Favorite Things: Ezra Kelly and their copy of ‘Think on These Things’

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Ezra Kelly, who uses they/them pronouns, is a multimedia artist and musician. They discovered the book “Think on These Things” during a chance car ride with a friend. Since devouring the book, it has become their favorite thing. 

I got into my friend’s car in the Frandor parking lot back in 2016 and saw a book in her car. Her car was literally filled with so much stuff. She wouldn’t let anybody else besides me ride in it, because it was so embarrassing. I saw the book on the dashboard. There was a little pink flower on an off-white cover, so I grabbed it. At the time I was constantly wearing pink. She told me, “That’s yours! You have to read it.”

I don’t ever read books that people tell me to. I have a weird thing about discovering things for myself. It was in my backpack for a while, I was working at Target’s Starbucks and I started reading it on my breaks. I don’t get into books easily; I hadn’t even finished a book since “The Catcher in the Rye” in high school. Even just reading the names of the chapters, I knew this book would align with me well. There was “The Function of Education,” “Freedom and Love,” “Creative Discontent” and “The Myth of Life.”

It flows very poetically, and that is what I love about the author, Jiddu Krishnamurti. He is a philosopher, speaker and writer. The book is a collection of his teachings. He would give a lecture on the topic and then he would let his students ask him questions. It was really helpful to hear about how he feels, and then read how he responds to questions. It’s beautiful. If somebody asks him a question, he’ll respond by saying something like, “Have you ever sat by the river and listened to the birds fly through the trees?” He’ll go on a tangent about listening to the things around you and being aware of them. There is so much beauty and love in that. 

Krishnamurti talks about fear and love as if they are opposites, instead of hate. It’s actually really crazy, I literally underlined almost every single line this book. It really caught me because of that, I felt like I was finding something that I already naturally felt before reading the book. He also talks about the things that we are taught and how they affect us in so many ways. We become so ingrained in our conditioning and traditions. It’s good to start new traditions — that’s what he’ll say. Become your own thing and not be a replica. Do what you love. 

When I get into rereading it, I’ll just open to any page and see what the question is. That’s what I’ll think about that day. I do believe it really helped shape my understanding of myself as a human. 

Interview edited and condensed by Skyler Ashley. If you have a suggestion for Favorite Things, please email Skyler@Lansingcitypulse.com

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