The spirituality of “practices”

To be able to understand the way a person operates within the context of society, we will need utmost awareness. That cannot be taught through “best sellers.” Awareness is not “marketable.” We cannot take “master classes” in that. Although, most self-help books, clearly spell out this word “awareness” as another key word to throw in inside a “spiritual” coffee conversation. However, the word is not the thing.

Awareness comes when we are able to “detach” from “what is.”
“what is” differs from person to person. It is what we mostly focus on. It is subjective.

For example: “Can I look at the sunset with all my heart and walk away from it with the same empty heart? Empty: A completely innocent heart.”

Most when reading those lines will “practice” those words. “Now, I am looking at the sunset with all my heart… How beautiful! Isn’t that glorious? Marvelous! .. then a few minutes later. Now… I am walking away without a memory of it. Empty. I will not even take a picture. I will forget it.” On the way home, the thought “so that is what innocence is all about. I felt innocent. Wonderful. Now I need to keep practicing that.”

That “innocent” practice is not what innocence is. That is a rehearsed action, which lacks creativity. It is the outcome of a mind taught to follow and taught only to believe in what it reads or hears. Moreover, that mind has been taught to daydream as to ingest a “feel good pill,” a placebo cemented with the belief that to follow to the dot, means to “do it right.”

Observe that in “spirituality” to follow means to miss the point.
Words cannot be taken literally. This is not a course of computer science or technology. There are no certifications for awareness.

When I am AWARE of Life, right now… and there are no thoughts of any kind in a natural way (that is without practice) then, I can FEEL. That may be “all my heart.” From there, I must find out for myself how the mind returns and takes over with memories and the meaning of it. That finding out is inner AWARENESS.

If I spell everything out, like the quote above or like any “best seller” would do, practice of what I said will be unavoidable for a reader who has been conditioned to follow. He may like what I said, so he follows to the dot. He may not like what I say, so he rejects it to the dot. That is the same exact movement although in different, “opposite” directions; but liking or not, is not the same as finding out. That requires awareness.

In short, “practice” as following directions, recipes, steps, techniques in “spiritual” endeavors; will make us dull, insensitive. For that is mind.
“Practice” as the ability to meet with newness “what is” without a script or a recipe; requires utmost intelligence and sensibility.

It requires the ability to be flexible and change as Life IS.

When I see the sunset. Am I seeing it? When I no longer see it. Am I still seeing it?
That could be as much as it could be written for those AWARE, but for those who are not, a detailed explanation will be needed which brings “practice” of something which cannot be practiced.
Do we see that?

 Words don’t bring inner change

 

I have been sharing some quotes from J. Krishnamurti for the past month.
I consider that J. Krishnamurti had deep insight into human nature and what we know as “spirituality.”

Krishnamurti transmits through his own words, a description of what is like to observe and experience from a different consciousness. Reading his words may bring agreement, it may bring intellectual understanding; but there is no practical change in consciousness that could be experienced by the reader.

In short, Krishnamurti truly expresses “truth,” but that is unreachable for those who do not share the same consciousness. That is why, Krishnamurti is not “practical” at all, for the immense majority.

It is important to understand that words cannot bring change in a person. I am not talking about change of behavior, which is superficial. I am speaking about “true” change which is consciousness.

Little Carlos may not hit his dog if he “understands,” that this is a “bad thing to do and that God will punish him.” The elements of moral standards and fear are there to induce change of behavior. However, Carlos’ violence is still there and he may not hit his dog anymore but he may hurt himself or others in different ways.

“Little Carlos’ consciousness” is the collective consciousness in society. The concern of the machinery of society is to change behavior through “practice,” or through “effort” to reach an objective. Religions operate in the same way.

Reading and understanding words in “spiritual” topics are only meant for us to look deeply at the self. To resonate with the words so they bring a different way to look at Life. Intellectual understanding is futile, for we will not be able to “put them in practice” in real Life; for Life is not a “recipe” that fits all. Life will bring “tailor made,” unique experiences in which we may not be able to recognize the words or the examples used by Krishnamurti, thus; we will not be able to “apply them” as we use a mathematical formula. Through that “practice,” we have no chance to know who we truly ARE.

Consciousness is gained through the experience of the “yes” and the “no.”

In a religious setting, I was taught to reject and suppress anger. Although my behavior was as if I had no anger in the eyes of others; due to the commending comments of those who observed my lack of reaction; I too believed that I was “anger free.”
To my surprise, I had plenty of anger inside stuck as emotional traumas which only needed a greater trigger to be displayed. Thus, “I tricked myself” for years.

Nevertheless, anger needed to be displayed so I could be free of it. Emotions will need to be displayed to be free from them. Through Observation of my own violence, anger diminished.
Through that full experience of anger and lack of it, a new consciousness appeared, which is now able to understand anger without rejection. I could not learn that by simply thinking: “Anger is bad. Don’t show it” or by believing that “God was going to punish me for being angry,” or by reading Krishnamurti’s words about anger and having a solid intellectual understanding of what those words meant.

Change of consciousness occurs when we assimilate Life experiences while we are AWARE of it. Without awareness there is repetition of experiences and through that vicious repetitive cycle, a dull feeling of bitterness mixed with apathy until  a compulsive need to change occurs through the experience of suffering.

The “good news” is that eventually we will change; not because we understood some “words of wisdom,” but because Life will give us the complete experience. The “yes” and the “no,” that is a new consciousness.

“Knowing” the Observer and the Observed

In Spirituality, to know means to live the experience in awareness. Humans live many experiences without awareness, thus; there is no consciousness of the significance of their own thoughts and actions. It is merely an automatic response like a physical reflex which in spirituality is known as conditioning. We are not free when conditioned.
“Spirituality” means to become aware of the experience of inner conflict; the continuous division between the Observer (“I”) and the observed (world.) The conflict arises when the observer seeks to conform to an ideal, what “should be.”

“When there is conflict there is a waste of energy. Conflict being: I must control fear, I must run away from it, I must go to somebody to tell me how to get rid of fear. All those are factors of wasting energy. If you don’t waste energy, and that only takes place when the observer is the observed, then you have immense energy to transform what is. The very observation is the energy that transforms that which is.”
Public Talk 3 in Ojai, California, 10 April 1976

Practically; how the above works?
In a heated family discussion where most of the “covers of an educated individual” are gone, we could OBSERVE the scenes.
Typically, we could OBSERVE two related emotions: VIOLENCE and FEAR. When we perceive those 2 emotions, we are able to change by allowing the current of those 2 emotions to go through us without further energetic consequences. Otherwise, we are unaware and the opportunity to OBSERVE gets lost in our attempt to defend the “I” or to take sides by JUDGING the scenes and picking the “right” side and the “wrong” one. Emotionally, that means that we RESISTED ( we felt insulted, misunderstood, etc) for we had the need to DEFEND the “I” or the side that we considered to be “right.” That resistance feeds the energy of violence and fear in that environment, back to ourselves. Again, energetically; we can either let the energy go through us (observer and observed are one) or let the energy to stay with us (observer and observed are different.) Most individuals will go with the later. This is not a “choice” that we need to make. This is only a matter of awareness.
Therefore, for most conditioned individuals the OBSERVER is different than the OBSERVER.

“When the observer is the observed, there is only the observed, not the observer. When there is division as the observer and the observed, there is conflict and the desire to control, suppress, conquer. That is a waste of energy. When there is only the observed, not the observer observing that which he is seeing, there is energy to go beyond the observed, beyond what is. So it is very important to find out how to observe. Don’t go to classes or some community to learn how to observe or how to become sensitive. For God’s sake be simple. It is very important to understand this for yourself, not from my explanation. See it for yourself. Then the conflict in yourself comes to an end, and you have no violence. The truth, the understanding, not intellectual but the fact that the observer is the observed, brings about a totally different freedom in which there is no conflict whatsoever.”
Public Talk 1 in San Francisco, California, 20 March 1975

If we understand the above only intellectually, we will not change at all. It will only be a fancy piece of information to display in the next spiritual gathering. If we have experienced this through Life itself; the above will only put words to an already lived experience. Then, we “know.”

The thought of violence

Many times I hear that part of Education is to teach the student “how to think.”
Actually, that is called conditioning, in a mild way. The proper label is violence.

Most individuals do not realize how violence has been ingrained by society. The competitive “spirit” hungry for success is violence, as it is not concerned at all for the common good. It is just about “ME” and “MY” loved ones. If we want to observe this with some depth, we may need to inquire about the nature of thought:

“Thought is the response of the brain that has recorded. If the brain did not record, you would have no thought or knowledge. It is like a registering machine. From knowledge is memory, and the response of memory is thought.”
J. Krishnamurti – Public Talk 1 in Madras (Chennai), 24 December 1977
Notice the automatic process of thought. That mechanism is unable to be creative. It only repeats what is recorded, although with variations. That may be a “good thing” to learn some technical skill, but the art of living is not concerned with that skill at all.
Out of that repetition and the obsession of “becoming number 1” to feel “successful” in society, the thought of violence was generated.

“Thought has created violence in me, and then it creates non-violence to be achieved, and then there is conflict.”
J. Krishnamurti – Buddhist Scholars Discussion in Madras, 21 January 1985
Observe the contradiction. I AM vs. I SHOULD BE. What SHOULD BE is an ideal. That is the main component of the rhetorical talk of a politician. Those are the “feel good” words that most want to listen. We don’t want to SEE what IS. We are blind. 

What is needed is a new way to deal with what IS.
“Please learn. Learn to observe, not memorize. We have contradiction only when we are not dealing with what is actually going on. Because we don’t know how to deal with what is going on, we invent the ideal, which is an escape. If you want to change what is going on, don’t have contradiction. Then you have the energy to deal with what is, instead of wasting energy in contradiction, having ideals and all the rest of it. I am violent, and my conditioning has been not to be violent, so I try to be non-violent. Whereas in actual fact, I am violent. So I am wasting my energy in trying to be non-violent. When I remove that, I have the energy to deal with what is – the energy to observe the fact of being angry. I won’t use the word ‘anger’ because the word is not the thing. Therefore there is only that reaction. The moment you name it, it becomes stronger. By associating through that word with the past, you are giving it strength. If you don’t name it, it soon dissipates. Eliminate contradictions altogether, and you are dealing only with what is actually going on.
J. Krishnamurti – Public Discussion 1 in Madras (Chennai), 27 December 1977

What should I DO to eliminate violence in me?
Acknowledge it. Do not fight it. OBSERVE it when it appears and become aware on how “I “want to demonstrate my supremacy over others, then we invent escapes, such as pride, shame, competition, non-violence and even nationalism.

“Nationalism is a poison.”
J. Krishnamurti – Public talk 2 in Bombay (Mumbai) 25 January 1981.
As the emotion is OBSERVED without labeling it or judgment; there is a space where it could be seen to its root causes. Every person may have a different root, although the “output” is violence. Observation is not concerned with results or the goal of “becoming better.” Observation is only concerned with OBSERVATION.

Thought, memory, thinking, conditioning, action; which in our society usually results in violence. It is a vicious cycle.
For those eager to “practice” and learn this “new method,” there is a catch:
“Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.” –  J. Krishnamurti.  There is no achievement, no “becoming better,” no reward in the afterlife, no “special mention” and honors, no utility whatsoever in our “money making” society. Can we handle that?

Ending “vices” through will-power.

Our “spiritual” upbringing suggests that “I have a choice” in ending what is perceived to be “wrong.”
For example, there are the vices of lust, greed, anger, ego, attachment, etc.  Spiritual seekers want to be “free” of those for they believe that those things are ugly, evil which will not let them grow.
Religious groups as well as psychology support groups have made clever “tricks” to avoid repeated behaviors, as they consider vices as behaviors (DOING) rather than an expression of BEING.
For instance, the importance of waking up very early every morning to pray, is a replacement behavior so the sexual urges in a healthy person will not manifest. We could call that the “cure” to attain celibacy.
Similarly, I was told that methods to deal with drug addicts are based on this principle. That is to replace the time where the behavior is more likely to appear, with another behavior considered “better.”

However, the “vice” is still there but unable to manifest.

J. Krishnamurti mentioned:
“When you determine to end envy, there is a conflict. You may suppress it, overcome it or escape from it, but it is still there.” Public Talk 1 in Madras (Chennai), 7 December 1974
Observe that every known vice has its opposite virtue. Observe that vices are not opposites of virtues, but complement each other. In other words, the potential to be lustful is equal and the same as the potential of having compassion. That is duality. In Life, that is the total range of an experience, on the other hand, for society we need to support one side (virtues) and “conquer” the other (vices) for the sake of “order.”

Life experiences will take a person to experiment a particular place within the total range. That is unavoidable at this time. Observe that greed appears as we develop, that is as Life experiences are assimilated in a particular way. As we develop greater perception inside our own emotional layers and “self-study” our own triggers, and realize instantly when “vices” or “virtues” arrive; we will learn to OBSERVE without further comments or judgment. J. Krishnamurti could call that as “insight.”
“Insight can only take place when the mind is observant, attentive, without a direction or motive, listening without the interference of thought. This is real meditation, in which there is no operation of will. Will is time and thought.” (Bangalore Jan. 11, 1973.)

That is a necessary step to understand ourselves. This requires ample time and supportive circumstances to be emotionally tranquil to “see.” As we reach our “own center,” by leaving the typical busy Life; a new “breath of Life” arrives. We call that “new” consciousness. What was there before, in time will leave. Whatever that is; as long as the mind doesn’t evoke what is naturally gone.
I understand that the above is not practical at all. Most individuals want a “fast solution.” They want to have control (will power) of their own inner world. That is why, repression, suppression and escapes have been crafted by psychologists, religions and support groups to make us believe that we got rid of some “vice” when in fact, it is there. That is the reason why most will relapse, once their method is no longer followed. They go back into “temptation.”
Every experience will bring its changes in a person which will eventually allow that person to evolve; however, OBSERVATION is a DOING in itself, for that will give us the awareness of all changes happening within. It is that OBSERVATION, that inner AWARENESS the one bringing a new light of consciousness (insight) which will change the experience.

Note that there is no “method to attain the solution and get rid of the vice,” as most are conditioned to expect. The above is not practical in a society interested in instant changes at will, and “successful stories.” If a person hasn’t reached a level of awareness where inner OBSERVATION is part of his Life, that person however; will obtain “help” through any method which brings repression and inner conflict; where fear is a factor so the “wrong” behavior is not expressed again. That we are used to, through the conditioning of society.
That experience is not “bad” at all; for still it will bring further changes in the individual according to what he needs to experience in Life; although society may have a preconceived idea of “what should be,” or “what is right.”
However, Life has its own ways and we are ALL in it. No one is ever alone.

The fallacy behind “improving yourself.”

The teaching has been to DO something to become “better” in Life. That conditioning entails to negate who we ARE to pursue what “should be.” It is thought that DOING (some goal oriented action) will attain a “better” state of BEING.
Observe how our society supports this view. We encourage young people to obtain more, gain more, acquire more to become “better.” We encourage greed through the separation of “I” vs. “you.” We call that “ healthy competition.” Our society is founded on that principle. We need to compete and win, to become “better,” but nowadays as the amount of “competitors” have increased tremendously, to “win” is even necessary to survive. Paradoxically, the most “intelligent” species of the planet basically lives Life, to survive.
That ideology has ill consequences for society and the common good.

The same principle is applied into religious teachings and spirituality for the “masses.” Here, the prize is in the afterlife, whereas in society; the prize comes in this lifetime after some years of “sacrifice.”
That “prize,” whatever it may be; becomes the motivation. Therefore, every action that we take to pursue something “better” has a motive; a “because” when someone asks “why?”.

J. Krishnamurti observed:

“How do you observe the fact that you are conditioned? Do you observe it with the desire or motive that you must be free of it? If so, you have created a contradiction. So can you be free to observe without a motive? Motives are born out of your conditioning.”

When we create a contradiction from “what is” into what “should be,” then; our actions are goal oriented; nevertheless, the goal is an ideal, and the ideal is never “real.”

“I want to be humble.” That is the ideal. There will be some actions to follow as to accomplish the ideal of “humble.”
Our idea of “humble” cannot be the full extension of BEING humble no matter how much we practice. Thought out actions cannot attain what is in the realm of BEING. Without deep observation, understanding, acknowledgment of “what is”, the outcome will bring fake transformation. In short, deep observation is action.

To observe, to become deeply aware is the “true” action, and that brings change without motive, thus; true change, for observation is not concerned with labels or moral standards.
Observation requires attention, it has to occur without motive; that is without the mental explanation: “I am doing this because…”

On attention, J. Krishnamurti pointed out:

“Attention may last a second. That is good enough. Don’t be greedy to have more. In the greed to have more, you have already created the centre, and then you are caught.”

There is a motive which brings the conditioned “I” to the surface; that is the one who “wants to be better,” but that wanting is the reason why we cannot BE.

Observe that this “self-improvement” of “not wanting,” is the complete opposite of what our society has conditioned us to believe.

Awareness and deep observation has been replaced by the pursue of an empty ideal, which may bring “economical progress” to our society, but where quality of life is lacking.
A world taught to compete by dividing itself into little groups and little flags is deep sleep, as it is incapable of realizing that those divisions are illusions, which participants are unable to break free from. It is a strong conditioning.
For them, “freedom” is merely to comply with the ideal of “going away from one country flag to stay in another,” without realizing that we are still slaves of the illusion of division which is fueled by competition, which in turn; provides a motive, a purpose to live Life in society, which is bound to exist in contradiction with the ideas and illusions of other human beings.

Going into J. Krishnamurti – “K.”

Krishnamurti “found me” at the college library back in my early 20s when I picked up a random book “The Network of Thought,” while waiting for my next class. I was getting a Masters degree in International Business at the time. Once I finished the book, I knew that I wasn’t cut for “business.” Never used that college degree at all. However, that time was well spent to get a “degree” on a different world view.

Most of what “K.” explained, made plenty of intellectual sense. However, I wasn’t able to put it into practice. It was good theory but nothing practical to me. Why?
It was after many years in my “spiritual career” that I discovered that, what I wanted to “practice” was my own intellectual understanding of an ideal. I will always be short of an ideal. That is a trap. In other words, BEING does not come about through practice. It is not a muscle to exercise. Nevertheless and paradoxically, it is necessary to “practice” to realize this. Otherwise, it becomes another understood mental idea. Paraphrasing what my father used to say: “we become just theory.”

After a couple of years, Krishnamurti went away for many years. I just recently got in touch again as someone asked me for a “spiritual book” to read. I recommended “K” knowing that this person was of intellectual nature; aka “living in the mind.”

Now, I can realize that “K” was only sharing his own experience. He wasn’t necessarily interested in meeting the “spiritual” level of others, or playing teacher; however, at the mental level he may be convincing for the majority of intellectuals out there.

K. said: “Meditation is the denial and negation of all systems because you see the truth and understand the full significance that you must be your own light. This light cannot come through another or be lit from the candle of another. If you once see the truth of this, you will not follow any guru, saviour or priest with their doctrines, traditions and rituals. That is going to be difficult because we are afraid to stand alone.” (NY 4/28/74.)

Intellectuals may misunderstand the above: “I don’t need anybody. I don’t believe or follow anyone. I must be my own light. That is what “K.” said and I agree with that.”  Basically, they will follow “K” in that; but he will be misunderstood.

Although the above is true for someone with the consciousness of “K.” it is false for the vast majority of humans at this time.  I can now say that “we” are always following something even if that is not a person.  We follow our mind, heart or gut feeling. Most follow the mind with its conditioning and say: “I think.” That is delusional.

To follow in the beginning, is the way to stand alone at the end. That is the process. It doesn’t come as a mental decision, a practice or a value, but it is the natural consequence of being aware as we process life experiences. 
Without the experience of being a follower, we cannot pretend to be our own light. Inasmuch as we only know and express through the conditioned mind, we are destined to be deluded. We need to be aware of where we stand in this process, that is inner honesty. 

Note that “K.” gives a different meaning to the word “meditation” as it is traditionally used.  He says: “Meditation really is a complete emptying of the mindThe continuous seeing of what is without any kind of distortion naturally empties the mind of all thought and yet that very mind can use thought when it is necessary. Thought is mechanical and meditation is not.”  (excerpts from the “beginning of learning” London 1979.) Thus,  for “K” meditation is on-going in Life. It is not a practice, it is not something to DO for 45 minutes or 1 hour in a day.

Because Meditation (as K explains) lacks any structure, method or practice; then it is the antithesis of all systems and structures given in society. Empty of the contents of the conditioned mind, we become our own light without the need of having a purpose or goal to be so.  Empty of “Me,” we become our own light without desiring it, without effort, without purpose. 

To stand alone means to be empty, and most are afraid of that.