KFA Logo THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE
The e-Newsletter of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America

DECEMBER 2007

 
Meditation and Awareness
Quiet Spot in the Oak Grove

Meditation is hard work. It demands the highest form of discipline-not conformity, not imitation, not obedience-but a discipline which comes through constant awareness. Not only of the things about you outwardly, but also inwardly. So meditation is not an activity of isolation but is action in everyday life, which demands cooperation, sensitivity and intelligence. Without laying the foundation of a righteous life, meditation becomes an escape and therefore has no value whatsoever. A righteous life is not the following of social morality, but the freedom from envy, greed, and the search for power, which all breed enmity. The freedom from these does not come through the activity of will but by being aware of them through self knowing.  

                Meditations
      — J. Krishnamurti

DAILY QUOTES
are available at
jkrishnamurti.org

Editor: Troy Sumrall
Email:
troy@kfa.org | Ph 805-646-2726, x30

IN THIS ISSUE                                                            

THE SCIENCE OF AWARENESS 
By Troy Sumrall
Exercise by exercising awareness?
Could you
start a school with $600?
If we are the world, what needs doing needs to be done by each of us.

REFLECTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
By Tom Heggestad KFA Trustee

A walk home, recalling a single observation by K that spurred finding out for myself.

 

YEAR'S END

By Jackie Saunders, Director of Development

 

NEW KFA CALENDAR FOR 2008 IS AVAILABLE NOW

In full color and combining beautiful photographs by Friedrich Grohe, with quotes from Krishnamurti's work.

 

CALENDAR UPDATES
The winter dialogues are scheduled for February 15 - 18. 


KrishnamurtiYou know there is communion and communication. There must be communication verbally which is to share whatever we are looking at together…there must be verbal communication, which means that you and the speaker are at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity observing, cooperating, sharing. That brings about a non-verbal communion, which is not habit."

— J. Krishnamurti
Second Public Talk, Saanen, July 19, 1970


THE SCIENCE OF AWARENESS 
By Troy Sumrall
Exercise by exercising awareness?
Could you
start a school with $600?
If we are the world, what needs doing needs to be done by each of us?
 

There was a short, interesting article in the December 09th New York Times Health Section. Click here.  It was called Mindful Exercise, written by Christopher Shea.It seems that “awareness” can be demonstrated to have actual physical effects on the body’s physiology. In this case,  the group studied was hotel housekeepers. It turns out that they don’t see themselves as doing exercise when they clean rooms. After they were made aware that sweeping, vacuuming, wiping and changing sheets was, in fact, exercise, something strange happened. From the article, “The average study-group maid had lost 2 pounds, while her systolic blood pressure had dropped by 10 points; by all measures the 44 women were significantly healthier. Yet there were no reported changes in behavior, only in mind-set, with the vast majority of the women now considering themselves regular exercisers.

The study was originally reported in Psychological Science, the February 2007 issue. The authors are Harvard Psychologist Ellen Langer and her assistant Alia Crum. As noted in the New York Times, Langer sees the study as a lesson in the importance of mindfulness, long a subject of her research, and which need not involve Buddhism or meditation, she stresses. “It’s about noticing new things; it’s about engagement,” she says.

 

Wonder where we’ve heard that before? The question arises, noted in the article, what about white collar workers? Does their health get worse if they become aware they aren’t getting any exercise? I suggest, if they come upon that awareness, it will have its own action. They will be more likely to start exercising. I can’t prove it of course. It seems worthy of another study. Does a new way of looking at something you are doing, differ from a new way of looking at something you aren’t doing? Questions like these are why Krishnamurti is such fun. Like pushups for the brain. The teachings operate best, I think, at our most basic psychological, and physical level.  Krishnamurti constantly warned against intellectualizing. Rather he pointed to passive awareness, which does its own work unfettered by conditioning and bias. Can you spot examples of the teachings in daily life? Can you see places where things might go more smoothly, create order, without conflict or coercion?

I saw a report in the “On Being” videos published by the Washington Post that illuminated another side of awareness. A man named Eddie Fahnbullah, a janitor, found out from a friend visiting from their home country of Liberia that poor children had no schools. They spent their days and nights selling simple items on the street. Eddie told his friend they should build a school. He sent his friend back to Liberia with $600, and he started a school. Then Eddie got a second job, so he could send more money to finish the building. It costs him now $800 a month to pay teachers and administrators. He sends it faithfully on the 28th of every month. Eddie has an unusual perspective. He says, “Wherever I go, I don’t like to say it’s not my job.”

The first article is related to the second article because they are about action resulting from awareness. They are both about clarity. They both exemplify how incredibly important it is to energetically, carefully, attend to what we tell ourselves about how things are. When we do, it has its own action. In the case of the housekeepers, lower blood pressure, better health. For Eddie, it's a truth he lives. That we are the world, and the world is us. Eddie doesn’t like to say it’s not his job.

Send your comments, thoughts, suggestions, to troy@kfa.org.
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REFLECTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
By Tom Heggestad KFA Trustee

A walk home, recalling a single observation by K that spurred finding out for myself.

I was coming out into the evening after staying late at the Archives the last two nights. The first evening I'd been finishing the 'upload' of thousands of word processed documents of K's talks and dialogues onto a demo website for K-Text that the Foundations are considering hosting. And this past evening I was coming from a meeting at Oak Grove School where Mark Lee (one of the original Directors of Oak Grove) facilitated a discussion with the present administration and staff on bringing K's teachings into the classroom. The sky was a deep, deep blue, with a crescent moon, the air cold, no one around. During just the short walk across the parking lot came a powerful sense of the vastness of existence as well as the fragility of life.

Back in the familiar security of my car, my home, the radio bringing the latest news from Iowa, Bali, Iraq, the family gathering at the end of another day for supper and bedtime routines, my mind was occupied again with the patterns that support and give it meaning. But that vastness/fragility presence hadn't completely disappeared. There was a deep happiness and gratitude for friends who came over to talk seriously together about our lives, for my wife who has brought children into our home, and who has traveled alongside me as we navigate the scans and interventions that the medical profession offers to help contain what's growing inside my body that shouldn't be there - and now for this opportunity to write to you.
 

I first read K in college, got involved in other things for years then came across him again in a book. My memory of what moved me: "If you're going to take seriously this business of fundamental questioning, you've got to put aside whatever anyone has said and find out for yourself." I was in the midst of a fairly vigorous pursuit of Zen, had had some experiences and saw the prospect of passing through the hurdles the wise masters of the past had laid down, eventually being able to turn around and guide others along the tradition. To me, those guys were on fire and I was thrilled by their penetrating insights, but to consider setting all that aside...

Further I remember K saying (again my memory, not a direct quote): ". . . and it's the finding out for yourself' that matters, not what you find out. Whether you see the smallest thing or the most profound, put it aside so the mind is free the next moment..." On discovering that he was still alive, I spent the last three years of his life traveling around, listening to the talks, volunteering at the schools and centers, basically an extended retreat.

After he died, I was asked to come to Brockwood to help with the K-Text computer project, allowing full text search of all his published material. Returning to Ojai after several years, the Archives became a priority, culminating in the new building by 2000, a personal health crisis and a move to Maine to further an independent life from K places. When our daughters were old enough, we returned for Oak
Grove School, the Archives and working as part of a team. 

Now there's a new year ahead, many projects underway: Krishnamurti in China(!); in Africa; a new cooperative, unified KFA and KFT publishing relationship; digitizing the Archives, making them available online, first as text only, eventually with audio, video, and photo/manuscript images on an interactive website that will allow us to interact with K's legacy and with each other; the schools attracting many committed families and wonderful students; study centers for serious retreats; reaching out to new people with dialogues, with facilitated ways to introduce K, and with panel discussions or guest speakers whom we would invite and build a relationship with - like two people who meet on a long airplane trip - listening to what matters to each other, then questioning, probing deeper as trust and friendship are established. 

This is just a vision of what might take place - all good things, building on the incredible life that was Krishnamurti. But there are obviously many other very strong visions at play in human consciousness today. I really wonder how things will unfold. Will the efforts of a small non-profit organization, a handful of hard working individuals - even with such profound teachings as our foundation - make a difference in the world? Allow in a bit more kindness, wisdom, compassion into the tortured, imprisoned, struggling human being? And through her or him ease the burdens on the rest of life on this miracle of a planet?

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YEAR'S END

Jackie Saunders, Director of Development


Year’s end seems to gear us for reflection.  Perhaps it’s the natural leverage of the winter solstice.  We are on the cusp of the tilting of the earth on its axis and the shift towards the slow lengthening of the daylight. 


Here at the KFA we are taking stock of our year of pell mell activity and planning for another year.  We’ve sent letters and emails to ask for your year-end support, and we have had a wonderful response.  For those who have given and for those who might still give, here’s a quick bird’s eye view of what’s happening in Ojai.


State of the digital archives:

We've had wonderful progress working with the Grace Foundation to put the infrastructure in place to keep digitizing all our holdings.  We’re calling this the Complete Teachings Digitization Project.  Thanks to the hardware that the Grace Foundation is donating, we have the capacity to computerize every document, photo, audio talk, or video talk by Krishnamurti - all 60 years! 

Converting analog to digital is an urgent necessity.  It’s the only way we will continue to “have” the teachings.  Consider the old analog recordings on ¾ inch magnetic tape, many of them more than 30 years old.  Digitizing them makes it possible to leap frog them forward from potential decay and disintegration to current media.  And that means they can be shared via the wonders of the internet.  But digitization is patient work, carefully handling the original, operating the equipment we have been given, logging talks into our complex database, organizing master files for digital storage, making working copies for dissemination projects (books, CDs, DVDs, internet streaming and download).  Whew!  It’s a lot, and that’s where we need the financial help.  We need funds to increase our workforce by at least one extra person.  Then we can double the output. 


State of Oak Grove School:
As a parent of a young man who graduated from 12th grade a couple of years ago, I keep a fond eye on the school.  I wish all of you could come and see it in operation.  From the solar powered horticultural project that grows flowers and vegetables and baby oak trees for the nearby wetlands restoration, to the confident young high schoolers about to embark on January projects month, the campus is at once thriving, peaceful, active and surprising.  You can visit Oak Grove at www.oakgroveschool.com

What do they need money for?  Well, teachers support the school by accepting lower than average salaries, so faculty support means a lot to them.  Oak Grove needs help with facilities and equipment, like any school – right now they could really use a gift of $5,000 to upgrade the high school student center with a good film projector and speakers.  That would help not only high schoolers display their video and music projects to best advantage, but it would help with screenings of Krishnamurti talks and with special events presentations.  And the kitchen needs $3,000 for a new air conditioner.  The amazing and award-winning chef Irmgard James deserves to be cooled off during those hot summer Ojai days, whether she is cooking 200 vegetarian lunches a day for the entire school, or making the wonderful food for the KFA’s Dialogue Weekends.  And the scholarship fund needs special generous friends to reach its goal of $50,000 this year, so it can help needy students stay in school.  If you’re inspired to give to Oak Grove, click
here.

 

Chief Peak, Ojai
 
Chief Peak in Ojai, after rain.

State of the Oak Grove Preserve:

So many of you have sent in gifts large and small to help with the unexpected costs of saving the oak grove from bark beetle devastation.  And it’s working!  An early morning walk through the grove now reveals a different place than a couple of months ago.  Then 37 dying and dead trees were felled to the ground, waiting to be chipped, quarantined and carted away.  Trees under tremendous stress from beetles and drought were marked with yellow tape to see if they could be saved, and teams of men under the direction of our arborist were laying in the irrigation lines that will help the remaining trees make it through tough drought conditions with enough moisture in their sap to stave off the beetles. 

What a difference a few weeks, your donations, and two good rainstorms make.  Today, looking out my window at the grove below, I can see that the core of the grove remains strong.  The trees are dripping with the aftermath of a heavy rainstorm, and I can smell that potent combination of earth, vegetation and rain.  We still need to raise money to help with the replanting that is just beginning.  If you have a special connection to the oak grove preserve, you can help make sure we can do a full restoration and still meet our other responsibilities without cutting corners.  To make a donation, click here.

There are so many ways your gifts support getting the teachings out into the world.  Did you pick up a Krishnamurti book one day that changed how you explore your life?  K Publications does so much with not much money.  You can see their new catalogue by clicking here. 

Have you reflected on how much educators can nourish rather than simply channel a child?  Perhaps the Teacher’s Academy program is something you either want to consider taking, or supporting.  It’s growing this year.  In addition to three weeks in Ojai in the summer of 2008, it will also be presented in Swannick, British Columbia.  Click here for more information. 

The college student summer study program is expanding also, scheduled for both Ojai and Swannick next summer.  You can check all our program dates and get more information by going to the Calendar Section below.

College Student Program

I hope this year-end thumbnail gives you a small taste of how we are going and growing, and where we’re held back.  Your dollars go a long, long way.  We use them wisely and try to keep both the legacy of the teachings and the programs that explore them strong and reaching further all the time. 

As a way of expressing our thanks for much needed financial help, we offer select complimentary publications at the various giving levels.  Here's a quick look.


  ♦ $35-$99:  The Bulletin, an annual publication of previously unpublished talks. 
  ♦ $100 and up:  The above, plus a CD of The Real Revolution: Disk One.
  ♦ $250 and up:  The above, plus a CD of The Real Revolution: Disk Two.
  ♦ $500 and up:  The above, plus the DVD Holistic Observation (Ojai, ‘82, #1)  
  ♦ $1,000 and up:  The above, plus the publication The Book of Life.

And right now, we are including our full-color 2008 calendar for those who can give at $250 and up before December 31st. 

 

Thank you for considering making a year-end gift.  You can do that online by clicking HERE to make your gift and select the program of your choice, including the Complete Teachings Digitization Project, and Oak Grove School.  Or call Jackie at 805-646-2726, X.16; or email her at jackie@kfa.org.

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NEW!! THE KFA DISPLAY CALENDAR FOR 2008 IS HERE.
A beautiful full color calendar of photographs by Friedrich Grohe, accompanied by quotes from Krishnamurti's teachings.

Price: $11.95.  Donors contributing $250 or more before December 31st get a free calendar in addition to other benefits.                                  

2008 KFA Calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to place your order, or call the order department toll free for US customers at (866) 552-6651.

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CALENDAR UPDATES

Ojai Winter Dialogues
February 15th-18th, 2008
Ojai, California
Topic: The Wholeness of Relationship - Is Relationship a Living Thing?

What, in daily life, is our relationship with each other and on what is it based? Is it based on knowledge and experience that breeds emotional and/or intellectual conclusions? Could it be based on memory that creates the image of you and me? Or perhaps our so-called relationship is based on mutual dependency and attachment?

“As we live daily, our relationship is a peculiar affair.”
— J. Krishnamurti, Brockwood Park, 1978

What seems to be ‘peculiar’ about our relationship to life and to each other? What is the significance of relationship as it actually is? How do we approach the fact of relationship? Are we afraid to go into the fact and face it? Do we hug the status quo through fear, or through force of habit, or are we just dull human beings?

Can we put aside our images and our fears and begin to look into this matter of relationship as a whole? Can we come together and begin to respond totally rather than partially? If indeed relationship is the whole structure of society then maybe it begins with what is our relationship now?

“As long as we are not thinking together there is no real relationship. When we think together conflict comes to an end. Thinking together, relationship undergoes a radical change.”
— J. Krishnamurti, Saanen, 1979

The beautiful campus of Oak Grove School will provide the venue for the Weekend Dialogue and Retreat. The event begins on Friday, Feb. 15th, at 6:30 PM with a Buffet Dinner in the high school library and ends Monday, Feb. 18th, at 3 PM.

When you register by check or credit card (Visa or MasterCard only, please) you will be sent material relevant to the topic along with directions and a list of local accommodations. Please note: special rates for seniors and students, and the discount of $25.00 on all rates for those who register by Tuesday, February 5th.

For more information, click here, or call Diane White at 805-646-2726, X. 20, or email her at dialogue@kfa.org.


Annual May Gathering
May 3rd and 4th, 2008
Ojai, California

SAVE THE DATES: This event is free for the public and takes place on the campus of Oak Grove School. Registration is not required. More information will be posted soon. The event comprises speakers, panel discussions, video and audio selections of Krishnamurti. Spend an early summer weekend with us and meet others who are interested in the teachings.

University Student Summer Study Program
June 25th through July 9th, 2008
Ojai, California
For more information, click here.
 
Teacher’s Academy
June 30th through July 19th, 2008
Swannick, British Columbia, Canada
Open to educators from around the world.  For more information, click here.


Adult Summer Dialogue Intensive
July 13th through 19th, 2008
Ojai, California

For more information, click here.

University Student Summer Study Program
June 25th through July 9th, 2008
Swannick, British Columbia, Canada

For more information, click here.


Teacher’s Academy
July 28th through August 15th, 2008
Ojai, California
Open to educators from around the world.  For more information, click here.

Santa Sabina Dialogue Retreat
August 22nd to 24th, 2008

SAVE THE DATES for this unique opportunity to spend a peaceful weekend in the beautiful Santa Sabina Retreat, near San Francisco. As with other Dialogue Weekends, a specific topic initiates the dialogue process, which is augmented by video and/or audio of Krishnamurti.

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Until next time,
Troy

P.S.  Don’t forget you can subscribe to the Daily Quote service by going to www.jkrishnamurti.org .  And you can download excerpts of talks and videos there too.

To contact Troy Sumrall, call 805-646-2726, x. 30, or email him at troy@kfa.org.

 

Krishnamurti Foundation of America
P.O. Box 1560, Ojai, CA 93024  Ph 805-646-2726 Email: kfa@kfa.org  Web: http://www.kfa.org/