correspondence; krishnamurti story

Mrs I. Marrett of Brisbane, Australia writes:

“All I decided was that Daoism matched quite well with how I thought about the world

“(pokes out her tongue!)”

To which the Yatima Organization replies, maturely: Yeah, well nyerny.

Anent recent discussions of Harry Harlow, Mr A. Swartz of San Francisco, California writes to recommend Robert Karen’s Becoming Attached. It does sound fabulous – but it’s not in the San Francisco Public Library! Or the Mechanics Library! The Yatima Organization grumpily resigns itself to actually buying a book.

Time for a Kiva update! Faalevela Robertson, who runs the store in Samoa, has repaid 8% of her loan. Randomly, it turns out that Marcio who I know through work is a co-investor in Faalevela’s business: I find this ultra cool. Meanwhile in Kenya, Sarah Mukuhi Ndungu is kicking it out of the park! She has already repaid 20% of the money she borrowed in March to buy a dairy cow. HOT DAMN, WOMAN.

So here’s the thing about Krishnamurti. During the Great Not Getting Into Oxford Tantrum of ’93, my mother, who let’s not forget is Awesome, arranged for me to spend a week at the beautiful Stroud Monastery on a hill in the bush north of Sydney.

At that point Stroud was still run by the Poor Clares and by Wendy Hope Solling, Sister Angela, a delightful lunatic who built the mud brick cabins by hand after recovering from breast cancer. At one point she’d died on the operating table. God sent her back with this message:

“Death is dancy, darlings. There’s light and flowers and the most glorious music and we’ll all just be dancing and dancing!”

This all took place before I realized I was a sardonic supporting character in the movie of my life, back when still I thought I was the tragic female lead, so things were about as bad and crazy as they could be. I used to fall asleep with my hand on the earth wall so I wouldn’t float away in the night. Naturally I desperately wanted Sister Angela to like me and to See My Potential, so every time I opened my mouth it was to say something banal, unintentionally offensive or outright idiotic.

And naturally there was another woman there, much much older – probably about the age I am now – extremely cute, funny as hell and originally from California:

“A little nowhere place called Ojai. Spelt Oh jay ay eye, but pronounced Oh hi! You’ve never heard of it.”

“Just read a novel set there,” I said snottily. This was true, but I’m buggered if I can remember the title or anything else about it, and my Google-fu fails me.

“Oh really?” she said kindly, tactfully shifting her attention back to Sister Angela. “So anyway there are these two Great Ironies that define my life. First is that I spent twenty years trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, meditating. I’d sit down and there would just be this huge, vacant… nothing.”

“Darling, that’s what you meditate FOR.”

“Of course! And it took me twenty years to work that out. I know, right? And THEN, I’ve spent these twenty years travelling – Tibet, Nepal, an island out in the Hebrides where I worked on an oil rig, and the whole time I have been looking for the teacher who will make it all make sense for me. And eventually I give up and go back to Ojai, and THAT’S when I meet Krishnamurti…”

Sister Angela, laughing: “He’d been there all along.”

“Half a mile from the house I grew up in, yes.”

We fade out on gales of laughter and larval Rachel scowling bitterly into her bread pudding.

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