speck of material which adds to my possibility.”

Dot continued: “There’s something else which is a part of that and, because I has such a good state, something unusual, there was a fear that I won’t be able to keep it and I didn’t come to the work because I can’t keep it up, some energy I couldn’t keep up.”  

Try and understand it,” said Mr Adie. “Try and be very present: is it here now? It’s here now. Why worry further? It’s here. Then I’ve got to do something. So I go to do it, but as I do it, surely I could check sometimes to see, and then I find that it’s gone. Well then, what? I then do not deny that, I see that, if I remain there I will come back. You know how we spoke about having choice and how absurd that was if we have no power to fulfil it: this is the thing – I am relatively present, there is a moment of choice, and I have lawfully been allowed this power of choice. It is up to me.”

But before we leave it, let me remind you of what Mr Adie was saying: when we confront the resistance and the weakness within us, we become stronger. It is lawful: there is this force (let us say resentment, or self-pity), before it and confronting it there is this representative of “I” which has an aim, to be conscious and not sink into that low state – the active force is conveyed by the resentment, the passive force by the representative of “I” which has an aim. The third force can then enter in the form of my understanding, an understanding which is practical because it is found in the harmony of the three fundamental centres: intellect, feeling and organic instinct. When it enters, the third party has the effect of transferring the force, the strength, from the active to the passive, so that the representative of “I” becomes stronger. Very practical, and very heartening.

Joseph Azize, 10 September 2019




  1. That last paragraph contains some very practical direction which aligns with my understanding of the process. When you say ‘confront the resistance’, could that be synonymous with *observe the resistance with as much self-remembering as one can muster*.

    I was interested in the ‘morning preparation’ spoken of in the above article, have you written on this? If not is this something you would consider writing about?


    1. Thank you. Yes, I have written on the morning preparation. First, there is a lot of material on this site which refers to it. Next, the forthcoming book, Gurdjieff: Mysticism, Contemplation, and Exercises,has a major chapter on it, and sets out the background, theoretical, practical and historical. Incidentally, the book will be available from By The Way Books. Finally, I have published two articles, although these will be superseded by the book. One, “The Readiness is All” was in Religion and the Arts vol. 21, 2017; and the second,”The Practice of Contemplation in the Work of Gurdjieff” in International journal for the Study of New Religions, vol. 6, 2015.

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