26. SELF-CONTAINED IN MY OWN WORLD

NO TELEVISION...so what?

As in Happy Valley, and as in all my previous abodes during my university years, I again had no television...which was fine with me.  When I wasn't at work, I was either out walking, or inside the apartment reading a book or listening to music.  I had everything I needed...a bed to lay on, a few wonderful books, and a great KLH portable stereo record player I had got while I lived in the schoolhouse.

The KLH had small but powerful detachable speakers; everything fit and clasped together compactly (cords, speakers, player and all)...folding up into a suitcase-like unit.  With its rich sound, it easily and conveniently could accompany me on all my moves.  It was perfect.


THE MUSIC

My students at Happy Valley introduced me to the music of Joni Mitchell and they loved to play her album, 'Song to a Seagull.'  I was hooked.

There was a record store nearby in Mission Bay where I picked up two albums: Joni Mitchell's just-released 'Ladies of the Canyon' and The Dillards' new 'Wheatstraw Suite.'  I was in heaven and immediately went home to listen to them...over and over...

'Ladies of the Canyon' begins with an uplifting, lilting song of a beautiful idyllic world...
"Morning Morgantown
Buy your dreams a dollar down,
Morning any town you name
Morning's just the same.
But the only thing I have to give
To make you smile, to win you with
Are all the mornings still to live
In morning Morgantown..."
It would begin my day.  It, as did the Beatles' 'Here comes the sun,' always lightened my spirits and filled my day with a sense of wellbeing.

I could listen to these albums again and again.


THE BOOKS

And I had two very special books that I got from my special haunt, the Mithras Bookshop: Krishnamurti's 'The Only Revolution' and Hermann Hesse's 'The Glass Bead Game'...

'The Only Revolution' is my favorite of Krishnamurti's writings.

'The Only Revolution' is about a radical change in consciousness that must occur within each of us if we are to make a positive change in ourselves, and in the world.

I loved the format of the book.  It is a journal Krishnamurti kept when living in three very different places: India, California, and Europe.  It is one of the best documents of how he lived his daily life and a revelation of his extraordinary perception.  Presented as three aspects, it explores inward meditation, outward observation, and the issues we confront in our daily human relationships.

With that book, I carefully explored my consciousness.  It was a breath of fresh air each day.

Hesse's 'The Glass Bead Game' was another world altogether...a 500+ page fictional narrative.  It deals with the age-old dilemma and conflict between leading a contemplative life in an 'ivory tower' and an 'active' life in the everyday world...something I was struggling with at the time.

The story clearly describes the challenges I faced: a dysfunctional period of war, a society of specialization and fragmentation, and our daily pursuit of superficial pleasure.  I felt the book was written to me.

The hero of the story, Joseph Knecht, is an archetype of selfless service; in fact, his name, 'Knecht', means servant.  His example and life was an inspiration to me.

These two books kept me occupied for weeks.

In my apartment, with these five simple possessions...the stereo, the two albums, and the two books, I felt completely self-contained.


Copyright (c) Donald Archer 2020  All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. "With that book, I carefully explored my consciousness. It was a breath of fresh air each day."

    These two sentences are haunting me. More about this when possible. Thanks. Richard

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  2. To put this as simply as I can...

    I had never come across anyone who explored everyday consciousness...and the 'unconscious' that comes to the surface...by carefully investigating and examining relationship and reaction, step-by-step, to everything in our life: our relationship/reaction to other individuals, our relationship/reaction to our thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and our relationship/reaction to the natural world around us. And it is in these everyday relationship/reactions that our problems lie, and that the solution to them is found.

    ‘The Only Revolution’ guided me through this exploration of consciousness by presenting examples from Krishnamurti’s daily life: meditation, observation, and relationship.

    For me, the essence of his teaching is presented in this book, which is, I would say, that the only revolution is an inward revolution. And that this inward revolution is brought about through ‘emptying the mind of the known,’ what he calls ‘meditation.’

    And Krishnamurti goes through this process step-by-step, presenting many different examples:

    You pay close attention…like a cat stalking a bird…to what is happening in your life, moment to moment, especially paying close attention to the noise going on in your head: to the noise of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to what is happening…without making any judgments…by pure observation.

    That is what Krishnamurti is doing throughout the book.

    It is this vigilant awareness itself that stops the noise of thought…you see that you really aren’t paying attention when there is the screen of thinking and reacting. By seeing this, thought stops of its own accord. Watch it for yourself.

    And in this intense awareness, you find that there is no ego or self, because those mysterious entities are actually nothing but thought and reaction. That alert, selfless state is what Krishnamurti calls ‘freedom from the known,’ or ‘love.’

    I found that if I practiced this each day, if I ‘meditated’ as Krishnamurti presents it in this book, then each day is a breath of fresh air. You then 'reboot' moment to moment.

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