Minding the mind in Metchosin

by measuringcoastlines

Being at the Krishnamurti Educational Centre of Canada is like being in a series of time capsules. Most of the buildings were built in or around 1958, and while they’ve been lovingly maintained, they haven’t been updated except for perhaps a few features in the 1980s. So there’s some textures and patterns that have a weird childhood familiarity from parents’ or grandparents’ places, but still well-kept and cared for.


And then if you step outside, and wander off into the fields and forests or down to the cliffs along the ocean, and pick a spot and sit there for a while, you can just about step out of time altogether. I’ve been starting my mornings watching hummingbirds zooming around a fig tree. I spotted a family of four otters fishing and playing along the shore. Yesterday in the meadow was ridiculously idyllic – a deer and her fawn grazed while a squirrel fetched acorns and quail scattered nearby. There’s been ravens, rabbits, squirrels, shrews, eagles, seals, jays, salamanders, and more. There’s evidence that bears have been about. On the domesticated front, there’s neighbouring horses and sheep and a few semi-feral cats, plus a resident Akita who keeps an eye on it all. It is stunningly, tangibly quiet and peaceful here, and yet so full of life and activity. It is 32 acres of sheer awe.

I came here in June for the first time, in the midst of all the chaos from this year, and just being present in this location helped me find solid ground again. There’s also a comprehensive library of works by and about Jiddu Krishnamurti, and for just about any situation you face, you can find something to inspire your approach. Just don’t make it your goal to find a solution:

You can understand a problem only when you don’t condemn it, when you don’t justify it, when you are capable of looking at it silently, and that is not possible when you are seeking a result. A problem exists only in the search for a result, and the problem ceases if there is no search for a result. (Bombay, 1948)

Part of why Krishnamurti resonates for me is that he absolutely refuses to let you consider him as a teacher or guru, and insists that you figure things out for yourself and not simply follow him. I have a deep suspicion for anything dogmatic, anything that encourages blind faith, anything that declares “This is The Answer™!” So this is comfortable, someone saying “don’t just take my word for it, try it and see, and reject it if it doesn’t ring true to you”.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that he has The Answer™ either. No one can give you that through words directly; all writings and speech is just an approximation, and the rest has to be experienced. I seem to go through phases where everything of his that I read or watch inspires me in some way, and then I get to a point where I’m oversaturated and frustrated with his lack of practical day-to-day suggestions and I can’t stand to listen to him any more. Then I figure it’s time to do my own thing for a while, maybe skim some other teachers’ works or drop readings entirely for the present and watch my mind just do whatever it’s going to do. Eventually something shifts again and there’s a clarity and an “a-ha” and I’m back in the groove, and I’ll pick up another K text and go “yes… THAT”.

And either way, it’s fine. It’s not like he would mind.

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