From the Bookshelf

From the Bookshelf: Jiddu Krishnamurti, On Love and Loneliness

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was an Indian philosopher. My brother recommended his collection of lectures, On Love and Loneliness, and I later discovered my dad also read Krishnamurti back in the 60s or 70s. I found Krishnamurti thought provoking, but I also disagreed with (or maybe simply misunderstood) some of his arguments on the nature of love, loneliness, fear, and attachment.

As with all of my “From the Bookshelf” posts, I peruse through the sections I’ve underlined and the notes I’ve written in a recently-finished book, looking for the selection that I feel most resonates with me or most needs to be shared with anyone who might read this blog. The paragraph below resonated because of a line that come to me some months ago, which I hoped to write a poem around but have not yet been successful: “Faith is a refuge for those who are not afraid to doubt.”

We want to be self-enclosed, without any disturbance. That is, we want to be isolated, but nothing can live in isolation. In his search for God, the so-called religious person is really seeking complete isolation, in which he will never be disturbed; but such a person is not really religious. The truly religious are those who understand relationship completely, fully, and therefore have no problems, no conflict. Not that they are not disturbed, but because they are not seeking certainty, they understand disturbance, and therefore there is no self-enclosing process created by the desire for security.

A couple prominent themes that reoccur in this book appear in this paragraph. First, the idea that life is relationship undergirds much of what he writes. To be is to relate, in what seems to me a Buberian I-Thou sort of way.

Second, when one tries to hold on to desires or seeks to escape desires, Krishnamurti suggests one is missing the point – we must always acknowledge desires and try to understand them, and in understanding them their addictive or frightening quality evaporates. Escape is an illusion. But freedom can be achieved by no longer running away.

Do you see merit in no longer seeking certainty and security, but simply trying to understand all of the disturbances, inner and outer, that buffet us in this world?

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