Richard Waxberg & Deborah Kerner: Rediscovering the Inquiry: An Exploration into Freedom
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The role of dialogical exploration, in the sense that Krishnamurti used it, is often misunderstood. To discover something new, a new way of ‘seeing’ and ‘listening’ that goes beyond the limitations of ‘consciousness’, beyond thought and its structures, suggests that we are able to ‘see’ our reactions as an expression of our inner resistance, to have an insight into how our conditioning, which forms pockets of resistance, traps the movement of energy keeping us tethered to the limitations of what we know.
Dialogue as exploration is an opening up of closed doors, doors closed in order to protect ourselves from what we do not ‘see’ and do not ‘know’. If we can enter into dialogical exploration without the authority of ‘consciousness’ narrating what it believes is arising, then we are free to discover something entirely new, then we are free to allow light to enter into the darkness and the habitual, mechanical operations of consciousness.
We long to be free; free of fear, free of suffering, free of limitations, free of our accumulated histories and stories about ourselves. Dialogical exploration can help to free us from everything that would drag us down into the mud of ‘time’. But in order for dialogical exploration to open the doors of perception, we need to see how our perception is being shaped by our beliefs, concepts and opinions. All of that is easily revealed through our reactions. Once we ‘see’ with clarity how consciousness is narrating whatever is arising, the potential is there to be free of it. That ‘seeing’ is the natural life and energy of inquiry, an exploration into freedom. Please join us for a morning inquiry, either Saturday or Sunday, for a glimpse into the potential for freeing ourselves.
Richard Waxberg and Deborah Kerner started and facilitated the 8-Day Fully-Immersive Dialogical Inquiry & Retreat Programs for the Krishnamurti Foundation of America in 2005. Their new Intensive Retreat, Explorations into Freedom, takes place in June and October each year.
Richard is a practicing writer and artist. He was a full-time college instructor for 20 years, teaching art and design, art history and aesthetics for Parsons School of Design in New York City. Deborah is a practicing poet, artist and designer. She has a distinguished career as a book designer with clients such as Random House and HarperCollins.
Both Richard and Deborah taught a variety of art and design courses at the Krishnamurti Rishi Valley School in India. They also participated in numerous dialogues, including inquiries into the meaning of education, held at Krishnamurti Schools and Centers throughout India.
Eric Hassett coordinates the monthly dialogue and video showing in Ojai—Looking, Listening, and Shared Inquiry—which is free and open to the public on the fourth Saturday of each month. Eric also moderates the Krishnamurti Network online community.
“A lifelong appreciation of Krishnamurti’s teachings and a longtime passion for dialogue and inquiry make me want to bring people together from all walks of life to share in the kind of open-ended exploration in which Krishnamurti invited us to partake. Whether taking the form of in-person gatherings or online discussions, when people come together to inquire into fundamental questions of living and attempt to observe not just the content of thought but its process in operation, it not only has the potential of deepening one’s mere intellectual understanding (in part by hearing others’ perspectives), but also offers a unique opportunity to see oneself in ‘the mirror of relationship’ — and possibly open the door to insights heretofore inaccessible during solitary contemplation.”
Kathy Franklin and Terry O’Connor: Intentional Dialogue
“To go far, you must begin very near, but to begin near is very difficult for most of us because we want to escape from “what is,” from the fact of what we are.” – Krishnamurti
This dialogue is an attempt to begin very near by exploring the nature of our own selves as they express themselves in our daily lives. We look at the personal in the context of the universal and question the limits of the personal. Krishnamurti’s teachings are a point of departure, but the inquiry is our own. We seek understanding not through external sources but through observation of the subjective experience through which the world appears and the expression of that in our relationship with the natural and social world. Inquiring together as a group creates a microcosm of the larger society and a mirror in which we can see our conditioning reflected as we expose ourselves to one another and to ourselves. The aim of group inquiry is not problem-solving or self-improvement but self-discovery. As the self tends to become defensive and resistant to examination when threatened it is important to create an environment in which everyone is respected. A dialogue rooted in affection is vastly different from a dialogue of the intellect. This affection is an outcome of listening and requires a suspension of judgment.
We begin with a reading on the topic followed by five minutes of silence. After the silent period, we go around the circle and check in with a question, observation, or personal sharing related to the topic. People who don’t want to speak may pass. After the go around, the group is spontaneous. We like to stay close to the topic for the whole dialogue and to keep the dialogue in the here and now as much as possible.
Kathy Franklin and Terry O’Connor are retired psychotherapists who found Krishnamurti’s teachings invaluable in their work. They have hosted a dialogue in their home since 1992, and have organized the annual Memorial Day Krishnamurti Dialogue and Gathering in Maryland since it began in 1995.
Mary Kelley: Quiet Reflection and Dialogue
It seems to me that the only way to really learn–or, perhaps, unlearn in the way Krishnamurti proposes– is to share in the actual experience of observing our human conditioning with our fellow-learners. This process may allow us to strip away the layers of falsehood in which thought shrouds us, thus allowing us greater freedom to find out, from moment to moment, what is truth. I invite any who join me to experience the process of ‘Quiet Reflection and Dialogue’ using the same approach the 5th grade students and I engage in as a means to explore the question: What is learning? The intention is to see if it is possible to set aside our preconceived ideas, conclusions and theories around ‘learning’ and create a space where something new might be discovered. Those who choose to come are invited either to participate in the dialogue or to simply observe the process.
I was born on an island in the Nile River and the first words I learned to speak were Arabic. As both of my parents are educators and students of Krishnamurti’s teachings, growing up in Connecticut I was always exposed to challenging study at home and fun, weekend enrichment classroom-activities with my mother. But it was the unmistakably clear message of Krishnamurti’s example of free inquiry and learning that really awakened me to the possibility—or to the necessity—of dedicating my whole life to the vocation of teaching children at the elementary-school level. The inevitable deficiencies of my regular college-training in education were very thankfully ameliorated by an excellent graduate program at the University of New Haven and by the enriching experience of two different “Teachers’ Academy” programs I attended at Oak Grove School and the Pepper Tree Retreat in 2007 and 2013, and also the wonderful experience of participating as a volunteer Art & Literacy teacher at The Valley School in Bangalore, India, for a year in 2009. After working for four years in a public school in Connecticut I am most fortunate to be in my 4th year as the fifth-grade teacher at Oak Grove School, which is the fulfillment of my dream: to teach and learn in an exceptional place where education is understood as the blossoming of life!