Freedom from the Known – J Krishnamurti

Chapter II
Learning About Ourselves – Simplicity and Humility – Conditioning
How do you know you are conditioned? What tells you? What tells you you are hungry? – not as a theory but the actual fact of hunger? In the same way, how do you discover the actual fact that you are conditioned? Isn’t it by your reaction to a problem, a challenge? You respond to every challenge according to your conditioning and your conditioning being inadequate will always react inadequately.

When you become aware of it, does this conditioning of race, religion and culture bring a sense of imprisonment? Take only one form of conditioning, nationality, become seri­ously, completely aware of it and see whether you enjoy it or rebel against it, and if you rebel against it, whether you want to break through all conditioning. If you are satisfied with your conditioning you will obviously do nothing about it, but if you are not satisfied when you become aware of it, you will realize that you never do anything without it. Never! And therefore you are always living in the past with the dead.

You will be able to see for yourself how you are conditioned only when there is a conflict in the continuity of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. If everything is perfectly happy around you, your wife loves you, you love her, you have a nice house, nice children and plenty of money, then you are not aware of your conditioning at all. But when there is a disturbance – when your wife looks at someone else or you lose your money or are threatened with war or any other pain or anxiety – then you know you are condi­tioned. When you struggle against any kind of disturbance or defend yourself against any outer or inner threat, then you know you are condi­tioned. And as most of us are disturbed most of the time, either superficially or deeply, that very disturbance indicates that we are conditioned. So long as the animal is petted he reacts nicely, but the moment he is antagonized the whole violence of his nature comes out.

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 whole 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 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.
Chapter IV
Pursuit of Pleasure – Desire – Perversion by Thought – ­Memory – Joy

WE SAID IN the last chapter that joy was some­thing entirely different from pleasure, so let us find out what is involved in pleasure and wheth­er it is at all possible to live in a world that does not contain pleasure but a tremendous sense of joy, of bliss.

We are all engaged in the pursuit of pleas­ure in some form or other – intellectual, sensu­ous or cultural pleasure, the pleasure of reforming, telling others what to do, of modify­ing the evils of society, of doing good – the pleasure of greater knowledge, greater physical satisfaction, greater experience, greater under­standing of life, all the clever, cunning things of the mind – and the ultimate pleasure is, of course, to have God.

Pleasure is the structure of society. From childhood until death we are secretly, cunningly or obviously pursuing pleasure. So whatever our form of pleasure is, I think we should be very clear about it because it is going to guide and shape our lives. It is therefore important for each one of us to investigate closely, hesitantly and delicately this question of pleasure, for to find pleasure, and then nourish and sustain it, is a basic demand of life and without it existence becomes dull, stupid, lonely and meaningless.

You may ask why then should life not be guided by pleasure? For the very simple reason that pleasure must bring pain, frustration, sor­row and fear, and, out of fear, violence. If you want to live that way, live that way. Most of the world does, anyway, but if you want to be free from sorrow you must understand the whole structure of pleasure.

To understand pleasure is not to deny it. We are not condemning it or saying it is right or wrong, but if we pursue it, let us do so with our eyes open, knowing that a mind that is all the time seeking pleasure must inevitably find its shadow, pain. They cannot be separated, although we run after pleasure and try to avoid pain.

Now, why is the mind always demanding pleasure? Why is it that we do noble and ignoble things with the undercurrent of pleasure? Why is it we sacrifice and suffer on the thin thread of pleasure? What is pleasure and how does it come into being? I wonder if any of you have asked yourself these questions and followed the answers to the very end.

Pleasure comes into being through four stages – perception, sensation, contact and desire. I see a beautiful motor car, say; then I get a sensation, a reaction, from looking at it; then I touch it or imagine touching it, and then there is the desire to own and show myself off in it. Or I see a lovely cloud, or a mountain clear against the sky, or a leaf that has just come in spring­time, or a deep valley full of loveliness and splen­dour, or a glorious sunset, or a beautiful face, intelligent, alive, not self-conscious and there­fore no longer beautiful. I look at these things with intense delight and as I observe them there is no observer but only sheer beauty like love. For a moment I am absent with all my problems, anx­ieties and miseries – there is only that marvel­lous thing. I can look at it with joy and the next moment forget it, or else the mind steps in, and then the problem begins; my mind thinks over what it has seen and thinks how beautiful it was; I tell myself I should like to see it again many times. Thought begins to compare, judge, and say ‘I must have it again tomorrow’. The continu­ity of an experience that has given delight for a second is sustained by thought.

It is the same with sexual desire or any other form of desire. There is nothing wrong with desire. To react is perfectly normal. If you stick a pin in me I shall react unless I am paralysed. But then thought steps in and chews over the delight and turns it into pleasure. Thought wants to repeat the experience, and the more you repeat, the more mechanical it becomes; the more you think about it, the more strength thought gives to pleasure. So thought creates and sustains pleas­ure through desire, and gives it continuity, and therefore the natural reaction of desire to any beautiful thing is perverted by thought. Thought turns it into a memory and memory is then nour­ished by thinking about it over and over again.

Of course, memory has a place at a certain level. In everyday life we could not function at all without it. In its own field it must be efficient but there is a state of mind where it has very little place. A mind which is not crippled by memory has real freedom.

Have you ever noticed that when you respond to something totally, with all your heart, there is very little memory? It is only when you do not respond to a challenge with your whole being that there is a conflict, a struggle, and this brings confusion and pleasure or pain. And the struggle breeds memory. That memory is added to all the time by other memories and it is those memories which respond. Anything that is the result of memory is old and therefore never free. There is no such thing as freedom of thought. It is sheer nonsense.

Thought is never new, for thought is the response of memory, experience, knowledge. Thought, because it is old, makes this thing which you have looked at with delight and felt tremendously for the moment, old. From the old you derive pleasure, never from the new. There is no time in the new.

So if you can look at all things without allowing pleasure to creep in – at a face, a bird, the colour of a sari, the beauty of a sheet of water shimmering in the sun, or anything that gives delight – if you can look at it without wanting the experience to be. repeated, then there will be no pain, no fear, and therefore tremendous joy.

It is the struggle to repeat and perpetuate pleasure which turns it into pain. Watch it in yourself. The very demand for the repetition of pleasure brings about pain, because it is not the same, as it was yesterday. You struggle to achieve the same delight, not only to your aesthetic sense but the same inward quality of the mind, and you are hurt and disappointed because it is denied to you.

Have you observed what happens to you when you are denied a little pleasure? When you don’t get what you want you become anxious, envious, hateful. Have you noticed when you have been denied the pleasure of drinking or smoking or sex or whatever it is – have you noticed what battles you go through? And all that is a form of fear, isn’t it? You are afraid of not getting what you want or of losing what you have. When some par­ticular faith or ideology which you have held for years is shaken or torn away from you by logic or life, aren’t you afraid of standing alone? That belief has for years given you satisfaction and pleasure, and when it is taken away you are left stranded, empty, and the fear remains until you find another form of pleasure, another belief.

It seems to me so simple and because it is so simple we refuse to see its simplicity. We like to complicate everything. When your wife turns away from you, aren’t you jealous? Aren’t you angry? Don’t you hate the man who has attract­ed her? And what is all that but fear of losing something which has given you a great deal of pleasure, a companionship, a certain quality of assurance and the satisfaction of possession?

So if you understand that where there is a search for pleasure there must be pain, live that way if you want to, but don’t just slip into it. If you want to end pleasure, though, which is to end pain, you must be totally attentive to the whole structure of pleasure – not cut it out as monks and sannyasis do, never looking at a woman because they think it is a sin and there­by destroying the vitality of their understand­ing – but seeing the whole meaning and significance of pleasure. Then you will have tremendous joy in life. You cannot think about joy. Joy is an immediate thing and by thinking about it, you turn it into pleasure. Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and the great delight in it without seeking pleasure from it.

Chapter V
Self-concern – Craving for Position – Fears and Total Fear – Fragmentation of Thought – Ending of Fear

BEFORE WE GO any further I would like to ask you what is your fundamental, lasting interest in life? Putting all oblique answers aside and deal­ing with this question directly and honestly, what would you answer? Do you know?

Isn’t it yourself? Anyway, that is what most of us would say if we answered truthfully. I am interested in my progress, my job, my family, the little corner in which I live, in getting a better position for myself, more prestige, more power, more domination over others and so on. I think it would be logical, wouldn’t it, to admit to our­selves that that is what most of us are primarily interested in – ‘me’ first?

Some of us would say that it is wrong to be primarily interested in ourselves. But what is wrong about it except that we seldom decently, honestly, admit it? If we do, we are rather ashamed of it. So there it is – one is fundamen­tally interested in oneself, and for various ideological or traditional reasons one thinks it is wrong. But what one thinks is irrelevant. Why introduce the factor of its being wrong? That is an idea, a concept. What is a fact is that one is fundamentally and lastingly interested in one­self.

You may say that it is more satisfactory to help another than to think about yourself. What is the difference? It is still self-concern. If it gives you greater satisfaction to help others, you are concerned about what will give you greater satis­faction. Why bring any ideological concept into it? Why this double thinking? Why not say, ‘What I really want is satisfaction, whether in sex, or in helping others, or in becoming a great saint, scientist or politician’? It is the same pro­cess, isn’t it? Satisfaction in all sorts of ways, sub­tle and obvious, is what we want. When we say we want freedom we want it because we think it may be wonderfully satisfying, and the ultimate satis­faction, of course, is this peculiar idea of self-­realization. What we are really seeking is a satis­faction in which there is no dissatisfaction at all.

Most of us crave the satisfaction of having a position in society because we are afraid of being nobody. Society is so constructed that a citizen who has a position of respect is treated with great courtesy, whereas a man who has no position is kicked around. Everyone in the world wants a position, whether in society, in the family or to sit on the right hand of God, and this position must be recognized by others, otherwise it is no position at all. We must always sit on the platform. Inwardly we are whirlpools of misery and mischief and there­fore to be regarded outwardly as a great figure is very gratifying. This craving for position, for prestige, for power, to be recognized by society as being outstanding in some way, is a wish to dominate others, and this wish to dominate is a form of aggression. The saint who seeks a position in regard to his saintliness is as aggressive as the chicken pecking in the farm­yard. And what is the cause of this aggressive­ness? It is fear, isn’t it?

Fear is one of the greatest problems in life. A mind that is caught in fear lives in con­fusion, in conflict, and therefore must be vio­lent, distorted and aggressive. It dare not move away from its own patterns of thinking, and this breeds hypocrisy. Until we are free from fear, climb the highest mountain, invent every kind of God, we will always remain in dark­ness.

Living in such a corrupt, stupid society as we do, with the competitive education we receive which engenders fear, we are all burdened with fears of some kind, and fear is,a dreadful thing which warps, twists and dulls out-days.

There is physical fear but that is a response we have inherited from the animals. It is psycho­logical fears we are concerned with here, for when we understand the deep-rooted psycho­logical fears we will be able to meet the animal fears, whereas to be concerned with the animal fears first will never help us to understand the psychological fears.

We are all afraid about something; there is no fear in abstraction, it is always in relation to something. Do you know your own fears – fear of losing your job, of.not having enough food or money, or what your neighbours or the public think about you, or not being a success, of losing your position in society, of being despised or ridiculed – fear of pain and disease, of domina­tion, of never knowing what love is or of not being loved, of losing your wife or children, of death, of living in a world that is like death, of utter boredom, of not living up to the image others have built about you, of losing your faith – all these and innumerable other fears – do you know your own particular fears? And what do you usually do about them? You run away from them, don’t you, or invent ideas and images to cover them? But to run away from fear is only to increase it.

One of the major causes of fear is that we do not want to face ourselves as we are. So, as well as the fears themselves, we have to examine the net­work of escapes we have developed to rid our­selves of them. If the mind, in which is included the brain, tries to overcome fear, to suppress it,discipline it, control it, translate it into terms of something else, there is friction, there is conflict, and that conflict is a waste of energy.

The first thing to ask ourselves then is what is fear and how does it arise? What do we mean by the word fear itself? I am asking myself what is fear, not what I am afraid of.

I lead a certain kind of life; I think in a certain pattern; I have certain beliefs and dog­mas and I don’t want those patterns of exist­ence to be disturbed because I have my roots in them. I don’t want them to be disturbed because the disturbance produces a state of unknowing and I dislike that. If! am torn away from everything I know and believe, I want to be reasonably certain of the state of things to which I am going. So the brain cells have creat­ed a pattern and those brain cells refuse to cre­ate another pattern which may be uncertain. The movement from certainty to uncertainty is what I call fear.

At the actual moment as I am sitting here I am not afraid; I am not afraid in the present, nothing is happening to me, nobody is threat­ening me or taking anything away from me. But beyond the actual moment there is a deep­er layer in the mind which is consciously or unconsciously thinking of what might happen in the future or worrying that something from the past may overtake me. So I am afraid of the past and of the future. I have divided time into the past and the future. Thought steps in, says, ‘Be careful it does not happen again’, or ‘Be prepared for the future. The future may be dangerous for you. You have got something now but you may lose it. You may die tomor­row, your wife may run away, you may lose your job. You may never become famous. You may be lonely. You want to be quite sure of tomorrow.’

Now take your own particular form of fear. Look at it. Watch your reactions to it. Can you look at it without any movement of escape, justi­fication, condemnation or suppression? Can you look at that fear without the word which causes the fear? Can you look at death, for instance,without the word which arouses the fear of death? The word itself brings a tremor, doesn’t it, as the word love has its own tremor, its own image? Now, is the image you have in your mind about death, the memory of so many deaths you have seen and the associating of yourself with those incidents – is it that image which is creat­ing fear? Or are you actually afraid of coming to an end, not of the image creating the end? Is the word death causing you fear or the actual end­ing? If it is the word or the memory which is causing you fear then it is not fear at all.

You were ill two years ago, let us say, and the memory of that pain, that illness, remains, and the memory now functioning says, ‘Be careful, don’t get ill, again’. So the memory with its associations is creating fear, and that is not fear at all because actually at the moment you have very good health. Thought, which is always old, because thought is the response of memory and memories are always old – thought creates, in time, the feeling that you are afraid which is not an actual fact. The actual fact is that you are well. But the experi­ence, which has remained in the mind as a memory, rouses the thought, ‘Be careful, don’t fall ill again’.

So we see that thought engenders one kind of fear. But is there fear at all apart from that? Is fear always the result of thought and, if it is, is there any other form of fear? We are afraid of death – that is, something that is going to happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, in time. There is a distance between actuality and what will be. Now thought has experienced this state; by observing death it says, ‘I am going to die.’ Thought creates the fear of death, and if it doesn’t is there any fear at all?

Is fear the result of thought? If it is, thought being always old, fear is always old. As we have said, there is no new thought. If we recognize it, it is already old. So what we are afraid of is the repetition of the old – the thought of what has been projecting into the future. Therefore thought is responsible for fear. This is so, you can see it for yourself. When you are confronted with something immediately there is no fear. It is only when thought comes in that there is fear.

Therefore our question now is, is it pos­sible for the mind to live completely, totally, in the present? It is only such a mind that has no fear. But to understand this, you have to understand the structure of thought, memory and time. And in understanding it, under­standing not intellectually, not verbally, but actually with your heart, your mind, your guts, you will be free from fear; then the mind can use thought without creating fear.

Thought, like memory, is, of course, necessary for daily living. It is the only instru­ment we have for communication, working at our jobs and so forth. Thought is the response to memory, memory which has been accumu­lated through experience, knowledge, tradi­tion, time. And from this background of memory we react and this reaction is thinking. So thought is essential at certain levels but when thought projects itself psychologically as the future and the past, creating fear as well as pleasure, the mind is made dull and therefore inaction is inevitable.

So I ask myself, ‘Why, why, why, do I think about the future and the past in terms of pleasure and pain, knowing that such thought creates fear? Isn’t it possible for thought psychologically to stop, for otherwise fear will never end?’

One of the functions of thought is to be occupied all the time with something. Most of us want to have our minds continually occupied so that we are prevented from seeing ourselves as we actually are. We are afraid to be empty. We are afraid to look at our fears.

Consciously you can be aware of your fears but at the deeper levels of your mind are you aware of them? And how are you going to find out the fears that are hidden, secret? Is fear to be divided into the conscious and the subconscious? This is a very important question. The specialist, the psychologist, the analyst, have divided fear into deep and superficial layers, but if you follow what the psychologist says or what I say, you are understanding our theories, our dogmas, our knowledge, you are not understanding yourself. You cannot understand yourself according to Freud or Jung, or according to me. Other people’s theories have no importance whatever. It is of yourself that you must ask the question, is fear to be divided into the conscious and subcon­scious? Or is there only fear which you translate into different forms? There is only one desire; there is only desire. You desire. The objects of desire change, but desire is always the same. So perhaps in the same way there is only fear. You are afraid of all sorts of things but there is only one fear.

When you realize that fear cannot be divid­ed you will see that you have put away altogether this problem of the subconscious and so have cheated the psychologists and the analysts. When you understand that fear is a single move­ment which expresses itself in different ways and when you see the movement and not the object to which the movement goes, then you are facing an immense question: how can you look at it without the fragmentation which the mind has cultivated?
Chapter XII
The Observer and the Observed

PLEASE GO ON with me a little further. It may be rather complex, rather subtle, but please go on with it.

Now, when I build an image about you or about anything, I am able to watch that image, so there is the image and the observer of the image. I see someone, say, with a red shirt on and my immediate reaction is that I like it or that I don’t like it. The like or dislike is the result of my culture, my training, my associations, my incli­nations, my acquired and inherited characteris­tics. It is from that centre that I observe and make my judgement, and thus the observer is separate from the thing he observes.

But the observer is aware of more than one image; he creates thousands of images. But is the observer different from these images? Isn’t he just another image? He is always adding to and subtracting from what he is; he is a living thing all the time weighing, comparing, judging, modifying and changing as a result of pressures from outside and within – living in the field of consciousness which is his own knowledge, influ­ence and innumerable calculations. At the same time when you look at the observer, who is your­self, you see that he is made up of memories, experiences, accidents, influences, traditions and infinite varieties of suffering, all of which are the past. So the observer is both the past and the present, and tomorrow is waiting and that is also a part of him. He is half alive and half dead and with this death and life he is looking, with the dead and living leaf. And in that state of mind which is within the field of time, you (the observer) look at fear, at jealousy, at war, at the family (that ugly enclosed entity called the fami­ly) and try to solve the problem of the thing observed which is the challenge, the new; you are always translating the new in terms of the old and therefore you are everlastingly in conflict.

One image, as the observer, observes dozens of other images around himself and inside him­self, and he says, ‘I like this image, I’m going to keep it’ or ‘I don’t like-that image so I’ll get rid of it’, but the observer himself has been put together by the various images which have come into being through reaction to various other images. So we come to a point where we can say, ‘The observer is also the image, only he has sep­arated himself and observes. This observer who has come into being through various other imag­es .thinks himself permanent and between him­self and the images he has created there is a division, a time interval. This creates conflict between himself and the images he believes to be the cause of his troubles. So then he says, “I must get rid of this conflict”, but the very desire to get rid of the conflict creates another image.’

Awareness of all this, which is real medita­tion, has revealed that there is a central image put together by all the other images, and this central image, the observer, is the censor, the experiencer, the evaluator, the judge who wants to conquer or subjugate the other images or destroy them altogether. The other images are the result of judgements, opinions and conclu­sions by the observer, and the observer is the result of all the other images – therefore the observer is the observed.

So awareness has revealed the different states of one’s mind, has revealed the various images and the contradiction between the images, has revealed the resulting conflict and the despair at not being able to do anything about it and the various attempts to escape from it. All this has been revealed through cautious hesitant awareness, and then comes the aware­ness that the observer is the observed. It is not a superior entity who becomes aware of this, it is not a higher self (the superior entity, the higher’ self, are merely inventions, further images); it is the awareness itself which had revealed that the observer is the observed.

If you ask yourself a question, who is the entity who is going to receive the answer? And who is the entity who is going to enquire? If the entity is part of consciousness, part of thought, then it is incapable of finding out. What it can find out is only a state of awareness. But if in that state of awareness there is still an entity who says, ‘I must be aware, I must practise aware­ness’, that again is another image.

This awareness that the observer is the observed is not a process of identification with the observed. To identify ourselves with some­thing is fairly easy. Most of us identify ourselves with something – with our family, our husband or wife, our nation – and that leads to great mis­ery and great wars. We are considering some­thing entirely different and we must understand it not verbally but in our core, right at the root of our being. In ancient China before an artist began to paint anything – a tree, for instance ­he would sit down in front ‘of it for days, months, years, it didn’t matter how long, until he was the tree. He did not identify himself with the tree but he was the tree. This means that there was no space between him and the tree, no space between the observer and the observed, no experiencer experiencing the beauty, the move­ment, the shadow, the depth of a leaf, the quality of colour. He was totally the tree, and in that state only could he paint.

Any movement on the part of the observer, if he has not realized that the observer is the observed, creates only another series of images and again he is caught in them. But what takes place when the observer is aware that the observer is the observed? Go slowly, go very slowly, because it is a very complex thing we are going into now. What takes place? The observer does not act at all. The observer has always said, I must do something about these images, I must suppress them or give them a different shape; he is always active in regard to the observed, acting and reacting passionately or casually, and this action of like and dislike on the part of the observer is called positive action – ‘I like, there­fore I must hold. I dislike therefore I must get rid of.’ But when the observer realizes that the thing about which he is acting is himself, then there is no conflict between himself and the image. He is that. He is not separate from that. When he was separate, he did, or tried to do, something about it, but when the observer realizes that he is that, then there is no like or dislike and conflict ceases.

For what is he to do? If something is you, what can you do? You cannot rebel against it or run away from it or even accept it. It is there. So all action that is the outcome of reaction to like and dislike has come to an end.

Then you will find that there is an awareness that has become tremendously alive. It is not bound to any central issue or to any image – and from that intensity of awareness there is a different quality of attention and therefore the mind – because the mind is this awareness – has become extraordinarily sensitive and highly intelligent.

Chapter XIII
What is Thinking? – Ideas and Action – Challenge – Matter – The Beginning of Thought
A new fact cannot be seen by thought. It can be understood later by thought, verbally, but the understanding of a new fact is not reality to thought. Thought can never solve any psycho­logical problem. However clever, however cun­ning, however erudite, whatever the structure thought creates through science, through an elec­tronic brain, through compulsion or necessity, thought is never new and therefore it can never answer any tremendous question. The old brain cannot solve the enormous problem of living.

Thought is crooked because it can invent anything and see things that are not there. It can perform the most extraordinary tricks, and there­fore it cannot be depended upon. But if you understand the whole structure of how you think, why you think, the words you use, the way you behave in your daily life, the way you talk to peo­ple, the way you treat people, the way you walk, the way you eat – if you are aware of all these things then your mind will not deceive you, then there is nothing to be deceived. The mind then is not something that demands, that subjugates; it becomes extraordinarily quiet, pliable, sensitive, alone, and in that state there is no deception whatsoever.

Have you ever noticed that when you are in a state of complete attention the observer, the thinker, the centre, the ‘me’, comes to an end? In’ that state of attention thought begins to wither away.

If one wants to see a thing very clearly, one’s mind must be very quiet, without all the preju­dices, the chattering, the dialogue, the images, the pictures- all that must be put aside to look. And it is only in silence that you can observe the begin­ning of thought – not when you are searching, asking questions, waiting for a reply. So it is only when you are completely quiet, right through your being, having put that question, ‘What is the beginning of thought?’, that you will begin to see, out of that silence, how thought takes shape.

If there is an awareness of how thought begins then there is no need to control thought. We spend a great deal of time and waste a great deal of energy all through our lives, not only at school, trying to control our thoughts – ‘This is a good thought, I must think about it a lot. This is an ugly thought, I must suppress it.’ There is a battle going on all the time between one thought and another, one desire and another, one pleasure dominating all other pleasures. But if there is an awareness of the beginning of thought, then there is no contradiction in thought.


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