Week 3 of neem consumption.  Headaches are back, and funny sleeping patterns.  Crash into bed at 9 o clock, barely capable of undressing, and then wake up at 3 or 4 with what feels like a hangover.  A little bit sick, and that heavy, oh god…please let this day end!

Trying to stay present through all of this is proving incredibly, incredibly difficult, and at times I wonder whether it’s all worth it.  Can’t the toxins just stay where they are for a bit whilst I take a break and just feel joy again?

I’m reading Krishnamurti at the moment.  Absorb one powerful chapter at a time, and feel a connection to something.  There’s reading and intellectually understanding things, and then there’s reading when your body responds to it.  For me, it’s this kind of rush of vibrations up my centre.  You have to stop for a second to let it subside before continuing.

now where do we begin to understand ourselves?  Here am I, and how am I to study myself, observe myself, see what is actually taking place in myself?  I can observe myself only in relationship because all life is relationship.  It is no use sitting in a corner meditating about myself.  I cannot exist by myself.  I exist only in relationship to people, things and ideas, and in studying my relationship to outward things and people, as well as to inward things, I begin to understand myself…I am not an abstract entity; therefore I have to study myself in actuality – as I am, not as I wish to be.”

–  Freedom From the Known, J Krishnamurti (page  16)

There’s something very “tough love” about Krishnamurti.  He probes you with uncomfortable questions, and unless you answer with absolute, brutal honesty, he basically tells you to F off and come back when you’re ready.  It’s not through lack of compassion, or understanding, I think it’s just a case of cutting through the bull-shit.  A helping hand to let go of some of the unnecessary weight we carry around.

He talks about our conditioning, through society, family, gender, nationality, etc etc and how if we were all happy all the time then we wouldn’t ever grow to understand our conditioning.  “so long as the animal is petted he reacts nicely, but the moment he is antagonized the whole violence of his nature comes out.” (page 21)

It is through adversity, it is through disturbances in our environment, in our relationships to people, to things, to ideas, that we are able to learn about our conditioning, our responses, that we are able to make contact, and be made aware of our true selves.

I’m not sure what it is about being back in the UK that seems to be provoking such adversity…whether its the society, the career uncertainty, the authority….the neem stirring things up….all I know is each day I am facing great fear.  And fear is such a ridiculous thing, because every time I stop and breathe, “what are you afraid of, right now, in this very moment, what are you afraid of?” My answer is nothing.  As soon as you step out of it and observe, you know that everything is ok.  You are safe.  Everything in this moment is ok.  I don’t want to live in fear.  Fear of who I was, who I am, whether I will ever be what I wanted to be.  Fear of my relationships with others….how much easier it seemed when I was far away.  Now I am here, making contact with it every day, I have to face the fear head on.

You can face a fact only in the present and if you never allow it to be present because you are always escaping from it, you can never face it, and because we have cultivated a whole network of escapes we are caught in the habit of escape. (page 22)

I think perhaps, everything I pushed to one side, that I escaped from, is catching up to me at last.  I think, perhaps, that my habit to escape is a difficult habit to break, which is why this seems so ruthless and never-ending.  Like being a heavy smoker for years and years and years (which I was) and going cold turkey.  Everything is a trigger.  Every relationship to everything – time of day, levels of stress, food and drink, people you’re with, boredom, everything is a reminder of what you’re breaking from.

You feel lonely, you feel misunderstood, you feel voiceless and on edge.

In fact, these past few days I’ve been craving cigarettes again…for the first time in months.  It’s a relationship I genuinely believe I’ve changed….like my relationship with alcohol and caffeine (that seemed to bite me in the arse during the last neem fortnight)…so perhaps this is it.  This is my nicotine escape revival.  I am detoxing from the nicotine…another layer deeper… and isn’t that the case?  Every escape is associated with so much emotional weight.  I think my nicotine addiction is associated with authority.

to understand ourselves needs no authority either of yesterday or of a thousand years because we are living things, always moving, flowing, never resting.  When we look at ourselves with dead authority of yesterday we will fail to understand the living moment and the quality of that movement.  (page 13)

If it is authority that I am facing…instead of escaping, then that would explain this sense of voicelessness and powerlessness…A sense that I am of a society that will never accept me as I am…which is what i need to face….why do I want to be accepted as I am by society? If knowing oneself is devoid of authority, then perhaps it was the distance from my society, my place of upbringing and education and western values, that allowed me, for the first time it seems, to explore who I am and make contact with myself.  It was the distance, the personal space, that allowed me to get an insight into who I am…which is wonderful, which is marvelous, but its only half of it.  To truly understand myself, I have to stay present and aware through adversity, through the triggering of all my social, financial, familial conditioning…through all the authorities of education and media, parents and siblings, politicians and religions….and not reach for that cigarette.

I have to stay with all of this, because now I am starting to see that all this fear that is so debilitating isn’t real.  This dead authority by which I judge myself and others isn’t real.  I have to let it go.  I have to forget.

let us start on our journey…with all the remembrance of yesterday left behind – and begin to understand ourselves for the first time (page 14)

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)