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    Krishnamurti
    The Book of Life

    Excerpt of the book (for the full version, download PDF)

    Krishnamurti - The Book Of LifeChapiter 12

    December 1

    Alone has great beauty

    I do not know if you have ever been lonely; when you suddenly realize that you have no relationship with anybody—not an intellectual realization but a factual realization...and you are completely isolated. Every form of thought and emotion is blocked; you cannot turn anywhere; there is nobody to turn to; the gods, the angels, have all gone beyond the clouds and, as the clouds vanish they have also vanished; you are completely lonely—I will not use the word alone. Alone has quite a different meaning; alone has beauty. To be alone means something entirely different. And you must be alone. When man frees himself from the social structure of greed, envy, ambition, arrogance, achievement, status—then he frees himself from those, then he is completely alone. That is quite a different thing. Then there is great beauty, the feeling of great energy.

     

    December 2

    Aloneness is not loneliness

    Though we are all human beings, we have built walls between ourselves and our neighbors through nationalism, through race, caste, and class—which again breeds isolation, loneliness.

    Now a mind that is caught in loneliness, in this state of isolation, can never possibly understand what religion is. It can believe, it can have certain theories, concepts, formulas, it can try to identify itself with that which it calls God; but religion, it seems to me, has nothing whatsoever to do with any belief, with any priest, with any church or so-called sacred book. The state of the religious mind can be understood only when we begin to understand what beauty is; and the understanding of beauty must be approached through total aloneness. Only when the mind is completely alone can it know what is beauty, and not in any other state. Aloneness is obviously not isolation, and it is not uniqueness. To be unique is merely to be exceptional in some way, whereas to be completely alone demands extraordinary sensitivity, intelligence, understanding. To be completely alone implies that the mind is free of every kind of influence and is therefore uncontaminated by society; and it must be alone to understand what is religion—which is to find out for oneself whether there is something immortal, beyond time.

     

    December 3

    Knowing loneliness

    Loneliness is entirely different from aloneness. That loneliness must be passed to be alone. Loneliness is not comparable with aloneness. The man who knows loneliness can never know that which is alone. Are you in that state of aloneness? Our minds are not integrated to be alone. The very process of the mind is separative. And that which separates knows loneliness. But aloneness is not separative. It is something which is not the many, which is not influenced by the many, which is not the result of the many, which is not put together as the mind is; the mind is of the many. Mind is not an entity that is alone, being put together, brought together, manufactured through centuries. Mind can never be alone. Mind can never know aloneness. But being aware of the loneliness when going through it, there comes into being that aloneness. Then only can there be that which is immeasurable. Unfortunately most of us seek dependence. We want companions, we want friends, we want to live in a state of separation, in a state which brings about conflict. That which is alone can never be in a state of conflict. But mind can never perceive that, can never understand that, it can only know loneliness.

     

    December 4

    Only in aloneness is there innocence

    Most of us are never alone. You may withdraw into the mountains and live as a recluse, but when you are physically by yourself, you will have with you all your ideas, your experiences, your traditions, your knowledge of what has been. the Christian monk in a monastery cell is not alone; he is with his conceptual Jesus, with his theology, with the beliefs and dogmas of his particular conditioning. Similarly, the sannyasi in India who withdraws from the world and lives in isolation is not alone, for he too lives with his memories.I am talking of an aloneness in which the mind is totally free from the past, and only such a mind is virtuous, for only in this aloneness is there innocence. Perhaps you will say, “That is too much to ask. One cannot live like that in this chaotic world, where one has to go to the office every day, earn a livelihood, bear children, endure the nagging of one’s wife or husband, and all the rest of it.” But I think what is being said is directly related to everyday life and action; otherwise, it has no value at all. You see, out of this aloneness comes a virtue which is virile and which brings an extraordinary sense of purity and gentleness. It doesn’t matter if one makes mistakes; that is of very little importance. What matters is to have this feeling of being completely alone, uncontaminated, for it is only such a mind that can know or be aware of that which is beyond the word, beyond the name, beyond all the projections of imagination.

     

    December 5

    The one who is alone is innocent

    One of the factors of sorrow is the extraordinary loneliness of man. You may have companions, you may have gods, you may have a great deal of knowledge, you may be extraordinarily active socially, talking endless gossip about politics—and most politicians gossip anyhow—and still this loneliness remains. Therefore, man seeks to find significance in life and invents a significance, a meaning. But the loneliness still remains. So can you look at it without any comparison, just see it as it is, without trying to run away from it, without trying to cover it up, or to escape from it? Then you will see that loneliness becomes something entirely different. We are not alone. We are the result of a thousand influences, a thousand conditionings, psychological inheritances, propaganda, culture. We are not alone, and therefore we are second hand human beings. When one is alone, totally alone, neither belonging to any family though one may have a family, nor belonging to any nation, to any culture, to any particular commitment, there is the sense of being an outsider— outsider to every form of thought, action, family, nation. And it is only the one who is completely alone who is innocent. It is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.

     

    December 6

    Create a new world, a new civilization

    If you have to create a new world, a new civilization, a new art, everything new, not contaminated by tradition, by fear, by ambitions, if you have to create something anonymous which is yours and mine, a new society, together, in which there is not you and me but an “ourness,” must there not be a mind that is completely anonymous, therefore alone? This implies, does it not, that there must be a revolt against conformity, a revolt against respectability, because the respectable man is the mediocre man because he wants something, he is dependent on influence for his happiness, on what his neighbor thinks, on what his guru thinks, on what the Bhagavad-Gita or the Upanishads or the Bible or the Christ says. His mind is never alone. He never walks alone, but he always walks with a companion, the companion of this ideas. Is it not important to find out, to see, the whole significance of interference, of influence, the establishment of the “me,” which is the contradiction of the anonymous? Seeing the whole of that, does not the question inevitably arise: Is it possible immediately to bring about that state of mind which is not influenced, which cannot be influenced by its own experience or by the experience of others, a mind which is incorruptible, which is alone? Then only is there a possibility of bringing about a different world, a different culture, a different society in which happiness is possible.

     

    December 7

    Aloneness in which there is no fear

    It is only when the mind is capable of shedding all influences, all interferences, of being completely alone...there is creativeness. In the world, more and more technique is being developed—the technique of how to influence people through propaganda, through compulsion, through imitation, through examples, through idolatry, through the worship of the hero. There are innumerable books written on how to do a thing, how to think efficiently, how to build a house, how to put machinery together; so gradually we are losing initiative, the initiative to think out something original for ourselves. In our education, in our relationship with government, through various means, we are being influenced to conform, to imitate. And when we allow one influence to persuade us to a particular attitude or action, naturally we create resistance to other influences. In that very process of creating a resistance to another influence, are we not succumbing to it negatively? Should not the mind always be in revolt so as to understand the influences that are always impinging, interfering, controlling, shaping? Is it not one of the factors of the mediocre mind that it is always fearful and, being in a state of confusion, it wants order, it wants consistency, it wants a form, a shape by which it can be guided, controlled, and yet these forms, these various influences create contradictions in the individual, create confusion in the individual...Any choice between influences is surely still a state of mediocrity... Must not the mind have the capacity to fathom—not to imitate, not to be shaped—and to be without fear? Should not such a mind be alone and therefore creative? That creativeness is not yours or mine, it is anonymous.

     

    December 8

    Begin here

    A religious man does not seek God. The religious man is concerned with the transformation of society which is himself. The religious man is not the man that does innumerable rituals, follows traditions, lives in a dead, past culture, explaining endlessly the Gita or the Bible, endlessly chanting, or taking sannyasa—that is not a religious man; such a man is escaping from facts. The religious man is concerned totally and completely with the understanding of society which is himself. He is not separate from society. Bringing about in himself a complete, total mutation means complete cessation of greed, envy, ambition; and therefore he is not dependent on circumstances, though he is the result of circumstance—the food he eats, the books he reads, the cinemas he goes to, the religious dogmas, beliefs, rituals, and all that business. He is responsible, and therefore the religious man must understand himself, who is the product of society which he himself has created. Therefore to find reality he must begin here, not in a temple, not in an image— whether the image is graven by the hand or by the mind. Otherwise how can he find something totally new, a new state?

     

    December 9

    The religious mind is explosive

    Can we discover for ourselves what is the religious mind? The scientist in his laboratory is really a scientist; he is not persuaded by his nationalism, by his fears, by his vanities, ambitions, and local demands; there, he is merely investigating. But outside the laboratory, he is like anybody else with his prejudices, with his ambitions, with his nationality, with his vanities, with his jealousies, and all the rest of it. Such a mind cannot approach the religious mind. The religious mind does not function from a center of authority, whether it is accumulated knowledge as tradition, or it is experience—which is really the continuation of tradition, the continuation of conditioning. The religious spirit does not think in terms of time, the immediate results, the immediate reformation within the pattern of society....We said the religious mind is not a ritualistic mind; it does not belong to any church, to any group, to any pattern of thinking. The religious mind is the mind that has entered into the unknown, and you can not come to the unknown except by jumping; you cannot carefully calculate and enter the unknown. The religious mind is the real revolutionary mind, and the revolutionary mind is not a reaction to what has been. The religious mind is really explosive, creative—not in the accepted sense of the word creative, as in a poem, decoration, or building, as in architecture, music, poetry, and all the rest of it—it is in a state of creation.

     

    December 10

    Prayer is a complex affair

    Like all deep human problems, prayer is a complex affair and not to be rushed at; it needs patience, careful and tolerant probing, and one cannot demand definite conclusions and decisions. Without understanding himself, he who prays may through his very prayer be led to self-delusion. We sometimes hear people say, and several have told me, that when they pray to what they call God for worldly things, their prayers are often granted. If they have faith, and depending upon the intensity of their prayer, what they seek—health, comfort, worldly possessions—they eventually get. If one indulges in petitionary prayer it brings its own reward, the thing asked for is often granted, and this further strengthens supplications. Then there is the prayer, not for things or for people, but to experience reality, God, which is also frequently answered; and there are still other forms of petitionary prayer, more subtle and devious, but nevertheless supplicating, begging and offering. All such prayers have their own reward, they bring their own experiences; but do they lead to the realization of the ultimate reality? Are we not the result of the past, and are we not therefore related to the enormous reservoir of greed and hate, with their opposites? Surely, when we make an appeal, or offer a petitionary prayer, we are calling upon this reservoir of accumulated greed, and so on, which does being its own reward, and has its price....Does supplication to another, to something outside, bring about the understanding of truth?

     

    December 11

    The answer to prayer

    Prayer, which is a supplication, a petition, can never find that reality which is not the outcome of a demand. We demand, supplicate, pray, only when we are in confusion, in sorrow, and not understanding that confusion and sorrow, we turn to somebody else. The answer to prayer is our own projection; in one way or another it is always satisfactory, gratifying, otherwise we would reject it. So, when one has learned the trick of quieting the mind through repetition, one keeps on with that habit, but the answer to supplication must obviously be shaped according to the desire of the person who supplicates. Now, prayer, supplication, petition, can never uncover that which is not the projection of the mind. To find that which is not the fabrication of the mind, the mind must be quiet—not made quiet by the repetition of words, which is self-hypnosis, nor by any other means of inducing the mind to be still. Stillness that is induced, enforced, is not stillness at all. It is like putting a child in the corner—superficially he may be quiet, but inwardly he is boiling. So, a mind that is made quiet by discipline is never really quiet, and stillness that is induced can never uncover that creative state in which reality comes into being.

     

    December 12

    Is religion a matter of belief?

    Religion as we generally know it or acknowledge it, is a series of beliefs, of dogmas, of rituals, of superstitions, of worship of idols, of charms and gurus that will lead you to what you want as an ultimate goal. The ultimate truth is your projection, that is what you want, which will make you happy, which will give a certainty of the deathless state. So, the mind caught in all this creates a religion, a religion of dogmas, of priest-craft, of superstitions and idol-worship—and in that, you are caught, and the mind stagnates. Is that religion? Is religion a matter of belief, a matter of knowledge of other people’s experiences and assertions? Or is religion merely the following of morality? You know it is comparatively easy to be moral—to do this and not to do that. Because it is easy, you can imitate a moral system. Behind that morality, lurks the self, growing, expanding, aggressive, dominating. But is that religion?You have to find out what truth is because that is the only thing that matters, not whether you are rich or poor, not whether you are happily married and have children, because they all come to an end, there is always death. So, without any form of belief, you must find out; you must have the vigor, the self-reliance, the initiative, so that for yourself you know what truth is, what God is. Belief will not give you anything; belief only corrupts, binds, darkens. The mind can only be free through vigor, through self-reliance.

     

    December 13

    Is there truth in religions?

    The question is: Is there not truth in religions, in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Let us examine. What do we mean by religion? Surely, not organized religion, not Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity—which are all organized beliefs with their propaganda, conversion, proselytism, compulsion, and so on. Is there any truth in organized religion? It may engulf, enmesh truth, but the organized religion itself is not true. Therefore, organized religion is false, it separates man from man. You are a Muslim, I am a Hindu, another is a Christian or a Buddhist—and we are wrangling, butchering each other. Is there any truth in that? We are not discussing religion as the pursuit of truth, but we are considering if there is any truth in organized religion. We are so conditioned by organized religion to think there is truth in it that we have come to believe that by calling oneself a Hindu, one is somebody, or one will find God. How absurd, sir; to find God, to find reality, there must be virtue. Virtue is freedom, and only through freedom can truth be discovered—not when you are caught in the hands of organized religion, with its beliefs. And is there any truth in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Why do you have beliefs? Obviously, because beliefs give you security, comfort, safety, a guide. In yourself you are frightened, you want to be protected, you want to lean on somebody, and therefore you create the ideal, which prevents you from understanding that which is. Therefore, an ideal becomes a hindrance to action.

     

    December 14

    To climb high one must begin low

    Religious organizations become as fixed and as rigid as the thoughts of those who belong to them. Life is a constant change, a continual becoming, a ceaseless revolution, and because an organization can never be pliable, it stands in the way of change; it becomes reactionary to protect itself. The search for truth is individual, not congregational. To commune with the real there must be aloneness, not isolation but freedom from all influence and opinion. Organizations of thought inevitably become hindrances to thought. As you yourself are aware, the greed for power is almost inexhaustible in a so-called spiritual organization; this greed is covered over by all kinds of sweet and official-sounding words, but the canker of avariciousness, pride and antagonism is nourished and shared. From this grow conflict, intolerance, sectarianism and other ugly manifestations. Would it not be wiser to have small informed groups of twenty or twenty- five persons, without dues or membership, meeting where it is convenient to discuss gently the approach to reality? To prevent any group from becoming exclusive, each member could from time to time encourage and perhaps join another small group; thus it would be extensive, not narrow and parochial. To climb high one must begin low. Out of this small beginning one may help to create a more sane and happy world.

     

    December 15

    Your Gods are dividing you

    What is happening in the world? You have a Christian God, Hindu Gods, Mohammedans with their particular conception of God—each little sect with their particular truth; and all these truths are becoming like so many diseases in the world, separating people. These truths, in the hands of the few, are becoming the means of exploitation. You go to each, one after the other, tasting them all, because you begin to lose all sense of discrimination, because you are suffering and you want a remedy, and you accept any remedy that is offered by any sect, whether Christian, Hindu, or any other sect. So, what is happening? Your Gods are dividing you, your beliefs in God are dividing you and yet you talk about the brotherhood of man, unity in God, and at the same time deny the very thing that you want to find out, because you cling to these beliefs as the most potent means of destroying limitation, whereas they but intensify it. These things are so obvious.

     

    December 16

    True religion

    Do you know what religion is? It is not the chant, it is not in the performance of puja, or any other ritual, it is not in the worship of tin gods or stone images, it is not in the temples and churches, it is not in the reading of the Bible or the Gita, it is not in the repeating of a sacred name or in the following of some other superstition invented by men. None of this is religion. Religion is the feeling of goodness that love which is like the river living moving everlastingly. In that state you will find there comes a moment when there is no longer any search at all; and this ending of search is the beginning of something totally different. The search for God, for truth, the feeling of being completely good—not the cultivation of goodness, of humility, but the seeking out of something beyond the inventions and tricks of the mind, which means having a feeling for that something, living in it, being it—that is true religion. But you can do that only when you leave the pool you have dug for yourself and go out into the river of life. Then life has an astonishing way of taking care of you, because then there is no taking care on your part. Life carries you where it will because you are part of itself; then there is no problem of security, of what people say or don’t say, and that is the beauty of life.

     

    December 17

    A marvelous escape

    What is the impetus behind the search for God, and is that search real? For most of us, it is an escape from actuality. So, we must be very clear in ourselves whether this search after God is an escape, or whether it is a search for truth in everything—truth in our relationships, truth in the value of things, truth in ideas. If we are seeking God merely because we are tired of this world and its miseries, then it is an escape. Then we create God, and therefore it is not God. The God of the temples, of the books, is not God, obviously—it is a marvelous escape. But if we try to find the truth, not in one exclusive set of actions, but in all our actions, ideas and relationships, if we seek the right evaluation of food, clothing, and shelter, then because our minds are capable of clarity and understanding, when we seek reality we shall find it. It will not then be an escape. But if we are confused with regard to the things of the world— food, clothing, shelter, relationship, and ideas—how can we find reality? We can only invent reality. So, God, truth, or reality, is not to be known by a mind that is confused, conditioned, limited. How can such a mind think of reality or God? It has first to decondition itself. It has to free itself from its own limitations, and only then can it know what God is, obviously not before. Reality is the unknown, and that which is known is not the real.

     

    December 18

    Your God is not God

    A man who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. After all, belief is a form of self-protection, and only a petty mind can believe in God. Look at the belief of the aviators during the war who said God was their companion as they were dropping bombs! So you believe in God when you kill, when you are exploiting people. You worship God and go on ruthlessly extorting money, supporting the army—yet you say you believe in mercy, compassion, kindliness. ...As long as belief exists, there can never be the unknown; you cannot think about the unknown, thought cannot measure it. The mind is the product of the past, it is the result of yesterday, and can such a mind be open to the unknown? It can only project an image, but that projection is not real; so your god is not God—it is an image of your own making, an image of your own gratification. There can be reality only when the mind understands the total process of itself and comes to an end. When the mind is completely empty—only then is it capable of receiving the unknown. The mind is not purged until it understands the content of relationship—its relationship with property, with people—until it has established the right relationship with everything. Until it understands the whole process of conflict in relationship, the mind cannot be free. Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still—only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.

     

    December 19

    The religious man

    What is the state of the mind which says, “I do not know whether there is God, whether there is love,” that is, when there is no response of memory? Please don’t immediately answer the question to yourselves because if you do, your answer will be merely the recognition of what you think it should or should not be. If you say, “It is a state of negation,” you are comparing it with something that you already know; therefore, that state in which you say, “I do not know” is nonexistent... So the mind that is capable of saying, “I do not know,” is in the only state in which anything can be discovered. But the man who says, “I know,” the man you has studied infinitely the varieties of human experience and whose mind is burdened with information, with encyclopedic knowledge, can he ever experience something which is not to be accumulated? He will find it extremely hard. When the mind totally puts aside all the knowledge that it has acquired, when for it there are no Buddhas, no Christs, no Masters, no teachers, no religions, no quotations; when the mind is completely alone, uncontaminated, which means that the movement of the known has come to an end—it is only then that there is a possibility of a tremendous revolution, a fundamental change....The religious man is he who does not belong to any religion, to any nation, to any race, who is inwardly completely alone, in a state of not-knowing, and for him the blessing of the sacred comes into being.

     

    December 20

    I do not know

    If one can really come to that state of saying, “I do not know,” it indicates an extraordinary sense of humility; there is no arrogance of knowledge; there is no self-assertive answer to make an impression. When you can actually say, “I do not know,” which very few are capable of saying, then in that state all fear ceases because all sense of recognition, the search into memory, has come to an end; there is no longer inquiry into the field of the known. Then comes the extraordinary thing. If you have so far followed what I am talking about, not just verbally, but if you are actually experiencing it, you will find that when you can say, “I do not know,” all conditioning has stopped. And what then is the state of the mind? We are seeking something permanent—permanent in the sense of time, something enduring, everlasting. We see that everything about us is transient, in flux, being born, withering, and dying, and our search is always to establish something that will endure within the field of the known. But that which is truly sacred is beyond the measure of time; it is not to be found within the field of the known. The known operates only through thought, which is the response of memory to challenge. If I see that, and I want to find out how to end thinking, what am I to do? Surely, I must through self-knowledge be aware of the whole process of my thinking. I must see that every thought, however subtle, however lofty, or however ignoble, stupid, has its roots in the known, in memory. If I see that very clearly, then the mind, when confronted with an immense problem, is capable of saying, “I do not know,” because it has no answer.

     

    December 21

    Beyond the limitations of beliefs

    To be a theist or an atheist, to me, are both absurd. If you knew what truth is, what God is, you would neither be a theist nor an atheist, because in that awareness belief is unnecessary. It is the man who is not aware, who only hopes and supposes, that looks to belief or to disbelief, to support him, and to lead him to act in a particular way. Now, if you approach it quite differently, you will find out for yourselves, as individuals, something real which is beyond all the limitations of beliefs, beyond the illusion of words. But that—the discovery of truth, or God—demands great intelligence, which is not assertion of belief or disbelief, but the recognition of the hindrances created by lack of intelligence. So to discover God or truth—and I say such a thing does exist, I have realized it—to recognize that, to realize that, mind must be free of all the hindrances which have been created throughout the ages, based on self-protection and security. You cannot be free of security by merely saying that you are free. To penetrate the walls of these hindrances, you need to have a great deal of intelligence, not mere intellect. Intelligence, to me, is mind and heart in full harmony; and then you will find out for yourself, without asking anyone, what that reality is.

     

    December 22

    Free from the net of time

    Without meditation, there is no self-knowledge; without self- knowledge, there is no meditation. So, you must begin to know what you are. You cannot go far without beginning near, without understanding your daily process of thought, feeling , and action. In other words, thought must understand its own working, and when you see yourself in operation, you will observe that thought moves from the known to the known. You cannot think about the unknown. That which you know is not real because what you know is only in time. To be free from the net of time is the important concern, not to think about the unknown, because you cannot think about the unknown. The answers to your prayers are of the known. To receive the unknown, the mind itself must become the unknown. The mind is the result of the thought process, the result of time, and this thought process must come to an end. The mind cannot think of that which is eternal, timeless; therefore, the mind must be free of time, the time process of the mind must be dissolved. Only when the mind is completely free from yesterday, and is therefore not using the present as a means to the future, is it capable of receiving the eternal.... Therefore, our concern in meditation is to know oneself, not only superficially, but the whole content of the inner, hidden consciousness. Without knowing all that and being free of its conditioning, you cannot possibly go beyond the mind’s limits. That is why the thought process must cease, and for this cessation there must be knowledge of oneself. Therefore meditation is the beginning of wisdom, which is the understanding of one’s own mind and heart.

     

    December 23

    Meditation

    I am going step by step into what is meditation. Please don’t wait till the end, hoping to have a complete description of how to meditate. What we are doing now is part of meditation.

    Now, what one has to do is to be aware of the thinker, and not try to resolve the contradiction and bring about an integration between thought and the thinker. The thinker is the psychological entity who has accumulated experience as knowledge; he is the time-bound center that is the result of ever-changing environmental influence, and from this center he looks, he listens, he experiences. As long as one does not understand the structure and the anatomy of this center, there must always be conflict, and a mind in conflict cannot possibly understand the depth and the beauty of meditation. In meditation there can be no thinker, which means that thought must come to an end—the thought which is urged forward by the desire to achieve a result. Meditation has nothing to do with achieving a result. It is not a matter of breathing in a particular way, or looking at your nose, or awakening the power to perform certain tricks, or any of the rest of that immature nonsense....Meditation is not something apart from life. When you are driving a car or sitting in a bus, when you are chatting aimlessly, when you are walking by yourself in a wood or watching a butterfly being carried along by the wind—to be choicelessly aware of all that is part of meditation.

     

    December 24

    Know the whole content of one thought

    Not being anything is the beginning of freedom. So if you are capable of feeling, of going into this you will find, as you become aware, that you are not free, that you are bound to very many different things, and that at the same time the mind hopes to be free. And you can see that the two are contradictory. So the mind has to investigate why it clings to anything. All this implies hard work. It is much more arduous than going to an office, than any physical labor, than all the sciences put together. Because the humble, intelligent mind is concerned with itself without being self-centered; therefore it has to be extraordinarily alert, aware, and that means real hard work every day, every hour, every minute.... This demands insistent work because freedom does not come easily. Everything impedes — your wife, your husband, your son, your neighbor, your Gods, your religions, your tradition. All these impede you, but you have created them because you want security. And the mind that is seeking security can never find it. If you have watched a little in the world, you know there is no such thing as security. The wife dies, the husband dies, the son runs away — something happens. Life is not static, though we would like to make it so. No relationship is static because all life is movement. That is a thing to be grasped, the truth to be seen, felt, not something to be argued about. Then you will see, as you begin to investigate, that it is really a process of meditation. But do not be mesmerized by that word. To be aware of every thought, to know from what source it springs and what is its intention — that is meditation. And to know the whole content of one thought reveals the whole process of the mind.

     

    December 25

    Igniting the flame of self-awareness

    If you find it difficult to be aware, then experiment with writing down every thought and feeling that arises throughout the day; write down your reactions of jealousy, envy, vanity, sensuality, the intentions behind your words, and so on. Spend some time before breakfast in writing them down—which may necessitate going to bed earlier and putting aside some social affair. If you write these things down whenever you can, and in the evening before sleeping look over all that you have written during the day, study and examine it without judgment, without condemnation, you will begin to discover the hidden causes of your thoughts and feelings, desires and words... Now, the important thing in this is to study with free intelligence what you have written down, and in studying it you will become aware of your own state. In the flame of self-awareness, of self-knowledge, the causes of conflict are discovered and consumed. You should continue to write down your thoughts and feelings, intentions and reactions, not once or twice, but for a considerable number of days until you are able to be aware of them instantly... Meditation is not only constant self-awareness, but constant abandonment of the self. Out of right thinking there is meditation, from which there comes the tranquility of wisdom; and in that serenity the highest is realized. Writing down what one thinks and feels, one’s desires and reactions, brings about an inward awareness, the cooperation of the unconscious with the conscious, and this in turn leads to integration and understanding.

     

    December 26

    The way of meditation

    Is truth something final, absolute, fixed? We would like it to be absolute because then we could take shelter in it. We would like it to be permanent because then we could hold on to it, find happiness in it. But is truth absolute, continuous, to be experienced over and over again? The repetition of experience is the mere cultivation of memory, is it not? In moments of quietness, I may experience a certain truth, but if I cling to that experience through memory and make it absolute, fixed — is that truth? Is truth the continuation, the cultivation of memory? Or, is truth to be found only when the mind is utterly still? When the mind is not caught in memories, not cultivating memory as the centre of recognition, but is aware of everything I am saying, everything I am doing in my relationships, in my activities, seeing the truth of everything as it is from moment to moment — surely, that is the way of meditation, is it not? There is comprehension only when the mind is still, and the mind cannot be still as long as it is ignorant of itself. That ignorance is not dispelled through any form of discipline, through pursuing any authority, ancient or modern. Belief only creates resistance, isolation, and where there is isolation, there is no possibility of tranquillity. Tranquillity comes only when I understand the whole process of myself — the various entities in conflict with each other which compose the “me.” As that is an arduous task, we turn to others to learn various tricks which we call meditation. The tricks of the mind are not meditation. Meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge, and without meditation, there is no self-knowledge.

     

    December 27

    A mind in the state of creation

    Meditation is the emptying of the mind of all the things that the mind has put together. If you do that—perhaps you won’t, but it doesn’t matter, just listen to this—you will find that there is an extraordinary space in the mind, and that space is freedom. So you must demand freedom at the very beginning, and not just wait, hoping to have it at the end. You must seek out the significance of freedom in your work, in your relationships, in everything that you do. Then you will find that meditation is creation. Creation is a word that we all use so glibly, so easily. A painter puts on canvas a few colors and gets tremendously excited about it. It is his fulfilment, the means through which he expresses himself; it is his market in which to gain money or reputation—and he calls that “creation”! Every writer “creates,” and there are schools of “creative” writing, but none of that has anything to do with creation. It is all the conditioned response of a mind that lives in a particular society.

    The creation of which I am speaking is something entirely different. It is a mind that is in the state of creation. It may or it may not express that state. Expression has very little value. That state of creation has no cause, and therefore a mind in that state is every moment dying and living and loving and being. The whole of this is meditation.

     

    December 28

    Lay the foundation instantly

    A still mind is not seeking experience of any kind. And if it is not seeking and therefore is completely still, without any movement from the past and therefore free from the known, then you will find, if you have gone that far, that there is a movement of the unknown which is not recognized, which is not translatable, which cannot be put into words— then you will find that there is a movement which is of the immense. That movement is of the timeless because in that there is no time, nor is there space, nor something in which to experience, nor something to gain, to achieve. Such a mind knows what is creation—not the creation of the painter, the poet, the verbalizer; but that creation which has no motive, which has no expression. That creation is love and death. This whole thing from the beginning to the end is the way of meditation. A man who would meditate must understand himself. Without knowing yourself, you cannot go far. However much you may attempt to go far, you can go only so far as your own projection; and your own projection is very near, is very close, and does not lead you anywhere. Meditation is that process of laying the foundation instantly, immediately, and bringing about—naturally, without any effort—that state of stillness. And only then is there a mind which is beyond time, beyond experience, and beyond knowing.

     

    December 29

    Finding silence

    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. 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-centred 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. Therefore there is a possibility for that which is timeless, eternal, to come into being.

    This whole process is meditation.

     

    December 30

    Generosity of the heart is the beginning of meditation

    We are going to talk about something which needs a mind that can penetrate very profoundly. We must begin very near because we cannot go very far if we do not know how to begin very close, if we do not know how to take the first step. The flowering of meditation is goodness, and the generosity of the heart is the beginning of meditation. We have talked about many things concerning life, authority, ambition, fear, greed, envy, death, time; we have talked about many things. If you observe, if you have gone into it, if you have listened rightly, those are all the foundation for a mind that is capable of meditating. You cannot meditate if you are ambitious—you may play with the idea of meditation. If your mind is authority-ridden, bound by tradition, accepting, following, you will never know what it is to meditate on this extraordinary beauty... It is the pursuit of its own fulfilment through time that prevents generosity. And you need a generous mind—not only a wide mind, a mind that is full of space, but also a heart that gives without thought, without a motive, and that does not seek any reward in return. But to give whatever little one has or however much one has—that quality of spontaneity of outgoing, without any restriction, without any withholding, is necessary. There can be no meditation without generosity, without goodness— which is to be free from pride, never to climb the ladder of success, never to know what it is to be famous; which is to die to whatever has been achieved, every minute of the day. It is only in such fertile ground that goodness can grow, can flower. And meditation is the flowering of goodness.

     

    December 31

    Meditation is essential to life

    To understand this whole problem of influence, the influence of experience, the influence of knowledge, of inward and outward motives—to find out what is true and what is false and to see the truth in the so-called false—all that requires tremendous insight, a deep inward comprehension of things as they are, does it not? This whole process is, surely, the way of meditation. Meditation is essential in life, in our everyday existence, as beauty is essential. The perception of beauty, the sensitivity to things, to the ugly as well as to the beautiful, is essential— to see a beautiful tree, a lovely sky of an evening, to see the vast horizon where the clouds are gathering as the sun is setting. All this is necessary, the perception of beauty and the understanding of the way of meditation, because all that is life, as is also your going to the office, the quarrels, miseries, the perpetual strain, anxiety, the deep fears, love, and starvation. Now the understanding of this total process of existence—the influences, the sorrows, the daily strain, the authoritative outlook, the political actions and so on— all this is life, and the process of understanding it all, and freeing the mind, is meditation. If one really comprehends this life then there is always a meditative process, always a process of contemplation—but not about something. To be aware of this whole process of existence, to observe it, to dispassionately enter into it, and to be free of it, is meditation.

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