The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage
Part 2. The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage
Chapter 3. Understand the vicious circle of ignorance.
Human being - Is he a separate entity?
Life is creation, including the creator and the created, and Nature conceals life -that is, everything in manifestation conceals life in itself. When that Life in Nature develops and becomes focused in the individual, then Nature has fulfilled itself.
The whole destiny and function of Nature is to create the individual who is self-conscious, who knows the pairs of opposites, who knows that he is an entity in himself conscious and separate. (So life in Nature, through its development, becomes self-conscious in the awakened, concentrated individual.) Nature's goal is man's individuality... But individuality is imperfection; it is not an end in itself.
Individuality is intensified through the conflict of ignorance and the limitation of thought and emotion. In that there is self-conscious separation... The evolution of 'I am' is but an expansion of that separateness in space and time. The individual held in the bondage of limitation, knowing the separation of 'you' and 'I', has to liberate himself and has to fulfil himself in that liberation.
When individuality has fulfilled itself through ceaseless effort, destroying, tearing down the wall of separateness, when it has achieved a sense of effortless being, then individual existence has fulfilled itself. If the individual, in whom there is the consciousness of separation, of subject and object, does not understand the purpose of existence, he merely becomes a slave to experience, to the creation of forms...
It is in the subjectivity of the individual that the object really exists. In him is the totality of all experience, all thought, all emotion. In him is all potentiality and his task is to realise that objectivity in the subjective.
The individual is the whole universe, not a separate part of the world. The individual is the all-inclusive. He is constantly making efforts, experimenting in different directions; but the self in you and in me and in all is the same, though the expressions may vary and should vary.
To be rid of fear is to realise that in you is the focal centre of life's expression. When there is the desire, the craving for existence and the continuity of separate being, there must of necessity be what you would call reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a series of opportunities for the spiritual realisation of pure being. But if you as an individual are highly concentrated in awareness in the present, then you live that series of opportunities now.
Because in your consciousness there is separateness and the cognizance of individuality, of you and I, there must be sorrow. When you are aware of separation, it is a limitation and in its wake must come suffering.
Individuality grows in the soil of hate, love, jealousy, greed, action, inaction, loneliness, the desire for company... Whenever there is sorrow, there is the seeking for comfort, and for the persistence of individual existence.
Separateness creates craving, want
Life is every moment in a state of being born, arising, coming into being. In this arising, coming into being, in this itself there is no continuity, nothing that can be identified as permanent. Life is in constant movement; action. Each moment of this action has never been before and will never be again. But each new moment forms a continuity of movement.
Now, consciousness forms its own continuity as an individuality through the action of ignorance, and clings with desperate craving to this identification.
This something that each one clings to is the Consciousness of Individuality. This consciousness is composed of many layers of memories, which come into being, or remain present, where there is ignorance, craving, want.
Craving, want, tendency in any form, must create conflict between itself and that which provokes it, that is, the object of want. This conflict between craving and the object craved appears in consciousness as individuality. So it is this friction, really, that seeks to perpetuate itself. What we intensely desire to have continue is nothing but this friction, this tension between the various forms of craving and their provoking agents.
To many, what I say will remain a theory, it will be vague and uncertain; but if you will discern its validity or accept it as an hypothesis, not as a law or as a dogma, then you can comprehend its active significance in daily life...
Craving is an endless process
So the question is not what is reality, God, immortality, and whether one should believe in it or not, but what is the thing that is striving, wanting, fearing, longing. What is it and why does it want? What is the centre in which this want has its being? From this we must begin our inquiry.
This thing that is continually wanting is the consciousness which has become perceptible as the individual. That is, there is an 'I' that is wanting. What is the 'I'? There is a self-sustaining energy, a force which, through its development, becomes consciousness. This energy or force is unique to each living being. This consciousness becomes perceptible to the individual through the senses. It is at once both self-maintaining and self-energizing, if I may use those words. That is, it is not only maintaining, supporting itself through its own ignorance, tendencies, reactions, wants, but by this process it is storing up its own potential energies. And this process can be fully comprehended by the individual only in his awakened discernment.
You see something that is attractive, you want it, and you possess it. Thus there is set up this process of perception, want and acquisition. This process is ever self-sustaining. There is a voluntary perception, an attraction or repulsion, a clinging or a rejecting. The I process is thus self-active. That is, it is not only expanding itself by its own voluntary desires and actions, but it is maintaining itself through its own ignorance, tendencies, wants and cravings... And yet the I itself is want... the material for the I process is sensation, consciousness. This process is without a beginning, and is unique to each individual.
Experiment with this and you will discern for yourself how real, how actual it is... If you comprehend the arising, the coming into being of consciousness through sensation, through want, and see that from consciousness there is born the unit called the I which in itself does not conceal any reality, then you will awaken to the nature of this vicious circle...
Emptiness creates craving to fill the void
Greed is the demand for gratification, pleasure, and we use needs as a means to achieve it and thereby give them far greater importance and worth than they have.
The constant desire for greater and greater sensation must inevitably lead to pain and sorrow; one often does not realise this and one craves for an enduring satisfaction, a final security in an idea, person or thing. This craving for a finality is the result of a series of satisfactions and disappointments but the desire for permanency is still a form of sensation and gratification.
In relationship we are seeking gratification, pleasure, comfort, and if there is any deep opposition to it we try to change our relationship... Relationship is now based on dependence, that is, one depends on another for one's psychological satisfaction, happiness and well-being. Generally we do not realize this but, if we do, we pretend that we are not dependent on another or try to disengage ourselves artificially from dependence.
In relationship, the primary cause of friction is oneself, the self that is the centre of unified craving... the important thing to bear in mind is not the other but oneself, which does not mean that one must isolate oneself but understand deeply in oneself the cause of conflict and sorrow.
Fear and sorrow permeate our being through our unawareness of the process of craving. Craving for pleasure and gratification necessitates the possessing of the other, thus creating and continuing fear and sorrow. But if we can become keenly aware of the process of craving, understanding will naturally come into being.
Loneliness, fear creates craving to escape and also illusions
Has not our thought its source in craving? Is not what we call the mind the result of craving? Through perception, contact, sensation, and reflection, thought divides itself into like and dislike, hate and affection, pain and pleasure, merit and demerit -the series of opposites, the process of conflict. It is this process which is the content of our consciousness, the unconscious as well as the conscious, and which we call the mind. Being caught up in this process and fearing uncertainty, cessation, death, each one craves after permanency and continuity. We seek to establish this continuity through property, name, family, race, and, dubiously perceiving their insecurity, again we seek this continuity and permanency through beliefs and hopes, through the concepts of God...
Is not the fundamental cause of fear self-preservation, with all its subtleties? For instance, you may have money, and therefore you are not bothering about the competition of getting a job; but you are afraid of something else, afraid that your life may come suddenly to an end and there might be extinction, or afraid of loss of money. So, if you look at it, you will see that fear will exist so long as this idea of self-preservation continues, so long as the mind clings to this idea of self-consciousness. As long as that ego consciousness remains, there must be fear; and that is the fundamental cause of fear.
There is a fear of another kind, the fear of inward poverty. There is the fear of external poverty, and then there is the fear of being shallow, of being empty, of being lonely. So, being afraid, we resort to the various remedies in the hope of enriching ourselves... It may be the remedy of literature, by reading a great deal; it may be this exaggeration of sport... All these but indicate the fear of that loneliness which you must inevitably face one day or the other. And as long as that emptiness exists, that shallowness, that hollowness, that void, there must be fear. To be really free of that fear, which is to be free of that emptiness, that shallowness, is not to cover it up by remedies, but rather to recognize that shallowness, become aware of it, which gives you then the alertness of mind to find out the values and the significance of each experience, of each standard, of each environment... It is when you are trying to cover it up, trying to gain something to fill that emptiness, that the emptiness grows more and more. But, if you know that you are empty, not try to run away, in that awareness your mind becomes very acute, because you are suffering. The moment you are conscious that you are empty, hollow, there is tremendous conflict taking place. In that moment of conflict you are discovering, as you move along, the significance of experience -the standards, the values of society, of religion, of the conditions placed upon you.
Instead of covering up emptiness, there is a depth of intelligence. Then you are never lonely even if you are by yourself or with a huge crowd, then there is no such thing as emptiness, shallowness.
Thought enslaved by craving creates opposites
Acquisition is a form of pleasure, and during its process, that is, while acquiring, gathering, there comes suffering, and in order to avoid it you begin to say to yourself, I must not acquire. Not to be acquisitive becomes a new virtue, a new pleasure. But if you examine the desire that prompts you not to acquire, you will see that it is based on a deeper desire to protect yourself from pain. So you are really seeking pleasure, both in acquisitiveness and in non-acquisitiveness.
Now there is a different way of looking at this problem of opposites; it is to discern directly, to perceive integrally, that all tendencies and virtues hold within themselves their own opposites, and that to develop an opposite is to escape from actuality.
If acquisitiveness in itself is ugly and evil, then why develop its opposite? Because you do not discern that it is ugly and evil, but you want to avoid the pain involved in it, you develop its opposite. All opposites must create conflict, because they are essentially unintelligent. If there is direct perception, there must be action, and in order to avoid action one develops the opposite and so establishes a series of subtle escapes.
You vacillate between the opposites, whereas only through comprehension of the illusion of the opposites can you free yourself from their limitations and encumbrances. You often imagine that you are free from them, but you can be radically free only when you fully comprehend the process of the building up of these limitations and of bringing them to an end...
To understand life and to have true values, you must perceive how you are held by the opposites, and before rejecting them you must discern their deep significance. And in the very process of freeing yourself from them, there is born the comprehension of beginning less ignorance, which creates false values and so establishes false relationship between the individual and his environment, bringing about confusion, fear and sorrow.
The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage
Part 2. The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage is a very rare selection of Krishnamurti writings.