“Bad Conscience,” Helen Adie, Thursday 4 March 1982

This is the first question from a group meeting of 1982 with Mrs Adie. I have tried to retain her turn of phrase, even where it might not be entirely grammatical.

James:    Mrs Adie, I find that my general level fluctuates considerably over a period of time, periods of days and weeks. I maintain a fairly high level and my thoughts are relatively more objective and I see more clearly my position and experience my wish. But always it falls down again until I become more lifeless. What concerns me is, how far I fall, and I would like to be able to maintain a more consistent line of work. The question is: how can I maintain it? I feel there needs to be an introduction of something there, at the point when I start to turn down. I thought of it in terms of lines of work. Perhaps the need of the three lines of work. The need to work for the school, I’m wondering, is that right thinking, is that the answer to my problem? How can I introduce a stronger second and third line into myself in a practical way?

Mrs Adie:   It’s the needing of certainty, it’s not the same without certainty …  When do you notice it happening? You can’t say the general rule, but do you see it earlier on, or do you slide into it? Because whichever it is, something different is required. In fact, it’s got to be a shock, and the shock is not easy to understand. But where is the, where can you find force in yourself?

Not in your head, your head has no force, although it can see the position there.

Your force comes from your feeling, and as a rule, when I’m on the downward slide, something is vaguely aware, but is not willing to search for my feeling. Sometimes I am even, perhaps, quite seriously aware, but am I willing to choose that very moment – now! It’s no good talking about it later. I have to face that situation with all my three parts. I know with my head, I sense, and I may have to wait before the feeling appears. That means that I must try to find the will, the will to watch and to be patient.

This is what everyone would like the answer to: what do I do when I seem to be lost and to know it, but am unable to move? You can find an answer in the moment: now, I know what I can do now, at this moment.

As a general rule, I can confront the situation and I can remain with it with my head attention, and what I can bring from my sensation and feeling. So how I decide to cope with the situation very much depends on my head. If I am sliding downwards, I know that my resistance is going to be very strong, stronger than it was. My direction has been towards the automatic, going away from any conscious aim. So, I have to take certain measures, and the first measure is always taken now. I take it now and to think with my head the reason.

You look worried, but don’t worry, I should not blame myself. I can’t help it, you know. It’s a situation that I have to face from time to time and I know I shall have to face it again. I always visualise that it’s something so complicated that I can’t work out, but it’s something very simple, isn’t it, really? Take action at that moment. It is not easy, but it is simple.

 James:   What’s the role of three lines of work?

 Mrs Adie:   Ah yes, of course they are a help, but at certain times they aren’t available to me. You come here to take advantage of all the three lines, to be able to put yourself into conditions where work on the second and third lines are possible. If I could rely on these conditions it would help, because I get energy from other people that are working with the same aim. I’m reminded by them, and I can remind them, but that may not be available, I can’t count on it.

But what is always available to me is the recognition of my need, my need for this force of my feeling, of my wish for something. I always need that, even when I am working with other people, or working for the school. Sometimes I have no idea of what I’m trying to do, I am rather blind. But if I persevere, something tells me that this is what I need, and I see that it was a help to be here.

How often do we hear at weekend work, how people have not succeeded at all in coming to any sort of separation, any feeling of their own presence? The mere fact of being here, even with these people making the same effort, doesn’t do it for me, I still have to do the work.

You know, everybody has the same difficulty. Your situation is not too different – and not too difficult –at all. Don’t be negative, try not to have a negative reaction to it, what Mr Gurdjieff called “bad conscience.” If it’s real remorse, it’s not negative. If I feel my situation enough, I will certainly respond.

One comment

  1. Fascinating to see the problems I struggle with are no different from our brethren in times past. It seems this experience of the downward slide is connected with the law of 7, and what Mr Gurdjieff said of making efforts at the right time.

    Now I see the slide coming, whereas in the past my change in state would have come as a surprise. I am usually not strong enough to resist, but to see it nevertheless means I have moved.

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