Life in Freedom
For those who have discovered Truth and attained the fulfilment of life -which is happiness and liberation- time and the complications of time have ceased. But those who are still bound to the yoke of experience are limited by the past, present and future.
You who would discover the Truth which is absolute and infinite must realize that you are the product of the past, and the outcome of your own creation. You are bringing forth out of yourself that which you have sown in the past. And as man is the product of the past, so by his actions of today he can control the future. Tomorrow depends upon today, and therefore today determines tomorrow. By controlling the future you become the master of the future. You bring the future to the present.
Everyone throughout the world is bound by the traditions, the fears, the shame, the beliefs, the morality, of the past. If you are constantly looking backwards, you will never discover Truth. The discovery of eternal Truth lies always ahead of you. If you truly understand this, you will not cling to the past. You will not be always conditioned by the thoughts, the actions, the feelings, the ethics of the past, because therein is stagnation and the bondage of life. Cut away the bondage of the past as a woodman cuts his way through a dark forest to find the open spaces and fresh breezes. For the past always binds, however glorious, however well seasoned, however fruitful it may have been, and the man who would be free must look eternally forward.
If you would walk, and build, and create in the shelter of eternity, you must not bring the past into conflict with the present, but must invite the future and thereby bring that future into conflict with the present.
Because your mind and heart are bound by traditions and beliefs, by the sacred books of the past, by the dark shadows of temples and remembered gods, you do not understand either the present or the future. Time, as man understands it, is dividing you from your goal. Therefore, to bring time to naught, you must so live now that you are the master of the future, so that the future becomes the present. People love to think of themselves as being glorified in the future, or resting on the laurels of what they have been in the past. What a comforting idea! The belief in your greatness in some distant future will not help you to deal with life in the present, when you are struggling, when there is confusion in your mind and heart.
Not in the distant future did I want to be great, but I desired to be happy in the present, I wanted to be free in the present, I wanted to be beyond all the limitations of time. So I invited the future into the present, and hence I have conquered the future.
Do not live in the future, nor in the dead things of yesterday, but live rather in the immediate now, with the understanding that you are a product of the past, and that by your actions of today you can control tomorrow and so become the master of time, the master of evolution, and hence the master of perfection.
Then you will live with greater intensity, then every second will count and every moment be of value. But you are frightened of such a present. You would much rather be conditioned by the past, because you have a dread of the future. But the future is not fearsome to those who walk in the way of understanding. If you would attain to the fulfilment of life, you must invite the future to the present and thereby create a conflict within yourself. Through contentment you do not find happiness, but a state of stagnation. If you would know true happiness there must first be that inward conflict, which will bring forth in you the flower of life.
Put aside the past with all its glories, beautiful and terrible, all its traditions, wide and yet so conditioned, all its moralities that strangle life, and look into your own heart and mind to discover what lies before you in the future. For as you are the product of the past, and as you can control the future, so the future becomes the present and you live in that present.
Life in Freedom
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Life in Freedom. Talks in Benares, Ojai and Ommen, 1928.