Concentration, Attention, and Awareness – Vimala Thakar

Mount Abu; July 12, 1973

Let us begin our inquiry by considering concentration, attention, and awareness. Concentration is attention that is limited by motive, by direction, and by time duration. Motive gives direction and thereby creates the boundaries of attention. Concentration is attention that has chains on its hands and feet as it were.

You can have a motive in relation to known things: things that are known to you, to your family, to your community, to your fellow countrymen, or to the human race at large. You can have a motive in relation to things that have been experienced by people all over the world. But a motive in relation to the unknown is impossible. You can have a motive in relation only to that which has been known, experienced, measured, evaluated, and judged, either by you or by your family or community, and so on, and so on. That is how we have been brought up.

Now, divinity (call it divinity, call it God, call it reality, call it the universal intelligence, call it cosmic consciousness, call it the totality of existence: give it any name) is not in the category of the known, the experienced, the compared, the evaluated, and the judged. The human race has inhabited the globe for millions of years, but there are things that have not been adequately verbalized yet, like truth, beauty, love, and freedom. And silence has not yet been measured. It has not been grasped by the mind and put into the framework of time and space. So in relation to the known, there can be motives. Concentration is an activity always in relation to the known. Either you want it or you want to give it up.

There is another kind of mental activity that is called attention. Attention is the involuntary reflex action of the brain, of the cerebral organ. When your eyes are open, they see things. You may not look at things, but the involuntary action of the eyes is to see objects; the involuntary action of the ears is to hear sounds; the involuntary action of the nose is to smell odors, scents, perfumes, fragrances. The involuntary action, the action built into the very structure of the skin, is to feel the touch, the hot, the cold, the pleasant, and the unpleasant. In the same way, the human brain has been made sensitive in such a way that its built-in action is to attend to things, even without a motive.

Concentration, which is based upon motive, gives direction and limits attention. Attention is an involuntary cerebral activity. You can’t change it, you can’t suppress it, you can’t inhibit it, unless you use violence against yourself. You use violence in many forms. Either you dull the brain with medicines, with drugs, or you dull the brain by repetition of certain words, chanting them over and over again so that the brain moves in a channel and can’t move outside of the channel. It is the built-in action of the brain to attend to things. Your eyes are closed and there is a bird chirping somewhere on some branch of some tree and the brain attends to it. Being a cultured and civilized human being, your brain immediately distinguishes the sound of the horn of a car from the sound of the call of a bird: it says, that is the horn of a car. A person who has lived in deep jungles or forests somewhere in Africa or in Australia will not be able to recognize the noise of the jet plane flying over a city. It may not be possible for the person living in a village to distinguish the sound of a transistor, a tape recorder, a radio, and so on. So civilization has developed certain powers, cultivated certain powers, and now they are built into your brain and my brain. That is our inheritance. The cultivated brain is our inheritance, and people living in countries where science and technology have advanced to a very considerable extent have very sophisticated brains.

So the brain attends to a sound. And what does “attending to” imply? Recognizing. First, cognition: there is a sound. The brain cognizes. Then recognition: the brain recognizes, that is to say, it identifies and gives the sound a name, distinguishing it from others. That is what naming implies. You give a name to distinguish one thing as separate and independent of the other, separate from the other. There is a car passing by, there is a child shrieking, and so on. So attention means cognition, identification, recognition, and naming.

All this goes on and I don’t think it is bondage. The naming and the indentifying process in the brains of cultured and civilized people is a very harmless, innocent cerebral activity. It goes on. The brain attends to it. It is not concentration. The mind has not come into play to focus all the brain’s energy on a certain purpose in order to gain something from it. It is just simple, innocent, bare attention, which is bound to go on as long as you and I are alive. And I think that is the beauty of human life. Attention is different from concentration, and yet it is an activity of the brain.

Now from attention we move to awareness. Awareness is the nature of intelligence. It has nothing to do with the brain, with intellect, with naming, with identifying. So first of all, when one sits down in silence, one plunges into an unconditional relaxation. One comes face-to-face with this deep-rooted habit of concentrating on things. One says, I am sitting down in silence, but the bird disturbs me. The bird won’t disturb me unless I concentrate upon it. I attend to it and call it a disturbance the moment I judge it, evaluate it, the moment I have concentrated upon it. So I say, It disturbs me, it distracts me. The moment I say that it distracts me or it disturbs me, it indicates that I have been resisting.

Resistance is inverted concentration. Resistance as a form of concentration has got to be unmasked. Before one can proceed toward meditation, it is absolutely necessary to unmask various activities. Resistance is a form of concentration: otherwise, why should it disturb me? The fact that it disturbs me implies that I have formed a relationship with it, a relationship of resistance. It is as if the bird is singing in order to disturb me, as if the car is passing by in order to distract me. I relate myself in that way. Resistance implies relationship. A relationship that has the friction of resistance leads to disharmony.

I wish that you could see the beauty of this. Unless you form a relationship of resistance, there cannot be disturbance and distraction. And one speaks this out of personal experience. For the past thirty or forty years that one has lived, one has not come across things and individuals who could disturb, who could distract. To be disturbed or distracted by something means it irritates me, it annoys me. I want to do something, and it does not allow me to do it. You build up a relationship with disturbance or distraction.

When you are attending—that is to say, when the brain is attending—to objects and there is no resistance built up by the mind, due to certain motives, for certain purposes, the attention burns as brightly as a flame. This is again a cerebral activity. This is a habit of the brain to attend to things. In that state of attention, whatever flows is allowed to flow, allowed to come in and move out, allowed to come up from within and subside. Thus in the mirror of attention it becomes possible for you to look at yourself: the feelings, the thoughts, the sentiments, and the emotions. You are looking at yourself. When you stand before the mirror you are looking at yourself. There seems to be the other, and yet there is no other. There is only you yourself and there is the mirror and there is the activity of looking at yourself.

This metaphor is very important for what we are going to talk about. We have to deal with things invisible, intangible, and so we will need the help of metaphors without stretching them too far, without making them ugly. So attention enables you to be in a state where thoughts, experiences, and memories are looked at. Yet you are looking at them, but not concentrating upon them. The moment that you begin to analyze them, you are concentrating upon them. The moment that you compare and evaluate them, you slip from the state of attention into the state of concentration.

It is a slippery ground between attention and concentration. If, for the fun of it, you sit before a mirror and look at your hands, nose, clothes, and the shape of your body, you are looking at particular parts of yourself. The relation is in duality. But you can look at your own body—you see your image, you see your reflection—but you are not looking at particular parts of your body. You are not looking at the clothes, the feet, the hands: it is just seeing and not looking. Then you are aware. When you are not looking at particular parts of the body, you are aware of the shape of the mirror, you are aware of things that are behind you getting reflected into the mirror. You are aware of the light of the sun coming through the window toward the mirror, and of the play of the light and the dance of the light in the mirror and in the room: you are aware of the whole room. The moment that looking at particular parts of the body is over, you are in the state of seeing. Seeing enables you to be aware of yourself, of the reflection, of the mirror, and of the ceiling, do you see? Frontiers are widening, horizons of attention begin to widen.

Concentration is a relationship with the particular, and attention is a relationship with the whole. And then, as before, your seeing goes on widening and widening and you are aware. It is not a cerebral activity any more. As long as you were looking at it, it was a cerebral activity, but later on you see the mirror, the walls and the reflection. You are not looking at anything. You are just seeing. And the seeing changes into being aware.

Awareness is the nature of intelligence that vibrates in the universe. Awareness is the purest movement of energy. We have talked about the physical, we have talked about the cerebral, and now we come to awareness, which is a movement of intelligence contained in your whole being. When you listen to music, you do not hear only with the ears. First of all, you listen with the ears to the melody, the notes, the volume, the frequency of sound vibrations. Then the listening widens into hearing. You are aware of the notes, the overtones, and the undertones: the whole person is singing. You are aware of the movement of singing in the person and the movement that music has brought about within you. So listening grows into awareness: awareness of the musician, awareness of the listener, awareness of the surroundings. So awareness is a movement of the sensitivity, of the intelligence, that is vibrating in the whole of you. When you are near a forest, mountain, hill, lake, beautiful field, or seashore, your whole being becomes aware of the scenery. Those who look only with the eyes will get bored with the mountains, the river, or the Himalayas in no time. Because they look only through the eyes, and hear only through the ears, they do not allow the looking and listening to grow into awareness. Concentration and attention and then unresisted attention—unmutilated attention—develops into awareness. It is no longer a cerebral activity: it has become the movement of your total sensitivity, of your intelligence, of your whole being. It is a happening in your totality. And yet I say that this is not meditation.

Awareness has a movement, the movement of intelligence, which is the nature of energy outside you and within you. This is not yet meditation. But it leads you to the threshold of the state of meditation. Intelligence is the movement of energy. It is the purest form of movement, not contaminated by the cerebral structure, the thoughts, the feelings, the sentiments, the habits, the values, or ideologies. It is untouched by the human mind, and yet it is a movement of energy. Tomorrow morning we will see how energy is the property of matter. But even the movement of intelligence, even the state of awareness, is not the state of meditation, because you are still in the field of very subtle matter. Energy and movement go together; energy is the property of matter. Movement is an indication that we are still in the field of matter. We are proceeding very slowly and very gradually, because we are dealing with meditation, which is a new dimension of consciousness. The whole human race is struggling emotionally and intellectually to grow into an entirely new dimension of life. So this is not a game of words; this is not speculation; this is not sentimentalism. This is something that you have to explore within the laboratory of your own mind and body.

From concentration you move to attention. In the state of attention, there are no frontiers; there is no direction; there is no motive; but still there is you looking at yourself, which is a cultivated duality, a conceptual duality. From attention you grow into the state of awareness, where there is no “I” and “it,” there is no “me” and “you”: there is only a movement of intelligence vibrating. The person is living and therefore vibrates with intelligence. That is the sensitivity contained in his or her body. Concentration involves mind, memory, experience, and energy. Every attention involves the habit pattern of the cerebral organ. Awareness implies and involves sensitivity of the totality and yet there is movement. And wherever there is movement, there is energy. Energy is the property of matter, and therefore a person living in the state of awareness of the totality is not yet in the state of meditation.

Those of you who have been with me in Norway, the Netherlands, or California know very well that I am interested in this subject from an educational point of view, that is, the education of the human psyche, the human race trying to educate itself and grow into a new dimension. So I deal with meditation as far as words can carry us rationally, scientifically, and sanely. As long as the brain can work, we have to move with the brain. If you deny the brain, then there will be an inhibition and every inhibition is an intrusion and is an obstruction. If you go against the brain, if you deny the brain, if you deny yourself, or if you deny sentiments, the emotions, then every suppression will lead to a psychosomatic obstacle. So we are not going to do that. We will go with reason as far as it takes us. This helps the inquirer to maintain his freedom, his initiative, and his balance of mind.

If you surrender your freedom and expect everything to be done for you by others, then you give up your initiative and you give up the balance of your mind. Man has struggled for freedom in the political and economic field. He should be careful not to throw away his psychic freedom. There will be exchanges, there will be communications, there will be discussions with persons who have made the inner journey, but the exchanges will be in the atmosphere of friendship and not in the atmosphere of authority. Man has struggled for freedom for so many centuries: witness the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Indian Revolution under Gandhi, The African-Americans struggling for freedom under the guidance of Martin Luther King Jr., the Africans struggling under the leadership of Kenneth Kuanda and Jomo Kenyata. So if you value economic, political, and social freedom, don’t give up your psychic freedom in a minute in exchange for a few shabby experiences. Those who say that without the relationship of authority, spiritual exploration cannot take place, are doing damage to the human mind. I say to you, it is possible. It has been possible. If it is possible in the life of an average person—Vimala, who sits before you—then it can happen in your own life. It can happen provided there is an inquiry, provided the inquiry is correlated with your whole life, and provided the inquiry is allowed to grow, blossom, and bring about changes in your life.

This is something very serious that I am communicating every day. Bit by bit, step by step, we will go into the deeper regions of the human psyche.

– Vimala Thakar

from Blossoms of Friendship. Motilal Banarsidass, 1973. Rodmell Press, 2003.

Here you can find Vimala’s talk on the next day The Movement of the Mind.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

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The Movement of the Mind – Vimala Thakar

Mount Abu; July 13, 1973

The brain, or the mind, is a sense organ like any other sense organ in the human body. And thinking, feeling, or willing, or, for that matter, any and every cerebral activity, is a sensual activity. This sense organ, the cerebral structure, is invisible; it is invisible but not intangible; it can be touched and felt through machines maneuvered by man. Thus thinking is as much a material activity or physical activity as any other known and identified physical activity. Just as you hear the sound of cars or perceive objects with the eyes and the optical nerves, and you call it audition or perception, in the same way the brain responds to the challenges and the situations that emerge in daily life. That response is called thinking, feeling or sentiment, according to its functional nature.

There is movement in the cerebral organ when you think or feel, when you experience emotions or sentiments. When you remember, recollect, contemplate, ponder, or think, there is a very subtle cerebral movement that spreads all over the body and affects the nervous system of the whole being. It is a movement. It is an activity. It consumes energy. It stimulates energy. So in concentration or in the state of attention or observation, a very subtle kind of movement goes on. It is not meditation. The state of experiencing is not the state of meditation; the state of thinking or feeling is not the state of meditation and in the same way, the state of observation or the state of bare, simple attention is still not the state of meditation.

We saw yesterday that movement indicates energy and energy is the property of matter. Energy exists in matter. If you analyze matter into atoms, electrons, and molecules, you will find that there is energy contained in the finest particle of matter. It is impossible to come across a particle of matter that has no energy and therefore no movement. Matter has energy and energy has movement. Thought is matter. Thinking is a material, sensual activity and has tremendous energy. It has a movement that has been measured by man, qualified, modified, sophisticated, regulated, and controlled by man. Culture and civilization regulate and control cerebral activity and, indirectly, psychophysical and physical activity. They regulate and control psychological and biological movement. The content of culture and civilization is to give cerebral activity a direction, to regulate it, to modify it, so sophisticate it, and so on, and so on. Thus in the state of attention, the brain is moving. The built-in movement of cognition goes on. As the eyes involuntarily see and the ears involuntarily hear, the brain involuntarily is in the state of attention. You may not look at an object, you may only see it, and yet your brain registers the form, the shape, the color, and tells you the name of the object according to your education, culture, and civilization. An Indian villager, for example, will not know what to call a spacecraft or spaceship. He will see a form in the sky. So the brain of a simple villager in India will register the shape, the color, perhaps the material of the spacecraft, but not the name. The villager has not had the education or the cultural upbringing. He does not know the thing. But still the brain registers the color, the shape, the size, the mass, the volume.

If a person does not know Indian music, he will not be able to tell you the raga, the melody, the tila, the time beats, and so on. The person will feel only the volume and perhaps the pitch, if he has the sensitivity. So the registration, the naming, the cognition by the brain take place according to the person’s education, culture, or the context of his life: urban life or agrarian life. But it is an involuntary activity of the brain. So the brain is in the state of attention, and whether you want it to or not, it identifies the shape, the size, the color, and perhaps the name. In other words, it is a response of the brain to the movement of life outside the skin. You don’t make an effort, but yet there is a movement, movement of the energy contained in the brain.

I am trying to share with you something that I have seen. We have been going step by step for the past couple of days into this very complex and subtle region of the human psyche. The brain indicates the color, the shape, the size, and even the name, but the sting of reaction, that is to say, the activity of the ego, the self, the me, does not take place. The distinction between concentration and attention has to be understood and grasped very clearly. In a state of concentration, you react. You resist. But in a state of attention there is no resistance. There is no analysis. There is no reaction of the ego.

In experiencing, the reactions are very gross and understandable by anyone. In concentration, the reactions are subtle, but still noticeable. In attention, there is no reaction, but movement is still there. When a human being sustains the state of attention and the intensity thereof for some time, intelligence begins to unfold itself. Just as out of a bud the flower blossoms and unfolds itself, so, too out of unconditional relaxation (the state of attention that is the involuntary cerebral activity through which one has to go), intelligence begins to unfold itself. Intelligence is the sensitivity of the whole body. Attention is a cerebral activity. Concentration includes psychological reaction in addition to cerebral activity. When the attention is sustained, the sensitivity of the whole body begins to unfold itself, to operate and function, so that there is no longer a cerebral activity, but the total existence becomes eloquent.

Awareness is the existential eloquence of the person, and yet the sensitivity, the intelligence expressing itself in awareness, is not meditation. I am aware of the things around me; I am aware of the stillness of my body; I am aware of the state of attention contained in me; I am aware of the vibrations outside and inside me. That is to say, the I, or the state of awareness, and the surroundings, or the life of which I am aware, are distinctly different from each other. In the state of attention, the brain is active; now the whole being acts and yet there is a distinction. I am aware of the totality, but even then I stand outside the totality to be aware of it.

You may be a witness to the whole universe. It indicates that you are trying to stand outside the universe to be aware of it. Thus awareness is still an individual movement: the individual stands apart from the universe; the individual stands apart from the cosmos. That movement of the individual may be in harmony with the universal movement, and it may be in harmony with the cosmic movement, but there is still movement taking place within the individual. The complex consciousness that man has enables him to be aware that he is in the state of awareness. In awareness, you feel the presence of the life around you; you feel the presence of the life within you. You feel the presence not of specific objects that you would count, compare, and evaluate, but you feel the presence of the totality within you and the totality outside you. You feel the coexistence of the individual totality, that is to say, the universe condensed in the human form; after all, that is what you are. So one is aware of the totality contained in the human form existing side by side with the totality outside the skin.

We are now in the region of what is most difficult to verbalize. When you say I am in the state of awareness, there is no attention or observation. They are left behind. Even in the state of awareness, it seems to me, movement is taking place in the individual. And movement, indicating energy contained in certain forms of matter, is within the field of time and space, and life is much vaster than time and space. Time and space are contained in life. Movement takes place within time and space. But life also exists outside time and space. The is-ness, the to-be-ness of life, has no movement in it. So human consciousness can take you from the field of experiencing, doing, concentrating, observing, and paying attention, to the state of awareness. The human consciousness, or psyche, can carry you up to the region of awareness. Beyond the state of awareness, there is no consciousness, no movement, no time and space. Perhaps that is the state that could be called the state of meditation, the state of samadhi. In meditation, there is no movement. Life has no movement: it is only matter that has movement. Movement and energy are the property of matter. Life is is-ness without any movement whatsoever. That which remains without movement can be called neither individual nor universal. It has no center and no circumference. Intellectual activity has a center, the me, the self, the ego. Awareness as the activity of the intelligence has the whole human body, the human individual, as the center. Beyond awareness, the individual is not at the center. Nothing moves out of the individual. Nothing emanates or radiates from the person. Just as in the state of observation there is no ego-centered activity, so in the state of awareness, the whole cerebral organ does not function. Beyond awareness, the individual entity and the movements contained in the individual entity are simply not there. I wish that I could verbalize this more fully.

In the state of meditation, the ocean of is-ness is left without a ripple. Even that metaphor is imperfect. If I liken it to vast space, even that metaphor does not satisfy me. Because compared to life, space is gross; compared to life, time is gross. The is-ness, the to-be-ness, the suchness of life is something for which one will have to find words to communicate. Mind you, this talk is not an effort to expound anything. This is only a very friendly sharing of something that one sees and something that one lives. But we will proceed with this tomorrow. We talked about concentration, attention, and awareness yesterday. We might talk about movement, vibration, and vibrationless is-ness tomorrow.

– Vimala Thakar

from Blossoms of Friendship. Motilal Banarsidass, 1973. Rodmell Press, 2003.

See Vimala’s next day talk:

https://pgoodnight.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/consciousness-is-matter-vimala-thakar/

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

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Consciousness Is Matter – Vimala Thakar

Mount Abu; July 14, 1973

I wonder whether it will be possible for me to communicate through words what I would like to share with you this morning, whether it will be possible for me to communicate it in terms that will make some sense to you. Yet there is an urge to share this unusual approach to meditation.

We saw yesterday that the state of awareness is a state of the whole being in which intelligence functions. Intelligence, being the sensitivity, the uncontaminated movement, of the basic energy contained in the being, is not conditioned by knowledge and experience. Intelligence is neither individual nor collective. Knowledge can be individual as well as collective. There can be individual experiences and collective experiences. Like love, sensitivity, truth, and beauty, intelligence is neither individual nor collective; it is neither personal nor impersonal. Thus it is not conditioned by knowledge and experience. It is unmutilated. It is an undivided whole.

This intelligence begins to operate in the state of awareness. Intelligence is the movement of unconditioned energy, but still it is energy. So in the state of awareness, the movement of unconditioned energy goes on. And there is an intercourse between the movement of awareness in the individual and the movement of intelligence outside the individual in the universe. The cosmic intelligence, the cosmic energy, and the unconditioned energy contained in the individual meet together. There is a kind of consummation. Those energies meet without reservation. There is an unconditional encounter between the intelligence contained in the individual and the intelligence contained in the universe. In other words, the individual unconditioned consciousness and the universal, or cosmic, consciousness meet together, in the state of awareness. They are in a deep embrace as it were. That is what the mystics call the marriage between the individual and the universal. The mystical marriage with the beloved, with God, with the divinity, is what Indians call the marriage between Shiva and Shakti. But still it is the meeting between the unconditioned individual energy and the unconditioned energy outside it.

That is a happening that takes place. In the state of awareness there may not be experiences, but there are happenings. Thus when Jesus of Nazareth came down from the mountain after forty days of solitude, his Apostles could not recognize him. A psychic marriage between the individual and the universal consciousness had taken place. He came down with light shining upon the forehead and speaking in terms indescribably simple and elegant. That very simplicity baffled his followers. He had gone through the happening.

After forty-eight days of fasting and penance under the bodhi tree, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha. Something happened within him; something happened in the unconditioned part of his consciousness. Something happened in the sphere of intelligence contained in his being. And that day is still marked in history as the day of Buddha’s self-realization, the day of Buddha’s nirvana.

After twelve long years of penance and austerity, there took place a happening in the life of Mahavira, the so-called founder of the Jain religion. On the plane of intellect, experiences take place. On the plane of intelligence and awareness, happenings take place: Happenings that cannot be interpreted into the language of the known, happenings that cannot be captured in the framework of an ego-centered experience. And yet a happening is a movement that takes place in the psyche of the individual. Self-realization as a happening took place in the Buddha’s life. One can say that after such a happening, there was light. There was illumination.

The substratum of intelligence is the intellect. The substratum of awareness and intelligence, the substratum of the unconditioned energy, is the conditioned energy, the passively alert brain. It may be passively alert or it may be in choiceless awareness, but it is there as the substratum. You know, in the conditioned psyche, you have the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious. Now these three, after becoming a homogeneous whole, go into abeyance, but they are there. Whatever happens on the level of intelligence or awareness has the whole conditioned psyche as the substratum. Otherwise, verbalization of the happening would be impossible. Memory of the happening would be impossible. So the individual as an entity separate from the universe is there. The unconditioned psyche in the individual and unconditioned psyche in the universe meet together, on the soil of the conditioned total human psyche, the racially conditioned psyche.

There have been efforts to verbalize such happenings. Like Aurobindo, you may call it the descent of the divine taking place in the individual psyche. You may call it the moment of illumination in the life of Ramakrishna, when the image of the Mother Kali disappeared while he was sitting before it with a sword in his hand, yearning and pining in agony for realization. The sword dropped from his hands and the only description we got from his lips afterward was “There was light, light, and light.” So at the moment in the psyche of Ramakrishna, something took place.

There is a ripple. There is a happening. Awareness has a movement of unconditioned energy, and energy is the property of matter. Thus even at that level, whatever takes place is not beyond time and space, though it is unrelated to time and space. It is unrelated to time and space in the sense that it cannot use them to bring about this happening. It may be a very significant event because the individual changes. The union with the universal energy, the cosmic consciousness, transforms the individual in many ways. It brings about great changes in his physical and cerebral quality.

And yet I dare say to you, my friends, that this is not silence. And this is not meditation. It is a very significant, romantic thing that can happen to a human being. Man has indulged enough in this romance with the unconditioned energy, the unknown, the unexperienced, the unnamed. He has indulged in this experience, in the East as well as the West, for thousands of years. It has its own beauty. It has its own grandeur. Sensual experience and psychological ecstasy have altogether different qualities from the happening on the level of intelligence or sensitivity. And yet in a way, they are the movements that take place in the individual as an entity separate from the universe. You will be surprised that I call the conditioned psyche the substratum—the undercurrent—of intelligence, or awareness. Why do I call it this? Because those individuals who have gone through such happenings have tried to verbalize them and have said, “It is immeasurable; it is unknowable.” Unless there is a consciousness of the measurableness of a thing, how do you call something immeasurable? People have been trying to describe divinity as that which is unknowable, that which is immeasurable and unnameable; but unless I am conscious of the memory, of the activity of naming, the name and nameableness, how can I call something unnameable and immeasurable? I hope that you see my point that the substratum of the conditioned psyche recognizes the names and the nameableness; the known and the knowableness; the measures and the measurableness. One is aware of all that. Therefore, man has been trying to say, “God is immeasurable, the divinity is unknowable.”

The illusion that there is a dichotomy between the known and the unknown, the measurable and the immeasurable, has been persisting in the human mind for thousands of years. Thus even the state of awareness is not the state of silence. It is a state of quietness, no doubt. It is a state of peacefulness, no doubt. It is a state of the ego, with the whole paraphernalia of knowledge and experience going into abeyance. Yet it is not silence. The state of awareness is a state of passive receptivity for the cosmic consciousness to work upon. It has been called peaceful alertness or choiceless awareness. Krishnaji (Krishnamurti) is the only person in the world today, who brings his audiences to the threshold of the known and points out the direction toward the unknown and unknowable; who points out the frontiers of all human measurements and brings his audiences with terrible intensity to the doorstep of the immeasurable.

As long as it is possible to describe something as immeasurable, unknowable, and unnamable, you are within the frontiers of time and space. So it may be unconditioned energy, but still it is energy with very subtle matter around it. It is only when the state of awareness subsides completely, when there is neither an awareness of the universe around you nor an awareness of the intelligence, sensitivity, or unconditioned energy within yourself, that silence as a dimension comes to life. The conditioned human psyche and the unconditioned human psyche both become quiet. If the conditioned human psyche is quiet and the unconditioned psyche is in a state of passive alertness and choiceless awareness, happenings are bound to take place. I have nothing against these experiences or happenings. Please do not misunderstand me. But one has to see the facts as they are. Just as visions and experiences are the projections of the cosmic and the universal into the individual. Until the state of meditation is reached, one is not in a new dimension of life.

Meditation is a new dimension of life altogether. There one is entirely free of consciousness, which is energy—a very subtle matter contained in the human brain. It is a very daring thing to say that the whole human psyche is very subtle matter, and yet I say that consciousness, whether conditioned or unconditioned, is matter.

– Vimala Thakar

from Blossoms of Friendship. Originally published by Motilal Banarsidass. Recently by Rodmell Press.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

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First and Last Public Talk of U.G. Krishnamurti After His Calamity

U.G. Krishnamurti[At the Indian Institute of World Culture Bangalore in the year 1972]

Let me, at the very outset, thank the authorities of the Indian Institute of World Culture for giving me this opportunity to meet you all here. I was very reluctant to accept the invitation of Mr. Venkataramaiah. But somehow, if I may use that word, I was trapped into this kind of a thing.

As Mr. Kothari pointed out, I don’t like to give talks at all. You all seem to be very fond of listening to speeches, talks, lectures, discussions, discourses, conversations, and so on. I do not know if at any time you realize for yourself and by yourself that you never listen to anybody or anything in this world. You always listen to yourself. I really don’t know what to say. I don’t know what you want to listen to and what I am expected to do.

This is supposed to be a discourse and a dialogue. I very often point out to those who come to see me and talk things over that no dialogue is possible and no dialogue is necessary.   It may sound very strange to you, but, nevertheless, the fact does remain that no dialogue is possible and yet no dialogue is necessary.

If you will permit me, I will say a few words, to set the ball rolling, as it were. That’s a very hackneyed and over-worked expression, but that would serve our purpose.

I am going to say a few words about the state of not knowing. How can anybody say anything about the ‘state of not knowing?’ I have necessarily to use words. Can we use words without indulging in abstract concepts. I say we can. But I do not, at the same time, mean that it is a non-verbal conceptualization. That is a funny thing — there is no such thing as non-verbal conceptualization at all. But, perhaps, a few words like this will enable you to understand [that] the methods of thought prevent you from understanding the limitations of thought as a means to directly experience life and its movements.

This ‘state of not knowing’ is not [just] my particular state. (This I call it a ‘Natural State’ of your being.) This is as much your natural state as it is mine. It is not the state of a God-realized man; it is not the state of a Self-realized man. It is not the state of a holy man. It is the natural state of every one of you here. But since you are looking to somebody else and you are reaching out for some kind of a state of liberation, freedom, or moksha — I don’t know what words you want to use — you are lost.

But, how can one understand the limitations of thought? Naturally, the only instrument we have is the instrument of thought. But what is thought? I can give you a lot of definitions, and you know a lot of definitions about thought. I can say that thought is just matter; thought is vibration; and we are all functioning in this sphere of thought. And we pick up these thoughts because this human organism is an electro-magnetic field. And this electro-magnetic field is the product of culture. It may sound very inappropriate on this occasion to say that in order to be in your natural state, all that man has thought and felt before you must be swept aside and must be brushed aside. And that means the culture in which you are brought up must go down the drain or out of the window. Is it possible? It is possible.   But, at the same time, it is so difficult, because you are the product of that culture and you are that.   You are not different from that. You cannot separate yourself from that culture. And yet, this culture is the stumbling block for us to be in our natural state.

Can this ‘Natural State’ be captured, contained and expressed through words? It cannot. It is not a conscious state of your existence. It can never become part of your conscious thinking. And then why do I talk of this state of not knowing?   For all practical purposes it does not exist at all. It can never become part of your conscious thinking.

Here, I have to explain what I mean by the word ‘consciousness’. You and I mean two different things, probably — I don’t know. When do you become conscious of a thing? Only when the thought comes in between what is there in front of you and what is supposed to be there inside of you. That is consciousness. So,you have to necessarily use thought to become conscious of the things around you, or the persons around you. Otherwise, you are not conscious of the things at all. And, at the same time, you are not unconscious. But there is an area where you are neither conscious nor unconscious. But that ‘consciousness’– if I may use that word — expresses itself in its own way; and what prevents that consciousness to express itself in its own way is the movement of thought.

What can anyone do about this thought? It has a tremendous momentum of millions and millions of years. Can I do anything about that thought? Can I stop it? Can I mold it?  Can I shape it?  Can I do anything about it? But yet, our culture, our civilization, our education — all these have forced us to use that instrument to get something for us.  So, can that instrument be used to understand its own nature? It is not possible. And yet, when you see the tremendous nature of this movement of thought, and that there isn’t anything that you can do about it, it naturally slows down and falls in its natural pattern.

When I say that, I do not, of course, mean what these people in India talk about– that thought must be used in order to get into a thoughtless state or into a meditative state. But there is no such thing as a thoughtless state at all. Thoughts are there;  they will be there all the time. Thoughts will disappear only when you become a dead corpse — let me use these two words – ‘dead corpse’. Otherwise,  thoughts are there and they are going to be there. If all the religious teachers tell us that you are going into a ‘thoughtless state,’ they are taking us all for a ride. They can promise you that in that thoughtless state — in that state of silence, in that state of quietness, or in that state of a ‘Quiet Mind,’ or whatever phrase you want to use — there will be this real ‘bliss,’ ‘beatitude,’ ‘love,’ ‘religious joy,’ and ‘ecstatic state of being’. All that is balderdash. Because, that state — if there is any state like the state of bliss — it can never become part of your consciousness. It can never become part of your conscious existence. So, you might as well throw the whole thing — the whole crap of these ideas, concepts and abstractions about the blissful states — into a cocked hat, if I may use that American slang.

So, what is one to do? Can anybody help you? No outside agency can help you. That means a complete and total rejection, as I said in the beginning, of all that man has thought and felt before you. As long as there is any trace of knowledge, in any shape, in any form, in your consciousness, you are living in a divided state of consciousness.

He [Mr. Kothari] referred to my coming into a state of ‘not knowing’ or ‘the calamity,’ as I myself refer to that.  What happened? I don’t know.  Suddenly thought has fallen into its natural state. The continuity has come to an end.  So, what I am saying is not the product of thinking. It is not manufactured by my thought structure inside.  Nor is it a logically ascertained premise. But what is happening here is only the expression of that state of being where you do not know what is happening. You do not know how this organism is functioning. As he [Mr. Kothari] himself referred to, this is a pure and simple physical and physiological state of being. It has no religious undertones or overtones. It has no mystical content whatsoever.  And, at the same time, this extraordinary thing, the extraordinary intelligence that is there, which is a product of centuries of human evolution, is able to express itself and deal with any problem and any situation without creating  problems for us.

Q: May I interrupt you? I was told by people who are around you that when this calamity befell you, you couldn’t recognize even ordinary things. You were asking like a newborn child, “What is this?” Even if there was a flower in front of you, you did not know if that was a flower.  Then you would ask, “What is this?” And the Swiss lady who was keeping house for you, who was looking after you, Valentine, [she is here with us], said “This is a flower.” Then you would ask again, “What is this?”  You mean to say that at the time when the calamity took place, all recognition was gone?

U.G.: Not only then, but even now,  as I said, this is a state of ‘not knowing’. Since the memory is there in the background, it begins to operate when there is a demand for it. That demand is created by an outside agency, because there is no entity here. There is no center here. There is no self here.  There is no Atman here.  There is no soul here at all. You may not agree. You may not accept it, but that unfortunately happens to be a fact. The totality of thoughts and feelings is not there. But [in you] there is an illusion that there is a totality of your feelings and thoughts.   This human organism is responding to the challenges from outside. You are functioning in the sphere —  so, thousands and thousands, perhaps millions and millions of sensations are bombarding this body. Since there is no center here, since there is no mind here, since there is nothing here, what is it that is happening? What is happening here [is that] this human organism is responding to the challenges, or to the stimuli, if I may put it that way. So, there is nobody here who is translating these sensations in terms of past experiences. But there is a living contact with the things around. That is all that is there.  One sensation after another is hitting this organism. And at the same time there is no coordinator here. This state of not knowing is not in relationship to your Brahman, or your Nirguna Brahman or Saguna Brahman or any such thing.  This state of not knowing is in its relationship to the things that are there around you. You may be looking at a flower. You may think that it is a crazy state.  Perhaps it is — I don’t know. You do not know what you are looking at. But when there is a demand for that — and that demand always comes from outside, [asking] what is that, and then the knowledge, the information that is there, locked up in this organism comes and says that it is a rose, that this is a microphone, that’s a man, that’s a woman, and so on and so forth.  This is not because there is a drive from inside, but the outside challenge brings out this answer. So, I say that this action is always taking place outside of this organism, not inside.

How do I know that these sensations are bombarding or hitting this organism all the time? It is only because there is a consciousness which is conscious of itself and there is nobody who is conscious of the things that are happening. This is a living organism and that living state is functioning in its own way, in its natural way.

Mr. Kothari: U.G., it appears to me this Nirguna Brahman, Atman, whatever it is — when somebody uses the word Bhuma, another uses the word “unknown,” the third man says “akal” [the timeless], the fourth one says something else — all of them say that this cannot be described, “Neti, Neti.”  Probably they meant the same thing; I don’t know.  I think they meant probably what you are saying as “totality.”  As I understand it, Brahman means “totality.”  If I would translate this state into terms of those times, probably this state is the state of Brahman and [it is] thought which is limiting the “alpa“, which is limiting the “bhuma“, which is limiting the limitless, since it does not function like that, creating an individuality within you.  Maybe I am wrong, may be I am translating, but I say that it is possible that the person who listens to you doesn’t know the old terms. You are not going to use the old terms, because the new terms are your terms. And every teacher, every person who has come into some state like this has generally used a different term, a different word, according to his background. But personally I think you mean the same thing.  This is a commentary on what you are saying.

U.G.: What do you want me to say? [Laughter]  If they have understood what there is, they wouldn’t be here. They wouldn’t go to anybody. They wouldn’t ask these questions at all. If they translate what I am saying, in terms of their particular fancy or their particular background, that’s their tragedy; it would be their misery. It hasn’t helped them.  This is my question:  Has it helped you? Why are you hung up on these phrases? They are after all phrases.  When once you realize, when once this is understood — how this mechanism is operating, how automatic it is, how mechanical it is, you will realize that all these phrases have no meaning at all. You may very well ask me why I am using these phrases: [it is] because you and I have created this unfortunate situation where you have put me here on the dais and asked me to talk, and naturally, as I said in the beginning, I have to use words. So, the moment I stop talking, the whole thing has come to a stop inside. Is that so? It is so here [in my case], because there is no continuity of thought.

We go back to the thing he [Mr. Kothari] referred to, about  the things around me. Here there is a table. I don’t know what it is. And, at the same time, if you ask me, “What is that?” I would immediately say, “It’s a chair.” It [the knowledge] is there in the background. It comes automatically, like an arrow. But otherwise, this [the impression I have] is just a reflection of this [the thing in front of me].  I don’t translate this as “bimbavatu [like an image]” at all. But I have to use that word: this is reflecting the thing exactly the way it is. I don’t want to use these metaphysical phrases because you will immediately translate them in terms of your particular parallel. There is no subject here independent of the object at all. So, there is nothing here [inside of me]. What is there is all that is there, and you do not know what it is. So, now you turn there, and this object has just disappeared, there is something else. This has completely and totally disappeared from here and then what is there is a thing that is there in front of me and it is just like this object, exactly the way it is. But you do not know what it is. That is why I say it is a state of not knowing. Probably you will find parallels to these things. What I am trying to point out is the absence of what you are all doing at this moment; [that] is the state that I am describing, and it is not [just] my state [but] that is the way you are [also] functioning.

May I give an example of what is happening in the field of spectroscopy. I don’t read books, but sometimes I read magazines. I get interested in these things. They have developed very powerful lenses to take photos of objects. They have developed micro-seconds, nanoseconds and picoseconds. It doesn’t mean anything to you and me — it’s all technical language. Now they are able to take pictures of objects, say for instance, of this table, every pico second. Every picture is different. In exactly the same way, the reflection of that object was once new; another time,  you turn this side, and look back again — it’s again new. But don’t translate this in terms of newness and oldness.  It cannot be communicated to you at all. This can never become part of your experiencing structure.

I am throwing a lot of conclusions at you. But even a thing like this cannot be experienced by you at all. I don’t know if you understand this. You have necessarily to abstract this in order to experience a thing. So, what I am trying to say is that you can never experience your own natural state. This can never become part of your experiencing structure. And what you are all trying to do all the time is to make that — whatever you want — to realize or discover — part of this experiencing structure. So your experiencing structure and your natural state cannot co-exist at the same time.

Mr. Kothari:  The way you want to say is that everything is in a continuous flux all the time. The human eye being limited and the human ear being limited, and the human senses being limited, [they] cannot respond to the quick movement of existence.  They don’t respond, they don’t reflect. You say, unless there is a need of recognition — which is thought, which is verbalization, which is word — it is just a way of affecting the life within you, and that’s all. There is no need to verbalize, or translate, if possible. Am I describing what I understand of your state?

U.G.: That’s what you understand. [Laughter] [I am not trying to be irreverent.]

Mr. Kothari: [I am Neither.]  What happens is, it seems to me … [is he trying to mislead you by saying?…] that all these persons coming to this have tried to express this in terms of what somebody else has said. It is all the time new. It is all the time fresh. It is all the time indescribably beautiful. When they came into the world they have to say [something about it]. He says it is neither new nor old. It is never old. It is never old because he does not take [it] into the [past] experience. It is not translated, unless, as he says, it is needed for translation. Otherwise, every time, life is indescribably, extraordinarily — all that is outside — is extraordinarily fresh, extraordinarily new, though he doesn’t use the words `fresh’ and `new’.  This is how I understand.

U.G.: This I must stress: that the need for the operation of thought, or the movements of thought to come into being, is decided by factors outside of this organism. When and why and how this translation is to come into being is decided by an action outside. The actions are always taking place outside. When there is a demand, the movement of thought probably separates itself for a while to meet the demands of the situation and then it is back again in the movement of life. So, thought is only functional in value, and it has no other value at all.

What is more is that the continuity of thought is destroying the sensitivity of your senses. When the movement of thought is not continuous, the senses begin to function in an extraordinarily sensitive way. When I use the word sensitivity, I mean the sensitivity of the senses and not the sensitivity of the mind. The sensitivity of the mind is a trick of your mind, and you can create a state of mind where you feel sensitive to the feelings of everybody, to the things around you and wallow in that sickly state of mind and think you are getting somewhere. This is a thing that is there [you are doing this] all the time.

There is nothing to achieve, there is nothing to accomplish, nothing to attain, and no destination to arrive at. And what prevents what is there, this living state, from expressing itself in its own way is the movement of thought which is there only for the purposes of functioning in this world. When the movement of thought is not there — I have to use the clauses in terms of time — but time is thought. When thought is there, time is there. When thought is there, sex is there, when thought is there, God is there. When thought is not there, there is no God, there is no sex, nothing is there. It may sound objectionable to you to accept my statement [Mr. Kothari:” Not at all.”], but the drug of virtues you practice, the practice of virtues is not a foundation for it at all. And the practice of abstinence, continence, and celibacy is not the path to it. But if you want to indulge in them and feel greatly superior, it’s your own business. I am not here to reform you. I am not here to lead you anywhere. But this is a fact.  You have to understand a fact as a fact. It is not a logically ascertained thing, it is not a rational thing [so as] to understand it rationally. A fact is a movement. Truth is movement. Reality is movement. But I don’t want to use these words, because they are all loaded words. You know all about them. The unfortunate thing about the whole business is that you know a lot about these things, and that is the misery of you all. This is a thing which you do not know at all. I am not claiming that I know it.  I myself don’t know. That is why I say I don’t know. It’s a state of not knowing. Let alone God, let alone reality, ultimate or otherwise, I don’t know what I am looking at — the very person who has been with me all the time, day and night. That is my situation. If I tell this to a psychiatrist, he will probably put me on a couch and say something is radically wrong with me. Probably, I am functioning like any other human being. He doesn’t understand that. That’s his problem, it is not my problem anymore.  So, all your search — for truth, God, Reality — you use any phrase you like, is a false thing. You are all on a merry-go-round, and you want to go round and round and round.

How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? You all seem to know. You have an image of this state.   From the description of this state probably you have already created [an image]. What state?  Somebody asked me: “What is the state you are in?” “What State? Mysore State or Tamil Nadu State? What state are you talking about?” This is my response. What is the state you are talking about? This is your natural state. You don’t want to understand that. You don’t want to be in your natural state. It requires an extraordinary intelligence to be in your natural state, to be yourself.

You always want to be somebody else; you want to imitate the life of somebody else — you want to imitate the life of Jesus, you want to imitate the life of Buddha, you want to imitate the life of Shankara. You can’t do it, because you don’t know what is there behind. You will end up changing your robes, from rose to saffron, saffron to yellow, or from yellow to rose, depending upon your particular fancy. How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? That is my question. So, search has no meaning at all. Only when the search comes to an end, what there is will express itself, in its own way. You cannot tamper with that.  You cannot manipulate that. You cannot manipulate the action of the thing which is there, which has an extraordinary intelligence.

To be yourself is the easiest thing. And you don’t want to be in your state. You’d rather be somebody else, imitate the life of somebody else. That’s your problem.  To be yourself doesn’t need any time at all. But you talk of timelessness, which is a mockery. To be yourself, do you need time? To be a good man, to be a marvelously religious man, to be in a state of peace, to be in a state bliss, naturally you need time. That will always be tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, you say, “All right, day after tomorrow.” That is time.  [I am] Not [talking about] this metaphysical or philosophical thing. I am not talking about metaphysical time and timeless. There is no such thing as the timeless.

I am making assertions, statements and conclusions — you will object to them. Take it or leave it. I don’t expect you to accept anything that I am saying. You are not in a position to accept or reject it. You can reject it because it does not fit into your particular framework of your philosophy — Shankara, Gaudapada, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, God knows what — we have too many of them here. So how can you understand this? The only thing to do is to throw in the towel. Turn your back on the whole business. That is why, it takes extraordinary courage, not the courage or the bravado of these people who climb Mount Everest or try to swim across the English Channel, or cross the Pacific or Atlantic — whatever their fancy — on a raft. That is not what I mean. What I mean is the courage. You quote your Bhagavad Gita, or your Brahma Sutras, “kaschid dhirah.” All these phrases. What do they mean? “Abhayam Brahma.” [Fearless is Brahman.] Why do you all repeat these phrases? It has no meaning. It’s a mechanical thing. “How are you?” “I am all right, I am fine. Just fine. I couldn’t be better.” In America, you know, [they say] “How are you this morning,” “I am just fine. I couldn’t be better.” In exactly the same way, you throw these phrases at everybody.   If you understand the way this mechanical structure is functioning inside of you, you see the absurdity of the whole business of discussing these matters everlastingly. Can you throw the whole business out of the window and walk out?

[Mr. Kothari]: I think what he means is… When I meet him…. I have known him for about five years now. And I am many times reminded, on account of my having read the Upanishads and this and that,….  I am reminded of  [the passage in] the Isavasyopanishad, “asmai  nayatu patha,” “Oh fire, takes us on the right path!” I find there is a sort fire in him which sometimes, I fear, would frighten a person who does not understand, quite grasp, even intellectually, what he is trying to convey. As I understand it, he is not advocating anything. His whole approach is….  He has no system.  He says something about these states — that this is your natural state. But the whole thing, this achievement business, to get something, [the state being] like something, comparing something to some imaginary state which one has formulated, an image we got by reading about those things — that he says is all futile. It is strengthening the mental structure, it is strengthening the thought structure, and it is giving a life to it — which, he says, is all useless. It is the cause of your very misery, all the problems. It seems he has seen it himself.  And the structure went phut, the whole thing broke inside, and, as he says, he even does not know [it himself].  That is the state of unknowing. When he says this, I am reminded of the words of Jnaneswar who says, “I don’t know what I am or where I am.” Even avidya has gone, and vidya has gone also. So, I see… only I want to remind some of my listeners here… that the newness of expression … but whatever he is trying to convey, is as old as the hills and as fresh as the vibrations from that thing now. It is as fresh or even fresher than the words I am speaking, the sounds that I am throwing at you. It is more fresh than that.  It is sanatana [ancient] and puratana [old]. But, he says that it requires total courage.

Another thing that I have noticed in him is a kind of — I am talking personally about you —  but, since there is no personality, it doesn’t matter. [Laughter] — is a tremendous, fearlessness, “abhayam tattva samsuptih.”  I would again quote the Gita, the daivika sampatti [the divine qualities], this is something that does not happen in the usual, normal men in whom the animal fear is functioning all the time, as he says. But he does not come out of that [state]. I don’t know how he came to it. But [there is in him] a tremendous fearlessness and a sense of abandonment. He is not a perfect specimen of all the wonderful virtues. He gets annoyed, and he gets angry also.  But, for a moment you see the cloud of anger on his face, and after a minute you see the full moon is again on his face, smiling.  The clouds have disappeared all of a sudden. So, I say, he says there is no system, no matter. Probably, in whatever he conveys, there is some suggestion. He says you don’t have the courage to throw in the towel. You don’t have the fearlessness. “[inaudible]…have got to go.” He says, “You throw out the speaker also.” I hope some of you certainly have got the hang of what he is trying to convey.

Q: [Inaudible]

[Mr. Kothari:] Your question is, when there is hunger and pain in the body, what happens? You mean what happens to him or what happens to you?

U.G.: I will tell you. First of all, there is no hunger at all, in the sense in which we use the word. It’s pure and simple chemistry. And then there is what you call hunger which is like any other sensation, you understand.  The consciousness or life, or whatever you want to call it, becomes conscious of that thing [called hunger]. And [the next moment] it is gone. It is not there. It does not push you to reach out for food. And so, the next sensation is coming. It’s a continuous movement. You are looking at something which is finished. Probably your body will become weaker and weaker, if you don’t eat food. People give me food; so I eat food. Otherwise, there is no such thing as hunger at all. And the pain, there is a physical pain. Since there is no continuity of thought, as I pointed out, there is no continuity of the pain. It comes in impulses like that — just the way you are throwing out words.  There is no continuity of the pain. I don’t want to use the word psychological pain, because it gets us involved in…, because we will begin to tie things in knots. There is only physical pain and there is no other pain. But even that physical pain is not continuous, and so it is not much of a pain, in the sense in which we use the word.

Q: What is the way or method of getting into this state?

U.G.: What state? When the movement in the direction of wanting to be into your own natural state or in the state of God knows whom you want to be, your idol, or your hero or your master [is there] — it is there — this movement in any direction, is taking you away from yourself. That is all that I am pointing out. When the movement is not there, you are your natural state. So, the sadhana or the method, or system, or the technique, is taking you away from yourself in the direction of the state you want to be in and that is the state of somebody else. As I pointed out, you have the knowledge about this state. Unfortunately, so many people have talked about it. I am already doing the mischief, perhaps. Kick them all out, on their backs. [Mr. Kothari:Not now!” — Laughter] Yes, throw stones at me and walk out. [Mr. Kothari: “They don’t have any.”] My interest is to send you packing, as the expression has it. If you can do that, you will never go to listen to anybody. [Someone in the audience: “If I throw stones, I will go to jail.”] I will not take you to jail. That’s a problem with the society in which you are caught. I can’t help you. I will not be the first one to complain about it…. Whose body is it? If it get hit, that’s all probably; that’s the end of it. … Are you not tired? I can go on. That’s enough, I suppose.

I haven’t said anything. What all you think I have said is a `bag’. You think it makes sense. How can this make sense? If you think that it makes sense, you haven’t understood a thing. If you think that it doesn’t make any sense, you haven’t understood it either. It’s just words — [you are] listening to this noise — words, words, words — mechanically coming out of this organism. I don’t know how they are coming. I wish I knew. I wish I knew how I got into … what state? It always irritates me when people ask me “You tell us something ….” About what state? What state are you talking about? I know Mysore State. I am in the Mysore State. How do I know that I am in the Mysore State? Because people tell me that I am in Mysore. So, what state you want to get into? That is your natural state, I am saying.

What takes you away from your state is this movement in the direction of wanting to be in some state other than yourself. To be yourself doesn’t need time. If I am a village idiot, I remain a village idiot. Finish.  I don’t want to be an intelligent man. Even if my neighbor takes advantage of his extraordinary intelligence and exploits [me], good luck. What can I do? To accept the reality, this is the reality of the world. There is no other world. There is no other reality, ultimate reality. This is the only reality. You have to function in this world. You can’t run away from this world. How can you run away from this world? Because you are that world. Where you can you go? Hide yourself in a cave? Yes, you are taking your thoughts wherever you go. You cannot run away from your shadow. It’s there all the time. So, you can’t do a thing about thought. That’s all that I am saying. When you realize the absurdity of all your effort to do something about the thought — it’s creating the problem; it’s misery for you; you can’t do anything — when you can’t do anything, when you realize that you can’t do a thing about it, it’s not there. You are not using it [thought] as a means to get something for you.

I want to say this again. You desire. If you do not want anything, there is no thought at all. You understand? Wanting is thinking, it doesn’t matter what you want — want self-realization, want God-realization — you want anything, that means you have to use this instrument. These are not your thoughts, these are not your feelings. You may not like it. They belong to somebody else. You want to make them your own. You have unfortunately made them your own. That’s why you ask all these questions. Why do you ask all these questions? These questions have been put before to so many people — all the sages, saints and saviors of mankind, the holy men dead and alive. They are all ready to answer. They have composed a lot of lullabies. You go and listen to them and go to sleep, if you want to. That’s what you are interested in. You want somebody else to pat on your back and say, “Oh, fine, just fine, you are doing very well. Do more and more of the same and you will reach the destination you want to arrive at.” What is the destination you want to arrive at? To be gentle, meek, to be soft, to talk in whispers. You know if you go to some of these monasteries in the West, the Trappist, they talk in whispers. They don’t even understand what the other man is saying. That’s the secret to the spiritual path.

Mr. Kothari: When a man is in love, he talks in whispers to his beloved. What objection have you to anybody talking in whispers?

U.G.: I have no objection at all. I wonder if he is really in love. [Laughter] You don’t even have to talk about it. You want to reassure your partner that you are in love with that person. It isn’t worth a tinker’s damn, that love. That’s not love at all. You can call it love. I don’t want to go into that. It’s a forbidden subject.  You will ask me, “Do you have anything to say…?” It’s a four letter word.  It’s like any other word — `dog’, `pig’, `love’. In love, can there be any relationship at all? Can you have any relationship? This is your problem. You are all the time trying to have relationship with  people. You cannot have any relationship with people at all. “Love is relationship.” “Life is relationship.” All that guff. Trite. Crap. You memorize and repeat them [those phrases]. They all become fancy phrases these days. “Freedom,” “first and last freedom,” and “the freedoms that come in between.” What is this nonsense? This is like any other trite [phrase], any other crap that these people are repeating. You have memorized a new set of phrases. That’s all you are doing. You sit and discuss everlastingly all this awareness. What is that awareness you are talking about? How can you be aware of this? Can you at any time be aware of this? If you are aware of this once in your lifetime, the whole structure has collapsed; it has fallen in its proper place. You don’t have to do a thing about it. So, it doesn’t mean a thing at all. You can talk of awareness — choiceless or otherwise — or conditioning. Conditioning — what can you do about it? Conditioning is intelligence. You can’t do a damn thing about it. You can’t free yourself [from it]. If you want to free yourself from your conditioning, or uncondition yourself and all that nonsense that is going on …. How are you going to uncondition yourself? You create another conditioning — instead of repeating Upanishads you will repeat some other books, the fancy books.

Q: What is the secret of total happiness?

U.G.: There is no happiness.   I never ask myself the question. So many people ask me that question: “Are you happy?” What is that question? Funny question. I never ask [myself] that question, “Am I happy?” ‘Total happiness is an invention. [Mr. Kothari: “Invention of the mind, you mean? Naturally.”] There is no mind. There is no such things as the mind at all. Where is the mind? Is the mind separate from the body? Distinguished from the body? Apart from the body? These questions have no meaning at all. You have no way of separating yourself from what is going on. The moment you separate yourself means you have a knowledge about it — the knowledge given by either the biologists, the physiologists, the psychologists or the religious people. So through that you are looking at it. You cannot experience anything without knowledge. You cannot experience this at all, let alone Brahman or reality. You cannot experience this at all. Only through abstraction.  And what is that abstraction? The knowledge you have about it. This has been put there. Your mother told you, or your neighbor or friend told you that this is a table. What the hell is that, you don’t know, apart from what you have been told. Every time you look at this, you have to repeat to yourself that it is a table. What are you doing that for? This is my question. This is the continuity I am talking about. You want to reassure yourself that you are there. The “I” is nothing but this word. There is no “I” independent of this word. Maybe you find some parallel  [to what I am saying] in Shankara or God knows what.

[Mr. Kothari:] Plenty, plenty. Because this is the same thing that they have talked about.
Q: [Inaudible]  …thoughtless state as in “cit, cit, cit.”

U.G.: Yes, yes. “The consciousness I am talking about, is a state where there is no division which says that you are asleep, that you are awake, that you are dreaming …. There is no division at all. I don’t even know if I am alive or dead. This is my state. I have no way of knowing for myself. The doctor can come and say that I want to examine your lung, your lung is functioning all right — there is heartbeat, there is this, that and the other — you are alive. That’s all right. I am delighted. You reassure me that I am a living being. But…

Q: How do you know at any given time that you are in your Natural State?

U.G.: That, as I said, can never become part of your conscious existence. It begins to express itself.  The expression of that is energy; and that is action. It is acting all the time. This is not a mystical term. What I mean by action is [that] the action is taking place always outside. The senses are working at their peak capacity all the time. It’s not because you want to look at a particular thing. There is no time even for the eyelids to blink for a second. They have to stay open all the time. And when they are tired, naturally, it [the body] has its own built-in mechanism, which cuts off the sensation. And then it’s back again.

Q: What is that mechanism?

U.G.: What is that mechanism? Supposing somebody gives you an answer. So, where are you? Can you separate yourself from that mechanism? This is what I am saying. You can separate yourself from the mechanism and look at it only through the knowledge, whether the knowledge is provided by a physician or by a saint or by a sage.  And that [knowledge] is worthless. Because you are projecting this knowledge on what you are looking at, and that knowledge is creating or producing these experiences. That can never become part of that experiencing structure. That’s the trouble. You want to experience this. You can’t experience this at all. Whether it is the consciousness that I am talking of, or the living state or the state of not knowing or the things that are there around you. How is it expressing itself? It is expressing itself as energy; it is expressing itself as action, in its own way. If I use some words, “It is aware of itself, it is aware of its own its incredible depth, it is conscious of itself;” — all these phrases may sound very mystical to you — but you cannot [experience it]. The brain physiologists, if I may quote somebody, — they are trying to understand the brain. And they have to find some means to define [it]. They have defined the brain as an instrument with which we think that we think. They are not so sure. You cannot separate yourself from the brain and its activity and look at the brain. Can you look at your back and tell me something about your back. Somebody else must come and tell you. And he has his own ideas, fancy ideas. “You have a straight back.” … The doctor always observes people. … And from his point of view he says that that man is sick, this man’s back is not correct, and so forth. Or, if I see a painter, his description is something else. So, this is a thing which you cannot communicate to somebody else. Can you communicate your sex experience to somebody else? [Mr. Kothari: “Why sex experience, any experience.”]  Or any experience, for that matter.  That’s what everybody is trying to do — a painter, a poet or a writer. He is trying to communicate some experience, which he calls extraordinary experience, through his medium — writing poetry, sculpture. He is like any other artisan.

Q:  How do you reconcile your existence with the world?

U.G.: I don’t bother. Do I exist in this world? Does the world exist for me? Where is the world? I am not trying to be clever with all these phrases. I don’t know a thing about it. Am I talking, am I saying anything? This is like the howling of a jackal, the barking of a dog or the braying of an ass. If you can put this on that level and just listen to this vibration, you are out, you will walk out, and you will never listen to anybody in your lifetime. Finish. It doesn’t have to be the talk of a self-realized man. You will realize that there is no self to realize. That’s all. There is no center there. It is working in an extraordinary way.

Q: In the extinction of sense organs…, if the sense organs do not function at all, for instance with death, is the state of not knowing still functioning?

U.G.: There is no death. You are never born. You are not born at all. [Laughter] I am not trying to mystify. Because life has no beginning, it has no end. Has it a beginning, has it an end? What creates the beginning is your thought. Why are you concerned about death? There is no such as death at all. Your birth and your death can never become part of that experiencing structure. If you want to experience death, you are not going to be there. [Laughter] Somebody else will be there. It will be somebody else’s misery.

unique early talk of U.G. Krishnamurti:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3jl7cm3LQ0

1998 video of U.G.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0N6auYllMY&feature=related

To read more of U. G. Krishnamurti see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/u-g-krishnamurti-books/

The Very Perception Is Action – J. Krishnamurti

KrishnajiKrishnamurti:

We were asking how to put aside the whole menagerie that one has in oneself. We were discussing all this because we see—at least I see—that one has to penetrate into the unknown. After all, any good mathematician or physicist must investigate the unknown and perhaps also the artist, if he is not too carried away by his own emotions and imagination. And we, the ordinary people with everyday problems, also have to live with a deep sense of understanding. We too have to penetrate into the unknown. A mind that is always chasing the animals that it has invented, the dragons, the serpents, the monkeys, with all their troubles and their contradictions—which we are—cannot possibly penetrate into the unknown. Being just ordinary people, not endowed with brilliant intellects or great visions, but just living daily, monotonous, ugly little lives, we are concerned how to change all that immediately. That is what we are considering.

People change with new inventions, new pressures, new theories, new political situations; all those bring about a certain quality of change. But we are talking about a radical, basic revolution in one’s being and whether such a revolution is to be brought about gradually or instantly. Yesterday we went into all that is involved in bringing it about gradually, the whole sense of distance and that time and effort needed to reach that distance. And we said, man has tried this for millennia, but somehow he has not been able to change radically—except perhaps for one or two. So it is necessary to see whether we can, each one of us and therefore the world—because the world is us and we are the world, they are not two separate states—instantly wipe away all the travail, the anger, the hatred, the enmity that we have created and the bitterness that one bears. Apparently bitterness is one of the commonest things to have; can that bitterness, knowing all its causes, seeing its whole structure, be wiped away on the instant?

We said that is possible only when there is observation. When the mind can observe very intensely, then that very observation is the action which ends bitterness. We also went into the question of what is action: whether there is any free, spontaneous, nonvolitional action. Or is action based on our memory, on our ideals, on our contradictions, on our hurts, our bitterness and so on? Is action always approximating itself to an ideal, to a principle, to a pattern? And we said, such action is not action at all, because it creates contradiction between what ‘should be’ and ‘what is.’ When you have an ideal there is the distance to be covered between what you are and what you should be. That ‘should be’ may take years, or as many believe, many lives incarnating over and over again till you reach that perfect Utopia. We also said there is the incarnation of yesterday into today; whether that yesterday stretches back many millennia or only twenty-four hours, it is still operating when there is action based on this division between the past, the present and the future, which is ‘what should be.’ All this, we said, brings about contradiction, conflict, misery; it is not action. Perceiving is action; the very perception is action, which takes place when you are confronted with a danger; then there is instant action. I think we came to that point yesterday.

There is also the instant when there is a great crisis, a challenge, or a great sorrow. Then the mind is for an instant extraordinarily quiet, it is shocked. I don’t know if you have observed it. When you see the mountain in the evening or in the early morning, with that extraordinary light on it, the shadows, the immensity, the majesty, the feeling of deep aloneness—when you see all that your mind cannot take it all in; for the moment it is completely quiet. But it soon overcomes that shock and responds according to its own conditioning, its own particular personal problems and so on. So there is an instant when the mind is completely quiet, but it cannot sustain that sense of absolute stillness. That stillness can be produced by a shock. Most of us know this sense of absolute stillness when there is a great shock. Either it can be produced outwardly by some incident, or it can be brought about artificially, inwardly, by a series of impossible questions as in some Zen school, or by some imaginative state, some formula which forces the mind to be quiet—which is obviously rather childish and immature. We are saying that for a mind that is capable of perception in the sense we have been talking about, that very perception is action. To perceive, the mind must be completely still, otherwise it can’t see. If I want to listen to what you are saying, I must listen silently. Any vagrant thought, any interpretation of what you are saying, any sense of resistance prevents the actual listening.

So the mind that wants to listen, observe, see or watch must of necessity be extraordinarily quiet. That quietness cannot possibly be brought about through any sense of shock or through absorption in a particular idea. When a child is absorbed in a toy it is very quiet, it is playing. But the toy has absorbed the mind of the child, the toy has made the child quiet. In taking a drug or in doing anything artificial, there is this sense of being absorbed by something greater—a picture, an image, a Utopia. This still, quiet mind can come about only through the understanding of all the contradictions, perversions, conditioning, fears, distortions. We are asking whether those fears, miseries, confusions, can all be wiped away instantly, so that the mind is quiet to observe, to penetrate.

Can one actually do it? Can you actually look at yourself with complete quietness? When the mind is active then it is distorting what it sees, translating, interpreting, saying ‘I like this,’ ‘I don’t like it.’ It gets tremendously excited and emotional and such a mind cannot possibly see.

So we are asking, can ordinary human beings like us do this? Can I look at myself, whatever I am, knowing the danger of words like ‘fear’ or ‘bitterness’ and that the very word is going to prevent the actual seeing of ‘what is’? Can I observe, being aware of the pitfalls of language? Also, not allowing any sense of time to interfere—any sense of ‘to achieve,’ ‘to get rid of’—but just observe, quietly, intently, attentively. In that state of intense attention, the hidden paths, the undiscovered recesses of the mind are seen. In that there is no analysis whatsoever, only perception. Analysis implies time and also the analyzer and the analyzed. Is the analyzer different from the thing analyzed?—if it is not, there is no sense in analysis. One has to be aware of all this, discard it all—time, analysis, resistance, trying to reach across, overcome and so on—because through that door there is no end to sorrow.

After listening to all this, can one actually do it? This is really an important question. There is no ‘how.’ There is nobody to tell you what to do and give you the necessary energy. It requires great energy to observe: a still mind is the total energy without any wastage, otherwise it is not still. And can one look at oneself with this total energy so completely that the seeing is acting and therefore the ending?

-J. Krishnamurti

Taken from The Flight of the Eagle. Chapter 12

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A Geometrical Understanding – Jean Klein

Our teaching is essentially based on understanding and what understanding means in the context of truth. Truth here is our real nature, which cannot be objectified. The understanding required to approach truth is thus different from the usual way we understand the world of referents and objects. So the first step is to see the difference between what is understandable–objects–and what is beyond conventional understanding–the objectless.

On the level of the mind, ordinary understanding, the nearest we can come to objectless truth is a clear perspective, a vision of the objectless. I often call this a geometrical representation. The contents of this representation are what could be called the facts of truth: that the mind has limits; that truth is beyond the mind; that truth, our real nature, cannot be objectified, just as the eye cannot see itself seeing; that truth, consciousness, was never born and will never die; that it is the light in which all happenings, all objects, appear and disappear; that in order for there to be understanding of truth, all representation must dissolve. When this representation, the last of the conventional subject-object understanding, dies, it dissolves in its source–the light of which the mind was informed but could not comprehend. In other words, understanding dissolves in being understanding. We no longer understand, we are the understanding. This switchover is a sudden, dramatic moment when we are ejected into the timeless.

To say that truth is one is a mental conjecture that calls for objectification. Because we cannot objectify truth, it can only be spoken of in terms of what it is not. As it is beyond subject and object, we call this way non-dual, advaita.

Understanding, then, calls for complete openness. When we look from the point of view of the male or female, we only see form the level of gender. When we look from the point of view of the personality, the “I-concept,” all is personal, in object-object relationship. But when we take a stand in globality, consciousness, awareness, then there is only consciousness. From the point of view of gender, or the “I-concept,” we occupy a mere fraction of being. But when we are in our wholeness, we see only the global. The moment we knowingly occupy our globality, or even have a glimpse of it, the chess board is completely changed. From this point of view, which is no longer a point of view, we see things related to one another, because everything now refers to awareness, to silence. All that is phenomenal, all that is objective, only has reality when it abides in, when it refers to, silence, to stillness. So the changing of the chess board is a result of having the forefeeling, or a sudden glimpse, of reality.

-Jean Klein

from Open to the Unknown. Third Millenium Publications

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A Sacred Life – J. Krishnamurti

KrishnajiWhere there is the activity of the self, meditation is not possible. This is very important to understand, not verbally but actually. Meditation is a process of emptying the mind of all the activity of the self, of all the activity of the “me.” If you do not understand the activity of the self, then your meditation only leads to illusion, your meditation then only leads to self-deception, your meditation then will only lead to further distortion. So to understand what mediation is, you must understand the activity of the self.

The self has had a thousand worldly, sensuous, or intellectual experiences, but it is bored with them because they have no meaning. The desire to have wider, more expansive, transcendental experiences is part of the “me,” the self. When you have such experiences, or visions, you must be able to recognize those experiences, or those visions, but when you can recognize them, they are not new, they are projections of your background, or your conditioning, in which the mind delights as though they are something new. Don’t agree, but see the truth of it, then it is yours.

One of the demands, urges, desires of the mind, the self, is to change “what is” into “what should be.” It doesn’t know what to do with “what is” because it cannot resolve “what is,” therefore it projects an idea of “what should be,” which is the ideal. This projection is the antithesis of “what is,” and therefore there is a conflict between “what is” and “what should be.” That very conflict is the blood and the breath of the self.

Another activity of the self is the will to become, the will to change. Will is a form of resistance in which we have been educated from childhood. Will has become extraordinarily important to us, economically, socially, and religiously. Will is a form of ambition, and from will arises the desire to control–to control one thought by another thought, one activity of thought by another activity of thought. “I must control my desire”: the “I” is put together by thought, a verbal statement as the “me” with its memories, experiences. That thought wants to control, shape, deny, another thought.

One of the activities of the self is to separate itself as the “me,” as the observer. The observer is the past, all the accumulated knowledge, experience, memories. So the “I,” the “me,” separates itself as the observer from the “you,” the observed. “We” and “they.” We the Germans, the communists, the Catholics, the Hindus, and they the heathens, and so on, and so on. As long as the activities of the self–as long as the “me” as the observer, as the controller, as will; the self demanding, desiring experience–exist, meditation becomes a means of self-hypnosis, an escape from daily life, an escape from all the misery and problems. As long as those activities exist, there must be deception. See the reality, not verbally, but actually, that a person who is inquiring into meditation, who wants to see what takes place, must  understand all the activities of the self.

Meditation is the emptying of the mind of the activity of the self. And you cannot empty the mind of the activity of the self by any practice, by any method, or by saying “Tell me what to do.” Therefore, if you are really interested in this, you have to find out for yourself your own activity of the the self–habits, the verbal statements, the gestures, the deceptions, the guilt that you cultivate and hold on to as though it were some precious thing instead of throwing it away, the punishments–all the activities of the self. And that demands awareness.

Now, what is being aware? Awareness implies an observation in which there is no choice whatsoever, just observing without interpretation, translation, distortion. And that will not take place as long as there is an observer who is trying to be aware. Can you be aware, attentive, so that in that attention there is only observation and not the observer?

Now listen to this. You have read that statement: awareness is a state of mind in which the observer with its choice is not. You hear that statement. You immediately want to put it into practice, into action. You say, “What am I to do? How am I to be aware without the observer?”  You want an immediate activity–which means you have not really listened to that statement. You are more concerned with putting that statement into action than with listening to the statement. It is like looking at a flower and smelling the flower. The flower is there, the beauty, the color, the loveliness of it. You look at it and pick it up and begin to tear it to pieces. And you do the same when you listen to the statement that in awareness, in attention, there is no observer, that if the observer is, then you have the problem of choice, conflict. You hear that statement and the immediate reaction of the mind is, “How am I to do it?” So you are more concerned with the action of what to do about that statement than with actually listening to it. If you listen to it completely, then you are breathing the perfume, the truth of it. And the perfume, the truth, acts, not the “me” that is struggling to act rightly. Have you got it?

So, to find out the beauty and the depth of meditation, you have to inquire into the activities of the self, which is put together by time. So you have to understand time.

Please listen to this. Listen, don’t do anything about it, just listen. Find our if it is false or true. Just observe. Listen with your heart, not with your beastly little mind.

Time is movement, both physically and psychologically. Physically to move from here to there needs time. Psychologically, the movement of time is to change “what is” into “what should be.” So thought, which is time, can never be still because thought is movement, and this movement is part of the self. We are saying thought is the movement of time. Thought is the movement of time because it is the response of knowledge, experience, memory, which is time. So thought can never be still. Thought can never be new. Thought can never bring about freedom.

When one is aware of the movement of the self in all its activities–as ambition, seeking fulfillment, in relationship–out of that comes a mind that is completely still. Not that thought is still–you understand the difference? Most people are trying to control their thoughts, hoping thereby to bring quietness to the mind. I have seen dozens of people who have practiced for years trying to control their thoughts, hoping to have a mind that is really quiet. But they don’t see that thought is a movement. You may divide that movement as the observer and the observed, or the thinker and the thought, or the controller and the controlled, but it is still movement. And thought can never be still: if it is still it dies, therefore it cannot afford to be still.

If you have gone deeply into all this, into yourself, then you will see that the mind becomes completely still–not enforced, not controlled, not hypnotized. And it must be still because it is only in that stillness that a totally new, unrecognizable thing can take place. If I force my mind to be still through various tricks and practices, shocks, then it is the stillness of a mind that has struggled with thought, controlled thought, suppressed thought. That is entirely different from a mind that has seen the activity of the self, seen the movement of thought as time. The very attention to all that movement brings about the quality of mind that is completely still, in which something totally new can take place.

Meditation is the emptying of the mind of all the activity of the self. Now, will it take time? Will the emptying, or rather–I won’t use that word emptying, you will get frightened–can this process of the self come to an end, through time, through days, through years? Or has it to end instantly? Is it possible? All this is part of your meditation. When you say to yourself, “I will gradually get rid of the self,” that is part of conditioning, and you enjoy yourself in the meantime. When you introduce the word gradually, that involves time, a period, and during that period you enjoy yourself–all the pleasures, all the feelings of guilt which you cherish, which you hold on to, and the anxiety which also gives you a certain sense of living. And to be free of all that you say, “It will take time.” That is part of our culture, part of our evolutionary conditioning. Now will psychologically putting an end to the activities of the self take time? Or does it not take time at all, but rather the release of a new kind of energy that will put all that aside instantly?

Does the mind actually see the falseness of the proposition that it needs time to dissolve the activities fo the self? Do I see clearly the falseness of it? Or do I see intellectually that it isn’t quite right, and therefore I go on with it! If I see the falseness of it actually, then it has gone, hasn’t it? Time is not involved at all. Time is needed only when there is analysis, when there is inspection or examination of each broken piece that constitutes the “me.” When I see the whole movement of this as thought, it has no validity, though man has accepted it as inevitable. Then because the mind sees the falseness of it, it ends. You don’t go too close to the edge of a precipice unless you are rather unbalanced, insane, and then you go over; if you are sane, healthy, you stay away from it. The movement away from it doesn’t take time, it is an instant action because you see what would happen if you fell. So in the same way, if you see the falseness of all the movement of thought, of analysis, of the acceptance of time, and so on, then there is the instant action of thought as the “me” ending itself.

So a religious life is a life of meditation, in which the activities of the self are not. And one can live such a life in this world every day. That is, one can live a life as a human being in which there is constant alertness, watchfulness, awareness, an attentive mind that is watching the movement of the self. And the watching is watching from silence, not from a conclusion. Because the mind has observed the activities of the self and sees the falseness of it and therefore the mind has become extraordinarily sensitive, and silent. And from that silence it acts. In daily life.

Have you got it? Have we shared this together? Because it is your life, not my life. It is your life of sorrow, of tragedy, of confusion, guilt, reward, punishment. All that is your life. If you are serious you have tried to untangle all this. You have read some book, or followed some teacher, or listened to somebody, but the problems remain. These problems will exist as long as the human mind moves within the field of the activity of the self; that activity of the self must create more and more and more problems. When you observe, when you become extraordinarily aware of this activity of the self, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet, sane, healthy, holy. And from that silence our life in everyday activity is transformed.

Religion is the cessation of the “me,” and action born of that silence. That life is a sacred life full of meaning.

-J. Krishnamurti

From the public talk at Saanen on July 29, 1973. Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, Ltd

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