Life is too serious a thing to play with.

I have never considered the intensity and singularity of my interest in the teachings of J. Krishnamurti as anything peculiar, since this has been a gradual process, the result of many years of "conversing with K" through his writings. Although I never met the man Krishnamurti, I have come to regard him as my friend with whom I have had many a long and intriguing conversation well into the night. I can now unabashedly state that the study of these teachings and of what they point to is the only thing in my life to which I ascribe real significance.

If you apply criticism merely to judge, but not to discover, then the value of criticism is lost.

In various conversations I have noticed that some people compare and combine K with a host of other works, ranging from Hindu and Buddhist awareness/meditation techniques to prominent sages like Ramana Maharshi. Every time this comes up, partly out of politeness for the other?s point of view, I usually refrain from speaking my mind. The truth is that I do not share this "general" interest in the slightest. I honestly feel that K has omitted nothing in his examination of the human condition and, as such, I experience no urge to seek out supplemental material.

So we must find, must we not?, what it is, inwardly as well as outwardly, that each one of us wants

Wishing to better understand my strong response to this mixing up of K with others, two questions arose in my mind: What is it that I am interested in? And, what is it about the Teachings of Krishnamurti that I find so unique?

In the process of answering these questions for myself, I noticed that I was systematically uncovering the footprints of what had been a lifelong journey.

The stained glass spirituality you have established has nothing to do with life.

Reflecting on the first question, I saw that what I was interested in before meeting K was vastly different from what it is now. At that time, through a process of imitation leading eventually to the acceptance of secondhand ideas, I had formulated an idea of Truth or God or Enlightenment, call it what you will. I then earnestly set about trying to achieve this vague conceptual goal.

I have been made simple.

Then I found Krishnamurti. And in striving to answer for myself the no-nonsense questions he posed, my ideas came tumbling down one by one. This was by no means an easy task and required many years of perseverance, tackling what had become a well-exercised knack for self-deception. When finally I was able to let go of the bulk of my man-made solutions, it dawned on me that my original unrest, as a child, had stemmed from a lack of understanding of what was going on around me ? namely, this thing called life. Yet, rather than look at it directly to find out what was going on, I had chosen to settle for abstract concepts. This was the first real impact that the teachings had on my psyche.

After all, that is what everybody in the world is seeking ? a standard which is entirely impersonal.

Krishnamurti has redefined the word "religious" to describe a person who "gathers their energy in order to discern that which is true". I could thoroughly relate to this definition. I had become genuinely interested in truth with a small "t", that is, in regarding life simply and directly, as it unfolds as experience, moment by moment. Through an in-depth study of K, I had slowly come to understand that what prevents factual perception is self-centeredness, the ideas and beliefs with which I identify. Therefore, to bring about an unadulterated view of "what is" I had to become interested in the moment to moment exposure of myself, of my identity. To see distortion in action, so to speak.

Life in its totality is not dual; it is singular.

It was at this point in my journey with him that K led me to a fantastic discovery. I saw that, even if, by some miracle, I were able to do away with all my prejudices, it would not be good enough. For, if I were really interested in perceiving the totality of this moment, that is, life, I could not leave myself out of the picture. That would be to say that the "I", the "me", is not part of life, not part of this moment ? which, of course, is quite ridiculous. The observer must be included in the observed if one wants to look at the totality of this moment. The gap between the inner and the outer has to close. That is only logical.

Is such a thing possible? I have yet to find out. K says it is. All I can say at this point is that it makes perfect sense.

Therefore it is essential, is it not?, to understand the seeker, before you try to find out what he is seeking?

At this point another piece of the puzzle came into view, and it was no less startling than all the others. I realized that up till now I had been trying to understand the world around me, which at first glance seemed perfectly reasonable. But if one looks a little closer, a lot closer actually, one begins to see that one is preoccupied with this problem and that this preoccupation is no different than any other. It is an isolating process, effectively blocking out the world around me. I now realized that any interest based on attaining a result must necessarily occupy a very narrow field of life, creating the observer and isolating him and that which he observes, even if that interest cloaks itself in the best of intentions. This was rather a strange place to find myself: To realize that there was nothing in all of this for me, no final great understanding, no final burst of attainment. On the contrary, this demand for fulfillment, whatever form it takes, creates the world of myself which has no relationship to the totality of the moment, whatever that is. Krishnamurti?s words, "Where the self is, the other is not," had struck home and left me reeling.

If you understand the central point, then all the details will be understood. If you do not understand the central reality of what I am saying, then the details loom as colossal.

From here, the actual work began. No longer was there any smugness or arrogance that I had this thing figured out, that my direction was clear. I had come to realize that with direction, any direction, comes identity. And, identity, which drags choice in its wake, perpetuates self and thereby divides life. So, there is no arguing about my way as opposed to your way. Position is position, regardless of whether it is my position or another?s. I was now interested in the continual unearthing of my position, my emphasis was no longer in finding right direction but in being aware of my direction from moment to moment. And in discovering what happens when one sheds the light of awareness on the "sense of self". How does this perpetual preoccupation with the transient stand up to the exposure of awareness?

And so, when I say these things are unnecessary, it is not out of contempt, or from fanaticism. I say it because they deal with the symptoms only and not with the real cause.

As such, I would suggest that the teachings of Krishnamurti have their own built-in protection from those who would use it as a new identity. Properly understood, the teachings leave you nothing to hold on to. This is not about personal gain but rather about accepting things for what they really are. There is a certain indescribable purity in them. I can devote my entire life and energy to the teachings, without ever feeling even for an instant that I am part of a cult or that I am choosing K over some other saint. There is nothing to choose here; it would be like saying one chooses to breathe. There is nothing exclusive about him, for he concerns himself with the only thing that is accessible to all of humanity: life itself.

Beauty is not aware of itself.

K uses the word "choiceless" to describe this impersonal state of consciousness. The word implies that self-interest has to be put aside in order for pure awareness of "what is" to be. So, the very serious thinking invoked by the teachings must now be relinquished and seen as current identity. This is, indeed, a never-ending journey. For those who have really gone into the heart of the teachings, the terms "no path", "no authority", "no direction" are not mere "K buzzwords" but, on the contrary, are pregnant with meaning.

Build on Understanding.

Although it may be argued that the concept of choiceless awareness is not unique to K, what I have gotten from Krishnamurti is, first, an in-depth understanding of the meaning of the word choiceless and, then, an understanding of the necessity for choiceless awareness. Many religions say: "end the ego", but then one ultimately is left to accept the rightness of this action on faith. And from this faith is born a new identity with its accompanying will/technique to achieve the desired end.

Friend, do not concern yourself with who I am; you will never know. I do not want you to accept anything I say. I do not want anything from any of you; I do not desire popularity; I do not want your flattery, your following. Because I am in love with life, I do not want anything. These questions are not of very great importance; what is of importance is the fact that you obey and allow your judgement to be perverted by authority. Your judgement, your mind, your affection, your life are being perverted by things which have no value, and herein lies sorrow.

This, for me, is the fundamental difference between K and anything else I have encountered. Thanks to his eternal patience, this understanding is now mine. The work, the next step is clear and has nothing to do with attaining a result. I am proceeding from my own experiential understanding and not from an accepted idea.