Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

James Turner - Personal Profile

James Turner
James Turner
United Kingdom
Birthday: June 30
Member since: Wed, 10 Jun 2009, 8:41am
Last visited almost 7 years ago

Member Statement

The first I heard of Krishnamurti was in the chapter on him in The Books in my Life by Henry Miller. When I first picked up a book by Krishnamurti - in a bookshop in the Finchley Road in London - I immediately thought: "This is what I've been searching for!" But it was some time before I began to understand anything of what K was saying, and to apply it to my own life. It has been a rough ride, but I'm still alive - if I'd never come across K's books, I don't think I would be, or perhaps I'd be in an institution somewhere under strong psychoactive medication. As things are, I live a quiet life with my partner in a little house in a medium-sized town, write a bit of poetry, grow a few vegetables and do a bit of reading and walking and talk to a few friends. Whether I've really understood anything at all about what K says, I don't know, but reading him has certainly made a difference to my life. I would claim that it has helped me.

The kind of contact I hope to make with others through this site: some email discussion on various questions arising from Krishnamurti's writings and talks. A whole range of matters, but especially consciousness and its content, the nature of truth, understanding one's own conditioning, and "deconditioning" oneself, coping with what are called "mental health problems", and this whole thing about "going beyond".

Interests and Recommendations


Krishnamurti's Notebook. For Your Own Good, by Alice Miller. Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, by Alice Miller.




Piano Concerto No. 2, by Nikolai Medtner. Overture, Waltz and Finale from Powder Her Face, by Thomas Ades. Coriolan Overture, by Beethoven.

Other interests

philosophy, consiousness, the origin of the universe, quantum mechanics, perception, truth, classical music, painting, writing poetry

Interview Answers

Are there any aspects of Krishnamurti's teaching that you find implausible or difficult to accept?

Most of it I can accept. Sometimes the wording is hard to decipher. Sometimes I don't "get it". But not because I think it is implausible.

Perhaps I should say what I mean here by "accept". I mean an absence of resistance. I mean that when I read a passage in K., and then reflect, and look at life, my life, the world, I can usually say to myself, "That's right!" I don't mean I just take K's word for it.

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Do you think it is possible to make Krishnamurti more "practicable" than what he himself seems to have allowed for?

I don't think K can be made more practicable. We could put some of the truths he points out in our own words, if we really see them. I would question any attempt to water K down. K isn't impracticable anyway. That's not the difficulty. The difficulty is to see it, to understand it. It only seems impracticable if you have got hold of an interpretion which makes you think that if only you could do X, or if only you could be Y, then great changes would occur! What is so difficult is to see that one has to explore things as they are, to observe or watch oneself just as one is. One does not have to become different or get somewhere else FIRST in order to do this.

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How do you personally go about exploring the Krishnamurti's teachings (through personal study, dialogues, dvds)?

I read his books but not continually. I don't think that would be good. I need long periods of not reading K, to just see what happens in my life, learn, watch my reactions etc, talk things over with others (not necessarily mentioning the K word, the people I talk to might never have heard of him), read other authors, etc.

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If you had to sum up what Krishnamurti is all about in just a few words of your own, what would they be?

Krishnamurti is all about understanding oneself, one's problems, one's conditioning. It is about finding out how to live one's own life, and living it. Krishnamurti is not all about Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti is all about living.

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Do you think it advisable to introduce Krishnamurti to people you know? Have you ever done it and if yes, what are your experiences?

I have quite often introduced Krishnamurti to people I know. None of them has been particularly impressed, with perhaps one exception - the woman I love and live with. She can see K has made a difference to my life - a good difference. But she hasn't really got her own interest in Krishnamurti's teachings. I quite often relay to her something Krishnamurti has said about something or other, and she will often see the sense of it. That's all.

I would say, if you meet someone and feel they might be interested in K, go ahead. If if feels right. I can't see there's anything to be lost. Just don't try and force them, or go on about K too long or too often. Don't become a Krishnamurti bore.

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How important do you consider group dialogue to be in understanding the more subtle points of Krishnamurti's message?

Not so important for me personally, though I can see it has a role at the Krishnamurti centres and schools, anywhere where there are groups of people intersested. I just don't know enough interested people around here to form a group!

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Do you think Krishnamurti was exceptional, or is the transformation he spoke of universally accessible?

Krishnamurti was exceptional, no doubt about that. If the transformation he spoke of is universally accessible, that doesn't mean that a whole lot of people are going to access it. In fact very few have. Maybe nobody has. I don't actually know of anybody who has. But (through my reading of books) I do know of a few people to whom reading or listening to K has made a real difference (in their lives).

Transformation doesn't mean you will become like Krishnamurti. It could mean only that certain problems drop away. For "the other" (another dimension or whatever) to manifest itself, the mind must be somewhat undamaged. Unfortunately most of us are so dulled and spoiled by our conditioning, various cruelties, and our various responses to those cruelties, and so on, that probably the most that can happen is the dropping away of a few problems, a certain unburdening. But that is something! Let's make the most of that! It leaves us free to enjoy life without destroying or exploiting anybody - to look at the sea, sky, trees, birds (what's left of them). I think that this can sometimes be included under the umbrella-word "transformation". Krishnamurti went much, much further. He was lucky. He was exceptional in his luck as well as exceptional in what he found out through his own hard work. To try to follow him there will only lead to frustration and depression, and possibly self-deception. We can only do our own "work" in our own lives, and see what happens. The mistake is to look at Krishnamurti, formulate a goal or a result, and try to achieve that. I made that mistake. It nearly destroyed me. And yet over and over again Krishnamurti has pointed out that that is not the way!

Is the transformation he spoke of universally accessible? Depends what you mean by accessible. Depends what you mean by transformation. Just now it seems to me like this: Total transformation is just so unlikely, and probably impossible. What IS possible, however, is the planting of seeds whose growth make a real difference.

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Does the phrase "living the teachings" have any meaning to you?

I have heard this phrase before. It does mean something to me, but it could easily be understood differently from how I understand it. Living the teachings means not trying to become anything different from, or better than, what you actually are. It means more than that, but that comes first. It means making absolutely no effort whatever to change oneself. And it means exploring, questioning, observing, looking, without judgment, which means without condemnation or even approval. It means watching one's own reactions, likes and dislikes, without reinforcing them or trying to get rid of them or trying to modify them. Any change that then takes place will be spontaneous, coming from within, not imposed from outside or "top down" with a result or direction in mind. Living the teachings is very open, it doesn't mean following or trying to be like Krishnamurti, or following any specific instructions cobbled together from the teachings or anywhere else.

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What future do you foresee for Krishnamurti's works? Do you think they will grow in importance or will they just gradually die away?

This is a good question. I have often thought about this one. I don't exactly forsee anything, but I have a hunch that they will find their way around and expand their availability and findability in a quiet way. This is already happening. I don't think they will die away, not for a long time, not while human civilisation continues, not while there are still people around talking to each other and reading books. As long as the earth is reasonably habitable by human beings. How long will that be? That's another question!

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Has coming into contact with Krishnamurti and his teachings had any perceptible effect on your life and/or relationships?

Yes. It saved me from some kind of breakdown in my 20s (several decades ago). I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't come across K's books then. It doesn't bear thinking about. It made the difference between life and death to me, quite probably literally the difference between life and death. Very perceptible, in other words. The effect of coming into contact with K's teachings continues to this day. If his teachings weren't free, I'd owe him a lot!

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How do you strike a balance between healthy doubt and ready acceptance in investigating Krishnamurti's proposals?

The proper balance here is to see that if something is true and real, doubting it won't destroy it. It will keep popping up. Therefore I'm not afraid to doubt, I'm not afraid to give my whole being, everything I've got, to doubt. Doubt is deep questioning, which means looking, examining, observing. If what you are questioning is some belief or prejudice, it will go up in smoke, and you will see it wasn't worth anything anyway. This way there are no knots to avoid tying oneself up in, and little chance of acquiring any new blind beliefs. The old ones may cling on tenaciously in spite of the application of doubt. But once one has begun doubting and seeing doubt in action, well, then balancing isn't a problem, and one just keeps on with it without any effort.

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Can dialogue - in the sense of sincere inquiry - be organized or can it only come about spontaneously, unprompted?

At a deep level dialogue can't be organised. But just to provide a format, as Kinfonet does, is OK. Two or three or any number of people (but not too many) can organise a meeting, even a regular meeting, to discuss, enquire, or inquire, but as long as nobody is trying to organise what they say beyond (let's say) giving a topic to start off with, then spontaneity has a chance, because some degree of spontaneity is essential to this kind of dialogue.

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Do you ever feel that you have been conditioned by Krishnamurti's teachings?

I have felt this. I spent some time in the past trying to make myself into something more Krishnamurti-like, something Krishnamurtti-influenced. It was a disaster. It is the thing I regret most in my life. The physical after-effects of this blind alley are still with me. Right now, however, I do not think that any more conditioning is taking place by my interest in Krishnamurti's teachings. I may be wrong of course. But I'm always on the alert for this, so it doesn't creep in again.

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1 Comment

Tue, 26 Feb 2013, 12:36pm

You are fortunate to be able to visit Brockwood James. There is a retreat up in Queensland (at Springbrook) that I have attended on a couple of occasions, and they (K. Australia) are doing sincere work in gently making available all the DVD's and books. Once a year or so, we have a day of K discussion at our home, south of Melbourne. But also we have a small discussion group which is not based upon the teaching of K but which simply talks about - monthly - matters of genuine concern. Curiously - in many ways this group, which has continued for about six years, is closer to deep and penetrating discussion than any specifically K discussion I have attended. Even though K is hardly mentioned here, the spirit of inquiry that he opened up, and the challenging concerns that he addressed during his lifetime are very much alive in this small group of people. :) Smiles - Patricia