My First Visit to the Krishnamurti Centre

By Michael Ledwith

Sitting Room

It doesn't take long for a walk to become a stroll when one first enters the grounds and gardens of Brockwood Park. Rabbits and squirrels in numbers I hadn't seen since my childhood bustled about their daily business unperturbed by my arrival. Birds sweetly sung from the branches of the oak, ash and beech trees as I reminisced about the similarities to the Ireland of my youth. And then there it was; nestled in the middle of forty acres of this beautiful wooded English countryside stood the curved red-bricked building that is the Krishnamurti Centre.

There is a sense of agelessness to the building and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't quite place it. It felt both old and new, aged and modern. I entered and explored, gaping in wonder at its architecture. The solid wooden construction beams gave it a natural antiquated feel, with a craftsmanship not often seen in today's world, yet the design was so open, contemporary and clever that it left me perplexed. Perplexed but I knew I loved it.

Big Room Upstairs

Making my way to my room with the quaint little map that had been left under the mat for me, I had to admire how something could be created with such beauty and detail whilst retaining a sense of simplicity and humility. It was later I learned of how this came to be. The architect was none other than Keith Critchlow of the Royal College of Art. Keith had also been a teacher at the Architectural Association and he had certainly refined his architectural technique to an art form.

Arriving at my lodgings I found a clean, modest yet comfortable room and I unpacked and lay down for a rest after my long trip ... and that's when it happened. Silence! I didn't know I had missed it so much, that it had been so long. Five, six, maybe seven years since I had heard nothing, no rattles, no hums, just nothing. That silence, that nothingness, was something so relaxing, so centring and calming, that I pledged never to forget its importance again. I lay in silent appreciation of nothing for over an hour, as nothing slowly filled and relaxed my mind and muscles. I felt like a battery recharging. How could I have forgotten?

Library

Over the next few days I had my many curiosities satisfied as I explored the wondrous building. Life really is lived at a different pace at the Centre. The sense of serenity creates an atmosphere conducive to reflection, meditation, learning and inquiry. Three delicious meals a day are the only thing on the timetable and the rest of the day is free. Over time I learned of the different sections of the building. At the heart of the already quiet Centre, is an even quieter ‘Quiet Room’, a doubly insulated room for reflection and meditation, which I cannot even begin to describe as it can only be experienced. There is also a library containing every book Krishnamurti has ever written, in many different languages. Visitors can also access audiocassettes, videotapes, CDs and DVDs spanning decades of Krishnamurti's inquiries.

When it was time to leave, I reflected on my stay at the Centre. I can say with great conviction that I owe it to myself and my peace of mind to return someday, but in the meantime I will have a little bit of this place and its people carried with me.


Hallway


Sitting Room with Guests