There Is Only the Ending

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE FLAME OF ATTENTION

We have created time, psychological time. We are masters of that inward time that thought has put together. That is why we must understand the nature of time which man has created psychological time as hope, time as achievement. Why have human beings, psychologically, inwardly, created time – time when one will be good; time when one will be free of violence; time to achieve enlightenment; time to achieve some exalted state of mind; time as meditation? When one functions within the realm of that time one is bringing about a contradiction and hence conflict. Psychological time is conflict.

It is really a great discovery if one realizes the truth that one is the past, the present and the future; which is time as psychological knowledge. One creates a division between our living in our consciousness and the distant time which is death. That is, one is living with all one’s problems and death is something to be avoided, postponed, put at a great distance which is another fragmentation in one’s life. To observe holistically the whole movement of life is to live both the living and the dying. But one clings to life and avoids death; one does not even talk about it. So not only has one fragmented one’s life, superficially, physically, but also one has separated oneself from death. What is death; is it not part of one’s life? One may be frightened, one may want to avoid death and to prolong living, but always at the end of it there is death.

What is living? What is living, which is our consciousness? Consciousness is made up of its content, and the content is not different from consciousness. Consciousness is what one believes, one’s superstitions, ambitions, one’s greed, competitiveness, attachment, suffering, the depth of loneliness, the gods, the rituals all that is one’s consciousness, which is oneself. But that consciousness is not one’s own, it is the consciousness of humanity; one is the world, and the world is oneself. One is one’s consciousness with its content. That content is the ground upon which all humanity stands. Therefore, psychologically, inwardly, one is not an individual. Outwardly one may have a different form from another, yellow, brown, black, be tall or short, be a woman or a man, but inwardly, deeply, we are similar perhaps with some variations, but the similarity is like a string that holds the pearls together.

We must comprehend what living is, then we can ask what dying is. What is before is more important than what happens after death. Before the end, long before the last minute, what is living? Is this living, this travail and conflict without any relationship with each other? This sense of deep inward loneliness; that is what we call living. To escape from this so-called living, you go off to churches, temples, pray and worship, which is utterly meaningless. If you have money you indulge in extravagance the extravagance of marriage in this country. You know all the tricks you play to escape from your own consciousness, from your own state of mind. And this is what is called living. And death is the ending. The ending of everything that you know. The ending of every attachment, all the money you have accumulated which you cannot take with you; therefore you are frightened. Fear is part of your life. And so whatever you are, however rich, however poor, however highly placed, whatever power you have, whatever kind of politician you are, from the highest to the lowest crook in politics, there is the ending, which is called death. And what is it that is dying? The ‘me’ with all the accumulations that it has gathered in this life, all the pain, the loneliness, the despair, the tears, the laughter, the suffering that is the ‘me’ with all its words. The summation of all this is ‘me’. I may pretend that I have in ‘me’ some higher spirit, the atman, the soul, something everlasting, but that is all put together by thought; and thought is not sacred.

So this is our life; the ‘me’ that you cling to, to which you are attached. And the ending of that is death. It is the fear of the known, and the fear of the unknown; the known is our life, and we are afraid of that life, and the unknown is death of which we are also afraid. Have you ever seen a man or a woman frightened of death? Have you ever seen closely? Death is the total denial of the past, present and the future, which is ‘me’. And being frightened of death you think there are other lives to be lived. You believe in reincarnation probably most of you do. That is a nice, happy projection of comfort, invented by people who have not understood what living is. They see living is pain, constant conflict, endless misery with an occasional flare of smile, laughter and joy, and they say ‘We will live again next life; after death I will meet my wife’ or husband, my son, my god. Yet we have not understood what we are and what we are attached to.

What are we attached to? To money? If you are attached to money, that is you, the money is you. Like a man attached to old furniture, beautiful 14th-century furniture, highly polished and of great value, he is attached to that; therefore he is the furniture. So what are you attached to? Your body? If you were really attached to your body you would look after that body, eat properly, exercise properly, but you don’t. You are just attached to the idea of the body the idea but not the actual instrument. If you are attached to your wife it is because of your memories. If you are attached to her she comforts you over this and that, with all the trivialities of attachment, and death comes and you are separated.

So one has to inquire very closely and deeply into one’s attachment. Death does not permit one to have anything when one dies. One’s body is cremated or buried, and what has one left? One’s son, for whom one has accumulated a lot of money which he will misuse anyway. He will inherit one’s property, pay taxes and go through all the terrible anxieties of existence just as one did oneself; is that what one is attached to? Or is one attached to one’s knowledge, having been a great writer, poet or painter? Or is one attached to words because words play a tremendous part in one’s life? Just words. One never looks behind the words. One never sees that the word is not the thing, that the symbol is never the reality.

Can the brain, the human consciousness, be free of this fear of death? As one is the master of psychological time, can one live with death not separating death off as something to be avoided, to be postponed, something to be put away? Death is part of life. Can one live with death and understand the meaning of ending? That is to understand the meaning of negation; ending one’s attachments, ending one’s beliefs, by negating. When one negates, ends, there is something totally new. So, while living, can one negate attachment completely? That is living with death. Death means the ending. That way there is incarnation, there is something new taking place. Ending is extraordinarily important in life to understand the depth and the beauty of negating something which is not truth. Negate, for example, one’s doubletalk. If one goes to the temple, negate the temple, so that your brain has this quality of integrity.

Death is an ending and has extraordinary importance in life. Not suicide, not euthanasia, but the ending of one’s attachments, one’s pride, one’s antagonism, or hatred, for another. When one looks holistically at life, then the dying, the living, the agony, the despair, the loneliness and the suffering, are all one movement. When one sees holistically there is total freedom from death not that the physical body is not going to be destroyed. There is a sense of ending, and therefore there is no continuity there is freedom from the fear of not being able to continue.

When one human being understands the full significance of death there is the vitality, the fullness, that lies behind that understanding; he is out of the human consciousness. When you understand that life and death are one they are one when you begin to end in living then you are living side by side with death, which is the most extraordinary thing to do; there is neither the past nor the present nor the future, there is only the ending.