The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage
Part 2. The Pilgrim and his Holy Pilgrimage
Chapter 4. Live a religious life - A life of inquiry and discovery.
Begin near to go far
When I am talking I should like you to apply what I say to yourself, not to your neighbours, because it is more interesting to apply it to yourself.
Before we awaken another, we must be sure that we ourselves are awake and alert. This does not mean that we must wait until we are free. We are free insofar as we begin to understand and transcend the limitations of thought. Before one begins to preach awareness and freedom to another, which is fairly easy, one must begin with oneself. Instead of converting others to our particular form of limitation we must begin to free ourselves from the pettiness and narrowness of our own thoughts.
You are not going to be aware by merely listening to one or two talks. It is as a fire which must be built, and you must build it. You must begin, however little, to be conscious, to be aware, and this you can be when you talk, when you laugh, when you come into contact with people, or when you are still. This awareness becomes a flame, and this flame consumes all fear which causes isolation. The mind must reveal itself spontaneously to itself.
Ignorance - an unawareness...
If what I am saying acts merely as a stimulation, then there arises the question of how to apply it to your daily life with its pains and conflicts. The how, the method, becomes all important only when explanations and stimulations are urging you to a particular action.
When the mind reveals to itself its own efforts of fears and wants, then there arises integral awareness of its own impermanency which alone can set the mind free from its binding labours. Unless this is taking place, all stimulation becomes further bondage. All artificially cultivated qualities divide.
To free thought from acquisitiveness through discipline, through will, is not a release from ignorance, for it is still held in the conflict of opposites. When thought integrally perceives that the effort to rid itself of acquisitiveness is also part of acquisitiveness, then there is a beginning of enlightenment.
Ignorance is the unawareness of the process of conditioning, limiting that energy which may be called life, thought, emotion, which consists of the many wants, fears, acquisitive memories, and so on.
The craving for understanding, for happiness, the attempt to get rid of this particular quality and acquire that particular virtue, all such effort is born of ignorance, which is the result of this constant want, strengthening resistance. A belief, the result of want, is a conditioning force; experience based on any belief is limiting, however wide and large it may be.
Whatever effort the mind makes to break down its own vicious circle of ignorance must further aid the continuance of ignorance. If one does not understand the whole process of ignorance, and merely makes an effort to get rid of it, thought is still acting within the circle of ignorance.
Now, is this an all-important, vital question to you? If it is, then you will see that there is no direct, positive answer. So there is only a negative approach, which is to be integrally aware of the process of fear or ignorance. This awareness is not an effort to overcome, to destroy or to find a substitute, but is a stillness of neither acceptance nor denial, an integral quietness of no choice. This awareness breaks the circle of ignorance from within, as it were, without strengthening it.
What brings wisdom is to become aware of one of the hindrances and to act; and you will see to what depth, to what profundity of thought it will lead you. And in that action you will find out that there comes a time when you are not seeking for a result from your action, a fruit from your action, but the very action itself has meaning.
In the process of experimenting, in the process of liberating the mind and heart from hindrances, there will take place action, result. There is not the replacement of the false by the true, but only the true. And such a life is a life of a consummate human being.
Conduct - The way you live your everyday life
Conduct is the outcome of clear understanding of the purpose of individual existence. There may be many here who are vitally and anxiously, not merely superficially, concerned to put into practice what they have understood, to express it in conduct. If you examine, analyse, criticise with affection, then the idea will become practical and can be translated into daily action. So you should exercise criticism all the time, through observation as to whether you are living that reality. Criticism is of value only in training your observation so that it can be eventually turned upon yourself. That is the true purpose of criticism. When you turn the light of criticism on yourself, you begin to grow.
We must concern ourselves not only with that ultimate reality but with the practical way of translating that reality into conduct. Life is conduct, the manner of our behaviour towards another, which is action. Liberation is to be found in the world of manifestation and not away from it.
All things about us are real. Every thing is real and not an illusion. Each one has to discern the unreality that surrounds the real. Desire is all the time trying to free itself from delusion. So desire goes through various stages of experience in search of this balance, and can either become a cage or an open door; a prison house or an open way to liberation.
When you understand desire, from whence it springs and towards what it is going, its aim and purpose, desire becomes a precious jewel. Find out what you are interested in, on what you are laying emphasis. Find out towards what purpose your secret desire is tending. You can either strangle that desire and make it narrow, or you can make it all-inclusive, free, unlimited. What strengthens you is desire itself. In watching, in guiding that desire, in being self-recollected in your conduct, in your thought, in your movements, in your behaviour, in adjusting yourself to that which you realise to be the purpose of individual existence, you have the positive test of self-realisation, not in belonging to sects, societies, groups and orders.
Effort is but the awareness of individuality, of separation, of limitation. But effort must be made in order to be free of it, free of the application of many centuries of tradition, of want, and of giving, of illusion of fear and of fear itself.
This effort, consciously made, with the full knowledge of the basis of fear, the basis of want and of giving, the basis of traditional thought and emotion, will set man free of self-consciousness. This is true effort, which leads man to the realisation of Truth.
Doubt - to find out what is true and what is false
Life is a process of search, search not for any particular end, but to release the creative energy, the creative intelligence in man. No belief is ever a living reality. Now since the mind is crippled by many beliefs, many principles, many traditions, false values and illusions, you must begin to question them, to doubt them; you must question so as to discover for yourselves the true significance of traditional values. This doubt, born of intense conflict, alone will free the mind, an ecstasy liberated from illusion. So the first thing is to doubt, not cherish your beliefs.
Where there is the desire for gain, there is no longer doubt; there is the acceptance of authority. Doubt brings about lasting understanding. What is true is revealed only through doubt, through questioning the many illusions, traditional values, ideals. For example, to find out if ceremonies are worthwhile at all, do you see that ceremonies keep people apart, and each believer in them says, 'Mine are the best'. These ceremonies and such other thoughtless barriers have separated man from man. To find out the lasting significance of ceremony, you must not be enticed into it, entangled in it. Doubt, question, ponder over this profoundly. When you begin to relinquish the past, you will create conflict in yourself, and out of that conflict there must come action born of understanding. Now you are afraid to let go, because that act of relinquishment will bring turmoil; out of that act might come the decision that ceremonies are of no avail, which would go against your family, your friends, and your past assertions. There is fear behind all this, so you merely doubt intellectually. You suffer patiently, submitting to the cruelties of environment, when you, individually, have the possibilities of changing them. To be truly individual, action must be born of creative intelligence, without fear, not caught up in illusion.
Inquiry - An experimental approach
If consciously or unconsciously we are merely seeking results, we are not experimenting. Experimentation with one's own thought and feeling becomes impossible if we are merely adjusting ourselves to a pattern, ancient or modern. We may think we are experimenting, but if our thought is influenced and limited, say by a belief, then experimentation is not possible and most of us are blind to our own limitations. True experimenting consists in understanding through our own alert watchfulness, awareness, the causes that condition thought.
I shall try to explain how to experiment with ourselves and free thought from its self-imposed limitations. This earnest experiment must begin with ourselves, with each one of us, and it is vain merely to alter the outward conditions without deep, inward change. Society is the projection of ourselves. Man is the measure of things.
With what are our thoughts and feelings mostly concerned? They are concerned with things, with people, and with ideas. These are the fundamental things in which we are interested -things, people, ideas.
We all need clothes, food, and shelter. Things assume such disproportionate value and significance because we psychologically depend on them for our well-being. They feed our vanity; they give us social prestige; they give us the means for procuring power. We use them in order to achieve purposes other than what they in themselves signify.
Ask yourself this question: Am I dependent on things for my psychological happiness, satisfaction? If you earnestly seek to answer this apparently simple question you will discover the complex process of your thought and feeling. You will begin to understand the nature of sensation and gratification.
The process of living is partly sensation; seeing, tasting, thinking, and so on. If we seek pleasure through sensation or use sensation for gratification, then thought becomes a slave of desire. There is a sort of psychological satisfaction in possessing and in being possessed. When the sensation of possession is satisfied, then thought seeks other types of sensation and pleasure, so desire is continually changing its object of gratification until reality is assumed to be a form of pleasure which is hoped to be permanent.
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. Being poor inwardly, psychologically, spiritually, one thinks of enriching oneself through possessions, with ever-increasing complex demands and problems.
Thought is now the product of greed, and therefore transitory, and whatever it creates must surely also be transient. And so long as the mind is held within the transient, within the circle of greed, it cannot transcend. How is greed to be dissolved without creating further conflict if the product of conflict is ever within the realm of desire which is transitory?
Can satisfaction ever be complete, is it not ever in a state of constant flux, craving one gratification after another? You have to be sharply aware of the subtlety of craving and through experiment, there comes into being the wholeness of understanding which alone radically frees thought from craving.
Discovery - Perception of 'what is'
Let us begin as though we know nothing about it at all and start from scratch.
We see with our eyes, we perceive with our senses the things about us -the colour of the flower, the thousand sounds of different qualities and subtleties, the shadow of the tree and the tree itself. We feel in the same way our own bodies, which are the instruments of these different kinds of superficial, sensory perceptions. If these perceptions remained at the superficial level there would be no confusion at all. That flower, that pansy, that rose, are there, and that's all there is to it. There is no preference, no comparison, no like and dislike, only the thing before us without any psychological involvement. Is all this superficial sensory perception or awareness quite clear?
Now, the next step; what you think about these things, or what you feel about them, is your psychological response to them. And this we call thought or emotion. The door is there, and when you get emotionally involved in the description you don't see the door. This description might be a word or a scientific treatise or a strong emotional response. Though we are describing something even now, and we have to, the thing we are describing is not our description of it. The word is never the real, and we are easily carried away when we come to the next stage of awareness where it becomes personal and we get emotional through the word. Now when we become aware of this response, we might call it a second depth of awareness.
When there is a visual awareness of the tree without any psychological involvement there is no division in relationship. But when there is a psychological response to the tree, the response is a conditioned response, it is the response of past memory, past experiences, and the response is a division in relationship. This response is the birth of what we shall call the 'me' in relationship and the 'non-me'. The world is seen not as it is, but in its various relationships to the 'me' of memory.
Now can there be an awareness, an observation of the tree, without any judgment, and can there be an observation of the response, the reactions, without any judgment?In this way we eradicate the principle of division, the principle of me and non-me, both in looking at the tree and in looking at ourselves. In the seeing of any fact there is no me. There is either the me or the seeing. There can't be both. The me cannot see, cannot be aware.
Can the mind, in which is included all our feelings, be free of this conditioning, which is the past? There is no me in the present. As long as the mind is operating in the past, there is the me, and the mind is this past, the mind is this me. All this is one unitary action of awareness because in this there are no conclusions.
Can the mind be free of the past? Who is putting this question? If it is the observer who is putting the question, then he is trying to escape from the fact of himself. Either one turns away from a fact or one faces it. In fact, just to ask this question at all is already an act of escape. Let us be aware whether this question is or is not an act of escape.
Now, being aware of that, it doesn't ask the question! It does not ask the question at all because it sees the trap. Awareness has shown us the nature of the trap, and therefore there is the negation of all traps; so the mind is now empty. It is empty of the me and of the trap. This mind has a different dimension of awareness. This awareness is not aware that it is aware.
All that you have to do is to be aware from the beginning to the end, not become inattentive in the middle of it. This new quality of awareness is attention, and in this attention there is no frontier made by the me.
This attention is the highest form of virtue, therefore it is love.
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.