Theory can be useful, but is ultimately barren. In spite of that, we would rather cling to it forever, than have anything to do with confusion. But avoiding confusion creates confusion.

Most people feel the necessity of order at the practical or organisational level and are satisfied if that is supplied. But if you are sensitive to existential disorder, modern life will often seem perplexing and give rise to a constant sense of unease and dissatisfaction. The mind ? once unhinged from its traditional view of life - gropes to regain a foothold in values and systems. In the end, if it succeeds in adapting to a particular inner system ? eastern or western - it is not really a state of order, but a confused mind that is coercing itself into consistency. Personally, as much as I need order, my mind is always resisting or escaping from inner systems. I abhor anything imitative or mechanical.

Reading Krishnamurti was a great revelation. Here was a natural order without any opposites. It was a non-dualistic state and therefore stable. According to him, the very striving for order is the basic cause of disorder!

The source of the teachings was this man?s mind. Something had happened to it, but I had no way of knowing what it might be. At that time Krishnamurti was universally seen as part of the guru movement, so we listened to him accordingly. Basically, I thought liberation was something that could be grasped through some sort of mental acrobatics ? a certain inner posture and then sudden mystical awakening. Goodbye, pain and confusion! I had a lot of trouble with that word enlightenment before it went down the drains.

For years I studied Krishnamurti. Somehow the man was slippery. I couldn?t get sufficient hold on what he was saying to enable me to start working with it in the way I felt it was intended. Then it gradually dawned on me that Krishnamurti thinks in a way that is fundamentally different from the rest of us.

First of all, he is not just a Dr. Feelgood. It is not that you want to be happy, and Krishnamurti tells you how. He is concerned with a much bigger and more complex issue. According to him there is a crisis in the human consciousness. You are a representative of humanity and what appear to be your personal problems is just a local variation of the consciousness we all share. So tackling the world crisis and your personal problems are basically the same thing. But how do we find the clarity which will enable us to understand human consciousness? Here Krishnamurti says something that may at first sight seem like a paradox.

?The questioner asks: How can I observe in my current state of fragmentation? You cannot. But you can observe your fragmentation.?

Ojai, 1980

This is how I interpret it: to the questioner ?observing without fragmentation? is an ideal. He doesn?t know what it is, but wants it, because he is hoping for leverage. Krishnamurti says, don?t bother with non-fact; look at what you are! But looking at what we are is foreign to us, so we immediately make this statement into a new instruction we must obey in order to get ?that?. However, if we see the subtlety of it, this insight has mind-boggling implications.

The very movement from fact to non-fact is at the core of the crisis in human consciousness. It creates fear and confusion in the mind. The wish to keep an illusion going creates confusion at a deeper level. If you shift your focus away from a fact in order to escape from it, the fact is still there in your mind, but you are now divided, in conflict.

So, when you get familiar with your consciousness, you begin to see that if you move away from confusion, you strengthen it; but if you realize that confusion is part of you, confusion abates. A stability emerges that is not a reaction to confusion. You are not afraid of and confused about confusion any longer, so to speak. You have started learning. This is a wonderful discovery that does something to the whole of your existence.

It seems to me that the learning and healing process Krishnamurti proposes can only take place if you have this gut feeling that you are not separate from the phenomena of your consciousness. Normally our self-defense mechanisms don?t allow that. But if you realise you are the content of your consciousness, movement subsides. You can?t do anything, really, except let mind and body tell their own true story.

Learning and healing seem to go together. Learning is not ?of time?, Krishnamurti says. In this sort of observation you don?t try to understand or remember. There is no analysis, interpretation or accumulation. But I think healing does take time - longer than Krishnamurti seems to suggest. If you have lived a long and stressful life, like most of us have, your whole organism is traumatized. Fear and confusion are everywhere - in your relationships, your thoughts and habits and dreams, in your body. But learning about it in this way creates space for healing.

Unfortunately most of us are disinclined to look at ourselves more deeply. Some people think it is pathological to spend time looking at pain, fear and confusion. Why not 'go get a life'? The way I see it, the ability to live with contradiction is unhealthy. It is a symptom of neurosis or cynicism no matter how respectable it appears, whereas seeing the truth of Krishnamurti?s insight and taking action is a sign that deep down you are on a happy path.

Self-observation can be stimulated in a good dialogue group. Gradually more people understand the rationality of it. Some people will remain adamant in their theoretical or ideological approach. But most modern people can fairly easily pick up a certain open-mindedness and honesty, and see the significance of not condemning or justifying. It can be a relief to talk or write about oneself with honesty. But of course, unloading all the details of one?s life in a group is not in itself inquiry or dialoguing.

In our hearts we know that Krishnamurti intended a much more fundamental change than just adopting the teachings as our philosophy of life and remaining there. I think the reason why we cling to barren theory is that we are deeply authoritarian. If we are to look at ourselves, we need to be told how! For centuries we have been told that doubt and inquiry are subversive. We are used to think that inner clarity means moving away from confusion and finding refuge in ideology and belief. But that is what creates confusion in the wider context of living. We have to let confusion tell its own story and follow it to its source.

What I have tried to describe above is not the ?mutation?, Krishnamurti talked about. But it is a more fertile soil than theory. It may be the beginning of what Krishnamurti calls laying the foundation. It is an attempt to delve into the teachings and make them our own through self-knowledge.