Part II, Chapter 14

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE WHOLENESS OF LIFE

One’s consciousness, which is oneself, is filled with one’s own concepts and conclusions and with other people’s ideas; it is filled with one’s fears, anxieties and pleasures and with occasional flashes of joy and with one’s sorrow. That is one’s consciousness. That is the pattern of one’s existence.

Is it at all possible to bring about a radical change in one’s consciousness? For if it is not possible then one is everlastingly living in a prison of one’s own ideas, one’s own concepts – living in a field where there is every kind of confusion, uncertainty, instability. And one seems to think that if one moves from one corner of that field to another one has greatly changed, but still one is in the same field. As long as one lives within the field that one calls one’s consciousness, however little or however great it may change, yet in that field there is no fundamental human transformation.

Ideologies, however clever, however carefully thought out, ultimately bring about dangerous illusions – whether they are the ideologies of the Right, Centre, or the extreme Left, they all end up either in great bureaucracies controlling man, or in concentration camps, or the destructive moulding of man according to a particular concept. This is what is happening throughout the world; the intellectuals have led us to this point.

We have been prisoners of religious ideologies and dogmas – the Catholic, the Hindu, the Buddhist and so on, and the gurus, with their modern modifications of the ancient traditions and ideologies, are also the prisoners of those ideologies.

If one observes all this, carefully, impersonally, objectively, one realizes that one must put away all ideologies and ask oneself whether consciousness with its content – which is what one is, with all one’s conflicts, struggles, confusions, misery and occasional happiness – can become aware of itself and empty itself? That is one problem in meditation.

Meditation is not seeking an end; it is not groping purposefully after a goal. Out of meditation comes immense silence; not cultivated silence, not the silence between two thoughts, between two noises, but a silence that is unimaginable. The brain becomes extraordinarily quiet when in this process of enquiry; when there is silence there is great perception. In this silence there is emptiness, an emptiness that is the summation of all energy.

In examining the question of consciousness and its content it is very important to find out whether one, oneself, is observing it, or if in observing, consciousness becomes aware of itself. There is a difference. Either, one observes the movement of one’s consciousness – one’s desires, hurts, ambitions, greeds and all the rest of the content of our consciousness – as if from the outside; or consciousness becomes aware of itself. This is only possible when thought realizes that it is only observing what it has created, which is the content of its consciousness; then thought realizes that it is only observing itself, not ‘me’ which thought has put together observing consciousness. There is only observation; then consciousness begins to reveal its content, not only the superficial consciousness but the deeper layers of consciousness, the whole content of consciousness. If one sees the importance of sheer absolute motionless observation, then the thing flowers; consciousness opens up its doors.

One learns the art of observing without any distortion, without any motive, without any purpose just to observe. In that there is tremendous beauty because then there is no distortion. One sees things clearly as they are. But if one makes an abstraction of them into ideas and then through the ideas observes, then it is a distortion.

One freely, without any distorting factor, enters into the observation of consciousness. There is nothing hidden and consciousness begins to reveal its own totality, its content, one’s hurts, greed, envy, happiness, beliefs, ideologies, past traditions, the present scientific or factual traditions and so on and so on – all that is our consciousness. One observes it without any movement of thought; because it is thought that has put together all the content of our consciousness – thought has built it. When thought comes and says: “This is right, this is wrong, this shouldn’t be, that should”, one is still within the field of consciousness; one is not going beyond it. One has to understand very clearly the place of thought; it has its own place, in the field of knowledge, technology and so on. But thought has no place whatsoever in the psychological structure of man. So, can one observe one’s consciousness and does it reveal its content? – not bit by bit, but the totality of its movement. Then only is it possible to go beyond it.

In enquiring, can one observe without any movement of the eye? Because the eye has an effect on the brain. When one keeps the eyeballs completely still observation becomes very clear because the brain is quietened. So, can one observe without any movement of thought interfering with one’s observation? It is only possible when the observer realizes that he and that which he is observing are one – the observer is the observed. Anger is not different from me – I am anger, I am jealousy. There is no division between the observer and the observed; that is the basic reality one must capture. Then the whole of consciousness begins to reveal itself without the making of any effort. In that total observation there is the emptying of, or the going beyond, all the things that thought has put together – which is one’s consciousness.

Then there is the problem of time – time psychologically, as a movement towards the fulfilment of an idea, an ideology. One is greedy, or violent: one says to oneself: “I will take time to get over it, or to modify it, or change it, or to get rid of it, or to go beyond it.” That time is psychological time, not chronological time, by the watch or by the sun. There is this whole conditioning of one’s mind which says: “I will take time to achieve that which I consider to be essential, to be beautiful, to be good.” One questions that time, and asks: Is there psychological time at all? Is it not that thought has invented that time?

This is a very important thing to understand because it shatters altogether the idea of tomorrow – psychologically. It is a tremendous fact. If one understands that, psychologically, there is no tomorrow, then what will one do with that “which is”? If there is no time, then how is violence to end? One is conditioned to use time as a means of getting rid, slowly or quickly, of – say – violence. But if there is no time at all then what takes place when there is violence? Will there be violence? If it is one’s whole outlook that, psychologically, there is no time at all, then is there a me who is violent? The me is put together through time. The me as violence, is time. But if there is no time at all as me, then there is nothing, there is no violence.

If there is no time at all, there is no past or future, but only something else, totally different. One is so conditioned to time and one says psychologically, that there must be time for me to evolve, for me to become something other than that which I am. When one sees the truth of the fact that thought itself is the cause of this time, then there is an ending of the past and the future; there is only the sense of timeless movement now. It is really extraordinary if one understands this. And, after all, love is that. Love is at the same level, at the same time, at the same intensity; at that moment that is love – not the remembrance of it, or the future hope for it. That state of mind, which is love, is really completely without time. Then see what happens in one’s relationship with another. One perhaps has that extraordinary sense of love which is not of time, which is not of thought, which is not a remembrance of pleasure or pain; then what is the relationship between one who has that and another who has not? One has no image about another because the image is the movement of time, thought has built images step by step about another and that is no longer happening; but the other has made images about oneself step by step; for the other is in a movement of time and oneself has no time at all. One has this extraordinary sense of love which is not of time. What then is one’s relationship with another? When one has that extraordinary quality of love then in that quality there is supreme intelligence. That intelligence is going to act in that relationship, it is not oneself who will act in that relationship. It is really a marvellous thing to go into because it totally alters all relationship; and if there is no such fundamental alteration in relationship there is no alteration in this monstrous society which we have built.

What is space? Can there be space without order? Just take an outward physical example: is there space when there is disorder in a room? When one throws one’s clothes all over the place and everything is in disorder, is there space? There is only space when everything is in its right place. So, outwardly. Now inwardly: our minds are so confused, our whole life is self-contradiction, disorder, caught in various habits, drugs, smoke, drink, sex and so on. Obviously habits are mechanical and where there are habits there is disorder. What is order inwardly? Is order something dictated by thought? Thought itself is a movement of disorder. One thinks one can bring about social order by very careful thought, by ideological thought. Society, whether in the West or the East, is in disorder, is confused, is contradictory and the world is so totally mad. Wherever there is the movement of thought, time-binding, fragmentary and limited in itself, there must be total disorder.

Is there an action which is not the result of the movement of thought; an action not conditioned by ideologies which have been put together by thought? Is there an action totally free from thought? Such action, then, would be complete, whole, total – not fragmentary, not contradictory. Such action would be whole action in which there is no regret, no sense of “I wish I hadn’t done that”, or “I will try to do that”. Disorder comes about when there is the movement of thought and thought itself is fragmentary and when it acts everything must be fragmentary. If one sees that very clearly, then one asks: “What is action without thought?” Action means the doing now, not doing tomorrow, or having done in the past. It is as love, it is not of time. Love and compassion are beyond intellect, beyond memory; they are a state of mind that acts because love and compassion are supremely intelligent – intelligence acts. Where there is space, there is order, which is the action of intelligence; it is neither yours nor mine, it is intelligence born out of love and compassion. Space implies a mind that is not occupied; yet our minds are occupied all day long about something or other and so there is no space, not even an interval between two thoughts, every thought is associated with another thought so that there is no gap – the whole mind is crowded, chattering, with opinions and judgements.

True order brings enormous space; space means silence; out of silence comes this extraordinary sense of emptiness. Do not be frightened by that word “empty; when there is emptiness then things can happen.

What is beauty? Does it lie in a picture, in a museum, in a poem? Does it lie in the line of the mountains against the sky; or in a sheet of water reflecting the beauty of the clouds, or in the line an architect gives a building; or in a home that has a certain beauty? What is beauty? – not the imagination that creates beauty; not the word that creates beauty; not a beautiful idea. When one sees something extraordinarily alive and beautiful, a mountain, a clear sky, a view, at that moment when seeing it totally one is absent, is one not? Because of the immensity of the mountain, its extraordi- nary stability, its sense of firmness and the line of it, its magnificence drives away the me – for the moment. The outer glory has driven away the petty little me – like a boy given a toy, he is absorbed by it, he will play with it for an hour and break it up and when you take the toy away he is back to himself, naughty, crying and mischievous. The same thing has happened; the great mountain has driven away the petty little me, and one sees it for the moment. When the me is absent, totally, there is beauty. Then one’s relationship to nature changes completely; the earth becomes precious, every tree, every leaf, everything is part of that beauty – but man is destroying everything.

Is there anything sacred, holy? Obviously the things that thought has put together in the religious sense – investing sacredness in images, in ideas – are not sacred at all. That which is sacred has no division, not one a Christian, another a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and all the rest of the divisions. That which thought has put together is of time, is fragmentary, is not whole, therefore it is not holy, though you worship the image on a cross that is not holy, that is invested with sacredness by thought; the same with the images that the Hindus have put together, or the Buddhists and so on. What then is sacred? One can only find out when thought has discovered itself, its right place, without effort, without will and there is this immense sense of silence; the silence of the mind without any movement of thought. It is only when the mind is absolutely free and silent that one discovers that which is beyond all words, which is timeless. Then out of that comes the vastness of true meditation.