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Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 9

I do not think we shall understand the complex problem of love till we understand the equally complex problem which we call the mind. Have you noticed, when we are very young, how inquisitive we are? We want to know, and we see many more things than the older people do. If we are at all awake, we observe things that the older people do not even notice. The mind, when we are young, is much more alert, much more curious and wanting to know. That is why we learn so easily mathematics, geography, or whatever it is. As we grow older, the mind becomes more and more crystallized, heavy, dull. Have you noticed how prejudiced most older people are? Their minds are not open, they approach everything from a fixed point of view. You are young now; but if you are not very watchful, your mind also will become like that. Is it not then very important to understand the mind, and to see whether, instead of gradually becoming dull, you can be supple, capable of instant adjustments, of extraordinary initiative, of deep research and understanding in every department of life? Must you not know the ways of the mind to understand the way of love? Because it is the mind that destroys love. People who are merely clever, cunning, do not know what love is, because their minds, although sharp, are superficial; they live on the surface, and love is not a thing that rests on the surface.

What is the mind? I do not mean just the brain, the physical organism which reacts to stimuli through various nervous responses, and about which any physiologist can tell you. Rather we are going to find out what the mind is. The mind which says, ` I think; `it is mine; `I am hurt; `I am jealous; `I love; `I hate; `I am an Indian; `I am a Moslem; `I believe in this and I do not believe in that; `I know and you do not know; `I respect; `I despise; `I want; `I do not want' - what is this thing? Unless you begin now to understand and make yourself thoroughly familiar with the whole process of thinking which is called the mind, unless you are fully aware of it in yourself, you will gradually, as you grow older, become hard, crystallized, dull, fixed in a certain pattern of thought.

What is this thing which we call the mind? It is the way of our thinking, is it not? I am talking of your mind, not somebody else's mind - the way you think and feel, the way you look at the trees, at the fishermen, the way you consider the villager. Your mind, as you grow older, gradually becomes warped or fixed in a certain pattern. You want something, you crave it, you desire to be or become something, and this desire sets a pattern; that is, your mind creates a pattern and gets caught in it. Your desire crystallizes your mind.

Say, for example, you want to be a very rich man. The desire to be wealthy creates a pattern, and your thinking then gets caught in it; you can think only in those terms, and you cannot go beyond them. Therefore your mind slowly becomes crystallized, it gets hard, dull. Or, if you believe in something - in God, in Communism, in a certain political system - that very belief sets the pattern, because it is the outcome of your desire; and your desire strengthens the walls of the pattern. Gradually your mind becomes incapable of quick adjustment, of deep penetration, of real clarity, because you are caught in the labyrinth of your own desires.

So, until we begin to investigate this process which we call the mind, until we are familiar with and understand our own ways of thinking, we cannot possibly find out what love is. There can be no love as long as our minds desire certain things of love, or demand that it act in a certain way. When we imagine what love should be and give to it certain motives, we gradually create a pattern of action with regard to love; but that is not love, it is merely our idea of what love should be.

Say, for example, I possess my wife or husband, as you possess a sari or a coat. If somebody took away your coat, you would be anxious, irritated, angry. Why? Because you regard that coat as your property; you possess it, and through its possession you feel enriched, don't you? Through possessing many clothes you feel enriched, not only physically but inwardly; and when somebody takes away your coat, you feel irritated because inwardly you are being deprived of that feeling of richness, that sense of possession.

Now, the feeling of possession creates a barrier with regard to love, does it not? If I own you, possess you, is that love? I possess you as I possess a car, a coat, a sari, because in possessing, I feel very gratified, and I depend on that feeling; it is very important to me inwardly. This sense of owning, possessing someone, this emotional dependence on another, is what we call love; but if you examine it, you will find that, behind the word `love', the mind is taking satisfaction in possession. After all, when you possess many beautiful saris, or a fine car, or a big house, the feeling that it is yours, inwardly gives you great satisfaction.

So, in desiring, wanting, the mind creates a pattern, and in that pattern it gets caught; and then it grows weary, dull, stupid, thoughtless. The mind is the centre of this feeling of possession, the feeling of the `me' and the `mine: `I own something', `I am a big man', `I am a little man', `I am insulted', `I am flattered', `I am clever', `I am very beautiful', `I want to be somebody', `I am the son or the daughter of somebody'. This feeling of the `me' and the `mine' is the very core of the mind, it is the mind itself. The more the mind has this feeling of being somebody, of being great, or very clever, or very stupid, and so on, the more it builds walls around itself and becomes enclosed, dull. Then it suffers, for in that enclosure inevitably there is pain. Because it is suffering, the mind says, "What am I to do?" But instead of removing the enclosing walls by awareness, by careful thought, by going into and understanding the whole process by which they are created, it struggles to find something else outside with which to enclose itself again. So the mind gradually becomes a barrier to love; and without understanding what the mind is, which is to understand the ways of our own thinking, the inner source from which there is action, we cannot possibly find out what love is.

Is not the mind also an instrument of comparison? You know what it means to compare. You say, "This is better than that; you compare yourself with somebody who is more beautiful, or less clever. There is comparison when you say, "I remember a river which I saw a year ago, and it is still more beautiful than this one". You compare yourself with a saint or a hero, with the ultimate ideal. This comparative judgment makes the mind dull; it does not quicken the mind, it does not make the mind comprehensive inclusive. When you are constantly comparing, what happens? When you see the sunset and immediately compare it with a previous sunset, or when you say, "That mountain is beautiful, but I saw a still more beautiful mountain two years ago", you are really not looking at the beauty which is there before you. So comparison prevents you from looking fully. If, in looking at you, I say, "I know a much nicer person", I am not really looking at you, am I? My mind is occupied with something else. To really look at a sunset, there must be no comparison; to really look at you, I must not compare you with someone else. It is only when I look at you fully, not with comparative judgment, that I can understand you. When I compare you with another, I do not understand you, I merely judge you, I say you are this or that. So, stupidity arises when there is comparison, because in comparing you with somebody else there is a lack of human dignity. But when I look at you without comparing, then my only concern is to understand you, and in that very concern, which is not comparative, there is intelligence, there is human dignity.

As long as the mind is comparing, there is no love; and the mind is always comparing, weighing, judging, is it not? It is always looking to find out where the weakness is; so there is no love. When the mother and father love their children, they do not compare one child with another. But you compare yourself with someone better, nobler, richer; you are all the time concerned with yourself in relation to somebody else, so you create in yourself a lack of love. In this way the mind becomes more and more comparative, more and more possessive, more and more dependent, thereby establishing a pattern in which it gets caught. Because it cannot look at anything anew, afresh, it destroys the very perfume of life, which is love.

Questioner: What should we ask God to give us?

Krishnamurti: You are very interested in God, are you not? Why? Because your mind is asking for something, wanting something. So it is constantly agitated. If I am asking or expecting something from you, my mind is agitated, is it not?

This boy wants to know what he should ask of God. He does not know, what God is, or what it is he really wants. But there is a general feeling of apprehension, the feeling, "I must ask, I must pray, I must be protected". The mind is always seeking in every corner to get something; it is always wanting, grasping, watching pushing, comparing, judging, and so it is never still. Observe your own mind and you will see what it is doing, how it tries to control itself, to dominate, to suppress, to find some form of satisfaction, how it is constantly asking, begging, struggling, comparing. We call such a mind very alert; but is it alert? Surely, an alert mind is a still mind, not one that, like a butterfly is chasing all over the place. And it is only a still mind that can understand what God is. A still mind never asks anything of God. It is only the impoverished mind that begs, that asks. What it asks, it can never have, because what it really wants is security comfort, certainty. If you ask anything of God, you will never find God.

Questioner: What is real greatness and how can I be great?

Krishnamurti: You see, the unfortunate thing is that we want to be great. We all want to be great. We want to be a Gandhi or a prime minister, we want to be great inventors, great writers. Why? In education, in religion, in all the departments of our life, we have examples. The great poet, the great orator, the great statesman, the great saint, the great hero - such people are held up as examples, and we want to be like them.

Now, when you want to be like another, you have created a pattern of action, have you not? You have set a limitation on your thought, bound it within certain limits. So your thought has already become crystallized, narrow, limited, stifled. Why do you want to be great? Why do you not look at what you are and understand that? You see, the moment you want to be like another, there is misery, conflict, there is envy, sorrow. If you want to be like the Buddha, what happens? You struggle everlastingly to achieve that ideal. If you are stupid and crave to be clever, you constantly try to leave what you are and go beyond it. If you are ugly and want to be beautiful, you long to be beautiful till you die, or you deceive yourself into thinking you are beautiful. So, as long as you are trying to be something other than what you actually are, your mind merely wears itself out. But if you say, "This is what I am, it is a fact, and I am going to investigate, understand it", then you can go beyond; for you will find that the understanding of what you are brings great peace and contentment, great insight, great love.

Questioner: Is not love based on attraction?

Krishnamurti: Suppose you are attracted to a beautiful woman or a handsome man. What is wrong with that? We are trying to find out. You see, when you are attracted to a woman, to a man, or to a child, what generally happens? you not only want to be with that person, but you want to possess, to call that person your own. Your body must be near that persons body. So what have you done? The fact is that when you are attracted, you want to possess, you do not want that person to look at anybody else; and when you consider another human being as yours, is there love? Obviously not. The moment your mind creates a hedge as the `mine' around that person, there is no love.

The fact is that our minds are doing this all the time. That is why we are discussing these things - to see how the mind is working; and perhaps, being aware of its own movements, the mind will be quiet of its own accord.

Questioner: What is prayer? Has it any importance in daily life?

Krishnamurti: Why do you pray? And what is prayer? Most prayer is merely a petitioning, an asking. You indulge in this kind of prayer when you suffer. When you feel all alone, when you are depressed and in sorrow, you ask God for help; so what you call prayer is a petition. The form of prayer may vary, but the intent behind it is generally the same. Prayer, with most people, is a petition, a begging, an asking. Are you doing that? Why do you pray? I am not saying that you should or should not pray. But why do you pray? Is it for more knowledge, for more peace? Do you pray that the world may be free from sorrow? Is there any other kind of prayer? There is prayer which is really not a prayer, but the sending out of good will, the sending out of love the sending out of ideas. What is it you are doing?

When you pray, generally you are asking God, or some saint, to fill your empty bowl, are you not? You are not satisfied with what happens, with what is given, but you want your bowl filled according to your wishes. So your prayer is merely a petition, it is a demand that you should be satisfied, therefore it is not prayer at all. You say to God, "I am suffering, please gratify me; please give me back my brother, my son. please make me rich". You are perpetuating your own demands, and that is obviously not prayer.

The real thing is to understand yourself, to see why you are perpetually asking for something, why there is in you this demand, this urge to beg. The more you know yourself through awareness of what you are thinking, what you are feeling, the more you will discover the truth of what is; and it is this truth that will help you to be free.

Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 9

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