The Essence of Life

We hardly ever listen to the sound of a dog’s bark,
or to the cry of a child or the laughter of a man as he passes by.
We separate ourselves from everything, and then
from this isolation look and listen to all things.
It is this separation which is so destructive,
for in that lies all conflict and confusion.
If you listened to the sound of those bells
with complete silence, you would be riding on it —
or, rather, the sound would carry you
across the valley and over the hill.
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Meditation is not a separate thing from life;
it is the very essence of life,
the very essence of daily living.

~ J. Krishnamurti (‘The Only Revolution’)

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Quote by J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

Photo by Alain Joly

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Bibliography :
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America, US)

Website:
J. Krishnamurti

Suggestions:
Beauty in Essence (other pointers from the blog)
A Day at Brockwood Park (Homage to J. Krishnamurti)

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The Puzzled Self

‘Bridges’ – Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, 1905 – WikiArt

We succumb to this original mistake again and again. That error has been enforced in the system through thousands of years of repetition, belief, conditioning, habit, and its illusory power has strengthened itself to the point of being a truth. The mistake is: we’re looking for something outside ourself. We’re reaching out. All the time. We’re craving for. We are deemed insufficient. Needy. In consequence, we have broken the world apart, have created chasms and distances, have invented time when it is not needed. We have made life into a battle and a struggle. We have given rise to suffering and confusion. And the worse of it, we have isolated ourself. We have projected everything that is not our body and mind as something that is ‘other’, different in nature, and have made that ‘other’ the only open source available for the rising and falling of happiness in ourself.

Quite a mouthful isn’t it? What an inextricable bundle we have created! And our self? Well, it has been reduced to something marginal, that forever needs to be reassured, consoled, fulfilled, aggrandised. We have created an insatiable monster that destroys everything in its path. Its hunger can never be satisfied. And its thirst is unquenchable. It will want to be forever filled. And that process will make us the target of unbelievable constraints. It will divide our world into fragments, and will scatter them around like a gigantic, incomplete jigsaw puzzle. With ourself being only one of its lost pieces. What a dreadful prospect! Well, we have made it ourself, all alone; and the responsibility for it goes nowhere but in the direction of our very own self. But don’t try to fix, arrange, mend, repair. Don’t go back in the wrong direction. Don’t go again after your lost happiness. Don’t do more of the same. There is no hero needed here. What’s needed is something a bit more subtle. And way easier believe me.

You have to look. Just to look. To look and to see. To look is on your part. To see is not. It’s a given. You have to look at your self, at all the scattered pieces of your self. And you have to remove just one element of the puzzle that acts like a wrongdoer, a confusing piece, the error in the system. Remove your well-rehearsed tendency to look for happiness outside yourself. Just take that possibility away from yourself. That’s the grain of sand that blocks everything, and engages you on a road a thousand-time trodden, to no avail. Feel the wonder of that one last element of escape out of the system. Nowhere to go. Nothing to be. Dare for once to look at that simple truth in the eyes, which is: you won’t find anything of value outside your own being. It all falls back on you now. The whole world. The thousand scattered pieces of yourself. The suffering. The confusion. The whole paraphernalia. Everything. On yourself. Then…

Then you will see that you are alone. All alone. Not isolated but alone. You will see what you truthfully are. You will see that you are made of one single piece that only works for and as your self. That piece is the missing element of your puzzle. The one that was unseen, forgotten, and which had been replaced with a clumsy, invented, unfitting one that placed your life into this unresolvable puzzle of suffering and loss. That piece is the unifying factor, the one that will make chasms into a bridge of Life, and your broken world into a fitting piece of Oneness. For that piece has a magical touch that will make every pieces of yourself fall back into place. For there were never any scattered fragments in your Self. There was only Being, the one and only owner of that which you are, and of all that which can possibly be. And that feeling of being, with its supreme knowing, is enough to give you the peace and happiness that you looked for in a thousand directions or scattered pieces. Being is your aloneness. And in that aloneness is the golden spring from where happiness is seen as your only possibility. That’s it. This is the given. What you needed to see… Puzzle completed!

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911)

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Website:
Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…

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The Castle

Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard – France

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There is a monument in your being
. Something unmovable, unbreakable. Something from which you can never part. Something you can never divorce from. Try to move away from yourself, to separate yourself from your experience, dis-extricate yourself from the massive presence of your being, and see that you cannot do it. Feel this impossibility. Let it itself move you. Let it itself disengage you. Feel how this disengagement is death itself, the removal of all that you have believed was you, and is now discovered not to be. That will shatter you, break you in a thousand pieces, to never be gathered again, never be put together ever. You will be dislodged from yourself. This is irrevocable death. And that death is the only existing portal for life.

Yet what dies is just a thought. A castle of beliefs that you have built in the air of your being. This castle was never really there, although you have inhabited it, occupied its chambers, busied yourself with its imperious injunctions. There is a way out of this donjon. You have to go to the presence of your being. This sense of being is the indestructible ground on which you have built this fatuous mansion of yourself. Some call it the ground of being. Some call it the ‘I Am’. A base you can never part from. The portal you can never deviate from. One that will never let you down, or betray you, if only you could notice its unmistakable presence. That base is itself this castle of happiness that you have hungered for all your life. One that needs not being built, that needs not being added to. So everything that you have strenuously built for yourself will find its primal redundancy, will be reabsorbed in your only true mansion. A castle with only one chamber — home of being — provider of happiness.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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The Incidental Life

I would like to live the incidental life. Not the one that is a toil. Not the one that finds its significance in happenings and accidents, in various changes or transformations, in happy or sad expressions. I don’t want to be dependent on the forms of life for my happiness. I don’t want to be bound to its many injunctions, be they ones that are imposed or desired. For this is how life acquires its tragic quality. This is how life becomes something that we have to endure or bear with. Something that we have to go through with clenched teeth — which is with hope and belief. Something that we can be happy with, or grateful for, only if we take the right decisions, make the right efforts, and have some good luck too. I don’t want my life to be so brittle and uncertain. To be so imprisoned in endless causes and conditionings. And to have fear as its background music. No. I don’t want to be so grandiose. I want the incidental life.

To have an incidental life is to forever place our gaze on the horizon of being. This gaze implies surrendering to what is, or not minding what happens, as Krishnamurti once affirmed. This gaze will make you see life as being drenched in beauty and love. And this gaze will render you to your eternal, inborn, given nature of peace, happiness, and freedom. This is when experience clothes itself in a sumptuous dress of truth or understanding. One that will allow you, in familiar terms, to leave your life alone. For it can verily and simply take care of itself. Life doesn’t need your painstaking involvement. It doesn’t fancy your pity or concern or greed. Doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. Let your life be in its right place, which is the place of humility. This is where it will find its true colours and expressions. This is when it will rid itself of all the suffering that encumbered it. This is how it will find its own sacred purpose. Don’t give your life an undue position. Don’t take what is secondary to be foremost. And what is foremost to be secondary. See only being as foremost. This is the sun of life: this being. Its essence and direction. The rest? Well, let it be incidental.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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A Loss and a Gain

‘The Voyage of Life: Old Age’ – Thomas Cole, 1842 – WikiArt

Well, at some point in our lives, we may start to make a rapid calculation. It may dawn on us that if we had counted on this body and mind to represent us right through the end of life, well… let’s be blunt on this: that’s certainly not our best investment. Old age will make it clear that, after a certain time, if we wait long enough, everything begins to go wrong with our bodies — and so with our minds. We-our body are losing it. New pains arise. Strength diminishes. Memory capacity fades. And disease is lurking. There are threats accumulating, to say the least. We have to come to terms with this plain fact of existence: we will never go back to where we were. We cannot keep holding on to our body, continue having faith in it. This constant hoping for a better body, or a healthier mind, has to end, and this is now. In a way, it really is something to laugh about — a sort of cosmic joke. How could we have been so naïve? This simple and inescapable fact shows — if we needed that kind of confirmation — that this body and mind is not the place for a healthy sense of being. We need to find a way out of this faulty understanding.

We find health in our innermost being. That is the answer. And the body is not this being. It doesn’t represent it. It is not its temple. The body exists but it is not being. Only being has the right and capacity to be. The body is at best a distant vassal. A tool. It is not the home of our being, but rather, it finds its home in being. It rests there. It can borrow its qualities. It can make Being its beloved teacher, if it is wise and humble enough to espouse Being’s extraordinary traits. Then the body and its companion as mind might feel enlarged. They might find their true essence as infinity and eternity. They might acquire a soft and gentle making — less heaviness. And the body-mind will be lit with a strange transparency. It will slowly give up its hard matter-like making in favour of a more airy essence. It might surrender itself slowly while still being alive. Then the natural flaws of its ending will have very little meaning — not something to be afraid of. For its death has already been achieved in love — its true essence. Then its apparent shortcomings and loss will be found to be the supreme gain of life itself. We enter a new kingdom, where death can never be death. It is simply the extinction of everything that wasn’t truly ours in the first place. It is a gentle clarification, and the revelation of our essence. “You may die, my dear body, you may fail and disappear, with your companion-mind, but I will meet you on the burning ground and see you rise again as ‘I’”. This is the meaning of old age and death. This is the gift of our apparent failures. To be raised and revealed as essence. See… we won’t lose it.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Thomas Cole (1801-1848)

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Website:
Thomas Cole (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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Unconditional Love

I just happened to fall in love with my life recently. Don’t ask me how and why. I just did. That came surreptitiously after a long line of unfruitful attempts. I had given up the idea. Discarded the thought — too complicated! This happened when I simply stopped wanting, hoping, needing. These are the ways things get done, it seems, in this world. Life is not something that you can mould to your own convenience. You cannot love life if you set up conditions. If you want it to espouse the contours of your likes and dislikes. You might painstakingly get the life you want, but you will reduce love. You will wound it. That won’t be love anymore but bargain, economy. Love can never be found in the market place. Love shows up with its one fundamental, non-bargainable condition: it is unconditional. And I’ll tell you why:

I discovered that life is self. That the one constituent of life is simply being — who I am fundamentally. Not even a small portion of this life of mine stands outside myself. I love my life because my life is my self, and I cannot not love my self. We all love our self. To not love our self is an impossibility. We love our self dearly, because the nature of our self is love itself. Self is made of love. And everything in this world is made out of this very self of love. So we are bound to love this world unconditionally. To love our life unquestionably. To love people boundlessly. People are our brothers and sisters in love. They are made of the very same bright self that we are made of. Therefore the question of not loving life doesn’t even arise. Love is the very home where our life finds everything it could ever need or want. This is how life becomes a fountain of joy: when it is found to be entrenched in love. This fountain of love is sometimes referred as god’s self. Or ultimate being. Or simply happiness — without cause or condition.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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Being Spiritual

‘Sea View’ – J.M.W. Turner, 1820-1830 – WikiArt

This whole adventure of knowing oneself is not about being spiritual. It’s about being alive. Not just a little bit alive, with holes here and there, where unconsciousness can creep in, and steal us the best portion of what it is to be truly alive. For life is not a collection of deeds or experiences. Life is an energy and an essence that you can feel or know as the totality of your own being. And life extends to everything and everywhere. It is not about you. It never was.

To realise our true nature is not about being spiritual. It’s about being happy. Not the happiness that shakes and crumbles at the least twist of life’s circumstances. Happiness is not meant to be so fragile. And it is not something that you have to attain, or perform. You are not meant to work for that which is your inborn due and essence. Happiness is when you cannot even form or comprehend the concept of unhappiness. It is the distinguishing trait of being.

This understanding is not about being spiritual. It’s about being wholly a human being — inhabiting this whole experience while staying rooted in your true essence as awareness. There is immense delight in being awareness through your whole body and mind. Don’t leave your human experience at the door of consciousness anymore that you should leave consciousness at the door of your human experience. Include your humanness in your understanding.

To recognise our real identity is not about being spiritual. It’s about being in a world. Feeling what a world is — its golden nature — its sacredness — its dazzling presence. Having a world as our own being. Don’t think that you cannot know it through its essence. Knowing the world is like knowing yourself. And that will make you equip the world with ravishing beauty. The world is not about an outside. It is all inside yourself, curling itself into your own being.

I don’t want to be spiritual, or special, or humble. I want to be so fully being that I cannot even formulate such ideas. I want to be so fully myself that I cannot even know the meaning of these words. And I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be soft and malleable, and utterly vulnerable. Not fragile or brittle, but open to every passing feeling, to every hue inherent in living. This is how life shows its greatness. This is how you are truly grateful for being human.

I don’t want to have the identity of being spiritual. I want to have no contours where I can be fixed and localised. I don’t want to be anything that can be bumped into, and get hurt or scarred. I want to be being only being, to leave no room for an other, or for a difference. Why should I define myself? To be truly living is to be undefinable. And to be without objective identity is to belong in everything and in everyone. This is the true meaning of love.

I don’t quite fancy being tagged as spiritual. Being spiritual is only a nice word for everything in myself that cannot quite let go and espouse the pure essence of being. These are the leftovers on the failed path of being one with my essential being. I don’t want to be spiritual any more that I want my true nature to be identified with being French, or being this or that. I want to be what I ought to be when every form of control is seen detrimental and abandoned.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851)

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Website:
J. M. W. Turner (Wikipedia) 

Suggestion:
– Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…

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