Edited by Jerry Katz
Nonduality Salon is a private email forum on Yahoo Groups. It was public up to around January 2012. I made the group private because it was becoming too time consuming to moderate.
I may as well mention the connection between Nonduality Salon and the Nonduality Highlights. The latter was started because there were so many excellent posts on Nonduality Salon that few could read and absorb them all. Imagine hundreds of people as articulate and interesting as the ones featured in this issue in an era when ego-busting was fashionable. Yup. So we created a new Yahoo Group that featured the highlights of each day’s activity on Nonduality Salon, hence the Nonduality Highlights.
This issue of the Highlights returns to its roots, featuring a discussion that has taken place in the last few days on Nonduality Salon.
The name of the thread is Krishnamurti’s Notebook.
From Krishnamurti’s Notebook
27 June 1961
Formulation and words about all this seem so futile; words, however accurate, however clear the description, do not convey the real thing.
There is a great and unutterable beauty in all this. There is only one movement in life, the outer and the inner; this movement is indivisible, though it is divided. Being divided, most follow the outer movement of knowledge, ideas, beliefs, authority, security, prosperity and so on. In reaction to this, one follows the so-called inner life, with its visions, hopes, aspirations, secrecies, conflicts, despairs. As this movement is a reaction, it is in conflict with the outer. So there is contradiction, with its aches, anxieties, and escapes.
There is only one movement, which is the outer and the inner. With the understanding of the outer, then the inner movement begins, not in opposition or in contradiction. As conflict is eliminated, the brain, though highly sensitive and alert, becomes quiet. Then only the inner movement has significance.
Out of this movement there is a generosity and compassion that is not the outcome of reason and purposeful self-denial.
The flower is strong in its beauty as it can be forgotten, set aside, or destroyed.
The ambitious do not know beauty. The feeling of essence is beauty.
~ ~ ~
28 June 1961
That which is sacred has two attributes. A stone in a temple, an image in a church, a symbol is not sacred. Man calls them sacred, something holy to be worshipped out of complicated feelings, urges, fears, and longings. This ‘sacredness’ is still within the field of thought; it is built up by thought and in thought there is nothing new or holy. Thought can put together the intricacies of systems, dogmas, beliefs, and the images, symbols it projects are no more holy than the blueprints of a house or the design of a new airplane. All this is within the frontiers of thought and there is nothing sacred or mystical about all this. Thought is matter and it can be made into anything, ugly or beautiful.
But there is a sacredness that is not of thought, not of any feeling resuscitated by thought. Thought cannot formulate it. But there is a sacredness, untouched by any symbol or word. It is not communicable. It is a fact.
A fact is to be seen and the seeing is not through the word. When a fact is interpreted, it ceases to be a fact; it becomes something entirely different. The seeing is of the highest importance. This seeing is out of time-space; it’s immediate, instantaneous. And what’s seen is never the same again. There’s no again or in the meantime.
This sacredness has no worshipper, the observer who meditates upon it. It’s not in the market to be bought or sold. Like beauty, it cannot be seen through its opposite for it has no opposite.
That presence is here, filling the room, spilling over the hills, beyond the waters, covering the earth.
…another commentary by another idle man… 🙂
Man who never held any real job…
Man who never ran any real business…
Man who never married, never had any children…
Man who was quite different from the vast majority to people…
Krishnamurti did real work; the sort of work you are speaking of has no more real significance than a child “engineering” roads and bridges in a sandbox – less, if it were possible, the child not being such a pointless slave to the envy and jealousy of the vain as the average worker or businessman generally is. Americans in particular are conditioned to work far too hard, and to pour most of their wealth into the coffers of amoral exploiters, who have no use for it but to hoard it – and flaunt it, as though wealth were a prize, and not an obligation.
Russian mystic Georges Gurdjieff, who supported as many as 200 people, most incapable of supporting themselves, said, “you have to be able to make your living with your left foot.” Most of our time needs to be taken up with spiritual investigations and efforts, regardless, if the path means anything.
Occupations such as “sales” (or “lying for personal gain”) or anything political obviously are harmful, as well as serving people meat, alcohol or other harmful substances (aka Right Livelihood). Serving others is positive, good work, but such works are only the “scaffolding” on which spiritual service is erected (meher baba).
The above being said in reaction perhaps… krishnamurti and you both are speaking of the outward path, of making your way in the world, repaying the world for your existence and providing for its renewal. The outward path being effectively accomplished, oneself and family provided for in all essentials, the inner path presents itself… except for those who get stuck in making more and more money, or acquiring more and more things, or power, whatever.
Meher baba, and likely also krishnamurti, might say that their past lives provided them the karma for early realization and turning to the inward path. Both men were actively involved in much of the “scaffolding” of (baba-ji) healing the poor with food and medicine and care, and K with his lectures and Q and A sessions, where he went straight at the ‘seat of consciousness’ quite relentlessly. (You might guess, these are people are I admire and respect, and honor.) These men held spiritual poverty as more the essential problem than fighting over excess (Western poor, as some of them realize, would eat better consuming garbage out of dumpsters than at the “restaurants” they can afford.
We all die with nothing left but a heap of stinking meat, our works forgotten like those of a child’s sandbox at dinnertime.
Past lives or not, I don’t see how having dirtied one’s hands makes one somehow more qualified to speak on the meaning of life. Success in work and/or business is not a positive disqualifier to spiritual success, but… in our materialistic society, maintaining a vital spiritual life and courting material success at the same time is problematical. Everyone finds their unique solutions to the need to survive; those who trust god for their living generally do just fine, of course recognizing that all a person really needs in life is a handful of grains per day.
Lastly, did these men really live differently from the vast majority? In a sense, perhaps, as spinoza says, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” And being rare, these men live differently from the way “ordinary” people find themselves living, in the spit and slime of social life. This is why we listen to them, instead of asking the postman or the grocery clerk what they think, and if we might love them unconditionally, and kiss their feet.
Meher baba, who never touched money except to give it to the poor, encouraged all people to love Him as the embodiment of the divine – and he was very credible. He would give a hug and kiss to over 100,000 people in a weekend. He had to ask people to stop giving him so many neck garlands of flowers, as they were ruining his two favorite pink shirts. No one watching him sweat (try u-tube) can doubt this is really work. He alternated intense periods of public adulation with periods of solitude. Like the buddha, in a long life of awakening people, he never made a false step. He provided us all with a way to offload our egos and dissolve in love for god-as-human, god-as-us.
Despite our “defilements,” (the ‘defilements are enlightenment’ – if we know what are defilements, and that we are what-cannot-be-defiled, we are on the path) we are fundamentally the same Person as bab-ji; He says so. He did not tell us to teach, in fact he discouraged it; He encouraged love alone, for god alone. He quit speaking for 40 years, at the same time writing a book called “God speaks” among others; of such contradictions are god-men. Krishnamurti lived simply and gave many lectures, much material is available. He used verbal skill to try to turn people’s attention to attention and consciousness, to “higher” consciousness and to acquire the fruits of meditation and contemplation themselves. He made a decent living, avoided scandals, and his good work lives on and will long do so.
All people are examples of the divine. Meher baba is not special, we are all as divine as he is. Each of us is a story, somewhere on the continuum of hero stories and cautionary tales. (One story is worth a thousand pictures.) Meher baba uniquely provides us an opportunity of loving divine qualities in human form. Krishnamurti does the same, in his fashion, by pointing our attention to the sacredness of self(consciousness)-and-environment. If you know krishnamurti’s background, he had been groomed to be the avatar of the age, and abandoned all of that baggage early on, only speaking of direct, immediate knowledge, nothing else.
It is, my friend, an effective commentary on this kali juga, this modern age of steel and human abandonment, to see spiritual speakers as being somehow limited by not having experienced either side of the dynamic of exploitation. They do see the suffering all around them as the result of this exploitation, I am sure; it could hardly more obvious: take detroit. Compassion means understanding and sympathizing with the distress of others; with ordinary insight, anyone can easily see that most people are suffering, either feeling deprived on the outer path or feeling longing on the inner.
Jesus did ply his carpenter trade, spinoza ground lenses; aesop was a black slave, incredibly exploited; and pai chang’s zen monks didn’t eat if they didn’t work. Good work keeps one out of trouble, though meditation is more reliable. (Personally, I make jewelry, mostly fabricated silver, soldering sheet and wire, and I am pretty busy; I’ve been sick so now take time to write.)
Avatars like christ and buddha and bab-ji loved the poor above all people. Physical work was a metaphor for saving souls, like wine was a metaphor for spiritual intoxication. (Jesus turning “water” into “wine” at a “wedding party” testified to his talent for making the mundane become spiritual through “preaching the gospel,” speaking the truth).
That everyone needs to work is a given, what holy men suggest is to “just sit” in worship or meditation, not seeking a profit, there is plenty enough for all of us to share. In our time one farmer can feed hundreds, or thousands. We have an economy that stresses work so much that it exploits the planet’s resources at a destructive rate, and human resources much the same. If we could measure out humane, dignified and healthy work to an optimum populace, we might consider our society to be healthy. Much like the tao te ching’s ultimate society, where the small populace no longer uses mass production, and enjoys their fulfilling work and healthy allotment of food and materials, and values life, staying at home, self-sufficient and content.
Personally, I’ve worked lots. Most of it worth doing, much of it hard and/or difficult, and because of my profession, worked ludicrously long hours (averaging well over 60/hrs a week over nearly a decade, one stretch). I also spent over a decade at a stretch averaging less than 20 hours a week. Can’t seem to avoid excesses. Any way, though it was all grist for the mill, none of it meant anything in itself. I could have spent the whole time in an ashram, and did spend 15 years in a commune, back in the day.
It doesn’t matter what you do, anyone can be saved; just look into the nature of consciousness, of being and non-being, and the void in which they exist/don’t-exist. No matter how hard it is for the few who get it, their difficulty has nothing to do with it. Might as well take it easy – hey, maybe you paid your dues in a previous life, eh? Just look, leave past and future behind.
Perhaps you didn’t read “real people verbatim” – maybe something in there might have disturbed your realization – though I know you wouldn’t admit it if it did. 🙂 I do remember, my friend Dan, your willing and perhaps combative contention that you have the nondual view “in the bag” as it were… I know it is true, and I know it isn’t true – both at the same time, one hopes. Chuang tzu’s fish trap story actually ends with “Where might I find a man who has forgotten words, that I might have a word with him?”
I thought my neice jill’s letter was good, the dear girl. And the sufi story, which I should have credited to idries shah, it too was nearly verbatim, I think from “the way of the sufi,” though I could dig up the reference if anyone cared.
What do you suppose motivated krishnamurti, to pursue it, to keep pursuing it, for decades, at times passionate, at times wistful, in the face of admitting that words and formulation didn’t cut it, couldn’t cut it?
What do you suppose motivated meher baba?
I often think of buddha’s first line of thought, as he came away from enlightenment under the bodhi tree, and realized the difficulty, the impossibility of transmitting the “mind-seal,” enlightenment, nirvana, from soul to soul. He lectured for 45 years. Lao-tzu said “Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know” and “More words count less” in a book of ten thousand characters. The paradox is in simultaneous truth; the irony is that the only ones who can understand are those who have no real need of the vehicle to cross over to where they already stand. Students are rarer than teachers, and even if they weren’t, the collected teachings of the past, from ages far more advanced than ours, are readily available.
All I can offer you, if this, is what meher baba says about how each soul thinks it has transcended lower mind(s) to the highest body there is; even those attached to the gross mind generally believe that their gross mind is highest consciousness there really is. Having transcended the gross mind, there are six higher steps, each perhaps requiring ages and countless rebirths, each seeming to be a complete transformation to the highest awareness – though due to past lives’ progress, we may move through these stages with apparent rapidity. Thus, even complete transcendence to a markedly, quantum leap higher degree of consciousness may not be the final transcendence. Even if there is no doubt one has transcended, there may be doubt that our transcendence is the ultimate transcendence, you think? Of course, if it mattered what we think of it, it wouldn’t be what it is.
In any case, all doubts may be readily resolved in complete dissolution of the ego, where the soul has no more longing for the beloved, no more attachment, and god is perfectly realized and exemplified by one with no hatred, greed, or anger, in any form. Baba-ji would discreetly tell his servants, who were teaching others that they should be detached and that all things were One and no one really died, that if they were to be teaching thusly and hear sudden news that their whole family had died violent and painful deaths at the hands of evil men, and they could continue teaching unruffled and undisturbed, then they might continue to teach as though they knew what baba-ji knew. If not, they should just point to god and suggest to people that they ask bab-ji. Or ask the inner guide, also baba-ji.
Besides, as meher baba liked to point out, he wasn’t a teacher, we had plenty of teachers, and a teacher can only take you so far, to the brink of where intellectual understanding can go – a place that is not of the essence, as understanding is not required. He was an awakener, he said, and only “waking up” and seeing for oneself into oneself mattered; the rest was up to the Master, and we could put ourselves into the perfect master’s hands. The outer master was only a representative of the inner master, but the two at once are (supposed to be) vastly more effective at spiritual progress than only chipping away from within (“birdsong from within the egg” – rumi).
My favorite thing I have discovered about Meher Baba? Where he is buried, the group’s personal cemetery, they also buried their dogs.
Krishnamurthi was a great, world-famous, highly influential teacher. My comment doesn’t change that fact.
However, most of his commentary comes from a full stomach and a comfy chair being surrounded by largely agreeable people. The commentary that comes from such an experience is to hard to translate into real, mundane life of the vas majority of people. Most people live in a society that is full of conflicts, opposition and real world issue ranging from obtaining next meal to making payment for the cars.
To a very large extent, the spirituality has failed to adequately address the mundane issues that most humans face on a daily basis and has kept itself limited to the speculation of well-fed, idle men sitting in comfy chairs.
You are not terry
You are not a person with story
You are not American
You are not European
You are not indian
You didn’t work 20 hours a week or 60 hours a week
You never existed before
You will never exist again
You are… …(only)… this moment…
Knowing that is jnana…
Covering that with… ‘I am this’… …is ajnana…
Confusing krishnamurthi or Meher baba to be ‘person’ is ajnana…
Jnana or ajnana too only manifest… …this moment…
Trying to ‘always’… …be in jnana… itself… is…ajnana…
Can you take the jnana you gained from krishnamurthi and feel compassion for the corporations, for people with 30 cars, 20 houses and for other entities that you don’t agree with right now?
“Mundane”, as opposed to what? If you see through this interplay of
oppositions, perhaps the relevance of others words will not seem so
That said, I can relate to what you are expressing. Feel your experiencing
of this – shall we say talk the talk without perhaps walking the walk –
but isn’t this sort of judgement another expression of the same basic
misunderstanding? Does a doctor need to share the illness to offer a cure?
Just because words come easily with a full belly, doesn’t mean silent
starvation is any more or less “mundane”.
Instead of J. Krishnamurthi, perhaps you might read/listen to a bit of UG
Krishnamurthi for contrast – at least until you see the only apparent
difference is in the form of expression, and the only real difference is
in your interpretation…
Most (, if not all ) teachers have been away from relationships – spouse, children, paid professions work. These relationships are the core of most human lives and are in core of many of their problems.What might work well for a person with full-belly, sitting in a comfy chair, surrounded by largely agreeable people… mayn’t work for the vast majority that lives in another reality.Avoiding malaria in mosquito and malaria free California might be different from attempting to avoid malaria in an indian village full of mosquitoes.
Totaly, absolutely, irrelevant..whether the words come form someone like this or that in life.
I don’t think you post too much 🙂 – this list was moribund, what harm in a revival?
I have to think that the repeated references to “well-fed men sitting in chairs” is a dig at the vanity of posters – perhaps you are thin… (krishnamurti was pretty thin). In high stress jobs, many of us gain weight – I know I lost 75 lbs after no longer working in the hospital, and have been “normal” weight for years, as suits my body type. So, I don’t feel guilty for being overweight. Certainly I can eat what I please, but I’ve been a vegetarian for 44 years, even when obese, and prefer plain, simple foods, without additives. I like the free-range chicken eggs for my breakfast. 😉 I don’t feel guilty for being able to afford healthy food. I can’t really sit in chairs very well, I mostly hang out on the couch, or at the work bench, adjusted so the bench pin is face height.
I like to collect those little fat laughing buddha statuettes of ho-tai, with a bag over his shoulder, I have maybe fifteen of them in different sizes and shapes; they remind me of how kind, good-natured and generous fat people naturally are. Certainly the lean and hungry, like cassius, don’t look better, if they look down on others, especially on the rare few making the effort to express higher truth, which is as all admit, incredibly difficult to express. Of course, looking down on those who look down is a vicious circle (far be it from me to viciously circle 🙂 ).
Many people who appear to have truly realized the zen dharma have gone through incredible privations, ignoring cold, lack of food, clothing, shelter – to a person, they have denied that any privations have made any difference in realization. There is no virtue in suffering – we suffer in vain. The tao te ching says, “The man of the way, sick of being sick, is no longer sick.” Just so, we, sick of suffering, stop suffering.
Give up attachment, give up suffering. God knows most of us suffer from having others disappoint us; they make us angry, make us upset, push our buttons which they know very well through long association, and on and on. The truth is quite different: through detachment, no one can anger us or make us upset, regardless of button-pressing. Through detachment, we realize it was always us all the time, pointing out our own lack of virtue, reflected in others, and not them at all. No one has to play petty games of mutual hurt. Anyone can just stop by not caring to play anymore. Unilaterally.
It is of no value to criticize god’s work, unless displaying ignorance is our goal, or devil’s advocate, or irony. There is a sufi story about an idiot of god, who observing a famine prayed: “Oh God, if you cannot feed all people, why not create fewer?”
No value to criticizing the soul cages. We are “sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal” – so let “Soul clap its hands and sing, and sing louder for every tatter in its mortal dress” (yeats).
Fat old white men need to express universal love too, as well as us good-looking, slim, in-shape types, young for our quite reasonable ages.
~ ~ ~
what about the overfed guys sitting around in chairs? perhaps they only exist in ajnana?
what about the roles we “have to play”?
don’t we have to balance the personal and the impersonal views? and maybe get very personal, to get very impersonal?
~ ~ ~
Krishnamurti is a snowman in a field of snow, and one of many jnanis offering the public relief from their ills; as do you and I in our small way. Arguably, K was better at this than even we are (eyes roll).
None of these speakers or writers (or non-speakers) has added to my jnana, which comes from within. We share certain insights, that’s all.
Suppose a person had posted a sign at a well, saying “poison water, do not drink” – would it matter if it was written well or poorly, if it was a fat sign or a thin sign? Out of the mouths of babes; of drunks, drugged, insane; of idiots comes wisdom, how much more from those on the straight way? Muhammad, on whom be peace, spoke of this in telling us to enter houses through their doors. Perhaps not every sign which announces “this way to god” is perfectly true, but you are more likely to find your way if pointed in the right direction, by a known, knowing guide. There is a sufi story of a man who was weary from his journey, who stopped a man who knew the road and asked him, how much further to bokhara? He was told, we are sorry, but this is the road to turkestan. A little knowledge of the path may save a lot of wandering about. As the ttc says, “The Great Way is broad and straight, but people love to get side-tracked!”
As for compassion for rich people, yes I have had the opportunity to practice that, and they come in all kinds like anyone else. There are a few in this neck of the woods, and some really luxurious homes. Wealth doesn’t impress me much, I have seen lots of petty behavior in the wealthy, and some who tried hard to help out and be reasonable.
When it comes to politics, here is a story: it turns out that meher baba and gandhi spend several days together on the same train. The newspapers tried to link them together, making baba-ji gandhi’s spiritual advisor. The story goes that gandhi approached baba-ji about being his advisor, and was told that he would be willing only if gandhi gave up politics. The rest is history. I’m sure that meher baba would have ‘told’ (via alphabet board or gesture, as he was silent) the dalai lama exactly the same thing: spirituality and politics are exclusive. Spirituality and wealth are similar: ‘one cannot serve god and money.’
Since this is involving personal type questions, am I asserting that I have no attachments? No, not at all, I am very often unpleasantly aware of how attached I am. Perhaps I am getting better at recognizing reactions as attachments, fixing a hole here and there, now and then. Sometimes it seems like all I do is encounter attachments and let them sort out. I find that after the storms pass, things are clearer: once I have gotten over an attachment to an individual thing, I am more open to caring for what is real despite attachment.
How about your lindsay grahams and john mccains, mcdonnel and boehner – would I go out to dinner with any of these affable gentlemen? would I prefer barack and michelle? do I prefer mean, barking, out of control feral pack dogs to quiet, attentive, well-bred dogs, who don’t bite and do try to please, housebroken? No matter how nice the dogs or how much I love dogs, after all dog business and people business are different, and we would go our own ways.
I prefer good sense, I prefer justice, mercy, humility, honesty – are these all attachments? Yes, of course! I’m not judge, policemen, or even jury. I still see right and wrong, justice and injustice, at least in clear cut cases. Am I at fault for this? Yes! I know it is all god’s will and will work out perfectly. But evidently I play a character who professes dismay at injustice (hatred) and tends to seek advantage for family and friends (greed). Seeing my character behave with hatred and greed, I see how these attachments cause suffering. In the interests of giving up suffering, I give up attachments. A few more to go, no doubt.
It is best, as hui-neng says in the platform sutra, to judge our selves, and not judge others. Not judging others, we don’t harm them, and we find that we eventually stop judging altogether when we really quit judging others.
god love and bless you, brother,
They exist in our (yours and mine) ajnana…
To see jk, ramana as a separate, distinct, independent person is ajnana…
Body (named jk, ramana) is a product of genetic lottery, environment, upbringing, education, conditioning + a great deal of miraculous grace…
…just as a body named ac, terry, Einstein, Mozart, Shakespeare, Gandhi or idi Amin is…
Just like a paddy, wheat, oat or mango or rose plant grows in an orchard and bears fruits based on the kind of seed, soil, rain, worms, sunshine and predators…
The body grows in the society… …
All the education, learning, samsakara, vasanas… …and, yes, also all the extra flesh and weight… …goes to the body…
I (or you)… …the consciousness… ….never really learn, unlearn or accumulate… …anything…
Like the electricity passing through a computer… …consciousness simply gives life to everything already stored in the body…
…many times the passing of electricity changes computer… …as new data gets written and some old data gets removed…
…yet… …in spite of powering it… …in spite of causing a change… …electricity remains… …just electricity…
Consciousness activates the body…
Consciousness causes changes in the body…
….yet… …consciousness… …remains consciousness…
~ ~ ~
Electricity that powers computers is same…
Powered by same electricity, the computers can work differently….
Because … Computers are different… …with different programs and information stored…
Consciousness that powered body named jk, ramana is same that powers other bodies…
Bodies are different…
Bodies store memory, conditioning, knowledge, habit, fat, disease, gas, vasanas, viruses, bacteria…
Body is a well connected, dependent biological entity…
Body’s nature is determined by the genetics, environment, conditioning, society… …and, by grace…
…and only bodies are different… …not the consciousness…
Once we truly understand that…
…we know that consciousness’s sphere of control is quite limited…
A computer behaves based on what it already has inside and the new input that it receives…
Electricity powers it, electricity brings it to life… …yet, electricity doesn’t really control how the computer behaves…
~ ~ ~
It is not always possible for us to choose or to really play the role that you choose.
Anger, lust, resentment, disturbance, turmoil.. …can be a feeling in the body… …the body might be in different mode… because of what has happened before… hormonnes might be different, body’s state might be different…
~ ~ ~
It is not easy to be alert and focussed… when the body is sleepy, drowsy or tired…
It is not easy to be wise, compassionate or loving… …when there is lot of anger in the body…
It is not easy to be thoughtless, at peace, in nirvana… …when the body is disturbed and has too much going inside…
It is not very easy to be celibate, be pure in thoughts and not think of sex… …when the body is all sexed up…
Once we truly understand that then our role simply becomes:
0. You don’t have full control over results – Know that you can only do it when you do – do it when you can – don’t fault, blame or curse yourself when you don’t
1. Forgive – body is how it is right now – it is not truly body’s fault that it is the way it is right now
2. Be compassionate (to the body) and understand – listen intently without judgement – provide loving care to the body
3. Be wise in deciding – clarify your intent, do what is powered by acceptance, compassion and noble intent…
0. You don’t have full control over results – Know that you can only do it when you do – do it when you can – don’t fault, blame or curse yourself when you don’t
Once we can play this role to this body…
We can also play this role to other bodies…
~ ~ ~
Krishnamurti was a very famous man who influenced many and is praised highly.
His error in my opinion was following:
1. He thought what had happened to him (, enlightenemnt of intellect, I suppose) was largely because of what he ‘did’ and thus, he assumed others too can cause it to happen if they just listened to him and did what he asked them to do.
2. Believing the above, he got routinely angry and frustrated with people who listened to him and yet, failed to change in the way JK wanted them to.
JK seems to have wrongly believed that ‘changing’ was in full control of the conditioned bodies.
~ ~ ~
>>I have to think that the repeated references to “well-fed men sitting in chairs” is a dig at the vanity of posters
I wasn’t referring to posters. I was referring to gurus. Many gurus in my opinion live a largely isolated lives away from the conflicts of professional jobs, business, married life and children. And, often don’t “earn” food in the way 90-95% of other humans do.
Among the people I know, most of the stress in people’s lives is because of:
1. Money – job – retirement – medical – kids education – meeting parents and family
Once you remove three major sources of stress, much of stress can disappear on its own without needing to do much else.
>>- perhaps you are thin… (krishnamurti was pretty thin). In high stress jobs, many of us gain weight – I know I lost 75 lbs after no longer working in the hospital, and have been “normal” weight for years, as suits my body type.
I am not overweight but, I am not thin anymore.
By well-fed, I mean someone for whom food is provided, someone who doesn’t have to “earn” it. I didn’t mean to imply thin or overweight by it.
I am reminded of my wonderful good friend Bert whom I have known for many good years.
He was asset rich but cash poor. Always a problem for him.
He has just sold his farm, bought a large house in a much sought after suburb with stunning views and a pool looking over the Hauraki Gulf.
He also has just bought a new 17meter twin diesel launch to replace his old wooden dunga.
He is very affable and also inclined to be somewhat portly and likes sitting in his front room admiring the view. We sat with him for a while.
I (of course) am cultivating overflowing compassion for the poor benighted man!
I have a good way to go in this respect.
I admit that I have a wonderful view of maui across a mile of pasture and thirty miles of alenuihaha channel, and I have enjoyed it every single day of the twenty years I have lived here. We live in a tiny, isolated community which is self-contained, with a hospital, police station, fire house, k-12 school, markets – but no fast food, no signs. When carol and I moved here, she replaced a kindergarten teacher while I replaced the woman’s husband, the sole hospital laboratory technologist, one for one, and we raised our sons here, both graduating the local high school and UH, one hilo, one manoa. We have lived a comfortable life, fortunate in our opportunities to work hard and earn a good living and a comfortable retirement. Our sons now have successful families of their own.
I used to think – and not so long ago, which is a shame – that happiness was when I had the feeling of how fine this all was, sitting on my lanai enjoying a “cup of tea” or gazing out the big window at maui, that I was so fortunate as to have a happy family, a fine home on a beautiful island, perfect weather all the time, great dog, great cat, good friends around who owe me bigtime, a faithful wife who has accompanied me since we were 19 years old, successful sons and happy grandchildren… The good life, in all respects. I have a good second career making jewelry that everyone praises, and that my wife loves to go out and sell; under the banyan tree it does well. And for many years this has gone on, the good life, and me appreciating it, a paradise of sorts.
Life has not been pain free, believe me: I’m speaking here of the “feeling of happiness” involving an appreciation of living the good life, relative to my peers. There are lots of folks around here who live better than I do, and more that live worse, but I like having enough money and assets to buy what I could reasonably want, travel when I want to, buy things for people; but not having so much that people are lining up at my door for handouts (though I live conveniently far enough away so that indigent relatives and friends can’t just ‘drop in.’)
Now, seriously, take a look: this is the kind of “happiness” that other people envy. My brother introduces me as his ‘brother who lives in hawaii, don’t you hate him?’ and laughs. Now, I never wanted people to envy me, certainly not consciously, but many times I have expressed a great deal of satisfaction with my good fortune, and maybe even implied that virtue had something to do with it. Certainly if you want a “tip” on how to achieve the ocean view lifestyle, I would advise hooking up with a hard-working spouse and putting 20 years into mutual hard work. Of course, you might end up with a bad back and atrial fibrillation due to overwork and stress, but you have to pay some dues, and every body deteriorates. I “retired” in my early 20s for over a decade, figuring I should enjoy my youth while I had it; we lived in “poverty” but never noticed it, 12 to 15 people in one big old house, only 3 or 4 jobs and unemployment kept us afloat. If you want happiness, I would recommend that, as a tip. But the times were always on our side, and the times now require new creative solutions by younger generations (I didn’t have much use for gen x, but gen y and millenials rock! – I am totally willing to let young people take over the world (like egyptian youth breaking out, what wonderful young people!).
Anyhow, I am realizing that this is not really happiness at all; and also that I must have known this at other times, so it is a reawakening, of sorts; perhaps I have been seduced by ease. The satisfaction that you are “winning” in the game of life is validating for the ego, but for that fact alone makes it is suspect. Feeling self-satisfied not only causes others to hate you, it is by nature transient; and besides, it is not real happiness at all, and if you pursue it you will miss in your true aim to really be happy.
I know I am begging the question here, ‘what is true happiness,’ if not ‘winning.’ What are spiritual methods for, if not to help us ‘win’? What is truly to win is to find non-attachment. So, my tip for attaining happiness is to be unattached to those things you’re asking for tips to acquire. Enjoying the good life – it is not easy to say this without hypocrisy; and I don’t want to let myself off the hook by saying it isn’t all it is cracked up to be – there really are a lot of folks here living very very well, as I have seen and know. It is being the envy of others, and living the good life as defined by those outside it, that is not all it is cracked up to be.
Saying, “Look at me, I have everything we have always dreamed of having, aren’t I swell,” topping it the nob, feeds the ego and isolates us, and seems to be happiness as we feel it. We are greedy not only for things, but for ‘success’ of the sort that other greedy beings also desire it, and don’t have it. To win, to be better than the others, smarter, better looking, richer, thinner, cooler, younger – all deteriorate, all are losing strategies, false goals, false rewards. The reality is, you have to earn success, and get a few breaks, and be lucky in love; and even then, you get to work yourself half to death, and by the time you can really relax and enjoy it, it is losing its savor. But, you can enjoy the envy of others, that remains intact. But the hatred of others only gets you so far – “money” can buy me hate, but universal love comes from a different place. You can find it fasting in a desert, in solitude, and in the peace of fulfilled obligations. Among satisfied friends, or with nature, a feeling of peace descends. And yes, the feeling of all things being sacred emerges, “the sun pours down like honey,” the air congeals and all boundaries disappear.
True happiness does not elude me, but I find it more in walking the sea cliffs with my dog than enjoying my things. Actually, I want to sell this place, and either get a hole-in-the-wall on a remote island, probably kauai, without noisy and materialistic neighbors, or perhaps a few acres in hamakua or kona district on the big island, and make some space to watch my aging relatives and friends get old and die in some comfort and dignity. Depends on what falls to hand, and carol’s input. Sometimes I do think that it has been caring for others that has enabled us to succeed as well as we have, but we’re grateful.
The tip, then, is two-fold: care for others, and care for your common/cosmic universal Soul. Caring for others is a means to the end of liberating the soul. The liberated soul cares for others, indiscriminately. In the end, what we think makes us happy, like our material success our children’s success, well cared for grandchildren; all of this, while gratifying, is not of the essence. Craving causes suffering, whether you are a “success” in getting what you want or not, pain will sooner or later be involved if you are attached. Attachment is rooted in the self. If your son strikes out, he feels your disappointment; but he should feel only your compassion, your praise for his effort. At every level, less attachment, more unselfishness, improves outcomes for everyone involved. (Besides “live aloha” my other bumper sticker reads “wag more, bark less.”)
It’s a hard tip to articulate, but vital to true happiness; for self-satisfaction certainly seems like a good feeling, one can get drunk on it, feel all fuzzy good about how proud momma is/was/would have been. And the envy of others seems harmless and rather pleasant. But whether you are enjoying the fruits of the garden or eating garbage, the essential thing is good nutrition: keeping on the path.
Success in the world always has its reverses. Our soul does not want us to succeed at the expense of spirit. If we are going to succeed at the expense of our own souls, we often stumble and fall, and that’s a good thing. Better to fail than lose our souls. So material success, beyond having enough to eat each day, is subject to spiritual needs, if true happiness is our aim. Material success is not so much to be avoided as to be not sought at the expense of spirit. The spiritual ideal is homelessness, perhaps like meher baba’s “new life” of wandering about begging with a handful of disciples, like the buddha himself did. But non-attachment will do, virtual homelessness, ready to leave at any moment (I always loved woody guthrie for eating standing up with his hat on, ready to go).
If you have resources enough to meet your obligations, turn away from the world and investigate the Truth. If you need to work in the world to meet your obligations, make the best of your abilities and use everything that happens to you as spiritual instruction. Alternate work with appropriate and necessary rest. Don’t unnecessarily worry or be discontent; if you are intent on being spiritual, just be open and it will come to you. The futility of egoic effort succeeding in achieving spirituality (the end of egoic effort) becomes clear, the effort drops away, and the universe reveals itself as new as on the First Day.
And don’t sweat the small stuff… bad habits will fall away, weight will come to normal, you’ll eat better, feel better, get sick less often, all by not stressing out about what doesn’t affect your spiritual path. God doesn’t want your suffering, and smooths the path by a subtle, pervasive happiness which replaces grumpiness with irrepressible smiling. When we are happy inside, good things happen outside, as if to test our resolve to be unattached. When you no longer desire things, frequently you can have all you want, once you don’t care.
Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and ts righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
That’s my tip. Like I say, feeling self-satisfied about any material or spiritual “success” is a form of satisfied craving, also boasting to make others envious, which inevitably leads to an equivalent dissatisfaction. Only the amount of material success which helps us achieve non-attachment and lets us (and like-minded others) walk the path without difficulty is of value. If we achieve great material success, more than we need, we are obligated to find way to share with those in need, if we are to remain on the path. And the needy are not hard to find.
Gotta go, Screecher and Screamer, the little blond girls next door are having a party, doing what they do best. I’ll take my dog to my favorite spot on the cliffs, “have a cup of tea,” read my books and gaze at the Ocean; getting away from it all, while carol cooks dinner. The suns sets into lanai these days, and lights it up, while it shines through the dragon’s eye made of low clouds, and makes visible rays, quite amazing every time.
I do mostly try to speak impersonally, as others do; but with no visual clues anyway in email, it sometimes seems important to ground our spiritual gropings in real people, rather than think of all this writing as evanescent “spiritual bs” which matters to no one, other than as entertainment.
Thanks for asking.
What an astonishingly wonderfully generous response, so full of wisdom.
It brings up the notion of ‘the pursuit of happiness’.
Sometimes we don’t know what we’ve got till its gone, like paradise and the parking lot.
Course by then it is too late.
Mebe this ‘suffering’ stuff folk are on about is a bit the same.
Once one has had a dose of suffering one can appreciate what happiness is.
The two go together.
Like the Buddha reckoned, “Life is actually full of suffering’ or something like that.
Then he announced his ‘middle way’ to get out of it.
Much of the time I have no idea whether I am happy, sad or whatever.
Until I think about it.
Happiness/ sadness and suffering highlight each other.
Sometimes I reckon it is better not to bother with either.
Thanks for your sympathetic reading, bra.
Just wanted to add a slight bit about the buddha’s technique of “mindfulness.” He suggested that a person think, as a mindfulness practice, for to stay awake, about whether the apparent, present self felt happy, unhappy, or neutral (good, bad or indifferent). I have found that we can simply use the body’s senses to feel the set of one’s face; to get an objective view of one’s subjective condition.. Often there is a negative face, a positive face, a neutral face, superimposed on original face. Seeing how our attitude affects what we take in and put out can dramatically (or subtly) change our behavior and processing.
Awareness of what our basic attitude toward the world is at a given moment goes a long way to explain how we are received. Being “mindful” – aware of the basic set of the “doors of perception” at the present moment – is a positive habit to acquire, a good behavior to repeat.
Generally being awake means being aware and present.