Words II

Thought is the past living in the present, modifying itself and the present… only when the mind is uncluttered can the new come into being, and for this reason we say that thought must be still, operating only when it has to- objectively, efficiently.

-Krishnamurti

I have quoted that before.

I leave yesterday’s post as a worthwhile attempt, and now wanted to get closer. I quoted David:

We are all born in sin, everyone’s inclination is to sin. People are tempted in different ways. Homosexuals happen to be tempted with the sin of homosexuality. All of this is sin and can be redeemed by Christ. So were they born that way? Sure, because we are all born into sin.

He has a neat framework for the World. Part of it is that he is a Biblical Christian, and therefore Good, and that Gay people unless they try very very hard to avoid appearing even a little bit gay are Bad. He has brought together two ideas from the framework of words people have created, to make himself even more certain that gayness is Bad.

His framework is a barrier to understanding. He may still meet a gay person, and in the encounter learn to value the whole of that person, but his framework makes that less likely.

Last year there was some excitement when it appeared that BICEP 2 had observed patterns in the cosmic microwave background confirming the theory of Inflation; but the Planck satellite failed to confirm the observations. BICEP 3 continues the search. The observations themselves are described in precise words exchanged between those equipped to assess the evidence. This is “thought operating only when it has to” as Krishnamurti says.

Perhaps David’s expression, though it distances him from other humans, is also such thought. That framework protects him from challenge, which might be too much for him to bear.

However, as I passionately desire an encounter with a human being whom I already know to be Other, thought may get in the way. Is she like that archetype, or that character in a novel? I could decide that she was, and jump to a conclusion which was very slightly different from the Truth. There is a person, in the moment, so even my memories of her may not show me who she is now. If I try to translate them into words, they drag me even further from true perception. There is only Now.

Yet I try to get my thoughts clear, and create verbal frameworks for understanding, because they reassure me.

David, the death of Socrates

I do what I want

Gottfried Wilhelm Völcker, floral still lifeeven when it makes no sense to me.

Transition makes no sense. Twelve years on, I talk to people for a few minutes and they see me as trans. Perhaps not everyone, but most. I could appear normal, have educated white male privilege, except that I wanted to transition more than anything else in the world and could concentrate on nothing before that. “Tranny!” called out a hobbledehoy by St Mark’s church, shortly after. I went up to him.

“I do what I want. Can you say the same?” He had no answer to that.

And I wanted a vaginoplasty. It makes no sense. I have Darwinned myself. I would hate to lose a toe, but I have paid for that to be removed, because I wanted it.

I am still uncomfortable about doing what I want. I think things through and make sense, and what I want does not make sense so makes me uncomfortable and I still, after resisting, do what I want. I got lots of job interviews. I could write a good CV for advice work. Then I broke down in tears and stopped. I wanted to retreat, and I did, despite all my common sense. No, it is not sensible, but I wanted it. Without any self-respect, I wanted the best thing I could see to take care of myself.

Now, various courses of action make sense. What do I want? I would like certain goals in my life, they seem sensible, and so do not see wants. So what is sensible is to find out what I want. It is the only thing I will do, after all, I may start sensible things and feel increasing resistance and stop, in distress at my inner conflict.

I want to make my local Green Party more successful. I want to be a good AM clerk.

Now, my judgment gets in the way. These are not sufficient goals. What about earning money? How will I do that? Still, I want them. I am uncertain about other wants, and I have to live with that, whether grudging complaining and resisting or accepting. Accepting is easier. I feel a bit frightened about this- no, don’t diminish it, I feel frightened about this- but do not feel panicked into resisting.

I am writing to publish at my usual time of midnight GMT. I have no posts in reserve, none backed up for later publication. I have not yet written that post on Habakkuk which I could keep in reserve- fascinating book, Habakkuk, from about 2600BCE, well worth reading. I noticed a mixed metaphor after publishing today: making it a continual metaphor would lose no meaning and make it more powerful, but hey ho.

I want to write and perform a stage show. I want the same ideas in a film. When I say “I want” I am not nursing unacted desires, but observing what is deep in the spirit of me. “I have a purpose to” may be better.

Krishnamurti: The only way to avoid sorrow is…. to remain totally with sorrow without wanting to go beyond it.

Krishnamurti: I will try is the most dreadful statement one can make. (Yoda- do or not do. There is no try.)

Krishnamurti: Thought is the past living in the present, modifying itself and the present… only when the mind is uncluttered can the new come into being, and for this reason we say that thought must be still, operating only when it has to- objectively, efficiently.

Völcker Blumenstilleben butterfly

Memory

Poussin, Pan and SyrinxK lost his memory of the past almost entirely. This was consistent with his teaching that memory, except for practical purposes, is a weight that should not be carried over from one day to the next.

-Biography of Krishnamurti by Mary Lutyens.

I wanted to text Liz, but do not have her number on my phone. Perhaps I have a text from her. I scroll through them- Oh, I thought I had deleted those.

Did u get home ok yesterday? Good luck with jobcentre today! x

The jobcentre had not gone well. The woman asked how my jobsearch was going, and I burst into tears, making her look perplexed. Then I went home and cried some more. It was the morning after-

I did that just to show how foolish it is. I could tell you the story, and it would not be a huge effort to put into my voice all the emotion I felt on 21 November 2011. These things have served their purpose, let them be. I could tell you much misery, and a few successful battles with “Got the Bastard!” relish, from the CAB. Maybe I will, I might need them for job interviews yet, but I do not need that weight now.Poussin, Mars and Venus

I took the bus into Swanston saying my affirmation, and sat in Oliver’s for forty minutes waiting for R. It was OK, I had brought Advices and Queries to give to him so I reread that. I phoned a couple of times and got a voice saying “you cannot leave a message” so went off to Morrison’s, drafting a concerned email in my head. While I was there he phoned, and we arranged to meet in Oliver’s. He had slept in, having been awake with his depression in the night. I could have resented being stood up like that, but felt far better with loving concern for him and joy in meeting him. I tell him that I know that whatever situation he finds himself in, he will not be able to fix all the problems of the World, but he will take all possible action to ameliorate it.

Back to Oliver’s, where as usual we sort out the problems of the world, he expresses fear for the future of the planet and distress at the actions of humankind, I bring out my consoling quotes, such as Philippians 4:8, and indicate the strawberry in that pile of jam and cream on the scone, expatiating on my joyous anticipation. With your sense of smell, you can smell it too.

I have to go for the bus, being still full of the cold, and he says “I am sorry I have been so negative today, it is my depression.” But I will not let him get away with even that. I think if you were not so harsh with the world, or yourself, you would not be so unfailingly generous. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”- he joins in with that.

I tell you this not to boast of my virtue, but to share my delight in this way of being. It is so much nicer. And- oh, to boast of my virtue just a little bit. How cool it is to be me!

Truth is a pathless land

Klee- Oriental pleasure garden, in partS left the Religious Society of Friends, saying “God has called me to this decision” and asking us to accept it “with open hearts”. If I have a theory of why, that may be about me rather than about her. She is herself, and I may know her only through ideas I may understand, or alternatively as an animal, unconsciously. But I think there is some value in my theory, so I will work it out in words, to understand it more clearly, and see whether it might help me decide what to do.

I went back to Krishnamurti, dissolving the Order of the Star, that Theosophical movement which would have made him a Messiah. He said,

Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable, cannot be organised… the organisation becomes a framework into which its members can conveniently fit. So Quakers, an organisation through which I seek truth: do they get in the way, as S might appear to think? Tao is simply Tao, and those in it are simply in it.

Whether or not this is why S left perhaps does not matter. She has left. That is OK.

Christian organisations might be better or worse at approaching truth (if one may approach it at all). Perhaps one seeks until, suddenly, one is Enlightened, fit for the World as it is, arriving where we started and knowing the place for the first time. But believing in continuing revelation is better than believing in, say, the literal inerrancy of Biblical text. We have tools for the task of being Truthful: silence and inspiration, corporate testing, desire for God’s will or Truth or Love above self. I have not yet exhausted the value of those tools, and we do not have any particular dogma of what The Way is: each of us would describe it differently.

There is greater value for me in Quakers than those tools: there are the people whose wisdom may actually rub off on me, for even if truth may not be approached I may improve as a human being. There is that glorious pine tree in our garden, whose Is-ness and grandeur may draw me into my own, as seeing its needles in the sun close to my face may bring me into Immediacy, the Now. And there are tedious or difficult tasks, whose answer is either illusory or not immediately apparent, in doing which I might find greater clarity or complexity.

If I ever did say I am on The Way, I would not be on it. Or something. Another verbal formulation, a path in the pathless.

I want to stay, and I do not feel called to leave. I was upset by her leaving; I am reconciled to it; I want-
-to be happy with it?
-To see that it Is?

Theosophy

File:CWL 1914.jpgI am a link in the golden chain of love that stretches round the world, and I promise to keep my link bright and strong, the Theosophist child recited. In 1875, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the civil war veteran Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, clairvoyants both, founded the Theosophical Society, “to form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity”. They took ancient traditions of the East into their creed.

Mankind evolves through reincarnation towards perfection. The Masters had reached perfection. There were many masters, but Master Morya and Master Kuthumi took the Society under their special protection. They lived in a ravine in Tibet. Madame Blavatsky claimed to have lived with them for several months, being given the teachings which she passed on in her books Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. The Masters could materialise in other places, and communicate with the leaders of the Society. On the strength of the first chapter, I find Isis Unveiled huge fun, with “hermetic wisdom” in sonorous language. 70,000 years ago humans had a spiritual golden age, from which the race has degenerated to the fleshly lumps we see today. It has lots of citations, none of which I can trust.

The Bodhisattva, Lord Maitreya, would take over a human being when the world had especial need of him, including Jesus; and the Theosophists believed he would take over the body of the young Jiddu Krishnamurti in the same way.  The clairvoyant Charles Webster Leadbeater, a former Anglican priest, became a leader. He was the spokesman of Master Kuthumi, and guided his disciples along the path of Discipleship, through the stages of Probation, Acceptance, and five Initiations culminating in Adepthood, the attainment of perfection. Leadbeater would take sleeping candidates to the house of Master Kuthumi in the astral plane, and tell them in the morning whether they had successfully attained that stage on the path. This gave him great power over his flock. In 1906 it became known that he had encouraged boys to masturbate as a way of way of relieving obsessive sexual thoughts, and he was charged with sexual misconduct going beyond that, though these charges were not proved. The society split, and he was required to resign.

On Olcott’s death in 1907, Annie Besant was elected president. She invited Leadbeater to return to the Society and its headquarters at Adyar, south of Madras. They claimed they had reached the fourth stage of initiation, Arhat, when Krishnamurti arrived in 1909 aged 14. In 1911 they set up the Order of the Star in the East to proclaim the Coming of the World Teacher, with Krishnamurti at its head, and Besant and Leadbeater its Protectors.

Krishnamurti, the putative Messiah, remained with the Theosophists until 1929. Then he broke with the society, returned its members’ gifts of land and money, and travelled the world teaching his own philosophy, to set human beings free from the cages which divide us, such as race, religion, nationality, class and tradition, that man to man the world over should be brothers. He refused to be a guru, and especially refused disciples who might build up a hierarchy or religion around him.

From Mary Lutyens’ biography of Krishnamurti.

Seek and ye shall-?

Had Miriam Louisa not written her introduction to this Krishnamurti piece, I might not have read to the end. I will respond after quoting it.

You should never be here too much; be so far away that they can’t find you, they can’t get at you to shape, to mould. Be far away, like the mountains, like the unpolluted air; be so far away that you have no parents, no relations, no family, no country; be so far away that you don’t know even where you are. Don’t let them find you; don’t come into contact with them too closely.

Keep far away where even you can’t find yourself; keep a distance which can never be crossed over; keep a passage open always through which no one can come. Don’t shut the door for there is no door, only an open, endless passage; if you shut any door, they will be very close to you, then you are lost.

Keep far away where their breath can’t reach you and their breath travels very far and very deeply; don’t get contaminated by them, by their word, by their gesture, by their great knowledge; they have great knowledge but be far away from them where even you cannot find yourself. For they are waiting for you, at every corner, in every house to shape you, to mould you, to tear you to pieces and then put you together in their own image. Their gods, the little ones and the big ones, are the images of themselves, carved by their own mind or by their own hands. They are waiting for you, the churchman and the communist, the believer and the non-believer, for they are both the same; they think they are different but they are not for they both brainwash you, till you are of them, till you repeat their words, till you worship their saints, the ancient and the recent; they have armies for their gods and for their countries and they are experts in killing.

Keep far away but they are waiting for you, the educator and the businessman; one trains you for the others to conform to the demands of their society, which is a deadly thing;* they will make you into a scientist, into an engineer, into an expert of almost anything from cooking to architecture to philosophy.

Keep far, far away; they are waiting for you, the politician and the reformer; the one drags you down into the gutter and then the other reforms you; they juggle with words and you will be lost in their wilderness.

Keep far away; they are waiting for you, the experts in god and the bomb throwers: the one will convince you and the other [show you] how to kill; there are so many ways to find god and so many, many ways to kill. But besides all these, there are hoards of others to tell you what to do and what not to do; keep away from all of them, so far away that you cannot find yourself or any other. You too would like to play with all of them who are waiting for you but then the play becomes so complicated and entertaining that you will be lost. You should never be here too much, be so far away that even you cannot find yourself.

-Krishnamurti’s Notebook

* They have a thing called society and family: these are their real gods, the net in which you will be entangled. [Krishnamurti’s insertion in the full text edition]

It gave me a handle on what Jesus might have meant by leaving my father for his sake. I came to it immediately after reading this post, which I found moving, and perplexing.

I want to shut all the doors. Do not shut the door, he says- what you resist, persists- but it is bloody difficult.

Two days ago I posted a peevish whine on searching for I know not what. If I called it “real feeling” you might see how far I am from my goal, how my concepts get in the way. Because I gave an example of the kind of internet spat which raises my irritation (which I call unreal feeling) of course I entered that spat. I do not, here, claim to be any more above that fray than any other who joins it.

If I could worship with Katy Faust, in her church one Sunday, in my Meeting the next, we might find more in common than we find in blogworld.

And- yes, the experts in God and the bombthrowers are terrifying, and part of keeping those doors open is seeing them as beautiful- without seeing their way as tempting.