Pure Observation

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE WAY OF INTELLIGENCE

P.J.: Most people see that in the human mind there is a shrinkage of space available to us to explore because of the various pressures which operate on it, an incapacity to face complex situations, the violence and terror. I would suggest that we do not go into specific problems of fear or the future of man, but lay bare the structure of the human mind, bringing us face to face with the structure of thought. It is only then that it is possible for each one of us to investigate into these complexities which occupy our consciousness.

K: We have talked over the movement of fear together. How do you listen to those statements? How do you read those statements? What is the impact of those statements on you? We said desire, time, thought, the hurts, the whole of that is fear, and you tell me that very clearly in words which are common. You have communicated to me the truth of it, not the verbal description of it. How do I listen to that statement? I am not opposing it or comparing what you say with something I already know, but I am actually listening to what you say. It has entered into my consciousness, that part of consciousness which is willing to comprehend entirely what you are saying. What is the impact? Is it a verbal impact or a logical one, or have you talked to me at a level where I see the truth of what you have said? What does it do to my consciousness?

P.J.: We are speaking of the future of man, the danger of technology taking over man’s functions. Man seems paralysed. You have said there are only two ways open to him: either the way of pleasure or the way of an inner movement. I am asking you the ‘how’ of the inner movement.

K: When you ask ‘how’, you are asking for a system, a method, a practice. That is obvious. Nobody asks ‘how’ otherwise. How am I to play the piano? It is all implied – practice, a method, a mode of acting. Now when you ask ‘how’, you are back again to the same old pattern of experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action.

Now, can we move away from the ‘how’ for the moment and observe the mind, or the brain? Can there be a pure observation of it, which is not analysis? Observation is totally different from analysis. In analysis there is always the search for a cause; there is the analyser and the analysed. That means the analyser is separate from the analysed. That separation is fallacious; it is not actual, the actual being that which is happening now.

Observation is totally free of analysis. Is it possible just to observe without any conclusion, any direction, any motive – just pure, clear looking? Obviously, it is possible when you look at these lovely trees; it is very simple. But to look at the operation of the whole movement of existence, to observe it without any distortion, is entirely different from analysis. In that observation the whole process of analysis has no place. You go beyond it. That is, I can look at that tree without any distortion because I am looking optically. Now, can I look at, is there any observation of the whole activity of fear without trying to find the cause, or asking how to end it, or trying to suppress it, or running away from it? Is it possible just to look and stay with it, stay with the whole movement of fear? I mean by staying with it, to observe without any movement of thought entering into my observation. Then I say, with that observation comes attention. That observation is total attention. It is not concentration; it is attention. It is like focusing a bright light on an object, and in the focusing of that energy which is light on that movement, fear ends. Analysis will never end fear; you can test it out. That is, is my mind capable of such attention, which is to bring all the energy of my intellect, emotion, nerves, to look at this movement of fear without any opposition or support, or denial?

P.J.: Thought arises in observation, and does not stay with observation of fear. Then what happens to thought? Does one push it aside? What does one do? Thought does arise, which is also a fact.

K: Just listen. The speaker explained not only the personal fears but the fears of mankind in which is this stream, in which is included thought, desire, time and the desire to end it, to go beyond it, all that is the movement of fear. Can you look at it, observe it without any movement? Any movement is thought.

P.J.: You may say movement is fear, but in that observing, thought arises, which is also a fact.

K: Please listen. I said, desire, time, thought; thought is time, and desire is part of thought. You have shown the whole map of fear, in which thought is included. There is no question of suppressing thought; that is impossible. I said, first look at it. We don’t give attention to anything. You have just said something about thought. I listened to it very, very carefully; I was attending to what you were saying. Can you so attend?

P.J.: For an instant of attention thought is not; then thought arises. This is the state of mind. There is no doer because that is pretty obvious. It is neither possible to remain immovable nor to say that thought will not arise. If it is a stream, it is a stream which flows.

K: Are we discussing what is observation?

P.J.: Yes, we are discussing observation. In that observation I have raised this problem because that is the problem of attention, of self-knowledge, the problem of our minds, that in observing, thought arises. So, then what? What does one do with thought?

K: When in your attention thought arises, you put aside fear totally, but you pursue thought. I do not know if I am making myself clear. I observe the movement of fear. In that observation, thought arises. The movement of fear is not important, but the arising of thought and total attention on that thought. There is this stream of fear. Tell me what to do: How am I, caught in fear, to end it? – not the method, not the system, not the practice, but the ending of it. You say analysis will not end it; that is obvious. So, what will end it – a perception of the whole movement of fear, a perception without direction?

J.U.: You made a statement about observing the movement of fear. I do not accept the distinction you have made between analysis and observation. I do not agree with your rejection of analysis. It is only through analysis that the entire structure of tradition and the weight of memory can be broken. It is only when that is broken that an observation is possible. Otherwise, it would only be a conditioned mind which would be observing. By your insistence on observation as distinct from analysis, perhaps there is the possibility or probability of the type of accidents or sudden happenings occurring, of which other people have spoken. Therefore, there can be the opportunity in which the shaktipata, the transmission of power takes place.

P.J.: Is that the nature of looking at fear? I am answering part of this question. Is the nature of observing or looking at fear or listening to fear of the same nature as looking at a tree, or listening to a bird? Or are you talking of a listening and a seeing which is optical observing plus? And if it is plus, what is the plus?

A.P.: I see a great danger in what Upadhyayaji has said. He says there cannot be observation unless it is accompanied by analysis, and if there is observation without analysis then that observation may have to depend upon an accidental awakening of an insight. He speaks of that as a possibility. My submission to him is that unless observation is cleansed of analysis, it is incapable of freeing itself from the fetters of conceptualism, the processes in which we have been reared, the process where observation and conceptual understanding go together. It is difficult to bring simultaneously into operation, unconsciously and consciously, a process of conceptual comprehension. Now, observation that is not cleansed of wordy comprehension distinguishes itself from pure observation. Therefore, in my opinion, it is very necessary to establish that analysis is an obstacle to observation. We must see this as a fact that analysis prevents us from observing.

K: Sir, do we clearly understand that the observer is the observed? I observe that tree, but I am not that tree. I observe various reactions as greed, envy and so on. Is the observer separate from greed? The observer himself is the observed, which is greed. Is it clear, not intellectually, but actually, that you can see the truth of it as a profound reality, a truth which is absolute? When there is such observation, the observer is the past. And when I observe that tree, all that past association with that tree comes into being. I name it as oak, or whatever it is; there is like or dislike. Now, when I observe fear, that fear is me. I am not separate from that fear. So the observer is the observed. In that observation there is no observer to observe because there is only the fact: the fear is me, I am not separate from fear. Then, what is the need for analysis? In that observation, if it is pure observation, the whole thing is revealed, and I can logically explain everything from that observation without analysis.

We are not clear on this particular point that the thinker is the thought, the experiencer is the experience. The experiencer, when he experiences something new, recognizes it. I experience something. To give to it a meaning, I must bring in all the previous records of my experiences; I must remember the nature of that experience. Therefore I am putting it outside me. But when I realize that the experiencer, the thinker, the analyser, is the analysed, is the thought, is the experience, in that perception, in that observation, there is no division, no conflict. Therefore, when you realize the truth of that, you can logically explain the whole sequence of it.

K: Let us go slowly. I am angry. At the moment of anger, there is no ‘me’ at all; there is only that reaction called anger. A second later, I say, I have been angry. I have already separated anger from me.

P.J.: Yes.

K: So, I have separated it a moment later; there is me and anger. Then I suppress it, rationalize it. I have already divided a reaction which is me, into ‘me’ and ‘not-me’, and then the whole conflict begins. Whereas anger is me, I am made up of reactions. Right? Obviously. I am anger. What happens then? Earlier, I wasted energy in analysing, in suppressing, in being in conflict with anger. That energy is now concentrated; there is no waste of energy. With that energy which is attention, I hold this reaction called fear. I do not move away from it because I am that. Then, because I have brought all my energy to it, that fact which is called fear disappears.

You wanted to find out in what manner fear can end. I have shown it. As long as there is a division between you and fear, fear will continue. Like the Arab and the Jew, the Hindu and the Muslim, as long as this division exists there must be conflict.

P.J.: But, sir, who observes?

K: There is no ‘who observes’. There is only the state of observation.

P.J.: Does it come about spontaneously?

K: Now, you have told me it is not analysis, it is not this, it is not that, and I discard it. I don’t say I’ll discuss it. I discard it. My mind is free from all the conceptual, analytical process of thought. My mind is listening to the fact that the observer is the observed.

P.J.: You see, sir, there are two things in this. One is that when one observes, when there is the observing of the mind, one sees the extraordinary movement in it. It is beyond anyone’s control or capacity to even give direction to it. It is there. In that state, you say, bring attention on to fear.

K: Which is all your energy…

P.J.: Which actually means, bring all attention on to that which is moving. When we question in our minds, the response immediately arises. In your mind responses do not arise; you hold it. Now, what is it that given you the capacity to hold fear in consciousness? I don’t think we have that capacity.

K: I don’t think it is a question of capacity. I don’t know. What is capacity?

P.J.: I will cut out the word ‘capacity’. There is a holding of fear.

K: That is all.

P.J.: That is, this movement which is fluid becomes immovable.

K: That is it.

P.J.: Fear ends. With us that does not happen.

K: Can we discuss a fact? Can we hold anything in our minds for a few seconds, or a minute? Anything? I love; can I remain with that feeling, that beauty, that clarity which love brings? Can I hold it; not say what is love, what is not love, but just hold it, which is like a vessel holding water? You are all sceptical. You see, sir, when you have an insight into fear, fear ends. The insight is not analysis, time, remembrance, all that. It is immediate perception of something. We do have it. Often we have this sense of clarity about something. Is this all theoretical?

J.U.: Sir, I find that when you speak of clarity, there is that moment of clarity. I accept that. But it must come as a result of something that happens. It must move from period to period, from level to level. My clarity cannot be the same as your clarity.

K: Sir, clarity is clarity, it is not yours or mine. Intelligence is not yours or mine.

P.J.: Sir, I would like to go into something different. I will start with one statement: In observing the movement of the mind there is no point at which you say I have observed totally and it is over.

K: You can never say that.

P.J.: So, you are talking of an observation which is a state of being; that is, you move in observation, your life is a life of observing…

K: Yes, that is right.

P.J.: Out of that observing, action rises; analysis arises; wisdom comes. Is that observing? Unfortunately, we observe and then enter into the other sphere of non-observing and therefore have always this dual process going on. None of us knows what this observing is. None of us can say we know what a life of observing is.

K: No. I think it is very simple: Can’t you observe a person without any prejudice?

P.J.: Yes.

K: Without any concept? What is implied in that observation? You observe me, or I observe you. How do you observe? How do you look at me? What is your reaction to that observation?

P.J.: With all the energy I have, I observe you. No, sir, it becomes very personal. Therefore, I won’t pursue this.

K: So I move away from it.

P.J.: I can’t say that I do not know what it is to be in a state of observing without the observer.

K: Could we take this example? Say I am married. I have lived with my wife for a number of years. I have all the memories of those twenty years or five years. In what manner do I look at her? Tell me. I am married to her; I have lived with her, sexually and all the rest of it. When I see her in the morning, how do I look at her? What is my reaction? Do I see her afresh, as though for the first time, or do I look at her with all the memories flooded into my mind?

Q: Either is possible.

K: Anything is possible, but what happens actually? Do I observe anything for the first time? When I look at the moon, the new moon coming up with the evening star, do I look at it as though I have never seen it before? The wonder, the beauty, the light, do I look at anything as though for the first time?

Q: Can we die to our yesterdays and our past?

K: Yes, sir. We are always looking with the burden of the past. So, there is no actual looking. This is very important. When I look at my wife, I do not see her as though I have seen her for the first time. My brain is caught in memories about her or about this or that. So I am always looking from the past. Is it possible to look at that moon, at the evening star, as though for the first time without all the associations connected with them? Can I see the sunset which I have seen in America, in England, in Italy and so on, as though I am seeing it for the first time? Don’t say ‘yes’. That means my brain is not recording the previous sunsets I know of.

Q: Very rare. How does one know that it is so? You are asking, can you see the moon and the evening star? Maybe it is the memory of the first time which makes you look.

K: I know what you are asking; that leads you to another question. I am asking, is it possible not to record, except what is absolutely necessary? Why should I record the insult I may have received this morning, or the flattery? Both are the same. You flatter me saying it is a good talk, or she comes and says you are an idiot. Why should I record either?

P.J.: You ask a question as if to say we have the choice of whether to record or not to record.

K: There is no choice. I am asking a question to investigate. Because the brain was registering the squirrel on the parapet this morning, the kites flying, all that you said in our discussion at lunch, so it is like a gramophone record playing over and over again. The mind is constantly occupied, isn’t it? Now, in that occupation you cannot listen; you cannot see clearly. So one has to enquire why the brain is occupied. I am occupied with god, he is occupied with sex, she is occupied about her husband, somebody is occupied with power, position, politics, cleverness, etc. Why? Is it that when the brain is not occupied there is the fear of being nothing? Because occupation gives me a sense of living? But if I am not occupied, I say I am lost. Is that why we are occupied from morning till night? Or is it a habit, sharpening itself? This occupation is destroying the brain and making it mechanical. Now, does one see that one is occupied actually? And seeing that, remain with it, not saying, I don’t want to be occupied, it is not good for the brain? Can you just see you are occupied? See what happens then.

When there is occupation there is no space in the mind. I am the collection of all the experiences of mankind. The story of all mankind is me if I know how to read the book of me. You see, we are so conditioned to this idea that we are all separate individuals, that we all have separate brains, and the separate brains with their self-centred activity are going to be reborn over and over again. I question this whole concept that I am an individual; not that I am the collective. I am humanity, not the collective.