Tag Archives: Jiddu Krishnamurti

A Pathless Land

I have not found the answers seeking truth,
nor even formed the questions halfway right;
the mysteries that tempted me in youth
are still in shrouded mists hidden from sight.

The path under my feet begins and ends
a single step from where my legs touch ground;
and sacred destinations? Well, my friends,
not more than a few moments rest I’ve found.

And yet, I would not trade the journey made
for any great reward from gods, or king.
I have become a very different man
than had I come here leading some parade.

It seems that fumbling, half-sure wandering brings
experience beyond all dreams and plans.

11 JAN 2005

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My life as a Moody Blues song …

Several entries ago, I mentioned a book on learning to think like Leonardo da Vinci. Well, I am slowly working my way through the exercises (very slowly indeed, as I am mired somewhat at the first one), which is to come up with a list of 100 questions – the focus being on curiosity, to see what it is you are naturally curious about. The point is to write down 100 questions without stopping, coming up with the first 20 or so rather easily, but then really having to stretch to come up with the latter 80. Well, some of my questions are rather banal, and a few are indeed interesting. But that’s not the point. The point is that I noticed that while in my teens, twenties and even early thirties, a lot of my questions probably would have begun with “why”, a lot of my questions now start with “what” or “how”. Not that I have become more practical or experiential, nor do I think I have become less philosophical. In fact, I’m probably a lot more “big picture” oriented at this juncture in my life than I have ever been. But it is interesting to note how the “big” questions didn’t seem to make it on my list. As an idealist, this level of pragmatism seems odd to me — but more troubling is that coming up with 100 things I wanted to know seemed extremely difficult. It’s not so much that the depth of my curiosity has lessened, but rather than the scope of my inquiry seems to have gained a sharper, more narrow focus.

Of course, that’s the purpose of the exercise, I suppose, to identify these kinds of things. But it got me thinking — perhaps stopping the asking “why”, looking elsewhere for the justification or purpose of things (i.e., “why is the world the way it is?”) and starting to focus on the “what” and “how” (i.e., “what can I do to apply what I know” or “how does what I know relate to what I don’t know”), is the result of my spiritual wandering, my questing for “Truth” (of course, ultimately one learns that Truth, in order to be universal, must at first be discovered to be absolutely and indelibly personal). But as I reviewed my list of questions to categorize them (and do some kind of preliminary prioritization, which is the second exercise in the book), I realized that I’m not looking so much for the answers to the big questions anymore. It doesn’t really make much difference to me at this point, for example, why the world was formed, or why human beings learned to swim, or found religions. I suppose the bottom line is that I’m not so much concerned with why things are the way they are, but rather with what I can do within the framework of what is. And that reminds me of several different things: the first being that simply realizing the way things are changes them (because based on a coagulation of Martin Buber and R. D. Laing, changing your experience of something in fact changes the thing being experienced, because now you are also experiencing your experience of a thing which is now an integral part of that thing’s existence), and also that the mingling of the observer and the observed (well, not so much a mingling, but a blurring of the line between the two, which eliminates the confines of duality to some respect) changes both the experimenter and the experiment. Krishnamurti proposed that to understand the answer, it is necessary to understand the question. Kabir said the destination is part of the first step of the journey. So few things are not related in that way.

On a separate note, I guess: Knowledge is power. That’s a common phrase, much quoted and bandied about. But I recently read a quotation from Emerson (that doubtless is based on the original source to some degree) that stated it a different way: “There is no knowledge that is not power.” Not quite as diametrically opposed as “those who are not with us, are against us” versus “those who are not against us, are with us”, but a slightly different shift in perspective, nonetheless.

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Five Books to Rule Them All …

What five books would you reccomend that others read to best know who you are, and where coming from, and what aspirations?

Be Here Now — Ram Dass and the Lama Foundation: I’ve said many times before that this book saved my mind. It was there when my dad died, it was there when my first marriage was falling apart, it was there when I did my last hit of acid. The second half of the book, Cookbook for a Sacred Life, is a beautiful guide to getting your head together, and the recommended reading list (Sacred Loaves) is by itself worth the price of the book.

The Seven Storey Mountain — Thomas Merton: When I was waffling on whether or not to have faith in anything, I picked up this book. For some reason, I was reading Catholic auto/biographies – John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, Augustine, Aquinas, and so on. Somewhere I found a reference to this book, and subsequently read it. It is a beautiful story of having no faith, discovering the part it plays in life, and finding it, regardless of your religious persuation. And it certainly doesn’t put the monastic life in a bad light, either.

Total Freedom — Jiddu Krishnamurti: Ah, Krishnamurti. The ultimate non-guru, non-teacher, non-methodologist. Any work by K. is likely to sever your tenuous hold on reality like a razor, and leave your illusions dangling. My thirst for reality, for Truth with a capital T, really initiated with reading Krishnamurti.

Tropic of Capricorn — Henry Miller: Henry Miller re-introduced me to the joy of living, through his writing, and ultimately, to the joy of writing. At the time in my life when I encountered HM, I was shiftless, drifting and directionless – and perhaps not coincidentally, also 28, the age at which HM really started writing. Witnessing his savoring of the marrow of life, the details of common, ordinary events that he expanded into joyous paeans to existence, I too began a revitalization that continues to this day.

The Tower Treasure — Franklin W. Dixon: The first in the Hardy Boys series, and the first book I ever read on my own, at age 5. By the time I was 7 or 8, I had read all 58 of the original series. There is nothing like mystery, adventure, doing the right thing and the cameraderie of brothers to sustain the ambitions of a young boy. I suppose that sums up my life now…

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If you would seek the truth, you must be willing
to seek beyond the questions, simple facts,
leave behind stale conceptions, and stand naked,
alone, aware of just this very moment.

Happiness is not based upon others,
it cannot be a shield against the world;
there is a thing that is, it is not other,
and holding it cannot keep it from harm.

We seek some common ground, yet it eludes us
because to seek it there, beyond our selves is vain;
there is no method, guru, or sure teaching,
for truth is found in its own pathless land.

Why suffering, and pain, and disappointment?
Why good and evil, thought of loss or gain?
Because to just exist seems too complacent,
because we like to think we must have plans.

But the universe does not give much attention
to us, in the grand scheme of every day;
We are like flowers, or the breeze, so fragile,
and here, then gone, in but a moment’s play.

The human situation? It reflects us,
each thought that seeks to raise our selves above
the simple, infinite way of creation –
energy released, gathered again.

When the observer and the observation
Cease their illusive separate planes and merge
There is no cause and no effect to ponder;
If you want to find what’s sacred, get out of the way.

27 JUN 2003

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A Thought on Artists

“Who is that person whom you call an artist? A man who is momentarily creative? To me he is not an artist. The man who merely at rare moments has this creative impulse and expresses that creativeness through perfection of technique, surely you would not call him an artist. To me, the true artist is one who lives completely, harmoniously, who does not divide his art from living, whose very life is that expression, whether it be a picture, Music, or his behavior; who has not divorced his expression on a canvas or in Music or in stone from his daily conduct, daily living. That demands the highest intelligence, highest harmony. To me the true artist is the man who has that harmony. He may express it on canvas, or he may talk, or he may paint; or he may not express it at all, he may feel it. But all this demands that exquisite poise, that intensity of awareness and, therefore, his expression is not divorced from the daily continuity of living.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Living in Ecstasy, Ojai, California, June 29, 1934

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Journeys and Destinations

My house says to me, “do not leave me, for here dwells your past.” And the road says to me, “Come and follow me, for I am your future.” And I say to both my house and the road, “I have no past, nor have I a future. If I stay here, there is a going in my staying; and if I go there is a staying in my going. Only love and death change all things.” —Kahlil Gibran

Each time you draw a straight line in the sand,
or as Kabir says, “when you put one foot
in front of the other”, you have defined
a course of action, a new direction

that leads to an unknown realm, a future
where there is no map; Krishnamurti said
it was a pathless land, this place where truth
waits, longing only to be discovered.

The safety of a dwelling place, its warm
familiarity, can lull to sleep
(but yet never fully anesthetize)
the wanderlust of the wild, searching soul,
that beckons us to dare beyond the stoop
and forge a fresh road into tomorrow.

12 JAN 2003

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From Wolfgang to Leopold


I cannot imagine too much more of this:
in dreams, in waking moments in between
the breaths and along-side the twelve steps
and the five stages of anger, denial, bargaining,
the flipped coin depression or acceptance.
None of the sons were to be found,
but did the holy ghost’s wry banter


when you found the father dead
among the roses and the avocados,
looking like he’d Rip Van Winkled to the land of nod,
knowing that at best, the east side
of Eden (because it had better schools)
would have been his preference anyway;
and that after sixty years or so of constant
on the go and in your face, the vitriolic rage for life would


and in the silence, you could breathe,
take in your own dreams with the quiet air,
surround yourself with life support
that didn’t offer side effects?
And all the comparisons, the undercuts,
the constant stream of in your shadow
footsteps could just


and wave goodbye, Dad.
It’s been ten years now; my sister still
gets crazy this time of year.
We’ve got our own lives now, grown up
and tired of being yelled at,
even if the voice we hear is not
really there. Please


and wave goodbye.

Was on the third of September
That date I’ll always remember, yes I will
‘Cause that was the day that my daddy died.
— “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” The Temptations

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. — Krishnamurti

08 DEC 2002

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