Peace Is of the Heart, Not of the Mind

From Krishnamurti’s Book LIFE AHEAD

We have been examining the various factors that bring about deteriorate in our lives, in our activities, in our thoughts; and we have seen that conflict is one of the major factors of this deterioration. And is not peace also, as it is generally understood, a destructive factor? Can peace be brought about by the mind? If we have peace through the mind, does not that also lead to corruption, deterioration? If we are not very alert and observant, that word ‘peace’ becomes like a narrow window through which we look at the world and try to understand it. Through a narrow window we can see only part of the sky, and not the whole vastness, the magnificence of it. There is no possibility of having peace by merely pursuing peace, which is inevitably a process of the mind.

It may be a little difficult to understand this, but I shall try to make it as simple and clear as I can. If we can understand what it means to be peaceful, then perhaps we shall understand the real significance of love.

We think that peace is something to be achieved through the mind, through reason; but is it? Can peace ever come about through any quieting through any control or domination of thought? We all want peace; and for most of us, peace means to be left alone, not to be disturbed or interfered with, so we build a wall around our own mind, a wall of ideas.

It is very important for you to understand this, for as you grow older you will be faced with the problems of war and peace. Is peace something to be pursued, caught and tamed by the mind? What most of us call peace is a process of stagnation, a slow decay. We think we shall find peace by clinging to a set of ideas, by inwardly building a wall of security, safety, a wall of habits, beliefs; we think that peace is a matter of pursuing a principle, of cultivating a particular tendency, a particular fancy, a particular wish. We want to live without disturbance, so we find some corner of the universe, or of our own being, into which we crawl, and we live in the darkness of self-enclosure. That is what most of us seek in our relationship with the husband, with the wife, with parents, with friends. Unconsciously we want peace at any price, and so we pursue it.

But can the mind ever find peace? Is not the mind itself a source of disturbance? The mind can only gather, accumulate, deny, assert, remember, pursue. Peace is absolutely essential, because without peace we cannot live creatively. But is peace something to be realized through the struggles, the denials, the sacrifices of the mind? Do you understand what I am talking about?

We may be discontented while we are young, but as we grow older, unless we are very wise and watchful, that discontent will be canalized into some form of peaceful resignation to life. The mind is everlastingly seeking a secluded habit, belief, desire, something in which it can live and be at peace with the world. But the mind cannot find peace, because it can think only in terms of time, in terms of the past, the present and the future: what it has been, what it is, and what it will be. It is constantly condemning, judging, weighing, comparing, pursuing its own vanities, its own habits, beliefs; and such a mind can never be peaceful. It can delude itself into a state which it calls peace; but that is not peace. The mind can mesmerize itself by the repetition of words and phrases, by following somebody, or by accumulating knowledge; but it is not peaceful, because such a mind is itself the centre of disturbance, it is by its very nature the essence of time. So the mind with which we think, with which we calculate, with which we contrive and compare, is incapable of finding peace.

Peace is not the outcome of reason; and yet, as you will see if you observe them, the organized religions are caught up in this pursuit of peace through the mind. Real peace is as creative and as pure as war is destructive; and to find that peace, one must understand beauty. That is why it is important, while we are very young, to have beauty about us – the beauty of buildings that have proper proportions, the beauty of cleanliness, of quiet talk among the elders. In understanding what beauty is, we shall know love, for the understanding of beauty is the peace of the heart.

Peace is of the heart, not of the mind. To know peace you have to find out what beauty is. The way you talk, the words you use, the gestures you make – these things matter very much, for through them you will discover the refinement of your own heart. Beauty cannot be defined, it cannot be explained in words. It can be understood only when the mind is very quiet.

So, while you are young and sensitive, it is essential that you – as well as those who are responsible for you – should create an atmosphere of beauty. The way you dress, the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you eat – all these things, and the things about you, are very important. As you grow up you will meet the ugly things of life – ugly buildings, ugly people with their malice, envy, ambition, cruelty; and if in your heart there is not founded and established the perception of beauty, you will easily be swept away by the enormous current of the world. Then you will get caught in the endless struggle to find peace through the mind. The mind projects an idea of what peace is and tries to pursue it, thereby getting caught in the net of words in the net of fancies and illusions.

Peace can come only when there is love. If you have peace merely through security, financial or otherwise, or through certain dogmas, rituals, verbal repetitions, there is no creativeness; there is no urgency to bring about a fundamental revolution in the world. Such peace only leads to contentment and resignation. But when in you there is the understanding of love and beauty, then you will find the peace that is not a mere projection of the mind. It is this peace that is creative, that removes confusion and brings order within oneself. But this peace does not come through any effort to find it. It comes when you are constantly watching, when you are sensitive to both the ugly and the beautiful, to the good and the bad, to all the fluctuations of life. Peace is not something petty, created by the mind; it is enormously great, infinitely extensive, and it can be understood only when the heart is full.