we are our own image

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Krishnamurti was once asked: “What is your secret?” His response was: “I don’t mind.” This is a rather cryptic answer in that it states so very simply a great truth. The following excerpt from Freedom from the Known sheds some light on this statement. I recommend brewing yourself a nice cup of your favorite drink and sitting back in order to read the following while in a quiet, contemplative state. Enjoy!

Krishnamurti (excerpt):

But the observer is aware of more than one image; he creates thousands of images. But is the observer different from these images? Isn’t he just another image? He is always adding to and subtracting from what he is; he is a living thing all the time weighing, comparing, judging, modifying and changing as a result of pressures from outside and within – living in the field of consciousness which is his own knowledge, influence and innumerable calculations. At the same time when you look at the observer, who is yourself, you see that he is made up of memories, experiences, accidents, influences, traditions and infinite varieties of suffering, all of which are the past.

So the observer is both the past and the present, and tomorrow is waiting and that is also a part of him. He is half alive and half dead and with this death and life he is looking, with the dead and living leaf. And in that state of mind which is within the field of time, you (the observer) look at fear, at jealousy, at war, at the family (that ugly enclosed entity called the family) and try to solve the problem of the thing observed which is the challenge, the new; you are always translating the new in terms of the old and therefore you are everlastingly in conflict.

One image, as the observer, observes dozens of other images around himself and inside himself, and he says, `I like this image, I’m going to keep it’ or `I don’t like that image so I’ll get rid of it’, but the observer himself has been put together by the various images which have come into being through reaction to various other images. So we come to a point where we can say, `The observer is also the image, only he has separated himself and observes. This observer who has come into being through various other images thinks himself permanent and between himself and the images he has created there is a division, a time interval. This creates conflict between himself and the images he believes to be the cause of his troubles. So then he says, “I must get rid of this conflict”, but the very desire to get rid of the conflict creates another image.

Awareness of all this, which is real meditation, has revealed that there is a central image put together by all the other images, and the central image, the observer, is the censor, the experiencer, the evaluator, the judge who wants to conquer or subjugate the other images or destroy them altogether. The other images are the result of judgments, opinions and conclusions by the observer, and the observer is the result of all the other images – therefore the observer is the observed.

So awareness has revealed the different states of one’s mind, has revealed the various images and the contradiction between the images, has revealed the resulting conflict and the despair at not being able to do anything about it and the various attempts to escape from it. All this has been revealed through cautious hesitant awareness, and then comes the awareness that the observer is the observed. It is not a superior entity who becomes aware of this, it is not a higher self (the superior entity, the higher self, are merely inventions, further images; it is the awareness itself which had revealed that the observer is the observed.

If you ask yourself a question, who is the entity who is going to receive the answer? And who is the entity who is going to inquire? If the entity is part of consciousness, part of thought, then it is incapable of finding out. What it can find out is only a state of awareness. But if in that state of awareness there is still an entity who says, `I must be aware, I must practice awareness’, that again is another image.

[sic] This awareness that the observer is the observed is not a process of identification with the observed. To identify ourselves with something is fairly easy. Most of us identify ourselves with something – with our family, our husband or wife, our nation – and that leads to great misery and great wars. We are considering something entirely different and we must understand it not verbally but in our core, right at the root of our being. In ancient China before an artist began to paint anything – a tree, for instance – he would sit down in front of it for days, months, years, it didn’t matter how long, until he was the tree. He did not identify himself with the tree but he was the tree. This means that there was no space between him and the tree, no space between the observer and the observed, no experiencer experiencing the beauty, the movement, the shadow, the depth of a leaf, the quality of color. He was totally the tree, and in that state only could he paint.

Any movement on the part of the observer, if he has not realized that the observer is the observed, creates only another series of images and again he is caught in them. But what takes place when the observer is aware that the observer is the observed? Go slowly, go very slowly, because it is a very complex thing we are going into now. What takes place? The observer does not act at all. The observer has always said, `I must do something about these images, I must suppress them or give them a different shape; he is always active in regard to the observed, acting and reacting passionately or casually, and this action of like and dislike on the part of the observer is called positive action – `I like, therefore I must hold. I dislike therefore I must get rid of.’ But when the observer realizes that the thing about which he is acting is himself, then there is no conflict between himself and the image. He is that. He is not separate from that. When he was separate, he did, or tried to do, something about it, but when the observer realizes that he is that, then there is no like or dislike and conflict ceases.

For what is he to do? If something is you, what can you do? You cannot rebel against it or run away from it or even accept it. It is there. So all action that is the outcome of reaction to like-and-dislike has come to an end.

Then you will find that there is an awareness that has become tremendously alive. It is not bound to any central issue or to any image – and from that intensity of awareness there is a different quality of attention and therefore the mind – because the mind is this awareness – has become extraordinarily sensitive and highly intelligent.

source: Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, PDF file, pp. 77 – 79

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