The last set of “Notes on the work around K’s work” was published end of last year. I never know what will be in the next edition or if a next edition would even exist. But enough material came together to justify this release. The article below was written over a long period on a very-low-priority basis because I’ve been managing several information technology projects, playing in a wonderful band, and doing other activities, while keeping the eye on the sacred, that emptiness, the vast wisdom which heals the mind, that vast energy which heals the body, and this love which is the essence of all being.
It’s no secret that KFA has gone through a lot of changes. They moved buildings, laid off some staff (I don’t know how well they handled it in terms of notice period, severance pay, etc.), closed the retreat, re-opened it, Mary Z passed away;… Mary Z’s house has become part of the foundation, K’s house has turned into a quiet room, the foundation lost a lot of money in the stock market (I told them a long time ago not to trust their broker), thankfully a trustee who was not fit for the job is finally gone, remaining trustees seem quite active, even the newsletter seems more vital though not too tactfully it was distributed by “fundraising” department. Just got news of “the first Ojai Krishnamurti Film Festival”.
The most significant new development is the fact that K’s work is now officially available online free of charge at http://jkrishnamurti.com/. That was a smart move towards keeping the integrity of the teachings intact in light of numerous sites which published unauthorized copies of the work, and I believe this was a collaborative effort between different foundations. A friend who visited the site recently, a newcomer to K, said: “I love the page. It’s not just reading it, you read it, and then it starts. I really like this guy, he’s amazing.” (for more quotes about K see: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/jk_ref.html )
As I understood it, K was not keen on organizations, but these minimal organizations were necessary to carry on the publications, and so on. Organizations have people and where there’s people there is politics, and KFA is no exception. Politicians go with the wind – friends can become enemies, and vice versa, overnight. There was some internal discontent within KFA a few years ago – a lot of politics and power play. It all seemed so silly to me and contrary to the spirit of cooperation K proposed. It also appeared mostly a case of clashing personalities, and oddly enough, by those who have done very little in their lives outside the K-circle. Sometimes it seems the “mirror of relationship” necessary for refinement needs to be one from a non-protected environment.
I naively complemented a director in a past publication, only to face opposition from those who didn’t like him. Right or wrong, it seemed the foundation wasted energy in deal with such friction but now it’s pretty cool.
This era that follows K’s death is special in that the foundations have to cater to some who were very close to K, and those who have been in these organizations most of their lives. But in the next 50 to 100 years this will all change. The personal grips on power will give way to more objective management, the foundations will change form, and may even disappear after all the work is published, and the schools will thrive as more people realize the value of the very precious, holistic education, which K proposed.
The latest financial shakeup led to a big inner revolution which on the face of it seems positive – the organization seems to have found a new creative energy. They seek new trustees and I proposed the following friends as nominees on 21 February 2009 (alphabetically):
Dr. Amir Huda
Dr. Hillary Rodriguez
I met Dr. Harshad Parekh in Rishi Valley years ago. He taught physics and mathematics at KFI schools for almost 30 years. He’s now retired and visits K schools every year. He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and has done post doctorate research at University of Waterloo. He joined Rishi Valley after meeting K in Brockwood Park in 1979.
It is refreshing to read his writings, such as one I posted online with his permission, on thinking and awareness: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/Dr.Parekh.html
Unlike so many people I’ve met in the West who are confused about K and delight in having missed the boat and engage in K-bashing instead, Dr. Parekh says, for example, “what he says seems obvious”. Obviously! K is not rocket science (see Appendix of http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/kli_kinfonet_link.html).
In Europe, specially, K seems to have a harder time getting through – it may be related to the prevalence of the “old mind” here. A French ex-Brockwood staff member recently wrote about his confusions and antagonism towards K and his work. He’d read more issues of “The Link” than K books, and surely had found company there, in the older issues, on other folks who are confused about K. On the other hand, I also know people, many young, who read a bit and it’s all so clear to them.
Here’s another little gem from Dr. Parekh on his experiences with Krishnamurti and his teachings: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/k_harshad_parekh.html
“FREEDOM FROM FEAR” AND IRANIAN ELECTIONS
You might ask what K has to do with the Iranian elections. This is the first time that I'm feeling a little bit excited about Iranian politics since the Revolution.
Mousavi is the main contender against Ahmadinejad and many political analysts believe, given the expected high turnouts, if there is no cheating, Mousavi will win. He is an artist and architect and his wife is a sculptor and scholar and has several advanced degrees including a PhD. I read a story today that a man asked Mr. Mousavi about marrying his daughter. The first question Mousavi asked him was, what books have you read. So he is obviously a book fan. On the other hand, there are many many K books translated into Farsi and are sold in bookstores across Iran. In a speech recently, Mousavi said: "One of my slogans is “Freedom from fear. Fear does not have only a physical meaning, rather, peace of mind should be created in the society."
To hear an Iranian political figure speak about freedom from fear is very soothing, and just makes me wonder, if him, like so many other intellectuals in Iran, have read K. The meaning comes to them easier perhaps, like K spoke about himself that some cultures have an easier time understanding what he says than others (e.g., due to history of having people like Rumi).
“FROM THE VERY first day and during these gatherings I hope we are going to be very serious. Most of us, I am afraid, have come with a sense of holiday spirit, to look upon the hills and mountains, the green valleys and the flowing streams, to be quiet, to meet friends, to gossip, to have a little fun which is all right but if we are to get any worthwhile meaning out of these gatherings we ought to be very serious from the beginning.” JK, 7 jul 1968
(25 April 2009) Reading about Gstaad presently in Wikipedia, I feel the Saanenland region in my heart. What a breathtakingly beautiful place this valley is, where Jiddu Krishnamurti (“K”) gave public talks for some 25 years. It is time that I restart and finish a long-awaiting article about the “Krisnamurti Gathering” in Swiss Mountains that took place last summer, not in Saanenland, but in Murren. (the word Saanen has stayed on, like Hoover and Kleenex to refer to these gatherings :)
The reasons for writing this are:
“Dear Reza, Thank you for the attached circular which you sent me four months ago. I very much enjoyed reading it and apologize for the delay in thanking you. In it you mentioned that you would send separately your comments on the gathering in Murren last summer, at which we met. If it is prepared, I would appreciate receiving it…”
I am not in the best position to write about the 2008 gathering because I was not there for the entire two weeks but almost half of it, due to other obligations. So what I write here is only the snapshot from that perspective. I have been to several previous gatherings, and have lots of notes which might one day may go in an article or a book.
There is unconditional goodwill and positive feelings for everyone that is implicitly or explicitly mentioned in this article. Management Science students know that sometimes people are put in the wrong roles and that is more often the issue than personalities.
I don’t have time to edit this professionally and as it was written over a very long period, there are some duplication of ideas (forgive me).
In the first summer after K’s death (1986) the tourist office said people are still coming to hear K speak, “don’t you have someone to replace him?” K specifically didn’t want anyone to represent him but the group was brought together to watch videos, discuss, etc.. The rest is history.
I have gone to these gatherings for many years. When K was alive, I went to his talks in California during the last three years of his life. We had some personal contact which I am documenting on the K section of website (www.rezamusic.com) (direct link: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/meeting-k.html ). Later, I got a consulting job in Switzerland and moved here and in summer time went to the gathering as it was conveniently located a few hours away. It was a great opportunity to meet people, go for beautiful mountain walks, share music with others, discuss K’s work with a few who had delved deep, etc..
Many years I went the entire time, some years just part time because of work, like this year  when I was flying back and forth between Zurich and Monte Carlo, as a project manager and business analyst. These gatherings are always good opportunities to meet old friends and make new ones and many good people go there.
I never gave the gathering the kind of importance its organizers tout. Simply put, you can not go to a mountain-top to find truth. Exploration and integration of essential truths in daily life is necessary. It is a fact that some get their only exposure to K during these gathering.
The gathering is wonderful but that by itself does not mean much. Any group for any reason that go to the mountains for a couple of weeks in the summertime will have a wonderful time. We arrived the day before the gathering started and saw a group of Buddhists at the hotel who were just finishing a retreat. (I think they were meat-eating). They looked like they had a wonderful time and were hugging goodbye.
These gatherings are always wonderful at a certain level specially if you don’t go to all the meetings and don’t get to see first hand the kind of confusion some people are engaged in and its effect on others. There are instances of freedom and insight in the hearts and minds of some participants but they also bring their misery and suffering there. This is not an image but a fact. It’s not a judgment and it doesn’t make the gathering good or not good. We don’t have to judge it as a binary event. It just is.
A person who’s truly happy may have a hard time surfing those waters because of the complications those conditions present, such as one who can look at you in the eye and tell you you’re confused when you feel deep inside your heart that you’re happy, deep inside your brain that you’re clear: you can think clearly, you can reason logically, your thought can see its own limitation and has learned, is learning, not to go where it does not belong.
It is possible to have clarity but there are some old-timers in these gatherings who insist that it is not, and they quietly criticize K for it, while this guy shed so much light on what-is, and opened up the root causes of so many crucial, concrete areas that cause injuries to the mind, such as image making which is something that many struggle with – to see the beauty of going around with no image of yourself, of others, of others’ image of you and themselves, and so on, but at these gatherings, not only that is treated as some sort of esoteric theory by some, they contend that if you say something like that you’re just repeating K.
When one doesn’t see one thinks another doesn’t either – it makes sense! And on the other hand, in daily life, you have conversations with a youngster who’s struggling with certain subjects in his or her daily life and these insights open up so many doors for him or her and he sees and he lives it and it’s a fact. Some have made a burden out of K, and then blame him for being the burden. The problem is not K, but the burden-maker.
Speaking about old-timers, some of them are quite extraordinary. There was a lady who used to come from Australia. She was very old yet very young, before she disappeared – a clear, happy, bright, fit, vibrant person. She used to always eat ½ an apple after her meal. Another young one was Elsie – now in her 90’s, she was always dancing with every songs I played on the guitar. And talking about the guitar, over the years, I played a lot of guitar for this group and there were always many kind, appreciative ears.
The gathering was in Murren, a very small village in Swiss Alps. You get there by train then cable car then train. No cars are allowed but some locals have cars. Murren is a village infiltrated by Americans. It’s close to Interlaken, which is where I bet 9 out of 10 American tourist who comes to Switzerland go. It has a spectacular view of the Eiger mountain, a giant rock, which I heard takes more victims of rock climbing than any other mountain except K2.
This was the second year that it was not held in Saanenland. Murren is not comparable to Saanen/Gstaad/Schonried. It is in a much smaller, remote area. There is no healthfood shop there but you can find organic frozen berries and organic juices at Coop, and organic cheese at the local cheese shop. There is no Menuhin festival or the world class Gstaad promenade to stroll along with the rich and famous either :) but none of those things are necessary for inquiry. Truth can be found right here and now, in what we already have.
There are many wonderful flower arrangements around the village. We engaged in an early morning chess game on the large outdoor chess platform. The waiter said he was sure the soup was vegetarian. Simply due to my experience in Switzerland around this topic of weak customer service, I asked for a confirmation from the manager, and it turned out the contrary. Waiter: “sure soups are vegetarian”. Manager: “surely they are not”. The air is full of love balsam. Great to see several good friends like Leon, Marina, Eric, and others.
There is something intrinsically good in coming together for exploring fundamental questions of living although those questions are not always phrased in the best way in these gatherings. Over the years, the themes selected have been sometimes criticized.
The main reason themes were being used, was for publicity, so people have an idea about a subject, and it’s not just a gathering with no subject. Some years the themes were really weak and contained logically inconsistent and contradictory clauses. This year’s theme had its own share of obscurity. In one meeting discussing the theme, one organizer said the theme was a co-organizer’s idea, passing on the blame :) – the co-organizer has talked numerous times over the years about her confusion in the meetings I don’t know why she’s being put in the role of a philosophical consultant. She has many other good qualities, organizational skills and things she’s I’ve learned from her.
I am not sure how helpful these themes are. I never liked the theme books anyway as they just seem to be a movement in specialization within K’s work which is general and holistic. Most people have been coming for years, and new comers are usually familiar with K's work and the themes he addresses anyway. These inadequately devised themes have just caused a lot of unnecessary discussion and confusion. 2009’s theme seems to be taken out of a K talk – if you can’t come up with a good theme at least take a good quote. Good move.
I think it’s worth trying to have no theme one year. K didn’t have pre-devised themes in his talks either (which doesn’t mean he should be followed)…
There are plenty of hotels in Murren. The first trip we stayed at an Eiger hotel – every hotel seems to be called Eiger this or Eiger that :) – The second trip, Sportchalet where the group was staying was full so I went to a hotel next door. A beautiful and clean and quiet hotel. And negotiated a good price :-) – it worked. Some of the other hotels have misleading price signs – they advertise a price that is not really true.
I ate with the group every night but only the salad buffet which was good but of course, not organic. The main, hot meal, I could not handle because of the sauces or broth they used. The cooking was done by the hotel’s cooks. They usually cook meat but for the group they cooked vegetarian but a meat cooker does not have the same sensitivity when cooking for vegetarians. In Saanenland, the group cooked itself. At least all the ingredients were fully known -- the food was cooked from scratch with loving care and attention of a few folks together with Brockwood student helpers, and aside from the occasional sugary desserts which I always avoid, and not always having the proper amino-acid balance, the food in Saanenland was delicious.
In Murren, there was sugary desert every night. A vegetarian cook I know also was not eating the hot meal. The standard was that of Migro’s restaurant (budget). The Chinese noodles reminded me of Zurich airport once when I got Chinese food and knew right away it was not vegetarian. The chef swore it was vegetarian and that it had nothing from animals. I asked to see the sauce. On the bottle it was written: Chicken broth! I don’t know what they used in Murren but my taste could not handle it having eaten meatless for years.
The chalet is run by Guenter, a very nice, friendly gentleman and the cleanliness and service were first class. The atmosphere was wonderful and the view, breathtaking.
Murren’s organization is slightly different than Schonried’s as the group is not responsible for cooking, so no kitchen crew is necessary. The core team however, remains the same, with the head organizer, a very skillful lovely manager -- talented and competence in running this gathering. She has many positive qualities such as joy, patience, flexibility, and tolerance, as well as a keen interest in K’s work.
One K scholar noted a change over the years, for the better, and I know what he means because I perceived the same thing. That “philosophical weakness” has flowered into a lot more sensibility.
On the practical side, the organizers’ have been mildly flexible at trying different approaches. Although this is Switzerland and we’re among the condition of “old minds” and a system in which “change” is not such a favorite term.
A bold approach would be to have people come together, have video showing and book reading, and have sessions to discuss questions. In addition, have people present special topics they're passionate about - as is done presently - regarding schools for example – as well as other social activities. Do away with “helpers” but keep having real facilitators and see what happens. By real facilitators I don’t mean those who think talking the most is the role of the facilitator.
In the old days there was a lot of resistance to lecturers. The best of people were put on the pedestal and destroyed. That went away and panels came. A few panels were absolutely disastrous because of poor selection. And you still get boring speakers sometimes. Very few are vibrant and those who are, are not good fits for the organization because they’re too independent. The organizers have a big role and I think the guiding theme should be “less is more”.
OVER-REACTION TO KLI LETTER
Last year (2007 gathering), was the first year that I did not go to summer gathering in Switzerland since 1993, because the letter I wrote about KLI had upset an organizer who had not even read the letter but had gone by hearsay and wanted to “defend Mr. Grohe” (she made a public reference about this so it’s no secret). That hearsay was the topic of entertainment at the gathering according to a friend who was there. In a way I was not surprised at this because I know :
a) A lot of times people don’t think for themselves, specially if they don’t have higher education – it’s much easier to go by hearsay and second-hand information than to find something out for oneself or take the time to read something before formulating an opinion (this does not mean those with higher education can necessarily think for themselves but the chances are higher);
b) Historically, gossip is prevalent in these gatherings (and probably every form of human gathering) specially by those regulars who admit to being confused. Gossip seems to be a favorite form of entertainment: it doesn’t take any particular skills and it doesn’t have to pass the test of truth. That was indisputably the case in the 2007 Gathering -- as we’ve witnessed in several other years where a topic, a person, or a couple, becomes the subject of gossip – specially if 2 weeks in the mountains gets boring. One year it’s the man who comes from Russia with multiple women, one year it’s a guy who meets a girl and their happiness is not something to be tolerated by the heavy force of jealousy veiled in consideration; one year it’s a letter someone wrote, and some years, there’s nothing, but clearly, you can see, the few gossiped-brains looking for a subject to keep them entertained – and interestingly, they’re sometimes the same persons who complain about hitting psychological brick walls and confusion in their lives.
c) On various occasions I’ve heard of friends who are not interested in gossip, complain about the amount of nonsense they’re exposed to by people going around soliciting opinions about others because they’re not “educated” enough to think for themselves or not consider these subjects important, and this gathering has a good share of this theme.
JK: “chattering, chattering either chattering inwardly, or outwardly always talking, indulging in gossip... And this chattering obviously indicates a form of laziness; because you have nothing to do, you talk about somebody else…”
d) it’s always easier when someone is not there- typical characteristic of illusion which remains and sustains in darkness and dissipates when inquiry is made into what is the
truth of the matter.
And in fact most of these judges on the gossip bench had not even bothered to read the letter they were judging. It’d be easier not to because that might have meant the end of the discussion. And it blew my mind to hear later the kind of illusions, images, nonsense, and pure fantasies they had created in their thoughts. It was better not to go and I did not. Anyway, some of the reactions to that letter are reflected on: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/kli_kinfonet_link.html !
The same pre-judgments may occur with this article but hopefully not, and hopefully, before reacting a person will take the time to read the entire article but many in this world are too impatient and have too many images and pre-judgments to not jump into a conclusion too quickly. K’s discussion on the role of conclusions on the psyche is very interesting.
As stated in the last section, there’s too much reliance on others’ opinions, so independent thinking is not one of the strengths of the organization. There’s been so many cases where other people’s opinions are sought prior to having a clear vision by oneself. For practical matters this is ok, we can solicit others’ opinions, take a poll, do a survey, do market research, and this can help us in better catering a service or product.
A person who recently left one of the foundations also voiced concern that some of the trustees don’t think for themselves and rely too much on consensus and more independent thinking trustees. It’s wonderful to have an enquiring mind and ask X, Y, and Z, what they think of something, but it is also critical that one is able to think clearly without soliciting and depending on any body else’s opinion, and to be able to stand alone.
In general the average age in the gathering is high.
A young intelligent lady came. She had read some K books and it had touched her deeply. Then she came and attended a few sessions and saw so many confused people, and doom and gloom, and got fed up and left. She wrote later: “Why such an exhausting discussion about something which is as clear as day?"
Why? Over the years I’ve seen many young people with an interest in K’s work come and get frustrated at the confusion of some of these old timers and not come back. This is in no way a reflection on K as he brings so much clarity to so many areas of living. It is a fact that there are a lot of confused people in our world and so the organizers have to be careful not to put confused people in leading roles as they will undoubtedly confuse others. There are far too many examples of this. And this specially has an effect on new comers to this work and this gathering.
Younger people are often far less complicated than some of the old houses-of-blues. Simplicity is virtue.
There is no shortage of psychologically complex folks in this gathering. One guy is obsessed with the windows, opening and closing them during the meetings, and he comes up to people and out of love, makes crazy gestures. He’s been going there for years and is part of the “family” which is all embraced by the head organizer’s enormous patience and goodwill.
There are a couple of ladies who always want to do their “dirty laundry” in public and easily burst into tears. There are K-worshippers, and those who’ve been at this for so many decades but still are confused by concepts like psychological time, who’ve complained year after year about being utterly confused and even have a deep yet often hidden antagonism towards K. These folks, I try to avoid in dialogue groups. The list goes on and as much as images are destructive, I learned that it’s very practical to simply avoid some people in dialogue.
Among the regulars there are a few ladies who are totally clueless. People have the right to be clueless, but here, they’re put in panel discussions for example, and the result is a perpetuation of confusion. Some are so vicious and inconsiderate that they end up hurting other. One person shared these sentiments in an email this year: “For my part Reza, I have to say that since the 2006 Krishnamurti gathering at Sannen, my life has become an absolute nightmare”. This is certainly an exception. The gathering usually has a positive effect on people’s lives.
One regular once said: “if we were free we would not come here” which is not a sensible statement. She spends much time at K schools and gatherings. This year she talked about hitting walls and dead-ends and after all these years, at this age, saying “something else has to be done but I don’t know what”. Hearing this stuff makes me wanna cry knowing that K spent so much time and energy pointing out this perfume and some regulars are at it for so many years and still are so utterly confused. This is not my judgment or criticism – it is their own admittance. It’s a tragedy as far as I’m concerned. And a few of these people get in the same room and misery finds company and then it’s K’s fault that they’re miserable! Not!
The classic question was, how could someone hear these videos and read these books and not grasp it? And the classic answer my scholar friend gave was, “the ego is too strong”. I guess so, and in some cultures apparently more than others.
And yet, there’s love and learning. Everyone has a perfume inside they can offer to everyone else. There is a diamond in the heart that even a confused mind can not keep it from shining. I have learned some valuable things even from those who admit to be confused. Unlike Javier who takes the liberty to call people confused, I only call those confused who themselves admit to being cluttered and confused in their minds. In one instance a guy was on a panel, an old-timer, who was very confused and admitted to it and did a lot of dirty laundry to the point that a participant later asked if he had a pathological case of depression. I had a long talk with him afterwards and it turned out he hated his job to the point that it was grinding his mind. Life goes on.
A man claimed he hit a psychological wall.
- Are you sure it’s not physical? The brain is physical.
He seems out of shape. How about changing the diet and doing some stretches, and dropping the socially acceptable drugs people consume? How about regular walks? How about studying this work like a school subject instead of a few videos once a year? How about taking a few books and living and loving and sleeping with and exploring the questions in daily life, not just once a year in the mountains. We don’t need mountains to explore.
This is from a video shown in Murren 2008. K often talked about being an outsider. Traditionalists, including some people in the K circles and even foundations don’t like that idea. This one sheds a new light on it:
“The ancient Hindus and the Greeks formulated a concept of a good society. Don't get bored with this. They said a good society is this, this, this. The Greeks said a good society is justice and so on and so on. The ancient Hindus said a good society is only possible if there are a group of people who have renounced the world - please, careful, I am not asking you to do anything, I am pointing out - who do not own property, who are outside society, and being outside society they are responsible to the activities of the society - do you follow? Not that they withdraw, but being outside society they are morally incorruptible, because they didn't own property of any kind. And they were morally, ethically, religiously clear. They would not kill and so on and so on. And for a certain time probably that existed. Then it, like everything else, it degenerated into what the world knows as a Brahmin.” (Saanen 10 Jul 1979 Talk 2)
I never went to these gatherings to find companionship but being in lovely mountains in the summer there were plenty of opportunities for special contacts. Every year there were people who met another person. Even during K’s summer talks there were such contacts and K talked about it. I have no interest in rehashing this subject but no article on “Saanen” can be complete without at least mentioning this subject which effects relationships of those involved and those around them who have their human jealousies etc..
I had several overtures over the years by a variety of ladies of all ages – from young to old women (and by men too but I was not interested). It worked the other way around too but generally as there were always more women than men the supply/demand were in favor of men. I’ve seen the most bizarre and strangest things around this subject of partnership in these summers in beautiful mountains with sweet air, away from family life and job obligations.
There were cases where the age gap was over 60 years or where an interested older lady just would not give up on an uninterested younger man. There’s been cases where having a partner at home was not revealed to a prospective partner, which caused problems. And a case where the lives of two people who met and agreed on a special relationship and had absolutely the most beautiful and peaceful time together was ruined by the jealousies and gossip of others. Cases where it was an “enlightening” experience. And a case of a woman who took many guests to her truck. Another woman asked abruptly on a group walk: “what do you do for sex?”.
Another one once told me she’s been dreaming that I am her angel and we were made for each other. Say what? The thought had not even occurred once in my mind and I had zero interest in her beyond respect for her as a fellow human being. Another old lady made an overture once which was pretty surprising. And if you happen to complement a someone that is sometimes taken as a sexual overture and carries obligations. It feels like Saudi Arabia sometimes: “you look, you marry”.
And so on and on – a whole book can be written about “Saanen Affairs” perhaps but it’s unimportant. The important thing is, people there are a cross section of society and some take their jealousies, possessiveness, suffering, and other conditionings with them and impose that on others. A woman who could not possess a man she wanted, made sure he didn’t become any one else’s either, and sometimes these power-plays became brutal, and the dynamics and story lines, intriguing. Year after year of this, a sub-group of ladies who are regulars have their dynamics which is best to stay away from. A friend joked: “I'm surprised the Murren ladies mafia didn't have a public hanging.” :)
Participatory concert is a lot of fun. Usually a group of Spanish participants prepare a wonderful performance, and there are other musicians, etc., and the event has a very good spirit. This year I sang a couple of songs with well participation of the audience.
Random notes from Dialogue groups:
- We didn’t go to the morning dialogue in pre-assigned random groups and instead took a nice hike and dialogued with the mountains, streams, and glacier.
- Raman set the stage well:
Process is more important than content.
Relate in impersonal way, but can say personal things.
Listen and also hear and feel what we hear.
Don’t immediately jump when there’s a natural pause.
And we added some points like this is not psychotherapy; no dirty laundry.
- All it takes is one of the clueless worshippers to be in one of these randomly assigned dialogues to mess up the whole thing. Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve developed a mental black list of whom I will avoid having a dialogue with. It’s a very practical image.
- A friend told me after the Friday dialogue: “Thank you. You helped me.” It’s all there in the books but clearly people have not bothered to study deeply.
- Sunday dialogue, 18 people in a room, intensity, several serious, insightful people. Good flow of the topic. I asked what is it that prevents observation of disorder as observation/understanding disorder seems to be the key to order: noise, lack of quietness, lack of energy, wasted energy through conflict and stupid ways of living… There was a facilitator but he had to do very little as the group self-facilitated. Gopal was a good addition to the group – he helped our fire pick up. After the dialogue the facilitator said, “pity you won’t be here the whole week”. And an Indian man said: “good dialogue – good group”.
There are some participants who have obviously delved deeply into philosophy & self knowledge, are studious and have a good exposure to K’s work. These folks are always a delight to speak to..
Among the wise are also often new comers. Not just in this but also other gatherings, I’ve met newcomers who come to this without the burden of personal worship, comparison, and without a bundle of self-pity and a big-self which prevents understanding. They come with fresh questions and a fresh outlook and often have a much easier time understanding K than many so called old-timers.
There are occasionally folks who were close to K. This does not always guarantee wisdom and in fact as Mary Lutyns wrote in her biography of K, sometimes these people are worse as they get too caught in the personality of K and miss the boat. There are a number of such examples, and some do come to the gathering, and usually given a facilitator rule by virtue of having been close to K, which sometimes means nothing.
I have often learned things in these gatherings by talking to wise folks, from what they know or in exploring together.
Gerard had a good line talking about pleasure: “If it comes, take it. Don’t look for it.”
INDIAN POSITIVE PREJUDICE
Indians also enjoy a special privilege – it’s kind of a positive prejudice, which is shallow and echoes the movement in Western psyche which fell so hard for Indian gurus. That fascination still goes on in the West and I only attribute it to spiritual poverty.
Nevertheless, there are a few folks from India who have come to this gathering in the past who have brought a lot of wisdom – off hand I can think of Professor Krishna, Rajesh Dalal, Satish Inamdar, and G. Gautama, and several others, specially some years ago when Friedrich used to invite more people from India. What a great guy. Their wisdom best flourished in conversations.
The founder of KLI is present in these gathering and he’s a delight. He does not go to every meeting and I assume he gets the feedback from his staff. I sometimes wonder if he ends up hearing about the utter confusion of some of these folks, specially old-timers and some of the subtle movements which are very interesting, and sometimes quite painful to be with first hand.
In the last years KLI has increased its involvement in the gathering’s events with some KLI members taking a leading role as a facilitator or panel member. I have no problems with this and welcome the presence of someone like Raman who’s a delight to be with. But sometimes it feels “new blood” is good. Also, implicitly, by the virtue of their organizational membership, some KLI members are viewed as being in a position of seniority (authority would be too strong of a word) so they have to be extra careful in not interpreting K. A past issue of the Link had a tedious treatise by Javier about interpretation. No matter how it’s justified, there is a clear line between interpretation and expression of one’s understanding and K discussed this on some occasions clearly.
I like X on a personal level – X’s sweet – but being part of this powerful group who is always put in a facilitation role during these meetings, these folks have to be more careful. On several occasions I heard X speak in the context that “this is what K meant by this”, instead of a more humble and less interpretive approach of “this is how I understand it”.
The movement is what interests me and made me notate this. The movement that “K talks about some esoteric, unreachable state which was for him but not for me”. This is a very dangerous line of thought. It is a comforting as one doesn’t have to be bothered with challenges that can shake one up deep inside.
In response to a “X” but makes big statements sometime that are not so.
Another case of interpretation by a member of KLI who said by individual K meant someone who is out of the stream. How many times did K talk about “the stream” in his normal stream of talks & dialogues, and how many times about individual as indivisible, whole? I remember most times “the stream” was not part of the discussion, and to bring it in, and further present it as something “K meant” (not something “I understood K to mean”) makes the subject somewhat esoteric, out-of-reach, extra-ordinary, idealistic, and complicates it, but who cares, if people don’t bother to go to the source, and get mis-informed by these interpretations. In daily life, to be indivisible, non-fragmented, whole, friends with oneself, with one’s body, etc., is not such an extreme concept.
There is a practical aspect of individuality. We have clothes, home, and a name – but is it possible to walk through daily life and not have this sense of me all the time? For the brain to be quiet and see how that sense comes about, in relationship, as it arises. When thinking learns its limits, it doesn’t go where it doesn’t belong – when it does step out of boundaries it creates the self and with that automatically there’s separation – you can not manage it.
The concept of “sacredness” very much resonates, and “otherness” is not just some explosive event that ordinary persons can not experience. They can. It requires an orderly, sensitive, clean, harmonious mind/body/nerves. When the room is clean, and the window is open, the breeze can come. Perception of sacredness correlates with the quality of the being. That is not to say sacredness is relative. I believe it is something “out there”, absolute, yet, it is also “in here”, as John Lennon put it “your inside is out, and your outside is in”…
The movement to make these concepts as extreme, unreachable states, is the same movement as putting K on a pedestal, and the same movement of shooting him down. Let us forget about those states which are not. Let us forget about enlightenment if we don’t feel enlightened in this moment; and if we do, the question is irrelevant. And an irrelevant question, when asked only poses more blocks for a psyche which by virtue of habit has a tendency to be in sorrow.
The quality of mind that wants to achieve a result is the negation of it. K talks about benediction and so on. If a person wants to achieve that as an ideal, that urge prevents understanding of what is, which is necessary for change. But he also talked about other things such as the importance of negating that which is not love.
I much prefer books to videos. Videos are sometimes too slow. With a book you can easily mark it up, go back, go forward, re-read a paragraph or sentence until it’s understood, read the questions in the next chapter before putting it away, look at the index, take it to bed, live and love and breath it. A video is much more restrictive. You have to go at the pace that he goes according to a very slow audience sometimes.
The panel was painful. A panel is as good as the members you put on it. It was put together spontaneously after Javier cancelled the talk (thank God, as his talks have always been boring despite the adoration of the priest-making folks who love to be lectured at).
The panel did not do a good job of clarifying the question, the theme of the week, which was not very clear and semantically needed a lot of clarifications. Instead, the panel spent a lot of time on peripheral subjects. They accepted visitors so I joined in for a short couple of minutes. The organizer and panel agreed that the word individual was not properly used or at least it was used contrary to the meaning that K consistently gave it. Secondly, they agreed with my proposal that the question really is meant to ask “what are the mechanisms of division and separation?”, and “what is the mechanism of the self”, how it comes to existence. . . and the fact that thought is the clear building blocks of the self. Nobody had talked about thought the whole hour.
The organizer said we go slowly with preparation. How much preparation? One hour into a discussion and the role of thought which is the core of the problem of sense of separation was not mentioned once, and it is such a central theme in K’s work as I understood it. It seems that thought creates the self, and thought, applied to where it doesn’t belong, creates problems. Psychological thought creates fear, insecurity, etc..
The older lady in the panel, one of the ones I refuse to go in a dialogue group with because they’re a network of confusion and pain, went on and on about her misery and confusion. It made me want to cry again hearing these people who have been at this for decades, so utterly confused and unhappy. But it’s clear as day that this is absolutely not K’s fault, although many try to blame him. I have conversely seen, know, and have talked to many people, who have smelled the perfume and the perfume has made the difference of night and day.
I am reminded of an email discussion with a old timer who no longer goes to these gatherings. She spoke about the group as a caravan. I don’t know if a caravan can ever arrive at truth? Sure doesn’t seem like it. One has to be alone, all-one, swift, unburdened, to look. And this can happen in dialogue with other like-minded people so it’s not an isolate process, but a caravan, specially one where some of the drivers are so caught in their caffeine, wine, and self-pity :) , or that is pulled by a turtle, is a different story.
I pointed out that our friend talked about this for 65 years. On the video this morning K talked to a man who’s been seeing his talks for 52 years and hadn’t changed. We were witnessing it first hand.
My friend who is a new comer to this left before the meeting was over and I too after 1.5 hours into it – quietly and unobtrusively as I was sitting in the back anyway. Outside, a dear wise friend and her psychologist daughter were there, and our dear friend from KFA, Eric. He asked about the panel.
She recalled “the <name withheld> panel” three years ago where it was an absolute disaster and confusion with a panel member being stuck on his extreme confusion. What’s the point of putting such extremely confused people on panels? Or the case of a psychologist panel member who had everyone utterly confused and yet he was invited back to lead panels the following year as well.
These kinds of meetings make people more confused than to help them. Other people walked out of the room exhaling hard.
As a new trend by organizers to lead people in inquiry, people were asked to look at their deep sense of isolation. That question by itself assumes that the sense of isolation is there. What if it’s not there?! Are these “secretary turned psychoanalyst” type questions really helpful to people. Some of them may be. It’s always good to get reminded to be aware of inner movements, but not when the question is assumptive of gloom, in the background of a human brain that’s already burdened with problems and sorrow.
I have also talked to many people in daily life who have emotional/ psychological/ psychosomatic wounds. Unlike approach of many psychologists who thrive at their patients remaining confused, swift insight can heal minds. I’ve witnessed it in my own and others’ lives. To lock oneself in a room for two hours hearing sometimes confusing statements, dirty laundry, and self-pity, has nothing to do with K’s teachings nor does it help heal minds.
Caffeine and wine are habits that the authority of tradition deems as unquestionable. You know the whole story of stimulants and depressants, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other substances that dull the brain and nervous system from being able to perceive that otherness. A subtle body, brain, nerves are essential. However, many drink their coffees here, get all revved up, and then sit there trying to unwind. Why wind up the body to begin with? Here’s an old compilation on K & coffee: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/k_on_coffee.html
And there was a big box of empty wine bottles ready to be recycled outside the door on one of these gatherings. I guess it was by the Frenchman who had to have his fix everynight.
And a friend comes, year after years, smelling like cigarettes. After all these years, and all my sermons :) he has not changed!
The first weekend, a friend came along. She has read some K and has seen some videos. As a new comer to the teachings, like other eager new comers, she sees it clearly and the teachings per-se has had a big impact on her life already. She was not impressed with the group after hearing some old timers be so confused and complicated.
We did not like the very long flute intro with the one-note-Indian-drown that went on and on. The flute is nice and a little bit of it is beautiful but when the same thing goes on and on and a single note for 15 minutes, it is enough to drill any ear.
I will not quote Nietzsche on the subject of amateur musicians.
Today, the episode repeated and luckily I saw the drown machine before it started and managed to quietly exit. It was a good opportunity to run and take care of a morning chore. Came back and even had time for a whole-wheat croissant, and the flute was still continuing. It finally finished and the video started.
The music or silence in the beginning of the morning meetings was an idea introduced a few years ago and these intro sessions were supposed to be short, no a long drawn thing.
But what’s important is the friendship and love and there’s plenty of that.
In Bulletin 88 of the KFT, there is a paragraph in promotion of the mountain gathering, quoting a participant: http://www.scribd.com/doc/15599288/Krishnamurti-Foundation-Trust-Bulletin-88sept07
“we had brought with us all of our cares, conflicts, ego, and over the course of the week were able to see it all dissolved in the beauty of the mountains and in the glimpses of the nature of human existence and all that it entails. Trying to move beyond the mechanistic nature of our habits poses a real challenge. By the end of the week the timeless nature of humanity at its problems seem to be somewhat lighter to bear on our shoulders. We have returned renewed and much refreshed to our daily work.”
Over the years, we see the same folks come, year after year, and some are so unhappy and confused and they talk about it and return next year with the same misery and unhappiness. I am not saying they should change or criticizing them for not ending their misery, and not moving from confusion to clarity, from unhappiness to happiness. Each person’s case is different. However, the intriguing about the above paragraph is the idea that one brings worries, conflicts, burdens, habits, ego, to the mountains and apparently feel some release, and goes back to daily life into the same groove, and come again for another temporary fix the following year.
This is an old habit of the human consciousness and the idea behind monasteries which every religion has some form of. As discussed above, Sometimes the gathering is posed as some sort of psychotherapy without using that word (as discussed in above section “one afternoon panel”).
Then the question is, is a “temporary fix” a bad thing? That’s for each person to answer. Of course, the prudent person would want to understand their miseries in daily life. Same with the study of K. I don’t think it’s much value to just come for a week and watch three videos and attend some dialogues. Surely one can learn something but K deserves a thorough study, integrated with daily life, which obviously many simply do not bother doing.
(Incidentally, looking at the same site above I noticed there are many K books on there:
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH FRIEDRICH GROHE
 Talking about Friedrich Grohe, it may be good to say a few words about our relationship. Someone asked me last week if I work for Friedrich. The answer is no, and I never have. I am a self-employed musician and IT consultant, management consultant, project manager, business analyst, and I have a long career in both music and computer science. I have never worked for Friedrich, never received money for anything except in 1993 when I was invited by him to the gathering and he generously paid for our expenses. I have a very good relationship with him, although gossip-minds like to think otherwise. I have respect for people around him and consider some of them close friends. Some of them did not like how close I was with him and tried in various ways to cause a distance but our relationship persisted and last time I saw him, some months ago, we had a great talk – walk – hug – and friendship.
Love is something nobody can understand and nobody can take away. No doubt in my mind, he’s one of the topmost K scholars around, and I have tremendous love, gratitude, and reverence for him. It’s only the gossip-minds who liked to think I was ever jealous of his organization or money. That idea is the biggest nonsense and absolutely false. I was and am probably one of the few people who have never had an eye on his money, and he knows this. Every rich man gets a lot of “flies around the sweet” but I am and have never been one. I have criticized certain aspects of his organization at times, and provided constructive suggestions some of which appear to have made a difference.
It was lovely seeing FG this morning. We had a good chat and maybe ones who tried to sour our contact to win points got to see that our old friendship and love is still strong.
This is not a critique of The Link. I wrote a critique already (link below) and the editions since then have improved (I am not saying that’s because of what I wrote). There are many wonderful pages in The Link, specially, Friedrich Grohe’s personal letters and amazing photographs, and writings of K. In Link Issue 28, a couple of lines stood out in the same spirit of doom-and-gloom that permeates these groups which I talked about in the Murren article above and http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/kli_kinfonet_link.html .
“We are fragmented human beings, fragmented people, fragmented selves. Faced with the fact of fragmentation, we approach it as an idea, as a mental concept, which will always trigger an emotional response of one sort or another.”
Paul Dimmock, April-May 2008
All I can say is, nonsense. Mr. Dimmock can talk about himself but makes the mistake of talking about “we” as a collective which is dangerous because there are exceptions, and those exceptions are significant. Furthermore, that thought is often used as a crutch and cause for self-pity, confusion, and brick walls you hear about in these circles.
“For Krishnamurti, who is even more drastic, the self-image partakes of the nature of illusion. Yet, all of us are caught in it; to this extent, we are not free. To this extent, also, we may be said to have bad faith since our actions do not stem from truth, but from the sundry distortions involved in the self-image.”
Stephen Smith, July 2008
I am afraid my old friend, “Mr. Smith” as K used to call him, is doing the same thing Mr. Dimmock did above: “All of us are caught… we are not free…”. Simply not true. I fail to subscribe to these stereotypes which a) are too big to hardly be accurate; b) cause psychological burden as discussed two paragraphs ago; c) forsake the art and realm of possibilities that exist in life.
Life’s much easier without these pre-conceived psychological burdens promoted by these publications.
(Of course, I will publish any response to the above comments in this space.)
LIMITS OF THINKING (AND ON QUOTES)
To wrap up this write-up, it’s appropriate to post a quote I just came across on the internet.
Some people say, why quote anybody. I love quotes and been collecting good quotes for ages. Quotes become a problem when people merely repeat them instead of understanding and living the meaning of those which resonate with them. A vast selection can be found in the quotes section of www.rezamusic.com.
Here’s the cool new K quote:
"To know, to be aware of the limitation of thinking is the beginning of intelligence."
(First Question & Answer Meeting at Brockwood Park: September, 1980)
It’s refreshing how K can say the same thing in different ways, and freshly each time. Speaking to children he once spoke about the doors of heaven getting open when the mind/thought realizes its own limitation. I couldn’t find the exact quote, but here’s another goodie:
“So to understand fear, you must understand the place of thought - not stop thought. You can't do it. You may try to do it, but you can't stop thought. But if you can put it in its right place - not you - when thought puts itself in its right place, then it has understood, it knows its limitation, it knows its capacity to reason, logic, and so on, but in its right place, right? So we are asking: can thought see itself, its own limitation, its own capacity and say, this reason, capacity has its place and it has no place anywhere else?
… has thought realised its place? Meditate about it. Think about it. Go into it. Give half an hour of your life to find out - not half an hour, give your life to find out. Because, then you will see for yourself as a human being who represents mankind, whose consciousness is the consciousness of humanity, when there is no fear in that consciousness you, who have understood and gone beyond it, change the consciousness of humanity. This is a fact. So if I may ask, have you learnt the art - has thought learnt the art of putting itself in its right place? Then, once it has done that, the doors of heaven are open. Heaven, you know. All right.”
Krishnamurti, Third Public Talk in Madras, December 1977
Just came upon an interesting quote – added it to the chapter “The Myth of ‘Nobody Got It’” on http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/On-work-around-k-work-2008.html
K: "Is this possible to it this totally, the gentleman asks who has heard me fifty two years. And do you know anybody who has done this. It would be impudent on my part - please listen - impudent, impolite, incorrect to say I know somebody. What is important is: are you now? Not do you know somebody. That is escaping from yourself when you say, 'Well show me somebody, a result.' The speaker is not interested in results. If he is then he will be disappointed, he will be exploiting, he will enter into quite a different world." J. Krishnamurti Second Public Talk in Saanen 10 July 1979
K’s insights into the nature of mind are tremendous. The future is unknown. Any projection into the future is based on past experience, the known. When the mind realizes this, and sees that its own activity is limited, it naturally, without force or coercion, quiets down. Then it’s open to meet the new as the new. It can further realize how its unnecessary, limited psychological activity causes division. The more it learns about itself the more it can be free from self-imposed walls, anxieties, worries, nervousness, fear, suffering, and so on. When the mind is freeing itself from this self-made turmoil, it can be open to another dimension. That mind naturally also takes care of the body and does not interfere with the body’s own intelligence. When the nerve/brain cells are fit, that other type of energy can be embodied in the nervous system. I never forget standing next to a 90 year old man who lived intelligently. He was full of a special kind of energy you could feel, but not something exclusive or esoteric that you and I can not have. We can have lots of energy, we do have lots of energy, if we don’t waste it, and if we live, an intelligent, holistic life.
Short excerpts from feedbacks received -- many people said they saw the same things (which doesn't matter -- I don't rely much at all on others' opinion but I don't have a blog where people can write directly so this serves that purpose a little bit:
"I very much enjoyed reading your reports, all the way through. I haven't been to Saanen/Murren for 9 years pretty much for the reasons you mention - the confusion, the gossip, the tedium (usually) of organised dialogue. It's much the same amongst the staff here. On reading K for the first time, my instincts were to stay away from the 'K-world' (I'm sorry to use the term)..."
"I totally agree with you by the way... She never, one time, didn’t want to listen... I went to one panel. Such a nonsense. I can't believe people didn't walk out."
Dear Reza- I enjoyed reading your article and thank you for sharing such deep insight on K's teaching and your observations.
Thank you for sharing with me this wonderful pieces. I just managed the last version a week ago. It was excellent.
Please keep sending this wonderful work that is coming through the being called Reza.
A beautiful stirring is going on here...
thank you reza,
these were interesting notes...especially about the 'group think' biases as well as 'guru complexes' of individuals who give tthemselves unelected powers to speak on behalf of a group (humanity even) or who proceed to psychoanalyze group members in public when their stipulated role is merely one of conversation facilitator.
thank you reza,
these were interesting notes...especially about the 'group think' biases as well as 'guru complexes' of individuals who give tthemselves unelected powers to speak on behalf of a group (humanity even) or who proceed to psychoanalyze group members in public when their stipulated role is merely one of conversation facilitator.
i find it fascinating that K discussion groups can end up being about so many of the social things you noticed were going on, bordering on the neurotic... otherwise it seems to be the case that people go round in circles...repeating themselves, replaying the same old tired tapes, scripts of a B-grade movie... scenes much better viewed on film rather than at K gatherings...(then again perhaps film scripts, like novels and music, can also give positive meaning to life...even if we only learn what not to do or become...which your notes helped me see... )
One response was from a German professor who kindly took the time to send in some remarks and questions.
So glad to get your email. I am now neearly 89… Hope to meet you there arn't many of us left who knew K.
Dear Reza- I enjoyed reading your article and thank you for sharing such deep insight on K's teaching and your observations. I really liked the way you connected each of your observations with K's discussion material… Once again thank you for keeping me on your mailing list - looking forward to more such summaries.
Greetings Mr. Ganjavi:
Thank you for your comprehensive observation/evaluation… I think your perceptions are valuable and so refreshing. I am very excited to hear about the young people to K or rather new people to K have such clarity. It has always confused me also as to why there is so much talk in a dialogue meeting without dialogue/insight. You have raised some very important issues re: those who have listened for years. I have been looking at this lately myself and wondering why …
Reza, I met you years ago at a gathering. In actuality, the more than $20,000 was used to improve <> family property which is now on the market. That particular appears to have a dirty laundry list here like none other. It seems lots of people have exploited K's name.
Hi Reza, Thanks for keeping me on your mailing list.
It's good to hear you are quite alive and kicking! All the best,
I am pleased in know very well on the work around Krisnamurti.
Tank you, ...
Dear Mr. Reza, Thank you very much for sending the papers' Commentaries..' I invite many more of them in future to keep myself upto date.
Dear Reza All the best. Much Love
Allways interested, have a nice summer…
Thank you Reza, and happy summer
Well my goodness, you are doing quite a lot about the whole K. world, it is interesting for many,
Thanks for your message and interesting document… I am interested by K work in particular by his direct approach to the psyche of human being, his freedom… but I am not a follower.
Thanks and congratulations to your 18 page report. I read every single word of it! A mixture of objective analysis/descriptions, wisdom, and some judgments. You should become a journalist/writer. You have all the qualities you need!
I heard more than one person had concern about the high cost of the gathering specially given Swiss prices are too high for many and there are costs not just for the hotel and transport but also for the organization of the gathering itself. I can't help but to think of K talks where a donation of $5 was requested and whoever didn't want to pay or couldn't, didn't pay. K never charged for his talks.
Sir,i want to relate with you always. Many many thanks for your massage.
Thank you reza, these were interesting notes...especially about the 'group think' biases as well as 'guru complexes' of individuals who give themselves unelected powers to speak on behalf of a group (humanity even) or who proceed to psychoanalyze group members in public when their stipulated role is merely one of conversation facilitator.