Jesus and Krishnamurti: The importance of being alone

I was reading a passage from J. Krishnamurti’s slim book called meditations which reminded me of a passage from The Gospel According to Matthew. The language they use is strikingly similar. I’ll start with the biblical passage as it’s shorter:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:6

Here are two other passages, also from Matthew, demonstrating that Jesus practised what he preached:

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
Matthew 26:36

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.
Matthew 14:23

And below is the J. Krishnamurti text from Meditations (bold added by me for parts that are similar to Matthew’s Gospel). Like the Buddha long before him, Krishnamurti is generally dismissive of the whole notion of God and often stated that belief of any kind, including belief in Krishnamurti himself, was detrimental for the seeker of truth. Krishnamurti however does talk about the eternal and the timeless, two words that Buddha also used. What else could these refer to but a secularised notion of God? This is not the personal masculine God with his Heaven up in the sky, but a sense of the infinite, or ‘immense’ and ‘imperishable’ as Krishnamurti puts it below (underlined words indicate a secularised ‘God’), which is full of ‘love’ and ‘bliss’:

It was one of those lovely mornings that have never been before. The sun was just coming up and you saw it between the eucalyptus and the pine. It was over the waters, golden, burnished such light that exists only between the mountains and the sea. It was such a clear morning, breathless, full of that strange light that one sees not only with one’s eyes but with one’s heart. And when you see it the heavens are very close to earth, and you are lost in the beauty. You know, you should never meditate in public, or with another, or in a group: you should meditate only in solitude, in the quiet of the night or in the still, early morning.

When you meditate in solitude, it must be solitude. You must be completely alone, not following a system, a method, repeating words, or pursuing a thought, or shaping a thought according to your desire. This solitude comes when the mind is freed from thought. When there are influences of desire or of the things that the mind is pursuing, either in the future or in the past, there is no solitude. Only in the immensity of the present this aloneness comes. And then, in quiet secrecy in which all communication has come to an end, in which there is no observer with his anxieties, with his stupid appetites and problems only then, in that quiet aloneness, meditation becomes something that cannot be put into words. Then meditation is an eternal movement.

I don’t know if you have ever meditated, if you have ever been alone, by yourself, far away from everything, from every person, from every thought and pursuit, if you have ever been completely alone, not isolated, not withdrawn into some fanciful dream or vision, but far away, so that in yourself there is nothing recognizable, nothing that you touch by thought or feeling, so far away that in this full solitude the very silence becomes the only flower, the only light, and the timeless quality that is not measurable by thought. Only in such meditation love has its being. Don’t bother to express it: it will express itself. Don’t use it. Don’t try to put it into action: it will act, and when it acts, in that action there is no regret, no contradiction, none of the misery and travail of man.

So meditate alone. Get lost. And don’t try to remember where you have been. If you try to remember it then it will be something that is dead. And if you hold on to the memory of it then you will never be alone again. So meditate in that endless solitude, in the beauty of that love, in that innocency, in the new then there is the bliss that is imperishable.

The sky is very blue, the blue that comes after the rain, and these rains have come after many months of drought. After the rain the skies are washed clean and the hills are rejoicing, and the earth is still. And every leaf has the light of the sun on it, and the feeling of the earth is very close to you. So meditate in the very secret recesses of your heart and mind, where you have never been before.

Jiddu Krishnamurti from Meditations 1969 Part 8

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