One does not seem to be able to understand how extraordinarily important it is to see what one is, actually, as though one is looking at oneself in a mirror, psychologically; thereby bringing about a transformation in the very structure of oneself. When one fundamentally, deeply, brings about such a transformation, or mutation, then that mutation affects the whole consciousness of man. This is an absolute fact, a reality.
To bring about a fundamental transformation becomes very important, if one is at all serious, if one is concerned with the world as it is, with all its appalling misery, confusion, and uncertainty, with all the divisions of religions and nationalities, with their wars, with their accumulation of armaments, spending enormous sums to prepare for war, to kill people, in the name of nationality and so on and so on.
To see what one actually is, it is vital that there be freedom, freedom from the whole content of one's consciousness; the content of consciousness being all the things put together by thought. Freedom from the content of one's consciousness, from one's angers and brutalities, from one's vanities and arrogance, from all the things that one is caught up with, is meditation. The very seeing of what one is, is the beginning of transformation. Meditation implies the ending of all strife, of all conflict, inwardly and therefore outwardly. Actually, there is no inward or outward, it is like the sea, there is the ebb and flood.
In uncovering what one actually is, one asks: Is the observer, oneself, different from that which one observes - psychologically that is. I am angry, I am greedy, I am violent; is that different from the thing observed, which is anger, greed, violence? Is one different? Obviously not. When I am angry there is no I that is angry, there is only anger. So anger is me; the observer is the observed. The division is eliminated altogether. The observer is the observed and therefore conflict ends.
Part of meditation is to eliminate totally all conflict, inwardly and therefore outwardly. To eliminate conflict one has to understand this basic principle; the observer is not different from the observed, psychologically. When there is anger, there is no I, but a second later thought creates the I and says:"I have been angry" and brings in the idea that I should not be angry. So there is anger and then the I who should not be angry; the division brings conflict. When there is no division between the observer and the observed, and therefore only the thing that is, which is anger, then what takes place? Does anger go on? Or is there a total ending of anger? When anger occurs and there is no observer, no division, it blossoms and then ends - like a flower, it blooms, withers and dies away. But as long as one is fighting it, as long as one is resisting it, or rationalizing it, one is giving life to it. When the observer is the observed, then anger blossoms, grows and naturally dies - therefore there is no psychological conflict in it.
One lives by action; action according to a motive, according to an ideal, according to a pattern, or habitual and traditional action, all without any investigation. A mind that is in meditation must find out what action is. One of the major problems in one's life is conflict and from conflict all kinds of neurotic activities arise. To end conflict and therefore to end neurotic action, it is very important, so that one has a sane mind, a mind that is healthy, a mind that is not neurotically caught in beliefs and fears and so on.
How does one act, according to what principle, according to what quality or state of mind does one act? Generally one acts from memory, the memory which is set in a pattern, which has become habit, routine. One acts according to that which is remembered as pleasant; or one acts according to an ideal one has determined to carry out in daily life; or one has an ambition which one tries to fulfil. There are various types of action and each of them is incomplete, fragmented, none is holistic - "I'm a business man and I come home and I love my children, but when I'm at business, there, I do not love anybody, I want profit, etc, etc; I may be a scholar, a painter, but my life - though I am an excellent painter - is shoddy, I'm vicious, greedy, wanting money, position, recognition, fame."
One's actions are divided, fragmentary and when there is fragmentary action it must inevitably bring conflict, psychologically. Is there action which is without conflict in which there are no regrets, no failures, no sense of frustration; is there action which is whole, harmonious, complete, an action not in a particular field contrary to another field? One has to see what one is actually doing, how one is actually living a contradictory life, acting contradictorily and therefore in conflict. One must become aware of it. And if one is completely aware, then what takes place?
Suppose I live in contradictory actions and you tell me, "Be aware of it". What do you mean by being aware of it? - I ask. Awareness is not possible when you choose, when you say: "I like that particular action, I would like to keep that; please help me to avoid all other action." That is not awareness; that is choosing a particular action which appears most satisfactory, most comforting, most gratifying, rewarding and so on. Where there is choice there is no complete awareness. If one is completely aware, there is no problem. There is then an action which is continuous, without any brake and therefore holistic. It is to have a mind that is sane, which implies not being committed to any particular form of belief, dogma, or ideal, nothing. In the process of meditation one comes to find that action.
To find out what meditation is, all previous knowledge of what meditation is thought to be blocks the exploration. Freedom from psychological authority is absolutely necessary. What is necessary in the investigation? Is it concentration; is it attention or is it awareness? When one concentrates, one's whole energy is focused on something particular, one resists and puts aside all interfering thoughts. In concentration one is resisting. But to be aware of one's thought there is no concentration; one does not choose in awareness which thought one would like; one is just aware. From that awareness comes attention.
In attention there is no center from which one is attending. This is really important to understand, it is the essence of meditation. In concentration there is a center from which one is concentrating, on a picture or on an idea or on some image, etc; one is exercising energy in concentration, in resisting, building a wall, so that no other thought comes in and there must be conflict. To totally eliminate that conflict, become choicelessly aware of thought; then there is no contradiction, no resistance about any thought. From that arises awareness; awareness of all the movement of one's thought. Out of that awareness comes attention. When one is attending to something, really deeply, there is no center, there is no me.
In attention - if one has gone that far - one is free from all the travails of thought, its fears, agonies and despairs; that is the foundation. The content of one's consciousness is being emptied; it is being freed. Meditation is the emptying of the content of consciousness. That is the meaning and the depth of meditation, the emptying of all the content - thought coming to an end.
Meditation is the attention in which there is no registration. Normally the brain is registering almost everything, the noise, the words which are being used - it registering like a tape. Now is it possible for the brain not to register except that which is absolutely necessary? Why should I register an insult? Why? Why should I register flattery? It is unnecessary. Why should I register any hurts? Unnecessary. Therefore, register only that which is necessary in order to operate in daily life - as a technician, a writer and so on - but psychologically, do not register anything. In meditation there is no registration psychologically, no registration except the practical facts of living, going to the office, working in a factory and so on - nothing else. Out of that comes complete silence, because thought has come to an end - except to function only where it is absolutely necessary. Time has come to an end and there is a totally different kind of movement, in silence.
Religion then has a totally different meaning, whereas before it was a matter of thought. Thought made the various religions and therefore each religion is fragmented and in each fragment there are multiple divisions. All that is called religion, including the beliefs, the hopes, the fears and the desire to be secure in another world and so on, is the result of thought. It is not religion, it is merely the movement of thought, in fear, in hope, in trying to find security - a material process.
Then what is religion? It is the investigation, with all one's attention, with the summation of all one's energy, to find that which is sacred, to come upon that which is holy. That can only take place when there is freedom from the noise of thought - the ending of thought and time, psychologically, inwardly - but not the ending of knowledge in the world where you have to function with knowledge. That which is holy, that which is sacred, which is truth, can only be when there is complete silence, when the brain itself has put thought in its right place. Out of that immense silence there is that which is sacred.
Silence demands space, space in the whole structure of consciousness. There is no space in the structure of one's consciousness as it is, because it is crowded with fears - crowded, chattering, chattering. When there is silence, there is immense, timeless space; then only there is a possibility of coming upon that which is the eternal, sacred.
More about and by Krishnamurti
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