The Possibility of Directing Thought (22 February 1989, Pt II)

This very lengthy exchange from the meeting of 22 February 1989 has to be broken into two parts. Edward  said: “Mr Adie, I was reading some books that were related to the separation of the body and I. It became clear to me that I never really understood before that the body and the automatic processes, whether they be emotional or the mind processes, that body, complex, is separate from that odd moment of sitting back and observing it. I’ve tried to observe to what extent this body, this functional thing controls or takes place in my life, it’s virtually everything.”

“That’s right.”

Edward continued: “It’s all these semi-independent, or semi-intellectual processes that I haven’t really realised before are really all part of that same body thing. There’s nothing else during the day, the body just dictates the whole.”

“Yes, the body dictates, the feeling follows the thought, the thought is rubbish.”

“But even the feelings,” asked Edward, “aren’t they feelings from that level?”

“Better to think of them as emotions, not true feelings. Most of our emotions are negative emotions, they’re not real, they’re not emotions. You see, the emotional centre has no negative part, or none large enough to mention except in cases like grief. But we have negative dominating so-called emotions centred in a false centre. In other words, it’s like having some disease, some ulcer here from which negative emotion functions. See, there’s no such natural and normal phenomenon as “negative emotion,” the force of feeling is negative and that poisons me and everybody else that has anything to do with me. But can you bring a practical example of something you saw in yourself from this study?”

“The whole system seems to be self-generating, if hungry, the body wants food, or drink. For a while I said, I won’t drink alcohol for instance, today, tomorrow or something like that. Then it gets very inclined to drink a bit more, but everything that happened in those days I tried to really observe all these emotions. As you said, these false emotions, this sinking that is going on is all part of my purely mechanical body.”

I will interject a note: if that seems unclear, except for the part about abstaining from alcohol, the unedited transcript is even muddier.

Mr Adie now replied: “The essence of this is surely how my thought, my so-called thinking, is in fact unconnected with my life,” replied Mr Adie. “Yes, I must, I must recognise that all my life I’ve been exposed to this wrong thought. The whole basis of man’s thought is that he’s able to do things, decide things, decide, blame – but this is all nonsense. Take the idea that people are bad to me. Nobody does anything bad on purpose, they do it because they can’t help it. They do it because it’s drawn out of them, they are born in a certain way, they have certain parents, they have certain circumstances, and they can’t change all that. And at this moment, apart from those who study in this way, they cannot change their thought, that is to say, their method of thought.”

“Thought can be changed. If I have that aim, and work in a certain way, then the thinking will improve. That does not mean that I can change it in a flash, or at a given moment, but after a lot of study, it’s possible to find your feeling centre, to find the emotional centre. And when I find that, my thinking changes. I no longer think as I thought before, I’m no longer so subject to impulses as I was, because I’m there to the extent that I can look for and recognise an impulse before it gets fully in motion.”

I cannot comprehend what induced Edward to make the following remark, but clearly his “thinking” was bearing out what Mr Adie had just said: “Anything that is not the body always seems to require some effort.”

“The body makes effort too, the body makes effort.”

“For itself though,” Edward countered.

“Not only,” said Mr Adie, “the body is a husk, and it sustains the life of the feeling and intellectual bodies. The body is created like that. You can often observe the body more clearly in animals. Animals have wonderful movement. If you observe birds and animals, how surely they move, how they rarely miss, their judgment of space is so accurate, you will learn a lot about the moving centre brain. There is also the fact that they’re free of thought, they have no mind such as a man has. So, they haven’t anything to consider or to worry about. Eventually they do begin to make slight errors if they’re heavily trained by man and they copy, but it’s only enough to show what happens if they have much to do with ordinary man.”

“But we were speaking about the possibility of real thought. That presupposes some awareness and coordination in the three centres. We have the body, the feeling and the mind. The mind comes first really, feeling follows mind when things are working properly, and the body obeys the impulses. That is the way to develop, step by step, the power of directing thought. That is the possibility this Work offers.”

I will end it there, with this idea that the order of conscious intention is thought, feeling, body. The next post will complete this exchange.

Joseph Azize, 4 June 2020


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