J. Krishnamurti and I have gingerly stepped around each other for more than 10 years, since my friend and mentor Dale Carlson began writing about him in her series of psychology and philosophy books for teens.
For many of those 10 years, I found Krishnamurti to be too esoteric for me. I understood his words, but rarely the tapestry of his thoughts.
Krishnamurti, you see, is regarded as “one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time,” as explained by the Krishnamurti Foundation. “He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual’s search for security and happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow.”
More and more though, as I move along this path on which I have found myself, I am drawn to his words, to his teachings. They walk with me in the woods, and sit quietly with me on my yoga mat and in my meditations.
Recently, I signed up for a daily email from the Krishnamurti Foundation. In this way, I find I am more easily able to read, consider and take in his teachings.
This week’s topic has been violence — a concept I have been struggling with for some time.
One of the great ironies of my life is that I spend my quiet time meditating on peace and balance and wellness, and spend equal time transfixed by the primetime dramas of Criminal Minds, Law & Order, NCIS — an hour’s practice of yoga followed by an hour of serial killers.
But this nasty television habit is not the only piece of violence in my life. I have understood that for some time, but more so when reading this:
Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence. When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you know why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind. (Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, pp 51-52)
How timely is that statement — during these days when we wear our differences, our causes, our politics, so blatantly on our sleeves?
I thought of that, too, this week — how angry we have become. With each other, with our adversaries, with our leaders, with the human race.
This is the common ground on which all humanity stands. And whatever happens in the field of this consciousness we are responsible. That is: If I am violent, I am adding violence to that consciousness which is common to all of us. If I am not violent, I am not adding to it, I am bringing a totally new factor to that consciousness. So I am profoundly responsible either to contribute to that violence, to that confusion, to the terrible division; or as I recognize deeply in my heart, in my blood, in the depths of my being, that I am the rest of the world, I am mankind, I am the world, the world is not separate from me, then I become totally responsible. (Krishnamurti, Social Responsibility, pp 19-20)
As I said yesterday, it is all connected, my friends. And WE are all connected.