The Knee of Listening – Chapter 11



The Life and Understanding


Franklin Jones

Copyright 1971 By Franklin Jones

All rights reserved

Table of Contents



Chapter 11: The Abandonment of Effort in India

The crisis of understanding that overcame me in seminary was yet an incomplete reversal of my life. It marked only the beginning of my independence. I had passed through fear, terror and death, and what was beyond them stood out as a primary sense that I called “relationship.”

In childhood I was centered in the “bright,” the illumined pathos of living being in the face of conflict and death. But in time I became serious with death and saw the contradictions in myself and all life. Then in college I was drawn up again into the truth. And I saw that I was already free, never dying or born to die. But this knowledge seemed dependent on some kind of work in consciousness wherein the internal pattern of contradictions moving as the mind was dissolved in conscious knowledge.

Thus, I began the long time of effort that culminated in my meeting and work with Rudi. But all that effort brought me lately to another crisis in understanding. And thus in seminary I was brought to recognize something more fundamental than seeking and effort. I saw that it was not a matter of any work in consciousness or life, but of somehow constantly abiding in what is always already real. I called that reality “relationship.”

From that time I was moved to pursue this truth in a, totally new way. As a result of the experience of “death in seminary I saw that my entire life, even my spiritual effort, was only a complex adventure of avoidance, the avoidance of primary, radical relationship as the always present form of reality.

It seemed to me then that real life was a matter of constantly realizing relationship as the radical category or form of life on every level. Thus, it no longer was a matter of effort and seeking but of maintaining this true understanding under all conditions.

Everyone, including my friends in the religious community and even Rudi, tended to interpret my seminary experience negatively. In time, I realized that I had approached these people as if my experience had posed a problem for me, whereas in fact it had removed the problem and every sense of dilemma. I saw that these people and my own efforts were constantly recreating the sense of dilemma and turning life into an effort to overcome some conceived obstacle. I wanted my experience to be acknowledged as the sublime truth it was. I wanted my “madness” to be communicated and accepted as our real state. But everyone was offended by my radical, impulsive energy.

Thus, after several months in which I tried to find a way to fit myself into some form of religious career, and to maintain my work with Rudi on some kind of basis suitable to us both, I finally decided to abandon my old ways. I stopped trying to communicate my experience and my understanding. I began to try and live on its basis.

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