Alone and Uncontaminated
It’s beautiful to be alone. To be alone does not mean to be lonely. It means the mind is not influenced and contaminated by society. – Jiddu Krishanmurti
I would say rather, that it is beautiful to be able to be alone. Humans, however, do not function well in isolation. Humans need connection. The first remark by the Creator upon observing his newly created creature was that "It is not good that man should be alone," whereupon he made him a companion. That companion turned out to be less than perfect, or at least she chose to be less than perfect. Free will is always dangerous in a sentient being.
Connection as it turns out is not contamination. It is essential. We can't sit in our ashrams on our rice pillows and avoid contamination from less than perfect communication.
Contamination comes from within ourselves primarily, not from without. What is without that is corrupt has come from within all of us. Let us instead seek out connection with that which is beautiful and good and clean and make that part of ourselves.
We cannot build walls between ourselves and the world and hope to be made pure and holy in and of ourselves. Isolated in a cocoon, we eventually rot. We must break free from the cocoon in order to spread our wings and fly. We need the air, the food, the rain, the love of our fellows and our God in order to become free of contamination. These things give us strength to fly above the corruption and filth of "the world".
The contamination that Guru Krishanmurti seems to fear is not the world in general as he seems to believe. There is a kind of sewer system that runs through the world and collects the effluent of mankind. If you stay out of the sewer and hang out with other butterflies, you can at least avoid a lot of accidental "contamination".
I never liked that word "contamination" anyway. The use of the word "contamination" in that context feels like the words of someone who thinks that he has a certain innate moral superiority to the rest of us. I beg to differ.
The purest human to ever walk the earth, did not fear contamination. He did not isolate himself on his guru's mountain and demand that people approach him at a distance. He got down among the people. He touched the lepers, the cripples, the tax collectors, greedy capitalists, the prostitutes and even the smug religionists and in that touch he healed them without receiving any contamination himself. Not that Jesus didn't spend time alone, but it was not for the purpose of avoiding contamination.
I go to be alone, for the reasons Jesus did, to spend time connecting, not with myself, but with God. It's like taking a mental shower. God scrubs our souls and sends us back out into the mire that we might reach out to those who need love and compassion, to minister to the folk who might be less than pristine in their purity. There is no contamination to be had in doing that.
We may walk through the darkest places on Earth if we stay connected with God for it is in those dark places, we may lift up others from the muck and mire and lead them home. You don't get that by sitting on your rice pillow trying to avoid "contamination". That's where I break ranks with Eastern mystics. I don't find them mystical. I find them a bit goofy.
I figure it's probably because they spend too much time alone.