A Contemplation on Silence: Krishnamurti

Krishnamurti: Isn’t it important for you to find out for yourself whether you are asking for the more, or whether you are trying to see exactly what is? The two are incompatible. If you can put aside the more, then we are concerned only with what is when the mind is silent.

What actually takes place when the mind is really quiet? That is the real question, isn’t it – not what is transcendental or what lies beyond?

Questioner: What lies beyond is my question.

K: What lies beyond can be found only if the mind is still. There may be something or there may be nothing at all.

So the only thing that is important is for the mind to be still. Again, if you are concerned with what lies beyond, then you are not looking at what the state of actual stillness is. If stillness to you is only a door to that which lies beyond, then you are not concerned with that door, whereas what is important is the very door itself, the stillness itself.

Therefore you cannot ask what lies beyond. The only thing that is important is for the mind to be still. Then what takes place? That is all we are concerned with, not with what lies beyond.

Q: You are right. The silence has no importance to me except as a doorway.

K: How do you know it is a doorway and not the thing itself? The means is the end, they are not two separate things. Silence is the only fact, not what you discover through it. Let us remain with the fact and see what that fact is.

It is of great importance, perhaps of the greatest importance, that this silence be silence in itself and not something induced as a means to an end, not something induced through drugs, discipline, or the repetition of words.

Q: The silence comes of its own, without a motive and without a cause.

K: But you are using it as a means.

Q: No, I have known silence and I see that nothing happens.

K: That is the whole point. There is no other fact but silence which has not been invited, induced, sought after, but which is the natural outcome of observation and of understanding oneself and the world about one.

In this there has been no motive which has brought silence. If there is any shadow or suspicion of a motive, then that silence is directed and deliberate, so it is not silence at all.

If you can honestly say that that silence is free, then what actually takes place in that silence is our only concern. What is the quality and the texture of that silence? Is it superficial, passing, measurable  Are you aware of it after it is over, or during the silence? If you are aware that you have been silent, then it is only a memory, and therefore dead.

If you are aware of the silence while it is happening, then is it silence? If there is no observer – that is, no bundle of memories – then is it silence? Is it something intermittent that comes and goes according to your body chemistry? Does it come when you are alone, or with people, or when you are trying to meditate?

What we are trying to find out is the nature of this silence. Is it rich of poor? I don’t mean rich with experience, or poor because uneducated. Is it full or shallow? Is it innocent or put together?

A mind can look at a fact and not see the beauty, the depth, the quality of that fact. Is it possible to observe silence without the observer? When there is silence, there is silence and nothing else. Then in that silence what takes place? Is this what you are asking?

Q: Yes.

K: Is there an observation of silence by silence in silence?

Q: That’s a new question.

K: It is not a new question if you have been following. The whole brain, the mind, the feelings, the body, everything is quiet. Can this quietness, stillness, look at itself, not as an observer who is still?

Can the totality of this silence watch its own totality?

The silence becomes aware of itself – in this there is no division between an observer and an observed. That is the main point. The silence does not use itself to discover something beyond itself. There is only that silence. Now see what happens.

(Excerpt from “Freedom, Love, and Action” J. Krishnamurti, p. 45 ff)