"Affirmative and Negative in J. Krishnamurti"

by Dr. Larry Morris


I don't understand Krishnamurti. I spent years racking my wits listening to Krishnamurti, reading him and trying to apply what he said to my life. I watched my thoughts, I watched the watcher, I watched the watcher watching the watcher, watching the watcher watching.... Still, I was tense, depressed, filled with conflict, with no end in sight. Sometimes, I would just feel emptiness, but it was an emptiness not of peace or reconciliation but more of a detachment born of despair. I went through the stripping away process until there was only the void, and then I lived and moved and had my being in the void.

Where was the joy, the love, the innocence and wonder that Krishnamurti also talks about? I couldn't get there, no matter what I did or didn't do. All ended in despair. Gertrude Stein says, "When you get there, there isn't any there there." I think I reached this place.

Krishnamurti says, in effect, doubt everything and then doubt the doubter. So I tried doubting. I doubted so well that I became cynical, skeptical, jaded. Nothing had meaning; nothing had value; nothing was good; there was no joy. Life was the pits all right.

After a trip to India, I spent hours in a hotel room in Berkeley thinking every negative thought I could think; nothing happened except I got more depressed, and as far as doubting the doubter: who was there left to doubt the doubter?

So at some point, after a dozen years, I began to question the no path I was not following. Where was all this not leading? Am I getting anywhere? -- Of course that's the wrong question. Am I getting nowhere? Of course not. I discovered that I was more arrogant, felt more superior and more self-centered and egotistical in my trying to be what I thought Krishnamurti was saying. If someone complimented me, I inwardly denied it, for a compliment appreciated would give rise to the thinker. If I saw something worthwhile and good happening in society, I instantly repudiated it, for how could anything good happen in
this corrupt society? Anything good in myself was bad; anything good in the world was just an appearance.

In effect, I became proud of my superior position in seeing through the illusions of common life, and I cut myself off from ordinary life and from loving the people in my world. Was all this helping me to get free? No. Was it dissolving my ego? No.

At some point I had to say no to the no—even if it meant living in an illusion. At some point I had to accept myself even if I was an illusion. I had to accept myself even if I still didn't understand or comprehend fully what Krishnamurti said; even if I couldn't live beyond the thought world; even if I was still a part of this society—still I had to say, O.K., you're still o.k., and I had to say about this life: it's good regardless of circumstances or appearances - - this life is good, period. So I'm good, you're good, this life is a blessing -- even if this meant coming to a conclusion (I had certainly come to a conclusion the other way).

So my new realization is to begin with life-as-good and not to deny the negatives in life but not let them be the conclusion. Too many, I think, get caught in the process of negation that Krishnamurti applies and never seem to reach the point of the total affirmation where he winds up.

When Krishnamurti speaks to us of the free person, beyond conflict and division, the person who has died to the comparing mind, he speaks with a voice of pure and great love. He says that love is fresh, young, innocent and ever-new. I think it's helpful to live with love even when we still don't know or haven't reached the total liberation of which Krishnamurti is speaking.

When we read Krishnamurti or hear him speak, the depth and power of what we hear cuts into our hearts and we want to drop everything and do what he says. Of course I've been living a horrible life, filled with self-deception; I am greedy and envious; I am angry and lustful; it's all true, just like he says. But I never seem to get beyond his analysis, his description. What's it like to have a quiet mind, an innocent mind? I don't know or I only know for a few seconds or moments. I think that in the past I've tried too hard to be Krishnamurti; not what he was saying, but what he was.

I don't think that most of us can short-circuit our own processes by becoming like the person we spiritually admire. One day I realized: I can't be Krishnamurti. I have to be me instead, even if that means being all the sordidness and pettiness that Krishnamurti condemns as the conditioned mind. I can't become the unconditioned by hating the conditioned. Maybe if I can learn to love what I am, there's a chance.

People often want us to be someone we're not. They say to us: "If only you were more like so-and-so, then I could really love and admire you." And we say to ourselves throughout our days, "Why can't you be like..." and we get caught in the trap of comparing, and we are divided from ourselves and everything else. This is such a painful process, not arriving, never satisfied--always feeling left out, alone.

So why not accept ourselves as a beginning point? And then see where this gentle self-acceptance can lead us.

What did I learn from Krishnamurti--if anything? Did I merely drop away before reaching the depth he speaks of? Am I one more casualty of the spiritual path? Or, did something else happen? My way of framing or describing my unfoldment itself seems to have changed. When I was involved in trying to (in my own mind) fit into what Krishnamurti was saying, I always seemed to miss, was always left feeling guilty about not being it, not getting there, not achieving the state or non-state he was describing: die to everything; then die to yourself; then die to dying--so then you can love and be creative and somehow have it all again but not the way it was. So I kept running into my description of not being there

Finally, after too long, I gave up the description. I gave up the need to measure my non-progress along the no-path. I wasn't there, where Krishnamurti said we needed to be, but I wasn't where I had been either. And this wasn't a superficial self-acceptance or a retrieving of an old identity or former pattern either. I quit trying to be who I wasn't. I have spent so much of my life trying so desperately to fit in in one way or another--and never really making it, even spiritually, trying to play the game well in whatever frame of reference seemed at the time most real and true (even with Krishnamurti I tried so hard to be the man with the quiet mind). Yet I could never really feel right about all this inner torment to fit a description of a state beyond thought itself. So maybe I just needed to let go of the description and let myself be for awhile. I finally decided that I didn't need to live from a description of living. I could just live. Maybe even wrongly. Camus says that maturity is willing to be wrong all by yourself.

Somehow this letting go of my description of Krishnamurti's description of enlightenment and how to get there gave me some peace and acceptance. I quit trying so hard to be. I quit blaming so much. I relaxed more, quit the obsessive behavior. I quit needing to know if I was right. I quit running: both after the tantalizing and away from the fearful. I just let go.