Jiddu Krishnamurti – on Sensitivity

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Here are some quotes from Jiddu Krishnamurti about ‘sensitivity’. Why is it that we are not sensitive to the many horrors and pains in the world, with all it’s suffering and strife? And what relevance does this have at all in daily life and in the spiritual quest?

Krishnamurti addresses these in his usual holistic manner, raising questions such as are we sensitive to the trees and birds, to nature? Do we notice not only beauty but also ugliness. Do we allow ourselves to feel both positive and negative emotions or do we run away from them, seeking solace in objects, entertainment and substances? Do we judge, condemn, label and see things through the veil of opinion and past knowledge, rather than see things afresh as they actually are? Do we seek security and knowledge in place of allowing ourselves to feel emotional content in our daily lives?

I hope you find the below quotes to be of benefit to you. If you would like to learn more about Krishnamurti’s approach to this I would recommend his short book Education and the Significance of Life, which I believe you can easily find as a free online download.

Best wishes

Tom


Without sensitivity there can be no affection; personal reaction does not indicate sensitivity; you may be sensitive about your family, about your achievement, about your status and capacity. This kind of sensitivity is a reaction, limited, narrow, and is deterioration. Sensitivity is not good taste for good taste is personal and the freedom from personal reaction is the awareness of beauty. Without the appreciation of beauty and without the sensitive awareness of it, there is no love.

This sensitive awareness of nature, of the river, of the sky, of the people, of the filthy road, is affection. The essence of affection is sensitivity.

But most people are afraid of being sensitive; to them to be sensitive is to get hurt and so they harden themselves and so preserve their sorrow. Or they escape into every form of entertainment, the church, the temple, the gossip and cinema and social reform. But being sensitive is not personal and when it is, it leads to misery. To break through this personal reaction is to love, and love is for the one and the many; it is not restricted to the one or to the many.

To be sensitive, all the senses must be fully alive, active, and the fear of being a slave to the senses is merely the avoidance of a natural fact. The awareness of the fact does not lead to slavery; it is the fear of the fact that leads to bondage. Thought is of the senses and thought makes for limitation but yet you are not afraid of thought. On the contrary; it is ennobled with respectability and enshrined with conceit.

To be sensitively aware of thought, feeling, of the world around you, of your office and of nature, is to explode from moment to moment in affection. Without affection, every action becomes burdensome and mechanical and leads to decay.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti’s Notebook


If you say you will learn gradually about yourself, adding more and more,  little, you are not studying yourself now as you are but through acquired knowledge. Learning implies a great sensitivity. There is no sensitivity if there is an idea, which is of the past, dominating the present. Then the mind is no longer quick, pliable, alert.

Most of us are not sensitive even physically. We overeat, we do not bother about the right diet, we oversmoke and drink so that our bodies become gross and insensitive; the quality of attention in the organism itself is made dull. How can there be a very alert, sensitive, clear mind if the organism itself is dull and heavy? We may be sensitive about certain things that touch us personally but to be completely sensitive to all the implications of life demand that there be no separation between the organism and the psyche. It is a total movement.

To understand anything you must live with it, you must observe it, you must know all its content, its nature, its structure, its movement. Have you ever tried living with yourself? If so, you will begin to see that yourself is not a static state, it is a fresh living thing. And to live with a living thing your mind must also be alive. And it cannot be alive if it is caught in opinions, judgements and values. In order to observe the movement of your own mind and heart, of your whole being, you must have a free mind, not a mind that agrees and disagrees, taking sides in an argument, disputing over mere words, but rather following with an intention to understand – a very difficult thing to do because most of us don’t know how to look at, or listen to, our own being any more than we know how to look at the beauty of a river or listen to the breeze among the trees.

When we condemn or justify we cannot see clearly, nor can we when our minds are endlessly chattering; then we do not observe what is we look only at the projections we have made of ourselves. Each of us has an image of what we think we are or what we should be, and that image, that picture, entirely prevents us from seeing ourselves as we actually are.

It is one of the most difficult things in the world to look at anything simply. Because our minds are very complex we have lost the quality of simplicity. I don’t mean simplicity in clothes or food, wearing only a loin cloth or breaking a record fasting or any of that immature nonsense the saints cultivate, but the simplicity that can look directly at things without fear – that can look at ourselves as we actually are without any distortion – to say when we lie we lie, not cover it up or run away from it.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known


We are disturbed about life, politics, the economic situation, the horror, the brutality, the sorrow in the world as well as in ourselves, and from that we realize how terribly narrowly conditioned we are. And what shall we do? Accept that disturbance and live with it as most of us do? Get used to it as one gets used to living with a backache? Put up with it

There is a tendency in all of us to put up with things, to get used to them, to blame them on circumstances. `Ah, if things were right I would be different’, we say, or, `Give me the opportunity and I will fulfil myself’, or, ‘I am crushed by the injustice of it all’, always blaming our disturbances on others or on our environment or on the economic situation.

If one gets used to disturbance it means that one’s mind has become dull, just as one can get so used to beauty around one that one no longer notices it. One gets indifferent, hard and callous, and one’s mind becomes duller and duller. If we do not get used to it we try to escape from it by taking some kind of drug, joining a political group, shouting, writing, going to a football match or to a temple or church or finding some other form of amusement.

Why is it that we escape from actual facts? We are afraid of death – I am just taking that as an example – and we invent all kinds of theories, hopes, beliefs, to disguise the fact of death, but the fact is still there. To understand a fact we must look at it, not run away from it. Most of us are afraid of living as well as of dying. We are afraid for our family, afraid of public opinion, of losing our job, our security, and hundreds of other things. The simple fact is that we are afraid, not that we are afraid of this or that. Now why cannot we face that fact?

You can face a fact only in the present and if you never allow it to be present because you are always escaping from it, you can never face it, and because we have cultivated a hole network of escapes we are caught in the habit of escape.

Now, if you are at all sensitive, at all serious, you will not only be aware of your conditioning but you will also be aware of the dangers it results in, what brutality and hatred it leads to. Why, then, if you see the danger of your conditioning, don’t you act? Is it because you are lazy, laziness being lack of energy? Yet you will not lack energy if you see an immediate physical danger like a snake in your path, or a precipice, or a fire. Why, then, don’t you act when you see the danger of your conditioning? If you saw the danger of nationalism to your own security, wouldn’t you act?

The answer is you don’t see. Through an intellectual process of analysis you may see that nationalism leads to self-destruction but there is no emotional content in that. Only when there is an emotional content do you become vital. If you see the danger of your conditioning merely as an intellectual concept, you will never do anything about it. In seeing a danger as a mere idea there is conflict between the idea and action and that conflict takes away your energy. It is only when you see the conditioning and the danger of it immediately, and as you would see a precipice, that you act. So seeing is acting.

Most of us walk through life inattentively, reacting unthinkingly according to the environment in which we have been brought up, and such reactions create only further bondage, further conditioning, but the moment you give your total attention to your conditioning you will see that you are free from the past completely, that it falls away from you naturally.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known


To understand and to be free of any problem we need a great deal of passionate and sustained energy, not only physical and intellectual energy but an energy that is not dependent on any motive, any psychological stimulus or drug. If we are dependent on any stimulus that very stimulus makes the mind dull and insensitive. By taking some form of drug we may find enough energy temporarily to see things very clearly but we revert to our former state and therefore become dependent on that drug more and more. So all stimulation, whether of the church or of alcohol or of drugs or of the written or spoken word, will inevitably bring about dependence, and that dependence prevents us from seeing clearly for ourselves and therefore from having vital energy.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known


When you do not compare at all, when there is no ideal, no opposite, no factor of duality, when you no longer struggle to be different from what you are – what has happened to your mind? Your mind has ceased to create the opposite and has become highly intelligent, highly sensitive, capable of immense passion, because effort is a dissipation of passion – passion which is vital energy – and you cannot do anything without passion.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known


In the life we generally lead there is very little solitude. Even when we are alone our lives are crowded by so many influences, so much knowledge, so many memories of so many experiences, so much anxiety, misery and conflict that our mind become duller and duller, more and more insensitive, functioning in a monotonous routine. Are we ever alone? Or are we carrying with us all the burdens of yesterday?

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known


To understand all this is not to be caught in it, not to depend on it. It means never to deny anything, never to come to any conclusion or to reach any ideological, verbal state, or principle, according to which you try to live. The very perception of this whole map which is being unfolded is already intelligence.

It is this intelligence that will act and not a conclusion, a decision or an ideological principle.

Our bodies have been made dull, just as our minds and hearts have been dulled, by our education, by our conformity to the pattern which society has set and which denies the sensitivity of the heart. It sends us to war, destroying all our beauty, tenderness and joy. The observation of all this, not verbally or intellectually but actually, makes our body and mind highly sensitive. The body will then demand the right kind of food; then the mind will not be caught in words, in symbols, in platitudes of thought. Then we shall know how to live  both in the valley and on the mountaintop; then there will be no division or contradiction between the two.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Only Revolution


It is opinion and belief that prevent the observation of what actually is. The seeing of what is is part of that intelligence which you are asking about. There is no intelligence if there is no sensitivity of the body and of the mind – the sensitivity of feeling and the clarity of observation. Emotionalism and sentimentality prevent the sensitivity of feeling.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Only Revolution


Sensitivity to beauty and to ugliness does not come about through attachment; it comes with love, when there are no self-created conflicts. When we are inwardly poor, we indulge in every form of outward show, in wealth, power and possessions. When our hearts are empty, we collect things. If we can afford it, we surround ourselves with objects that we consider beautiful, and because we attach enormous importance to them, we are responsible for much misery and destruction.

The acquisitive spirit is not the love of beauty; it arises from the desire for security, and to be secure is to be insensitive. The desire to be secure creates fear; it sets going a process of isolation which builds walls of resistance around us, and these walls prevent all sensitivity. However beautiful an object may be, it soon loses its appeal for us; we dull. Beauty is still there, but we are no longer open to it, and it has been absorbed into our monotonous daily existence.

Since our hearts are withered and we have forgotten how to be kindly, how to look at the stars, at the trees, at the reflections on the water, we require the stimulation of pictures and jewels, of books and endless amusements. We are constantly seeking new excitements, new thrills, we crave an ever increasing variety of sensations. Art is this craving and its satisfaction that make the mind and heart weary and dull. As long as we are seeking sensation, the things that we call beautiful and ugly have but a very superficial significance. There is lasting joy only when we are capable of approaching all things afresh – which is not possible as long as we are bound up in our desires. The craving for sensation and gratification prevents the experiencing of that which is always new. Sensations can be bought, but not the love of beauty.

When we are aware of the emptiness of our own minds and hearts without running away from it into any kind of stimulation or sensation, when we are completely open, highly sensitive, only then can there be creation, only then shall we find creative joy. To cultivate the outer without understanding the inner must inevitably build up those values which lead men to destruction and sorrow.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life


Sensitivity can never be awakened through compulsion. One may compel a child to be outwardly quiet, but one has not come face to face with that which is making him obstinate, impudent, and so on. Compulsion breeds antagonism and fear. Reward and punishment in any form only make the mind subservient and dull; and if this is what we desire, then education through compulsion is an excellent way to proceed.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life


…fear kills creative thinking. Fear dulls the mind and heart so that we are not alert to the whole significance of life; we become insensitive to our own sorrows, to the movement of the birds, to the smiles and miseries of others.

Conscious and unconscious fear has many different causes, and it needs alert watchfulness to be rid of them all. Fear cannot be eliminated through discipline, sublimation, or through any other act of will: its causes have to be searched out and understood. This needs patience and an awareness in which there is no judgement of any kind.

It is comparatively easy to understand and dissolve our conscious fears. But unconscious fears are not even discovered by most of us, for we do not allow them to come to the surface; and when on rare occasions they do come to the surface, we hasten to cover them up, to escape from them. Hidden fears often make their presence known through dreams and other forms of intimation, and they cause greater deterioration and conflict than do the superficial fears. Our lives are not just on the surface, their greater part is concealed from casual observation.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life


In our search for knowledge, in our acquisitive desires, we are losing love, we are blunting the feeling for beauty, the sensitivity to cruelty; we are becoming more and more specialized and less and less integrated. Wisdom cannot be replaced by knowledge, and no amount of explanation, no accumulation of facts, will free man from suffering. Knowledge is necessary, science has its place; but if the mind and heart are suffocated by knowledge, and if the cause of suffering is explained away, life becomes vain and meaningless. And is this not what is happening to most of us?

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life


The love of beauty may express itself in a song, in a smile, or in silence; but most of us have no inclination to be silent. We have not the time to observe the birds, the passing clouds, because we are too busy with our pursuits and pleasures. When there is no beauty in our hearts, how can we help the children to be alert and sensitive? We try to be sensitive to beauty while avoiding the ugly; but avoidance of the ugly makes for insensitivity.

If we would develop sensitivity in the young, we ourselves must be sensitive to beauty and to ugliness, and must take every opportunity to awaken in them the joy there is in seeing, not only the beauty that man has created, but also the beauty of nature.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life

J. Krishnamurti: How to meditate, a wonderful wonderful path

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Jiddu Krishnamurti famously did not prescribe any methods and was generally against spiritual paths and spiritual authorities including gurus. However, sometimes on rare occasions, he did prescribe a method and give hints and clues about meditation, often when speaking with children at the various schools he visited. This is what we will look at here.

Here is a wonderful example of how he simply and profoundly explains meditation to a student. It is a rare example. The following excerpt is taken from ‘On Education’ page 58.

Bold type has been added by myself for emphasis, and my comments are interspersed in red, with Krishnamurti’s words in black. Try reading the text both with my comments and without them to get a feel for it. If you can, try to see how my comments are related to the specific words and phrases in the text. I hope you will clearly see where I have added my own thoughts, and feel free let me know what you think.

Best wishes to you all!

With love

Tom

Krishnamurti: Do you know anything about meditation?

Student: No, Sir.

Krishnamurti: But the older people do not know either. They sit in a corner, close their eyes and concentrate, like school boys trying to concentrate on a book. That is not meditation. Meditation is something extraordinary, if you know how to do it. I am going to talk a little about it.

First, Krishnamurti introduces the topic of meditation in a wonderful way. He states its extraordinariness and implies its non-mechanical and non-formulaic nature.

First of all, sit very quietly; do not force yourself to sit quietly, but sit or lie down quietly without force of any kind. Do you understand? Then watch your thinking. Watch what you are thinking about. You find you are thinking about your shoes, your saris, what you are going to say, the bird outside to which you listen; follow such thoughts and enquire why each thought arises.

Here we see how gentle Krishnamurti’s approach to meditation is. Everything is unforced. Even the initial sitting is unforced. His approach is to be gentle, relaxed and uncontrived throughout, whilst allowing the natural intelligence to function. He says to sit or lie quietly without force of any kind.

Next Krishnamurti will follow on from that, how we are not to suppress, but to remain with each and every thought and feeling. This is not to be done in a mechanical unconscious way as is often taught, but one should notice patterns in how thoughts and feelings arise, without suppressing them or judging them as good or bad. Incidentally, this is completely in line with the Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness as found in the Pali suttas, eg. the Maha-satipatthana Sutta, where the Buddha urges us to notice patterns as they arise in order to generate insight.

Then Krishnamurti goes one step further: not only are we to watch the thoughts but crucially we are to enquire why each thought arises.

Do not try to change your thinking. See why certain thoughts arise in your mind so that you begin to understand the meaning of every thought and feeling without any enforcement. And when a thought arises, do not condemn it, do not say it is right, it is wrong, it is good, it is bad. Just watch it, so that you begin to have a perception, a consciousness which is active in seeing every kind of thought, every kind of feeling. You will know every hidden secret thought, every hidden motive, every feeling, without distortion, without saying it is right, wrong, good or bad. When you look, when you go into thought very very deeply, your mind becomes extraordinarily subtle, alive. No part of the mind is asleep. The mind is completely awake.

Again Krishnamurti emphasises not trying to change things, but rather to observe things as they are, and also to look to see why certain thoughts are being thought. What is the motivation behind the thoughts?

Krishnamurti indicates that through this being with thoughts and feelings without force or suppression, an observing consciousness naturally arises. This observing consciousness (my words) is often referred to by Krishnamurti as ‘choiceless awareness’, meaning awareness without the sense of a ‘me’ or egoic centre which is judging, condemning, suppressing, etc.

Also implied in the paragraph above is that through this process of meditation, all the unconscious tendencies will rise to the surface. What was unconscious, suppressed and hidden will be revealed and become conscious. At other times Krishnamurti sometimes refers to this process as the beginning of self-knowledge. When Krishnamurti uses the term ‘self-knowledge’ he is referring to learning about the psychological self and how it egoically operates, rather than how the term self-knowledge is used in Vedanta and yoga to mean knowledge of Brahman/the absolute or enlightenment.

Throughout this process, we are not to condemn or judge or suppress which Krishnamurti says would be a distortion. Similarly, although this is not stated, I would add that we are not to act out and indulge in thoughts and feelings, at least not too much, as this too is distorting.

Exactly how this works can be discovered for oneself but trying this practice out. When you come upon this for yourself, the words make much more sense. The correct balance of awareness, stillness and intellect naturally arises through this process of meditation. The mind becomes still yet intelligent and active, as opposed to still and dull. My interpretation is that in Vedanta, the still and active state is known as sattva (peace and intelligence) whilst the still and dull is known as tamas (dullness). 

That is merely the foundation. Then your mind is very quiet. Your whole being becomes very still. Then go through that stillness, deeper, further – that whole process is meditation. Meditation is not to sit in a corner repeating a lot of words; or to think of a picture and go into some wild, ecstatic imaginings.

So, after doing this, we realise that this is just the start of meditation. Initially we are allowing the mind to rise up, we are allowing thoughts and feelings to rise up. Through allowing them to arise without judgement, suppression [or acting them out], and through seeing why thoughts arise as they do, ie. through having insight into the hidden (egoic) motivations that underlie the thoughts and feelings, the mind, over time, naturally becomes still.

Very importantly, we have not made the mind still. We have not forced the mind to become still. The mind has naturally become still because what needed to come up and be felt and understood has come up and been felt and understood. In doing so, without trying to become still, which is egoic effort and egoic activity, without trying to become still, the mind becomes still.

So, what do we do now? Nothing. In doing nothing, we are deepening the meditation. We are not really doing anything per se – the choiceless awareness acts ‘of its own accord’. We are going deeper and deeper into the stillness. It happens by itself, without contrivance or effort. It is the natural unfolding of intelligence and the natural dissolution of ego/self.

Krishnamurti reminds us in the last sentence of the paragraph above what meditation is not; it is not a mechanical process such as mechanically repeating a slogan or mantra; it is not going off into flights of fancy brought on by images or idols; it is not to enter ecstatic states of mind where one is filled with supercharged bliss and love. It is this dynamic stillness which has its own quiet momentum, which naturally unfolds and cleanses without effort or intention.

To understand the whole process of your thinking and feeling is to be free from all thought, to be free from all feeling so that your mind, your whole being becomes very quiet. And that is also part of life and with that quietness, you can look at the tree, you can look at people, you can look at the sky and the stars. That is the beauty of life.

Krishnamurti now makes a leap. He describes how this unfolding into silence is discovering a freedom in which there is silence together with total freedom from thoughts and feelings. He does not go into this more here, but he is describing what could be thought of as the outcome or culmination of this ongoing process or movement that is meditation. A freedom, a total freedom, free from perceptual phenomena, one with this quietness and one with life: beauty itself. The silence he is speaking of is that which is without a centre, or without a ‘me’ or ego. The beauty he speaks of is the beauty of no-me, no-self.

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A summary of ‘Krishnamurti’s Method of Meditation’



Based on the above, we can briefly summarise Krishnamurti’s method of meditation as follows:

  • One needs to, at least initially, make space and time for meditation.
  • In a gentle and unforced way, sit or lie quietly. This itself should be without any force of any kind.
  • Allow and don’t suppress or judge: Allow thoughts and feelings to arise. As they arise, do not suppress or judge them as being good or bad, but allow them to arise. Also do not indulge or act out the thoughts and feelings, but instead remain quiet and aware.
  • Develop insight and understanding: Gently and patiently question and observe why certain thoughts and feeling occur. Notice if there any patterns arising. Notice any underlying motivations present in the thinking and feeling.
  • Natural self-healing/purification: In this way, the once hidden and unconscious mind will, over time, reveal itself and become conscious. Naturally, though the above steps of allowing and insight, the mind will heal itself and empty itself of pain, suffering, addictive tendencies and egoic tendencies (ie. purification). This is just the foundation or first step of meditation in which the unconscious pain and egoic ways are naturally and non-egoically cleansed.
  • Unforced silence: This, over time, and without being forced or contrived, will naturally give rise to a silence. This is the deeper or true meditation, the second step you could say. This silence is an active dynamic and alive silence, one that is suffused with intelligence (sattva), and not dull and dead like the silence that is trained or forced through a mechanical method such as mantra repetition (tamas).
  • Go further still, allow silence to deepen: This is where many prematurely stop after an initial taste of silence only. When the mind is naturally still without being forced, do not ‘stop’. Continue. Allow the still mind to naturally deepen of its own accord, going further and further, deeper and deeper into stillness. The aware-intelligence energy naturally recognises egoic thought and the egoic movement and effortlessly cleanses it as it arises. Purification is happening on a deeper and moe subtle non-verbal level now.
  • Freedom: There one will naturally discover a freedom beyond words, a freedom that is not sought, that cannot be sought, that has no authority, that is natural, present, ungraspable and uncontrived. A freedom that is non-separate from life. It is simultaneously silent (ie. no ego), free from life (ie. thoughts, feelings, sensations, the world) and one with life.

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What if this meditation is too difficult?

I would add that for many people this type of meditation is very difficult due to the strength and force of mental and egoic tendencies. Krishnamurti seems to have naturally had a quiet mind which did not require much else to enter into meditation.

However my view is that we can add a preceding stage in which one can, again in a gentle and unforced way, steady the mind by following the breath or repeating a mantra.

Whist this is clearly a mechanical process, and one that Krishnamurti did not recommend, my experience is that it can allow an unruly mind to become stable enough to take up ‘Krishnamurti’s method’. The key point is that this mechanical process is not the end-all and be-all of meditation, but just a mechanical trick to get one started. It of course must be let go of.

Similarly, the eyes can be kept open initially for 10-15 minutes, which can also aid mental stability, as I have found that for most people closing the eyes too early in meditation is not conducive to taming a mind that is used to extroversion and stimulation. Thereafter one may open or close the eyes as one pleases.

At other times, Krishnamurti recommended keeping the eyes looking straight ahead, with the eyeballs unmoving. Again, this is something that is not always easy to do, but feel free to experiment with this too.

Concluding comments and further analysis: purification and insight

We can see how Krishnamurti’s approach is wonderfully natural and non-violent to the body and mind. It does require, at least initially, time and mental space in which the meditation can occur, and may also need other preliminary steps for some people, in my view.

It also beautifully and naturally allows our innate intelligence to arise and function, and heal ourself. As the mind is allowed to rise up and become fully conscious, it heals itself (ie. purification), and the egoic process dissolves and disappears (ie. insight, then end of vasanas and the dawn of liberation).

The healing process by which the egoic tendencies and past hurts arise and are cleansed is what I would usually call purification. A natural choiceless awareness arises and functions, free from life and one with it simultaneously. This is the start of the ending of the egoic movement (vasanas or habitual egoic tendencies).

Initially the egoic process is seen and transcended in ‘step 1’, where it is allowed to function and be felt but without indulging in the ego/acting out the tendencies. Later the egoic process almost completely disappears and becomes temporarily dormant and the mind becomes still (‘step 2’). When one is not meditating, the ego again rises out of its dormancy.

During these times, what I call insight (into no-self) dawns: it can become clear that there is no separate self, no doer, no thinker, no centre, just one unitary movement in Freedom. This insight can initially seem to come and go, as the egoic process/ego is present or absent to varying degrees, and the apparent insight will also vary accordingly.

As this silence continues further and deepens further, what is really happening is that purification/cleansing of ego is deepening and spreading through all aspects of the body-mind system. The ego is naturally and effortlessly being rooted out by the innate intelligent, one could say. The ego/egoic tendency, initially periodically dormant, over time becomes annihilated, meaning that the ego-tendency does not rise again (ie. the egoic vasanas are annihilated). The illusion of separation and duality has ended, not temporarily or partially as before, but totally and irrevocably. This is tantamount to liberation in the Buddhist, Vedanta and yogic traditions.

For more on my approach to purification and insight, see here.



Jiddu Krishnamurti: ‘Complete Attention’

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Jiddu Krishnamurti used words in a very specific and often unusual way. He, generally speaking, uses the word ‘attention’ to signify awareness without the presence of the ego or chooser, and therefore without resistance or direction. Below is an example, taken from The Book of Life, June 12th:


What do we mean by attention? Is there attention when I am forcing my mind to attend? When I say to myself, “I must pay attention, I must control my mind and push aside all other thoughts,” would you call that attention? Surely that is not attention.

What happens when the mind forces itself to pay attention? It creates a resistance to prevent other thoughts from seeping in; it is concerned with resistance, with pushing away; therefore it is incapable of attention. That is true, is it not?

To understand something totally you must give your complete attention to it. But you will soon find out how extraordinarily difficult that is, because your mind is used to being distracted, so you say, “By Jove, it is good to pay attention, but how am I to do it?” That is, you are back again with the desire to get something, so you will never pay complete attention. … When you see a tree or a bird, for example, to pay complete attention is not to say, ”That is an oak,” or, “That is a parrot,” and walk by.

In giving it a name you have already ceased to pay attention… Whereas, if you are wholly aware, totally attentive when you look at something, then you will find that a complete transformation takes place, and that total attention is the good.

There is no other, and you cannot get total attention by practice. With practice you get concentration, that is, you build up walls of resistance, and within those walls of resistance is the concentrator, but that is not attention, it is exclusion.


Also, see here: If you listen completely there is no listener

Jiddu Krishnamurti: A light to oneself

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One has to be a light to oneself; this light is the law. There is no other law. All the other laws are made by thought and so are fragmentary and contradictory.

One has to be a light to oneself

To be a light to oneself is not to follow the light of another, however reasonable, logical, historical, and however convincing. You cannot be a light to yourself if you are in the dark shadows of authority, of dogma, of conclusion.

Morality is not put together by thought; it is not the outcome of environmental pressure, it is not of yesterday, of tradition. Morality is the child of love and love is not desire and pleasure. Sexual or sensory enjoyment is not love…

…love is not desire and pleasure

…Freedom is to be a light to oneself; then it is not an abstraction, a thing conjured up by thought. Actual freedom is freedom from dependency, attachment, from the craving for experience. Freedom from the very structure of thought is to be a light to oneself. In this light all action takes place and thus it is never contradictory.

Actual freedom is freedom from dependency, attachment, from the craving for experience.

Contradiction exists only when that light is separate from action, when the actor is separate from action. The ideal, the principle, is the barren movement of thought and it cannot coexist with this light; one denies the other.

Where the observer is, this light, this love, is not.

The structure of the observer is put together by thought, which is never new, never free. There is no ‘how’, no system, no practice.

Freedom from the very structure of thought is to be a light to oneself…
…The structure of the observer is put together by thought…

There is only the seeing that is the doing. You have to see, not through the eyes of another. This light, this law, is neither yours nor that of another.

There is only light. This is love.

The above is an excerpt from Krishnamurti’s Journal from the entry dated September 24, 1973

Jiddu Krishamurti: Silence, the Still Mind, Meditation

Krishnamurti young

I’ve compiled a few quotes by J. Krishnamurti on the subject of silence/stillness, and I’ve broadly arranged them so the initial quotes are more introductory and the latter quotes expand on the depth and subtleties of the teachings. Are we not blessed to have such teachings available to us? I hope you find these of use to you, with love and best wishes:

What lies beyond can be found only if the mind is still. There may be something or there may be nothing at all. So the only thing that is important is for the mind to be still.

What lies beyond can be found only if the mind is still…the only thing that is important is for the mind to be still.

Again, if you are concerned with what lies beyond, then you are not looking at what the state of actual stillness is. If stillness to you is only a door to that which lies beyond, then you are not concerned with that door, whereas what is important is the very door itself, the very stillness itself.

Therefore you cannot ask what lies beyond. The only thing that is important is for the mind to be still. Then what takes place? That is all we are concerned with, not with what lies beyond silence.

Eight Conversations


When you realize that there is no method, no system, no mantra, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet.

…it is only the quiet mind that sees…

It is like seeing danger and avoiding it. In the same way, seeing that the mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.

Now, the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what it is.

In that silence there is no observer at all.

But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that stillness, has no center as the ‘me’, the observer, is quite different. In that silence there is no observer at all. That quality of silence has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-centered.

If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which man has sought throughout the centuries – God, truth, the immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless – is there.

…it is always there if you know how to look…

Without your invitation, it is there.

The Flight of the Eagle


There is no other fact but silence which has not been invited, induced, sought after, but which is the natural outcome of observation and of understanding oneself and the world about one. In this there has been no motive which has brought silence. If there is any shadow or suspicion of a motive, then that silence is directed and deliberate, so it is not silence at all.

If there is any shadow or suspicion of a motive, then that silence is directed and deliberate, so it is not silence at all.

If you can honestly say that that silence is free, then what actually takes place in that silence is our only concern. What is the quality and the texture of that silence? Is it superficial, passing, measurable? Are you aware of it after it is over, or during the silence? If you are aware that you have been silent, then it is only a memory, and therefore dead. If you are aware of the silence while it is happening, then is it silence?

Eight Conversations


If you have followed this inquiry into what is meditation, and have understood the whole process of thinking, you will find that the mind is completely still. In that total stillness of the mind, there is no watcher, no observer, and therefore no experiencer at all; there is no entity who is gathering experience, which is the activity of a self-centred mind.

In that total stillness of the mind, there is no watcher, no observer, and therefore no experiencer at all; there is no entity who is gathering experience, which is the activity of a self-centred mind.

Don’t say, “That is samadhi”, which is all nonsense, because you have only read of it in some book and have not discovered it for yourself. There is a vast difference between the word and the thing. The word is not the thing; the word door is not the door.

So, to meditate is to purge the mind of its self-centered activity. And if you have come this far in meditation, you will find there is silence, a total emptiness.

The mind is uncontaminated by society; it is no longer subject to any influence, to the pressure of any desire. It is completely alone, and being alone, untouched, it is innocent.

So, to meditate is to purge the mind of its self-centered activity…you will find there is silence, a total emptiness…The mind is uncontaminated by society;

Therefore there is a possibility for that which is timeless, eternal, to come into being. This whole process is meditation.

J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life


Disciplines, renunciations, detachments, rituals, the practice of virtue, all these, however noble, are the process of thought, and thought can only work toward an end, toward an achievement, which is ever the known.

Achievement is security, the self-protective certainty of the known. To seek security in that which is nameless is to deny it. The security that may be found is only in the projection of the past, of the known.

For this reason, the mind must be entirely and deeply silent; but this silence cannot be purchased through sacrifice, sublimation, or suppression. This silence comes when the mind is no longer seeking, no longer caught in the process of becoming. This silence is not cumulative, it may not be built up through practice.

This silence comes when the mind is no longer seeking, no longer caught in the process of becoming. This silence is not cumulative, it may not be built up through practice.

This silence must be as unknown to the mind as the timeless, for if the mind experiences the silence, then there is the experiencer who is the result of past experiences, who is cognizant of a past silence, and what is experienced by the experiencer is merely a self-projected repetition. The mind can never experience the new, and so the mind must be utterly still.

The mind can never experience the new, and so the mind must be utterly still.

The mind can be still only when it is not experiencing, that is, when it is not terming or naming, recording or storing up in memory. This naming and recording is a constant process of the different layers of consciousness, not merely of the upper mind. But, when the superficial mind is quiet, the deeper mind can offer up its intimations. When the whole consciousness is silent and tranquil, free from all becoming – which is spontaneity – then only does the immeasurable come into being.

Commentaries on Living, Series I


That silence which is not the silence of the ending of noise is only a small beginning. It is like going through a small hole to an enormous, wide, expansive ocean, to an immeasurable, timeless state. But this you cannot understand verbally unless you have understood the whole structure of consciousness and the meaning of pleasure, sorrow and despair, and the brain cells themselves have become quiet. Then perhaps you may come upon that mystery which nobody can reveal to you and nothing can destroy.

…the brain cells themselves have become quiet. Then perhaps you may come upon that mystery which nobody can reveal to you and nothing can destroy.

Freedom from the Known


Is silence to be cultivated, carefully nurtured and strengthened? And who is the cultivator? Is he different from the totality of your being? Is there silence, a still mind, when one desire dominates all others, or when it sets up resistance against them? Is there silence when the mind is disciplined, shaped, controlled? Does not all this imply a censor, a so-called higher self who controls judges, chooses?

Is there silence when the mind is disciplined, shaped, controlled? Does not all this imply a censor, a so-called higher self who controls judges, chooses?

And is there such an entity? If there is, is he not the product of thought? Thought dividing itself as the high and the low, the permanent and the impermanent, is still the outcome of the past, of tradition, of time. In this division lies its own security.

Thought or desire now seeks safety in silence, and so it asks for a method or a system which offers what it wants. In place of worldly things it now craves the pleasure of silence, so it breeds conflict between what is and what should be. There is no silence where there is conflict, repression, resistance.

Q: Should one not seek silence?

K: There can be no silence as long as there is a seeker. There is the silence of a still mind only when there is no seeker, when there is no desire.

Q: Should one not seek silence?

K: There can be no silence as long as there is a seeker. There is the silence of a still mind only when there is no seeker, when there is no desire. Without replying, put this question to yourself: Can the whole of your being be silent? Can the totality of the mind, the conscious as well as the unconscious, be still?

Commentaries On Living Series II Chapter 50 


The mind is silent only with the abundance of energy, when there is that attention in which all contradiction, the pulling of desire in different directions, has ceased. The struggle of desire to be silent does not make for silence. Silence is not to be bought through any form of compulsion; it is not the reward of suppression or even sublimation.

The struggle of desire to be silent does not make for silence. Silence is not to be bought through any form of compulsion; it is not the reward of suppression or even sublimation.

But the mind that is not silent is never free; and it is only to the silent mind that the heavens are opened. The bliss which the mind seeks is not found through its seeking, nor does it lie in faith. Only the silent mind can receive that blessing which is not of church or belief.

But the mind that is not silent is never free; and it is only to the silent mind that the heavens are opened. The bliss which the mind seeks is not found through its seeking, nor does it lie in faith. Only the silent mind can receive that blessing which is not of church or belief.

For the mind to be silent, all its contradictory corners must come together and be fused in the flame of understanding. The silent mind is not a reflective mind. To reflect, there must be the watcher and the watched, the experiencer heavy with the past.

The silent mind is not a reflective mind. To reflect, there must be the watcher and the watched, the experiencer heavy with the past.

In the silent mind there is no centre from which to become, to be, or to think. All desire is contradiction, for every centre of desire is opposed to another centre. The silence of the total mind is meditation.

Commentaries On Living, Series III, Chapter 51

The silence of the total mind is meditation.


When you watch attentively, with diligence, there is nothing to learn; there is only that vast space, silence and emptiness, which is all-consuming energy.

Krishnamurti to Himself

Krishnamurti: how am I to be free, free to live happily?

 

krishnamurti

The following is written by Jiddu Krishnamurti, taken from BULLETIN 6, 1970

…the centre says to itself: how am I to be free, free to live happily, completely, openly, and act without sorrow or remorse? But it is still the centre asking the question. The centre is the past. The centre is the ‘me’ with its selfish activities which knows action only in terms of reward and punishment, achievement or failure, and its motives, causes and effects. It is caught in this chain and the chain is the centre and the prison.

There is another action which comes when there is a space without a centre, a dimension in which there is no cause and effect. From this, living is action. Here, having no centre, whatever is done is free, joyous, without pain or pleasure. This space and freedom is not a result of effort and achievement, but when the centre ends the other is.

But we will ask how can the centre end, what am I to do to end it, what disciplines, what sacrifices, what great efforts am I to make? None. Only see without choice the activities of the centre, not as an observer, not as an outsider looking inward, but just observe without the censor. Then you may say: I cannot do it, I am always looking with the eyes of the past. Be aware, then, of looking with the eyes of the past, and remain with that. Don’t try to do anything about it; be simple and know that whatever you try to do will only strengthen the centre and is a response of your own desire to escape.

So there is no escape, no effort and no despair. Then you can see the full meaning of the centre and the immense danger of it, and that is enough.

Krishnamurti: the ending of sorrow is love

Continuing the series of Krishnamurti posts this week, the following is written by Jiddu Krishnamurti, taken from BULLETIN 4, 1969:

Desire and pleasure end in sorrow; and love has no sorrow.

What has sorrow is thought – thought which gives continuity to pleasure. Thought nourishes pleasure, giving strength to it. Thought is everlastingly seeking pleasure, and so inviting pain.

The virtue which thought cultivates is the way of pleasure and in it there is effort and achievement.

The flowering of goodness is not in the soil of thought but in freedom from sorrow.

The ending of sorrow is love.

Krishnamurti: to be aware of inattention is to be attentive.

Continuing the series of Krishnamurti posts this week, the following is written by Jiddu Krishnamurti, taken from BULLETIN 4, 1969:

The physical organism has its own intelligence, which is made dull through habits of pleasure. These habits destroy the sensitivity of the organism, and this lack of sensitivity makes the mind dull.

Such a mind may be alert in a narrow and limited direction and yet be insensitive. The depth of such a mind is measurable and is caught by images and illusions. Its very superficiality is its only brightness.

A light and intelligent organism is necessary for meditation. The interrelationship between the meditative mind and its organism is a constant adjustment in sensitivity; for meditation needs freedom.

Freedom is its own discipline. In freedom alone can there be attention. To be aware of inattention is to be attentive.

Complete attention is love. It alone can see, and the seeing is the doing.

Krishnamurti: Out of Silence Look and Listen

sunset evening enlightenment

Continuing the series of Krishnamurti posts this week, the following is written by Jiddu Krishnamurti, taken from BULLETIN 4, 1969:

Out of silence look and listen. Silence is not the ending of noise; the incessant clamour of the mind and heart does not end in silence; it is not a product, a result of desire, nor is it put together by will.

The whole of consciousness is a restless, noisy movement within the borders of its own making. Within this border silence or stillness is but the momentary ending of the chatter; it is the silence touched by time. Time is memory and to it silence is short or long; it can measure. Give to it space and continuity, and then it becomes another toy.

But this is not silence. Everything put together by thought is within the area of noise, and thought in no way can make itself still. It can build an image of silence and conform to it, worshipping it, as it does with so many other images it has made, but its formula of silence is the very negation of it; its symbols are the very denial of reality.

Thought itself must be still for silence to be. Silence is always now, as thought is not. Thought, always being old, cannot possibly enter into that silence which is always new. The new becomes the old when thought touches it.

Out of this silence, look and talk.

The true anonymity is out of this silence and there is no other humility. The vain are always vain, though they put on the garment of humility, which makes them harsh and brittle.

But out of this silence the word ‘love’ has a wholly different meaning. This silence is not out there but it is where the noise of the total observer is not.

Krishnamurti: stillness can in no way be manufactured by thought

Continuing the series of Krishnamurti posts this week, the following is written by Jiddu Krishnamurti, taken from BULLETIN 4, 1969:

Innocence alone can be passionate. The innocent have no sorrow, no suffering, though they have had a thousand experiences.

It is not the experiences that corrupt the mind but what they leave behind, the residue, the scars, the memories. These accumulate, pile up one on top of the other, and then sorrow begins.

This sorrow is time. Where time is, innocency is not. Passion is not born of sorrow. Sorrow is experience, the experience of everyday life, the life of agony and fleeting pleasures, fears and certainties. You cannot escape from experiences, but they need not take root in the soil of the mind. These roots give rise to problems, conflicts and constant struggle. There is no way out of this but to die each day to every yesterday.

The clear mind alone can be passionate. Without passion you cannot see the breeze among the leaves or the sunlight on the water. Without passion there is no love.

Seeing is the doing. The interval between seeing and doing is the waste of energy.

Love can only be when thought is still. This stillness can in no way be manufactured by thought. Thought can only put together images, formulas, ideas, but this stillness can never be touched by thought.

Thought is always old, but love is not.