Tag Archives: GEORGE ADIE

Using Moving Centre: with George Adie

This edited transcript from Tuesday 30 March 1982 is of a meeting where people brought questions about the study of the work of moving centre. The week before, Mr Adie had suggested that, to gain understanding for their inner aim, they study the work of moving centre.

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The idea was to make a plan in advance to be present and observe a discrete moving centre activity. We cannot completely follow moving centre, it is much faster than the head, but we can make an effort, and that will bring the results we seek. He added that it would be best to take simple actions which (1) involved a sequence, (2) where there was no danger anyone or anything else would be damaged, and (3) which customarily arose in the course of their days. As feasible examples, he gave boiling the water for tea or coffee, getting the mail from the letter box, and the first time in the day when you walk through the front door. When they had time and the opportunity, they should (4) study repetitive actions, as these provide special possibilities for self-study. Examples of this were raking the grass and clipping the hedge. I think that the reasons for these suggestions will become apparent.

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The first question was from Daniel, who tried to observe his sensation, but he did not know why he was doing it, and that had left him without any profit, not even a question.

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It comes back to my purpose,” said Adie. “If I don’t know what my aim is, I don’t know what my question is. Why would there be a question which means something to me without any aim? Perhaps a point of interest arises, perhaps not. But if I am trying to achieve something for a purpose, and it isn’t achieved, then I am surely interested to know why. It has to become simple and clear; as clear as if I cut myself a piece of bread, regard it on the plate, and I ask whether I eat it or not.”

But would any of that matter if you weren’t hungry? It isn’t working to put a brick on the shelf and then take it down again. That isn’t work: it’s no use to anybody. It could be but you’d have to invent some circumstance.”

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However, if you were observing at moments which arise most days, then you would need to know whether the purpose was fulfilled. You would have to have questions. You can’t necessarily answer them, but you can examine them, and there is profit in that. In trying to work in that way, extraordinary realisations will come. I can’t always recount them straight afterwards. Yet, it’s a law that there are. Whether you notice them or not depends on your presence.”

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You have to guard against a sort of tension in your head that makes you follow with your head. It’s as if I think that I can take something in with my head and understand. But it is not like that. I have to understand in the present second. Then, if I have received, I can understand more later on. However, it depends on having been there to receive.”

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Alfred said that during the week he had some feeling, but it was accidental.

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Yes, but all feelings are accidental, in a sense. You are not able to produce feelings at will. What you have is a certain possibility of dividing your attention, of making place for an aim, and having some kind of awareness and intention about it. The feelings will then be corresponding; but you can’t know what they’re going to be.”

Feeling can’t be under compulsion. You can have the idea to be kind, to help a person, while lacking the actual impulse to do so. Feeling is the result of your presence; feeling depends upon presence. Seeing and understanding depend upon presence, they are all interdependent, but the force is feeling in myself force. I can have an idea, but if there is no feeling, there is no force to fulfil. But I want action, I want some process, and that has to have feeling.”

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But what kind of feeling? I don’t know, just like that. My idea of being kind and considerate, that is one thing, that is my thought. But my feeling, what is that?”

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When feeling comes it isn’t really accidental. It is lawful, in process – but it isn’t under your control. It’s lawful and it’s available. Nobody can determine the result of the law of accident. Feeling is always available, but I have to be open to it. It depends on my state, that’s what prevents me from receiving what is available. I have mentioned before about looking through a frosty window at a railway yard. Not very romantic, but it was magical. It hinged on my state. When my state is low I don’t see the life, the light, nothing. I’m lost in my troubles all the time.”

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The condition of the preparation is totally different, and so the experience is different. You cannot remain in that condition and mix in life. As you cannot take the condition into life, so you cannot take the experience. It only comes in flashes. If you remained sitting for another half an hour, it would not maintain itself. But do I have some sort of awareness of the result, the influence upon me?”

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If I leave my room to go to the letter box, there are ages of the higher centres even in that short period. There are tens of thousands of flashes available to me. I go without any words. I wish not to disrupt that feeling, that balance. In that state, maybe worthwhile thought will commence moving, of itself. Then I have to go out, but that has taken place, that thought.”

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Patrick then asked about an observation he had made during the movements class that evening.

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First, Mr Adie asked Mrs Adie if she would like to comment, but she did not, so he spoke: “It was freedom from thought in a moment of balance. You were under different conditions, your attention was divided, and you forgot about the events of the day. I am not used to the kind of thought Gurdjieff’s movements need, and there is my possibility. Those moments of freedom can help me find how I must be placed inside myself so that the thinking brain can take its proper place: acting when needed, not interfering when not. This shows that the moving and instinctive centre together can perform the movements, provided they are allowed to. All our movements are habits: a great variety of habits. Everything is in habitual movement, not only externally but also internally.”

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You can’t do anything without movement. There may be a hundred different movements in getting up from the chair, getting a book, and sitting down again. We never think about our movements in ordinary life: what different kind of movements do we make when getting breakfast. So, which of these are we going to observe? If I say that I won’t hurry in any of my movements, I will fail. But what can I settle for? What can I accept so as not to hurry? If I am making breakfast perhaps I have one piece of toast not two, or I don’t cook breakfast. If you don’t try and think … if you could observe two or three movements that would be a substantial thing. If you’re doing repetitive work it gives you a chance – you can decide to take something small like getting the tools from your bag with your left hand, never the right.”

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Someone said that they’d painted the front door of the house with the left hand. When her husband came home he had to repaint it because it was a mess, plus she’d got paint all over the place. Not so intelligent: to have put their tongue in their left cheek while painting would have been be more sensible. It’s not very comfortable to do that, but you can decide to do it for three minutes. We have spent five minutes speaking about it now, but are we prepared to even sit and think for five minutes of practical ways to apply the ideas? We haven’t yet. It’s like thinking that it would be very nice to have a drink, but then never going and getting the bottle.”

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Take five minutes. Think of something specific and intelligent. Don’t hurt yourself, but a little bit of discomfort won’t be any harm.”

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Andrea said that she had tried to follow the movement of her hand while writing, but kept losing the impetus.

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You say you tried observing the movement of the hand while writing? What sort of movement was it? What do your movements express? Somebody competent? Self-confident? Nervous? Hesitation? Someone who couldn’t care less? If I wish to study, then I can observe. But if I don’t have that desire, then I can’t even follow. Why should I? What is the point?”

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And then I can go further: does the result correspond to the kind of writing that I need to do the job? I don’t aim to have the writing a copperplate writing. But it would be good if my writing was legible. Is my movement producing reasonable writing, without being unduly slow? Does it correspond to the task that I have? How do I move when I’m in a hurry? Hurry is inimical to my observation – I can’t observe properly if I am in a hurry. If I can see the nature of the movement, it will tell me something about the state inside. And then one begins to see the kind of dreams.”

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You find that the work goes better when you observe yourself? Yes. The problem you face is that your work doesn’t mean enough for you. A schoolboy given an algebraic sum, or something in a language he can’t understand, won’t even try if he can’t understand what it’s about. If it looks difficult, it’s much easier to look out of the window. Without some purpose, the idea of trying does not recommend itself to most people. But we apply ourselves to this because we want to find out.”

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And what is the alternative? If I do not wish to control my movements, what chance do I have? It is all connected. I move in accordance with dreams, I move in accordance with my total state. If I am in a good state, unhurried, I move in a totally different way. If I am late, or fearful, the movements are entirely different. I never think of trying to use that to obtain control. We want the quality of life which is possible when I have control.”

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© Joseph Azize, 11 . 2 . 2014

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JOSEPH AZIZE: TRANSCRIPT OF GEORGE ADIE’S MEETING ON SATURDAY 18 MARCH 1989

This is from the transcript of the meeting of Saturday 18 March 1989. This was a “weekend work” day. As usual, Mr Adie opened with some ideas, to provide a practical guideline for the inner work, and then there was exchanges, first at lunch and then at supper.

Breakfast Address

All we know is our fantastic unique world: we don’t know the common life. It’s a very lonely position, and one that should be terrifying to people. But it’s never one fact by itself, one fact touches another. If I find any these reality, it gives me strength. I start to see the beauty in everything, even in people’s nature, even in people who do terrible things. They’re not devoid of a sense of duty.”

Perhaps I need a few icons to get me out of this. But then, what kind of icons?”

I often think of the saying in Revelation: “Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” There is an icon. It means “I am” is instantaneous according to my work and corresponding to my effort, my work.”

We can know moments of difference if we work, because here there are favourable conditions for acquiring a certain knowledge of our inner arrangements: of thought first, then of the body and then of feeling. The world is still marvelously beautiful. We’re extraordinarily lucky to have enough freedom to come here for a full day, free of the forces which oblige other people to go lower and lower.”

Certain impressions connect to something in you, and you find a higher level of being which will disappear, for we don’t know how to sustain it. The question is, how can I build in myself this finer material? How can I acquire more of it and maintains it until it crystallises into a centre of gravity? It’s a very practical work.”

Impressions are coming not only from all different directions, but also of every different density. If we could be more open to impressions, there would be a chance then of selecting the higher impressions. We cannot afford to sink down into anything. This is what is spoken of: “Free man, move on.” A free man is not a proud one, or self-obsessed. And the laws are there: ever in life and in death. So I can die and descend or die and ascend.”

Our work is very practical, the most practical thing, because it leads to the total transformation of the whole of life. I even cut the bread better, don’t misplace my glasses every time I read the paper. It comes back to the individual: each one has to be concerned with themselves and only with themselves. If one can be concerned with oneself, then one can begin to have external consideration.”

If we accept the word “work”, that makes an enormous difference. It means that we accept to construct something within ourselves, and to have sufficiently deep impressions that can nourish me a bit, perhaps until I come again. I can be changed. My ordinary I is my misconception. I was very worried in the early days, how can I be changed into something I am not? It seemed impossible. I hadn’t had the idea of two lives simultaneously. If I only see for a moment I am changing. All the time there is the possibility of change. Fish in an aquarium, changing colour all the time. Can I find the posture that produces harmonious colour, harmonious sound? This is the only body we have, so what about it? It could function better. Try and make the work immediate by the conscious receipt of more and finer impressions.”

After Lunch

The first questioner spoke of obtaining glimpse of how he lives under compulsion. Mr Adie replied: “ You don’t recognise the forces which compel you as forces. You find yourself impelled, but we think of them as reasons, considerations, everything but forces. I need to be present to my processes. I am not present to my thought, and so it operates to compel me. In the ordinary way there is no query about the process or nature of my thought. I can question individual ideas or notions, yes, but the quality of my thought?”

Mick then spoke about seeing a rather dramatic opposition in himself. “What is important to you out of that?” asked Adie. “It’s that you’re still identified with what you say. You’re not free of it: “Poor suffering Mick, undergoing this unjust torture. Not exactly fair, is it?” Life is different from what you think. If you could see, really see that you are being pushed around and compelled by forces, then you could get some perspective on what you do, or what is done through you, and you could say: “No, I don’t think that was a very good idea.”

So this afternoon, two lives at the same time. I pull the weed up, and I see what’s happening. Try and sense in yourself: is there any being impulse? Is there any immediate decision, anything you could say I to? Could you say: “I am related to this?”

Sometimes we feel heavily assailed by something difficult. If I can manage that, that is like a big lunch. I have to make a connection, but the greater the connection the greater the transformation of material. When things have gone wrong, when something has broken, make a particular intention. It’s a challenge. Even in the fact of tragic news, I can suffer, but I don’t have to be negative about it.”

When I suffer very much, it can mean that it’s something very near me. It means that essence is being touched. The very suffering can free me from my personality, or I can plunge right into and become more hopelessly lost than ever. I am tested. I must on no account be negative, though. It’s a process which I accept. I am there, the process begins, and I find I am weak. But I want to be there, with intention.”

Paul mentioned a desire to be quiet. “ To be quiet does not mean that everything unpleasant will disappear,” said Adie. “If I am present, I can be quiet in front of this trouble: I remain, I accept the annoyance, the frustration or the irritation. My quiet depends upon accepting this. We don’t seek quiet by avoiding, that is not our work.”

What you have been spoken of is subjective, subjective and real. And you have discovered that it is all contained within: it’s localised. Everything you need is there, inside. It’s not external or out yonder. So what about my posture? The mechanical goings-on diminish when I have taken a conscious posture. If I make this effort frequently enough, something will change. This sense of frustration is all of my energy pouring out. You have an occupation which makes demands on you, coming from all angles, so you have just what you need to serve you there.”

I want to be able to recognise my insecurity more quickly. I think I’m alright, but I’m really very insecure. It would help if you could remember exactly how you were: how your shoulders were, and so on, with what sort of pressure you were moving your hands, at which point your effort started to become less precise, so that this could indicate to you, warn you, on other occasions, that you’re about to put your foot into it.”

After Supper

Mr Adie added in his answer to a question I had asked, this interesting observation. It only had a point because it was not referring to me personally. “Sometimes this work is very difficult for people who are not very negative. There are people who seem not to cause much annoyance for other people. They are quiet, and they don’t take much offence, so they’re always happy. Where are their prods? I have to find material. See what it means, this non-stop possibility that is offered. It’s a very high demand but it is possible. That is why I cannot afford to disappear in front of unpleasantness. I must learn to be able to be there but not to be negative.”

In response to Gerry, who had been more present than usual, Adie said: “This morning you saw yourself taking it methodically. You didn’t plunge into the thing. You were not quite so hurried as usual. It was more steady. The unwinding allows you to operate with more control. I need to know, as much as I can, what happens. There will be little signs, if I can read them, in my body, my feeling, and they tell me that a change of state has begun. It can remind me, give me fore-knowledge. If I wish to work, the associations come with lights, and can give me an impulse to change. I see that I saw it, I thought of it as an unwinding. It means to say that I haven’t got to start the job at a breakneck speed. It means, steady boys, sort of thing. Yes. And so there is room for me, as well as the job.”

I see that in the ordinary way, when I can go, indeed I go. I am left behind. So the irritation I feel when this is starting up is to be valued, in a way, because it warns me, and if I heed the warning, I can take measures so as to avoid identification. It makes that moment of warning more critical. I shall remember it more. It’s like a turning.”

Finally, Shaun spoke about finding a state in which he could overcome fatigue. He felt that work had come alive for him. Adie replied: “It is futile to try and recapture that state, but not futile to try to reach that level again. How?”

The fatigue appears when I am not particularly enamoured of what I am to do. So if I realise that one of the warnings is fatigue, it warns me: “What is my attitude towards the job? Is it a job I wish to avoid? Maybe then I have to do it.” I tell myself that I am tired, but really it is not that, really, something in me does not want to do it. I must be careful of how I speak. As I speak, so I think. I say I am tired, but I’m not, I’m just not interested.”

From Joseph Azize: GEORGE ADIE ON “A LINE OF WORK” 10 March 1987

This is from a group meeting of Tuesday 10 March 1987. Held at Newport, both Mr and Mrs Adie were present. I shall present only a few of the questions and answers here. I hope that briefer transcripts may be easier to digest. With material like this, the information imparted is important. But so too is the impression of the operation of Adie’s reason, not just his intellect, when speaking ex tempore. In my opinion, if one can be open to the impression of how his reason worked, it lifts the level of our own. Such a transcript may even provide an imaginative inkling of what his presence could be like.

 

Part One: From The Meeting

At the start of the meeting, Mr Adie noticed that a young woman was looking tense. He asked: “Can’t you deal with that tension? She replied that she had been trying.

 

Then stop trying,” he advised. “Relax something else. If there’s tension in one part, then relax another. We have to be very practical about this relaxation, and what it means. It isn’t a question of easing one part, such as my shoulder, so much as it is finding a way into all of my sensation, and into all that my sensation is connected with. My organism has a thousand gates into my wholeness. I don’t realise that, I relax one part, and then I put a full stop there, when it could be a fresh start.”

I cannot relax any-thing without relaxing every-thing. It affects everything, my mood, my closedness, my negativity, everything. But once you have started to make the effort, even if it seems futile, continue to bring consciousness to sensation – the effort will not be wasted.”

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Sally asked: “What is a line of work?”

 

You have to understand this for yourself: a line is a result of a point having moved. So a point is this instant. What is my immediate aim now? Surely to be present. But what is the line of my work? I have to have formulated a longer term aim and a related plan: perhaps it is to study the posture of the tongue and what that is related to within myself. It includes but isn’t limited to just this immediate second. It has to connect through these moments. I am a student, I have some study to do. That line will provide me with certain material. I set a term of a week, let us say, and the term provides a certain intensity or focus. These then are conscious, or relatively conscious conditions for work. That will give me a line of work, because the end of the term will come and I am finished, and then I cannot have that line of work quite the same.”

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Mr Gurdjieff used to give an example of people coming to his apartment. Their aim was to get from where they were to his apartment. To get to it they needed a plan: they had to set out down this street and then down that street, and they had to follow the lamp posts. Each was a point in their destination. Each had to be followed in order to get to the end of the street. The points together made a line.”

The near aim is an immediate thing, while the line of work is something which endures for a week or a month or a fortnight, and to which all my immediate work relates.”

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So, if my key idea is to have sensation of my tongue, all my other efforts mustn’t stop, but they can relate to that for a week, if you like.”

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No line of work will bring me anything unless I remember that it is an inner work, and it is related to the circumstances of my life, to take advantage of them.”

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A line is a continuity, a view forward, you see: one thing leading to another. It’s very important to understand the sequential nature of any work. There is an immediate aspect: the immediate possibility of action. And in addition there’s the continuity of the work. I may be alive in a week’s time, and if I am, I hope there will be some connection uniting my efforts. It begins to give me the idea what a line of work is. Does that begin to make it a little clearer?”

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Work, if it is to be a work and not play, must have a sequential nature.”

Peggy then said that she had gone to a shopping centre she had never visited before, and could not help looking at people.

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What is important at this point is to know that you are bound to: you are bound to. If you do not, you will bump into somebody. It is especially so in unfamiliar circumstances. Then, you will notice more, but wherever you are, you are always observing other people, otherwise you’d be colliding all the time. That is lawful reaction, that is the sensible, life-preserving instinctive centre. With the eye you see, you measure the distance, but your other senses are also more active, including your sense of your own organism.”

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So you’re bound to be struck by new impressions, but the thing is to be present to it. You didn’t quite understand what you were in. But you bring the question and so you have advanced a step. Although you hadn’t been to that particular shopping centre, it’s always different, it’s never the same. But the unfamiliarity makes it impossible to miss that, whereas in ordinary life we’re forever in a hypnotic sleep, imagining that it’s the same as before. This is one reason our work is so interesting, it is never the same.”

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Life is different from what we have been accustomed and compelled to think. There’s a tremendous obstinacy and a tremendous momentum, like a big flywheel, attaching to what we’ve thought before, and we’ve pinned our egotism to it. Were not going to give up our thoughts so easily. Although it’s mechanical it’s all we’ve ever known. Life compels us in this direction. That is why this work is said to be a way against nature.”

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The thing is to understand what the Work is, the way of work, why the word “work” is used, why really, nobody in Sydney who has not tried this or something similar knows what work is at all. We seek to be less impelled, more impartial, to understand something, so that gradually these wheels which dominate us will lose their momentum, at least so far as they relate to me and my organism.”

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Remember how Mr Gurdjieff would say: “Life from new begin?” This is one meaning of it, that the mistakes and blunders, the slumbers and dreams of the past have told their tale. We’ve learnt from them, and that’s it. Real work is where you can choose and decide and apply yourself to your aim – that is our work.”

We don’t understand work because we cannot taste its action: if we could taste the nature of our action it would give us an enormous amount. There are six fundamental actions, six basic triads, only six. There’s 1-2-3, 1-3-2, 2-3-1, 2-1-3, 3-1-2 and 3-2-1. We take those as names, but descriptive names which, if we could understand them, would raise us to a higher level.”

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If we could only sense the nature of those actions, we would be at that higher level. Out of those six triads, one represents actions such as building a house where a plan is needed, and then the materials gathered. Every brick must be laid carefully, and mortar spread, within the correct time, otherwise, the labour is lost. Directly you stop your effort, the house stops. That’s one kind of effort. The other kind is burning a house. You light a match and place it to the fuel, and you do nothing else, without any further effort. That’s a totally different kind of triad.”

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Now, what is the taste of these different actions? Some of my actions are like burning a house, and some of my actions are patient and plodding. That opens a vast field of work. Am I really doing any work, or am I just slinging things around? Am I trying to build a house with the same effort I use when I burn it? That won’t do. If I had these thoughts, and related them to the observation, I’d be so much more interested: when I like something, what triad is operating? When I dislike something else, what triad then? You see the expansion of mind involved? That’s the life of the Work. How rich! Did it strike you as rich?”

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I would say there’s been quite a lot of material tonight. Try and make a note of one or two of the points, especially if they’re new, and try and build a line of work.”

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Joseph Azize

5.1.2014