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 Gospel According to St. Matthew

‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew’ – by Pier Paolo Pasolini – (With Enrique Irazoqui)

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The motivation that unites all of my films
is to give back to reality
its original sacred significance
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~ Pier Paolo Pasolini

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The famous Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini made this beautiful statement about his art: “When I make a film, I shift into a state of fascination with an object, a thing, a fact, a look, a landscape, as though it were an engine where the holy is about to explode.” This can be immediately felt as we stroll amongst the first scenes of his 1964 movie ‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew’. We are met with an angelic Mary looking at a bewildered Joseph leaving home after the discovery of her pregnancy. Silence prevails and only a concert of bird’s songs can be heard. Joseph wanders in solitude in a landscape that is desolate yet teeming with presence and energy. He comes to the edge of a town and kneels against a nearby stretch of land where a bunch of children are playing, giving like a lullaby of innocence to Joseph who closes his eyes and abandons himself to the moment. This is the chosen time when an androgynous angel appears and gives him the revelation of the divine nature of Mary’s pregnancy.

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Discover the magnificent film by Pasolini on the Gospel of Matthew… (READ MORE…)

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Taking Sides

Don’t you want to be just made of that? To wholly embrace this experience? Not to stay in a little corner, to be always wanting, claiming, hoping, complaining, but to find yourself being the bearer of all things, merging with the ten thousand colours of experience — not being just one side of it? To be whole is never a matter of choice, but parting is. Awareness is always choiceless. If you exert a choice, in the form of a chooser, then chances are that you don’t know the true nature of living. You’re not aware, no — not yet aware. You’re still sleeping in a dark cave. You haven’t contemplated all that life is. You haven’t truly been amongst the trees, and been taken by the harmonious course of a bird. You haven’t been a lover of the grass, and a true partner of that heap of dried, dead leaves in the autumn air. You haven’t quite yet mingled with the clouds, and merged your being with the being of the sky. No, not quite yet. For now, you’re just being a chooser.

Don’t cheat on your true self and being, by partnering with a thought, a feeling, or some particular object. Don’t be abused by the noises and colours of experience, to the detriment of the silent presence that hosts them. There is something profoundly sad about taking sides — identifying with opinions, beliefs, preferences, judgments. For really, to take sides is to be a self. It is to play in the limited courtyard of your thoughts and feelings, and not be touched by the immensity of not knowing, of having no preferences, of not being a chooser. To take sides means: you haven’t let reality be as it is. You have intervened, and in doing so, have limited your self, have made it into a poor little thing.

For taking sides will send you on the dangerous road to fear, loneliness, and confusion. It will make you retire in the fake refuge of your separate self. Remember this: every time you take sides, every time you exert a control, you are not being ‘you’ — I mean your true ‘I’. You have been dragged and caught by the cunningness of a thought. You have been robbed of your essential self. You have made yourself into a point of view with a limited scope and understanding. You have been squeezed in a little corner of your invention. I am begging it to you now: Stop being anything. Don’t think yourself to be a body, and therefore be an insider. Don’t push away experience, and therefore be an outsider. Don’t be sidetracked with a sideshow. No. Make your true self the real show of experience. You won’t regret it. You will be standing on the stage of life under a shower of light and applauds. For then, you have vanquished all that separating gig. You have given your life the colour of life itself. You have treated your being with the being of all selves and things. And you have exchanged your never ending complaints with a life lived in utter thankfulness. Just by not taking sides.

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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 Burning Bush

‘The Icon of Theotokos the Unburnt Bush’ (detail) – 19th AD, Museum of Radomysl Castle, Ukraine – Wikimedia

Don’t be shy. Come out of the bush. That bush which is of your own making. The hazy bush of your thoughts, feelings, and the ten thousand things perceived. All that you have invented to keep your self going, to give it a form and a lustrous appearance. This is a bush of endless confusion and deceit. Don’t get entangled in its thorny maze, to be kept here safe but miserable. Don’t be lured into the bush of your apparent self, with its intricate problems, and its endless, unresolvable knots. Don’t make that bush your prison, be it a golden one. Don’t let it dictate your life, to forever seek in the world all that can soothe and heal for a time. And don’t expect that you will find in other similar bushes the remedy to your entanglement. You can gather as many bushes you like, they will never make a marriage worth of the name. Any other thought-induced bush will be revealed as being lost in the same, inherent, desperate obscurity which your self is lost in.

Don’t be deceived once more. Don’t be shy. Come out of the bush. Put it on fire. Burn it to the ground. You’d be surprised of what is left behind. How do you burn a bush? Expose it to the sun of your being. How do you expose the false, but by seeing the truth? How do you fight the fear of death, but by realising your immortality? How do you disengage yourself from your endless suffering, but by recognising your true nature as peace and happiness? You have a sun at hand that is more than happy to help you in that enterprise. Expose the mirror of your separation to that sun and its burning rays will strip this idea naked of any true reality. Show yourself. Come out of the bush. Let that pure being do its job on you. Let it burn that bush of yours down to its roots.

And don’t expect a desolate land after that. There will be no carpet of black, sullen, malodorous ashes. Be audacious, for you will only burn the false that is in you. All that doesn’t truly stand on its own. All that which is not. All that you have made up. These sure will go to never return. These are the unburnt bush of your apparent self. For how do you burn something that isn’t there? How do you extricate something that wasn’t truly entangled in the first place? How do you spot the unseen? How do you kill the invisible? As for the burnt ground, you will only meet what truly is. As for the desolation, you will only be welcomed with opulent love and beauty. As for the loss and suffering, you will only be exposed to the profound peace of your essential being. You will be blessed to notice a self that was here all along but that you had been made blind to. This is where this fire is not a fire of destruction but one of creation. This is where this fire is a never ending fire where no bush, no seeds of folly can ever thrive.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons

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Websites:
Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons
Radomysl Castle (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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A Song of Two Humans

‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ – F. W. Murnau – (With actors George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor)

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Silent films had a language of their own;
they aimed for the emotions, not the mind,
and the best of them wanted to be,
not a story, but an experience
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~ Roger Ebert on ‘Sunrise’ (film critic)

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Life is relationship. No matter what. We are always engaged in a relationship with an apparent ‘other’. Should we be left alone in the world, with no other humans, life would remain an encounter with the other — any other being — be it the sun, the wind, the rugged stones on our path, or our very own self. Our life is always a song of apparent duality. And the success of any relationship, which is the coming of intimacy and love in our life, is always the road taken from apparent separation to the realisation of our shared being. Life is one. But that needs to be fully seen.

I was put on these tracks by watching the 1927 silent movie ‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ by German director F. W. Murnau. The film is a splendour. Although an overly simple love story, the title suggests that its lessons are of an universal nature. And the finesse and poetry of its making renders it as an archetypical manual for everything that a relationship can bring or teach. The story can be summarised in a few lines: a country man has become weary of his relationship with his wife, and has started a love affair with a passing woman from the city. His new lover convinces him to kill his wife while being on a boat trip on the lake, a plan which the man, overtaken by remorse, fails to execute at the very last moment. The rest of the film is the story of his winning his wife’s forgiveness and the return to a dazzling feeling of love and happiness between the two.

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Discover the lessons contained in this masterpiece of the silent era… (READ MORE…)

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Churning the Ocean

‘Sagar Manthan’ – Unknown author, 1820 – Wikimedia Commons

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We cannot be fully established in our true nature as peace and happiness without integrating all our latent tendencies, all these reflexive and self-protective habits born out of our belief in separation. These would prevent the advent of bliss. This is the meaning behind this ancient myth of India called the ‘churning of the ocean of milk’ (‘Samudra Manthan’ in Sanskrit), which is narrated in many religious texts. 

In brief, as the Gods were bored, they decided to gather with some evil beings and unite their strength to churn the ocean of milk with the help of a sacred mountain as the rod, and Shiva’s serpent king as the rope. By doing so, the snake spitted out a deadly poison — called ‘Halāhala’ or ‘kālakūṭa’, literally: ‘black mass’ or ‘time puzzle’ — which Shiva, in its compassionate heart and presence, swallowed to prevent the destruction of the world. The path was cleared for the formation of many precious, invaluable gems, including the ‘amrita’, or ‘soma’, which is God’s drink, the elixir of happiness, or consciousness’ butter. 

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A playful inquiry into the meaning behind this famous Indian myth… (READ MORE…)

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