words from my treasured teacher 1

I wanted to write, “words from my perfect master” – recalling the film by that title.  But Krishnamurti would have balked at the “master” moniker, and thrown out the notion of perfection as well.  Still, there’s no arguing that K was a hugely significant mindshifter for me, and that the years spent working at the schools he founded around the world were the highlight of my career as an educator in art and design.  They are also remembered as incomparably rich, in terms of inquiry into the mechanism of thought and the construct of the “self”, in the company of some of the most brilliant minds on the planet.

We have, if we are lucky, more than one great teacher as we dance along the days of our lives.  Krishnamurti was what Buddhists would call my “root” teacher; he meticulously prepared the ground for the understanding that would come later – the eye-popping brain-bending Knowing that would revisit his words, and smile.  Yes.  Just so.

J Krishnamurti at his desk

August 4, 1961

Woke up very early in the morning; it was still dark but dawn would soon come; towards the east there was in the distance a pale light.  The sky was very clear and the shape of the mountains and hills were just visible.  It was very quiet.

Out of this vast silence suddenly, as one sat up in bed, when thought was quiet and far away, when there wasn’t even a whisper of feeling, there came that which was now the solid inexhaustible being.  It was solid, without weight, without measure; it was there and besides it, there existed nothing.  It was there without another.  The words solid, immovable, imperishable do not in any way convey that quality of timeless stability.  None of these or any other word could communicate that which was there.  It was totally itself and nothing else; it was the totality of all things, the essence.

The purity remained, leaving one without thought, without action.  It’s not possible to be one with it; it is not possible to be one with a swiftly flowing river.  You can never be one with that which has no form, no measure, no quality.  It is; that is all.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Krishnamurti’s Notebook

a letter from home

[I can never leave – not for one heartbeat –
but I can write letters from home and this is one]


Letter to a friend


dear friend

are you looking for a sanctuary?
a place that’s private and quiet?
that’s rent-free, and can’t be bought or sold?

(you will never be evicted for any reason

that you don’t have to share – even with your family
or lovers – because you can’t?
that requires no maintenance?
that needs no insurance because it can’t be damaged?
that’s as large or small as you wish?
that you can take everywhere you go –
even when you have no fixed earthly abode
and you find yourself “homeless”?

that’s as solid as rock, yet lighter than a baby’s breath?
that has views onto both the temporal and the timeless?
that has a warm hearth glowing, and a welcome mat
with your name on it, at the door?

would you believe me when I say
it is wherever YOU are, no matter what your experience?

it’s wrong to say it’s close,
it isn’t even near

it’s simply right here, when thinking disappears

with warmest love

– miriam louisa


Image source


Cézanne’s static and timeless light

I’m immersed in the mind of Paul Cézanne at the moment, thanks to Rupert Spira’s insightful essay “Nature’s Eternity.”  (It’s one of the chapters in his book, The Transparency of Things)

Rupert has kindly given me permission to present the whole essay on the awakened eye website, so the last couple of days have seen me in webmaster disguise, delighting in the wisdom and beauty of his writing.  You can read the essay here.

This Unlit Light - Paul Cézanne, Le Mont Saint Victoire
– Paul Cézanne, Le Mont Saint Victoire

I poked around my library for more on Cézanne, hoping to find something pertinent to this blog’s theme – et voila!

Cézanne discards the idea of capturing transient effects.  In the world he paints there is no time of day – no noon, no early morning or evening.  There are no gray days, foggy days, no “effects” of season or weather.  His forms exist in a universal light in the sense of directed rays from a single source, not even the sun.  It is not light as an optical phenomenon to be investigated and experimented with.

It is a uniform and enduring light, steady, strong, clear and revealing, not a light that flows over objects and not a light that consumes them.

It is light integral to the canvas; it is “painted in” with every stroke of color.

It is static and timeless light.

 – John Canaday, Mainstreams of Modern Art (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1959)

Quoted in Leonard Schlain, Art and Physics(New York: Harper Perennial, 2007)

(My emphasis.)