Ojai, California, Wednesday, 20th April, 1983
At the end of every leaf, the large leaves and the tiny leaves, there was a drop of water sparkling in the sun like an extraordinary jewel. And there was a slight breeze but that breeze didn’t in any way disturb or destroy that drop on those leaves that were washed clean by the late rain. It was a very quiet morning, full of delight, peaceful, and with a sense of benediction in the air. And as we watched the sparkling light on every clean leaf, the earth became extraordinarily beautiful, in spite of all the telegraph wires and their ugly posts. In spite of all the noise of the world, the earth was rich, abiding, enduring. And though there were earthquakes here and there, most destructive, the earth was still beautiful. One never appreciates the earth unless one really lives with it, works with it, puts one’s hands in the dust, lifting big rocks and stones – one never knows the extraordinary sense of being with the earth, the flowers, the gigantic trees and the strong grass and the hedges along the road.
Everything was alive that morning. As we watched, there was a sense of great joy and the heavens were blue, the sun was slowly coming out of the hills and there was light. As we watched the mocking bird on the wire, it was doing its antics, jumping high, doing a somersault, then coming down on the same spot on the wire. As we watched the bird enjoying itself, jumping in the air and then coming down circling, with its shrill cries, its enjoyment of life, only that bird existed, the watcher didn’t exist. The watcher was no longer there, only the bird, grey and white, with a longish tail. That watching was without any movement of thought, watching the flurry of the bird that was enjoying itself.
We never watch for long. When we watch with great patience, watch without any sense of the watcher, watch those birds, those droplets on the quivering leaves, the bees and the flowers and the long trail of ants, then time ceases, time has a stop. One doesn’t take time to watch or have the patience to watch. One learns a great deal through watching – watching people, the way they walk, their talk, their gestures. You can see through their vanity or their negligence of their own bodies. They are indifferent, they are callous.
There was an eagle flying high in the air, circling without the beat of the wings, carried away by the air current beyond the hills and was lost. Watching, learning: learning is time but watching has no time. Or when you listen, listen without any interpretation, without any reaction, listen without any bias. Listen to that thunder in the skies, the thunder rolling among the hills. One never listens completely, there is always interruption. Watching and listening are a great art – watching and listening without any reaction, without any sense of the listener or the see-er. By watching and listening we learn infinitely more than from any book. Books are necessary, but watching and listening sharpen your senses. For, after all, the brain is the centre of all the reactions, thoughts and remembrances. But if your senses are not highly awakened you cannot really watch and listen and learn, not only how to act but about learning, which is the very soil in which the seed of goodness can grow.
When there is this simple, clear watching and listening, then there is an awareness – awareness of the colour of those flowers, red, yellow, white, of the spring leaves, the stems, so tender, so delicate, awareness of the heavens, the earth and those people who are passing by. They have been chattering along that long road, never looking at the trees, at the flowers, at the skies and the marvellous hills. They are not even aware of what is going on around them. They talk a great deal about the environment, how we must protect nature and so on, but it seems they are not aware of the beauty and the silence of the hills and the dignity of a marvellous old tree. They are not even aware of their own thoughts, their own reactions, nor are they aware of the way they walk, of their clothes. It does not mean that they are to be self-centred in their watching, in their awareness, but just be aware.
When you are aware there is a choice of what to do, what not to do, like and dislike, your biases, your fears, your anxieties, the joys which you have remembered, the pleasures that you have pursued; in all this there is choice, and we think that choice gives us freedom. We like that freedom to choose; we think freedom is necessary to choose – or, rather, that choice gives us a sense of freedom – but there is no choice when you see things very, very clearly.
And that leads us to an awareness without choice – to be aware without any like or dislike. When there is this really simple, honest, choiceless awareness it leads to another factor, which is attention. The word itself means to stretch out, to grasp, to hold on, but that is still the activity of the brain, it is in the brain. Watching, awareness, attention, are within the area of the brain, and the brain is limited – conditioned by all the ways of past generations, the impressions, the traditions and all the folly and the goodness of man. So all action from this attention is still limited, and that which is limited must inevitably bring disorder. When one is thinking about oneself from morning until night – one’s own worries, one’s own desires, demands and fulfilments – this self-centredness, being very, very limited, must cause friction in its relationship with another, who is also limited; there must be friction, there must be strain and disturbances of many kinds, the perpetual violence of human beings.
When one is attentive to all this, choicelessly aware, then out of that comes insight. Insight is not an act of remembrance, the continuation of memory. Insight is like a flash of light. You see with absolute clarity, all the complications, the consequences, the intricacies. Then this very insight is action, complete. In that there are no regrets, no looking back, no sense of being weighed down, no discrimination. This is pure, clear insight – perception without any shadow of doubt. Most of us begin with certainty and as we grow older the certainty changes to uncertainty and we die with uncertainty. But if one begins with uncertainty, doubting, questioning, asking demanding, with real doubt about man’s behaviour, about all the religious rituals and their images and their symbols, then out of that doubt comes the clarity of certainty.
When there is clear insight into violence, for instance, that very insight banishes all violence. That insight is outside the brain, if one can so put it. It is not of time. It is not of remembrance or of knowledge, and so that insight and its action changes the very brain cells. That insight is complete and from that completeness there can be logical, sane, rational, action.
This whole movement from watching, listening, to the thunder of insight, is one movement; it is not coming to it step by step. It is like a swift arrow. And that insight alone can uncondition the brain, not the effort of thought, which is determination, seeing the necessity for something; none of that will bring about total freedom from conditioning. All this is time and the ending of time. Man is time-bound and that bondage to time is the movement of thought. So where there is an ending to thought and to time there is total insight. Only then can there be the flowering of the brain. Only then can you have a complete relationship with the mind.
From Krishnamurti to Himself
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