July 29, 2012 by Bill
Ojai, California is nestled in the radiant mountains just south of Santa Barbara. I say “radiant” because famous there is what they call their “pink moment” when every evening at sunset, all the mountains and valley are covered with a rich and bright “pink” color that is gorgeous to witness.
Ojai has a reputation of being one of the artistic and cultural centers of the United States. Many of the creative giants of the world beat a path to the “Sage of Ojai” KRISHNAMURTI, a mystical genius who pointed their lives in a new direction. Joseph Campbell, Joan Halifax, Julian Huxley, Thomas Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, John Lennon, David Bohm (Nobel in physics), Jonas Salk, Charlie Chaplin, and too many more to name.
In my 18 years of my Sunday Symposium I have for some strange reason not spent an entire session on this “sage of Ojai” though often quoting him. On October 21st, the first date of the new Fall Edelen Book Corner (and Symposium) I am going to cover the life and contribution as well as the genius of this “sage” Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Based on my own life experiences, at 90 years old, I soon realized that everything I was reading in his writings was true and accurate and could change individuals and society by evolving into a more enlightened consciousness. Such as the following paragraphs:
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever cannot be organized, nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. I concern myself with only one essential thing: to set man free, I desire to free him from all cages and all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.”
Oh my, when I first read that, bells and lights were going off in my head. So profound, so eloquent, so clear, so true. And again:
“All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive and evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers. You have to be your own teacher and own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable and necessary.”
Many giant thinkers have made observations about our pathetic educational system. Robert Hutchins, Buckminster Fuller (who said every normal child is born a genius until parents and teachers de-geniusize them as fast as they can), Bertrand Russell, etc., but few have written about it more clearly than our “Sage of Ojai”: Read the story »
July 22, 2012 by Bill
When all the words have been written, and all the phrases have been spoken, the great mystery of life will still remain. We may map the terrains of our lives, measure the farthest reaches of the universe, but no amount of searching will ever reveal for certain whether we are all children of chance or part of a great design.
And who among us would have it otherwise? Who would wish to take the mystery out of the experience of looking into a newborn infant’s eyes? Who would not feel in violation of something great if we had knowledge of what has departed when we stare into the face of one who has died? These are the events that made us human, that define the distance between the stars and us.
Still, this life is not easy. Much of its mystery is darkness. Tragedies occur, injustices exist. Bad things befall good people and sufferings are visited upon the innocent. To live we must take the lives of other species, to survive we must leave some of our brothers and sisters by the side of the road. We are prisoners of time, victims of biology, hostages of our own capacity to dream.
At times it all seems too much, impossible to accept.
We must stand against this. The world is a great mysterious place, and it’s possibilities are infinite, governed only by what our hearts can conceive. If we incline our hearts towards the darkness, we will see darkness. If we incline them toward the light, we will see the light.
Those of great heart have always known this. They have understood that, as honorable as it is to see the wrong and try to correct it, a life well lived must somehow celebrate the promise that life provides. The darkness at the limits of our knowledge; the darkness that sometimes seem to surround us is merely a way to make us reach beyond certainty, to make our lives a witness to hope, a testimony to possibility, an urge toward the best and the most honorable impulses that our hearts can conceive.
It is not hard. There is in each of us, no matter how humble, a capacity for love. Even if our lives have not taken the course we had envisioned, even if we are less than the shape of our dreams, we are part of the human family. Somewhere, in the most inconsequential corners of our lives, is the opportunity for love. Read the story »
July 15, 2012 by Bill
On Tuesday, July 17th, I reach 90 years of age. As I reflect back on these years, it is fairly easy for me to find the thought, or thoughts, that have shaped my life, my outlook and attitudes, and guided my path regardless of criticism or attacks by those living in the boxes and cages they have chosen for their own confinement.
I realized that the key and path to MEDIOCRITY could be found in worry about the foolishness of public opinion, in “moderation,” in “convention” and “conformity.” Two giant thinkers helped and encouraged me on this path. KRISHNAMURTI, of whom Deepak Chopra said, “He made it possible for me to break through the confines of my own self-imposed restrictions to my freedom”; and a brilliant Aldous Huxley using almost exactly the same language.
And the other giant thinker was the Federal Judge LEARNED HAND, who in his career never had one word of an opinion changed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
My own thoughts were these before being encouraged by the writings of the two men mentioned. A most meaningless cliché is “moderation in all things.” Moderation is the key to mediocrity. Moderation is defined as: “staying within accepted limits.” Creative and uncommon people who are memorable and who use their time on this Earth to the fullest are usually most immoderate and never stay within the accepted limits.
The Sadducees and the Pharisees stayed within the accepted limits of Hebrew law. Jesus did neither. He immoderately loved those whom the Pharisees despised, and he immoderately shattered a great many of their rules and traditions. The most creative giants of civilization, in all disciplines, have forgotten themselves into immortality by vast immoderate creativity and contributions and by never “staying within accepted limits.”
Our obsession with outside “authority,” whether in institutions or individuals, ensures that we remain emotionally and spiritually dwarfed as children. Human beings, in the mass, sink unconsciously to an inferior moral and intellectual level. Human beings, in the mass, like sheep, obeying and following the “accepted limits” of outside authorities end up as zeros as individuals who never listen to their inner voice, their inner intuition, their own reason. The tragedy of this for society is that a million zeros joined together add up to ZERO, and not even to one.