face the emptiness

Krishnamurti: So, to continue: fear is the awareness of our inner emptiness, loneliness and poverty, and of not being able to do anything about it. We are concerned only with this fear which breeds dependence, and which is again increased by dependence. If we understand fear we also understand dependence. So to understand fear there must be sensitivity to discover, to understand how it comes into being. If one is at all sensitive one becomes conscious of one’s own extraordinary emptiness – a bottomless pit which cannot be filled by the vulgar entertainment of drugs nor by the entertainment of the churches, nor the amusements of society: nothing can ever fill it. Knowing this the fear increases. This drives you to depend, and this dependence makes you more and more insensitive. And knowing this is so, you are frightened of it. So our question now is: how is one to go beyond this emptiness, this loneliness – not how is one to be self-sufficient, not how is one to camouflage this emptiness permanently?

Questioner: Why do you say it is not a question of becoming self-sufficient?

Krishnamurti: Because if you are self-sufficient you are no longer sensitive; you become smug and callous, indifferent and enclosed. To be without dependence, to go beyond dependence, doesn’t mean to become self-sufficient. Can the mind face and live with this emptiness, and not escape in any direction?

Questioner: It would drive me mad to think I had to live with it for ever.

Krishnamurti: Any movement away from this emptiness is an escape. And this flight away from something, away from “what is,” is fear. Fear is flight away from something. What is is not the fear; it is the flight which is the fear, and this will drive you mad, not the emptiness itself.

So what is this emptiness, this loneliness? How does it come about? Surely it comes through comparison and measurement, doesn’t it? I compare myself with the saint, the master, the great musician, the man who knows, the man who has arrived. In this comparison I find myself wanting and insufficient: I have no talent, I am inferior, I have not “realized”; I am not, and that man is. So out of measurement and comparison comes the enormous cavity of emptiness and nothingness. And the flight from this cavity is fear. And the fear stops us from understanding this bottomless pit. It is a neurosis which feeds upon itself. And again, this measurement, this comparison, is the very essence of dependence. So we are back again at dependence, a vicious circle. 

Questioner: We have come a long way in this discussion and things are clearer. There is dependence; is it possible not to depend? Yes, I think it is possible. Then we have the fear; is it possible not to run away from emptiness at all, which means, not to escape through fear? Yes, I think it is possible. That means we are left with the emptiness. Is it possible then to face this emptiness since we have stopped running away from it through fear? Yes, I think it is possible. Is it possible finally, not to measure, not to compare? For if we have come this far, and I think we have, only this emptiness remains, and one sees that this emptiness is the outcome of comparison. And one sees that dependence and fear are the outcome of this emptiness. So there is comparison, emptiness, fear, dependence. Can I really live a life without comparison, without measurement?

source: PDF Krishnamurti, The Urgency of Change pp 16 – 17

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