Photo of J. Krishnamurti
Observation without a centre means there is only that thing you call pain. There is no entity saying, ‘I must go beyond the pain.’ When there is no observer, is there pain? This is not just a trick of words. It is the observer that gets hurt; it is the centre that gets flattered. It is the centre that says, ‘It’s a shock.’ It is the centre that says, ‘I know pain.’ Can you observe this thing called pain without the centre or observer?

Krishnamurti in Bombay 1973, Small Group Discussion 7

Video: Why Are You Hurt?

Are you aware of hurt? Are you aware that you are resisting, that you are frightened hurt might increase and invite more hurts? Are you aware that seeking the cause of hurt is a waste of time? So what happens? You are not spending energy inquiring into the cause of hurt. You are not building a wall around hurt in order not to be hurt more. You are no longer trying to cover it up. When you give your complete attention, you will see hurt is no longer there. Then only you can proceed to find out what love is.

Krishnamurti in Madras 1974, Public Talk 2

Photo of J. Krishnamurti

Ending Hurt

We are going to go into the question of why human beings – practically everyone in the world, unfortunately – are living within four walls, as it were, enclosed. I have been hurt, shocked, have had a great deal of pain, both physical and psychological. I have had a great many insults. I am enclosed, and I feel I am a prisoner. How shall I approach this problem? Is my approach wanting to be free from this? Is my motive to be free from this? Therefore I have already started with a direction, and so I am not investigating because the direction is going to guide me. I am a prisoner psychologically, and I have a motive: to break through this. The motive gives a direction. Wherever there is a motive it gives a particular direction; therefore I have already started in a direction, and so I have stopped investigating. So am I free of motive in my investigation? If I have a belief and I am rooted in that belief and want to investigate, I cannot because I have already started with a tremendous prejudice. So if I have a motive for my investigation then it is not investigation at all. So am I free from motive in my examination of why human beings are prisoners, psychological prisoners?

Are you free from motive? You will be free from it when you see the truth that a motive gives a direction, and therefore you stop investigating. Hence you say, ‘That is absurd, I’ll drop it.’ It is a natural thing to drop a motive. If I want to be free from the psychological prison created by myself or others – society, my parents and so on – if my motive is to be free from the prison, then my eyes are focussed in a direction; therefore I am not looking. So if I want to understand why I am enclosed, if I have a motive, it is not possible to investigate. That is simple. Therefore I have no motive. Are you in that position? That any psychological investigation demands, necessarily, that there be no direction. That means you start with no belief; you are free of all that and therefore can investigate. If I am a Buddhist or Catholic – it doesn’t matter what it is – and have a certain direction or certain prejudices, or if I have read a great deal and I am convinced of something, it is finished.

When I see all human beings are hurt, it becomes something tremendous.

So it is very important in order to investigate that there be freedom to observe. You can only observe when there is no direction or motive. So have you dropped the motive? If you have dropped the motive, then what is the prison? I have no motive. I am looking at what is, which is my prison: my various hurts, wounds, all the things we go through in life which make us shrink, become like a snail that draws in. Now that is the fact, and we are looking at that.

What has happened? Is it that I have been hurt from childhood? At home, at school, college, university, all through life, being somewhat sensitive, a human being is hurt. So we begin to withdraw. We begin to enclose ourselves. One of the causes or factors of this withdrawal, this isolation, this sense of imprisonment, is hurt. All human beings are hurt. When we generalise, that all human beings are hurt, it gives us much more vitality. When I say, ‘I am hurt,’ it is a very small affair, but when I see all human beings are hurt, it becomes something tremendous. I wonder if you understand this.

So is it possible never to be hurt? One has been hurt when young, and the hurt remains through life with most people. We carry that burden, and therefore we resist people, we withdraw, we isolate ourselves, we become bitter, and from that, violence and so on. Now we are asking, is it possible to be free of the past hurt, and so being free, one is never hurt? There is the curing process of the past and prevention. There is the past hurt, and is it possible to be free of those past hurts, and also to prevent future hurts, so that the brain is never hurt? So it remains young and therefore innocent. The word innocent means incapable of being hurt.

So we are going to look at it. I have been hurt as a human being from childhood. I know what happens when there are these hurts. I am aware of it: I withdraw, I resist, I isolate myself in order not to be hurt more. Are you aware of this process? Do you see the result? Are you aware of the result of this hurt, what happens? That is, isolation, resistance. Resistance implies violence and a sense of gradual isolation. From that arises all kinds of bitterness, lack of love, lack of freedom. Are you aware of this? Of course, any person is aware of this.

There is that past hurt. How do we wipe it out? If you say, ‘I must not be hurt,’ or ‘I won’t resist,’ it is already another form of resistance. I wonder if you see that. I am hurt, and I am aware of that hurt and the results of that hurt. If I say, ‘I won’t be hurt,’ or ‘I’ll forget my hurt,’ that is another form of resistance.

I can understand why I have been hurt. I have got an image about myself, and that image is hurt. I have an image that I am very clever, and you tell me I am a fool. That hurts me. My image is hurt. My image is me; I am not different from my image.

QUESTIONER: What is the solution to it?

KRISHNAMURTI: You want a solution before you have gone into it. How impatient you are. You want a quick way out of everything – a quick pill, quick nirvana, quick meditation, quick everything! Please listen.

When we say, ‘I am hurt,’ who is hurt? The image I have about myself is hurt, isn’t it? That is simple. Now, is that image different from me? I am that image. I am that image because I have created that image. That image has been built through my parents, society, through environmental influence and so on. So that image is me; I am not different from that image. So when you say something unpleasant, that image gets hurt, which is me. We are asking: who is hurt? Is it the image you have about yourself? Or is it you, different from the image? You must answer this question.

Q: It is right what you say, but my past hurts…

K: Which is what? Your past is the image you have had about yourself. How extraordinary this is! I am only interested in freeing myself from hurt, and nothing else. I don’t want theories. Tell me how to be free of my hurt. That hurt remains in spite of everything else. I may go to Japan and into Zen Buddhism and all the rest of it, but the thing is there inside. I cannot escape from it. I try to escape from it but it is there. What am I to do?

Q: You have to observe it.

K: I am putting that question to you to find out. What will you do? I see the necessity of being free from hurt because that brings all kinds of ugliness. So I must be free from it. There must be freedom from it, but what am I to do? The memory, the experience, the knowledge, is the past. In the past there is that thing called me, the image, which has been hurt. Now I am asking you, what is one to do? Just look at it first before you answer. What is one to do?

Q: Why does this hurt continue? How do I see this hurt?

K: Why does this hurt continue? It is part of memory. One cannot wipe out memory, the experience of it or the knowledge of it. You cannot get rid of it; it is there. I am the hurt, the image is the hurt. There is no difference between the image and me: I am that image. That image has been hurt, and as long as I try to do something about it, I am creating another image.

Q: The image is what is hurt. You cannot separate yourself from your images, so you cannot free yourself from the hurts.

K: Therefore what happens? If I am the hurt and the image is not different from me, which means the observer is the observed, then what takes place?

Q: You stay with it.

Q: If I see that, I stop dividing my mind.

K: That’s right. If I see the truth that I am the image and the image is me, and therefore no division, then quite a different process takes place. Which is, there is only observation, not freedom from hurt. There is only observation when you observe without the observer. The observer is the past. The observer is the memory, the experience, the knowledge, which is the past. So with the past he is looking at everything. With the past, as the observer, he is looking at the present. Therefore between the present and the past there is a division created by the observer. So there is conflict between the observer and that which he observes. He says, ‘I must change it, I must control it, I must suppress it, I must run away from it,’ and so on, but when the observer is the observed, that conflict comes to an end. This is the most important thing to discover, this truth, that the experiencer is the experience. The thinker is the thought. There is no thinker if there is no thought. So the thinker is the thought. Though the thinker says, ‘I am different,’ in actuality the thinker is the thought, the experiencer is the experience.

I experience something. To know that I have experienced something, I must recognise it. I must know what it is, otherwise I cannot say, ‘I have experienced.’ Recognition implies the past, with its knowledge, its memory and experience. We say, ‘I am experiencing something.’ So the experiencer is the experience. Until you see that, we cannot move away from it. So the hurt is not different from me. The me is the image, and that image gets hurt, so I am that image. Like anger is not different from me. I am anger. I might think I am different, but in actuality I am anger. Do you see the truth of it? Not the idea of it, the actual truth that when you are angry that anger is you.

Who is hurt? Is it the image you have about yourself?

Q: It seems it is not I who is angry.

K: See the first principle of this. When you are jealous, is that jealousy different from you? It is only different from you when you say, ‘I am justified in being jealous. It is right to be jealous.’ Then there is a division between the statement and the fact. The fact is that you are that feeling, which you call jealousy. If that is an absolute truth which you see – you see, not I – then conflict comes to an end between the observer and the observed.

So there is hurt, and that hurt is me, and the me is not different from the hurt. Therefore what takes place? All the energy I have used, in conflict between the observer and the observed, is not wasted. I have wasted energy in dividing the observer and the observed, the me and the not me. I wasted that energy in conflict, in suppression, in trying to run away from it, but when I do not run away, and I see the truth that the observer is the observed, then what takes place?

Q: The energy is available.

K: Then energy is observation. So I have found something: when there is complete energy, there is no recording. When I give complete attention to the insult, there is no recording. Only when I am not completely attentive there is recording. I have wasted my energy in conflict. I said, ‘I am not hurt, I am different from hurt,’ and I tried to do something about hurt – run away from it, suppress it, resist it, isolate myself, and so on. But when I discover the truth that I am that hurt, then I have gathered all that energy, which I had wasted, in observing what is. In observing what is, the thing undergoes a radical change. So there is no hurt. That is, no hurt from the past, either. So with that complete attention, the next time you call me something or other, it is not registered. Where there is complete attention, where there is complete energy of all the senses, there is no recording.

Q: What is the source of attention?

K: There is no source of attention. Please don’t bring in that question yet. Do you see this marvellous thing, so simple? Traditionally we are trained in the formula, that I am different from that. I am different from my anger; my God is different from me, my belief, and so on. That is, we traditionally accept that the experiencer is different from the experience, and so there is constant division and conflict. And here I am. I have been hurt, and traditionally I have said I am different from the hurt. Therefore I will do something about the hurt – run away from it, escape from it, justify it, build a wall of resistance, and so on, which are all a waste of energy. When there is a perception that the observer is the observed, the wound is the me, I don’t waste any energy. With that energy I observe, which is complete attention. When you give complete attention if I flatter you or insult you, it has no meaning. Now can you do it at the moment of insult, not afterwards?

If you give your attention, there is no hurt or the mark of flattery. That means you have to go very deeply into the whole issue of consciousness, where the building of images goes on, where in the unconscious, deep layers of one’s mind, the image-building is going on. I may say, ‘I have no image,’ but down there are images. So can I be aware of the totality of my consciousness, the hidden as well as the open? The total field of my consciousness: can I be aware of the totality of it?

We are used to dividing consciousness into the upper and lower, the conscious and the subconscious. This division takes place because of thought. Thought is fragmentary because thought is the result of time – time being memory, time being the past. The fragment can never see the whole. Unless there is an observation of the whole, there can never be freedom. Can one observe the total content of consciousness? Not one segment or one part, but the totality of consciousness. The totality of consciousness is all that it contains – the attachments, the desires, the images which thought has put there, the sorrows, the pains, the anxiety – the whole human endeavour, all human sorrow, misery, confusion, chaos, all that. Can one observe that at one glance? Can you see that as a whole? Can you see this tent as a whole? Look at it. Look at the tent and see if you can see the whole of it. One can see the whole of it, what is inside. One cannot see the whole of it on the outside. I can see it in its entirety, it is fairly simple, but I cannot see the outside of it. So I can only see something entirely if I understand space. I can see the totality of something when I have space. I can see the tent from the inside, but I cannot see the tent from the outside. To see the whole of it, I must not only observe the inside but the outside. Naturally.

Where there is complete attention, there is no recording.

So to observe this human consciousness, to see it as a whole, there must be space. To look at anything, to look at you, I must have space between you and me. If I am right up against you, I cannot see you. So I must have space. What is space? If there is a centre, the space is limited. You may extend it as far as possible, but it is still limited if there is a centre. If there is no centre, space is immense. We measure space from the centre to the circumference, but if there is no centre there is no measurement. When there is no measurement, what have you as your consciousness?

Look, I am attached to my furniture. There is a very nice table in my room at Brockwood, a beautiful table, and if I am attached to it, it is a measurement. I am attached. I don’t want you to touch it, I don’t want you to harm it, no sunlight must come onto it. Where there is a measurement as attachment, the space is very limited. I measure from my centre of pleasure, and that measurement limits it. If there is no measure, which is from the centre to the table, there is vast space. Is that so with you? Don’t agree. Is it so with you, that there is no centre? If there is no centre, you see the whole of consciousness. I wonder if you do. It is marvellous – you follow?

Measurement, we said, is thought. Measurement is a process of time, from here to that table. That is, thought is a movement in time as measurement, from me to that. If that movement is not, then what is my consciousness made up of? Nothing. I wonder if you see all this. No, you don’t see it; this is too difficult.

Q: If there is no centre, is there a whole and is there a part?

K: When there is no measurement, there is the whole. I will show it to you in a minute, in a different way. Human consciousness is from a centre. I am attached to that: my family, my house, my anger, my jealousy, my hope. From a centre the whole of consciousness is built. I am attached to that furniture, I am attached to that house, I am attached to that belief, to that idea, and my sorrow – always from a centre moving out. That is my consciousness. Look at your own; it is simple. And that consciousness is divided into the unconscious and conscious, which the Western world has done and the Eastern world does in a different way. So as long as this division exists, there must be measurement. I wonder if you see that. Then I begin to examine what is inside, underneath. So when there is no measurement, there is no centre, and therefore the consciousness which human beings have known disappears. Then there is a totally different dimension, a boundless dimension, because there is no measure. As long as there is measurement, space is very limited, from me to that table, because it is very narrow. But if there is no table or centre, space is immense.

Now, can the mind observe the totality of consciousness? It can only observe when there is no centre saying, ‘This is right, this is wrong; this should be, this should not be.’

The question was: why are human beings so enclosed, self-enclosed? Why have they built a wall around themselves? Why do they not flower and in the flowering end attachments. Why? And we took one part of that, which is that human beings are hurt. We think hurt is different from me. The me then says, ‘I am different, therefore I am going to control hurt, I am going to change it, I am going to suppress it, I am going to run away from it, this is ugly, this shouldn’t be.’ But when the me is that image, and that image is the hurt, then I have all the energy which I had wasted, to look at that hurt. And when there is complete energy in that observation, there is no hurt, naturally.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1976, Public Discussion 1

Video: Being Hurt and Hurting Others