London 2nd Public Dialogue 26th April 1965
The other day we were saying how important it is to be serious, to be earnest in everything that we do, especially in matters that concern much deeper understandings and perceptions. I think one has not only to understand words and their significance, but also to go beyond mere words, explanations and ,intellectual concepts. We live by formulas, and it is very difficult to free oneself from an ideation, a concept. If one would understand the whole of existence, one must not only understand the meaning of words, but also one must realize that the word is not the thing.-The word is never the thing, but for most of us the word is the thing, so communication becomes rather difficult.
We were also saying that to live means to treat life as a whole, and not fragmentarily. We do treat life in fragments: intellectually, emotionally, sensually or merely sensorially. There isn't a total approach to life. We mean by life not only earning money, satisfying some sexual appetites and.some superficial sensory desires, but something much deeper, much more vital, much more significant. To live that way, one must approach life as a total thing. That is not possible when we live in departments, trying to solve problems fragmentarily, or as long as we approach the action of will.
Will is the result of intense desire. Desire arises naturally and inevitably when there is contact, sensation and perception. We asked what gives desire continuity and intensity. Someone suggested thought. Desire has a continuity when thought interferes or identifies itself with it. Why does it identify, why does it interfere, and why shouldn't it interfere? That is what we were going to discuss today.
Living in this world, not in a monastery, not in an ivory tower. not in some region of isolation, but living in this world, carrying on with our daily activities, is it possible to live without effort? Effort implies will. Will is the outcome of contradiction. Unless we understand this whole question of desire, not suppress it, not deny it or transcend it, or try to control it and drive it in a certain direction, it will not be possible to solve our problems totally.
Questioner: When you use the word "desire", I take it that you mean the feeling of "to want". You say we see something; there is contact and then sensation.
Krishnamurti: It is not a question of what I say, sir. This is what takes place, isn't it?
Questioner: Well, no, I don't think so.
Krishnamurti: How does desire arise? How does it come into being?
Questioner: It is from the memory of sensation.
Krishnamurti: Go on, sir. Proceed; dig deeper.
Questioner: I don't really know the source of the original desire. All my desires apparently are; they have occurred previously. Krishnamurti: Almost everything we do is the result of effort. We try, we struggle, we adjust, we compromise; and in that there is always effort. Is it possible to live without effort, spontaneously, and yet be intensely active - have all one's faculties heightened and live completely, but not vegetate? Effort involves dissipation of energy. When all energy is concentrated, without effort, and there is no movement in any direction, then that energy explodes, and that explosion is creation.
Questioner: When one is interested in something, there is no effort involved.
Krishnamurti: Then how is one to be totally interested? I have no interest. How am I to arouse interest? That poses a problem, doesn't it? Life is routine, a bore, filled with constant strife and struggle. All our relationships create tensions. We fall into mechanical and superficial habits, and simply carry on, consciously as well as unconsciously. How is a human being to break away from this mechanical existence and make life a creative thing? To find that out, one surely must inquire into how one dissipates energy. Because one needs tremendous energy, energy without movement, for something new, for an explosion to take place. So I must find out how the mind dissipates energy.
The ancients have said that one dissipates energy by being worldly, by being sensual. Therefore, one leaves the world, treats it as illusory and goes into a monastery, where one is trained, controlled, subjugated and suppressed. Or one accepts the world as it is and lives a very superficial life, with no interest in any of the wider and deeper things. The escape from life into a monastery, or into a religious concept, a religious dedication to an ideal, is still a waste of energy, because it breeds conflict. Conflict at any level, whether physical, emotional or intellectual, is the essence of wasted energy.
Is it possible to end all effort? Will cannot do it. If I exercise will to Stop it, again there is a battle. That very exercise breeds conflict. An effortless life is the only creative life. To live that kind of a life, one has to understand the structure of desire, because desire breeds conflict of the opposites, duality, the want and the not-want, the pleasure and the non-pleasure. One has to find out how desire arises, from the very beginning. One must understand the foundation and the whole structure of desire, neither suppressing it, transmuting it, trying to control it nor attempting to shape it.
We see that thought gives desire shape, continuity and vitality. Why does thought interfere with desire in this way? I see something beautiful: a woman, a car, a house. Desire begins and thought gives it duration. If thought did not interfere with it, there would be an end to desire. If you have experimented with it, you know. What we are afraid of is the ending of something, isn't it? If desire ended, and there was no continuity to it, what would happen? Time is involved. Because we are afraid to come to an end of everything, we use time, not chronological time but psychological time, which is not a fact but is invented by the mind. For us time has become extraordinarily important. If one were really confronted with the fact that psychologically there is no tomorrow, one would be horrified.
Questioner: Isn't it also that we use our thought to locate ourselves? We are so uncertain as to where we are that by having our thought in past time we can locate ourselves there and feel more secure?
Krishnamurti: This is the same, surely. We cling to time. Thought, giving duration to desire, is the prolongation of oneself, of one's desire, one's future. Questioner: The feeling that you are the same person you were a moment ago is so ingrained, and so automatic, that I don't see I how it can be broken through.
Krishnamurti: Let's put the question differently. One sees that one's daily life is mechanical, repetitive, with false desires, activities and habits. Is it possible for a human being to break away from that and be fresh each moment, each minute of the day? That is the real issue, isn't it? How is that to come about?
Questioner: We have to see that we really do live mechanically.
Krishnamurti: If we see that our life is mechanical, that our pleasures, our sorrows and our anxieties are a repetition, how can it all be ended?
Questioner: It ends sometimes, but starts again.
Krishnamurti: I don't think it ends sometimes, and starts again.
Questioner: If we continue to see every day, don't you think we begin to distance ourselves from the conditioned mind?
Krishnamurti: That means you are looking to time as a means of destroying the mechanical process.
Krishnamurti: If one eventually comes to it by slow degrees, by being aware, by freeing oneself from conditioning, that implies time. One looks to time as a means of ending this mechanical way of living.
Questioner: Except that I feel it puts one into another dimension of time. It isn't the dimension of time of the conditioned mind. But I agree it is still time.
Krishnamurti: I don't know what this other dimension of time is. I may invent it, I may speculate about it, I may hope for it; but the actual fact is that I don't know it. I am not with it; it's not part of me. I have to find it, I have to come into it. I must not use time, because time implies effort and continuity. The mechanical process goes on and on. Is it possible to live in such a way that there is no tomorrow? Inwardly, psychologically, the thing we really want is the continuity of pleasure, pleasure that has a tomorrow.
Questioner: The subconscious conviction that it is you who will suffer or have pleasure the next moment is so strong. I don't know if it is possible to do as you say.
Krishnamurti: It is not "Do what I say", but "See what happens", sir.
Questioner: Sir, is the psychological freedom from tomorrow possible when one lives under natural law? That is, it is day and then it is night; there is light and then there is darkness. That goes very deep into one, surely, even deeper than the conditioned mind.
Krishnamurti: I don't quite follow, sir.
Questioner: How is it possible to be free of wanting,to be free of the waiting for tomorrow and continuity of time, since one lives under the natural laws of day and night, darkness and light? All that makes one aware of time
Krishnamurti: Does the succession of night and day make one aware of time? Questioner: That only makes one aware ' of change, not time.
Questioner: I see that it need not make one aware of time.
Krishnamurti: I look to tomorrow because I am going to enjoy tomorrow. Thinking about tomorrow gives me pleasure. I am going to meet someone - the whole round of pleasure.
Questioner: But I might not be enjoying tomorrow. I might think of something which I would be afraid of
Krishnamurti: If I am afraid of tomorrow, it is the same thing.
Questioner: How is it possible to fear tomorrow if I do not know what tomorrow is?
Krishnamurti: Surely you have some fear of tomorrow, fear of death, of not being, of losing a job, or of your wife running away. Also, we all know very well the pleasure created by thoughts of tomorrow.
Questioner: Following what that gentleman said about this natural law, we are like a goldfish in a bowl. We are so surrounded by things which continually remind us of time that we have to consider it constantly. Even our posture is a habit, and the w balance. It seems to be rather difficult to separate psychological time from actual time, clock time, and the natural living process of our own body.
Krishnamurti: All right, sir, let's look at it again differently. What is the act, the moment of learning? What is the act of seeing and of listening? When you are listening, are you listening in time? Are you listening with concepts, with formulas, with ideas, or are you merely listening? There is that noise of traffic going on outside the room. How do you listen to it? Do you listen with irritation, with memories, with distaste, or do you merely listen? When you see, do you see with time, or out of time? Do you see only with your eyes when you see your wife or your husband; or when you see yourself in the mirror? Or do you also see in time, with distaste, despair, depression or some other reaction based on memory?
Questioner: You asked about the act of learning, but I don't think we do learn. We try to bring time into it. We look into the mirror and we see more gray hairs. We compare them with how many were there yesterday, and find we're getting older. That is the way we learn, but I don't think it is real learning.
Krishnamurti: Then what is learning?
Questioner: I think it is seeing without time.
Krishnamurti: Don t speculate about it! What is learning? When do you learn?
Questioner: When you become aware of your conditioning.
Krishnamurti: When do you learn? Don't answer immediately, please. just look at it. What is the act of learning? What is the state of the mind when it is learning?
Questioner: Do you mean learning apart from seeing?
Krishnamurti: For me, seeing and learning are the same.
Questioner: It is experiencing. Questioner: To be open.
Questioner: By concentrating. To be eager to find out.
Krishnamurti: When do you learn? Learning is different from knowing, isn't it? Accumulating knowledge is different from learning. The moment I have learned, it becomes knowledge. After I have learned, I add more to it. This process of adding we call learning, but that's merely the accumulation of knowledge. I am not against the accumulation of knowledge, but we are trying to find out what the act of learning is. The mind is really learning only when it is in a state of not knowing. When I do not know, I am learning. The moment I have learned, what I have learned takes its place in time; it becomes knowledge, and with that knowledge I function. Can I function also in the act of learning?
Questioner: I think that sometimes one just says in words that one doesn't know, but it is not the real thing. I may say that I don't know, but it is something else to perceive that it is actually a fact.
Krishnamurti: There can be learning only when there is an actual ending.
Questioner: Why shouldn't it be the real thing?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what are we trying to find out? Aren't we trying to find out, not verbally or theoretically, but actually and factually, whether it is possible to live in this world at a different dimension in which there is no effort at all involved? This means living at a level where there is no problem; or, if a problem arises, it is met so completely that it is over the next minute. We can go on spinning a lot of theories, but that is too stupid and infantile. To find out anything, there must be an end to the things I have known, or the things I have known must not be allowed to interfere. I must learn what it is to end, and to end, the ending must be in complete energy.
Questioner: Are you meaning something more than to forget?
Krishnamurti: Of course. To forget is very simple.
Questioner: Could you make it a little clearer what you mean by ending?
Krishnamurti: Look, sir, it is very simple. Have you ever experimented with ending a pleasure?
Krishnamurti: Without effort?
Krishnamurti: Without any form of restriction, not knowing what will happen afterwards?
Questioner: Yes. I have become bored.
Krishnamurti:Oh, no, not bored! Take your own particular pleasurable habit, whether it is sex, smoking, drinking, ambition or something else. End it without a struggle, without knowing what is going to happen next. Take the habit of smoking as an example. End it immediately without rationalizing, without fear of the harm of smoking, without fear of the kind of cancer you are going to get if you continue smoking. End the habit.
Questioner: While you still enjoy it?
Krishnamurti: While you still enjoy it, of course. (Laughter). How does one come to the point where, in the full enjoyment of something, one ends it?
Questioner: If one remains inactive when one would normally take some action to satisfy desire, and instead of taking that action, just watches the desire....
Krishnamurti: How do you watch? Please, don't theorize. The moment you theorize, you won't be able to proceed. Take a particular pleasure which you are enjoying. You are having a good time with it. Why should you stop it?
Eventually this repetitive pleasure becomes mechanical. You get disgusted with it, and get hold of another pleasure which you enjoy until that, too, becomes distasteful.
Questioner: You wouldn't give it up unless you saw that it binds you.
Krishnamurti: I don't want to give up anything. I see life is so terribly mechanical; pleasure and pain, and boredom with pain and with pleasure. Being bored, I attempt to use as an escape the temple, the church, meditation, the Masters, or the pursuit of knowledge. It is all an attempt to. escape from this mechanical process of living.
I do not want to theorize. I want to find out if one can really live in a different way which will not be mechanical. How is one to do it? The only way, as far as I see it now - I may change as I go further into it - is that there must be a cessation of every waste of energy. because to end anything one needs tremendous energy. To listen one needs energy. To see without the interference of thought, without the interference of my conditioning, without prejudice, the very seeing is total energy. To listen to that car going by, one needs attention in which there is no interference; and to attend completely demands great energy. Total attention demands energy, not only neurologically but also mentally.
I am dissipating energy now. How am I to stop this dissipation, without effort? The moment I make an effort to stop it, that breeds other forms of contradiction, other waste. The mind realizes that it has to stop the waste of energy. How can it be done?
Questioner: I see that the mind by itself cannot. Unless I as a whole am convinced, know, see and understand that it has to be, I will not stop it.
Krishnamurti: The mind itself, which is the result of time, cannot stop it, because the mind is made up of prejudices, idiosyncrasies, temperaments and experiences. The mind itself, using time, is wasting itself; so it cannot operate, it cannot end the waste of energy. When you are listening, or seeing, or learning, are you using just the mind, or are you using your whole being - the mind, the intellect and the emotions?
Questioner: Total awareness.
Krishnamurti: Is a total awareness, a total attention, a total intensity in operation when one is listening? One never listens that way all the time obviously. There are moments when one is completely attentive, completely aware, and there are gaps, long periods of time, in which one is not attentive, in which one is not so completely aware. What is one to do? One generally says, "How is one to be continuously aware?". I think that is a wrong question, a wrong demand. What one has to do is to be attentive to inattention. Because it is the inattention that is breeding problems and conflict, not attention. Questioner: When there is no attention, who is there to be attentive?
Krishnamurti: When there is no attention, who is there to be attentive to that inattention? That's the question. When you are attentive, when you are listening, when you are learning, when you are seeing, is there an entity which is observing? As you listen to the speaker, find out. When you give your complete attention, with your body, with your mind, with your nerves, with your eyes, is there an observer, a censor?
Krishnamurti: It is only when you are inattentive that the thing comes in. This inattention breeds problems, and the solutions of the problems are still sought in inattention. If one has a problem, and one listens to the problem completely, totally, without trying to find an answer, without rationalizing, without trying to find an escape from it, but lives totally with it, then one will see that there is no problem at all. The problem arises only when there is no attention.
Questioner: It is quite likely, I feel, that this form of attention needs tremendous energy.
Questioner: That is true. I cannot be in this form of attention except for a moment. I lose it. I cannot renew this attention.
Krishnamurti: Attention cannot be renewed.
Questioner: During those moments of attention one sees there is something there all the time.
Questioner: The problem, as you say, is that we must have close attention in order to conserve our forces, yet there seems to be something which is about my mind continuously. The reason I don't have total attention is not that I can't, but I don't want to. That is my problem.
Krishnamurti: Then keep it your problem. (Laughter). The way we live, life is full of problems, isn't it? And if you like it, live with it. Go on with it. Suffer pain and despair, the whole fear that is our life.
Questioner: No, it is not exactly that. What I meant was, I have a fear of what that total attention would do. There is this burst of energy.
Krishnamurti: But sir, you can't have a fear of something which you don't know.
Questioner: All right, it is a fact that you can't, but it is possible to choose.
Krishnamurti: So you say, "I cannot be totally attentive because I am afraid".
Krishnamurti: So we have to examine fear, not how to get rid of fear, not all the intellectual concepts and escapes. What is fear? Try this with me: listen to it completely, giving your full attention to it. You can't give full attention if your body is not completely relaxed, if your mind is not completely quiet. Physically, emotionally and mentally it must be completely rested. psychologically there must also be a quietness in order to listen. Listen in that state. What are you listening to, an explanation, a series of words, or the thing of which you are afraid? If you are listening in that way, is there fear? You can listen to the unconscious promptings of fear, can't you? And then, is there fear? Let us take the fear of loneliness, this sense of isolation. Though one may be related to many people and have a great I many friends, there is a sense of complete loneliness. One knows it, and that is probably the major cause of fear. To listen to that feeling of loneliness, to see it, feel it, and learn about it, one must have tremendous energy, energy which is not disciplined. There is no rationalization, no explanation. In that state of listening the mind is completely quiet with regard to that loneliness. If one is so attentive and learning about it, there is no entity who is accumulating knowledge about it. There is nor the observer and the thing observed. This is the most difficult thing. This contradiction, this division as the observer and the thing observed, creates the problem of conflict. Is it possible to look at something so completely that the observer is not?
What is communication? How do you communicate? Words or gestures are necessary in order to be understood. If there is to be communication, both the speaker and the person communicated with must be at a certain intensity. In that state of intensity there is not someone listening, and the speaker. There is only the act of listening. In that state the mind is in communion. Communion implies space.
A mind that has problems becomes a dull mind; and a dull mind cannot possibly be attentive. When any problem arises, only a mind that is attentive, intense, learning, listening, can meet it, dissolve it, and move on. How is a mind, which has so many problems, to meet new problems? There is the problem of death, there is the problem of time, the problem of space, the problem of relationship, the problem of living, of earning a livelihood, the problems of disease, health and old age. How is the mind to meet all these problems at once, not one by one, but the whole of them at once, without effort?
The way we meet them now, our problems are all fragmentary. There is the problem of fear, the problem of boredom, the problem of enjoyment - a multitude of problems, one after the other. Is there a way of meeting all these problems, not separately, but totally? If I deal with each problem separately, each is going to take time; so I have to understand time.
Questioner: If you can deal with all problems at once, then that implies that they have a common root.
Krishnamurti: That is partially right.
Questioner: If you are living in the present, you only have one problem at a time. In fact, all the problems coalesce into one problem.
Krishnamurti: The existentialists say, "Live in the present". What does it mean to live in the present, the active present?
Questioner: It means the past doesn't take you away from it.
Krishnamurti: Do go into it a little more, sir. How can I live in the present when I am the result of the past, and am using the present as a means of getting to the future? It means that I have to bring all of time, the past, the present and the future, into the immediate present. To live in the present, time must collapse.
Questioner: I should say, sir, that it is direct perception, without endeavouring to do anything about it.
Krishnamurti: Yes, madam, but do look at the immense difficulty. How is time to collapse? How is space to collapse? How is the distance between here and the moon to collapse? Don't say, "Well, if I am attentive, it will", that's not the answer. When we say, "Live in the present", it must be something extraordinary. Because I am the result of two million years my mind, my brain and my habits all are of time. You tell me to live in the present. I ask what you mean by it. How can I live in the present when I have an immense history behind me which is pushing me through the present into the future? How am I to live in the present with the past? I can't. Therefore there must be a collapse of time. Time must come to an end; time must stop.
Questioner: I feel that I live in the present when I have no memories, when I'm just there; at those moments when I have experience.
Krishnamurti: Yes, but those moments come and go. It's not good enough. We have all had those moments when time has no meaning at all.
Questioner: One sees the interrelatedness of all the problems, and then there is an action which arises from that.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by action? Is it to do, to be, to function, to think, to act? Does action mean getting up, going to work and all the rest of it? That action is based on the past, on idea, on memory. For us, action is related to time. We are now trying to make everything fit into time. To find out, to live and act in the present - all of these demand the understanding and the ending of time.
Questioner: For time a collapse, it must mean the collapse of the entity.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, collapse of the entity.
Questioner: Would you explain why it is that the past and the future always seem to be so much more interesting than the Present?
Krishnamurti: The lady wants to know why the past and the future are much more interesting than the present. That's fairly obvious. (Laughter).
Questioner: Well, may I ask this question: "Why is the present so difficult to confront?"
Krishnamurti: That's what we're trying to find out.
Questioner: I mean, one may be in a safe environment, but it is still difficult to confront the present.
Krishnamurti: If we really understand something, if we see some fact truly, then that very fact, that very observation brings its own action. I don't have to find out how to act. What we are trying to find out, what we are trying to discover for ourselves is whether it is possible to live in the present at all.
Questioner: Isn't it impossible not to? That is the only place we can live.
Krishnamurti: That's an idea, sir. All my acts are based on ideas, on a formula, on an experience, on knowledge, all of which are of the past. I know no action which is not related to time. Then someone comes along and tells me to live in the present. I say: "What do you mean by it? How can I live in the present?". If it is a theory, it is valueless; it has no meaning at all. To find out what it means I have to discover, understand and be totally aware of time - time as space, time as distance, time as a gradual achievement; using time as a means of getting rid of something or of gaining something. In order to live in the present, that way of thinking, that way of looking, that way of living, must collapse. But my whole being, conscious as well as unconscious, is of time. How is the mind to step out of it?
Questioner: All images of oneself must collapse.
Krishnamurti: That is an idea, sir. It is not a fact.
Questioner: The fact is that I don't know enough.
Krishnamurti: You have no time to know enough.
Questioner: But I see myself creating time, whenever I think. Every moment that I am not at full attention, which is practically all the time, the clock goes on.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir.
Questioner: So all through my life I create time.
Krishnamurti: How are you going to end it?
Questioner: I could just arbitrarily stop thinking.
Krishnamurti: Of course not. The question is, can time collapse? To live in the present means there is no tomorrow. That means there is an ending of pleasure, there is an ending of pain, an ending of sorrow; not tomorrow, but now. One cannot live in the present with sorrow, with despair, with hope, with ambition. One has to come to this ending of time, this stopping or collapse of time, not directly but in a different way. One has to come to it negatively. One does not know what the ending of time means; so one has to come to it by being aware of how the mind thinks, and how the mind uses time, negatively or positively, as a means of achievement.
There is the question of peace. How is one to be peaceful, not theoretically, not as some ideal to be achieved, but actually? How is one to be peaceful when there are wars, contentions, quarrels? Everything in this world is based on violence. For peace to be, there cannot be a tomorrow.
Scientists are inquiring into this question of the collapse of space, which is the collapse of time, because rockets will take so many months, or years, to go to Mars. There may be a way of getting to Mars much quicker. There are tremendous things involved in this. Can a mind like ours, which has been used to time, having lived that way for two million years, suddenly collapse? Can we eliminate endless arguments, realizations, fears and hopes?
Next time I would like to discuss whether it is possible to stop time. Perhaps that is creation.
London 2nd Public Dialogue 26th April 1965
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