One at a Time (16 March 1983, Pt III)

Reading another of our statements of aim and purpose in our individual work, Mr Adie came to Bridget’s: “An obstacle I repeatedly come against is my inability to accept criticism, or someone else’s bad opinion.

This is imaginary, criticism, said Mr Adie, it has no reality, it’s only lies. But it’s, inability to accept my own imagination.     

Bridget:   Also, in actual fact.

Mr Adie:   No, no. You never know what the other person really thinks. You can’t tell, because you’re already resisting, considering, rejecting what you think is taking place. It’s very important that, because if you could remember that, it cuts the ground; the force departs from this thing.  You’re going to be shot with this arrow of criticism. But supposing you realise that the arrow isn’t coming from this, that you are projecting it, of course the whole situation is different. There’s nothing to resist. Everything is the reverse of what I have imagined.

It’s just as fantastic as that picture: I kill myself with arrows that I throw out and I imagine that there’re being fired at me. I recall that. Your note goes on to say: “Also, I either become angry and very unforgiving, or else depressed and hurt. Also, in a different situation with for example, an irate person on the telephone.

It would be very good if you find at what point these people on the telephone begin becoming irate. You don’t get generally speaking, a line up of irate people.  

Bridget:   In my job now I do.

Mr Adie:   So, when do they start becoming irate?      

Bridget:   There’re irate before they phone me.

Mr Adie: It’s just the same; if you believe that, you’re sunk, unless you’re running a complaints department.

Bridget:   No.

Mr Adie:   No, well alright, then you expect everybody to be complaining.

Bridget:  No it’s not everyone.

Mr Adie:  Yes, you do, you expect it. In all these instances you do, you expect it, that’s why, you can’t haver about this, try and understand.

Bridget:   I don’t understand that, because it’s the tone of voice that I’m hearing.

Mr Adie:  Yes, of course, but what have you said beforehand?

Bridget:   Hello.

Mr Adie:   How do you speak. Are you collected and at all sincere when you say: “Yes, can I help you?”

Brdiget:   Yes, it’s true, I could be more collected and sincere. You mean that I could change it if I change my tone of voice?  

Mr Adie:   I want you to understand what the situation is. Of course if you could change your tone of voice, everything would be different, if you could change anything its different.

Bridget:   I have done that, and it didn’t work.

Mr Adie:   Try from a different point of view, try again, don’t give up. Try what you’ve done but try from a different point of view. You still furnish your world with a lot of arrow hurling terrible people complaining.

And you make that world, this is the thing. See, you say, also, in a business situation with an irate person on the phone, how did they become irate, at what point? I become either angry or hurt, even though I know their complaint is not related to anything I’ve done.   

Bridget:   It’s because someone, for instance, isn’t there they want to speak to.

Mr Adie:   Don’t you see that, the impossible dance that you’re indulging in? An absolutely profitless argument about nothing.     

Bridget:   I do see it that from that point of view …

Mr Adie:   Well, that’s the point of view to try and hold on to and try and remind yourself of this. And let them say what they want to.

Bridget:   And how they …

Mr Adie:   Don’t matter, it’s doesn’t matter.

Bridget:   Yeah, it’s just the fact that I identify with it, isn’t it?

Mr Adie:   You get someone really rude try and say: “And what do you want sweetheart?”


It won’t do any harm

Bridget:   That’s right, that’s what I’m trying to do.

Mr Adie:   Well you try it on me sometime. (laughter) I promise to leave my brick behind. (Laughter)

But I don’t want to have to spend too long on one. Try and accept: it’s painful and it’s difficult, but it’s true. Choose a particular form of the manifestation in you of anger or blaming others. A particular form of it, they’re not always the same, confront this, try and see it, and learn it and overcome it. One at a time, not the whole lot. One at a time, and then pass on.

The next is from Gertrude: “I see my main obstacle as proud and independence.”

Just a word about “obstacle.” It isn’t the perfect word, but I see them as obstacles, I call them that, but “proud independence” is a characteristic, it’s the garment I wear, it’s what I manifest.

You go on: “It is a name for many associated features with their own unconscious aims and expressions through all my past.”

Yes. Then: “Mainly I see, presumption and imperiousness, frequently leading to negative impulses and associated to the habit of bigotry and violence.”

Well, it’s a good correct observation. “All this cuts me off from my real aim and faithful work.”

Alright, then, which of the manifested features of this proud independence do you now select to overcome by observation, confrontation, and direction of attention first, before going on to the others?

You have to go over this. Do you have a copy of this? Then make you list, either writing, anyway, pin it down, so that it’s definite, and there’s no escape, you limit it.

This is really very vital, I ask that question, are you willing, because you can’t repeat this sort of thing. This meeting can never be repeated so, let us, let us keep that, willingness and wish all the time.

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