Aim and Significance (Wednesday 1 March 1989, Pt II)

This continues the meeting of Wednesday 1 March 1989. The next question was from Louis: “Mr Adie, I have become aware of a part of me that doesn’t want to suffer at all, a part that’s very lazy and a part that doesn’t want to be disturbed from my pleasure.”

 “When you say, ‘your pleasure,’ do you mean any kind of self-indulgence?”

 “Yes. And the thing that brings all that to my notice very quickly is the loud sounds of children fighting, or anything that disturbs me. It’s a descent into a level that one part of me finds very noxious and troublesome. And when I hear the idea of living life on two different levels it reminds me very forcibly.”

 “But you think the level of the squabble is a low one,” replied Mr Adie. “It isn’t, it’s higher. Your level is lower. Your own level is lower than that of this squabbling which awakens you.”

 “That’s what I was going to say,” said Louis. “I’m starting to realise that I have that opportunity when I’m jolted.”

 “You’re fast asleep, nearly dead. Of course, the thing arouses me, and if I was a normal man it would remind me to collect myself. It’s sufficiently painful to awaken me, and that would bring me to a higher level. Then I would be engaged with the customary level of children, noisy buses, screeching brakes, car horns. That would be a privilege, would it not, to have the possibility of living a private collected life while this is going on around me? That is a higher life: being able to differentiate yourself from everything that’s going on, and that is something which is available through the work.”

“But of course, in the customary way I also become a part of it, and I’m lost again. But this other way I can be present, perceiving it even more vividly, and yet at the same time I see I’m apart. Everything has to change if I am present, and I became aware that everything does change: meaning the quality of the impression. What was irritating may even become poignant: it may remind me of the teeming energies of life. Well it’s good that you’re there, that you see that. And I accept the irritation, I accept the squabbling or whatever it may be. Do you find a brightness when that takes place?”

“Yes,” said Louis. “I find a kind of lightness, as if I put something down and it was very heavy. I can see the yes and the no of the incident very clearly. A kind of impartiality, a weak kind.”

 “It’s more a balance, isn’t it? Impartiality, I haven’t quite got there yet. But I do feel a balance, I do feel a certain stability.”

 I have edited the next question, from Bob. It was something like this: “I would like to talk about identification. I have made notes of many lines of work which seemed to me at the time to be desperately important, but most of which meant nothing soon after. This has taken me back many years to the way I thought I understood in a certain way and yet here I was caught up in something different. I would like to say that I allowed it to happen but that’s sort of not really, it just happened.”

 “No permission was given,” replied Mr Adie. “There wasn’t anybody who could give that permission. What you said about scrutinising with past notes and find them relatively meaningless, relatively without significance.”

Bob disagreed: “No, what I meant was, the things that I have been worried about were now insignificant, the things upon which I was dwelling.”   

“But really,” said Mr Adie, “it’s only a case of swapping one picture for the next picture, because now other things are happening. What I want is a definite increase in awareness, and for this to be my aim. If in the notes there are moments of lightness, those don’t disappear they always strike me as lightness. I mean, they are objective. My state can be so low that I don’t see what is good. Often I make some very short notes, but when I return to them, I am surprised that they had such a content. Perhaps one is able to find more content than one had been aware of. But where is the aim which will give them their meaning? You were speaking about identification. Was it your aim to see more your own identification?”

 “Yes, I really felt that this has brought home to me the degree of identification in my life, there had been periods where I’ve been fairly free of identification and as if this aspect if you like has creeped up on me. And the way I suppose bringing it helps my resolve to work on it.”

 “I think it’s necessary to see that identification is always there, pretty well, but it’s a question of degree: I am either densely identify, or not so densely. I can hardly turn my attention, or have my attention pulled without identification. Everything to which my attention is attracted is the beginning of identification, that’s the prosbole, that’s the first stage of four, I turn, and I’m already caught. If I could see that state and also know the other direction, pull it back to me and then look, then there’s a chance of freedom. You see, there’s quite a process there, a light has to come on in here, intelligence has to arrive and then direct it, the element of a conscious purpose. And for a second it’s possible: this has already changed and there’s another degree of identification and then return again. So, it’s like this.”

“To be identified means that I am not here, I am not present. I has disappeared, there’s no I, no aim, and so there’s only a resultant flowing out of forces, there’s an imaginary I, with all sorts of non-sense. For a second this presence, and it is quite different. It’s a very big operation to change from non-identification to presence. If only one would see it as that size, which it is. It’s like coming around a corner, and seeing a breath-taking view, gorges and mountains, and one is taken, there. If one was able to immediately come back here, and then go out, you would find that “I” am included in that.”

“How much of that is possible? One can only know if one has the thought and the idea is present. The thing takes place in a flash. It is inner and subtle, many articulations in it all taking place, and yet almost motionless. I mean it’s a big event, all sorts of different forces flowing and combining and expanding and contracting and including and repelling on all the levels that have been defined. And if I am present, there is a calm, and I can see the significance. What is significant, and to whom is it significant? There again you see, aim; without aim, no significance.”

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