Once more: “Angel and Devil Help You” (16 October 1985, Pt IV)

The next question was from Jacob: “My thinking in the morning is very habitual and …”

Mr Adie interrupted: “What do you call “thinking in the morning?” And you do much of it?”  

 “It’s hardly thought,” replied Jacob: “it’s reaction really, just habit.”  

 “Well, that’s not thinking is it? You’re not referring to pondering?”

“Well, it is what should be thought,” countered Jacob.

“No, that’s not right, that’s not a good enough the way you’re putting it. Are you referring to the automatic dreams that you see a little bit of?”

“No, I’m referring to the attempt to make the plan for the day.”

“Are you referring to your preparation?” Mr Adie asked.  


I might add that at this point I was a little surprised: Jacob was not stupid, and had been with Mr Adie for fifteen years or more at this time, yet he needed this much help from Mr Adie to get to the point. Now that Mr Adie is gone we need to do this for ourselves and each other. Mr Adie continued:

“Now, speak about that then. You say the thought is automatic, habitual.”

“Yes. I grab very quickly on to, the kind of plan.”

“First of all, you have to try and stop your thought. You can’t stop thought just like that, without much experience, but you could change them a bit. Or, you can do something whereby they will change. You’ve been given exercises, if you don’t allow enough time to sense your body until you really know you’ve got a body, and to try to observe your breathing until you know that you’re breathing, it is futile. This is balancing, but if you don’t make that effort, you won’t understand. You can’t do it at once, perhaps, but if you try like that, you’ll find that your thought becomes different.”

“You’re quite right to query this automatism but you’re very lazy in your mind. You don’t like puzzling things out, you take the first answer, and this is not enough.  You have to query it: is it really enough? It’s serious, it’s more serious. Try and find a serious place in yourself; a place which you could think, not only when you’re here, but a solid body with some feeling and a possible sense of serious reality and then, what are my thoughts going to be? Everything changes very much.”

“Then you’re there, faced with, trying what is wanted, what is necessary, and if you’re like that, an idea will come, it will come: what is necessary? What is most important? Again, if you haven’t lost control entirely, you’ll be able to give that thought away for a short time: how will that thought expand? The day seems that it’s going to involve rushing around. Well. But you can’t afford to rush around, you’ve just got to move, make your own plans.”

 “Does it give you any idea how to move from a sleeping compulsive state into a position of relative choice of thought? This is what you need. Now, you got another different question, have you?”

“My thoughts tend to gravitate to the kind of plan where I try to wake, be aware of myself in certain situations. Nearly always in class is part of the habitual thought, but twice this week I’ve tried to introduce the idea of intentional suffering.”

 “What gives you suffering in your class?”

 “It’s marking and preparation, I mean preparation for classes.”

 “That makes you suffer? And you do that preparation in your own time? Alright, double the time, then. Find the time you need to really study, without any hurry, what goes on during your preparation for classes, and why it is a suffering.”

“This is where the need for payment comes in, you take the time, otherwise nothing is going to happen. You pay by this effort against the resistance, and that will give you yourself. Your seriousness will come because this line of work has called you. No man resisting his automatism can do it without experiencing some degree of seriousness because this is serious work, objectively.” 

“You were given an exercise, you were given a form of preparation. I have to accept that form and do just that. Perhaps you might say, “I know that”. But it is still necessary to do it with attention. Take travelling on the railway; they won’t allow you to travel without a ticket. You know that. But your position is like a man who, after a time, can’t be bothered to get a ticket. You expect to travel without a ticket. You know that even if you’ve been travelling up and down for years you’ve still got to have a ticket. Think of your preparation like that. It is necessary each morning: your ticket is your effort. You can find other parallels. Do you see how that’s the answer?”

“Good. And if I try and work like that, I may raise the very devil in me, so, the work has to go on, at least if I say it has, it has to. And then I find that the devil helps me. How to understand this statement, I keep on referring to it, how could he say that devil and angel help you?  He wasn’t a man that dealt in sloppy terms and clever sayings: “angel and devil help you”. It was his blessing, his passing words, his final word: “the angel and devil help you”.”

“What does it mean? It means you need both, need this resistance, so it changes the entire complexion of life altogether.”

“Now there’s another thing: joy and effort. Joy and effort. When you first think of it, it seems a bit of a hard one to accept, and this is just what we’re talking about. But joy is something quite different in any ordinary idea. In other words, joy is the thing we hardly we ever experience. So, we’re a miserable lot, what?”

 Mr Adie loved Jacob, and he put a lot of effort into his response.

Joseph Azize, 3 October 2019

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