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Krishnamurti Newsletter

The Krishnamurti Information Network publishes an excellent free newsletter which is available online and by email subscription. Prior months' issues are also archived online, while future issues will appear every two months. Each issue begins with a "Question of the Month" — reprinting a dialogue between J. Krishnamurti and a questioner — followed by an exceptional editorial piece that questions an aspect of life in relation to Krishnamurti's work. Here is an excerpt of the editorial from the current Sep/Oct 2005 newsletter:

To Krishnamurti, the key to understanding the complex relationship between fear, dependence and security lies in the fact that we irresistibly gravitate towards permanency. However, nothing in and around us stays the same; all the elements in our psyche, even our particular desires themselves, undergo change or die out altogether. Permanency is nowhere to be found. Krishnamurti suggests that in the search for a reliable source of gratification, we invent the "self" and imbue it with a sense of continuity in order to ensure that gratification can be re-lived, the pleasure repeated. Against the ever-changing backdrop of our ideas, feelings and opinions, the self appears as the most "real" and constant aspect of our psyche - all while being, paradoxically, altogether intangible.

Just as the physical body is localized by its shape and outline, in the psychological sphere preferences, emotions, motives and ideas give definition to the self. The self relies on acknowledgement from its environment in order to reinforce its validity. Entire social conventions and rituals - for example, birthdays, marriage announcements, national celebrations - have been created and are being vitalized in response to this shared requirement, this common need to "place" the self in the world. We feel attracted to individuals who reinforce our self-image and shy away from others who doubt or oppose who we think we are. In either case, the fact that the "I" feels - pain or pleasure - proves that the "I" exist.

Anything that threatens the gratification of this self-image sparks the emotion we know as fear. Fear, in our experience, is tied to the anticipated loss of that which we hold dear, of that on which our security depends. However, our experience is also that time heals all wounds. Nothing that we put together for our security is irreplaceable, even complete identities can be changed. Certainly, it takes time and energy to radically "re-frame" our lives, but the survival and adjustment mechanisms of thought are infinitely inventive and resourceful.

Krishnamurti relates the source of fear not to the loss of any particular dependence or attachment, but to the inherent insufficiency of the self, to an awareness of a deep-rooted emptiness. All the “adornments and the renunciations that the self assumes can never cover its inward poverty”. As such the self can never be without fear; its very fabric or texture is anxiety as it tries to block out the truth of its non-existence. The root of this anxiety then is not the fear of death per se – the ultimate loss of all identifications – but stems from the underlying perception that we are already dead or, rather more precisely, that we have no substantial existence outside of thought. To Krishnamurti complete security can only be found in coming to terms with the fact that we are nothing. That is, nothing in the sense of "not a thing created by thought”.

October 19, 2005 | Meditation | Permalink


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