Krishnamurti – Flight of the Eagle

Krishnamurti exploring the essence of love

Krishnamurti exploring the essence of love

Excerpt from Krishnamurti: “The Flight of the Eagle”

“We are going to discuss the question of meditation; it is a rather

complex question and before we go into it, we have to be very

clear about this searching, this seeking for experience, trying to

find out a reality.

We have to understand the meaning of seeking

and the searching out of truth, the intellectual groping after

something new, which is not of time, which is not brought about by

one’s demands, compulsions and despair. Is truth ever to be found

by seeking? Is it recognizable when one has found it? If one has,

can one say, `This the truth’ – `This is the real’? Has search any

meaning at all? Most religious people are always talking about

seeking truth; and we are asking if truth can ever be sought after. In

the idea of seeking, of finding, is there not also the idea of

recognition – the idea that if I find something I must be able to

recognize it?

 

“Does not recognition imply that I have already known

it? Is truth `recognizable’ – in the sense of its having already been

experienced, so that one is able to say, `This is it’? So what is the

value of seeking at all? Or, if there is no value in it, then is there

value only in constant observation, constant listening? – which is

not the same as seeking. When there is constant observation there

is no movement of the past. `To observe’ implies seeing very

clearly; to see very clearly there must be freedom, freedom from

resentment, freedom from enmity, from any prejudice or grudge,

freedom from all those memories that one has stored up as

knowledge, which interfere with seeing. When there is that quality,

that kind of freedom with constant observation – not only of the

things outside but also inwardly – of what is actually going on,

what then is the need of seeking at all? – for it is all there, the fact,

the `what is, it is observed. But the moment we want to change

`what is’ into something else, the process of distortion takes place.

Observing freely, without any distortion, without any evaluation,

without any desire for pleasure, in just observing, we see that `what

is’ undergoes an extraordinary change.

 

“Most of us try to fill our life with knowledge, with

entertainment, with spiritual aspirations and beliefs, which, as we

observe, have very little value; we want to experience something

transcendental, something beyond all worldly things, we want to

experience something immense, that has no borders, that has no

time. To `experience’ something immeasurable one must

understand the implications of ‘experience.’ Why do we want

`experience’ at all?

 

“Please do not accept or deny what the speaker is saying, just

examine it. The speaker – let us again be definite about that matter –

has no value whatsoever. (It’s like the telephone, you do not obey

what the telephone says. The telephone has no authority, but you

listen to it.) If you listen with care. there is in that, affection, not

agreement or disagreement, but a quality of mind that says, `Let’s

see what you’re talking about, let us see if it has any value at all, let

us see what is true and what is false.’ Do not accept or deny, but

observe and listen, not only to what is being said, but also to your

reactions, to your distortions, as you are listening; see your

prejudices, your opinions, your images, your experiences, see how

they are going to prevent you from listening.

 

“We are asking: what is the significance of experience? Has it

any significance? Can experience wake up a mind that is asleep,

that has come to certain conclusions and is held and conditioned by

beliefs? Can experience wake it up, shatter all that structure? Can

such a mind – so conditioned, so burdened by its own innumerable

problems and despairs and sorrows – respond to any challenge? –

can it? And if it does respond, must not the response be inadequate

and therefore lead to more conflict? Always to seek for wider,

deeper, transcendental experience, is a form of escape from the

actual reality of `what is,’ which is ourselves, our own conditioned

mind. A mind that is extraordinarily awake, intelligent, free, why

should it need, why should it have, any `experience’ at all? Light is

light, it does not ask for more light. The desire for more

`experience’ is escape from the actual, the `what is’.

 

“If one is free from this everlasting search, free from the demand

and the desire to experience something extraordinary, then we can

proceed to find out what meditation is. That word – like the words

`love,’ `death,’ `beauty,’ `happiness’ – is so loaded. There are so

many schools which teach you how to meditate. But to understand

what meditation is, one must lay the foundation of righteous

behaviour. Without that foundation, meditation is really a form of

self-hypnosis; without being free from anger, jealousy, envy,

greed, acquisitiveness, hate, competition, the desire for success –

all the moral, respectable forms of what is considered righteous –

without laying the right foundation, without actually living a daily

life free of the distortion of personal fear, anxiety, greed and so on,

meditation has very little meaning. The laying of that foundation is

all-important. So one asks: what is virtue? What is morality?

Please do not say that this question is bourgeois, that is has no

meaning in a society which is permissive, which allows anything.

We are not concerned with that kind of society; we are concerned

with a life completely free from fear, a life which is capable of

deep, abiding love. Without that, meditation becomes a deviation;

it is like taking a drug – as so many have done – to have an

extraordinary experience and yet leading a shoddy little life. Those

who take drugs do have some strange experiences, they see

perhaps a little more colour, they become perhaps a little more

sensitive, and being sensitive, in that chemical state, they do

perhaps see things without space between the `observer’ and the

thing observed; but when the chemical effect is over, they are back

to where they were with fear, with boredom, back again in the old

routine – so they have to take the drug again.

 

“Unless one lays the foundation of virtue, meditation becomes a

trick to control the mind, to make the mind quiet, to force the mind

to conform to the pattern of a system that says, `Do these things

and you will have great reward.’ But such a mind – do what you

will with all the methods and the systems that are offered – will

remain small, petty, conditioned, and therefore worthless. One has

to inquire into what virtue is, what behaviour is. Is behaviour the

result of environ- mental conditioning, of a society, of a culture, in

which one has been brought up? – you behave according to that. Is

that virtue? Or does virtue lie in freedom from the social morality

of greed, envy and all the rest of it? – which is considered highly

respectable. Can virtue be cultivated? – and if it can be cultivated

then does it not become a mechanical thing and therefore have no

virtue at all? Virtue is something that is living, flowing, that is

constantly renewing itself, it cannot possibly be put together in

time; it is like suggesting that you can cultivate humility. Can you

cultivate humility? It is only the vain man that `cultivates’ humility;

whatever he may cultivate he will still remain vain. But in seeing

very clearly the nature of vanity and pride, in that very seeing there

is freedom from that vanity and pride – and in that there is humility.

 

“When this is very clear then we can proceed to find out what

meditation is. If one cannot do this very deeply, in a most real and

serious way – not just for one or two days then drop it – please do

not talk about meditation. Meditation, if you understand what it is,

is one of the most extraordinary things; but you cannot possibly

understand it unless you have come to the end of seeking, groping,

wanting, greedily clutching at something which you consider truth

– which is your own projection. You cannot come to it unless you

are no longer demanding `experience’ at all, but are understanding

the confusion in which one lives, the disorder of one’s own life. In

the observation of that disorder, order comes – which is not a

blueprint. When you have done this – which in itself is meditation –

then we can ask, not only what meditation is, but also what

meditation is not, because in the denial of that which is false, the

truth is.

 

“Any system, any method, that teaches you how to meditate is

obviously false. One can see why, intellectually, logically, for if

you practice something according to a method – however noble,

however ancient, however modern, however popular – you are

making yourself mechanical, you are doing something over and

over again in order to achieve something. In meditation the end is

not different from the means. But the method promises you

something; it is a means to an end. If the means is mechanical, then

the end is also something brought about by the machine; the

mechanical minds says, `I’ll get something.’ One has to be

completely free from all methods, all systems; that is already the

beginning of meditation; you are already denying something which

is utterly false and meaningless. And again, there are those who

practice ‘awareness.’ Can you practice awareness? – if you are

`practicing’ awareness, then you are all the time being inattentive.

So, be aware of inattention, not practice how to be attentive; if you

are aware of your inattention, out of that awareness there is

attention, you do not have to practice it. Do please understand this,

it is so clear and so simple. You do not have to go to Burma,

China, India, places which are romantic but not factual.

 

“I remember once traveling in a car, in India, with a group of people.

I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who

were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what

awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road

and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor

animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness;

they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what

we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of

awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not

actually aware of what is taking place.

 

“There is no practice, only the living thing. And there comes the

question: how is thought to be controlled? Thought wanders all

over the place; you want to think about something, it is off on

something else. They say practice, control; think about a picture, a

sentence, or whatever it is, concentrate; thought buzzes off in

another direction, so you pull it back and this battle goes on,

backward and forward. So one asks: what is the need for control of

thought at all and who is the entity that is going to control thought?

Please follow this closely. Unless one understands this real

question, one will not be able to see what meditation means. When

one says, ‘I must control thought,’ who is the controller, the censor?

Is the censor different from the thing he wants to control, shape or

change into a different quality? – are they not both the same? What

happens when the `thinker’ sees that he is the thought – which he is

– that the `experiencer’ is the experience? Then what is one to do?

Are you following the question? The thinker is the thought and

thought wanders off; then the thinker, thinking he is separate, says,

`I must control it.’ Is the thinker different from the thing called

thought? If there is no thought, is there a thinker?

 

“What takes place when the thinker sees he is the thought What

actually takes place when the `thinker’ is the thought as the

`observer’ is the observed? What takes place? In that there is no

separation, no division and therefore no conflict therefore thought

is no longer to be controlled, shaped; then what takes place? Is

there then any wandering of thought at all? Before, there was

control of thought, there was concentration of thought, there was

the conflict between the `thinker’ who wanted to control thought,

and thought wandering off. That goes on all the time with all of us.

Then there is the sudden realization that the `thinker’ is the thought

– a realization, not a verbal statement, but an actuality. Then what

takes place? Is there such a thing as thought wandering? It is only

when the `observer’ is different from thought that he censors it;

then he can say, `This is right or this is wrong thought,’ or

‘Thought is wandering away I must control it,’ But when the

thinker realizes that he is the thought, is there a wandering at all?

Go into it, sirs, don’t accept it, you will see it for yourself. It is only

when there is a resistance that there is conflict; the resistance is

created by the thinker who thinks he is separate from the thought;

but when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, there is no

resistance – which does not mean that thought goes all over the

place and does what it likes, on the contrary.

 

“The whole concept of control and concentration undergoes a

tremendous change; it becomes attention, something entirely

different. If one understands the nature of attention, that attention

can be focused, one understands that it is quite different from

concentration, which is exclusion. Then you will ask, `Can I do

anything without concentration?’ `Do I not need concentration in

order to do anything?’ But can you not do something with

attention? – which is not concentration. `Attention’ implies to

attend, that is to listen, hear, see, with all the totality of your being,

with your body, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears,

with your mind, with your heart, completely. In that total attention

– in which there is no division – you can do anything; and in such

attention is no resistance. So then, the next thing is, can the mind in

which is included the brain – the brain being conditioned, the brain

being the result of thousands of thousands of years of evolution,

the brain which is the storehouse of memory – can that become

quiet? Because it is only when the total mind is silent, quiet, that

there is perception, seeing clearly, with a mind that is not confused.

How can the mind be quiet, be still? I do not know if you have seen

for yourself that to look at a beautiful tree, or a cloud full of light

and glory, you must look completely, silently, otherwise you are

not looking directly at it, you are looking at it with some image of

pleasure, or the memory of yesterday, you are not actually looking

at it, you are looking at the image rather than at the fact.

So, one asks, can the totality of the mind, the brain included, be

completely still? People have asked this question – really very

serious people – they have not been able to solve it, they have tried

tricks, they have said that the mind can be made still through the

repetition of words. Have you ever tried it – repeating `Ave Maria,’

or those Sanskrit words that some people bring over from India,

mantras – repeating certain- words to make the mind still? It does

not matter what word it is, make it rhythmic-Coca Cola, any word –

repeat it often and you will see that your mind becomes quiet; but

it is a dull mind, it is not a sensitive mind, alert, active, vital,

passionate, intense. A dull mind though it may say, `I have had

tremendous transcendental experience,’ is deceiving itself.

So it is not in the repetition of words, nor in trying to force it;

too many tricks have been played upon the mind for it to be quiet;

yet one knows deeply within oneself that when the mind is quiet

then the whole thing is over, that then there is true perception.

How is the mind, the brain included, to be completely quiet?

Some say breathe properly, take deep breaths, that is, get more

oxygen into your blood; a shoddy little mind breathing very

deeply, day after day, can be fairly quiet; but it is still what it is, a

shoddy little mind. Or practice yoga? – again, so many things are

involved in this. Yoga means skill in action, not merely the

practice of certain exercises which are necessary to keep the body

healthy, strong, sensitive – which includes eating the right food, not

stuffing it with a lot of meat and so on (we won’t go into all that,

you are all probably meat eaters). Skill in action demands great

sensitivity of the body, a lightness of the body, eating the right food,

not what your tongue dictates, or what you are used to.

 

“Then what is one to do? Who puts this question? One sees very

clearly that our lives are in disorder, inwardly and outwardly; and

yet order is necessary, as orderly as mathematical order and that

can come about only by observing the disorder, not by trying to

conform to the blueprint of what others may consider, or you

yourself may consider, order. By seeing, by being aware of the

disorder, out of that comes order. One also sees that the mind must

be extraordinarily quiet, sensitive, alert, not caught in any habit,

physical or psychological; how is that to come about? Who puts

this question? Is the question put by the mind that chatters, the

mind that has so much knowledge? Has it learned a new thing? –

which is, `I can see very clearly only when I am quiet, therefore, I

must be quiet.’ Then it says, `How am I to be quiet?’ Surely such a

question is wrong in itself; the moment it asks `how’ it is looking

for a system, therefore destroying the very thing that is being

inquired into, which is: how can the mind be completely still? – not

mechanically, not forced, not compelled to be still. A mind that is

not compelled to be still is extraordinarily active, sensitive, alert.

But when you ask `how’ then there is the division between the

observer and the thing observed.

 

“When you realize that there is no method, no system, that no

mantram, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you

to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind

that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. It is like

seeing danger and avoiding it; in the same way, seeing that the

mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.

 

“Now the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be

very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little

space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what

it is. But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that

stillness, has no centre as the `me’, the `observer,’ is quite different.

In that silence there is no `observer’ at all; that quality of silence

has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity

of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-centred.

If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it

is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which

man has sought throughout the centuries, God, truth, the

immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless, is there – without your

invitation, it is there. Such a man is blessed, there is truth for him

and ecstasy.”

 

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