Network of Thought and the Zone of Comfort


 Network of Thought and the Zone of Comfort.

 If we live within the zone of interpretation, as most of us tend to do since it springs to mind as our comfort zone, then we aren’t fully awake to the fact that existence is not upheld by the labels we use to describe it. It is not sustained by the network of our thoughts. Unfortunately it is all too easy to lose sight of this fact and be conditioned to live within our comfort zone believing that we can be secure within it. However, if we care to look we will realize that our existence continues on its merry way disclosing reality in a confounding display of adherence and non-adherence to the labels we use. We can call our existence Western, Eastern, Democratic, Socialist, Modern, Indigenous, it does not matter; life continues to unfold dynamically. More often than not we witness this as life unceremoniously throwing our labels in our face. Now this can give rise to a great deal of consternation as evidenced all over the world where the fact that life does not adhere to its definition is seen as sufficient cause for discord and is the source of ceaseless frustration. So one has to wonder, are we prepared to face facts by cultivating a subservience to knowledge, or does this actually set the scene for psychological unrest?

  For sure, a label brings something to mind, but that does not mean that the existence of the thing referred to depends on the label in use. Now Jiddu Krishnamurti encouraged children to explore such facts at his schools by explaining that the word is not the thing it referred to. He encouraged us to explore that the word is a concept, a mental representation of the fact and it is up to the observer to realize if the observed is fact or fiction. If children are not encouraged to explore the workings of their minds because of the overriding emphasis of education on the passive acquisition of knowledge it is inevitable that they will be swayed to believe that the label is of primary importance in their lives because the spoken word helps to make one’s presence felt in the world. In fact in the ordinary classroom it is continually implied that our existence as a worthwhile member of the school community depends on how cleverly we can capture and sustain an approved body of knowledge.

  Capturing abstract information is not, in reality, going to guaranty our wellbeing in the larger context of life. Dogmatically holding on to the belief that abstract information can assure us success in life, will lead us on to explore a fool’s paradise. How can the mind free itself from this belief unless it has opportunities for serious inquiry throughout education to explore and share doubts, errors, and differences in perception which naturally give rise to states of confusion, conflict, contradiction and comprehension? Only then can the child have the opportunity to closely observe the complex processes of thought as it is engaged in manipulating information for the purpose of communicating ideas, understanding and relating with others in a dynamic environment.

  To move towards a critical consciousness of our meaning making processes we need to facilitate a serious environment empowered by a context where our own thinking, our own journey of exploration, is placed under close and constant scrutiny as a classic illustration of the fundamental problem faced by human beings since the invention of language implicit in our stance that the word can uphold truth. Only in such an environment, can the child grow up observing and learning from the emerging irrational desire for life to conform to our ideas of it. Such opportunities during the course of education, undermine the authority of the existing knowledge base and awakens a keen interest in the vital capacity of attention to integrate information in the current context, whether visualized or observed, it is ultimately all up to the observer. Only such a holistic and dynamic exposure to learning based on direct observation, discourse and serious inquiry can nurture a critical and more mature consciousness to prevail.

  By drawing on our boundless curiosity to learn from observation and introducing us to the process of discourse, inquiry and dialogue Jiddu Krishnamurti encouraged us to explore in depth the vagaries of self with its habitual patterns of thinking and inevitable subservience to the authority of the known. Over our years at school he ensured that we would be prepared to observe the limitations of knowledge and not succumb to the lure of cultivating a secure knowledge base which would stand the test of time! During dialogues, while engaging directly in the real world of interaction we were able to reflect on the limitations of our concepts and our emerging knowledge base without fear of recrimination. This ongoing inquiry was sufficient to alert us to the fact that intelligence can prevail beyond the realms of thought, memory, interpretation and our invidious comfort zone. Through his enthusiastic inquiry into the nature of thoughts, nature of society and the nature of being alive in a largely indescribable world, Jiddu Krishnamurti attempted to ensure that we would grow up bearing witness to the fact that the force of intelligence is apparent in the folds of existence revealed from moment to moment. We were able to sense the fact that the subject of self and the object of observation are drawn from the same substantial source of life. By shifting our gaze from form to form, we learned to discern the difference between the word and the thing. We learned to respect that difference as we ventured into the world, learning both from our errors and from life to countenance the fact that life does not have to conform to our ideas of it. Our inquiry into the nature of thought and our exposure to the process of dialogue lay the foundation for a holistic regard for life thereby generating the ground for intelligence to prevail over and above our often compulsive, self-centered reactions based on a particular and thereby, limited, point of view.

 Geetha Waters

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