Ending the Habit of Chattering

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE WORLD OF PEACE

What is a habit? It is a repetition, isn’t it? Cleaning one’s teeth every morning, afternoon and evening, it becomes a routine, you don’t pay attention, you just do it very quickly and get off. So the brain establishes a pattern, drinking, sex, whatever it is, it establishes a pattern, then repeats it, then it becomes mechanical. Right? Are you following all this? So the brain through constant habits has become what it is now – not active, alive. So the gentleman asks: how do you break a habit, whatever the habit? A habit to search for god, to go to some exotic guru who promises you everything and lets you do what you like – you know all the crazy things that are going on in the world. Now how do you break a habit? Without conflict – right? You understand? Let’s say I have a habit, of what – give me a habit, would you please.

Q: Smoking.

K: Smoking is such an easy affair, that is an easy affair to stop.

Q: Always giving the same answer.

K: I hope I am not giving the same answer. It doesn’t matter. I have a habit, smoking, scratching my head, keeping my mouth open, habit of thinking the same thing over and over and over again, or the habit of chattering. Let’s take chattering.

I am not only chattering with myself but I am always endlessly talking with others. Right? The other day somebody came to see me, it was an interview. I don’t give interviews anymore but she insisted, she came. The moment she entered – please, it is none of you here – she began to talk, talk, talk, and when she left, ‘I am glad to have met you.’ We all chatter endlessly; not only some go back and forth but also chatter inwardly. That has become an extraordinary habit for most people, they can never be quiet, never be silent. Silence in the sense the brain completely still, but that is a different matter, we can go into it later. So this habit of chattering. How do I stop it? First of all, who is to stop it? Another chatterer who says, ‘I must stop this chattering but I will have my own chattering’ – you understand? So who is to stop chattering? Fear? Seeing that it is a wastage of energy, chattering, chattering, then will you stop that?

So we have to ask a question which is more serious: is there an entity outside of you, or inside of you, that will act as a brake upon chattering, that will say, ‘No I will not chatter’? Is it – please listen carefully – is it will, the decision not to chatter? And if it is will, what is will? The quintessence of desire – right? Right? Are you all tired?

Q: No.

K: All right. How quickly you answered.

So, how do you stop a habit of chattering? First of all, if you stop it through will, through desire, that creates another conflict, doesn’t it? And to stop chattering without conflict – you understand my question? – is that possible? I chatter. First of all I am not aware I am chattering. You point it out to me and say, ‘Old chap do stop chattering so much.’ And I get rather hurt by it but if I go beyond that and I say, ‘Now, in what manner am I to stop it?’ Then I have got the orthodox means of will, or taking a drug that will quieten me down, and having been quietened I take another drug to keep me awake – and I keep on that routine. So I want to find out how to stop a habit, like chattering, keeping your mouth open, scratching yourself, all kinds of things, without any kind of effort. You understand my question? This is an important question. To do something without effort. Does it amuse you, it’s fun. Will you do this? Find out your particular habit, aware of it, and say, now, can it be ended without any action of will, decision, compulsion, reward – you understand – reward and punishment they are the two elements we live on. So can I break that habit without any side effects. Right? Can we go into this? I will go into it.

First of all am I aware of my habit, not that you point it out to me and then I realize it, but am I aware of my habits without somebody telling me of my habits. You understand? See the difference. If you tell me my habit then I either resist it, or say, yes, I must stop it. But if I see it for myself I am a step ahead, if I can so put it. Right? Now are we aware of our particular habit, chattering, we took that? Now what does that awareness mean? Awareness means to look at something without any reaction, without any choice. I am aware that I am chattering, that is first. Then to be aware, to watch it without any condemnation, justification or explanation, just to watch it. Will you do that? So that the old reactions don’t come in, the old tradition doesn’t come in and say, ‘I must stop it’, I must do this, I must do that. So to watch the chattering very carefully. To watch it means without any reaction of past memories. This becomes very difficult. You understand? If I watch that tree in movement in the wind, it is a beautiful thing, And I don’t like wind therefore I won’t watch it. Similarly in a certain way, I can watch my chattering. The watcher is not different from chattering. So the watcher is not the structure of words, memories, he is just watching. You understand? Please this is rather complex and requires a great deal of enquiry.

We watch things with our prejudices, with our opinions, with our memories, the whole structure of words. Right? We watch everything that way. Now can you watch without all that memory, structure? That is where the art comes in, the art of watching. Now I watch – there is a watching of my chattering. I am aware and in that awareness I am not seeking any reward or punishment, I am just watching. Which means what? I am giving complete attention at that moment. Right sirs? At that second all my energy, all my capacity and attention is there. Which means when there is complete attention, complete, not attention brought about by any form of desire, through any form of reward or punishment, just complete attention, then that habit has no place. You understand? Do it please, try it once. Now, you will say, yes, for the moment it is possible, I can see that can end, if I give complete attention to something there is an ending to it, but it comes back. Right? Are you following? It comes back, the chattering comes back. Then what is your reaction? I did it once, gave complete attention, and it seems to subside for the second, now if I give the same attention it will subside again. So you have become mechanical. I wonder if you see this? Do you understand this? I gave attention, complete attention, to my chattering. That flame of attention wiped away for a few minutes chattering. I have seen the thing works. Then the next moment, or next hour, whatever period of time, you begin to chatter and suddenly catch yourself and say, ‘I must pay attention.’ So again you repeat, again it disappears. So gradually what you are learning is paying attention, which means you are not attending. Have you understood what I am saying? If you are constantly reminding yourself to attend, it is not attention. But attention has no time – oh, I won’t go into all this.

If you give your complete attention, which means there is no wastage of energy, then the thing goes away. So your concern is not attention but wasting energy – you follow? We waste energy in a thousand ways, chattering is one of the ways. So, all right, I don’t pay attention any more about chattering, but I am going to see how I waste my energy – right? I am going to pursue that. I am going to watch, learn, see where I am wasting energy. Oh, there are so many ways. Right? So my mind now is not becoming mechanical by the repetition that I must attend but it is moving. Right? All the time picking up new things. I wonder if you see all this? So that the brain becomes extraordinarily alert, and when it is so alert habits have no place.