Thursday, February 4, 2010

in His orchestra

We all
Sit in His orchestra,
Some play their

Some wield their

Tonight is worthy of music.

Let's get loose
Let's drown in the delicious
Ambience of

~ Hafiz
art by Shahid Zuberi

How am I to overcome loneliness?

Questioner: How am I to overcome loneliness?
Krishnamurti: Can you overcome loneliness?  Whatever you conquer has to be conquered again and again, does it not?  What you understand comes to an end, but that which you conquer can never come to an end.  The battling process only feeds and strengthens that which you fight.
Now, what is this loneliness of which most of us are aware?  We know it, and we run away from it, do we not?  We take flight from it into every form of activity.  We are empty, lonely, and we are afraid of it, so we try to cover it up by some means or other – meditation, the search for God, social activity, the radio, drink, or what you will – we would do anything else rather than face it, be with it, understand it.  Running away is the same, whether we do it through the idea of God or drink.  As long as one is escaping from loneliness, there is no essential difference between the worship of God and addiction to alcohol.  Socially, there may be a difference; but psychologically, the man who runs away from himself, from his own emptiness, whose escape is his search for God, is on the same level as the drunkard.
What is important, then, is not to overcome loneliness, but to understand it, and we cannot understand it if we do not face it, if we do not look at it directly, if we are continually running away from it.  And our whole life is a process of running away from loneliness, is it not?  In relationship we use others to cover up loneliness; our pursuit of knowledge, our gathering of experience, everything we do, is a distraction, an escape from that emptiness.  So these distractions and escapes must obviously come to an end.  If we are to understand something, we must give our full attention to it.  And how can we give full attention to loneliness if we are afraid of it, if we are running away from it through some distractions?  So when we really want to understand loneliness, when our intention is to go fully, completely into it, because we see that there can be no creativeness as long as we do not understand that inward insufficiency which is the fundamental cause of fear – when we come to that point, then every form of distraction ends, does it not?  Many people laugh at loneliness and say, ‘Oh, that is only for the bourgeois; for God’s sake, be occupied with something and forget it’.  But emptiness cannot be forgotten, it cannot be put aside.
So if one would really understand this fundamental thing which we call loneliness, all escape must cease; but escape does not cease through worry, through seeking a result, or through any action of desire.  One must see that without understanding loneliness every form of action is a distraction, an escape, a process of self-isolation, which only creates more conflict, more misery.  To see that fact is essential, for tonly then can one face loneliness.
Then, if we go still more deeply into it, the problem arises of whether what we call loneliness is an actuality, or merely a word.  Is loneliness an actuality, or merely a word which covers something that may mot be what we think it is?  Is not loneliness a thought, the result of thinking?  That is, thinking is verbalization based on memory; don’t we, with that verbalization, with that thought, with that memory, look at the state which we call lonely?  So the very giving of a name to that state may be the cause of the fear which prevents us from looking at it more closely;  and if we do not give it a name, which is fabricated by the mind, then is that state lonely?
Surely, there is a difference between loneliness and being alone.  Loneliness is the ultimate in the process of self-isolation.  The more you are conscious of yourself, the more isolated you are, and self-consciousness is the process of isolation.  But aloneness is not isolation.  There is aloneness only when loneliness has come to an end.  Aloneness is a state in which all influence has completely ceased,  both the influence from outside, and the inner influence of memory; and only when the mind is in that state of aloneness can it know the incorruptible.  But to come to that, we must understand loneliness, this process of isolation, which is the self and its activity.  So the understanding of the self is the beginning of the cessation of isolation, and there fore of loneliness.
~ Krishnamurti from a talk in Seattle, in 1950

Live from your own center

The divine manifestation is ubiquitous,
   Only our eyes are not open to it.
Awe is what moves us forward.
Live from your own center.
The divine lives within you.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.
Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen,
but experienced, unity and identity in us all.
Today the planet is the only proper “in group.”
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.
You must return with the bliss and integrate it.
    The return is seeing the radiance is everywhere.
The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.
The spirit is the bouquet of nature.
Sanctify the place you are in.
Follow your bliss. . . .
~ Joseph Campbell 


How can I experience God

Question: How can I experience God, which will give a meaning to my weary life?  Without that experience, what is the purpose of living?
Krishnamurti: Can I understand life directly, or must I experience something which will give a meaning to life?  Do you understand , sirs?  To appreciate beauty,  must I know what its purpose is?  Must love have a cause?  And if there is a cause to love,  is it love?  The questioner says he must have a certain experience that will give a meaning to life – which implies that for him life in itself is not important.  So in seeking God,  he is really escaping from life, escaping from sorrow,  from beauty,  from ugliness,  from anger,  pettiness,  jealousy and the desire for power,  from the extraordinary complexity of living.  All that is life, and as he does not understand it, he says, ‘I will find some greater thing which will give a meaning to life.’
Please listen to what I am saying,  but not just at the verbal,  intellectual level,  because then it will have very little meaning.  You can spin a lot of words about all this,  read all the sacred books in the land,  but it will be worthless because it is not related to your life,  to your daily existence.
So,  what is our living?  What is this thing that we call our existence?  Very simply,  not philosophically,  it is a series of experiences of pleasure and pain, and we want to avoid the pains while holding on to the pleasures.  The pleasure of power,  of being a big man in the big world,  the pleasure of dominating one’s little wife or husband,  the pain,  the frustration,  fear and anxiety which come with ambition, the ugliness of playing up to the man of importance, and so on – all that goes to make up our daily living.  That is what we call living is a series of memories within the field of the known,  and the known becomes a problem when the mind is not free of the known.  Functioning within the field of the known – the known being knowledge,  experience and the memory of that experience – the mind says, ‘I must know God.’  So,  according to its tradition,  according to its ideas,  its conditioning,  it projects an entity which it calls God,  but that entity is the result of the known;  it is still within the field of time.
So you can find out with clarity,  with truth,  with real experience whether there is God or not, only when the mind is totally free from the known.  Surely, that something which may be called God or Truth must be totally new, unrecognizable, and a mind that approaches it through knowledge, through experience, through ideas and accumulated virtues,  is trying to capture the unknown while living in the field of the  known,  which is an impossibility,  All that the mind can do is to enquire whether it is possible to free itself from the known.  To be free from the known is to be completely free from all the impressions of the past, from the weight of tradition.  The mind itself is the product of the known, it is put together by time as the ‘me’ and the ‘not-me’, which is the conflict of duality,  If the known totally ceases, consciously as well as unconsciously – and I say,  not theoretically,  that there is a possibility of its ceasing – then you will never ask if there is God, because such a mund is immeasurable in itself; like love, it is its own eternity.
~ J. Krishnamurti


Ask the world to reveal its quietude -
not the silence of machines when they are still,
but the true quiet by which birdsongs,
trees, bellworts, snails, clouds, storms
become what they are, and are nothing else.
~ Wendell Berry

What is death

Question: What is death,  and why is there such a fear of it?
Krishnamurti: I think it would be worthwhile to go into this problem, not merely verbally, but actually.  Why do we divide life and death?  Is living separate from death?  Or is death part of living?  It may be that we do not know what living is,  and that is why death seems such a terrible thing,  something to be shunned,  to be avoided,  to be explained away.
Is not living part of dying?  Am I living if I am constantly accumulating property,  money,  position,  as well as knowledge and virtue,  all of which I cherish and hold on to?  I may call that living, but is it living?  Is not that whole process merely a series of struggles,  contradictions,  miseries,  frustrations?  But we call it living,  and so we want to know what death is.
We know that death is the end for all of us;  the body,  the physical organism,  wears out and dies.  Seeing this,  the mind says ‘I have lived,  I have gathered,  I have suffered,  and what is to happen to me?  What lies for me beyond death?’   Not knowing what lies beyond, the mind is afraid of death,  so it begins to invent ideas,  theories – reincarnation, resurrection – or it goes back and lives in the past.  If it believes in reincarnation, it tries to prove that belief through hypnosis, and so on.
That is essentially what we are all doing.  Our life is overshadowed by this thing called death, and we want to know if there is any form of continuity.  Or else we are so sick of life that we want to die, and we are horrified at the thought that there might be a beyond.
Now, what is the answer to all this?  Why have we separated death from living,  and why does the mind cling to continuity?  Cannot the mind be aware of that which it calls death in the same way that it knows living?  Can it not be aware of the whole significance of dying?  We know what our life is – a process of gathering, enjoying, suffering, renouncing, searching, and constant anxiety.  That is our existence, and in that there is continuity.  I know that I am alive because I am aware of suffering, of enjoyment;  memory goes on, and my past experiences colour my future experiences.  There is a sense of continuity, the momentum of a series of events linked by memory.  I know this process,  and I call it living.  But do I know what death is?   Can I ever know it?  We are not asking what lies beyond, which is really not very important.  But can one know or experience the meaning of that which is called death while actually living?  While I am conscious, physically vigorous, while my mind is clear and capable of thinking without any sentimentality or emotionalism,  can I directly experience that thing which I call death?  I know what living is,  and can I,  in the same way with the same vigour,  the same potency,  know the meaning of death?  If I merely die at the last moment, through disease, or through some accident, I shall not know.
So the problem is not what lies beyond death, or how to avoid the fear of death.  You cannot avoid the fear of death so long as the mind accumulates for itself a series of events and experiences linked by memory, because the ending of all that is what we actually fear.
Surely, that which has continuity is never creative.  Only the mind which dies to everything from moment to moment really knows what it is to die.  This is not emotionalism;  it requires a great deal of insight,  thought,  enquiry.   We can know death, as well as life,  while living; while living we can enter the house of death, the unknown.  But for the mind, which is the result of the known, to enter the unknown, there must be a cessation of all that it has known, of all the things it has gathered – not only consciously, but much more profoundly, in the unconscious.  To wipe all that away is to die, and then we shall find there is no fear.
I am not offering this as a panacea for fear, but can we know and understand the full meaning of death? That is, can the mind be completely nothing, with no residue of the past?  Whether that is possible or not is something we can enquire into,  search out diligently,  vigorously,  work hard to find out.  But if the mind merely clings to what it calls living – which is suffering, this whole process of accumulation – and tries to avoid the other, then it knows neither life nor death.
So the problem is to free the mind from the known,  from all the things it has gathered,  acquired,  experienced,  so that it is made innocent and can therefore understand that which is death,  the unknowable.
~ J. Krishnamurti, from a talk in Brussels – 1956

I have practised meditation

Question: I have practised meditation most earnestly for twenty-five years, and I am unable to go beyond a certain point.  How am I to proceed further?
Krishnamurti: Before we enquire into how to proceed further,  must we not find out what meditation is?  When I ask,  ’How am I to meditate?’, am I not putting a wrong question?  Such a question implies that I want to get somewhere,  and I am willing to practice a method in order to get what I want.  It is like taking an examination in order to get a job.  Surely, the right question is to ask what meditation is,  because right meditation gives perfume, depth, significance to life, and without it life has very little meaning.  Do you understand, sirs?  To know what is right meditation is much more important than earning a livelihood,  getting married,  having money,  property,  because without understanding,  these things are all destroyed.  So the understanding of the heart is the beginning of meditation.
I want to know what is meditation.  I hope you will follow this, not just verbally, but in your own hearts, because without meditation you can know nothing of beauty, of love, or sorrow, of death and the whole expanse of life.  The mind that says, ‘I must learn a method in order to meditate’, is a silly mind, because it has not understood what meditation is.
So, what is meditation?  Is not that very enquiry the beginning of meditation?  Do you understand, sirs?  No?  I will go on and you will see.  Is meditation a process of concentration, forcing the mind to conform to a particular pattern?  That is what most of you do who ‘meditate’.  You try to force your mind to focus on a certain idea, but others ideas creep in; you brush them away, but they creep in again.  You go on playing this game for the nest twenty years, and if at last you can manage to concentrate your mind on a chosen idea, you think you have learned how to meditate.  But is that meditation?  Let us see what is involved in concentration.
When a child is concentrating on a toy, what is happening?  The attention of the child is being absorbed by the toy.  He is not giving his attention to the toy, but the toy is very interesting and it absorbs his attention.  That is exactly what is happening to you when you concentrate on the idea of the Master, on a picture, or when you repeat mantras, and all the rest of it.  The toy is absorbing you, and you are merely a plaything of the toy.  You thought you were the master of the toy, but the toy is the master.
Concentration also implies exclusiveness.  You exclude in order to arrive at a particular result, like a boy trying to pass an examination.  The boy wants a profitable result,  so he forces himself to concentrate, he makes tremendous effort to get what he wants, which is based on his desire, on his conditioning.  And does not this process of forcing the mind to concentrate, which involves suppression, exclusiveness, make the mind narrow?  A mind that is made narrow, one-pointed, has extraordinary possibilities in the sense that it may achieve a great deal;  but life is not one-pointed, it is an enormous thing to be comprehended, to be loved.  It is not petty.  Sirs, this in not rhetoric, this is not mere verbiage.  When one feels something real, the expression of it may sound rhetorical, but it is not.
So, to concentrate is not to meditate, even though that is what most of you do, calling it meditation.  And if concentration is not meditation, then what is?  Surely, meditation is to understand every thought that comes into being, and not to dwell upon one particular thought; it is to invite all thoughts so that you understand the whole process of thinking.  But what do you do now?  You try to think of just one good thought, one good image, you repeat one good sentence which you have learnt from the Gita, the Bible, or what you will;  therefore your mind becomes very narrow, limited, petty.  Whereas, to be aware of every thought as it arises, and to understand the whole process of thinking, does not demand concentration.  On the contrary.  To understand the total process of thinking, the mind must be astonishingly alert, and then you will see that what you call thinking is based on a mind that is conditioned.  So your enquiry is not how to control thought , but how to free the mind from conditioning.  The effort to control thought is part of the process of concentration in which the concentrator tries to make his mind silent, peaceful, is it not?  ’To have peace of mind’ – that is a phrase which all of us use.
Now, what is peace of mind?  How can the mind be quiet, have peace?  Surely, not through discipline.  The mind cannot be  made still.  A mind that is made still is a dead mind.  To discover what it is to be still, one must enquire into the whole content of the mind – which means, really, finding out why th mind is seeking.  Is the motive of search the desire for comfort, for permanency, for reward?  If so, then such a mind may be still, but it will not find peace, because its stillness is forced, it is based on compulsion, fear, and such a mind is not a peaceful mind.  We are still enquiring into the whole process of meditation.
People who ‘meditate’ and have visions of Christ, Krishna, Buddha, the Virgin, or whoever it be, think they are advancing, making marvelous progress, but after all, the vision is the projection of their own background.  What they want to see, they see, and that is obviously not meditation.  On the contrary, meditation is to free the mind from all conditioning, and this is not a process that comes into being at a particular moment of the day when you are sitting cross-legged in a room by yourself.  It must go on when you are walking, when you are frightened, when you are getting into the bus; it means watching the manner of your speech when you are talking to your wife, to your boss, to your servant.  All that is meditation.
So meditation is the understanding of the meditator.  Without understanding the one who meditates, which is yourself, enquiry into how to meditate has very little value.  The beginning of meditation is self-knowledge, and self-knowledge cannot be gathered from a book, nor is it to be had by listening to some professor of psychology, or to someone who interprets the Gita, or any of that rubbish.  All interpreters are traitors because they are not original experiences, they are merely second-hand repeaters of something which they believe someone else has experienced and which they think is true.  So beware of interpreters.
The mind which understand itself is a meditative mind.  Self-knowledge is the beginning of meditation, and as you proceed deeply into it you will find that the mind becomes astonishingly quiet, unforced, completely still,  without motion – which means there is no experiencer demanding experience.  When there is only that state of stillness without any movement of the mind, then you will find that in that state something else takes place.  But you cannot possibly find out intellectually what that state is;  you cannot come to it through the description of another, including myself.  All that you can do is to free the mind from its conditioning, from the traditions, the greed, and all the petty things with which it is now burdened.  Then you will see that, without your seeking it, the mind is astonishingly quiet; and for such a mind, that which is immeasurable comes into being.  You cannot go to the immeasurable, you cannot search it out, you cannot delve into the depths of it. You can delve only into the recesses of your own heart and mind.  You cannot invite Truth, it must come to you;  therefore don’t seek it.  Understand your own life and then Truth will come darkly, without any invitation; and then you will discover that there is immense beauty, a sensitivity to both the ugly and the beautiful.
~ from a talk in New Deli, October 31st, 1956

Carried by the surprise Of its own unfolding

I would like to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.
~ John O'Donohue

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


A hand in my soul can reach out and touch Jerusalem
as my other hand tastes the beauty of the Rhine.

And my bare foot can stand upon the holy ashes of rain – each drop a
fallen Phoenix – that sang out from the fire of union
with clay.

The hills, the valleys, the beasts, the vineyards, the sacred meadows
on our earth and body – they shall pass and ascend as all form does,
tiring of the space within a cage;

for all crowds the soul but the infinite. Ascenders to God we are.

Look though how we enrich this planet with our melting organic
shadows, wondrous shadows are all but He.

What a womb God has – what wild love He must have made to
Himself for days and days without stopping

to have given birth to all you can imagine, and to all you cannot

All language has taken an oath to fail to describe Him;
any attempt to do so is the height of arrogance and will
always declare some kind of war:
the inner ones that undermine our strength, and the outer conflicts
that maim red.

I cried out one night in the madness of separation from love,
in the madness of doing, of trying to add to the Perfect;
for Perfect is All.

The awakened heart is like a luminous sphere – just giving without
thought to any who may come close or gaze at it.
The soul becomes blessedly lost to all
but its own holy

When we cannot be who we are our divine senses become mute,
mute and sick from the insanity of judging
what He made Immaculate.

Who must God have made love to in order to have given birth to
all this sound,
to this sacred spectrum of color, scents, and music from the
wind’s body and existence’s plea for mercy – that
plea for the real mercy, unbearable joy?

Once we had four legs and tails so useful to balance our raid into
heaven, and I found them again.
I am a swimming galaxy tonight. Angels prowl around me
hoping I will toss them a fresh piece of light -
here dears, here, my sack is full.

The universe rents space from me, and oceans are drawn
from my will. How can that be?

For I can touch Jerusalem while my other hand tastes
the beauty of the

Yes, I can kiss Jerusalem while my mouth
tastes the wonders of
the Rhine.

~ Meister Eckhart

you say to them, “Love me.”

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a
full moon in each eye that is
always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in
this world is
dying to
~ Hafiz

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger

Buddha told a parable in a sutra:
A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger.   He fled, the tiger after him.  Coming to a precipice,  he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge.  The tiger sniffed at him from above.  Trembling,  the man looked down to where,  far below,  another tiger was waiting to eat him.  Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice,  one white and one black,  little by little started to gnaw away the vine.  The man saw a luscious strawberry near him.  Grasping the vine with one hand,  he plucked the strawberry with the other.  How sweet it tasted!
from  ’ Zen Flesh Zen Bones’,  compiled Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki


If the goal is surrender,
or freefall,
remove the safety net.

Security is prison
if freedom
lives outside.

There is only unity
Everything else is chaotic healing of 
thinking we are separate.

~ Beatrice Arroe

as I sit here

As I sit here
in my little boat
tied to the shore
of the passing river
in a time of ruin,

I think of you,
old ancestor,
and wish you well.

~ Wendell Berry

time of judging

The time of judging
Who is drunk or sober,
Who is right and who is wrong
Who is closer to god, and who is farther away
All that is over

This caravan is led instead by a great delight,
The simple joy that sits with us now

That is the grace

~ Hafiz

Here where the dark-sourced stream brims up

Here where the dark-sourced stream brims up,
Reflecting daylight, making sound
In its stepped fall from cup to cup
Of tumbled rocks, singing its round
From cloud to sea to cloud, I climb
The deer road through the leafless trees
Under a wind that batters limb
On limb, still roaring as it has
Two nights and days, cold in slow spring.
But ancient song in a wild throat
Recalls itself and starts to sing
In storm-cleared light; and the bloodroot,
Twinleaf, and rue anemone
Among bare shadows rise, keep faith
With what they have been and will be
Again: frail stem and leaf, mere breath
Of white and starry bloom, each form
Recalling itself to its place
And time.  Give thands, for no windstorm
Or human wrong has altered this,
The forfiet Garden that recalls
Itself here, where both we and it
Belong; no act or thought rebels
In this brief  Sabbath now, time fit
To be eternal. Such a bliss
Of bloom’s no ornament, but root
And light, a saving loveliness,
Starred firmament here underfoot.
~ Wendell Berry