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The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 29th April, 1948

We have been discussing for the past few days the problem of individual transformation and why it has not been possible for you to effect immediate transformation. We saw that transformation can take place only in the Now and not in the hereafter; any form of approach which involves thinking in terms of time, evolution, growth, leads to postponement. All of our philosophy which is based on this conception of growth is erroneous. Thought-process cannot bring about transformation. Thought implies a constant response of the conditioned mind; this conditioning is due to memory which is the residue of incomplete experience. We are the product of the memory, of the mind; therefore, no process of the mind can solve any problem except a factual problem. All human problems are changing and not static. Therefore, a mind that has a fixed opinion or a conclusion cannot understand a new problem. Emotions, feelings, cannot lead to transformation. Emotions and sentimentality are within the field of the mind and they are sensations. Therefore, they cannot solve the problem.

Devotion, immolation of oneself to an idea, to a guru, to an object, to God, cannot lead to transformation. There is always, in this, the seeking of an end; there is always a process of sentimentality and emotion in this and it is merely clothed in the form of devotion. Therefore, devotion also is in the field of the mind and cannot lead to transformation. When we put aside all the above screens or barriers to understanding, what is left with us? When all these forms of intellection are removed, there is an inward sense of creative being. There is no problem outside the mind; so, when the mind is cleansed, we are face to face with the problem.

When the problem is thus confronted and when there is no response from the mind which is the past, we are not concerned with anything. The mind has understood that all the responses of memory, because they are thought-processes, are no good for bringing about transformation. Therefore, all these responses are put aside and the mind confronts the problem. It is only when you directly experience this state that you will see what difference it makes.

What is the actual state of the mind when the mind is alert and when there is no action of memory on the problem or when there is no desire for a result?

We said that the mind was still; stillness was a direct experience. If it is not a direct experience to you, do not use words. When the mind is not acting on the problem, we experience first a stillness. There is no verbal expression for that state yet. The mind is not asleep. The whole content of consciousness, not merely the superficial layer, is quiet. If the superficial layers only are still, the deeper layers will project themselves into the superficial and there will be the pulsations of the past, the promptings of the deeper layers. Therefore, this state of quietness where there is no such prompting, is the one corresponding to the quietness at all levels of consciousness. In that state, we are not naming and recording. When we are not recording an experience, it is really the state of experiencing, in which there is neither the experiencer nor the experience. When the experience fades away, there arises the experiencer and the experience, the thinker and the thought. This stillness is not the result of a desire. Desire or seeking a result creates action; from action the actor is born. Therefore, if there is seeking for a result, there cannot be stillness.

Question: Did I not push out all the thoughts that arose in my mind, in order to bring about stillness?

Krishnamurti: No. You did not push out, but your understanding of the thought-process led to the thoughts drop- ping away by themselves. As long as there is an effort to exclude a thought, that effort is a barrier to understanding and therefore a barrier to stillness. The desire to seek an end creates action which in turn breeds the actor. As long as you do not understand that memory cannot solve a human problem, your effort to push away, which is based only on memory, cannot produce stillness of the mind. When there is a vital insistent problem of daily life, you view it with memory and therefore it is conditioned. When you realize that no action of memory can lead to understanding, then memory ceases to function and the mind is no longer acting on the problem, and therefore the mind is still.

In this state, the past has been wiped away, even if it be only for a split second. Memory is always waiting to creep in and therefore a thought may arise during this interval of stillness. The understanding of this makes the mind very watchful and very alert; it is also still. The mind that has been cultivated, made to expand, by self-expansion, has now realized that all this is to be put away; therefore, all this drops away and the mind is silent. In that silence, there is neither the experiencer nor the experience, but only the state of experiencing, of stillness which is not static but with an extraordinary activity. Only the stillness which is the product of memory, is static.

Question: Mind is still and seems to be non-existent.

Krishnamurti: We are discussing not the stillness of the mind but the state of the mind when memory is not acting on the problem. There is stillness and in that state something happens. If I tell you anything strongly, you accept it even if you have no experiencing; this is hypnotism.

Question: When I understand that memory conditions, I do not find memory acting and there is stillness. I tried to experiment then with the suffering of another whom I knew. I then felt as though I was myself suffering and not the other person of whom I was thinking. Then the thinking crept in.

Krishnamurti: We are trying to find out what it means to have this constant revolution inside us, regeneration. Mere modification of memory is not transformation. As long as there is a movement of memory, there cannot be any regeneration. Regeneration is a new state which I do not know; and I must approach it through negation, and understand it negatively. Any response of memory, however fleeting, cannot produce regeneration. When I see it, the response of memory drops away. It may come back again; but, if I see it again, again it drops away. From every movement of this thought, there is creative existence. When memory is in abeyance, the mind is very quiet. By constant watchfulness, this interval arises when thought does not act at all. What comes out of this interval?

When the mind is in such a state, there is a natural expansive awareness which is not exclusive; i.e., there is a state of concentration without a concentrator. The process is as follows -

I want to know every form of memory and I am watchful. When any thought arises it is examined and its truth seen. Then that thought drops away. There is no discipline, effort, struggle, involved in this.

Question: What happens when, in that state, there is a desire?

Krishnamurti: All desire is thought.

The understanding mind is denuding itself of all thoughts and there is also the lengthening of the interval between thought and thought. What happens in that interval? The interval has been experienced. When thought arises in that interval, that thought is examined with greater quickness, anew. The lengthening of the interval between two thoughts gives greater capacity to deal with any thought that may arise in that interval. The experiencing of this interval is what we are now considering. There is a vitality in this interval. In this interval all effort has stopped; there is no choice, no condemnation, no justification, and no identification; there is also no interpretation of any kind.

Question: What is meant by examining the thought, in the state of silence? It is not I suppose merely to recognize it as a form of memory and to push it out, which is a process of choice and effort, but to recognize the significance of it.

Krishnamurti: We are trying to see if the new can be met anew and understood without the burden of the past. Meeting of the new as the new is regeneration. I have understood a thought and that thought disappears. There is an interval of calm and clarity. Then a thought arises. How do I deal with that thought? If I try to deal with it with my memory, I cannot deal with it. Can you examine the thought without your memory?

Question: I do not push that thought away. The thought disappears of itself.

Krishnamurti: How do you deal with the thought without memory? Don't say who is dealing with it and so on. Do you condemn or analyze the thought or what do you do with it? Has not that interval a relationship with that thought? Does not that interval which is a state of being, which is new, meet the old which is the thought arising? This means the new is meeting the old; but, the new cannot absorb the old. The old can absorb the new and modify it; but the new cannot absorb the old. Therefore the new always extends and the old disappears by itself. There is no exclusion, no suppression, nor condemnation, nor avoidance. It is in this manner that the thought arising in the interval disappears.

What happens in the interval? In experiencing that interval and communicating it, you must also be experiencing in order to see my communication. In that interval, another thought comes in. I recognize it. The mind in the form of that thought is now facing the interval which is new. The new is operating on the old and the old cannot be absorbed by the new, and therefore the thought disappears. This interval is extraordinary in that it is without thought, without effort, without choice.

Question: Will there be pure perception then?

Krishnamurti: In that interval, there will be complete cessation of desires. That interval is alert, passive, choiceless awareness. There is cessation of desire, cessation of thought. In that state which is experiencing, communication is impossible; i.e., words cannot be a means of experience. In that state, there is no sensation; and sensation is thought-process and thought-process is verbal. If you and I are experiencing the same state, then, because it is non-sensuous, we can understand each other.

Regeneration is not a factor depending upon me; because, it cannot be brought about by any effort or any struggle on my part. In itself, that interval is living, it has action. I don't have to hold on to it and say 'it must live'. Without causation which is from memory, this interval lives by itself and it also gets lengthened. There is the experiencing of such a state in which there is no cause and effect. There is a state of being without causation, with no time in it (no yesterday producing today and no today producing tomorrow), a state without time and yet living vitally. In other words, this is a state of being in which there is living full of vitality, which has no causation and therefore timeless, and yet without death. There is also a newness which is not repetitive. That state is creation. In that state there is no effort; but, a new birth takes place always, a transformation not in terms of time taking place all the time.

To sum up, this state of being is not exclusive, is not manufactured by will, is not the result of the past, is not the end of a desire, but is a state of real action without a cause, timeless, living and undergoing a transformation in itself.

Experiencing and deepening of that state is also taking place. It is not one isolated experience but it is a state of constant experiencing. Therefore, regeneration is a constant revolution inside us. This regeneration is new and it will meet every problem anew. If that is functioning, that new meets the old without being contaminated by the old. Therefore, such a man can live even in the midst of a greedy world without being affected by that greed, but himself altering the greed in the world. This new is always moving and it transforms everything it meets.

Now, your difficulty is not understanding a problem at all, but to have that interval between two thoughts. Therefore, you do not want to strive to be good, to be non-violent etc. You are only concerned with that interval with which you can live from moment to moment. You have no problem and nothing to maintain; for, as that interval functions, the problems as they arise will be promptly dealt with, by the new meeting the old without being in any way contaminated by the old.

The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 29th April, 1948

Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.

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