“How Can I Be Simple When I Am Not?” (16 March 1983, Pt VI)

“This is from Dave: “My chief obstacle is present, especially as such moments as now when I’m wishing to express myself simply and sincerely. It is the mechanical power of words over me, the centre of gravity of this, I’ve have sensed somewhere in the throat over and against where I am”.”

“Yes, you’re right,” said Mr Adie. “How does this obstacle manifest itself? You cannot confront something so vague as an unspecified mechanical power with its centre of gravity somewhere in the throat, impossible.”

“Some kind of confrontation is necessary. This is for real now, we’re not messing about. How can you confront that? You can’t even conjure it up now, you have to scratch your head and think what it was, more or less figuratively speaking. You can’t have the experience now at will, you must come to a point of real confrontation with a certain real manifestation. A manifestation of your personality. And it has to be definable in only one or two words, simple words of two syllables or third without any literary flourishes. You come right down to earth, and get rid of this awful dubious poetry and dreams.”

“As you read this, you won’t find that necessary confrontation in it. There’s no bite to it, there’s no work there. It’s as if you went into the work shop to do a small job, and got hold of one of the drills, and started talking about “the drill which I now hold in my hand as I come in to do some work.” Then, after your romancing over the drill, you put it down and don’t do anything.”

“You wrote: “My chief obstacle is present, especially at such moments as now when I’m wishing to express myself simply and sincerely. It is the mechanical power of words over me, the centre of gravity of this I have sensed seems to be somewhere in the throat over and against where I am.”  Now, you’re not entitle to say “I Am,” in these circumstances. What I have said should give you a start. Take it, be with it, and find what it is that you have got to give up. Okay? Did you understand something from that? You think you did?”

“Yes,” replied Dave. “I have. Yes, in my mind, I have one or two situations.”

“Good,” Adie replied: “if you’ve understood something then, follow that line for yourself. Be alone in it.”

The next is from Boris: “Principal feature or obstacle, one, I represent this as follows, nobility, very important person, two, a weakling.”

“You like variety, don’t you?” Mr Adie commented. Some laughed, but not, apparently, Boris, for Mr Adie went on: “I said you like variety. I’m sorry. Alright, let it go. You wrote: “nobility, very important person, two, a weakling, three, a coward, four, an unappreciated genius, five, a clown, six, an offended child, seven, a dealer who lies.”

“These are facets of your personality. Is that right? Yes? Yes, I think all these are very clear. And they are obstacles, of course. But then you write: “My obstacles are identification with daily desires.” That is true as a general statement, but it is not sufficiently precise. I am in a state of identification, and I aim to work against it, but that is true of everyone at all times. It is like going to a doctor and telling him that you are not feeling well, and leaving it at that.”

“You have: “Dreaming as a substitute for activity.” Now you could put a full stop after “dreaming”. It is just dreaming, because it is by definition a substitute for activity, or at least I am taken by dreaming when I could be occupied with formulating a constructive aim and working towards it. When do I dream? What should I be involved in at that time? Are the two connected? Does the dreaming take over whenever I have to clean this, or do that?”

“Then: “Fear of being hurt, protection from conflict, the impulse to run away from any attack. But my wish is to be simple.” Well, it’s a good aspiration, but how does one make an effort to be simple?

“Such as you are, you have to implement that wish. Do you see the paradox? It would seem that I am not simple, I am invaded by dreams and fears, and yet I wish to be simple. If I am weak, and wish to develop my strength, I nonetheless have some muscles, some strength, I work on them. But if I lack simplicity, how can I develop it when it seems absent?

“My simplicity is potential, because “I” am potential. So I don’t lack simplicity so completely as I thought I did. Take action, a new kind of action, one in which three forces participate: the effort to find a clear and precise aim, while working towards that aim to resist the onset of dreams, and then the effort to be a conscious witness of what takes place. You see?”

“By focussing upon the sensation of some part of your body, refusing to allow your head to be taken by dreams, you can free yourself of this horrible cobweb. By remaining present as you work on one of the above features, you will appear between your aim and your dreaming. It is dramatic to awaken in the middle of it. Make an appointment, like making a date to meet your lover. Begin with dreaming, and when that one is dealt with, then select the next. Make it practical.”

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