On intelligent living
What does that mean? How is one to live intelligently in a seemingly insane world? How can one preserve one’s sanity, one’s health?
The great teacher Krishnamurti said “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”. Our society does look profoundly sick, with much suffering, wars, violence, exploitation, destruction.
On one hand, the ‘well adjusted’ participate in keeping society sick. Capitalism, consumerism, greedy, wasteful lifestyles, the acceptance of social and economical injustice and inequality drive our world toward destruction. On the other hand, the ‘maladjusted’ respond with anger, violence, creating more crazy ideologies – adding to the conflicts, offering little or nothing good in terms of solutions.
The overpopulation, depletion of natural resources, destruction of habitats are all results of us not living intelligently – we are responsible for all this.
I hold that the only way to save humankind and our planet is to awaken intelligence on a massive scale. People will have to learn to live intelligently, and have to do this fast. We are running out of time.
I also hold that our final frontier is not space, but consciousness (though I would not be too surprised if the two turned out to be one and the same…).
The Monkey House project has at heart these very subjects – intelligent living and consciousness. We cannot live intelligently until we understand who we are and what intelligence is.
At our workshops, seminars, social events and online work we will open the subjects – explore, observe, learn together. This is an environment without authority, without hierarchy – at this Monkey House all monkeys are equal.
On ‘Who am I’
So, “who am I?” Thus goes the old Buddhist question. Really. What am I made of? This is very important to find out. Am I just an image I have created over the years, from my verbalised experiences, thoughts, feelings? Right now this is how it seems to me – one of my many teachers said it was so and I sort of connected to this idea. Yet I suspect there must be more to it, I am so attached to the ‘person’ I think myself to be.
Oh all those books I have read! Philosophy, yoga, neuroscience, evolution, self-help with this and that – all the ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ thrown at me! All the wise and knowledgeable people, all the experts telling me what is true, what is right, what is good… Yet many years later I still sit here and know nothing – except that I know nothing.
It seems other people’s words and wisdom have not made me wise. This is why the Monkey House project has to be different, work in a different way. Not authoritative teaching, not wisdom bestowed, but observation and exploration shared! Not advice given, but doors probed open, in cooperation…
This idea was born out of the realisation that subjects like yoga (in particular yoga) are too ‘slippery’. Having toyed with yoga since about 1984, having practiced, studied and ‘taught’ it for many years, I could never fully convince myself of my ability to ‘realise’ it. The ‘old yoga’ (authentic yoga) is steeped in tradition and culture not readily accessible to a mind and body shaped by Western/European conditioning. (Although there is no shortage of non-Indians claiming to understand yoga.)
For me this has become a recurring problem. Morally, ethically it is an obstacle that hinders the learning and the practice, takes the wind out the sails of motivation. This is why my commitment was never full, complete to yoga (apart from my lazy nature), though I had bursts of torrential enthusiasm.
I am building the Monkey House instead, utilising useful parts found/experienced through the years of work with yoga, with added ideas, materials, principles, methods, techniques from multiple sources. This will be ‘work in progress’ all the way through…
In my travels through this life Krishnamurti was perhaps the teacher among the many who had the greatest impact. I first read his teachings in late in 1983, the year that turned out be a bit of a milestone. At a time of a personal crisis, staring into the abyss, I was perhaps over-sensitive to his words of wisdom. My English was still quite poor, so it took a considerable effort to read his books, having to pick up the dictionary after every sentence.
It was there, nevertheless, it has arrived and stayed with me. When I pick up K’s work, it speaks to me directly, clearly. I would recommend his works to everyone really interested in the ‘human condition’, in the inner workings of us, in relationships, and all things that matter.
There is a great facility in the UK to explore the whole of K’s legacy – the Krishnamurti Study Centre at Brockwood Park in Hampshire. All his recorded talks, videos, interviews, books – everything he produced is available. I used to go for an annual ‘pilgrimage’, a great place to escape to. Do go and visit, highly recommended.
A few quotes:
“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.”
“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
“All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man.”
“Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem.”
“The end is the beginning of all things, suppressed and hidden, awaiting to be released through the rhythm of pain and pleasure.”
“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.”
“Your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life.”
“In obedience there is always fear, and fear darkens the mind.”
“Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent.”
We are waves…
Our Universe is very old and very big, we are told. Full of mysteries, wonders. We seem to know so much and so little about it at the same time…We’re also told that our ‘perception’ of this Universe is limited, we can only see/hear/smell/sense it with the limited range of tools (sensory organs and the interpreting mind), unable to see the ‘whole’ picture.For instance, here is the case of waves and particles. Quantum mechanics tells us all sorts of interesting stories about them.Here is one: we are made of waves. Yes, it is waves, not particles. Are particles temporary, called into existence by observation? No observation, no particle? How amusing!I really like this picture of our existence – the Universe’s waves flow through what we think are our bodies, in reality we are not separate from these waves, we ARE them. Alan Watts said this: “We speak of coming into this world – we didn’t. We came out of it. You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is with the ocean – the ocean waves, the universe peoples.”