‘Insight’ is a state of mind in which there is no memory, no remembrance; there is no conclusion; there is no sense of anticipation; there is no quality of reaction. Insight is much more than all that.
Now when you ask a question, there is a hearing with the ear and there is also a hearing with the non-ear, which means that the mind is in a state where there is no remembrance, no conclusion, previous recording of that question and, therefore, no replying to that question according to memory. All that—remembrance, conclusions, ready responses, and so on—being absent, there is an insight into the question.
When there is an insight the brain cells themselves undergo a change. When there is insight, the insight transforms the brain cells.
First there is the hearing with the ear—which we all know. (Pause) Then there is the hearing without the ear—with the non-ear—which is a state similar to that of dropping a stone into a tranquil, completely quiet, pond or lake. When you drop a stone into such a pond, it makes little waves which disappear.
A state of listening with the non-ear is a state of absolute quietness of the mind. Now, when a question is put to such a mind, it is like a little stone that is dropped into a tranquil pond. The response is the wave, the little waves.
Suppose that the mind, consciousness, is fragmented. Naturally when you put a question to that fragmentary consciousness, the answer must be fragmentary.
Can the mind be so extraordinarily receptive that the past has no place in it at all? The past is a fragment and, so, does not enter into it at all.
Listening with the ear or hearing with the ear and the response from that listening to a question will necessarily be fragmented. Right? But when there is a listening without the ear, that state of listening is not fragmented.
Listening with the ear implies the recording and the remembrance and from that past knowledge, past experience, answering the question. However, as there is no past involved in the listening with the non-ear, there is no fragmentary answer.
I think the simile of a mill-pond is very good. Now, we are saying that the pond is absolutely quiet, and that the pond is nothing but clear, clean water. The pond is totally without all the pollution that man has put into it—the pollution is the past, and all the rest of it—and the question is put into that pond just as a pebble is, and the reply is the wave. I think—at least with me—that is how it functions.
Let’s see whether the hearing with the non-ear and the visual seeing without the past interfering with it are the same. Yes, the hearing without the ear and the seeing—the visual, optical seeing—without remembrance are the same. That is, to put it simply, when the past does not interfere in either case, they are the same.
I understand that the looking in is not like the sea going out and coming in but that it is an entirely different way of looking inward. The tide going out and the tide coming in—it is the same water. Whereas this optical going out and the looking within are two entirely different processes.
I question the whole thing. I wonder if there is a looking within at all. I wonder if there is any such thing as a looking within, because looking within may imply a movement of thought.
First there is a hearing with the ear, and then there is a hearing without the ear. The hearing without the ear is like a mill-pond that is absolutely still. It is without a single movement; there is no air that ruffles it. Now the question is like a stone that is popped into that still pond, and the answer is the waves. Yes, the waves are the answer to the question.
Right from the beginning one has said that you must approach the question afresh, and all the rest of it, so that the very throwing of the question into the mill-pond produces the answer. There is no entity that answers; that is very important to understand.
Now, let us go back to the question regarding the ‘seeing’ of thought. There is no problem with regard to the seeing of your face in the mirror, right? You can see your face in the mirror, but the seeing of thought in the mirror is not possible. Right? So the question is: What then is the ‘seeing’ of thought? You see, I don’t think there is a ‘seeing’ of thought.
It is clear that there is no seeing of thought, for ‘seeing’ implies that there is a ‘seer’ and that there is ‘thought’, and that the ‘seer’ and ‘thought’ are separate. The seer is thought. So there is only thought which cannot be seen in the mirror. So, for me, there is no inward looking.
I would use the word ‘aware’. Yes, I would say that thought becomes aware of itself, of its own activity. When you speak of ‘inward looking’, it sounds, to me, artificial and—forgive me—traditional. I think the thing works like a lake, like a tranquil mill-pond. Thought itself has to be quiet; it has to be as quiet as the lake. When you put a question to that lake, the question is answered from the lake.
source: Krishnamurti – Fire in the Mind PDF 44 – 51 – Pupul Jayakar
(Note: I have edited this dialog minimally in order to preserve the flow of Krishnamurti’s comments. Click on the PDF for the original passages.)