thinking prevents seeing

“What thought creates is not real.”


My Comment: In the last section of this excerpt from Krishnamurti’s booklet The Urgency of Change, he gives a concise wording of what it means to “see” in the way he uses that term. K brings the term “attention” also into this context, which he points out, comes from ‘to attend to’. We hear him calling to us to be in a state of silence when we listen to others and when we look and “see” what is happening around us and within us. Only then will we be completely ‘with’ what is going on – and not have an internal dialog of evaluation, measurement, comparison, judgement etc. that is “noise” and the movement of the past – which then prevents us from attending fully to the other person or the situation or to our own internal questions to ourselves. Our attention and our ‘seeing’ are then fragmented and can only lead to more confusion and conflict.


Questioner: I am unhappy like the rest of the world and naturally I don’t want to be, and that is what is driving me to seek happiness.

Krishnamurti: So happiness to you is the opposite of unhappiness. If you were happy you wouldn’t seek it. So what is important is not happiness but whether unhappiness can end. That is the real problem, isn’t it? You are asking about happiness because you are unhappy and you ask this question without finding out whether happiness is the opposite of unhappiness.

Questioner: If you put it that way, I accept it. So my concern is how to be free from the misery I am in.

Krishnamurti: Which is more important – to understand unhappiness or to pursue happiness? If you pursue happiness it becomes an escape from unhappiness and therefore it will always remain, covered over perhaps, hidden, but always there, festering inside. So what is your question now?

Questioner: My question now is why am I miserable? You have very neatly pointed out to me my real state, rather than given me the answer I want, so now I am faced with this question, how am I to get rid of the misery I am in?

Krishnamurti: Can an outside agency help you to get rid of your own misery, whether that outside agency be God, a master, a drug or a saviour? Or can one have the intelligence to understand the nature of unhappiness and deal with it immediately?

Questioner: I have come to you because I thought you might help me, so you could call yourself an outside agency. I want help and I don’t care who gives it to me.

Krishnamurti: In accepting or giving help several things are involved. If you accept it blindly you will be caught in the trap of one authority or another, which brings with it various other problems, such as obedience and fear. So if you start off wanting help, not only do you not get help – because nobody can help you anyway – but in addition you get a whole series of new problems; you are deeper in the mire than ever before.

Questioner: I think I understand and accept that. I have never thought it out clearly before. How then can I develop the intelligence to deal with unhappiness on my own, and immediately? If I had this intelligence surely I wouldn’t be here now, I wouldn’t be asking you to help me. So my question now is, can I get this intelligence in order to solve the problem of unhappiness and thereby attain happiness?

Krishnamurti: You are saying that this intelligence is separate from its action. The action of this intelligence is the seeing and the understanding of the problem, itself. The two are not separate and successive; you don’t first get intelligence and then use it on the problem like a tool. it is one of the sicknesses of thinking to say that one should have the capacity first and then use it, the idea or the principle first and then apply it. This itself is the very absence of intelligence and the origin of problems. This is fragmentation. We live this way and so we speak of happiness and unhappiness, hate and love, and so on.

Questioner: Perhaps this is inherent in the structure of language.

Krishnamurti: Perhaps it is but let’s not make too much fuss about it here and wander away from the issue. We are saying that intelligence, and the action of that intelligence – which is seeing the problem of unhappiness – are one indivisibly. Also that this is not separate from ending unhappiness or getting happiness.

Questioner: How am I to get that intelligence?

Krishnamurti: Have you understood what we have been saying?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: But if you have understood you have seen that this seeing is intelligence. The only thing you can do is to see; you cannot cultivate intelligence in order to see. Seeing is not the cultivation of intelligence. Seeing is more important than intelligence, or happiness, or unhappiness. There is only seeing or not seeing. All the rest – happiness, unhappiness and intelligence – are just words.

Questioner: What is it, then, to see?

To see means

to understand how thought creates the opposites.

Krishnamurti: To see means to understand how thought creates the opposites. What thought creates is not real. To see means to understand the nature of thought, memory, conflict, ideas; to see all this as a total process is to understand. This is intelligence; seeing totally is intelligence; seeing fragmentarily is the lack of intelligence.

Questioner: I am a bit bewildered. I think I understand, but it is rather tenuous; I must go slowly. What you are saying is, see and listen completely. You say this attention is intelligence and you say that it must be immediate. One can only see now. I wonder if I really see now, or am I going home to think over what you have said, hoping to see later?

Krishnamurti: Then you will never see; in thinking about it you will never see it because thinking prevents seeing. Both of us have understood what it means to see. This seeing is not an essence or an abstraction or an idea. You cannot see if there is nothing to see. Now you have a problem of unhappiness. See it completely, including your wanting to be happy and how thought creates the opposite. See the search for happiness and the seeking help in order to get happiness. See disappointment, hope, fear. All of this must be seen completely, as a whole, not separately. See all this now, give your whole attention to it.

(source: Krishnamurti, The Urgency of Change, pp. 118 – 120)

Attention is intelligence.

Attention is Energy.

Attention is Life-force.

Attention is Godhood.

Attention is Love.





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