Quotes by Krishnamurti

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Habit is the repetition of a pleasurable act

Habit is the repetition of a pleasurable act brought about by the stimulating memories and images the mind evokes.

From the book Commentaries on Living Series 3 – Purchase / Read online
Habit is the repetition of a pleasurable act brought about by the stimulating memories and images which the mind evokes. The glandular secretions and their results, as in the case of hunger, are not a habit, they are the normal process of the physical organism; but when the mind indulges in sensation, stimulated by thoughts and pictures, then surely the formation of habit is set going. Food is necessary, but the demand for a particular taste in food is based on habit. Finding pleasure in certain thoughts and acts, subtle or crude, the mind insists on their continuance, thereby breeding habit. A repetitive act, like brushing one’s teeth in the morning, becomes a habit when attention is not given to it. Attention frees the mind from habit.
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Freedom from habit

If you are simply aware of the whole structure of habit without resistance, there is freedom from habit, and in that freedom a new thing takes place.

From the book The Book of Life – Purchase / Read online
Without freedom from the past there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. It is only the fresh, innocent mind that is free. Freedom has nothing to do with age, it has nothing to do with experience; and it seems to me that the very essence of freedom lies in understanding the whole mechanism of habit, both conscious and unconscious. It is not a question of ending habit, but of seeing totally the structure of habit. You have to observe how habits are formed and how, by denying or resisting one habit, another habit is created. What matters is to be totally conscious of habit; for then, as you will see for yourself there is no longer the formation of habit. To resist habit, to fight it, to deny it, only gives continuity to habit. When you fight a particular habit you give life to that habit, and then the very fighting of it becomes a further habit. But if you are simply aware of the whole structure of habit without resistance, then you will find there is freedom from habit, and in that freedom a new thing takes place.

It is only the dull, sleepy mind that creates and clings to habit. A mind that is attentive from moment to moment – attentive to what it is saying, attentive to the movement of its hands, of its thoughts, of its feelings – will discover that the formation of further habits has come to an end.

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Fighting habit becomes a habit

When you fight a habit you give life to that habit; and the fighting becomes another habit.

Krishnamurti in London 1962, Talk 6

In understanding and breaking one habit, however superficial, you can go into the whole enormous problem of habit: habit of thought, habit of feeling, the habit of imitation – and the habit of hungering to be something, for this too is a habit. When you fight a habit, you give life to that habit; and then the fighting becomes another habit, in which most of us are caught. We only know resistance, which has become a habit. All our thinking is habitual; but to understand one habit is to open the door to understanding the whole machinery of habit. You find out where habit is necessary, as in speech, and where habit is completely corruptive.

Most of us function in a series of habits. In the turmoil, the anxiety, the tremendous agony of our existence, we seek comfort by turning to what we call God, and we function in that habit. We have habits of food, habits of thought, habits of feeling, and we say, ‘If I don’t function in habit, what will I do? How am I to live?’ – which is really the fear of being uncertain. Most of us don’t know what it is to live in a state of uncertainty without going off the deep end. When we feel intensely uncertain, we become neurotic, which is merely a reaction born of wanting to he certain. Thought has always functioned in habit, therefore it is afraid of being uncertain, insecure. To live in uncertainty is a healthy not a neurotic state, but we don’t know what it means.

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Whatever you do is in the pattern of habits

Whatever you do is in the pattern of habits. So to do nothing, to have the feeling that you don’t have to fight it, is the greatest action of intelligence.

From the book Eight Conversations

Any form of resistance feeds the habit, which does not mean that you go on with the habit. You become aware of the habit and of the cultivation of its opposite, which is also a habit, and this awareness shows you that whatever you do with regard to the habit is the formation of another habit. So now, after having observed this whole process, your intelligence says, don’t do anything about the habit. Don’t give any attention to it. Don’t be concerned with it because the more you are concerned with it the more active it becomes. Now intelligence is in operation and is watching. This watching is entirely different from the vigilance of resisting the habit, reacting to it. If you get the feeling of this intelligence watching, then this feeling will operate and deal with the habit, and not the vigilance of resolution and will. So what is important is not habit but the understanding of habit which brings about intelligence. This intelligence keeps awake without the fuel of desire, which is will. In the first instance the habit is confronted with resistance, in the second it is not confronted at all, and that is intelligence. The action of intelligence has withered the resistance to the habit on which the habit feeds.
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Habit is an escape

Smoking, drinking, or any other habit, is an escape from your own nervousness or disturbed state.

Krishnamurti in Colombo 1950, Talk 2

The questioner wants to know how to stop smoking. It is a problem to him. Perhaps you also smoke, or have some other habit. Let us find out how to understand this whole process of habit-forming and habit-breaking. We can take the example of smoking, and you can substitute your own habit, your own particular problem, and experiment with your own problem directly as I am experimenting with the problem of smoking. It is a problem, it becomes a problem, when I want to give it up; as long as I am satisfied with it, it is not a problem. The problem arises when I have to do something about a particular habit, when the habit becomes a disturbance. Smoking has created a disturbance, so I want to be free of it. I want to stop smoking, I want to be rid of it, to put it aside; so my approach to smoking is one of resistance or condemnation. That is, I don’t want to smoke; so my approach is either to suppress it, condemn it, or to find a substitute for it: instead of smoking, to chew. Now, can I look at the problem free of condemnation, justification, or suppression? Can I look at my smoking without any sense of rejection? Try to experiment with it now, as I am talking, and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is not to reject or accept. Because, our whole tradition, our whole background, is urging us to reject or to justify, rather than to be curious about it. Instead of being passively watchful, the mind always operates on the problem. So, the problem is not smoking, but our approach to smoking which creates the problem. Because, if you find smoking rather stupid, a waste of money, and so on – if you really see that, you will drop it, there will be no problem. Smoking, drinking, or any other habit, is an escape from something else; it makes you feel socially at ease. It is an escape from your own nervousness, or from a disturbed state; and the habit becomes a means of your conditioning. So, smoking is not the problem. When you approach smoking with your memory, your recollection of previous trials and failures, you approach it with a conclusion already made. Therefore, the problem is not in the fact, but in your approach to the fact. You have tried by discipline, control, denial, and you have not succeeded. So you say, ‘I shall go on smoking, I cannot stop’ – which is after all an attempt to justify yourself; which means your approach is not very intelligent. So, smoking or any other habit is not a problem. The problem is thought, which is your approach to the fact. You are the problem, not the habit which you have created; and thus you will see, if you really try, how difficult it is for the mind to be free from the sense of condemnation and justification. When your mind is free, the problem of smoking or any other problem is non-existent.
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