Updated: Jul 15, 2020
RealitySeeker doesn’t know what it wants to be or what it will become, and that is the point. From the beginning, we have resisted bringing a pre-established way of thinking to each meeting. The idea was to see what would blossom with only a community of peers acting in relation to one another. The structure would come from carrying what was created there forward, only so long as to put it aside when we would come together again.
To some of you, that may seem like the opposite of progress. To me, it’s the secret to unlocking what democracy is supposed to be. I developed the following idea from many conversations with community members that ultimately led me to the thinker I am going to introduce in this article: Jiddu Krishnamurti.
You can read the entire original text online. The following is my interpretation of Krishnamurti’s words.
Krishnamurti asks you to begin as if the next moment is the only thing you’ve ever known.
“Forget all you know about yourself; forget all you have ever thought about yourself; we are going to start as if we knew nothing.”
Imagine if you could relieve yourself from the burden of your history. How would that feel?
“Let us meet that fresh day as if it were the only day. Let us start on our journey together with all the remembrance of yesterday left behind - and begin to understand ourselves for the first time.”
This is the fundamental premise of RealitySeeker. Seeking some ultimate result, or conclusion is what gives us the appearance of being on a journey. It is a source of anxiety and pressure among other psychological detriments, as we desperately anticipate an arrival that never comes. As Krishnamurti says:
“Man has throughout the ages been seeking something beyond himself, beyond material welfare - something we call truth or God or reality, a timeless state - something that cannot be disturbed by circumstances, by thought or by human corruption.”
Krishnamurti states very simply the reason RealitySeeker has its name:
“If you deny [this traditional approach] however, because you understand the stupidity and immaturity of it, if you reject it with tremendous intelligence, because you are free and not frightened, you will create a great disturbance in yourself and around you but you will step out of the trap of respectability. Then you will find that you are no longer seeking. That is the first thing to learn - not to seek.”
That’s not an easy thing to do. Krishnamurti acknowledges something many of us are asking ourselves right now during this very uncertain time:
“What is it all about? Has life any meaning at all…The enormous confusion of life, the brutalities, the revolt, the wars, the endless divisions of religion, ideology and nationality. With a sense of deep abiding frustration [we] ask, what is one to do, what is this thing we call living, is there anything beyond it?”
The key, Krishnamurti believes, is the realization that we live on “what we have been told.” He says, “We are secondhand people…there is nothing new in us, nothing we have discovered for ourselves…we force our minds to conform to an established pattern…our responses become automatic.”
“The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.”
Such a tortured mind, which wishes to escape from all turmoil however long it seeks, “will only find its own distortion.”
This sounds like a description of the modern characteristics of mental illness, but it is not. Krishnamurti is describing the plight of anyone who follows the “traditional approach.”
“We mechanically follow somebody who will assure us a comfortable spiritual life.
Krishnamurti says, if you…
“…Observe very closely what is taking place and examine it, you will see [the traditional approach] is based on an intellectual conception, and the intellect is not the whole field of existence; it is a fragment, and a fragment, however cleverly put together, however ancient and traditional, is still a small part of existence whereas we have to deal with the totality of life.”
This is very important – to recognize and accept the way in which mechanized thinking develops in us. He also says:
“You have now started by denying something absolutely false - the traditional approach - but if you deny it as a reaction you will have created another pattern in which you will be trapped; if you tell yourself intellectually that this denial is a very good idea but do nothing about it, you cannot go any further. If you deny it however, because you understand the stupidity and immaturity of it, if you reject it with tremendous intelligence, because you are free and not frightened, you will create a great disturbance in yourself and around you but you will step out of the trap of respectability. Then you will find that you are no longer seeking.”
The structure of society, he says, has been created by individuals, and an individual is a human who represents all of mankind. “The whole of history is written in ourselves,” he says. Then, he asks the question to which I (and hopefully others) want to know the answer.
“As human beings living in this monstrously ugly world, let us ask ourselves, can this society, based on competition, brutality and fear, come to an end?”
The answer is “yes,” and the way to get there is through personal responsibility.
“Only when we realize…that you and I are responsible for all this existing chaos, for all the misery throughout the entire world because we have contributed to it in our daily lives… only then will we act.”
He says, the only thing here is you – your relationship with others and with the world – “there is nothing else.”
“In facing the fact that you and nobody else is responsible for the world and for yourself, for what you think, what you feel, how you act, all self-pity goes.”
The beauty of truth, however, exists not in what was originally sought, but in living…
“There is only one unitary process, it is a whole, total movement, the inner movement expressing itself.”
“To be able to look at this seems to me all that is needed, because if we know how to look, then the whole thing becomes very clear, and to look needs no philosophy, no teacher. Nobody need tell you how to look. You just look.”
When we ask ourselves how to bring this fundamental inward change about in ourselves, the truth is nobody can give us a method -- a “right” way.
“The moment you really see that the question, 'How can I change?' sets up a new authority, you have finished with authority for ever.”
Krishnamurti suggests that this difficult step will relieve the tremendous burden we feel.
“You have more energy, haven't you? You have more capacity, more drive, greater intensity and vitality. If you do not feel this, then you have not thrown off the burden, you have not discarded the dead weight of authority.”
“And when there is freedom, there is energy; and when there is freedom it can never do anything wrong. Freedom is entirely different from revolt. There is no such thing as doing right or wrong when there is freedom. You are free and from that center you act. And hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is capable of great love. And when there is love it can do what it will.”
We are “living things, always moving, flowing, never resting,” yet when we “look at ourselves with the dead authority of yesterday, we will fail to understand the living moment and the beauty and quality of that moment.”
The key to this approach is to live…
“So that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes.”
I will be breaking down the remainder of Krishnamurti’s book, Freedom from the Known, in the weeks to come.
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