Hearing Without The Ear

=== JKrishnamurti.org – Daily Quote ===

There is an art of listening. The word “art” implies putting everything in its right place. If you understand the meaning of that word, the real art is not painting pictures, but the art of putting your life in its proper place, which is to live harmoniously. When you have put everything in yourself in its right place, you are free.

Putting everything in its right place is part of intelligence. You will say we are giving a new meaning to that word “intelligence”. One must. Intelligence implies reading between the lines, between the words, between two silences, between speech, listening with your mind all the time alert to listen.

You hear not only with the ear, but also without the ear.

On Love and Loneliness, pp 87-88

=== Thoughts ===

As usual, today’s passage couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Isn’t it amazing how things just seem to fall into place without any conscious effort on our part to arrange them? I even find it funny that the more I attempt to control them, the more likely they are to spiral into chaos and confusion.

Finally, as I’ve been dying to talk about it, this quote introduces Krishnamurti’s idea of the Artist. And if you ask me, there’s no single more important subject.

But what is this mysterious “Artist”, and what is his Artistry?

First, let’s digress. As we’ve discussed before, when the mind is silent, completely quiet, and totally still, in absolute observation of both itself, and it’s surroundings, only then can it uncover insights, patterns, and the subtle intricacies of this living. A unique clarity emerges, a clarity which exposes it’s beliefs, it’s ideas, and it’s behavior, in the pure light of complete understanding, and absolute truth. The interconnectedness of all things emerges as a fact, rather than an academic idea.

And the more often that this occurs, the more often the mind becomes capable of accidentally organizing itself in a way that makes sense, in a way that appears moral, and the more often it is able to achieve accomplishments which coul be called “spiritually productive” (though that is a ridiculous, and entirely unhelpful term).

In meditation, in dreams, and even in daily life, this thing grows, it unfolds- or to borrow a phrase from Krishnamurti- it begins to “flower” within that internal space created by the now silent mind.

Please don’t get trapped by the terms here being used to convey actions, or to express ideas. When I say “that internal space”, I don’t mean an actual physical space, and I don’t mean that there is a division between that which is “internal” as opposed to that which is “external”. This is a metaphor, used to shed light on a subtlety. The description is not the same as the described, and these words are not the thing they represent!

But to return to what I was saying, when this thing begins to flower, when it begins to unfold out of that silent space, the mind finds itself performing actions, like the act of writing this post, which it feels it was meant to do. It perceives with absolute assurance that that action is exatly what needed to be done at that particular moment in time.

Since it’s my birthday, I’m going to get a little personal here, and use myself as an example. Please bear with me, as I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t fully believe that it would be illustrative of the concept Krishnamurti has presented, and serve a useful purpose for anyone curious about this topic.

Over this past year, I’ve finally begun to do some of the things I always felt like I should be doing. I’ve become quite comfortable in my own skin, with myself, my thoughts, my beliefs, and most importantly, my actions, and my relationship to the world at large. I’ve never cared much for the opinion of others, but this past year I’ve become even more independent, more self-assured, and more confidant than ever before that I’m following the right path- that I’m doing the things that I was meant to do.

I”ve repeatedly found myself performing those actions I always thought I should be doing- like writing. I’ve talked about writing, planned to write a book, prepared to set up a Blog, told people that I was going to do it, and promised myself to start. Year, after year, after year. It’s been both my New Years and Birthday resolution for as long as I can remember. And yet, I’ve never got around to actually doing it.

Something else has always come up. There’s always been those convenient distractions of friends, family, or significant others. There’s always been those convenient distractions of television, the internet, and a myriad of other uncessary things. But here I am, on the first day of my 26th year on this planet, finally doing it. I’m really doing it!

Those distractions haven’t disappeared, I haven’t put all of that aside, rejected it, ignored it, or avoided it, but the increasing number of moments of lucidity and the profound moments of silence which I’ve experienced over the past year have helped to reorganize my priorities, reestablish my connection to my creative side, and reenergized my efforts to produce the act I’m performing at this very moment!

You could say that it feels like I’m actualizing my potential, becoming the real me, or even doing what it feels like I was put here to do. And please don’t think I’m boasting here- I’m fully aware that I am in no way great at this- but what I can say is that it feels right.

When I write my mind is quiet, still, sharp, yet expansive. Ideas, images, and these words flow rather naturally from out of the void, right through my fingers, and onto this screen! If you haven’t noticed it- not that it necessarily appears that way- everything on this blog is written in the style of Stream of Consciousness.

None of it is “planned”, it’s not “organized”, or “arranged”. And it’s meant to be that way! I haven’t purposefully coordinated it as such- it’s just what tends to work. And while I haven’t planned out any pieces for Chayacitra, when I’ve attempted to do so elsewhere, I think you might be able to guess the result. … … …

People talk about “writer’s block”, but I think that the term is often severely misunderstood. It often seems that people assign that blockage to the act of writing itself, when I would argue that’s it the creation of the division between the “writer” and “his writing” which is the sole source of the problem. Writing, like any other form of action, like listening, seeing, breathing, or even living, can’t be “blocked”. In similar fashion, it’s never “initiated”. Real writing, like real action, unfolds in and of itself. It’s unplanned, unscheduled, not according to an idea, but according to the necessity of the situation. It happens once everything has been put into it’s proper place, by the act of intelligence.

Real action is never planned, because real action implies creativity. Action means “acting”, in the present, from a place of complete attention, from a place of originality, inspired by that limitless nothingness we call the void. True action is the work of an Artist, not the artist with which we’re all familiar- those charletons, those businessmen, or those fakes- but real Artists.

Artistry is real creativity. Creativity is real originality. And originality implies something that is totally new.  Original action, by definition, is not translated, not adapted, and not interpreted from what has come before. It isn’t built upon the accretion of previous activity, or even funded from the material of the past. And it’s certainly not “based on a true story”.

The meaning of these words- the Artist, Creativity, and Originality- like so many others, has been lost to us through the misuse and outright abuse of our language by commercial interests. In the age of advertising, of subliminal marketing, consumerism, and blatant commercialism, our language- and communication itself- has become so watered down that it’s sometimes difficult to even tell what’s being discussed!

So let’s carefully consider this term- this “Artist”.

The Artist is not he who puts paint to canvass, then sells it in a gallery. The Artist is not she who writes a novel, and travels around the country pitching it to Agents. And the Artist is certainly not those that produce something with explicitly commercial interests in mind.

There are very few of them left these days, real Artists. I certainly wouldn’t venture to call myself one, and I don’t personally know any either. I’ve seen them before, but not in quite a while. I do live in Southern CA though- in Orange County of all places- which is certainly not the type of environment that nourishes and promotes people like these.

The real Artist is that rare individual who has become entirely a Light unto Himself.

Please understand, when I use the masculine pronoun, I don’t mean “men”, I mean human beings. This is just a manner of speech.

The real Artist is that rare individual who rejects his selfish ways, denies the supposed rationality of status quo, and though he lives within society, he is completely unblemished by it’s rampant and widespread corruption. His pure being is unaffected by the idiocy, the immaturity, and the inappropriateness that surrounds him. And his Art is not the things that he produces, but his actions, his behavior, and his every day life. In fact, he may not produce anything that would be traditionally be labelled “art” at all.

His Art is the smile on his face, the generosity in his heart, and the lack of rigidity in his movements. It’s the sound of his voice and the gleam in his eyes.

He exhibits a total absence of “plans”, “goals”, and “strategies”. He rejects “tradition” and whoelheartedly accepts accepts the inherent risks of exploration, adventure, and uncertainty.

He is unafraid, not of loneliness, nor of failure, but completely, as in he feels no fear. His spirit is unbridled, untamed, and his heart is full of love, not for anything in particular, but for everything that exists. He does not divide himself from the universe at large.

He is at once both here, and yet not here. He is “one who has thus gone, and one who has thus come“. You could even say that he is one who has found the truth, and who lives that truth with his every day behavior.

His Art is his life, yet he wouldn’t claim it as such. In fact, he wouldn’t claim much at all, except perhaps, that he had nothing to claim. Like Socrates, he is ostracized by society, having been deemed a threat to the status quo. He is marginalized, misunderstood, misinterpreted, and often persecuted. Yet he utters no complaints and puts forth no resistance.

He doesn’t merely think outside the box, he lives outside it. He might even state that there is no box, but you would probably miss his true meaning.

In fact, you would probably fear him, like most of the rest of humanity does. You would see his everyday behavior as at best unproductive, and at worst completely insane. His very presence would serve a threat to your beliefs, to your conception of the real and the unreal, and to the image of self-identity which you’ve so carefully constructed.

But the Artist would not mind. Because he lives alone, as a light unto himself.

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One Response to Hearing Without The Ear

  1. Pol Pot says:

    Congrats on taking the action you’ve always talked about! I remember when we were talking about this in an indian restaurant just a couple months ago and look what has come out of it. Keep it up!

    It is pretty amazing what one can accomplish when you have a still and focused mind.

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