The Individual and Society – J. Krishnamurti

We were walking along a crowded street. The sidewalks were heavy with people, and the smell of exhaust from the cars and buses filled our nostrils. The shops displayed many costly and shoddy things. The sky was pale silver, and it was pleasant in the park as we came out of the noisy thoroughfare. We went deeper into the park and sat down. He was saying that the State, with its militarization and legislation, was absorbing the individual almost everywhere, and that worship of the State was now taking the place of the worship of God.

In most countries the State was penetrating into the very intimate lives of its people; they were being told what to read and what to think. The State was spying upon its citizens, keeping a divine eye on them, taking over the function of the Church. It was the new religion. Man used to be a slave to the Church, but was now a slave of the State. Before it was the Church, and now it was the State that controlled his education; and neither was concerned with the liberation of man.

What is the relationship of the individual to society? Obviously, society exists for the individual, and not the other way round. Society exists for the fruition of man; it exists to give freedom to the individual so that he may have the opportunity to awaken the highest intelligence. This intelligence is not the mere cultivation of a technique or of knowledge; it is to be in touch with that creative reality which is not of the superficial mind. Intelligence is not a cumulative result, but freedom from progressive achievement and success. Intelligence is never static; it cannot be copied and standardized, and hence cannot be taught. Intelligence is to be discovered in freedom.

The collective will and its action, which is society, does not offer this freedom to the individual; for society, not being organic, is ever static. Society is made up, put together for the convenience of man; it has no independent mechanism of its own. Men may capture society, guide it, shape it, tyrannize over it, depending upon their psychological states; but society is not the master of man. It may influence him, but man always breaks it down. There is conflict between man and society because man is in conflict within himself; and the conflict is between that which is static and that which is living. Society is the outward expression of man. The conflict between himself and society is the conflict within himself. This conflict, within and without, will ever exist until the highest intelligence is awakened.

We are social entities as well as individuals; we are citizens as well as men, separate becomers in sorrow and pleasure. If there is to be peace, we have to understand the right relationship between the man and the citizen. Of course, the State would prefer us to be entirely citizens; but that is the stupidity of government. We ourselves would like to hand over the man to the citizen; for to be a citizen is easier than to be a man. To be a good citizen is to function efficiently within the pattern of a given society. Efficiency and conformity are demanded of the citizen, as they toughen him, make him ruthless; and then he is capable of sacrificing the man to the citizen.

A good citizen is not necessarily a good man; but a good man is bound to be a right citizen, not of any particular society or country. Because he is primarily a good man, his actions will not be antisocial, he will not be against another man. He will live in co-operation with other good men; he will not seek authority, for he has no authority; he will be capable of efficiency without its ruthlessness. The citizen attempts to sacrifice the man; but the man who is searching out the highest intelligence will naturally shun the stupidities of the citizen. So the State will be against the good man, the man of intelligence; but such a man is free from all governments and countries.

The intelligent man will bring about a good society; but a good citizen will not give birth to a society in which man can be of the highest intelligence. The conflict between the citizen and the man is inevitable if the citizen predominates; and any society which deliberately disregards the man is doomed. There is reconciliation between the citizen and the man only when the psychological process of man is understood. The State, the present society, is not concerned with the inner man, but only with the outer man, the citizen. It may deny the inner man, but he always overcomes the outer, destroying the plans cunningly devised for the citizen.

The State sacrifices the present for the future, ever safeguarding itself for the future; it regards the future as all-important, and not the present. But to the intelligent man, the present is of the highest importance, the now and not the tomorrow. What is can be understood only with the fading of tomorrow. The understanding of what is brings about transformation in the immediate present. It is this transformation that is of supreme importance, and not how to reconcile the citizen with the man. When this transformation takes place, the conflict between the man and the citizen ceases.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Commentaries on Living, V.1, Chapter 20

The New Human Being – J. Krishnamurti

Questioner: I am a reformer, a social worker. Seeing the extraordinary injustice there is in the world my whole life has been dedicated to reform. I used to be a Communist but I can’t go along with Communism any more, it has ended in tyranny. Nevertheless, I am still dedicated to reforming society so that man can live in dignity, beauty and freedom, and realize the potential which nature seems to have given him, and which he himself seems always to have stolen from his fellow man. In America there is a certain kind of freedom, and yet standardization and propaganda are very strong there – all the mass media exert a tremendous pressure on the mind. It seems that the power of television, this mechanical thing that man has invented, has developed its own personality, its own will, its own momentum; and though probably nobody – perhaps not even any one group – is deliberately using it to influence society, its trend shapes the very souls of our children. And this is the same in varying degrees in all democracies. In China there seems to be no hope at all for the dignity or freedom of man, while in India the government is weak, corrupt and inefficient. It seems to me that all the social injustice in the world absolutely must be changed. I want passionately to do something about it, yet I don’t know where to begin to tackle it.

Krishnamurti: Reform needs further reform, and this is an endless process. So let us look at it differently. Let us put aside the whole thought of reform; let us wipe it out of our blood. Let us completely forget this idea of wanting to reform the world. Then let us see actually what is happening, right throughout the world. Political parties always have a limited programme which, even if fulfilled, invariably brings about mischief, which then has to be corrected once again. We are always talking about political action as being a most important action, but political action is not the way. Let us put it out of our minds. All social and economic reforms come under this category. Then there is the religious formula of action based on belief, idealism, dogmatism, conformity to some so-called divine recipe. In this is involved authority and acceptance, obedience and the utter denial of freedom. Though religions talk of peace on earth they contribute to the disorder because they are a factor of division. Also the churches have always taken some political stand in times of crisis, so they are really political bodies, and we have seen that all political action is divisive. The churches have never really denied war: on the contrary they have waged war. So when one puts aside the religious recipes, as one puts aside the political formulas – what is left, and what is one to do? Naturally civic order must be maintained: you have to have water in the taps. If you destroy civic order you have to start again from the beginning. So, what is one to do?

Questioner: That is what I am actually asking you.

Krishnamurti: Be concerned with radical change, with total revolution. The only revolution is the revolution between man and man, between human beings. That is our only concern. In this revolution there are no blueprints, no ideologies, no conceptual utopias. We must take the fact of the actual relationship between men and change that radically. That is the real thing. And this revolution must be immediate, it must not take time. It is not achieved through evolution, which is time.

Questioner: What do you mean? All historical changes have taken place in time; none of them has been immediate. You are proposing something quite inconceivable.

Krishnamurti: If you take time to change, do you suppose that life is in suspension during the time it takes to change? It isn’t in suspension. Everything you are trying to change is being modified and perpetuated by the environment, by life itself. So there is no end to it. It is like trying to clean the water in a tank which is constantly being refilled with dirty water. So time is out. Now, what is to bring about this change? It cannot be will, or determination, or choice, or desire, because all these are part of the entity that has to be changed. So we must ask what actually is possible, without the action of will and assertiveness which is always the action of conflict.

Questioner: Is there any action which is not the action of will and assertiveness?

Krishnamurti: Instead of asking this question let us go much deeper. Let us see that actually it is only the action of will and assertiveness that needs to be changed at all, because the only mischief in relationship is conflict, between individuals or within individuals, and conflict is will and assertiveness. Living without such action does not mean that we live like vegetables. Conflict is our main concern. All the social maladies you mentioned are the projection of this conflict in the heart of each human being. The only possible change is a radical transformation of yourself in all your relationships, not in some vague future, but now.

Questioner: But how can I completely eradicate this conflict in myself, this contradiction, this resistance, this conditioning? I understand what you mean intellectually, but I can only change when I feel it passionately, and I don’t feel it passionately. It is merely an idea to me; I don’t see it with my heart. If I try to act on this intellectual understanding I am in conflict with another, deeper, part of myself.

Krishnamurti: If you really see this contradiction passionately, then that very perception is the revolution. If you see in yourself this division between the mind and the heart, actually see it, not conceive of it theoretically, but see it, then the problem comes to an end. A man who is passionate about the world and the necessity for change, must be free from political activity, religious conformity and tradition – which means, free from the weight of time, free from the burden of the past, free from all the action of will: this is the new human being. This only is the social, psychological, and even the political revolution.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Urgency of Change

 

Ending Thought – J. Krishnamurti

Questioner: I wonder what you really mean by ending thought. I talked to a friend about it and he said it is some kind of oriental nonsense. To him thought is the highest form of intelligence and action, the very salt of life, indispensable. It has created civilization, and all relationship is based on it. All of us accept this, from the greatest thinker to the humblest labourer. When we don’t think we sleep, vegetate or daydream; we are vacant, dull and unproductive, whereas when we are awake we are thinking, doing, living, quarrelling: these are the only two states we know. You say, be beyond both – beyond thought and vacant inactivity. What do you mean by this?

Krishnamurti: Very simply put, thought is the response of memory, the past. The past is an infinity or a second ago. When thought acts it is this past which is acting as memory, as experience, as knowledge, as opportunity. All will is desire based on this past and directed towards pleasure or the avoidance of pain. When thought is functioning it is the past, therefore there is no new living at all; it is the past living in the present, modifying itself and the present. So there is nothing new in life that way, and when something new is to be found there must be the absence of the past, the mind must not be cluttered up with thought, fear, pleasure, and everything else. Only when the mind is uncluttered can the new come into being, and for this reason we say that thought must be still, operating only when it has to – objectively, efficiently. All continuity is thought; when there is continuity there is nothing new. Do you see how important this is? It’s really a question of life itself. Either you live in the past, or you live totally differently: that is the whole point.

Questioner: I think I do see what you mean, but how in the world is one to end this thought? When I listen to the blackbird there is thought telling me instantly it is the blackbird; when I walk down the street thought tells me I am walking down the street and tells me all I recognise and see; when I play with the notion of not thinking it is again thought that plays this game. All meaning and understanding and communication are thought. Even when I am not communicating with someone else I am doing so with myself. When I am awake, I think, when I am asleep I think. The whole structure of my being is thought. Its roots lie far deeper than I know. All I think and do and all I am is thought, thought creating pleasure and pain, appetites, longings, resolutions, conclusions, hopes, fears and questions. Thought commits murder and thought forgives. So how can one go beyond it? Isn’t it thought again which seeks to go beyond it?

Krishnamurti: We both said, when thought is still, something new can be. We both saw that point clearly and to understand it clearly is the ending of thought.

Questioner: But that understanding is also thought.

Krishnamurti: Is it? You assume that it is thought, but is it, actually?

Questioner: It is a mental movement with meaning, a communication to oneself.

Krishnamurti: If it is a communication to oneself it is thought. But is understanding a mental movement with meaning?

Questioner: Yes it is.

Krishnamurti: The meaning of the word and the understanding of that meaning is thought. That is necessary in life. There thought must function efficiently. It is a technological matter. But you are not asking that. You are asking how thought, which is the very movement of life as you know it, can come to an end. Can it only end when you die? That is really your question, isn’t it?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: That is the right question. Die! Die to the past, to tradition.

Questioner: But how?

Krishnamurti: The brain is the source of thought. The brain is matter and thought is matter. Can the brain – with all its reactions and its immediate responses to every challenge and demand – can that brain be very still? It is not a question of ending thought, but of whether the brain can be completely still. Can it act with full capacity when necessary and otherwise be still? This stillness is not physical death. See what happens when the brain is completely still. See what happens.

Questioner: In that space there was a blackbird, the green tree, the blue sky, the man hammering next door, the sound of the wind in the trees and my own heartbeat, the total quietness of the body. That is all.

Krishnamurti: If there was recognition of the blackbird singing, then the brain was active, was interpreting. It was not still. This really demands tremendous alertness and discipline, the watching that brings its own discipline, not imposed or brought about by your unconscious desire to achieve a result or a pleasurable new experience. Therefore during the day thought must operate effectively, sanely, and also watch itself.

Questioner: That is easy, but what about going beyond it?

Krishnamurti: Who is asking this question? Is it the desire to experience something new or is it the enquiry? If it is the enquiry, then you must enquire and investigate the whole business of thinking and be completely familiar with it, know all its tricks and subtleties. If you have done this you will know that the question of going beyond thought is an empty one. Going beyond thought is knowing what thought is.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Urgency of Change

 

Awareness – J. Krishnamurti

j-krishnamurtiQuestioner: I should like to know what you mean by awareness because you have often said that awareness is really what your teaching is about. I’ve tried to understand it by listening to your talks and reading your books, but I don’t seem to get very far. I know it is not a practice, and I understand why you so emphatically repudiate any kind of practice, drill, system, discipline or routine. I see the importance of that, for otherwise it becomes mechanical, and at the end of it the mind has become dull and stupid. I should like, if I may, to explore with you to the very end this question of what it means to be aware. You seem to give some extra, deeper meaning to this word, and yet it seems to me that we are aware of what’s going on all the time. When I’m angry I know it, when I’m sad I know it and when I’m happy I know it.

Krishnamurti: I wonder if we really are aware of anger, sadness, happiness? Or are we aware of these things only when they are all over? Let us begin as though we know nothing about it at all and start from scratch. Let us not make any assertions, dogmatic or subtle, but let us explore this question which, if one really went into it very deeply, would reveal an extraordinary state that the mind had probably never touched, a dimension not touched by superficial awareness. Let us start from the superficial and work through. We see with our eyes, we perceive with our senses the things about us – the colour of the flower, the humming bird over the flower the light of this Californian sun, the thousand sounds of different qualities and subtleties, the depth and the height, the shadow of the tree and the tree itself. We feel in the same way our own bodies, which are the instruments of these different kinds of superficial, sensory perceptions. If these perceptions remained at the superficial level there would be no confusion at all. That flower, that pansy, that rose, are there, and that’s all there is to it. There is no preference, no comparison, no like and dislike, only the thing before us without any psychological involvement. Is all this superficial sensory perception or awareness quite clear? It can be expanded to the stars, to the depth of the seas, and to the ultimate frontiers of scientific observation, using all the instruments of modern technology.

Questioner: Yes, I think I understand that.

Krishnamurti: So you see that the rose and all the universe and the people in it, your own wife if you have one, the stars, the seas, the mountains, the microbes, the atoms, the neutrons, this room, the door, really are there. Now, the next step; what you think about these things, or what you feel about them, is your psychological response to them. And this we call thought or emotion. So the superficial awareness is a very simple matter: the door is there. But the description of the door is not the door, and when you get emotionally involved in the description you don’t see the door. This description might be a word or a scientific treatise or a strong emotional response; none of these is the door itself. This is very important to understand right from the beginning. If we don’t understand this we shall get more and more confused. The description is never the described. Though we are describing something even now, and we have to, the thing we are describing is not our description of it, so please bear this in mind right through our talk. Never confuse the word with the thing it describes. The word is never the real, and we are easily carried away when we come to the next stage of awareness where it becomes personal and we get emotional through the word.

So there is the superficial awareness of the tree, the bird, the door, and there is the response to that, which is thought, feeling, emotion. Now when we become aware of this response, we might call it a second depth of awareness. There is the awareness of the rose, and the awareness of the response to the rose. Often we are unaware of this response to the rose. In reality it is the same awareness which sees the rose and which sees the response. It is one movement and it is wrong to speak of the outer and inner awareness. When there is a visual awareness of the tree without any psychological involvement there is no division in relationship. But when there is a psychological response to the tree, the response is a conditioned response, it is the response of past memory, past experiences, and the response is a division in relationship. This response is the birth of what we shall call the “me” in relationship and the “non-me”. This is how you place yourself in relationship to the world. This is how you create the individual and the community. The world is seen not as it is, but in its various relationships to the “me” of memory. This division is the life and the flourishing of everything we call our psychological being, and from this arises all contradiction and division. Are you very clear that you perceive this? When there is the awareness of the tree there is no evaluation. But when there is a response to the tree, when the tree is judged with like and dislike, then a division takes place in this awareness as the “me” and the “non-me”, the “me” who is different from the thing observed. This “me” is the response, in relationship, of past memory, past experiences. Now can there be an awareness, an observation of the tree, without any judgement, and can there be an observation of the response, the reactions, without any judgement? In this way we eradicate the principle of division, the principle of “me” and “non-me”, both in looking at the tree and in looking at ourselves.

Questioner: I’m trying to follow you. Let’s see if I have got it right. There is an awareness of the tree, that I understand. There is a psychological response to the tree, that I understand also. The psychological response is made up of past memories and past experiences, it is like and dislike, it is the division into the tree and the “me”. Yes, I think I understand all that.

Krishnamurti: Is this as clear as the tree itself, or is it simply the clarity of description? Remember, as we have already said, the described is not the description. What have you got, the thing or its description?

Questioner: I think it is the thing.

Krishnamurti: Therefore there is no “me” who is the description in the seeing of this fact. In the seeing of any fact there is no “me”. There is either the “me” or the seeing, there can’t be both. “Me” is non-seeing. The “me” cannot see, cannot be aware. Questioner: May I stop here? I think I’ve got the feeling of it, but I must let it sink in. May I come again tomorrow?

* * *

Questioner: I think I have really understood, non-verbally, what you said yesterday. There is the awareness of the tree, there is the conditioned response to the tree, and this conditioned response is conflict, it is the action of memory and past experiences, it is like and dislike, it is prejudice. I also understand that this response of prejudice is the birth of what we call the “me” or the censor. I see clearly that the “me”, the “I”, exists in all relationships. Now is there an “I” outside of relationships?

Krishnamurti: We have seen how heavily conditioned our responses are. When you ask if there is a “me” outside of relationship, it becomes a speculative question as long as there is no freedom from these conditioned responses. Do you see that? So our first question is not whether there is a “me” or not outside of conditioned responses, but rather, can the mind, in which is included all our feelings, be free of this conditioning, which is the past? The past is the “me”. There is no “me” in the present. As long as the mind is operating in the past there is the “me”, and the mind is this past, the mind is this “me”.

You can’t say there is the mind and there is the past, whether it is the past of a few days ago or of ten thousand years ago. So we are asking: can the mind free itself from yesterday? Now there are several things involved, aren’t there? First of all there is a superficial awareness. Then there is the awareness of the conditioned response. Then there is the realization that the mind is the past, the mind is this conditioned response. Then there is the question whether this mind can free itself of the past. And all this is one unitary action of awareness because in this there are no conclusions. When we say the mind is the past, this realization is not a verbal conclusion but an actual perception of fact. The French have a word for such a perception of a fact, they call it “constatation”. When we ask whether the mind can be free of the past is this question being asked by the censor, the “me”, who is that very past?

Questioner: Can the mind be free of the past.

Krishnamurti: Who is putting that question? Is it the entity who is the result of a great many conflicts, memories and experiences – is it he who is asking – or does this question arise of itself, out of the perception of the fact? If it is the observer who is putting the question, then he is trying to escape from the fact of himself, because, he says, I have lived so long in pain, in trouble, in sorrow, I should like to go beyond this constant struggle. If he asks the question from that motive his answer will be a taking refuge in some escape. One either turns away from a fact or one faces it. And the word and the symbol are a turning away from it. In fact, just to ask this question at all is already an act of escape, is it not? Let us be aware whether this question is or is not an act of escape. If it is, it is noise. If there is no observer, then there is silence, a complete negation of the whole past. Questioner: Here I am lost. How can I wipe away the past in a few seconds?

Krishnamurti: Let us bear in mind that we are discussing awareness. We are talking over together this question of awareness.

There is the tree, and the conditioned response to the tree, which is the “me” in relationship, the “me” who is the very centre of conflict. Now is it this “me” who is asking the question? – this “me” who, as we have said, is the very structure of the past? If the question is not asked from the structure of the past, if the question is not asked by the “me”, then there is no structure of the past. When the structure is asking the question it is operating in relationship to the fact of itself, it is frightened of itself and it acts to escape from itself. When this structure does not ask the question, it is not acting in relationship to itself. To recapitulate: there is the tree, there is the word, the response to the tree, which is the censor, or the “me”, which comes from the past; and then there is the question: can I escape from all this turmoil and agony? If the “me” is asking this question it is perpetuating itself.

Now, being aware of that, it doesn’t ask the question! Being aware and seeing all the implications of it, the question cannot be asked. It does not ask the question at all because it sees the trap. Now do you see that all this awareness is superficial? It is the same as the awareness which sees the tree.

Questioner: Is there any other kind of awareness? Is there any other dimension to awareness? Krishnamurti: Again let’s be careful, let’s be very clear that we are not asking this question with any motive. If there is a motive we are back in the trap of conditioned response. When the observer is wholly silent, not made silent, there is surely a different quality of awareness coming into being?

Questioner: What action could there possibly be in any circumstances without the observer – what question or what action?

Krishnamurti: Again, are you asking this question from this side of the river, or is it from the other bank? If you are on the other bank, you will not ask this question; if you are on that bank, your action will be from that bank. So there is an awareness of this bank, with all its structure, its nature and all its traps, and to try to escape from the trap is to fall into another trap. And what deadly monotony there is in all that! Awareness has shown us the nature of the trap, and therefore there is the negation of all traps; so the mind is now empty. It is empty of the “me” and of the trap. This mind has a different quality, a different dimension of awareness. This awareness is not aware that it is aware.

Questioner: My God, this is too difficult. You are saying things that seem true, that sound true, but I’m not there yet. Can you put it differently? Can you push me out of my trap? 9

Krishnamurti: Nobody can push you out of your trap – no guru, no drug, no mantra, nobody, including myself – nobody, especially myself. All that you have to do is to be aware from the beginning to the end, not become inattentive in the middle of it. This new quality of awareness is attention, and in this attention there is no frontier made by the “me”. This attention is the highest form of virtue, therefore it is love. It is supreme intelligence, and there cannot be attention if you are not sensitive to the structure and the nature of these man-made traps.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Urgency of Change, Chapter One

 

A Movement of Great Ecstasy – J. Krishnamurti

 

27308206_86aecb8533_oPerception without the word, which is without thought, is one of the strangest phenomena. Then the perception is much more acute, not only with the brain, but also with all the senses. Such perception is not the fragmentary perception of the intellect nor the affair of the emotions. It can be called a total perception, and it is part of meditation. Perception without the perceiver in meditation is to commune with the height and depth of the immense. This perception is entirely different from seeing an object without an observer, because in the perception of meditation there is no object and therefore no experience. Meditation can, however, take place when the eyes are open and one is surrounded by objects of every kind. But then these objects have no importance at all. One sees them but there is no process of recognition, which means there is no experiencing.

What meaning has such meditation? There is no meaning; there is no utility. But in that meditation there is a movement of great ecstasy which is not to be confounded with pleasure. It is this ecstasy which gives to the eye, to the brain and to the heart, the quality of innocency. Without seeing life as something totally new, it is a routine, a boredom, a meaningless affair. So meditation is of the greatest importance. It opens the door to the incalculable, to the measureless.

-J. Krishnamurti,

From Meditations 1969, Part 2

Self-Realization: A Personal Account – Albert Blackburn

Beginning on page 5:

July 2, 1944 was another beautiful day for a drive to Ojai. This time I was accompanied by my wife and two Theosophical friends from Pasadena. We all had an animated discussion about Theosophy on the way up. Krishnamurti’s talk on this day included reference to the dualistic nature of thought and the mind’s play between the pairs of opposites (good & bad, right & wrong, yours & mind, etc.) After the talk, we had a picnic lunch down by a beautiful stream under the trees. I spent the rest of the afternoon awaiting my 5:00 o’clock interview. The interview was to be given at Arya Vihara at the east end of the Ojai Valley, an old redwood house which had been purchased in the early 1920’s for Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya by Annie Besant and a group calling themselves The Brothers Association.

My wife and friends waited in the car while I went into the house for my interview. I had been trying to think of what to say. I thought I had all of the answers to life’s problems. What could we talk about?

Krishanji—as I later came to call him—met me at the door and asked me to be seated in a chair in the small redwood room. Then he sat down facing me and after a brief period of silence he said, “Well, sir, what do you want to talk about?” This of course was the same question I had been asking myself all afternoon. I began by asking how I could actually live a celibate life under the conditions in which I was living. I brought up the subject of celibacy and the goals I had set for myself.

His response was, “Why do you want to live a celibate life?”

I told him of my wishes to develop my psychic powers and live a spiritual life.

Krishnamurti asked me what my wife thought about my wishes for celibacy an I explained how this proposed way of life was so important to me that I really didn’t care what she thought about it; it was something I felt compelled to do.

“But don’t you feel that she has some rights in this matter?”

Even so, I replied, I still feel that way about it.

Krishnaji apparently saw that I was determined on this course of action; he dropped the subject. He obviously was not going to give me any magical solution to my problem with sex.

The interview came to an end and we both left the room to stand on the outside porch. The afternoon sun was low in the western sky and the scene from this elevation overlooking the Ojai Valley was very beautiful. I remarked to him about this beauty and he replied, “Yes, it is beautiful, but isn’t it a shame that the war is still going on?”

That’s true but I suppose it is all according to The Plan.”

Krishnaji said, “What plan?”

I said, “You know, the Plan of Evolution?”

“All of the great teachers have talked about evolution; Christ, Buddha, and all the others.”

“That’s funny, I don’t remember the Buddha saying anything about evolution. Of course, there is such a thing as physical evolution such as from and oxcart to an airplane, but I don’t think this is what you mean by evolution.”

He was right! I didn’t mean physical evolution. I meant the idea that I had always entertained pertaining to spiritual evolution. He then asked, “Is there such a thing as evolution in the way you mean it?”

Suddenly I saw that a basic idea upon which I had based all my life and hopes was not valid in the way I had believed it to be. There was no spiritual evolution, only the freeing of the consciousness from conditioning.

I was utterly shattered by this discovery and in desperation I asked him, “Is there nothing real in this world outside of the pairs of opposites?”

“Yes, that tree is real and your little dog is real, but what you think about them is not real.”

I suppose he could see the shock and void I was facing, as he kindly said, “Please come and see me again on Thursday afternoon and we will talk more about these things.” He then said goodbye and we parted.

My mind was in utter turmoil. The very foundations of my psychological world had been torn apart. I felt that I was in a void and doubted by ability to drive home. However, Krishnaji had pointed out the obvious fact that physical things did have a reality in themselves. This meant that my car was real and the steering wheel which I could firmly hold onto could be my link with reality. I have no recollection of the trip home.

The next three days are also totally lost to personal memory. I know that I did not eat or sleep during this time. There was no “me” to do these things and I suppose the body was quiet.

When I came back to normal functioning it was with an entirely new perspective. My first conscious act was to resign from the Theosophical Society. It had been the whole basis of  my life; now for me it was dead. I now saw from a new perspective the occult studies that had held such a fascination for me before. Not that these studies represented falseness, only that I had transcended them. They were part of the dualistic thought process. Because of my sudden awareness of the state of being beyond thought, these occult studies no longer held interest for me. Ambition was gone: there was no future so how could there be ambition? Fear was gone: what is there to be afraid of when one is going nowhere and hence has nothing to gain or lose? There were no problems because there was a new discernment moment-by-moment into the true relationship between myself and the environment. There was a direct perception into all relationships and a feeling of oneness with everyone and everything. The word love took on a different meaning. With the personal element removed, there was an integral feeling of love and compassion for every living thing: a knowing what was right and the desire to help. There was the knowing that never again could I consciously escape the facts of life by being dishonest in order to protect myself or in order to gain anything for myself. From that moment on I felt completely responsible for my own actions, aware now that freedom is an intrinsic part of life, and thus I must never again consciously stand in another’s way or cast my shadow across another’s path. All life was really one, and the actuality of it was overwhelming. There was a seeing the virtues spoken of in the Bible were an intrinsic part of this unified consciousness. I no longer needed to worry about expending the effort required to live virtuously. No discipline was required, no effort need be exerted, the path and I were one, constant companions in this new state of being. There was a state of acceptance of whatever life brought and true faith born in the knowledge that in doing my best, with no thought of self, whatever happened would be all right. There was the birth of insight into many things and with it the ability to see the true in the true and the false in the false.

I felt as though I had been living in a very cluttered house surrounded by innumerable “things.” These things were ideas, and conclusions which I had created. Suddenly my house had been swept clean and I was alone—not lonely, but in a state of complete freedom—free to start from scratch to discover the true values in living. Concepts such as right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral were stripped away as absolutes. Now, these judgments were only relative terms. As Krishnaji had said, it was a pathless land. There was no one who could give advice. There was no authority! It was a new dimension: a timeless state. There was no fear.

I remember writing Krishnaji a note in which I told him that I felt as a little bird must feel when it has outgrown its nest: it must fly but doesn’t know how.

Thursday I drove up to see Krishnaji again. The trip helped to bring me down to earth and by the time I had arrived, there was a grounding in physical reality. I tried to explain to him some of the fantastic things that had happened, but he would stop me on each attempt to describe this to him. Each time he would bring me back to the present moment and refused to discuss anything which had happened in the past. This attitude of his applied to all meetings that I have ever had with him over the past 39 years. Though I didn’t appreciate it at that time, his wisdom in this matter was well grounded in fact, as subsequent events have shown.

During this interview he said, “Find the answer to the question, ‘What is the I?’” Naturally at that moment, I could not answer the question. However, the question had been posed, it did register in my mind, and was to bear its own fruit in a most interesting way.

On the way home I tried to analyze the details of all the events of the past few days. I was again in focus with my everyday life in the physical world but a new dimension had been added. All of the qualities and feelings of the experience were present in the deepest part of my consciousness. I could not forget the essence of the event; it was now an intrinsic part of my nature. With all of this, however, there was now also the reality of my actual life situation to be faced. I was married, with its relationships and responsibilities. There were my wife and son, whom I loved and who certainly needed my help and understanding. There was my home and the airport business in Monrovia. There was the Monrovia Flight School operating in Prescott, Arizona, with a contract to train Navy pilots. World War II was in full swing. I knew that I must give my complete attention to every detail of this situation which I had created through my past thoughts and actions.

Krishnaji had challenged me to answer the question, “What is the I?” This question began working inside me like a seed that had been planted. It seemed an impossible question. Where was I to start? I can see now that this is a fundamental question. Our whole life’s activity is based on the premise that we know what we are. There are certainly plenty of professional authorities who have told us about ourselves. I was well familiar with many of these descriptions: medical terminology concerned with the gross physical body; the psychological terms for the various phases of consciousness; and the esoteric terms form the domain of the occult tradition.

For the next few days I found myself busy with my home life and the airport business. The private airports within 150 miles of the coastline had been closed to flight operations shortly after Pearl Harbor. However, there were other activities which needed supervision at the Monrovia airport. My secretary had moved to the flight operations at Prescott, Arizona, so I found myself alone in the office most of the time.

One morning, having taken care of the things that had to be done, I picked up the booklet of the Krishnamurti Talks of 1936. These were the talks that had been given in various locations around the world. I had been reading this booklet in a desultory manner for the last several weeks, and had gotten up to the fourth talk given in Ommen, Holland on July 29, 1936. I had not picked up this book for the past week, as so many things had been happening in my own life. Now, however, there was time and space in which to read. There had been no intimation of any connection between this material and Krishnaji’s question, “What is the I?” Now a new element had been added to my understanding. The words were alive and had a living quality. They no longer were just furnishing “dead” information but as I read, there was a different quality. Each sentence applied directly to me at that moment. This was what I was actually experiencing at that moment. There was again that heightened awareness which had been experienced the previous Sunday, but this time it was happening at my own level and in direct relationship to what I was involved in. What I was reading was like looking at the innermost functioning of my own mind. I was in direct relationship with the words, they were like a mirror in which I saw and understood the workings of my mind.

In this particular talk Krishnaji was continuing to examine the “I” process, and as his description of its dynamics unfolded, there was a direct link between me and this description.

Suddenly it happened! In the midst of the second paragraph there was again that complete stopping of time and an insight into the situation. The “I” had caught itself in action. At this moment there was no longer any mystery. Krishnaji’s question had been answered! There was no “I” existing separate from the thought process. The “ego” as a permanent entity didn’t exist. What did exist was a process! This process had a name, a past, and a future which was the result of time.

When the thought process stopped, time did not exist. There was only experiencing, not the dual process of experience and the person to whom the experience was happening.

[…]

The result of these contacts with Krishnaji led to many changes in my life. I began to experience more and more frequently the state of consciousness which for obvious reasons I have chosen to call Now-Consciousness.

This has become an ongoing state of experiencing for me over the intervening years. It has brought a transformation in behavioral patterns that I have not consciously sought. Neurotic responses to many life experiences have dropped away. Relationships with nature have taken on a depth of meaning hitherto undreamed of. Each detail of life has become meaningful in a new way. All of the insights previously seen have remained in their essence as a sustaining background through which life is met.

To me, the valuable characteristic of Now-Consciousness is its universal availability for anyone. It can be experienced by rich or poor, in a palace or a hovel, by an intellectual or a simple person. It is the common heritage of everyone. Because of its simplicity it is easily overlooked by the erudite.

It is the only approach to the experiencing of reality that is non-dualistic. Therefore the transformative results are not ego induced. What is discovered is true and uniquely understood by each in his own way. This truth becomes an intrinsic part of one’s nature and leads to right behavioral patterns. In this behavioral change, which so subtly comes about, one finds his or her place in the over-all fabric of life. It is a true uniqueness in which there is no competition or exploitation of another.

I have found that it is all too easy to reach conclusions about anything. Any conclusion or definite answer is a blockage to the ceaseless flow of life which gathers around itself other mental debris. This effectively brings to an end further insights into that particular subject. Therefore what I happen to be now observing is only my individual point of view. My findings may be of interest to others who are also seeking the true meaning of life.

In the early years of his teaching, Krishnamurti had reiterated many times his intention to never betray the truth in order to make it more palatable to his listeners. I was deeply touched by his sense of integrity. In speaking with him one day, I remarked, “Krishnaji, I never what to betray this truth, which has become so important in my life.”

He answered, “Don’t worry, you will never betray the truth if you are careful to only speak or write from your own experience and understanding of life. Never quote or use other people’s material as your own.” This made a profound impression on me and since that time, I have been very careful to follow that course.”

-Albert Blackburn

Excerpts from Now Consciousness: Exploring the World Beyond Thought, Part One

This book is available from IdylwildBooks.com

The Movement of Love – J. Krishnamurti

Meditation is one of the most extraordinary things, and if you do not know what it is you are like the blind man in a world of bright color, shadows and moving light. It is not an intellectual affair, but when the heart enters into the mind, the mind has quite a different quality; it is really, then, limitless, not only in its capacity to think, to act efficiently, but also in its sense of living in a vast space where you are part of everything.

Meditation is the movement of love. It isn’t the love of the one or of the many. It is like water that anyone can drink out of any jar, whether golden or earthenware; it is inexhaustible. And a peculiar thing takes place, which no drug or self-hypnosis can bring about; it is as though the mind enters into itself, beginning at the surface and penetrating ever more deeply, until depth and height have lost their meaning and every form of measurement ceases. In this state there is complete peace—not contentment which has come about through gratification—but a peace that has order, beauty and intensity. It can be destroyed, as you can destroy a flower, and yet because of its very vulnerability it is indestructible. This meditation cannot be learned from another. You must begin without knowing anything about it, and move from innocence to innocence.

The soil in which the meditative mind can begin is the soil of everyday life, the strife, the pain and the fleeting joy. It must begin there, and bring order, and from there move endlessly. But if you are concerned only with making order, then that very order will bring about its own limitation and the mind will be its prisoner. In all this movement you must somehow begin from the other end, from the other shore, and not always be concerned with this shore or how to cross the river. You must take a plunge into the water, not knowing how to swim. And the beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are, where you are going, what the end is.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Meditations, page 9-11