Monday, 7 December 2015

Chapter 7 -"The Way to Nowhere". New readers please find the Introduction and preceding chapters in the Archives, on right side. Click on "November".

Chapter 7

He himself is nothing. He seeks nothing for himself .
 His personality is always dissolved in the valour and glory of the action itself

A Remarkable Man

Kim Taylor was born in India, the son of a dancer, and he had been Professor of Oriental Arts and Philosophy at the University of Austin, Texas before moving to England. He published his own books privately under the name “The Ark Press”, and wrote, under the pen-name Michael Adam, “Man is a Little World”, “A Wild Strange Place” and “My Wild Lone”. Later he wrote a book entitled “Womankind”, published by Wildwood House. He told me a story about the time he had met Krishnamurti in India, at the time of the Calcutta riots and the conflicts between Hindus and Moslems. He was describing the terrible atrocities he had witnessed and observed that, as he spoke, K's face became full of anguish, so he stopped speaking. There were a few minutes of silence and then a bird sang at the window. Krishnamurti looked up at the bird and his face became radiant once more. This is an example of living in the moment as K. let go of the distressing images that were evoked by Kim's graphic descriptions. 

When Kim and his then wife Eya moved to Zennor I often went to visit them in the lonely and beautiful countryside of Penwith in West Cornwall. On some days an atmospheric drizzly mist would roll in from the Atlantic and we would sit inside surrounded by Kim's collections and Eya's dried herbs hanging from the kitchen ceiling. Sometime later they sold the house and moved into Mousehole where they had a house in a terrace overlooking the sea. After leaving Eya as a result of difficult circumstances Kim began teaching calligraphy classes in Newlyn and there he met Bea, after which they moved to an old mill cottage in a valley close to Helston. Kim and I had a similar philosophical outlook and many shared interests, one of which was to live close to nature and the elements. They coincided very much with the Taoist way of living, merging with the flow of life's current and going the way life takes one, without resistance, doing what one has to do in harmony with the situation, moment to moment, riding with the changes.

This extract is from “My Wild Strange Place”, by Michael Adam:

“It was time to act. Without wanting one reaches out one's hand. Without will one pushes or pulls. Without preference one leans to the left or the right. Without choice one takes this or that. One says “Yes”, sometimes “No”. The world is all there is, here and now. Now waking and walking, now eating and drinking, now weeping and smiling, now sleeping, now dying. It is a full life. With sun and rain added it is a rich one. A strange life too, for one lives one's day and looks down on it with the eyes of a hawk that hovers still above the moor and sees all the errant running of a rabbit....Strange to be at once a hawk and a rabbit.”

My friend Kim is talking about “doing” and “being”. Without putting these words into categories, without comparing and contrasting, without judgment or analysis, we see that “doing” is an active condition and “being” is a passive state, but also that doing and being are one, two sides of the same coin, the yin and the yang.  Out of nothing everything arises. We do what we have to do and everything happens or doesn't happen and we are both the creator and the created, both at the same time. The world is as it is because of us, standing on the “ground of being” and playing our part in the drama on the world's stage, despite ourselves and because of ourselves. Only when we “stop the world” do we cease to be the puppet and become the magician, the fully realised individual who knows that he doesn't know and that nothing really matters, and that everything happens because it does.

“Two birds sit on the same tree; one eats the fruit, the other looks on”

If this book has served any purpose at all, the above quote will be clear to the reader and no further explanation will be necessary. However, delving deeper into the fascinating subject of one's own life may uncover fundamental truths which guide and motivate all our lives and reveal the universality which governs all. My own truth came when walking with a friend, Jim, on Tregonning Hill one sunny morning. It was an experience which is beyond description and I will not attempt to describe it except to say that everything was revealed, in all its glory and wonder, and the sensation was of unity with all creation.

The nature of consciousness expressed itself in a knowing that energy, light, sound and warmth were all one vibration and there was no separation. The observer was truly the observed and the body and mind were no different from the landscape which was spread out beneath the ancient Iron Age fort which was, for a brief time, our chosen domain. The petty matters which concern us in the material world into which we are born ceased to have meaning and relevance, and fell away, giving way to an awareness of beauty and freedom and the sanctity of life. Later, on our way back down the slopes of Tregonning, Jim announced: “People cannot accept you as you are but always try to make you into what they are not!” It seemed a profound statement, and a sign that we were well on our way back into the world of reality, which is also the world of illusion.

Re-entry into the dualistic earth-bound world of reality may come as something of a shock for those who were left behind and possibly do not recognise the person who had been in a place where all is one and indivisible, where all goes back to the garden. At this point it pays to have good spiritual friends. However, it is necessary to return to the “real world” and carry on with one's daily routines, but with a different perspective on life. “If you ask me if your mission in life is over, I can answer that if you are alive, it isn't!” 

We carry on with our lives as though nothing had changed, and in fact nothing has changed as “it” has always been there within in a latent state, though the saying that one is “in the world, but not of the world” is seen to be relevant to the newly acquired condition. Whenever we encounter other human beings we take them as we find them and we have an innate knowledge and appreciation of the level of their spiritual understanding, in an awareness which contains within it a sense of humility and acceptance, the acceptance of “what is”.

Friends in Eternity                           1982

When first we met I knew you were my friend!
Your dancing eyes, your undenying smile -
the knowing glance that hints of untold secrets
and tells of an awareness  of the One.
We are the One, the centre of creation -
that flowing, ebbing tide which has no end.

There is a feeling that we met before
so many times, upon the path of life;
and yet… I know that time is an illusion -
that moment of eternity has never gone.
We are the Life, the flowering of creation,
the pounding of the wave upon the shore.

The years pass by, the seasons light and dark,
and we move on or stay and chance our luck;
distracted by our new-found acquisitions, yet
we apprehend the bringer of the dawn.
We are the Earth, the rock of our creation,
the whirling, spinning being that leaves no mark.

The Nature of Mind

As we have seen separation brought about by belief, not least by the belief in who we are, breeds conflict, when thought exceeds the boundaries which limit its performing its true purpose, which is to be a tool and a servant of Mind and not the master. We need to investigate thoroughly the function of thought, but how to do this if we employ thought alone to examine this problem? We might as well try using water to fix a leak.

Thought is linked to the perception of the self or psyche which we believe is the reality of who we are. Doubtless, thought itself is the problem, despite its obvious and essential uses. But how do we set about tackling the controlling power of thought, so that it can be put in its place? Not logic nor reason can provide the answer, but only the seeing without the motive, the seeing which comes from the empty Mind, emptied of the accumulated trash which cluttered and confused it.  “Seeing is believing” is a common saying which has some truth in it if it is unobstructed by thought. The problem arises when every person holds to a separate belief and it is therefore better to base one's understanding and actions on fact and necessity rather than on divisive belief.

Krishnamurti said “Belief implies the existence of something we don’t know.” He asserted that belief and separation breed endless conflict, as if we are inhabited by demons. The atheist also has a belief, the belief that God does not exist. Yet, if there is no creator there can be no creation, so does the atheist deny his own existence? The obvious answer to this conundrum is that there has to be a creator, but we do not believe in him: we recognise “him” and understand that creation is a continuing process and the powerhouse of evolution. Yet we can only perceive “him” through our conscious awareness of the unity and intricacy of creation. Essentially there is no conflict between “creationist” and “evolutionist” theories. Through our creative existence evolution is progressed, guided by the environment and its needs and demands.

Religions are constructs of thought, even though they have been inspired by the spiritual experiences of remarkable men, such as Jesus, Siddhartha Buddha, Mohammed and other great prophets. However, as we have demonstrated, thought is iniquitous and it dominates and usurps the functions of Mind. We share in the same universal consciousness, and it is only thought which sets up the separation. Only the Mind freed from thought can comprehend the beauty and the Oneness of creation. We are in fact set up by thought, without even realizing it. We do not even realise that there is a problem.

Mind can be likened to a vast room, in which all kinds of garbage accumulates, and in which there is a disordered jumble made up of discarded thoughts, memories and recollections. I suggest that you take a walk around your mind, picking up this trash and throwing it out, clearing out your furniture, cleaning and dusting and polishing, and letting in some fresh air to blow away these relics and manifestations of the past. Then brighten up the place with a few well-chosen posters on the walls, displaying the following admonishments : Be Attentive; Be Alert: Be Aware; Be Discriminating; Be Observant; Be Perceptive; Be Selective; Be Truthful.

In this way we set the stage for liberation from the tyranny of thought and the false ego, the preoccupation with the self. By our own efforts we can stop the endless procession of images which assail the Mind, the incessant internal dialogues and argumentative diatribes, the chatter and the noise.

As this uproar dies down and is replaced by a growing sense of euphoria and well-being, a feeling of acceptance and tranquillity will pervade the meditative Mind, freeing it from the yoke of thought and its attendant mischievous machinations. However, it is important to note that we should not carry in our minds the expectation of some future reward, the image of something we are seeking, and to recall the words of Carl Jung, the mystical psychologist “I know that I don't know.” A mind that is free has no expectations. How can you know what you don't know?

The nature of Mind, unencumbered by thought, is innocent, spacious, perceptive, disciplined, incisive and intelligent. This is not the mind which thought dominates and manipulates through desire, acquisitiveness self-aggrandisement.  Intelligence is the seeing of “what is”, the one and only reality which so often is obscured by thought. The “what is” is constantly changing; it is not bound by the past, by memories, regrets, formulas, routines and habitual concepts. It is not hampered by unfulfilled desires and expectations of the “future”. It is constantly on the move. Truth is never still – try to catch it and it eludes you; truth changes from moment to moment in the ever-present Now. What we perceive is not necessarily what is true. Our clouded perception emanates from our conditioned minds.

Instead of seeing things as they are we see things as we think they are, from our undiscovered perception of “what is”. There is only one truth but we cannot see it or relate to it out of a clouded or flawed perception of it. We must learn to relate to “what is” from a clear perception of the way things are, from a mind which mirrors reality, not conditions it or interprets it for its own ends. The mechanical mind is always playing tricks, so that we are led farther from reality, and perception and reality are increasingly drawn apart. We need to view any situation from a clear, unclouded mind, a mind which is empty of motive and the mischief of thought, a mind which is attentive, innocent and yet aware.

Thought describes reality, interprets reality, explains reality, but would you prefer a description of a blueberry cheesecake, or would you prefer to sink your teeth in it? This is the difference between thought and perception. A great work of art, a Rodin sculpture or a Van Gogh, communicates to those who see. A great piece of classical music, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, speaks to those who hear. Even with a judicious choice of words, can I adequately describe to you their beauty and majesty?

Mind can be heaven and mind can be hell. Thus we create our own Heaven and Hell. Whatever religions may tell you, heaven and hell are here and now. The heavenly “reward” is here and now, if we accept it. By exercising our native intelligence, which is all-seeing, all-knowing, we can deconstruct the programming which set up the stream of conditioned thought, not as a gradual process but as a flash of perception. By the cultivation of an alert and meditative Mind, and by the clarity we bring to our roaming perception, we can enter a new world, a world of wonder and bliss. Thought then regains its true place, as a means of functioning in this complex world, a tool with which to survive and prosper – but that is all!

These are the insights and realisations which came to me over the years on the journey to nowhere.


The Tigress                      1974

What did you want from me
when you poured out your love?
Like a hungry  tigress scenting blood
you drained me of my strength,
and lapped up every drop.

What did you seek in me
that you do not have within?
Knowing that I had no more to give
you came to me again
then smiled your last farewell.

What did you find in me
to whet your appetite?
Like a hungry tigress scenting blood
you sought to satisfy
your overwhelming need.

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