“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

I’ll be reading some short passages from Krishnamurti’s journals (as well as my own) at my Journal Writing for Self-Awareness workshop this Saturday morning, May 11, from 10:30 till 12:15. This is a free event, part of the May Gathering at the Krishnamurti Pepper Tree Retreat, on McAndrew Road in Ojai.

I attended Krishnamurti’s talks at the Oak Grove, and also heard him in Saanen, Switzerland, one summer. Over the years I became friends with many of the people who came to Ojai to hear Krishnamurti, including Beatrice Wood, Alan and Helen Hooker of Ranch House fame, and Frank and Bennie Noyes, who started Live Oak School on Orange Road. There, while living in a tiny trailer on the edge of an orange orchard, I tutored, cleaned, cooked, and cared for my toddler son. Back then I had endless energy, and almost everything was great fun.

Alan Hooker used to walk into the kitchen, roll up his sleeves, and make multiple loaves of oat and prune bread. He would also show us hippie chicks how to grind and chop nuts, celery, carrots, onions, and mushrooms for nut burgers or nut loaf.

While I’ve been journaling for more than 40 years (50 if you count my high school and Haight-Ashbury diaries), I’m new at teaching journal writing to people who might feel inhibited when faced with a blank page. I’ll see if I can nudge them into putting their innermost random thoughts and observations on paper. I’m filled with a kind of joyful trepidation, along with curiosity about who will show up.

The nature descriptions in Krishnamurti’s journal, below, are so simple, timeless, and moving. The book consists of observations made between February 25, 1983, and March 30, 1984, toward the end of his life. We here in Ojai can walk the “little village” as well as the East End, Horn Canyon, and all the trails he took high up in the mountains, and see all the places that he described with such depth and sensitivity.

I remember now how many early evenings I would be in my garden on Thacher Road, picking zucchini squash or digging trenches for chicken wire in an endless battle to keep gophers at bay. Krishnamurti would walk by, and the neighbor’s little dog would come running out onto the street, yapping at his heels and threatening his companions. The dog would often follow them a little way down Thacher, and Krishnamurti would turn around, bend over, and, arms waving toward our driveway, tell the little nuisance dog, “Shoo . . . shoo . . . shoo. . .”

This gave me a bit more time to observe Krishnamurti, and sometimes I’d have to run to the street and scoop the dog up. Back then, at age twenty, I was still painfully shy, and never took the opportunity to say a friendly hello.

Today, Krishnamurti’s journals serve to remind me how journal writing not only makes us ever more aware of our automatic thought processes and responses, but strengthens our powers of observation and awareness of ourselves, other people, nature, and all the rest of life:

As you climbed, leaving the little village paths down below, the noise of the earth, the crickets, the quails, and other birds began their morning song, their chant, their rich worship, of the day. And as the sun rose you were part of that light and had left behind everything that thought had put together. You completely forgot yourself. The psyche was empty of its struggles and its pains. And as you walked, climbed, there was no sense of separateness, no sense of being even a human being . . .

From Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal

Krishnamurti’s last journal, spoken into a tape recorder at his home, Pine Cottage, in the Ojai Valley, brings the reader close to this renowned spiritual teacher. Dictated in the mornings, from his bed, undisturbed, Krishnamurti’s observations are captured here in all their immediacy and candor,…

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