Imagine two men: one a lone traveller in a desert, the other a city dweller, a successful man, rising through the ranks of business, destined for greatness.
The first man has only a light backpack, resting on shoulders that would be sunburnt but for the reflective, white muslin shirt that both protects the skin and allows his sweat to evaporate from its hot surface. The backpack contains only what he needs in order to reach the far horizon, a place he aligns with, via the sun, each time he looks up into the hot wind from the east which is blowing at him, as though testing his resolve.
He stops to rest, still beneath the blazing sun, for there is no shade here. He stops because he is hungry. He has no idea what time it is, only that he is hungry. The backpack contains a light meal and some water. He eats and drinks with total concentration, his attention following the food and liquid as it enters his grateful body.
The second man kisses his children at the doorstep, thinking how much smarter they look than the neighbour’s. He climbs into his new car, enjoying the purr of its V8 engine as he accelerates out of the neighbourhood in air-conditioned luxury. Soon the expressway and not the urban roads carry him, in assertive majesty, into the city. Arriving at the office he takes the elevator to the executive floor where his secretary tells him that Jack’s secretary has just buzzed to ask if he would also like some doughnuts before they begin the weekly sales meeting.
He is not hungry. His wife cooked him a fine breakfast before he left home; before he kissed the children of golden image; before he rode his near-perfect iron horse along the busy road to the city, psychologically crushing all in his way, smiling the whole time at the direction his life was taking…
He smiles at his secretary and says he would love to join the senior V.P. in this extended breakfast.
To be an individual, Krishnamurti says, is to be ‘not fragmented’ within ourselves – a real measure of wholeness. It does not mean to be separated from others in splendid isolation. It’s a concept that takes a little re-reading. It’s a concept that is becoming alien to western civilisation.
Our journey towards a rose for fear involves, as we said, a new way of Seeing. When we examine something ‘out there’, our learning immediately assumes a position in front of our seeing. In letting this happen, we shut off the relationship we might have had between that undivided self and what we are seeing.
To overcome mere words or even mere thoughts about how we approach fear, we need to feel, once again (as we did as infants), the power of having a relationship with what we observe. This does not mean we abandon our ‘adulthood’ – quite the contrary, we simply ask it to grow up a bit more…
To do this requires us to forget who we are, thus denying the power to the habitual bits of us, which seek to colour our vision and blur our lenses of self as the brain, with its power of thought, tries to extend this power over this upstart that wants to see, as if for the first time…
We need to become the man in the desert.
Continued in Part Four
This is the second in a series of postings related to topical issues in mysticism. They will all carry the hashtag #Silenti. Please feel free to reply or join in, using this hashtag.
©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2016.