Krishnamurti “found me” at the college library back in my early 20s when I picked up a random book “The Network of Thought,” while waiting for my next class. I was getting a Masters degree in International Business at the time. Once I finished the book, I knew that I wasn’t cut for “business.” Never used that college degree at all. However, that time was well spent to get a “degree” on a different world view.
Most of what “K.” explained, made plenty of intellectual sense. However, I wasn’t able to put it into practice. It was good theory but nothing practical to me. Why?
It was after many years in my “spiritual career” that I discovered that, what I wanted to “practice” was my own intellectual understanding of an ideal. I will always be short of an ideal. That is a trap. In other words, BEING does not come about through practice. It is not a muscle to exercise. Nevertheless and paradoxically, it is necessary to “practice” to realize this. Otherwise, it becomes another understood mental idea. Paraphrasing what my father used to say: “we become just theory.”
After a couple of years, Krishnamurti went away for many years. I just recently got in touch again as someone asked me for a “spiritual book” to read. I recommended “K” knowing that this person was of intellectual nature; aka “living in the mind.”
Now, I can realize that “K” was only sharing his own experience. He wasn’t necessarily interested in meeting the “spiritual” level of others, or playing teacher; however, at the mental level he may be convincing for the majority of intellectuals out there.
K. said: “Meditation is the denial and negation of all systems because you see the truth and understand the full significance that you must be your own light. This light cannot come through another or be lit from the candle of another. If you once see the truth of this, you will not follow any guru, saviour or priest with their doctrines, traditions and rituals. That is going to be difficult because we are afraid to stand alone.” (NY 4/28/74.)
Intellectuals may misunderstand the above: “I don’t need anybody. I don’t believe or follow anyone. I must be my own light. That is what “K.” said and I agree with that.” Basically, they will follow “K” in that; but he will be misunderstood.
Although the above is true for someone with the consciousness of “K.” it is false for the vast majority of humans at this time. I can now say that “we” are always following something even if that is not a person. We follow our mind, heart or gut feeling. Most follow the mind with its conditioning and say: “I think.” That is delusional.
To follow in the beginning, is the way to stand alone at the end. That is the process. It doesn’t come as a mental decision, a practice or a value, but it is the natural consequence of being aware as we process life experiences.
Without the experience of being a follower, we cannot pretend to be our own light. Inasmuch as we only know and express through the conditioned mind, we are destined to be deluded. We need to be aware of where we stand in this process, that is inner honesty.
Note that “K.” gives a different meaning to the word “meditation” as it is traditionally used. He says: “Meditation really is a complete emptying of the mind. The continuous seeing of what is without any kind of distortion naturally empties the mind of all thought and yet that very mind can use thought when it is necessary. Thought is mechanical and meditation is not.” (excerpts from the “beginning of learning” London 1979.) Thus, for “K” meditation is on-going in Life. It is not a practice, it is not something to DO for 45 minutes or 1 hour in a day.
Because Meditation (as K explains) lacks any structure, method or practice; then it is the antithesis of all systems and structures given in society. Empty of the contents of the conditioned mind, we become our own light without the need of having a purpose or goal to be so. Empty of “Me,” we become our own light without desiring it, without effort, without purpose.
To stand alone means to be empty, and most are afraid of that.