I leave the busy motorway and after a few miles I turn on to a narrow country lane. I have reached a supremely peaceful slice of the English countryside. Branches of large trees hang over the road, enclosing it completely. I catch some moments of sunshine peeking through the natural green tunnel and spot the sign The Krishnamurti Centre, my destination. I am here for a weekend retreat and an enquiry into “Where do I find peace?”
My corner room on the ground floor which is sparsely furnished in soft colours. It has two large windows opening straight onto an open field. What must add up to thousands of daffodils smile at me, blossoming in spring delight. A bench in the distance is inviting me, but it is already time to make my way to the group introduction.
The man who refused to follow
Many of you may have never heard of Jiddu Krishnamurti. He was a philosopher, speaker and writer born in India in 1895. And he was possibly the most original thinker and philosopher of the last century.
He was adopted by Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society, an accomplished British socialist, writer and activist. In the late 1920s, Jiddu Krishnamurti settled in the United States. Annie Besant claimed that he was the new Messiah, an incarnation of Buddha and a new World teacher of sorts. In 1929, Krishnamurti in his early twenties then, in a famous speech he rejected these claims. He said,
‘Truth is a pathless land and cannot be institutionalized’.
This quote means just that. Follow your path, laid out for you, in everything that you do. You’re then fulfilled and free. Once you start following another’s path, however shiny it may be, you are deviating from your truth and from your Light.
For his long life he traveled all over the world giving talks about such things as the meaning of life, the nature of thoughts and the mind and other essential issues.
Back to my spiritual roots
The program starts with some video talks by K. as he is referred to and known. After a break, the group returns for dialogue and an enquiry. Krishnamurti is not the usual teacher and did not want to be known as a guru, in fact a label he rejected. He urges us to listen to the speaker (referring to himself) to question everything the speaker says to reach a point when words transcend as personal realization. Krishnamurti merely acts as a mirror in which you can see yourself. Only then can concepts and words create personal meaning.
Be your teacher
Nobody can teach you about you better than yourself. On the path of self-knowledge it is our individual responsibility to enquire within to understand our psychological makeup. We are all different; isn’t it better we follow our own individual curriculum than somebody else’s? Instead of getting distracted by what others say or do and get side-tracked, we want to embrace our own unique journey of inner discovery.
There is only ever one journey of discovery that is important namely our own relationship to everything that happens in us and around us.
Is perhaps No-Thing Every-Thing?
In the group setting we enquire and listen, with the intention to empty ourselves of concepts, ideas, and images of who we are. Here, the image of myself as, “I am xx (a former senior executive or whatever I hold dear to my heart now!)”, is of no use or relevance.
I start to question what I know and believe. I smile inwardly. The simple act of giving myself permission to question my inner world of thoughts and emotions is followed by a deep sigh and a feeling of relief. I feel into my body and take a deep breath. It feels like an inner cleanse which just has taken place. It’s like deleting heavy old files from my computer. We clean everything from our cars, homes to drawers and the like, but we normally never think of taking time to cleanse our consciousness.
In the awareness of nothing-ness or no-thing, we open ourselves to an inner space of emergence and a deeper sense of clarity. A friend once said, ‘expect nothing and you’ll receive everything.’ So, if I manage to expect nothing and be no-body, what will I receive? Peace? Perhaps. But if it is what I really want, why do I seem so often to be doing or feeling things that reveal the exact opposite to be true?
It hides where, peace?
I have been reading Krishnamurti for some years now, but it was not love at first reading, or second. Only ever so slowly was I able to feel the truth in his words. He leads me, step by step, to see what the very source to my problems is, and it is me, myself and I, funnily enough.
Having participated in many retreats, this one feels different. It points out to me that I have been looking for peace in all the wrong places. My long tried and tested patterns of persevering, fixing, and always doing more, in this case more learning, meditating, retreating and all kinds of shamanic shenanigans have mainly increased the distance to peace, it seems. So, if all my attempts to ‘get somewhere’ are taking me away from my natural state, peace, is my conditioning the culprit? It would seem so. Time to dismantle many illusions and delusions. Finally, I am ready.
Can we be free from conditioning?
My spiritual mentor in the forest of Auroville, a spiritual community in the south of India, met Krishnamurti personally at a time he wasn’t yet so besieged by too many people as in later years. He spoke to him at length. Krishnamurti said that all efforts to set yourselves free are a bit like those of someone who had fallen into the shifting sands: each struggle only makes you sink deeper. Rather than struggling he offers observation of the struggle with a great equanimity, detachment, and clarity and not feeling despondent and desperate like my spiritual mentor on his early path or like me for that matter! Words of acceptance and integration come to mind. How can we accept something if we reject it or be afraid of it?
No Hiding. No Fixing.
Also on the spiritual path there is a lot of noise; perhaps especially here. It is easy to get lost in a jungle of different approaches and methods, gurus, ceremonies and so on. Embodiment work, Goddess work, healing ceremonies etcetera, are big business now and if I am not careful they will become distractions rather than aids.
I have arrived at the conclusion that there is no need to ‘fix myself’. I can not approach my quest for peace as I would any old (business) problem. In this case, my highly revered determination and single-mindedness only cause more frustration and make me sink deeper into the sand.
No more striving
The experience at the retreat helps me see that I have to embrace and integrate my conditioning, not sharpen it, and that the best way to do this is to go deep within, nothing else. I must face what is in my way to peace. I’m being placed back on a path of deep enquiry as opposed to chasing ever new spiritual fancies and moments of passing bliss. This is not to say that I won’t enjoy a Sacred Goddess weekend coming up soon!
Where do I find peace? I ask myself as I drive back home towards bustling London. Not in striving, that much is sure. The coin has dropped; I don’t have to strive for anything, but all that I am seeking is right here, now … allowing it into my consciousness. No more seeking that means striving; it only creates stress, fear and anxiety, not peace. Phew! It’s here right now. Peace.
With love and peace,
I love writing about wellbeing, self love, consciousness, healing, and anything else on the journey to peace and inner harmony. I am finalizing my new book of reflections “Me and mySelf”.