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Journal 2008-08-24

When there is not enough time I feel pressured, and when there is too much time, I don't know how to appreciate it or use it well. I mean I am doing a little Hindi and other reading. But I'm not going to the heart of Rishikesh, and not bothering to explore other places either.

I like the stretch between Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula along the river, where there are many sadhus. Of course they do not speak to people like me. Why should they? There are too many foreigners. Yesterday a boy of around 18 perhaps looked into my face and began to walk with me.. He walked next to me all the way back to Lakshman Jhula, occasionally looking round at me with a beaming expression that wasn't exactly a smile. When the opportunity arose I shook him off my trail.

This morning there is some blue sky and the sun is shining. Yesterday there was hardly any rain. I think the monsoon is ending.

What makes sense

in any situation in which one finds oneself.

Slowly learn the language, as I am doing here. Back home I should be spending a little time each day to learn arabic. Do a little spiritual practice. Keep the body and the mind fit. Avoid wasting time. Be open and friendly with people, one's neighbours. Spend the minimum time working, earning money - just enough to cover one's needs. Minimize one's needs. Keep things simple as possible. Spend little time in traveling, making purchases. It's all unnecessary. The main thing is to enjoy a peaceful, full, rewarding life that is gentle upon the earth's resources. Even the beggars of Rishikesh live lives that are more moral than the average Westerner. They beg a little, but they do not steal. We are stealing the earth's resources, while thinking we are morally superior. Most of what we earn we use to support our egos. Our needs are much more simple than we assume.

UG Krishnamurti would probably say that it is the effort of peacemaking that is creating the war. In the Middle East, this would be true on the political level, since peacemaking is part of the same game. The question is whether this would also be true of the grassroots peacemaking efforts. Are they part of the same process? Do the same thought processes give rise both to war and to peace efforts? Is there a point that one would reach in which the whole negative and positive process ought to be equally shunned?

Again, I come back to the conclusion that the only way to make peace is to be peace, and the only way to work for peace is to create it in the here and now. I have been through these thought processes in the past.

If thinking could change anything in my perception of the problems, maybe it would have done so by now.

I need to look at the system of Thich Nhat Hanh and see in what way it is transformational. Is there a difference between mindfulness on the level that a beginner practices it, and the level that an advanced person practices it? Are there levels at all? Does the practice lead anywhere? I am not all that sure that it matters. I sort of reject UG's one pointed zeal to reach a transformational experience and his declaration that only that can change anything. It seems to me that people who are living with some spiritual consciousness in their lives are in fact better off for it. That those who have an awareness of interbeing have made an important adjustment. The vedanta system has the concept of adopting concepts intellectually in the beginning - the process of affirmation - and later expanding these from the level of concept to integrative experience, and beyond. An idea like ~interbeing~ is false in so far as it is a concept, but works within the conceptual system for as long as the world of concepts exists. In other words, it does not fail to make sense at any level.

Yes I have been feeling a kind of revulsion of the system of denial, in the Indian system, of reality as we know it, and suspect that it is linked with a similar distancing in Indian culture from many of the distasteful sides of Indian life; the ability to make blatantly unrealistic statements about Indian civilization, etc. I think maybe there is a basic inability to accept things as they are. This makes a lot that is said here suspect ; wishful thinking, the big lie, etc. A better way of dealing with reality may have been to look with a critical eye, but since I am not Indian, and do not have to deal with their culture, it is probably better to leave it all up to them.

So I am rejecting transcendentalism to the extent that it tries to deny or supplant normal perception without offerng anything in return. And I am embracing the concept of mindfulness, linked to the idea of interbeing.