26 November 2007

Krishnamurti, Love and Violence

I have been waking up in the night, for several days now, afloat on a
sea of clarity and spaciousness and acceptance of all that is. Then in
the morning, it is as if a switch has been flipped, and the brain turns
on all its meaningless, space-filling, self-absorbed chatter. It's painful.

This morning the clarity of the night is completely vanished, and my own
words feel dull and heavy, and yet there is a thing I am trying to
communicate. Then I found these words from J. Krishnamurti, and although
they do not say everything I am feeling, they are a better start than I
can generate right now. I would use slightly different language here and
there. Somehow to catch what is for me, at least at moments, a vivid
experience of the absolute unity of all existence. I swear, it is very
simple. The brain perceives through division and distinction. Therefore
we see a world divided and made up of individual things.

But the underlying reality, which the brain can not perceive due to its
limitations, is unity. One magnificent, living, dynamic being which is
everything that is. There is no separation that has any reality. The
brain can not see this, but there is a mysterious way in which even the
brain can know this truth, and can at least make a start at behaving
like it is an expression of the whole, rather than a separate and
independent "self." But it is so deeply conditioned in its behavior, and
in its very function made for distinction, that it can never quite get
the thing itself. So we must live from a place other than the world we
see and experience and think about. This is so hard to describe. The
reality is just too simple and too expansive at the same time for the
brain to capture it.

Krishnamurti talks about it as relationship. Yes, it is that. But not
the relationship of one separate thing to another separate thing.
Rather, the interrelationship of parts that have no functional meaning
without each other. This is the nature of the world we live in. We have
no meaning without each other, and there is not one single person or one
single blade of grass or one mote of dust that can be removed from that
web of interrelated meaning, not one, without rendering the whole thing
chaotic and meaningless.

I know this makes no sense to the analytic mind, but it is true,


J. Krishnamurti
Brockwood Park
25 February 1983

There is a tree by the river and we have been watching it day after day
for several weeks when the sun is about to rise. As the sun rises slowly
over the horizon, over the trees, this particular tree becomes all of a
sudden golden. All the leaves are bright with life and as you watch it
as the hours pass by, that tree whose name does not matter - what
matters is that beautiful tree - an extraordinary quality seems to
spread all over the land, over the river. And as the sun rises a little
higher the leaves begin to flutter, to dance. And each hour seems to
give to that tree a different quality. Before the sun rises it has a
sombre feeling, quiet, far away, full of dignity. And as the day begins,
the leaves with the light on them dance and give it that peculiar
feeling that one has of great beauty. By midday its shadow has deepened
and you can sit there protected from the sun, never feeling lonely, with
the tree as your companion. As you sit there, there is a relationship of
deep abiding security and a freedom that only trees can know.

Towards the evening when the western skies are lit up by the setting
sun, the tree gradually becomes sombre, dark, closing in on itself. The
sky has become red, yellow, green, but the tree remains quiet, hidden,
and is resting for the night.

If you establish a relationship with it then you have relationship with
mankind. You are responsible then for that tree and for the trees of the
world. But if you have no relationship with the living things on this
earth you may lose whatever relationship you have with humanity, with
human beings. We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never
really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound
that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves, not
the breeze of a morning that flutters the leaves, but its own sound, the
sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots. You must be
extraordinarily sensitive to hear the sound. This sound is not the noise
of the world, not the noise of the chattering of the mind, not the
vulgarity of human quarrels and human warfare but sound as part of the

It is odd that we have so little relationship with nature, with the
insects and the leaping frog and the owl that hoots among the hills
calling for its mate. We never seem to have a feeling for all living
things on the earth. If we could establish a deep abiding relationship
with nature we would never kill an animal for our appetite, we would
never harm, vivisect, a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We
would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies. But the
healing of the mind is something totally different. That healing
gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the
tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the
hills covered, hidden, by the clouds.

This is not sentiment or romantic imagination but a reality of a
relationship with everything that lives and moves on the earth. Man has
killed millions of whales and is still killing them. All that we derive
from their slaughter can be had through other means. But apparently man
loves to kill things, the fleeting deer, the marvellous gazelle and the
great elephant. We love to kill each other. This killing of other human
beings has never stopped throughout the history of man's life on this
earth. If we could, and we must, establish a deep long abiding
relationship with nature, with the actual trees, the bushes, the
flowers, the grass and the fast moving clouds, then we would never
slaughter another human being for any reason whatsoever. Organized
murder is war, and though we demonstrate against a particular war, the
nuclear, or any other kind of war, we have never demonstrated against
war. We have never said that to kill another human being is the greatest
sin on earth.