How is mental health to be measured, and what does it mean to be truly healthy?
Having been taboo for decades, if not centuries, mental health is now being widely discussed. During these exceptional times of pandemic, many of us are confronted with psychological problems related to isolation, anxiety, loneliness, frustrations, addictions, insecurities, depression, fears and worry – issues regularly addressed by Krishnamurti. Throughout his talks and discussions, Krishnamurti reveals that we are conditioned to have problems and that taking them personally may be a fundamental error. Moreover, the realisation that one’s loneliness, for example, is common to all humanity, is essential to understanding it, being free of it and learning what it is to be fundamentally secure and well in an uncertain world.
‘It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society’ is perhaps Krishnamurti’s best-known quote, shared widely across the internet. Although we cannot attribute these exact words to Krishnamurti, he made similar statements over the decades, and it is a theme he returned to repeatedly. So, if not in relation to society, how is health, specifically mental health, to be measured, and what does it mean to be truly healthy? As we shall see in this article, a specially selected collection of text and video extracts, Krishnamurti’s notion of mental health goes way beyond that of society’s, challenging the limited approach of analysts, psychologists and religions, revealing an unshakable order, harmony and sanity.
The pursuit of the psychoanalyst has become a hobby of the well-to-do. You may not go to a psychoanalyst but you go through the same process in a different way when you look to a religious organisation, to a leader or to a discipline to free you from fixations, inhibitions and complexes. These methods may succeed in creating superficial effects, but they inevitably develop new resistances against the movement of life. No person or technique can free one from these limitations. To experience that freedom, one must comprehend life deeply and discern for oneself the process of creating and maintaining ignorance and illusion. This demands alertness and keen perception, not the mere acceptance of a technique. But as one is slothful, one depends on another for comprehension and thereby increase sorrow and confusion. The comprehension of this process of ignorance and its self-sustaining activities can alone bring about deep, abiding bliss.