exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
The Krishnamurti Lectures
|Dualism, Division, Conflict, Separation, Fragmentation
Editor's prefatory comment:
Planet Earth has always been a place of incivility, violence, and war. In the midst of this chaos, how shall we live our lives?
you must teach yourself
In 1000+ lectures, over 60 years, Jiddu Krishnamurti helped us to understand the human heart-of-darkness. He continually asserted that all belief-systems, all methods and formulas, divide people.
The world is filled with tens of thousands of competing doctrines of truth. And this clash of antithetical philosophies isolates and separates people into warring splinter groups; of "my god and your god."
What is the solution? - not another method or belief-system, he said, not another set of "one true doctrines" to divide the world, but a universal experience, an "instantaneous" knowing, an "immediate" accessing of the answer; immediate in the literal sense of "without mediation." If we do this together, if each individually seeks "the life" within, then there will be no division among people.
Always, to the many audiences, he maintained that he was no one's primary teacher but, at best, could only point the way. Whatever insights or mystical revelations he might have gained were for him alone and were non-transferable. Truth is not a spectator sport, we must seek for our own, from the "inner riches" of the soul. As such, we must teach ourselves; and this is why the Jesus of the Gospel Of Thomas jars us with "I am not your teacher."
'truth is a living thing'
In his lecture at Stanford, Krishnamurti asserted that “truth is a living thing.” The essence of “what is,” the bedrock of reality, as the quantum physicists have learned, derives from a universal consciousness. It’s a living thing. It provides the hidden energy for bursts of “creative discontinuity,” islands of complexity and order in the midst of cosmic entropy. It is the cloaked reason why minds have thoughts, persons have personalities, hearts beat, and lovers love. We come from life, life expressing life. And, if we “go within,” we might perceive its scintillating vitality; moreover, it will answer posed questions by offering a sense of right and wrong, a general direction. Truth is a living thing.
This page features the lectures of Jiddu Krishnamurti. He spoke of a "pathless truth" toward wholeness and personal integration; of finding reality and God within one's inner being.
Accessing truth, he said, was "pathless," meaning individualized. There is no one-size-fits-all, you cannot reduce it to a formula, no "seven laws of success," no holy teachings delivered from the mountain top, no secret recipe, magic hand-sign, or runic ritual; you cannot bottle-and-sell the truth "for $29.95," nor is there a prescribed, approved, or best avenue to it. It's custom-crafted all the way, and just for us.
This means there are no inscrutable gurus, no infallible head-honchos, no holier-than-thou Dear Leaders; instead, each of us, each one "made in the image," if we allow it, will be taught directly and personally, a private tutoring, by Universal Consciousness, via "going within."
1895 - 1986
03.March.1954. A man who is really free has no choice; he is free not to do this or that but to be; where there is choice, there is no freedom because choice springs from our conditioned state.
16.April.1967. Watch what is going on inwardly. It is like watching the movement of a whole river. If you sit on a bank and watch the river go by, you see everything. But you, watching from the bank, and the movement of the river, are two different things; you are the observer and the movement of the river is the thing observed. But when you are in the water - not sitting on the bank - then you are part of that movement, there is no observer at all, and there is cessation of space between the observer and the observed.
28.May.1967. “A petty mind is always seeking more and more experiences… a mind that is always concerned with itself, a mind that is not very deep… that is why there is this craze for taking LSD., hoping to expand consciousness… Why do we want experiences? We demand it because our lives are empty.”
beauty is not in the thing
Jiddu Krishnamurti, September 24, 1967, London: “Like love, beauty is not the cultivation of thought. A thing of beauty is not beauty. Beauty is not in the thing, in the building, in the person; but there is that beauty which is not the result of conditioning, in which thought in no way interferes.”
The sense of beauty is an opinion, a judgment, concerning the good and the true.
Beauty issues not from one's “hardware” but “software,” the “programming.”
See more discussion in the “waves” article.
30.May.1967. "There isn't much difference between the believer and the non-believer, both are conditioned, to believe or not to believe. Intellectual people are believers," too, or they join the other group, they don't believe. People join groups because "belief gives hope", minds invent belief to manufacture various kinds of comfort.
9.July.1967. “There is not only the outward authority, but there is inward authority of one's own experience, of ideals which guide one's life. There is yesterday's authority which is as destructive as the authority of a thousand years. To understand ourselves needs no authority of yesterday, or of a thousand years, because we ourselves are a living thing, moving, never resting, always flowing.”
11.July.1967. "If one is dependent on any stimulation, then it makes the mind dull, insensitive. All stimulation, whether of the church, drink or drug, will bring about a dependence. We all depend on something - a relationship, a book, certain ideologies, or we depend on solitude, denial, resistance. One has to find out why one depends on anything at all, psychologically."
13.July.1967. There are groups which believe in creating perfect outward organizations to bring peace to through sanctions and laws; or, by inwardly identifying with principles or ideology. Can there be the cessation of conflict if one is compelled, outwardly or inwardly, to live at peace with yourself and your neighbor?
18.July.1967. Krishnamurti defines solitude as living with ourselves as we actually are. We fear to face ourselves as we are. Conscious striving, will power to improve, trying very hard, necessarily involves thought, which derails spiritual progress. Even to say that one has confidence implies a dependence upon one’s own authority, which hinders growth of the mind.
20.July.1967. Maturity has nothing to do with age and time, but only a deep knowing of oneself. One can be mature only immediately, or not at all. Can we look at fear, very attentively, watching every movement, without reaction, like living with a serpent in the room? An artist in ancient China, before painting a tree, sat in front of it for days, months, years, until there was no space between observer and observed, no experience as the observer of beauty.
23.July.1967. What is learning - do we ever learn? from experience, from accumulation of knowledge? With 15,000 wars in the last 5,000 years, are we more wise now? Is learning a matter of time? or does lasting change come from an instant of clarity? To learn, the mind must not have any opinion, conclusion. We are sorrowful beings, with not a moment of bliss, untainted by thought or memory.
16.Sept.1967. “I want to watch myself but, as I am watching, my thoughts wander off, so I try to bring those thoughts back to what I am watching, and so there is a conflict. Whereas if my concern is watching 'what is', I am also watching when the mind wanders off, so there is no contradiction. My concern is watching all the time.”
17.Sept.1967. “I am a living thing.” My mind, my inner being, is a movement, constantly undergoing a change through strain, through pressure, through daily life. And we make a mistake by leading that “living thing” by images of the past. These images prevent the “living thing” that is myself to expand and grow unrestrictedly.
‘truth is a living thing’
In his lectures, Krishnamurti states, “I am a living thing” or “truth is a living thing.” What is this “living thing”?
As K describes, and as we also come to personally know, when we become intensely alert, especially in a mental state of “no you and no me,” when psychological “distance” collapses between “subject and object,” when there is no existential separation, we will experience “sparks”, flashes of insight.
As we sensitize ourselves to this process – what is this process? – we begin to perceive the mind, the essential self, as a seething, roiling, churning mass of cognitive energy, in constant flux and movement. It begins to feel, very much, like a “living thing.”
What does it mean, “truth is a living thing”? Truth is a word for reality, “what is.” Universal Consciousness (UC), not matter, is the ground of all being, the elemental constituent, of the cosmos (see on the "quantum" page). Matter derives from UC. To say that truth is a living thing is to acknowledge truth’s linkage to UC. And what is UC? We could say that it is the mind of God.
We are individualizing units of UC. And UC is not only a “living thing” but the source of what we call life. We can feel, deep within, this to be true, this “living” reality, this vibrant, dynamic, pulsating “living” essence, throwing off “sparks” of insight, as we "open a channel" to the molding, shaping influence of UC.
All this needs to be actualized, reified, for us to truly understand. But once the process is under way, the “sparks” come every day – pop, pop, pop – as UC, the ultimate and quintessential “living thing,” reconfigures us in Its own image.
30.Sept.1967. "Most of us want deep fundamental lasting experience, that will be completely satisfying, that will never be destroyed by thought. So the demand for satisfaction dictates experience.To have great satisfaction is a great pleasure, so pleasure dictates the form of experience we demand. Pleasure is the measure of experience. So in seeking what is true, is there anything which is really holy in life?"
10.March.1968. Can we listen or look without repression or translating into one’s own background? We can clear the subconscious ‘with a single sweep’ if we live without fear.
12.March.1968. “We think experience is necessary. I wonder if it is. We've had 30 million years of experience. Have we learned anything? Is the mind chaste, virgin? Only a mind free from the known, dying every day, renewing itself, can see what is truth.”
concepts of 'beauty' and 'pleasure' become colored by fearful thought
Krishnamurti's discussion of pleasure (in many lectures, but, for example, in the May 18, 1968 talk) in union with thought invites a review of the term "stimulus"; from the internet we learn:
Stimuli (Latin, “goad, prick”) are those actions, acts, or procedures that evoke a reaction from the mind. The stimuli may be visual, audio, physical, or a mix of them. It may be an object, event, or a factor capable of inciting a physiological response. Any of the five senses will respond to a particular stimulus.
Sensory organs can detect external changes (such as temperature, light, sound, etc.) or internal changes (loss of energy results in hunger). The sensory system signals these changes to the brain which elicits a response. The response can be in the form of physical activity (move, run, change shape, etc.) or internal response (perspiration).
A mechanism of stimulus recognition in animals involves:
- Stimulus: A detectable change happens in the environment
- Receptors: The receptors convert environmental stimuli into electrical nerve signals
- Neurons: The nerve signals are transferred to the central nervous system via neurons
- Effectors: Effectors, muscles and glands, produce a response as a result of the stimulus.
Editor's note: The following is excerpted from the article on the meaning of beauty:
stimulation, perception, conception
The dog undoubtedly knows that a large vertical object of rough exterior blocks its path, but to see a tree as a tree requires a certain abstract knowledge, an awareness of a general category of “trees,” as opposed to a certain individual tree. To see a particular tree as part of a larger family of "trees" is a quantum leap, far too high even for good jumpers like dogs.
Dr. Robinson makes an extremely valuable comment by drawing distinction among stimulation, perception, and conception. A lower form of life might be incited to movement by a shaft of light, that is, mere stimulation as a result of photon activity.
Editor’s note: I sometimes make reference to my young-teen state of mind, rather, a lack of it, by comparing a boy's lower level awareness to a worm vaguely aware of a light source. This is not advanced sentience but mere “stimulation.”
And if the bees “see” the flowers, and have some minimal awareness of the “beauty” of color, I would suggest that any such appreciation of floral beauty would be on par, or lower than, that of the dog which does not see a tree as a tree.
Perception, as we learn from Dr. Robinson, moves us up the line of cognitive awareness. A perception is an awareness of stimulation. I think the dog lives on this level. It is aware of stimulation, and also perceives trees, but does not mentally conceive of trees as trees.
Conception takes us a step further, a gigantic one, wherein perceptions are categorized now as ideas of the world, sorted into general headings.
each species sees 'beauty' and 'pleasure' somewhat differently
What we call "pleasure" is the brain's reaction to certain stimuli which evoke positive sensation. Humans are hard-wired to recognize, as “pleasure”, particular stimulus-reaction sequences, but other organisms, a goose, for example, will not "raise an eyebrow" at these sensory awakenings. In other words, much of what we call "beauty" and “pleasure” is a positive, near-autonomic, response to species-specific stimuli.
A great deal of this “incitement to riot” is bio-chem prompted, just a trick Mother Nature plays on each life-form, to encourage reproduction, the perpetuation of the species.
See more discussion in the “waves” article.
Krishnamurti says that pleasure is one thing, but it becomes something else when thought gets involved. Thought is like a parasite to the process. When we think about pleasure, he says, invariably fear becomes entangled with the perception; either we say “I wish I had pleasure and fear I won’t get it,” or “I have pleasure and fear that I’ll lose it.”
This fear creates, what he calls, a mental "image", and our relationship with pleasure is filtered through this image. The needy ego gets involved and colors everything with its assessment of “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.”
not all aspects of beauty and pleasure spring from bio-chem origin
There is a higher-order of beauty and pleasure which has nothing to do with brain chemicals or reproductive “fever.”
These forms of beauty and pleasure, of zenith and pinnacle levels, issue as a resonance with sacred destiny, an affinity with the celestial infinite, a union with universal consciousness.
See more discussion in the “waves” article.
17.March.1968. To be free inwardly, to find freedom in an unfree world, occurs when there is a complete relinquishing of the self. In this humility we become an outsider to the world of violence and oppression and begin to live as a human being.
16.April.1968. Why is the world's morality based on acquiring pleasure? Can we see ourselves without any wish to change? We create faux images of reality, of the self, of others, and in this division the entire conflict of man exists.
18.April.1968. We are eager to follow and obey, we fear the loss of psychological security. We make heroes of those who say they know and have experienced. But truth can only be seen, instantly, not experienced. Experience represents the past, our conditioning. A mind seeking reality through experience will never find it. Those called ‘saints’ have conformed to a group-consensus of accepted pattern; otherwise, they would be called eccentrics.
25.April.1968. Society's insistence today on pursuing pleasure becomes a measure of individual isolation and loss of authentic relationship, which union is substituted with an interaction of ego-images, behind which we hide, in fear. A demand for pleasure destroys true relationship as it seeks to use others to mollify the inner terror of aloneness.
|"Experience involves remembrance, time - which is the past. What we see is a product of our cultural conditioning. Therefore the experiencer is the experienced. You are the experience." READ MORE
28.April.1968. Communion comes when minds and hearts meet with the same quality of intensity, urgency and fullness. But most are so driven by the intellect that we cling to words, but the symbol, the word, is never the reality. Most of us don't want to be totally free, just free in certain spots which ache.
11.May.1968. People turn on the radio, or a movie, or some distraction, as antidote to the inner malaise, the inner fear. People embrace belief systems, too, as an expression of fear. Further, the John-and-Mary relationship is built upon the same dynamic. They enter relationship for the same reason that others turn on the radio.
12.May.1968. Thought begins to judge, to evaluate, now there is space between the thinker and the thought. In this division is the whole problem of existence, there is conflict, there is choice. Can we observe without the thinker, without that space?
Why is it that many people will hate you just for disagreeing with them? They cannot hear you – even if reasonings are cogent and information is accurate.
Many are so identified with an ideal that, if you disagree with it, they will hate you, and some, if they could, would try to kill you.
Why the vitriol? Why not just believe what you want to believe and turn away and not say anything? But today, more and more, we see the venomous political attacks, the vicious statements on social media, the hate-filled rhetoric of those who disagree -- and with an air of moral superiority.
the inability of true-believers to hear you is an expression of allegiance to Dear Leader
When we thoroughly identify with a thought-form, an ideal, a mental picture of utopia – especially, a vision promoted by a Dear Leader, who wears a “mask of piety” claiming moral superiority, stoking the anger of a purported victim class – then the true-believer followers will feel justified to commit any atrocity in support of said utopian vision. The great psychologists call this sense of permission the "divine numen", ie, the approving "nod" from on high.
And what does it mean to “thoroughly identify with a thought-form”?
The dysfunctional ego is led by dark perceptions of “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.” And because it feels itself as “not enough,” it will seek for a “strong father figure,” a Dear Leader, under whose mantle the ego seeks for safety and shelter in a hostile world. The ego will “identify” with this external authority, that is, it will “make itself equal to” this faux authority, will psychologically attach itself to it.
And this is why we meet so many people who are so angry when they’re disagreed with. To them, it’s not just an argument to be lost, but it feels like they’re fighting for their lives. They’ve attached their existential sense of worth, and of life itself, to precepts issued by Dear Leader. It is the sought-for security of the little child finding refuge in the shadow of a godlike parent.
'I can't hear you'
Children play the game of "I can't hear you" with a mock, sing-song voice, and then pretend to create a barrier of noise with "la, la, la, la..."
Adults do this, too, when they block you out and can't hear you. It happens when they fully identify with some external authority.
In his seminal and prophetic work, 1984 (published 1949), George Orwell coins a term, “ownlife.” Totalitarians encourage their subjects toward a servile docility, an identification and psychological attachment. Those who resist such sublimation of autonomy are accused of clinging to “ownlife,” an insistence on individualization - and as such are deemed to be “dangerous,” “insurrectionists,” “domestic terrorists” by the dystopian autocrats.
a terrorized mind is incapable of listening
This state of total identification with an external source of salvation, a surrendering of self and critical faculties, is fueled by a terrorized mind – a dysfunction which believes “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.” This fearful mental state makes one incapable of living freely, incapable of listening, incapable of opening oneself to the messages of life.
a terrorized mind will block anything that threatens its security and safety
This is why, when you meet a true-believer such as this, you cannot talk to them; no matter how cogent your reasonings, they are incapable of listening. The fearful true-believer did not accept his or her beliefs on the basis of rational argument and careful weighing of evidence, and so they won’t be “argued out of” their mental positions by careful reasoning, either. More information, more content of the mind, will not help them, but only an upward shift in consciousness will solve this problem.
they can't hear you
The terrorized mind of the "inner child" blocks out anything that might threaten safety and security, which they believe will be secured by obediently following the dictates of Dear Leader as "strong father figure".
READ MORE on the "true self" page.
18.May.1968. If love is the product of thought, then there is in it pain, hate, envy, division. If one could set aside all fear, merely see with eyes that have never been touched by the past, all things would be new. Old age does not bring innocency, which is not of time but the ending of yesterday.
19.May.1968. Most of us are afraid, confused, disorderly, contradictory. We hope, despite this confusion, that some kind of clarity may come into being, a clarity that can never be clouded over, a clarity that is not given or induced or taken away, a clarity that maintains itself without any effort, volition, or motive; a clarity that has no end and no beginning. Most of us, if we are at all aware of our inward confusion, do desire this; we want such clarity.
‘you must teach yourself’
As denoted earlier, Krishnamurti, in most of his lectures, would stress the importance of “you must teach yourself.” In this, he echoed the sentiment of Jesus in the Gospel Of Thomas who insisted “I am not your teacher”; meaning, you, on your own, must access God and, via his agency, must teach yourself.
But what does this mean? How does one teach oneself if one is unknowledgeable, lacks a sense of direction, and feels empty spiritually? The answer here becomes, feeling empty is how the “false self,” the dysfunctional ego, feels. But this is not who we truly are.
Krishnamurti was correct, and realistic, to admonish, “you must teach yourself.” It is possible to enter this kind of instruction; in fact, we're designed to do little else. I say this with affirmation because I’ve glimpsed the reality of K’s directive. Here’s how it works.
Quiet the mind. And if we cannot quiet it, then become witnessing presence to the mind’s internal disorder. Mentally stand back and simply notice the incessant chatter, the seething neediness of “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.” Become a silent Greek chorus to one’s own inner dialogue. This is not “thinking about thinking” as such but wordlessly entering into awareness of one’s thoughts, virtually as a third-party observer.
Editor’s note: If you’ve not yet experienced this phenomenon, the process might sound complicated. While it’s easy to access this vantage point of inner observation, once you get the hang of it, initially it may be difficult as the ego will do all it can to avoid any spotlight of awareness cast upon it. This is the part of us that’s been masquerading as the “true self” but, in fact, plays only second-fiddle.
Now, here’s the important part. When you “stand back” and “see” the internal disorder, you will “feel” the energy of the dysfunctional ego. Why is this important and what does it do for us?
The answer here is undefined, like trying to divide by zero. What I mean to say is, it will be unique, just for you. When we witness and feel the energy of the ego, we will be given a one-of-a-kind perception of what to do or how to perceive what we’re sensing.
'truth is a pathless land'
This is a form of instruction unlike anything we’ve ever known. There is no “one approved way” to do this. Each human being entering this process will experience it a little differently. And this is why Krishnamurti said “truth is a pathless land.” You can’t bottle and sell it for $29.95. It’s a “living thing”, he said.
The deepest part of us is what some call the “soul,” and it’s linked to God, and so when we say that we’ll be given a perception of what to do or how to mentally apprehend, we’re acknowledging that God, in union with the human soul, will offer us flashes of insight as we proceed here. It's private tutoring from on high.
Over time, we’ll be given more and more understanding concerning the nature of the ego, the soul, the essence of good and evil, natural law, what it means to be human - glimpses of God's mind on all of life, love, and the universe. This is the great adventure.
This “journey to the center of being” is not a single day-outing but commences a very long process of unfolding and evolving the soul, the inner person - an effort which will occupy our attention for unending times to come. God needed to invent eternity to unpack all that we -- sparks of God -- have been given.
Begin today. You are as spiritual, today, right now, as you will ever be. Nothing will change, in this regard, when you cross over. Begin the process of unfolding the “inner riches” today.
Editor’s note: To the materialistic mind, all this will seem as hogwash. In our world, we are immersed, every day, all the time, in a negative-energy soup of evil reports: international wars, rising crime, shortages of necessaries, high inflation, civil unrest, "Jack Bauer" internal corruption, personal loss, unfair treatment, the absence of loved ones; we could go on. We see those, who posture as benefactors, prance and strut, smirk and foam, on a world stage, oppressing us with big sloppy grins and hardened arrogant demeanor. In the midst of all this putrid chaos, fraud, sorrow, and danger, who could be bothered to “go within” and discover the “inner riches”? Certainly not the materialists. Special note: Read of the missionary work of Franchezzo in the Dark Realms, how he encountered totalitarian discarnates who rule over sectors of the dark regions. These powerful wicked spirits influence and control the selfish minds of the totalitarians of planet Earth, luring them to enter dark domain upon their demise.
Just as there is a “false self”, which seems so very real to us, so too is there a “false reality,” a “false world” presenting itself to us as the ultimate of “what is.” And yet, how slender and broken the reed which supports this illusion! In just one missed heartbeat, every human being on this planet will face the “real world.” And, according to the reports, seventy-five per cent of Earth’s denizens will spend some time in dark detention: a holding area, in which one will be forced to entertain a “mandated solitude and introspection.” This could last one day or thousands of years of suffering. The duration will be up to each individual.
But why wait until one finds oneself in a “dark closet without walls” to embark upon the greatest quest of one’s eternal life? No need to wait. Start today.
And why should we want to unfold that which is within, our "made in the image" heritage? The materialistic mind has no idea and scoffs at the prospect. And yet the “inner riches” will yet unfold an array of “super powers” that would make the comic-book heroes envious.
22.May.1968. Many are so identified with an ideal that, if you disagree with it, they will hate you, and some will try to kill you. This identification with a thought-form, a surrendering of self, creates a terrorized mind, makes one incapable of living, incapable of listening, of opening oneself to the messages of life.
07.July.1968. It is only the spiritual mind that is truly revolutionary. Is there any thought which is not conditioned? All thought is the response of memory, the response of accumulated tradition, knowledge. When you see this clearly, the very seeing may give you the answer.
Why do we not accept the truth instantly?
09.July.1968. As we look at the chaos, misery, confusion in the world, what is the central issue as remedy? The central issue is attaining the complete, absolute freedom of man, inwardly, then outwardly. We might say, ‘I agree with that intellectually’ but no action follows. Why do we not accept the truth instantly? It is like the rich person who hears the word 'generosity', and feels vaguely the beauty of it, yet goes back to miserliness. We do not accept, or even see, the truth when we have a vested interest in not seeing it. A man is unwilling to look at the truth because he is afraid. He believes that by looking he will lose his family, his money, position, his job, will fail to get the girl, all the rest of it, which means, he will lose his security and hope for pleasure and happiness. He is frightened to lose his security and therefore he will say he cannot understand the truth, and will refuse to even look at it.
11.July.1968. “The theologians and the theoreticians and the various religious people have said, 'do these things, practice, meditate, control, force, suppress, follow, obey' then at the end, that outer agency [of the group] will come and bring a certain miracle and you will be free; see how false that is.”
14.July.1968. "To look at ourselves is one of the most difficult things, to see ourselves as we are. How can we bring about this state of inward awareness? Have you ever tried to examine every thought, every feeling, to trace out the source of these to motive and various layers of the mind? This will reveal the whole content of our conditioning."
16.July.1968. In the East they say, 'We Brahmins are right, are superior, we know', as they assert their dogmas and beliefs, their conduct and morality, all of which creates division in the world. So we ask, is there an action which is never fragmentary, never exclusive, never divided?
become astronomer of your own soul, the inner cosmos; study yourself - this is the chief aim of your earth-life
“The first thing is to make resolute search within your heart and make the great discovery of the aim and usefulness of your individual life. He who succeeds in this discovery, and holds firmly to it all his earth life, has made a success, whether he wears purple and fine linen, or homespun. You scan the heavens with telescopes, but far wiser is the man who becomes the astronomer of his own soul, [the inner cosmos]...
the inner cosmos, the final frontier
Study yourself carefully; and also study the seeming simple things of Nature, and you will learn that the secret of life is eternal Progress; and that the Earth life, which is of the utmost importance, is only the primary grade of life. Learn your first lessons well, that you may have a solid basis for your future unfoldment.” Channeled testimony from the other side via the mediumship of W. Aber, presented in the book The Guiding Star:
Editor's note: The Krishnamurti lectures offer excellent guidance on how to "become astronomer of one's own soul."
Reflecting the teachings of the April 16, 1968 and December 10, 1970 discussions, I have created two sister-articles, Parts I and II, exploring the nature of pleasure as basis of the world's morality and ego-images, the cause of distance and division among peoples.
03.February.1969. Can the mind, conditioned to think that it can gradually resolve fear, by taking time, through analysis, through introspective observation, gradually become free of fear?
04.February.1969. Each generation revolts against parental conditioning but, in this reaction, merely trades old chains for new. To label "this is a rose" already conditions the observation.
05.Februrary.1969. Can we define death, love, and life, but not materialistically? e.g., death is more than the physical organism's demise but an end of the ego's separateness and division.
06.February.1969. Meditation: entering a condition of "no you and no me"; a quality of silence, with no space or separation, beyond that of the mind and thought seeking for silence.
11.February.1969. Is real change possible? Can the mind transform itself, without time? a revolution inwardly, immediately? Can thought be quiet at all? for only then is there actual transformation.
'we are the world, we are society'
Very often, Krishnamurti would caution his audiences against blaming others, seeing ourselves as "above." It's not easy to stand down as there’s much aspersion to cast. Right now, we witness the world marching toward totalitarianism, to a degree not seen since the days prior to World War II. Many of us are angry, and we want to believe that if we could just get rid of “the bad guys,” the ones causing all the trouble, then life would be good for all of us “good guys.” But this is illusion.
The seeds of evil, not always unsprouted, reside within each of us. If sufficiently provoked, if blinded to the light within, each person is capable of any atrocity, any brutality, and more, that we’ve seen in history. In other words, “We are the world. We are society.” We are not exempt, as we too reflect the human condition, and we take the vectors of perdition with us in our travels through life. And until we learn to “go within” to access the inner light, there will be no peace and happiness; not on an individual basis nor for us collectively as the world.
the seeds of evil
Star Trek: Next Generation, episode "Violations"
|"No one can deny that the seeds of violence remain within each of us. We must recognize that - because that violence is capable of consuming each of us."
In other words, “We are the world. We are society.”
12.February.1969. Love, true romantic love, cannot be cultivated - like a plant, water it, nourish it, look after it. If you could do that, it would be very simple, but unfortunately it does not work that way.
13.Februrary.1969. Are you watching the self from within or without? If without, then you are not related to “what is.’ The thinker-ego is outside. Be choicelessly aware, from the inside.
19.February.1969. An excellent explanation on thought as product of our cultural and experiential conditioning; which means that egoic thinking is always old and cannot free us.
12.March.1969. What is true religion? How to face one's life honestly, without distraction. Is it possible to truly change our lives? Organized belief with dogmas and rituals is not true religion.
16.March.1969. Can the mind be free of fear? The outward expression of freedom is becoming more rare in the world, but most rare of all is psychological freedom, inward freedom.
22.April.1969. Pleasure and pain are opposite sides of the same issue; the ego's desires and cravings are expressed through a filter of past experiences. Must I always live in a pleasure-pain duality?
25.July.1969. Can one's darkness be dispelled by another, by a teacher or guru? What is this craving of the ego to evade personal responsibility, to seek for external authority, on all levels of life?
06.September.1969. Living without resistance: belief systems cause division; when trying to change hate or fear, there is the 'me' changing it; instead, observe hate or fear without the observer.
07.September.1969. We are hardly aware of our inward psychological structure and its dangers, much less so than physical dangers. Our thinking is the result of conditioning by society.
“The ‘real’ is near you. You do not have to seek it. And a man who seeks the truth will never find it. Truth is in ‘what is,’ and that is the beauty of it. But the moment you conceive it, the moment you seek it, you begin to struggle, and a man who struggles cannot understand. That is why we have to be still, observant, passively aware.”
09.September.1969. The world helps me escape myself - the religions, the books, all say, run away; the world makes me a hard, cruel entity, but I can't get rid of it just by knowing this.
11.September.1969. Can I live completely without resistance? the ego makes comparisions to feel "more"; to believe in something is to resist every other form of belief, because I am frightened.
'the basic oneness of the universe is not only the central characteristic of the mystical experience, but is also one of the most important revelations of modern physics'
Dr. Fritjof Capra, theoretical physicist
"The most important characteristic of the Eastern world view … is the awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events … a basic oneness. It is called Brahman in Hinduism, Dharmakaya in Buddhism, Tao in Taoism… Buddhists also call it Tathata, or Suchness: What is meant by the soul as suchness, is the oneness of the totality of all things, the great all-including whole.
division is illusion
"In ordinary life, we are not aware of this unity of all things, but divide the world into separate objects and events. This division is … not a fundamental feature of reality [but] an illusion. Hindus and Buddhists tell us that this illusion is based on avidya, or ignorance, produced by a mind under the spell of maya. The principal aim of the Eastern mystical traditions is therefore to readjust the mind by centering and quietening it through meditation.
mediatation allows one to access the essential oneness of the cosmos
"The Sanskrit term for meditation samadhi means literally ‘mental equilibrium’. It refers to the balanced and tranquil state of mind in which the basic unity of the universe is experienced: Entering into the samadhi of purity, (one obtains) all-penetrating insight that enables one to become conscious of the absolute oneness of the universe.
particle physics confirms
"The basic oneness of the universe is not only the central characteristic of the mystical experience, but is also one of the most important revelations of modern physics.
subatomic particles, an integrated whole, interdependent
"It becomes apparent at the atomic level and manifests itself more and more as one penetrates deeper into matter, down into the realm of subatomic particles [which] are all interconnected, interrelated and interdependent; that they cannot be understood as isolated entities, but only as integrated parts of the whole."
13.September.1969. The exhibition of outward simplicity is not necessarily inward simplicity. That is something different. Simplicity means to have no conflict, no burning desires, no ambitions.
14.September.1969. Meditation: discovering truth by claiming total freedom for oneself from all forms of authority, not necessarily to reject what others have said, but to discover truth on our own.
04.November.1969. How to live in a world in which all philosophies, political systems, religions have failed? How can we change the world when we take the dysfunctional egoic mind wherever we go?
12.November.1969. We are human beings, not of this-or-that group, we are not labels. We are not to face life as a conditioned mind. Is it possible to remove, immediately, all our conditioning?
16.November.1969. Can we observe without seeing the past? the hurtful memories coloring perception, so that when I meet you next time I see you as my enemy? Can the mind break its conditioning?
23.November.1969. Science is based on accumulative knowledge. Is there another way of learning, always moving, but, in its fullness, is never accumulating? to access knowledge instantly?
26.November,1969. Can the mind burdened with the past, with experience, with all that it's acquired through centuries, can such a mind enquire into the unknown? Can one know oneself?
30.November.1969. How to have a whole mind. Can thought and thinker become one? This fundamental mutation can occur only when one allows oneself to enter another dimension of being.
17.December.1969. We find ourselves beset by vanity, pride. This stops us from learning. We must observe vanity in oneself to understand humility. It's only the humble mind that can learn.
28.December.1969. Belief is disorder. Your belief, my belief, all belief based on fear promotes disorder. Ironically, we adopt belief systems to give ourselves safety and security in a world of disorder.
31.December.1969. Humility cannot be cultivated but only accessed instantaneously. It is a mind learning, moving, offering no resistance. It cannot say “I am” because it’s a living thing.
a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary A Course In Miracles
As one surveys the vast corpus of afterlife literature – thousands of near-death experiences, thousands of books with channeled information, thousands of messages via psychic-medium – while there is confirmation for certain elements of the next worlds, one quickly discovers a wide variation of philosophical tenet. Some believe in reincarnation and past lives, but others over there scoff at the notion; some emphasize a missionary zeal for spreading the evidence for the afterlife, but some adopt a more laissez-faire approach; some believe that a new golden age of spiritual knowledge is soon to engulf the Earth, but another camp warns of a potential neo-Dark Age.
In all of this vast diversity of opinion, among the billions on the other side, some of whom communicate with the Earth, how is one to arrive at a measure of clear vision?
All of these sometimes-clashing views represent a philosophy of living, a “theology,” as the Course has it. But theologies and belief-systems represent a mental conditioning, thinking rooted in the past, just private judgments in the marketplace. In all of this division and separation, says the Course, we will never achieve a “universal theology.” What then can bring us together? One thing only – “a universal experience.” We gain this by “going within.”
Two people, in this world or the next, if asked to offer an opinion, will never express an entirely similar view; and this is abundantly clear to the reader of afterlife research. However, if we “go within,” in an honest and authentic way, then, you and I, and everyone, will experience the very same Universal Consciousness.
This kind of apprehension of reality does not reflect belief-system or conditioning - because it is not a product of thinking. As such, it becomes the basis upon which our future cosmic oneness is built.
04.January.1970. “You will see what a slave you are - slave to tradition, slave to books, slave to ideas. Intellectually you imitate, you copy, you repeat. You're second-hand intellectuals.”
31.January.1970. “Watch the mind. Don't correct it. Don't say, 'This thought is good, that is not good,' just watch it. Then you will see a watcher and the watched. There is a division. The moment there is a division there is conflict. Can you watch without the watcher?”
each gets a chance to say something on how God personally offered a lesson
“So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight… Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you will all learn from each other.”
the apostle Paul, I Corinthians 14:26-33, The Message translation
"A universal theology is impossible," says the Course In Miracles, "but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary." Paul’s small-group house-churches brought this principle to life in a practical way.
Each person was encouraged to share with the group how she or he had received an insight or lesson-for-living from God. Memorizing or quoting scripture was not emphasized, as the resultant numerous interpretations would only divide the group and then the world into thousands of sects and denominations; instead, Paul instructed,
“Tell us how God taught you personally, even in a small way, this past week. Maybe just a glimpse or brief flash of light. When you searched your own mind, when you meditated and communed with your own soul, what did you see, what were you given from God?”
God has no favorite kids but impartially teaches all, individually, who are willing to learn. God does not offer knowledge with a closed-shop, command-style, holier-than-thou, top-down pedagogy. The letters of John, as well, declare that God, via the spirit, will personally teach us about all the big issues of life (I John 2:27). This is the real "word of God," delivered to each human heart and mind, opened to receive it.
There can be no societal division or separation when religion is approached with this non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic, individual-centered mode of teaching but, instead, a “universal experience” based upon each person’s account of God’s private tutoring.
|William Ralph Inge, (1860-1954), Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London: "On all questions about religion there is the most distressing divergency. But the saints do not contradict one another. They all tell the same story. They claim to have had glimpses of the land that is very far off."
Editor's note: Paul’s decentralized formulation of religious instruction reflects not only a respect for the dignity of each individual but a Gnostic perspective.
A pastor friend of mine, a good man, when he read the above item concerning Paul’s house-churches, commented with sincerity: “But isn’t there a danger in following one’s own ‘revelation’? How can we know if these messages are from God?” I responded, “Yes, there is a danger. For this to work as it should, one must be very honest with oneself, and not veer into illusion. The dysfunctional ego loves to wear a mask of piety and it will attempt to deceive with thoughts of pride and self-promotion.”
All this acknowledged, let us explore the alternative. The caution voiced by the pastor, in various forms, has been codified as official position in the Church at large: “The people are sheep. They will go astray if there is no representative of God to lead them. Thinking for oneself is the playground of the Devil (if there were such a being). Much better for all to adhere to time-honored doctrine; this way, we all speak the same thing, which promotes harmony and unity in the Church.”
In other words, that “alternative” is to allow someone else to do your thinking for you. Surrender your brains when you walk through the church door. Keep your opinions to yourself; better yet, stifle them, and believe.” The very word heresy means “opinion.”
The so-called “Church Fathers,” writing in the few hundreds of years after the time of Christ, often attacked the Gnostics, authors of “The Gospel Of Thomas” and many other documents (some of which pre-date the canonicals). In the missives of “the Fathers” the Gnostics were lampooned for allowing followers of Jesus to offer their own “revelations” at church meetings, pretty much exactly in line with what Paul promoted in Corinthians. “They trust in their own imaginations,” said the Fathers, “are all over the place with various crackpot ideas and concepts. Who can keep track of them all? This will end badly with a great many splinter-groups representing a hodge-podge of beliefs.”
Strangely, history unfolded precisely opposite to what “the Fathers” predicted. The Gnostics, allowing each to speak, with their many interpretations of how God works in the world, enjoyed relative peace and harmony – while “the Fathers,” the forerunners of Big Religion, would witness, over time, their efforts at strict mind-control devolving into tens of thousands of factions which have divided Christendom to this day, and continue to do.
For more discussion see the article on “The Gospel Of Thomas.”
10.December.1970. The ego’s image-forming process is a way of not getting hurt. If you insult or flatter me, I react, and that reaction builds an image. The reaction comes about when there is no attention to “what is.” But when I am completely attentive, with choiceless awareness, then there is no image-forming at all.
13.December.1970. What is thinking? Thought is the response of memory, memory which is experience, which is knowledge, conditioned by one’s culture. Thought is never free, is always old. Is joy totally different from pleasure? Thought picks it up, reduces it to pleasure and says, "I would like to have that joy again".
17.December.1970. If the mind, as some say, is an inner cosmos, with a depth and infinitude rivaling that of the outer, then why does the mind so often feel small and overwhelmed with "the chattering" in the head?
a sense of individuality, the knowledge of self: the most pernicious program of all
Star Trek: Next Generation,
episode "I, Borg", featuring Hugh
“The sense of individuality, which he has gained with us, might be transmitted throughout the entire Borg collective, every one of the Borg being given the opportunity to experience the feeling of singularity – perhaps that’s the most pernicious program of all -- the knowledge of self, being spread throughout the collective, in that brief moment, might alter them forever.”
20.December.1970. A mind clouded by belief, which is based on the desire for comfort, security, cannot possibly see what truth is. Are you, when you are listening, observing your own belief, your own conclusion? Is the self, the "me", a living thing, constantly changing, constantly moving?
24.December.1970. I am watching myself - my speech, the way I talk, my gestures, my violence, my kindliness. Now is the watcher different from the thing he is watching? that is, the watcher who says, "I am learning about myself", is he different, an outsider, watching what is happening? or is the observer the observed?
06.January.1971. Can one listen without any conclusion, as you would listen to music, to something which you really feel that you love? Then you not only listen with your mind but also with your heart, listen with care, objectively, sanely, with attention to find out.
10.January.1971. When you are angry, a second later the observer comes and says, "I have been angry". He has separated himself from anger. He has named it, named the feeling as anger. Why do we separate ourselves from the anger and why do we name it?
13.January.1971. Truth, that sacred inner silence, has no words, and if you have gone that far, then you are enlightened and do not seek anything, you do not want any experience; then you are a light, and that is the beginning and the ending of all meditation.
‘notice the disorder’
Krishnamurti frequently admonishes “notice the disorder,” do not fight or condemn what is seen with the inner eyes but simply acknowledge.
But, exactly which aspect of the disorder are we to focus on?
We are not to focus on the disturbing “images” themselves. These can be quite horrid, and we don’t want to encourage or fix these upon the memory. Yet, while we do not like their presence, we are not to “fight” these images. How to handle this?
I have learned, by trial and error, how this process is to work. Try it for yourself and find the right way, for you, to mentally apprehend. Instead of “fighting” the image, or saying “I ought not to be seeing this in my head” -- which creates a sense of conflict and strengthens the ego – try to switch one’s focus to the underlying energy. Yes, there may temporarily be a sordid image by which the ego torments, but can you “go beneath” the image and focus on the energy that’s propping it up? You’ll need to work with this, trying different approaches, to see what I mean, but, when it works for you, you will easily slip into a mode of simply “noticing the disorder” - not the image but the underlying energy.
This, I believe, and sense, is an incredibly important mental skill. The mind serves us in many ways but, one primary way, is to become for us a virtual “radar screen” which will immediately evaluate all energies that cross its field of purview. When we become skilled at this, we will instantly perceive an energy that is “out of alignment” with the spirit of God.
The rational part of the brain is not involved at all. It’s pure intuition at work. And now we’ve entered the realm of which the apostle Paul spoke concerning those who “live in the Spirit.” These, he said, judge all things, discern all things. And it’s done instantly, without the rational mind making a decision. Instead, the mind, now sensitized to alien-ungodly energies, automatically flashes a warning on the “radar screen” of the spirit-led mind.
And this entire process of discernment is developed by “simply noticing the inner disorder.” One’s ability in this area of expanding consciousness will just grow and grow, unlocking more and more of the soul’s inner riches. As Kairissi joked, “next thing you know, you’re 5 billion years old and aware of every life form in the universe.”
17.January.1971. Observe the disorder in yourself, but without trying to bring about order; just observe it, as you would a sunset, unable to do anything about that sunset. In the same way, observe the disorder without any sense of choice, just wordlessly observe. Then, out of the non-judging awareness comes an order, not according to a blueprint, not a mechanical order, but a living thing.
30.January.1971. No book can teach you about yourself, no holy scripture, no professor, no philosopher. What they teach is what they think you are and what you should be; their opinion, not yours. For centuries, you have accepted the authority of others. In this diminishment of self, when a mind is afraid, it cannot see truth, becomes dull, incapable of thinking rationally.
07.February.1971. People speak of finding the truth. To find the basis of truth we must be able to see clearly without any distortion; without resistance, without prejudice, not caught in any formula or system. This quality of freedom allows one to see ‘what is’ and this leads us to the truth, which is reality.
10.February.1971. One of the universe’s great paradoxes: true spirituality, one’s higher sentience, a better level of consciousness, is not obtained by working or trying very hard, by religious rituals, by prayer, fasting, vow, or pilgrimage - but simply by quietly observing the inner disorder.
14.February.1971. There is no freedom when you depend on somebody, and when you depend on somebody psychologically, inwardly, you are seeking comfort, and so you must dominate that person or submit yourself to that person. You will see that the source of this dependence is fear, fear of not being able to stand alone, fear of never finding happiness.
17.February.1971. “When you have choice, you have contradiction. When I do not know what to do, I am confused, and out of confusion comes choice, and out of choice the action of will. Meditation is a movement in which there is no action of will whatsoever.”
this world cannot be fixed, only forsaken; it cannot be saved, only transcended
Destruction of the Beast & False Prophet,
1804, Benjamin West
Some people believe, with better teaching, more education, societal growth, we will eventually, gradually, turn this planet into an oasis of spirituality. But there can be no “gradually.” The system itself is rigged against us -- and this system is you and me, the collective unenlightened mind.
In this darkened mind, the metaphoric Beast and False Prophet -- proclivities toward Brutality-Force married to Deception-Propaganda -- reign with iron fist. No matter how many times in history – seven times, and seven times seven – they're beaten back, they always rise again, and keep coming at us, and keep coming at us, because the dysfunctional neediness of the “false self” cannot help itself but to create these evils.
metaphors of the incessant rise and fall of evil in history
The Beast and False Prophet do not give up because human dysfunctional-ego neediness does not give up. It's why, according to Revelation, this Evil Duo is “thrown alive into the lake of fire.” They’re “thrown alive” because they never give up, cannot be reformed, cannot evolve into something better, and will go down fighting - not by a gradual, incremental program of the world becoming better and better; no, they’ll be gone in one blinding flash, one incendiary moment of blazing cosmic insight of enhanced consciousness. As the great mystics teach, the world doesn't need "more time," a gradualism, to become perfect, but only an accessing of the timeless, one blazing eternal moment of clarity.
Real change in society, as historians Will and Ariel Durant came to see, comes, not by power and force but, only by way of philosophers and saints. It is only with a higher level of consciousness that fears and insanity begin to lose their grip on the human psyche -- only then might the illusion of "I have not enough because I am not enough" be snapped. This manumission, alone, and no other factor, becomes the end of evil.
the end of this world's evil begins in the individual heart
The end of the symbolical Beast and False Prophet is not a single universal event. Their demise, the end of their influence, comes to each one of us, each heart and mind, on an individualized basis. Each one of us must represent “the end of evil in the world” – for we are the world, we are society, the ego lives in each one of us, and until we cleanse ourselves by the immolation of better awareness, the Evil Duo retains foothold in the cosmos, and stands ready to come back one more time, and the proverbial "seven" times.
"You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade!"
In the early hours of D-Day 1944, Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, wished his men well before their departure to rescue the world from Nazi tyranny. He subtly reminded them of what would happen if they failed - the end of Western civilization. History records that their efforts were successful. Totalitarianism was routed. The world was now free to live in peace.
the end of civilization is always only one deluded and gulled generation away
And yet just 17 years later, January 17, 1961, President Eisenhower offered final remarks before departing office. His words issued as most dire. He warned of the “military-industrial complex” which threatened Americans’ freedoms.
Is this not utterly strange? The mammoth build-up of military arms and bureaucracy to support it, all created to defeat evil in the world, in fewer than 20 years, had grown into a new monstrous deep-state of oppression; here, in America. Eisenhower waited until the last moment of his presidency to speak out, suggesting that the new threat was beyond his power to control and could readily stifle his voice. Kennedy, too, a short time later, would also warn of “secret societies” which threatened all free peoples.
Editor’s note: In the movie “Emperor,” we learn that Japan’s bellicose path in WWII was not prompted by the figurehead Michinomiya Hirohito but by the ambitious warlords. In other words, Japan’s own “military-industrial” deep-state constituted the real seat of power.
our defeat can come only from within said Lincoln
And now, once again, extending to our day, personal liberties hang in the balance, trampled upon by new Orwellian Dear Leaders; this time, welcomed by the knavish many, they come for us from within, the only source of evil which, as Lincoln warned, might bring us down.
this world cannot be fixed, only forsaken; it cannot be saved, only transcended
Yesterday's liberators might become today's oppressors. It is impossible for this world to know lasting peace and security. But for short oases of individual freedoms, all peoples of history have lived under brutality and subjugation; it seems "we'll soon be getting back to normal." The seeds of evil lie within each human heart, follow us wherever we go, darken our perceptions, and only a generally informed, self-aware populace, said Jefferson, might forestall the dystopian trends of history. There is no permanent solution as civilization can be lost in one generation; anyone older than 35 understands. Salvation in this regard comes from no external source but an awakening within the “made in the image” potentialities of the soul.
arising from the scarcity of the instances
Abigail Adams: "I am more and more convinced that Man is a dangerous creature, and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and like the grave cries give, give. The great fish swallow up the small, and he who is most strenuous for the Rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of Government. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which Humane Nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances."
28.June.1979. Buddhist Scholars Discussion 2, Brockwood Park, England: Is there life after death?
A survey of the major concepts of the Krishnamurti lectures; with my own commentary.
The solace of a quiet small room, a sanctum of personal transformation, is a good place to meet the inner state of oneness and non-duality of which Krishnamurti spoke. READ
Why do family members, old friends, and romantic mates drift apart or even abruptly split?
When my daughter was in high school, she had a girlfriend; the two seemed inseparable. Later, the friend chose an alternate lifestyle, assumed that she’d be judged, then abruptly, and permanently, broke off friendship ties.
An example of my own: In the “Evolution” article I recounted that in senior-high English class I’d delivered a speech on the subject of “Creationism versus Darwinism.” Almost all of it, as I now perceive, was error. However, a good friend since childhood disagreed, summarily rejected me, and put me away with no reconciliation.
the hidden cause of all conflict
Each of us, likely, could offer scores of such examples. Krishnamurti’s teachings on the ego – concerning dualism, fragmentation, separation, division – are not of mere academic interest only to professional philosophers. This information holds the sacred key to understanding why planet Earth is the stage for war and conflict, not just on the international level, nor solely with religious or political groups, but also among family members, friends, and lovers.
Why do people drift apart or become immediate enemies? The short answer is that they become an offense to each other. People identify with, make themselves equal to, belief systems which, they assume, will "make me happy." They say "this is who I am," and "this is what I need to be safe and secure," and if you represent something different, their self-image will be threatened, their prospects of safety and happiness will seem to fold - and then you'll be rejected, no matter the strength of former bonds of amity. You'll be rejected because, don't you see, it's a matter of life-and-death to the ego, of survival and self-protection.
the carefully crafted self-image
In his 17.December.1969 lecture, Jiddu Krishnamurti offers one of the most clear and insightful explanations concerning the inner workings of this dark dynamic. When we feel offended by someone, he said, “there is an image about yourself,” one that we ourselves build. This ego-image reflects one's cultural “conditioning.” Why do we build this image? We do so “as a means of security ... of protection ... of being somebody.”
fear is behind the curtain
And what do we find if we draw back the curtain of this ego-image? “Now, if you go behind that," Krishnamurti says, "you will see there is fear.” What is the composition of this fear? It is the existential fear of "I don't have enough" because "I am not enough."
Let’s analyze this ego-image more closely. Why do we build it? What are we protecting? If we allow ourselves to become very still, if we taste and sample the nature of this hidden fear, we will find that we’re protecting a self-image, a mental projection of what the ego would like to be and have:
“I am the person who needs to be seen as virtuous, respected, worthy of honor. And it goes without saying that I know what’s best for you.”
“I am the person who needs to be seen as right and correct. As such, I need you to believe as I do, to agree with all of my religious superstitions, and my self-serving political views. I need you to accept all of my inflexible opinions because your assent makes me feel, not just safe and secure but, that I’m worth something.”
“I am the person who needs to be seen as successful, 'in the know,' and winning. I want you to be impressed with what I am and what I have so that I’ll be counted as a somebody. I need these merit badges so that I can face my peer group, family, and community and be considered important."
“I am the person who craves to be viewed as a wise person, an in-demand friend, a counselor with ‘the answers.’ I count on you to offer me this prestige so that I can feel good about myself.”
"I am the person who grew up on the 'wrong side of the tracks.' My family culture held great disdain for education and knowledge. This disrespect for anything truly progressive has always held me back, creating for me a self-image of 'I’m not smart enough to succeed. I can't get a high-paying job, that's for other people.' And so if you come to me and suggest that, in fact, I do possess talents and strengths, then I will feel very uncomfortable, begin to panic, as you attempt to lead me out of my dysfunctional comfort-zone. At the first sign, with your help, that I I could actually advance myself, I’ll fall apart, swoon in terror, and then begin to blame you, and hate you, before I retreat and crawl back under the safety of my rock."
"I am the person who is comfortable with present ideas. They've gotten me this far (sort of). And they may be half-baked, a straw-house of illogicality, but, even so, these irrationalities offer a certain veneer of meaning to my life. In support of this charade, I surround myself with so-called friends with whom I share a tacit agreement, an unspoken pact: 'You must agree never to point out the non sequiturs of my beggarly superstitions, and I will agree to act as if I accept yours.' That’s the conspiratorial deal. However, if you come along with hard empirical evidence, well-reasoned positions, and suggest that I might want to take a more honest approach to what I believe to be true, well then, I will have to hate you for upsetting the applecart of my entrenched and time-honored unreasonableness."
"I am the person who carries on the traditions of my family. Unfortunately, these are more like peculiar shibboleths, marks of tribal distinction, but not of honor and dignity. I feel duty bound to ask, “What would mother do?” or “This isn’t the way dad did it.” I don’t have enough self-respect to live my own life, follow my own insights, quest for my own meaning and destiny. And if you come along and encourage me to think for myself, to break the apron strings (years after mom passed on), I will feel frightened, disoriented. And then I will blame and hate you for pushing me toward autonomy, full personhood, and self-realization."
“I am the person who needs you to make me happy. You can be my friend/lover/relative if you do exactly what I say and think just as I think. Anything less than this will be threatening to 'who I am.' I need you to love me -- just as I am, with all of my soft-underbelly beliefs -- to compliment me, to defer to me, so that I can judge myself as ok. Don't let me down, I warn you.”
“I am the person associated with you, and if you disappoint me, if you fall short of my expectations - especially after all I've done for you - if you fail to make me happy, if you begin to take on contrary opinions, then you will become an opposing force to what I want and to the image I’ve created for myself. If any of this happens, then, of course, I’ll have to get rid of you, even though we’ve meant much to each other over long years. I'll have no choice but to shun you.”
And so if anyone – sibling, friend, lover, child, parent -- stands as opposition to any of these ego-images, then the offending person will immediately be counted as an enemy, no matter a long history of cordial relation.
a closer look at the hidden fear
We find there’s more than one curtain to open. The ego’s need to be seen as right, virtuous, properly religious or political, is not the only hidden agenda. As one pierces the levels of self-obfuscation we discover the core terror which vivifies all of the ego’s activities. It’s the fear of death. This is the central terror, as we learn from the great psychologists.
This means that when one is attacked, there may be purported surface issues, but the real reason people rage and become apoplectic is the ego fighting for its life. It's identified with, made itself equal to, being right, virtuous, and all the rest, and if it fails to promote itself with these "images," then it will face a kind of psychological death. “Who will I be?” it asks, if these false-security images are minimized or taken away?
the high cost of following the truth wherever it leads
All this is most dire. The reality is, if you assiduously pursue the truth, no matter the cost or where it might lead, then you will lose (for a time) almost every last person who was once close to you. Why must it be so? - because you will become a living, walking threat to another’s carefully crafted self-image.
narrow gate, without fellowship
Editor's note: In his writings, Andrew Jackson Davis warns of the "narrow gate" that leads to life; few be that enter it. Those who live courageously by following the truth wherever it leads, as Davis points out, “will walk a pathway without fellowship of thy earthly brethren.” The cults have long employed the weapon of excommunication, shunning, and ostracization - a forced separation from friends, workmates, and family - toward anyone who disagrees with the hive mentality. This putting away occurs not just in religion but in dysfunctional families, corporations, academia, politics, and other power-seeking groups. They’re afraid of contrary opinion which might disembowel and expose shallow teachings. And so they’ll get rid of you for spreading "misinformation"; and you, as a truth seeker, will be censored and required to make your way through this world “without fellowship of thy earthly brethren.” But, be assured, a day of reckoning is but one missed heartbeat away.
We, ourselves - not some mythical Satan - are the focal point of all evil in the universe. It’s the pathological ego within; it’s the false self, the ego-images, ever attempting to find safety and security for itself, to bolster an inner neediness, the existential emptiness deep within.
We cannot become truly educated, nor reach a good level of wisdom and maturity, in the highest and best sense - or meaningfully prepare ourselves for Summerland or to be with one’s Twin Soul - without understanding the wiles and machinations of our own personal “heart of darkness.”
please, it’s very impolite of you to notice that I lack a self
Soren Kierkegaard: “But in spite of the fact that man has become fantastic in this fashion [i.e., lives unrealistically by denying his own mortality and impending death, the terror of which is covered up by palliatives such as ritualistic, form-based but empty, religion], he may nevertheless … be perfectly well able to live on, to be a man, as it seems, to occupy himself with temporal things, get married, beget children, win honor and esteem – and perhaps no one notices that, in a deeper sense, he lacks [an authentic] self.”