My Aim Is not to not Swagger, but to Awaken (Mrs Adie, Thursday 4 March 1982)

The next question was from Alberic. He said that although he had a couple of shocks where he had seen himself identified with his health, thinking he was ill, there was often a sort of justification in not making more effort. Even when he seemed to come to himself, it was not genuine, there was an excuse to not make effort. He did not know how to relate the morning preparation to his struggle with identification.

“You have to know, what kind of effort you wish to make,” replied Mrs Adie. “If you are concerned with your health, there’s still always some kind of effort one can make without injuring my body in any way. In fact, almost any effort makes me feel better rather than make me feel ill: that happens only if I make an effort in the wrong way.”

After a pause, she asked: “But what kind of effort are you making?”

When there was no reply, she went on: “An effort to be less dispersed can’t make me feel ill. Effort towards self-awareness is a collection of my energies, it can’t possibly make me feel ill. So, really there is no excuse for not making an effort, if I remember that, I come to know what a suitable effort would be at that time, and I have a sense that it wouldn’t be wise to make a very big physical effort. But I wonder if the sort of trouble you’ve had is in your efforts to relax?”

There is no audible answer on the tape, but as I recall Alberic, he was the sort of person to mutely nod his head. He seems to have done so, because Mrs Adie continued on that basis: “When I’m making no effort, I’m tense as a drum – all over, particularly in the stomach. People have their particular tensions, typical for them. Even if a person is really very ill, they can still, if they know in their head what they need, make an effort to relax. You can’t do that without some awareness of yourself. Of course, there’s a tendency to make an excuse, so that I don’t even want to make that amount of effort. It’s a sort of “effortless effort,” isn’t it, to relax? Try to relax and to gauge what you can do, then bring your observations.

The next question was from Sal: “I had two observations. But when I try and think about it, I just become confused like I’m trying to think at it too hard and only using my head. I get up in the morning and I don’t go straight to my preparation, because I can’t think clearly.”

“You see,” Mrs Adie replied: “What happens is, I make an effort, I make an observation but the personality always takes over and it doesn’t have feeling, it’s all in my head. It’s always trying to mix itself up with my efforts and this is what is confusing. The observation, any observation is good, any observation, the trouble is I never do make an objective observation, it’s a very difficult thing to do. To make a genuine observation of myself in action, it means that something is standing apart from me, I am between, two people, I’m between I, and my body and my personality. Between my essence and my personality if you like, and it’s very, very difficult.

Sometimes I manage mostly just at the end of something, I see just what has taken place. I can make good observations that way, and that’s better than nothing. The nearer my re-collection to the time it took place, the more true it’s likely to be. But if any time has elapsed, my personality will work on it, embroider it a bit, or even cast doubt on something. It works in the most insidious fashion, it spoils everything. So, you don’t have to believe everything that you say to yourself, you could learn to discriminate. Any words that go in my head are to be looked on with great suspicion. So, what are these observations, can you remember what they were?


“Let’s hear it.”

“On Tuesday, I go to college and I know I’ll be swaggering a lot, being a loudmouth. So, I tried. My preparation wasn’t terribly good, but I still had a wish. I had as a stated aim that I wanted to try and not swagger and try and just be more ordinary.”

“Yes, but that’s not quite the right approach,” Mrs Adie said. “You don’t try not to swagger, you try to be there and see yourself swaggering, which is much more difficult. Any idiot can stop swaggering for five minutes if they want to.”

“It’s very difficult to come away from the idea that I can change my external behaviour. My personality has been formed for many years and I can’t change it just like that. It’s not important to change it: what is important is that something real grows and recognises personality for what it is. It doesn’t try to interfere with it, it may change on its own accord. It no doubt will, because it gets rather tired of, giving in to entirely. Something has to grow, and your external behaviour will change to some degree, but you can’t tackle it from that point of view.”

“As a result of more reality in your experience, it will change, but you have no idea how. But you will not be identified in the same way. It will change automatically. But probably not in the way that you think. If it’s not unsuitable, you could swagger to your heart’s content, if you could be aware of it at the same time. If you could be aware of it and its importance, some of the force that comes out of it into you, can be kept. You have roles to play, and that may be one of them. I don’t think it’s a very necessary one.”  

Sal continued: “I only focus my attention on it because it seems, what I have seen at that time I’m usually in my deepest sleep.”

“Then you have to try in those moments when you’re most asleep to try to be more awake. Very likely, you’ll swagger less, it’s true. But the accent is on being more awake, and that is everybody’s problem. Our greatest difficulty is that we sleep all the time, and we have to gradually begin to wake up, have longer moments of being awake, more connected moments. It is very difficult, but not completely impossible. It can be better than it is. I have to have more than I have, bit by bit, so I’m always caught unprepared, I find that I am playing a very wrong role. For example, swaggering is very unsuitable, and I sleep through it. The idea would be of course to know what role I had to play in any situation and to play it and for that I have to be fully conscious. But there are many degrees between that and sleep.”   

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