Conditioning Prevents Observation


Questioner: If I may ask you, what do you consider to be one of the most important things in life? I have thought about this matter considerably and there are so many things in life that all seem important. I would like to ask you this question in all seriousness.

Krishnamurti: Perhaps it is the art of living. We are using the word art in its widest sense. As life is so complex, it is always difficult and confusing to pick one aspect and say it is the most important. The very choice, the differentiating quality, if I may point out, leads to further confusion. If you say this is the most important, then you relegate the other facts of life to a secondary position. Either we take the whole movement of life as one, which becomes extremely difficult for most people, or we take one fundamental aspect in which all the others may be included. If you agree to this, then we can proceed with our dialogue.

Questioner: Do you mean to say that one aspect may cover the whole field of life? Is that possible?

Krishnamurti: I It is possible. Let us go into it very slowly and hesitantly. First of all the two of us must investigate and not immediately come to some conclusion which is generally rather superficial. We are exploring together one facet of life and in the very understanding of it we may cover the whole field of life. To investigate we must be free of our prejudices, personal experiences, and predetermined conclusions. Like a good scientist we must have a mind unclouded by knowledge that we have already accumulated. We must come to it afresh and this is one of the necessities in exploration, the exploration not of an idea or series of philosophic concepts but of our own minds without any reaction to what is being observed. This is absolutely necessary; otherwise your own investigation is coloured by your own fears, hopes and pleasures.

Questioner: Aren’t you asking too much? Is it possible to have such a mind?

Krishnamurti: The very urge to investigate and the intensity of it frees the mind from its colouring. As we said, one of the most important things is the art of living. Is there a way of living our daily life that is entirely different from what it normally is? We all know the usual. Is there a way of living without any control, without any conflict, without a disciplinary conformity? How do I find out? I can only find out when my whole mind is facing exactly what is happening now. This means I can only find out what it means to live without conflict, when what is happening now can be observed. This observation is not an intellectual or emotional affair but the acute, clear, sharp perception in which there is no duality. There is only the actual and nothing else.

Questioner: What do you mean by duality in this instance?

Krishnamurti: That there is no opposition or contradiction in what is going on. Duality arises only when there is an escape from what is. This escape creates the opposite and so conflict arises. There is only the actual and nothing else.

Questioner: Are you saying that when something which is happening now is perceived, the mind must not come in with associations and reactions?

Krishnamurti: Yes, that is what we mean. The associations and reactions to what is happening is the conditioning of the mind. This conditioning prevents the observation of what is taking place now. What is taking place now is free of time. Time is the evolution of our conditioning. It is man’s inheritance, the burden that has no beginning. When there is this passionate observation of what is going on, that which is being observed dissolves into nothingness. The observation of the anger that is taking place now reveals the whole nature and structure of violence. This insight is the ending of all violence.It is not replaced by anything else and therein lies our difficulty. Our whole desire and urge is to find a definite end. In that end there is a sense of illusory security.

Questioner: There is a difficulty for many of us in the observation of anger because emotions and reactions seem inextricably part of that anger. One doesn’t feel anger without associations, content.

Krishnamurti: Anger has many stories behind it. It isn’t just a solitary event. It has, as you pointed out, a great many associations. These very associations, with their emotions, prevent the actual observation. With anger the content is the anger. The anger is the content; they are not two separate things. The content is the conditioning. In the passionate observation of what is actually going on – that is, the activities of the conditioning – the nature and structure of the conditioning are dissolved.

Questioner: Are you saying that when an event is taking place there is the immediate, racing current of associations in the mind? And if one instantly sees this starting to happen, that observation instantly stops it and it is gone? Is this what you mean?

Krishnamurti: Yes. It is really simple, so simple that you miss its very simplicity and so its subtlety. What we are saying is that whatever is happening – when you are walking, talking, ‘meditating’ – the event that is taking place is to be observed. When the mind wanders, the very observation of it ends its chatter. So there is no distraction whatsoever at any time.

Questioner: it seems as if you are saying that the content of thought essentially has no meaning in the art of living.

Krishnamurti: Yes. Remembrance has no place in the art of living. Relationship is the art of living. If there is remembrance in relationship, it is not relationship. Relationship is between human beings, not their memories. It is these memories that divide and so there is contention, the opposition of the you and the me. So thought, which is remembrance, has no place whatsoever in relationship. This is the art of living.

Relationship is to all things – to nature, the birds, the rocks, to everything around us and above us – to the clouds, the stars and to the blue sky. All existence is relationship. Without it you cannot live. Because we have corrupted relationship we live in a society that is degenerating.

The art of living can come into being only when thought does not contaminate love.

In schools, can the teacher be wholly committed to this art?