Inner Space


Needleman: In your talks you have given a fresh meaning to the necessity for man to become his own authority. Yet cannot this assertion easily be turned into a form of humanistic psychology without reference to the sacred, transcendent dimension of human life on earth in the midst of a vast intelligent Cosmos? Must we not only try to see ourselves in the moment, but also as creatures of the Cosmos? What I am trying to ask about is this question of cosmic dimension.

Krishnamurti: As soon as we use that word ‘dimension’, it implies space, otherwise there is no dimension, there is no space. Are we talking about space, outward space, endless space?

Needleman: No.

Krishnamurti: Or the dimension of space in us?

Needleman: It would have to be the latter, but not totally without the former, I think.

Krishnamurti: Is there a difference between the outer space, which is limitless, and the space in us? Or is there no space in us at all and we only know the outer space? We know the space in us as a centre and circumference. The dimension of that centre, and the radius from that centre, is what we generally call that space.

Needleman: Inner space, yes.

Krishnamurti: Yes, inner space. Now if there is a centre, the space must always be limited and therefore we divide the inner space from the outer space.

Needleman: Yes.

Krishnamurti: We only know this very limited space but we think we would like to reach the other space, have immense space. This house exists in space, otherwise there could be no house, and the four walls of this room make its space. And the space in me is the space which the centre has created round itself. Like that microphone…

Needleman: Yes, centre of interest.

Krishnamurti: Not only centre of interest, it has its own space, otherwise it couldn’t exist.

Needleman: Yes, right.

Krishnamurti: In the same way, human beings may have a centre and from that centre they create a space, the centre creates a space round itself. And that space is always limited, it must be; because of the centre, the space is limited.

Needleman: It is defined, it is a defined space, yes.

Krishnamurti: When you use the words ‘cosmic space’…

Needleman: I didn’t use the words ‘cosmic space; I said cosmic, the dimension of the Cosmos. I wasn’t asking about outer space and trips to the planets.

Krishnamurti: So we are talking of the space which the centre creates round itself, and also a space between two thoughts; there is a space, an interval between two thoughts.

Needleman: Yes.

Krishnamurti: And the centre having created that space round itself, there is the space outside the limit. There is a space between thinking, between thoughts; and also a space round the centre itself, and the space beyond the barbed wire. Now what is the question, Sir? How to expand space? How to enter a different dimension of space?

Needleman: Not how to but…

Krishnamurti: …not how to. Is there a different dimension of space except the space round the centre?

Needleman: Or a different dimension of reality?

Krishnamurti: Space, we are talking about that for the moment, we can use that word. First I must see very clearly the space between two thoughts.

Needleman: The interval.

Krishnamurti: This interval between two thoughts. Interval means space. And what takes place in this interval?

Needleman: Well, I confess I don’t know because my thoughts overlap all the time. I know there are intervals, there are moments when this interval appears, and I see it, and there is freedom there for a moment.

Krishnamurti: Let’s go into this a bit, shall we? There is space between two thoughts. And there is space which the centre creates round itself, which is the space of isolation.

Needleman: All right, yes. That is a cold word.

Krishnamurti: It is cutting itself off. I consider myself important, with my ambition, with my frustrations, with my anger, with my sexuality, my growth, my meditation, my reaching Nirvana.

Needleman: Yes, that is isolation.

Krishnamurti: It is isolation. My relation with you is the image of that isolation, which is that space. Then having created that space there is space outside the barbed wire. Now is there a space of a totally different dimension? That is the question.

Needleman: Yes, that embraces the question.

Krishnamurti: How shall we find out if the space round me, round the centre, exists? And how can I find out the other? I can speculate about the other, I can invent any space I like – but that is too abstract, too silly!

Needleman: Yes.

Krishnamurti: So is it possible to be free of the centre, so that the centre doesn’t create space round itself build a wall round itself, isolation, a prison – and call that space? Can that centre cease to be? Otherwise I can’t go beyond it; the mind cannot go beyond that limitation.

Needleman: Yes, I see what you mean. It’s logical, reasonable.

Krishnamurti: That is, what is that centre? That centre is the ‘me’ and ‘non-me’, that centre is the observer, the thinker, the experiencer, and in that centre is also the observed. The centre says, ‘That is the barbed wire I have created round myself.’

Needleman: So that centre is limited there too.

Krishnamurti: Yes. Therefore it separates itself from the barbed wire fence. So that becomes the observed. The centre is the observer. So there is space between the observer and the observed – right Sir?

Needleman: Yes, I see that.

Krishnamurti: And that space it tries to bridge over. That is what we are doing.

Needleman: It tries to bridge it over.

Krishnamurti: It says, ‘This must be changed, that must not be, this is narrow, that is wide, I must be better than that.’ All that is the movement in the space between the observer and the observed.

Needleman: I follow that, yes.

Krishnamurti: And hence there is conflict between the observer and the observed. Because the observed is the barbed wire which must be jumped over, and so the battle begins. Now can the observer – who is the centre, who is the thinker, who is the knower, who is experience, who is knowledge – can that centre be still?

Needleman: Why should it wish to?

Krishnamurti: If it is not still, the space is always limited.

Needleman: But the centre, the observer, doesn’t know that it is limited in this way.

Krishnamurti: But you can see it, look. The centre is the observer, let’s call him the observer for the moment – the thinker, the experiencer, the knower, the struggler, the searcher, the one who says, ‘I know, and you don’t know.’ Right? Where there is a centre it must have a space round itself.

Needleman: Yes, I follow.

Krishnamurti: And when it observes, it observes through that space. When I observe those mountains there is space between me and the mountains. And when I observe myself there is space between me and the thing I observe in myself. When I observe my wife, I observe her from the centre of my image about her, and she observes me with the image which she has about me. So there is always this division and space.

Needleman: Changing the approach to the subject entirely, there is something called the sacred. Sacred teachings, sacred ideas, the sacred, which for a moment seems to show me that this centre and this space you speak about is an illusion.

Krishnamurti: Wait. One has learnt this from somebody else. Are we going to find out what is the sacred, then? Are we looking because somebody has told me, ‘That is sacred’, or that there is a sacred thing? Or is it my imagination, because I want something holy?

Needleman: Very often it is that but there is…

Krishnamurti: Now which is it? The desire for something holy? The imposition on my mind by others who have said, ‘This is sacred?’ Or my own desire, because everything is unholy and I want something holy, sacred? All this springs from the centre.

Needleman: Yes. Nevertheless…

Krishnamurti: Wait. We will find this out, what is sacred. But I don’t want to accept tradition, or what somebody has said about the sacred. Sir, I don’t know if you have experimented? Some years ago, for fun, I took a piece of rock from the garden and put it on the mantelpiece and played with it, brought flowers to it every day. At the end of a month it became terribly sacred!

Needleman: I know what you mean.

Krishnamurti: I don’t want that kind of phoney sacredness.

Needleman: It’s a fetish.

Krishnamurti: Sacredness is a fetish.

Needleman: Granted. Most of it is.

Krishnamurti: So I won’t accept anything that anybody says about what is sacred. Tradition! As a Brahmin one was brought up in a tradition which would beat anybody’s tradition, I assure you!

What I am saying is: I want to find out what is holy, not man-made holiness. I can only find out when the mind has immense space. And it cannot have that immense space if there is a centre. When the centre is not in operation, then there is vast space. In that space, which is part of meditation, there is something really sacred, not invented by my foolish little centre. There is something immeasurably sacred, which you can never find out if there is a centre. And to imagine that sacredness is folly – you follow what I mean?

Can the mind be free of this centre – with its terribly limited yardage of space – which can be measured and expanded and contracted and all the rest of it? Can it? Man has said it can’t, and therefore God has become another centre. So my real concern is this: whether the centre can be completely empty? That centre is consciousness. That centre is the content of consciousness, the content is consciousness; there is no consciousness if there is no content. You must work this out…

Needleman: Certainly what we ordinarily mean by it, yes.

Krishnamurti: There is no house if there are no walls and no roof. The content is consciousness but we like to separate them, theorize about it, measure the yardage of our consciousness. Whereas the centre is consciousness, the content of consciousness, and the content is consciousness. Without the content, where is consciousness? And that is the space.

Needleman: I follow a little bit of what you say. I find myself wanting to say: well, what do you value here? What is the important thing here?

Krishnamurti: I’ll put that question after I have found out whether the mind can be empty of the content.

Needleman: All right.

Krishnamurti: Then there is something else that will operate, which will function within the field of the known. But without finding that merely to say…

Needleman: No, no, this is so.

Krishnamurti: Let’s proceed. Space is between two thoughts, between two factors of time, two periods of time, because thought is time. Yes?

Needleman: All right, yes.

Krishnamurti: You can have a dozen periods of time but it is still thought, there is that space. Then there is the space round the centre, and the space beyond the self, beyond the barbed wire, beyond the wall of the centre. The space between the observer and the observed is the space which thought has created as the image of my wife and the image which she has about me. You follow, Sir?

Needleman: Yes.

Krishnamurti: All that is manufactured by the centre. To speculate about what is beyond all that has no meaning to me personally, it’s the philosopher’s amusement.

Needleman: The philosopher’s amusement…

Krishnamurti: I am not interested.

Needleman: I agree. I am not interested sometimes, at my better moments, but nevertheless…

Krishnamurti: I am sorry, because you are a philosopher!

Needleman: No, no, why should you remember that, please.

Krishnamurti: So my question is: ‘Can the centre be still, or can the centre fade away?’ Because if it doesn’t fade away, or lie very quiet, then the content of consciousness is going to create space within consciousness and call it the vast space. In that there lies deception and I don’t want to deceive myself. I don’t say I am not brown when I am brown. So can that centre be absorbed? Which means, can there be no image, because it is the image that separates?

Needleman: Yes, that is the space.

Krishnamurti: That image talks about love, but the love of the image is not love. Therefore I must find out whether the centre can be completely absorbed, dissolved, or lie as a vague fragment in the distance. If there is no possibility of that, then I must accept prison.

Needleman: I agree.

Krishnamurti: I must accept there is no freedom. Then I can decorate my prison for ever.

Needleman: But now this possibility that you are speaking about, without searching for it consciously…

Krishnamurti: No, don’t search for it!

Needleman: I say, without searching for it consciously, life or something suddenly shows me it is possible.

Krishnamurti: It is there! Life hasn’t shown me. It has shown me, when I look at that mountain, that there is an image in me; when I look at my wife I see that there is an image in me. That is a fact. It isn’t that I have to wait for ten years to find out about the image! I know it is there, therefore I say: ‘Is it possible to look without the image?’ The image is the centre, the observer, the thinker and all the rest of it.

Needleman: I am beginning to see the answer to my question. I begin to see – I am speaking to myself – I am beginning to see that there is no distinction between humanism and sacred teachings. There is just truth, or non-truth.

Krishnamurti: That’s all. False and true.