Question: You said last Sunday that most people are not self-conscious. It seems to me that quite the contrary is true, and that most people are very self-conscious. What do you mean by self-conscious?
Krishnamurti: This is a difficult and subtle question to answer in a few words, but I will try to explain it as well as I can, and please remember that words do not convey all the subtle implications involved in the answer.
Every living thing is force, energy, unique to itself. This force or energy creates its own materials which can be called the body, sensation, thought or consciousness. This force or energy in its self-acting development becomes consciousness. From this there arises the “I” process, the “I” movement. Then begins the round of creating its own ignorance. The “I” process begins and continues in identification with its own self-created limitations. The “I” is not a separate entity, as most of us think; it is both the form of energy and energy itself. But that force, in its development, creates its own material, and consciousness is a part of it; and through the senses, consciousness becomes known as the individual. This “I” process is not of the moment, it is without a beginning. But through constant awareness and comprehension, this “I” process can be ended.
– J. Krishnamurti , Ojai 2nd Talk in the Oak Grove, 12th April, 1936
Questioner: How would you cope with an incurable disease?
Krishnamurti: Most of us do not understand ourselves, our various tensions and conflicts, our hopes and fears, which often produce mental and physical disorders.
Of primary importance is psychological understanding and well being of the mind-heart, which then can deal with the accidents of disease. As a tool wears out so does the body, but those who cling to sensory values find this wasting away to be a sorrow beyond measure; they live for sensation and gratification and the fear of death and pain drives them to delusion. As long as thought-feeling is predominantly sensate there will be no end to delusion and fear; the world in its very nature being a distraction it is essential that the problem of delusion and health be approached patiently and wisely.
If we are organically diseased then let us cope with this condition as with all mechanism, in the best way possible. The psychological delusions, tensions, conflicts, maladjustments produce greater misery than organic disease. We try to eradicate symptoms rather than cause; the cause itself may be sensate value. There is no end to the gratification of the senses which only creates greater and greater turmoil, tension, fear and so on; such a living must culminate in mental and physical disorder or in war. Unless there is a radical change in value there will and must be ever increasing disharmony within, and so, without. This radical change in value must be brought about through understanding the psychological being; if you do not change, your delusions and ill health will inevitably increase; you will become unbalanced, depressed, giving continuous employment to physicians. If there is no deep revolution of values then disease and delusion become a distraction, an escape, giving opportunity for self-indulgence. We can unconditionally accept an incurable disease only when thought-feeling is able to transcend the value of time.
The predominance of sensory values cannot bring sanity and health. There must be a cleansing of the mind-heart which cannot be done by any outer agency. There must be self-awareness, a psychological tension. Tension is not necessarily harmful; there must be right exertion of the mind. It is only when tension is not properly utilized that it leads to psychological difficulties and delusions, to ill health and perversions. Tension of the right kind is essential for understanding; to be alertly and passively aware is to give full attention without the conflict of opposition. Only when this tension is not properly understood does it lead to difficulty; living, relationship, thought demand heightened sensitivity, a right tension. We are conscious of this tension and generally misread or avoid it thus preventing the understanding that it would bring. Tension or sensitivity can heal or destroy.
Life is complex and painful, a series of inner and outer conflicts. There must be an awareness of the mental and emotional attitudes which cause outward and physical disturbances. To understand them you must have time for quiet reflection; to be aware of your psychological states there must be periods of quiet solitude, a withdrawal from the noise and bustle of daily life and its routine This active stillness is essential not only for the well being of the mind-heart but for the discovery of the Real without which physical or moral well being is of little significance.
Unfortunately most of us give little time to serious and quiet self-recollectedness. We allow ourselves to become mechanical, thoughtlessly following routine, accepting and being driven by authority; we become mere cogs in the vast machine of the present culture. We have lost creativeness; there is no inward joy. What we are inwardly that we project outwardly. Mere cultivation of the outer does not bring about inward well being; only through constant self-awareness and self-knowledge can there be inward tranquillity. Without the Real, existence is conflict and pain.
-J. Krishnamurti Ojai 7th Public Talk 1945
I sat on the floor, with legs crossed, meditating,
Forgetting the sunlit mountains,
The immense silence,
And the golden sun…..
As the Eastern breeze
That suddenly springs into being
And calms the weary world,
There in front of me
As the world knows Him
In His yellow robes, simple and magnificent,
Was the Teacher of Teachers.
Looking at me,
Motionless the Mighty Being sat.
I looked and bowed my head.
My body bent forward of itself.
That one look
Showed the progress of the world,
Showed the immense distance between the world
And the greatest of it’s Teachers.
How little it understood,
And how much He gave.
How joyously He soared,
Escaping from birth and death,
From its tyranny and entangling wheel.
He gave to the world, as the flower gives
– J Krishnamurti ‘The immortal friend’
Ommen : Star publishing Trust 1928, Pages 8-10 also quoted in ‘J Krishnamurti as I knew him ‘ by Susunaga Weeraperuma, Motilal Banarsidass-1996, Pages 181-183.
There was not a sound in the valley; it was dark and there wasn’t a leaf moving; dawn would come in an hour or so. meditation is not self-hypnosis, by words or thought, by repetition or image; all imagination of every kind must be put aside for they lead to delusion. The understanding of facts and not theories, not the pursuits of conclusions and adjustments to them and the ambitions of visions. All these must be set aside and meditation is the understanding of these facts and so going beyond them. Self-knowing is the beginning of meditation; otherwise so called meditation leads to every form of immaturity and silliness. It was early and the valley was asleep. On waking, meditation was the continuation of what had been going on; the body was without a movement; it was not made to be quiet but it was quiet; there was no thought but the brain was watchful, without any sensation; neither feeling nor thought existed. And a timeless movement began…..
Krishnamurti’s Notebook Part 6
Bombay and Rishi Valley
20th October to 20th November 1961