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 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.
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 mind. The 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.
We are never the same. There is no static moment, no past where we could look back and believe to be completely unchanged since then.
I observed some family members visiting us. They live in another country. The last family gathering was about 20 years ago. Now, they ARE different from what I knew before. It is not just looks. That is the most superficial aspect of change. They are different, “I” am different.
I had an image of them in my mind. That image created an expectation, which resulted in illusion.
The only thing without a change that I knew from before, was their names. The same outcome occurs when we are living closely with others, although we may not realize the changes.
As we grow in relationship with others, we change. An individual is affected by company. Most are aware of that.
Most are oblivious that as we grow older, our own changes will create an inner resistance, when we are aware of them. There is an image, a still picture of the “perfect” self, which we would like to keep.
That “poster” is living in the mind. As any poster, it is static, completely unchanged. It is not real.
Nevertheless, that is our point of inner comparison. Comparison is the mother of unhappiness, at any level.
Practically, we live to keep an image and we relate with our own images of others.
“Pat” has an image of “Carl.” There is “Carl’s image” as perceived by Carl himself.
Carl would like to be treated according to the image that he has of himself. Anything lower than that, is considered an insult. Pat will mingle with Carl, by using the image that she has of Carl. Those are the untold boundaries.
Typically, when we meet someone for the first time, we spend that meeting in creating an image of that person. If we like that person, then the image grows in accolades, until one day we may “realize” and say to her: “You have changed since I first met you.”
It could be many years before we awaken from the dream.
Similarly if we dislike a person. Our image about that person can only go down, as we strive for consistency. “We cannot be wrong.” Observe the inner game of placing images into simple containers of likes and dislikes and to consider those as the standards of accuracy, reality, etc.
Could we relate without images?
That may require great awareness of the tricks of our own minds.
To meet someone without “pictures and posters” in our minds, will allow that other person to BE, for there is no inner need for the other to comply with our own picture of expectations, requirements and ideals.
For that we need to be free from psychological neediness, at any level in regards to the other. If there is a need, there will be a picture and our desire to maintain that picture as the ideal. Consciously or unconsciously, we will manipulate “reality” to look like that picture.
Psychological neediness does not allow for a “true,” open, caring relationship; for we are concerned in keeping the validity of personal images, rather than becoming aware of and accepting unconditionally “what is.”
Will be taking a break until October 31st. Enjoy yourself! 🙂
“Thinking is common to all humanity. Thought is not my thought; there is only thought. Thought is neither of the East or West; there is only thinking. “ J. Krishnamurti
“I think therefore, I am.” Rene Descartes
The philosopher and mystic, J. Krishnamurti states the opposite of philosopher, mathematician and scientist Descartes: Thought is not mine vs. I think. Thus, thought is mine.
Most of humanity will experience as Descartes states. Few individuals will understand the depth of Krishnamurti, for he is not an intellectual (although described as such) but he merely states his own experiences. Without similar experiences, there will not be understanding.
Also, whether it is “my” thought or there is only thought, there is the “reality” of thought or the lack of it, called “dreams.”
Descartes said: “The dreams we imagine when we are asleep should not in any way make us doubt the truth of the thoughts we have when we are awake.”
Nevertheless, he had a dream which told him a lot:
“…After a short time, he goes back to sleep once more, and finds himself in a third dream. In front of him, on a table, is a book. Having opened it, he sees that it is a dictionary. Then he notices a second book. This one is a poetry anthology. He flicks through it and immediately comes upon the latin verse: “Quod vitae sectabor iter?”: “Which path in life will I choose?”.
At the same time, an unknown man appears and presents him with a poem which starts with Est et non (what is and is not). He adds that it is an excellent work. The young soldier says:
“I know. It is in this book of poems. Look!”
But he flicks through the anthology in vain. He can’t find the poem. So, he takes up the dictionary and notices that some of the pages are missing. He is exchanging a few more words with the stranger when, suddenly, the books and the man disappear.”
Is following the path of “what is” and “what is not” a choice? We take both in Life.
Can we find that poem in a book? Can we find words to describe it? Life is such a poem.
When Life speaks to us, we say” I imagined a dream.” “ I invented this gadget.”
Out of touch with awareness, most don’t perceive that we can only “do” thinking with what Life has already thought.
We say “My thought”: How scientific that could be!!
Dreams are only dreams, for all those who only dream.
The significance of Death changes according to consciousness.
For most, there is only one death; at the end of Life. Typically, we will perceive death as something “bad”, which we need to delay even though quality of Life may be lacking. These are the individuals “fighting Death.” We hear: “After a long fight, he lost the battle with cancer” (or some other disease.) From that nonsensical perception, we don’t realize that “we will always lose to death.” Always.
Our petty fighting attitude only brings animosity towards the inevitable. A trauma.
Embrace death. After all; it is part of living. The duality of life and death will be experienced. Why reject one side of the same experience?
Death brings fear to the unknown. However, what we truly fear is to lose that which is known. Thus, we may need to learn to die from the known.
It is in that understanding, how a different consciousness could perceive that there is no better way to live Life than dying psychologically while living.
In one lifetime, the one who was born, is not the same as the one who dies. That may require a bit more awareness to understand. The one who experiences death has no part of him identifying with the one who was born: The body is different, the mind is different. Nevertheless, what creates the linear identity of ‘I am the same,’ is the attachment to different things in Life. That could be names, people, objects, positions, ideals, beliefs, etc. That creates the sense of “self.”
Therefore, the greatest attachment is the perception of “self.” We greatly cling to it.
Life will bring many experiences where we feel that we “have lost” something but then, we DO things to gain something back for ourselves. That game, we usually call Life.
“Self” is being built through that game.
When Life brings the experience to “lose” something; we don’t see that this brings the opposite as well, automatically once the old is “lost”, newness is gained. We “win” newness through that duality.
If the above is fully understood, we could observe that dying from something is the way to gain; but the hardest part is the mental clinging of the past, for that which is gone. Then, we live in the past and we are not able to die from the past. We fight. Thus, there is no newness.
Observe. Become aware. Accept. Move on.
Life will “give” but also will “take away” to give something else. Are we willing to play that game?
“Willingness” means our capacity to die from who we were and accept the newness of who we could be. “Losing is winning.”
That game when fully experienced, will change that sense of self; reducing its size until one day, we have died from “self.”
Then, there is nothing to be attached to. We dropped the burden by dying psychologically from a static sense of “self.”
When the psychological “self” is not there, Who is going to die?
Learning to die at every moment, is the way to live.
Although we hear how to deal with our own pain (physical or psychological/emotional) very seldom we hear about the suffering of witnessing the pain of others.
For instance, a loved one, a close relative could be going through excruciating physical or emotional pain: We could hear and see their discomfort, we could empathize with them, we could wish them a prompt recovery, but we could find ourselves absorbing that pain emotionally in such a way that their pain, becomes ours.
A famous case is the one experienced by Christopher Reeve, (actor who played Superman in 1978) who went through many diseases after he was paralyzed from the neck down, after falling from a horse. After his death in 2004, his wife; Dana Reeve died 18 months later from lung cancer. She wasn’t a smoker. She was 44 years old.
As cancer is known for being an emotional disease, we could observe how her husband’s experiences affected her. The symbolism for pain in the lungs is sadness.
Ahnanda is very experienced in seeing the pain of others, I used to take them with me. However, as my awareness increased; that has changed.
There are 2 things to be aware of: 1) How our emotions are affected 2) How the mind is affected through identification.
There is an emotional energy sent by someone in pain. I have been in cases where there was nothing I could do, but just observe. That frustration added further sorrow when the perception of my mind in that moment, changed: “How unfair life could be…” the mind is champion in adding useless comments. “I” identified with someone’s sorrow thus, awareness is no longer there.
It is what it is. Observe. Feel compassion, send get well wishes, but as soon as the opportunity is there to change into another activity; we need to do it, we need to smile again. This is living in the now.
The mind may bring memories. It may bring comments. Observe and let it go.
In my own experience, dancing to upbeat music, has been an incredible help to take my mind away from remembering such experiences. When the mind is distracted, enjoyment follows.
We could turn the page onto another chapter.
Life presents different experiences. If pain is not our own, why not keep our happiness?
Energetically; what it is not ours, we do not need to take with us. That is part of self-respect. To be able to save the integrity of our own self and to know when enough, is enough; that is, when we have reached a limit.
Traditional society may have a different perception on this based on ideas of “sainthood;” (suffering with others or for others) however, society is not concerned in increasing our own awareness through Life experiences.
Compassion is found in the experience of witnessing someone’s sorrow. That compassion is without “practice.” It is natural, real. Nevertheless, to remain untouched by someone’s sorrow is an art of awareness, it is the practical experience of living with no mind.
Seeing sorrow of others is unavoidable but so is our own Joy. Our quality of awareness flips the coin.