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Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11 May, 1895, at Madanapalle, a small village in south India. Soon after moving to Madras with his family in 1909, Krishnamurti was adopted by Mrs. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society. She was convinced that he was to become a great spiritual teacher. Three years later she took him to England to be educated in preparation for his future role. An organization was set up to promote this role. In 1929, after many years of questioning himself and the destiny imposed upon him, Krishnamurti disbanded this organisation, turning away all followers saying:

"Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organisation be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path."

From that time until his death in February 1986 at the age of ninety, he travelled round the world speaking as a private person, teaching - giving talks and having discussions. Many of these talks have been published as books, audio and video tapes. Krishnamurti evolved his unique teaching from his own being and living, for he had read no religious or philosophical literature. His aim was to set people psychologically free so that they might be in harmony with themselves, with nature and with others. He taught that mankind has created the environment in which he lives and that nothing can ever put a stop to the violence and suffering that has been going on for thousands of years except a transformation in the human psyche. If only a dozen people are transformed, it would change the world.

Krishnamurti maintained that there is no path to this transformation, no method for achieving it, no gurus or other spiritual authorities who can help. He pointed to the need for an ever- deepening awareness of one's own mind in which the limitations of the mind could drop away. Krishnamurti was a world teacher. Although born of Indian parentage, he stated repeatedly that he had no nationality and belonged to no particular culture of group. What he hoped his audience would learn, he himself lived.

Education had always been one of Krishnamurti's chief concerns. If a young person could learn to see his conditioning of race, nationality, religion, dogma, tradition, opinion etc., which inevitably leads to conflict, then he might become a fully intelligent human being for whom right action would follow. A prejudiced or dogmatic mind can never be free.

During his life time he established several schools in different parts of the world where young people and adults could come together and explore this possibility further in actual daily living. Krishnamurti said of the schools that they were places "where students and teachers can flower inwardly." Because, "schools are meant for that, not just merely to turn out human beings as mechanical, technological instruments - though jobs and careers are necessary - but also to flower as human beings, without fear, without confusion, with great integrity." He was concerned to bring about "a good human being, not in the respectable sense, but in the sense of whole, unfragmented". He wanted the schools to be "real centres of understanding, of comprehension of life. Such places are necessary. That is why we have these schools".

1993 The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd, Brockwood Park, Bramdean, Hampshire, England.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Core of the Teachings

The following statement was written by Krishnamurti himself on October 21, 1980 in which he summarises the teachings. It may be copied and used provided this is done in its entirety. No editing or change of any kind is permitted. No extracts may be used.

"The core of Krishnamurti's teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said: 'Truth is a pathless land'. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a fence of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man's thinking, his relationships and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all mankind. So he is not an individual."

"Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man's pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution."

"When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind."

"Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence."

All Rights Reserved Copyright 1980 Krishnamurti Foundation of America P.O. Box 1560, Ojai, California 93024-1560, USA

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Feeling Intelligence

The very first thing to do, if I may suggest it, is to find out why you are thinking in a certain way, and why you are feeling in a certain manner. Don't try to alter it, don't try to analyze your thoughts and your emotions; but become conscious of why you are thinking in a particular groove and from what motive you act. Although you can discover the motive through analysis, although you may find out something through analysis, it will not be real; it will be real only when you are intensely aware at the moment of the functioning of your thought and emotion; then you will see their extraordinary subtlety, their fine delicacy. So long as you have a "must" and a "must not," in this compulsion you will never discover that swift wandering of thought and emotion. And I am sure you have been brought up in the school of "must" and "must not" and hence you have destroyed thought and feeling. You have been bound and crippled by systems, methods, by your teachers. So leave all those "must" and "must nots." This does not mean that there shall be licentiousness, but become aware of a mind that is ever saying, "I must," and "I must not." Then as a flower blossoms forth of a morning, so intelligence happens, is there, functioning, creating comprehension.

Intellect vs. Intelligence

Training the intellect does not result in intelligence. Rather, intelligence comes into being when one acts in perfect harmony, both intellectually and emotionally. There is a vast distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is merely thought functioning independently of emotion. When intellect, irrespective of emotion, is trained in any particular direction, one may have great intellect, but one does not have intelligence, because in intelligence there is the inherent capacity to feel as well as to reason; in intelligence both capacities are equally present, intensely and harmoniously.

... If you bring your emotions into business, you say, business cannot be well managed or be honest. So you divide your mind into compartments: in one compartment you keep your religious interest, in another your emotions, in a third your business interest which has nothing to do with your intellectual and emotional life. Your business mind treats life merely as a means of getting money in order to live. So this chaotic existence, this division of your life continues. If you really used your intelligence in business, that is, if your emotions and your thought were acting harmoniously, your business might fail. It probably would. And you will probably let it fail when you really feel the absurdity, the cruelty and the exploitation that is involved in this way of living.

Until you really approach all of life with your intelligence, instead of merely with your intellect, no system in the world will save man from the ceaseless toil for bread.

Sentiment & Emotion Breed Cruelty

One can see that neither emotion nor sentiment has any place at all where love is concerned. Sentimentality and emotion are merely reactions of like or dislike. I like you and I get terribly enthusiastic about you — I like this place, oh, it is lovely and all the rest, which implies that I don't like the other and so on. Thus sentiment and emotion breed cruelty. Have you ever looked at it? Identification with the rag called the national flag is an emotional and sentimental factor and for that factor you are willing to kill another - and that is called, the love of your country, love of the neighbor . . .? One can see that where sentiment and emotion come in, love is not. It is emotion and sentiment that breed the cruelty of like and dislike. And one can see also that where there is jealousy, there is no love, obviously. I am envious of you because you have a better position, better job, better house, you look nicer, more intelligent, more awake and I am jealous of you. I don't in fact say I am jealous of you, but I compete with you, which is a form of jealousy, envy. So envy and jealousy are not love and I wipe them out; I don't go on talking about how to wipe them out and in the meantime continue to be envious - I actually wipe them out as the rain washes the dust of many days off a leaf, I just wash them away.


What do we mean by emotion? Is it a sensation, a reaction, a response of the senses? Hate, devotion, the feeling of love or sympathy for another — they are all emotions. Some, like love and sympathy, we call positive, while others, like hate, we call negative and want to get rid of. Is love the opposite of hate? And is love an emotion, a sensation, a feeling that is stretched out through memory?

...So, what do we mean by love? Surely, love is not memory. That is very difficult for us to understand because for most of us, love is memory. When you say that you love your wife or your husband, what do you mean by that? Do you love that which gives you pleasure? Do you love that with which you have identified yourself and which you recognize as belonging to you? Please, these are facts; I am not inventing anything, so don't look horrified.

...It is the image, the symbol of "my wife" or "my husband" that we love, or think we love, not the living individual. I don't know my wife or my husband at all; and I can never know that person as long as knowing means recognition. For recognition is based on memory — memory of pleasure and pain, memory of the things I have lived for, agonized over, the things I possess and to which I am attached. How can I love when there is fear, sorrow, loneliness, the shadow of despair? How can an ambitious man love? And we are all very ambitious, however honorably.

So, really to find out what love is, we must die to the past, to all our emotions, the good and the bad — die effortlessly, as we would to a poisonous thing because we understand it.

One Must Have Great Feelings

In the modern world where there are so many problems, one is apt to lose great feeling. I mean by that word feeling, not sentiment, not emotionalism, not mere excitement, but that quality of perception, the quality of hearing, listening, the quality of feeling, a bird singing on a tree, the movement of a leaf in the sun. To feel things greatly, deeply, penetratingly, is very difficult for most of us because we have so many problems. Whatever we seem to touch turns into a problem. And, apparently, there is no end to man's problems, and he seems utterly incapable of resolving them because the more the problems exist, the less the feelings become.

I mean by "feeling" the appreciation of the curve of a branch, the squalor, the dirt on the road, to be sensitive to the sorrow of another, to be in a state of ecstasy when we see a sunset. These are not sentiments, these are not mere emotions. Emotion and sentiment or sentimentality turn to cruelty, they can be used by society; and when there is sentiment, sensation, then one becomes a slave to society. But one must have great feelings. The feeling for beauty, the feeling for a word, the silence between two words, and the hearing of a sound clearly — all that generates feeling. And one must have strong feelings, because it is only the feelings that make the mind highly sensitive.

Observation Without Thought

There is no feeling without thought; and behind thought is pleasure; so those things go together: pleasure, the word, the thought, the feeling; they are not separated. Observation without thought, without feeling, without word is energy. Energy is dissipated by word, association, thought, pleasure and time; therefore there is no energy to look.

Totality of Feeling

What is feeling? Feeling is like thought. Feeling is a sensation. I see a flower and I respond to that flower; I like it or dislike it. The like or the dislike is dictated by my thought, and the thought is the response of the background of memory. So, I say, "I like that flower," or "I do not like that flower;" "I like this feeling" or "I do not like that feeling." ...Now, is love related to feeling? Feeling is sensation, obviously—sensation of like and dislike, of good and bad, of good taste and all the rest of it. Is that feeling related to love? ... Have you watched your street, have you watched the way you live in your houses, the way you sit, the way you talk? And have you noticed all your saints whom you worship? For them passion is sex, and therefore they deny passion, therefore they deny beauty—deny in the sense of putting those aside. So, with sensation you have put away love because you say, `Sensation will make me a prisoner, I will be a slave to sex-desire; therefore I must cut it out." Therefore you have made sex into an immense problem. ... When you have understood feeling completely, not partially, when you have really understood the totality of feeling, then you will know what love is. When you can see the beauty of a tree, when you can see the beauty of a smile, when you can see the sun setting behind the walls of your town—see totally—then you will know what love is.

If You Do Not Name That Feeling

When you observe a feeling, that feeling comes to an end. But even though the feeling comes to an end, if there is an observer, a spectator, a censor, a thinker who remains apart from the feeling, then there is still a contradiction. So it is very important to understand how we look at a feeling.

Take, for instance, a very common feeling: jealousy. We all know what it is to be jealous. Now, how do you look at your jealousy? When you look at that feeling, you are the observer of jealousy as something apart from yourself. You try to change jealousy, to modify it, or you try to explain why you are justified in being jealous, and so on and so forth. So there is a being, a censor, an entity apart from jealousy who observes it. For the moment jealousy may disappear, but it comes back again; and it comes back because you do not really see that jealousy is part of you.

...What I am saying is that the moment you give a name, a label to that feeling, you have brought it into the framework of the old; and the old is the observer, the separate entity who is made up of words, of ideas, of opinions about what is right and what is wrong. ... But if you don't name that feeling — which demands tremendous awareness, a great deal of immediate understanding — then you will find that there is no observer, no thinker, no center from which you are judging, and that you are not different from the feeling. There is no `you' who feels it.

Emotions Lead Nowhere

Whether you are guided by your emotions or guided by your intellect, it leads to despair because it leads nowhere. But you realize that love is not pleasure, love is not desire. You know what pleasure is, sir? When you look at something or when you have a feeling, to think about that feeling, to dwell constantly upon that feeling gives you pleasure, and that pleasure you want and you repeat that pleasure over and over again. When a man is very ambitious or a little ambitious, that gives him pleasure. When a man is seeking power, position, prestige in the name of the country, in the name of an idea, and all the rest of it, that gives him pleasure. He has no love at all, and therefore he creates mischief in the world. He brings about war within and without. So one has to realize that emotions, sentiment, enthusiasm, the feeling of being good, and all that have nothing whatsoever to do with real affection, compassion. All sentiment, emotions have to do with thought and therefore lead to pleasure and pain. Love has no pain, no sorrow, because it is not the outcome of pleasure or desire.

Memory Negates Love

Is it possible to love without thinking? What do you mean by thinking? Thinking is a response to memories of pain or pleasure. There is no thinking without the residue which incomplete experience leaves. Love is different from emotion and feeling. Love cannot be brought into the field of thought; whereas feeling and emotion can be brought. Love is a flame without smoke, ever fresh, creative, joyous. Such love is dangerous to society, to relationship. So, thought steps in, modifies, guides it, legalizes it, puts it out of danger; then one can live with it. Do you not know that when you love someone, you love the whole of mankind? Do you not know how dangerous it is to love man? Then, there is no barrier, no nationality; then, there is no craving for power and position, and things assume their values. Such a man is a danger to society.

For the being of love, the process of memory must come to an end. Memory comes into being only when experience is not fully, completely understood. Memory is only the residue of experience; it is the result of a challenge which is not fully comprehended. Life is a process of challenge and response. Challenge is always new but the response is ever old. This response, which is conditioning, which is the result of the past, must be understood and not disciplined or condemned away. It means living each day anew, fully and completely. This complete living is possible only when there is love, when your heart is full, not with the words nor with the things made by the mind. Only where there is love, memory ceases; then every movement is a rebirth.

Do Not Name A Feeling

What happens when you do not name? You look at an emotion, at a sensation, more directly and therefore have quite a different relationship to it, just as you have to a flower when you do not name it. You are forced to look at it anew. When you do not name a group of people, you are compelled to look at each individual face and not treat them all as a mass. Therefore you are much more alert, much more observing, more understanding; you have a deeper sense of pity, love; but if you treat them all as the mass, it is over.

If you do not label, you have to regard every feeling as it arises. When you label, is the feeling different from the label? Or does the label awaken the feeling?...>p> If I do not name a feeling, that is to say if thought is not functioning merely because of words or if I do not think in terms of words, images or symbols, which most of us do—then what happens? Surely the mind then is not merely the observer. When the mind is not thinking in terms of words, symbols, images, there is no thinker separate from the thought, which is the word. Then the mind is quiet, is it not? —not made quiet, it is quiet. When the mind is really quiet, then the feelings which arise can be dealt with immediately. It is only when we give names to feelings and thereby strengthen them that the feelings have continuity; they are stored up in the center, from which we give further labels, either to strengthen or to communicate them.

Remain With A Feeling And See What Happens

You never remain with any feeling, pure and simple, but always surround it with the paraphernalia of words. The word distorts it; thought, whirling round it, throws it into shadow, overpowers it with mountainous fears and longings. You never remain with a feeling, and with nothing else: with hate, or with that strange feeling of beauty. When the feeling of hate arises, you say how bad it is; there is the compulsion, the struggle to overcome it, the turmoil of thought about it...

Try remaining with the feeling of hate, with the feeling of envy, jealousy, with the venom of ambition; for after all, that's what you have in daily life, though you may want to live with love, or with the word 'love'. Since you have the feeling of hate, of wanting to hurt somebody with a gesture or a burning word, see if you can stay with that feeling. Can you? Have you ever tried? Try to remain with a feeling, and see what happens. You will find it amazingly difficult. Your mind will not leave the feeling alone; it comes rushing in with its remembrances, its associations, its do's and don'ts, its everlasting chatter. Pick up a piece of shell. Can you look at it, wonder at its delicate beauty, without saying how pretty it is, or what animal made it? Can you look without the movement of the mind? Can you live with the feeling behind the word, without the feeling that the word builds up? If you can, then you will discover an extraordinary thing, a movement beyond the measure of time, a spring that knows no summer.

Understanding Words

I do not know if you have ever thought out or gone into this whole process of verbalizing, giving a name. If you have done so, it is really a most astonishing thing and a very stimulating and interesting thing. When we give a name to anything we experience, see or feel, the word becomes extraordinarily significant; and word is time. Time is space, and the word is the center of it. All thinking is verbalization; you think in words. And can the mind be free of the word? Don't say, "How am I to be free?" That has no meaning. But put that question to yourself and see how slavish you are to words like India, Gita, communism, Christian, Russian, American, English, the caste below you and the caste above you. The word love, the word God, the word meditation—what extraordinary significance we have given to these words and how slavish we are to them.

Memory Clouds Perception

Are you speculating, or are you actually experiencing as we are going along? You do not know what a religious mind is, do you? From what you have said, you don't know what it means; you may have just a flutter or a glimpse of it, just as you see the clear, lovely blue sky when the cloud is broken through; but the moment you have perceived the blue sky, you have a memory of it, you want more of it and therefore you are lost in it; the more you want the word for storing it as an experience, the more you are lost in it.

Words Create Limitations

Is there a thinking without the word? When the mind is not cluttered up with words, then thinking is not thinking as we know; but it is an activity without the word, without the symbol; therefore it has no frontier—the word is the frontier.

The word creates the limitation, the boundary. And a mind that is not functioning in words, has no limitation; it has no frontiers; it is not bound. ...Take the word love and see what it awakens in you, watch yourself; the moment I mention that word, you are beginning to smile and you sit up, you feel. So the word love awakens all kinds of ideas, all kinds of divisions such as carnal, spiritual, profane, infinite, and all the rest of it. But find out what love is. Surely, Sir, to find out what love is the mind must be free of that word and the significance of that word.

Going Beyond Words

To understand each other, I think it is necessary that we should not be caught in words; because, a word like God, for example, may have a particular meaning for you, while for me it may represent a totally different formulation, or no formulation at all. So it is almost impossible to communicate with each other unless both of us have the intention of understanding and going beyond mere words. The word freedom generally implies being free from something, does it not? It ordinarily means being free from greed, from envy, from nationalism, from anger, from this or that. Whereas, freedom may have quite another meaning, which is a sense of being free; and I think it is very important to understand this meaning.

...After all, the mind is made up of words, amongst other things. Now, can the mind be free of the word 'envy'? Experiment with this and you will see that words like God, truth, hate, envy, have a profound effect on the mind. And can the mind be both neurologically and psychologically free of these words? If it is not free of them, it is incapable of facing the fact of envy. When the mind can look directly at the fact which it calls 'envy', then the fact itself acts much more swiftly than the mind's endeavor to do something about the fact. As long as the mind is thinking of getting rid of envy through the ideal of non-envy, and so on, it is distracted, it is not facing the fact; and the very word envy is a distraction from the fact. The process of recognition is through the word; and the moment I recognize the feeling through the word, I give continuity to that feeling.

Extraordinary Seeing

So we are asking, as at the beginning, can the mind come to that extraordinary seeing, not from the periphery, from the outside, from the boundary, but come upon it without any seeking? And to come upon it without seeking is the only way to find it. Because in coming upon it unknowingly, there is no effort, no seeking, no experience; and there is the total denial of all the normal practices to come into that center, to that flowering. So the mind is highly sharpened, highly awake, and is no longer dependent upon any experience to keep itself awake.

When one asks oneself, one may ask verbally; for most people, naturally, it must be verbal. And one has to realize that the word is not the thing—like the word tree' is not the tree, is not the actual fact. The actual fact is when one touches it, not through the word but when one actually comes into contact with it. Then it is an actuality —which means the word has lost its power to mesmerize people. For example, the word God is so loaded and it has mesmerized people so much that they will accept or deny, and function like a squirrel in a cage! So the word and the symbol must be set aside.

Perception of Truth Is Immediate

The verbal state has been carefully built up through centuries, in relation between the individual and society; so the word, the verbal state is a social state as well as an individual state. To communicate as we are doing, I need memory, I need words, I must know English, and you must know English; it has been acquired through centuries upon centuries. The word is not only being developed in social relationships, but also as a reaction in that social relationship to the individual; the word is necessary. The question is: it has taken so long, centuries upon centuries, to build up the symbolical, the verbal state, and can that be wiped away immediately? . . . Through time are we going to get rid of the verbal imprisonment of the mind, which has been built up for centuries? Or must it break immediately? Now, you may say, "It must take time, I can't do it immediately." This means that you must have many days, this means a continuity of what has been, though it is modified in the process, till you reach a stage where there is no further to go. Can you do that? Because we are afraid, we are lazy, we are indolent, we say "Why bother about all this? It is too difficult"; or "I do not know what to do"—so you postpone, postpone, postpone. But you have to see the truth of the continuation and the modification of the word. The perception of the truth of anything is immediate—not in time. Can the mind break through instantly, on the very questioning? Can the mind see the barrier of the word, understand the significance of the word in a flash and be in that state when the mind is no longer caught in time? You must have experienced this; only it is a very rare thing for most of us.

Subtle Truth

You have the flash of understanding, that extraordinary rapidity of insight, when the mind is very still, when thought is absent, when the mind is not burdened with its own noise. So, the understanding of anything—of a modern picture, of a child, of your wife, of your neighbor, or the understanding of truth which is in all things—can only come when the mind is very still. But such stillness can not be cultivated because if you cultivate a still mind, it is not a still mind, it is a dead mind.

...The more you are interested in something, the more your intention to understand, the more simple, clear, free the mind is. Then verbalization ceases. After all, thought is word, and it is the word that interferes. It is the screen of words, which is memory, that intervenes between the challenge and the response. It is the word that is responding to the challenge, which we call intellection. So, the mind that is chattering, that is verbalizing, cannot understand truth—truth in relationship, not an abstract truth. There is no abstract truth. But truth is very subtle. It is the subtle that is difficult to follow. It is not abstract. It comes so swiftly, so darkly, it cannot be held by the mind. Like a thief in the night, it comes darkly, not when you are prepared to receive it. Your reception is merely an invitation of greed. So a mind that is caught in the net of words cannot understand truth.

All Thought Is Partial

You and I realize that we are conditioned. If you say, as some people do, that conditioning is inevitable, then there is no problem; you are a slave, and that is the end of it. But if you begin to ask yourself whether it is at all possible to break down this limitation, this conditioning, then there is a problem; so you will have to inquire into the whole process of thinking, will you not? If you merely say, "I must be aware of my conditioning, I must think about it, analyze it in order to understand and destroy it," then you are exercising force. Your thinking, your analyzing is still the result of your background, so through your thought you obviously cannot break down the conditioning of which it is a part.

Just see the problem first, don't ask what is the answer, the solution. The fact is that we are conditioned, and that all thought to understand this conditioning will always be partial; therefore there is never a total comprehension, and only in total comprehension of the whole process of thinking is there freedom. The difficulty is that we are always functioning within the field of the mind, which is the instrument of thought, reasonable or unreasonable; and as we have seen, thought is always partial.

Freedom From The Self

To free the mind from all conditioning, you must see the totality of it without thought. This is not a conundrum; experiment with it and you will see. Do you ever see anything without thought? Have you ever listened, looked, without bringing in this whole process of reaction? You will say that it is impossible to see without thought; you will say no mind can be unconditioned. When you say that, you have already blocked yourself by thought, for the fact is you do not know.

So can I look, can the mind be aware of its conditioning? I think it can. Please experiment. Can you be aware that you are a Hindu, a Socialist, a Communist, this or that, just be aware without saying that it is right or wrong? Because it is such a difficult task just to see, we say it is impossible. I say it is only when you are aware of this totality of your being without any reaction that the conditioning goes, totally. deeply — which is really the freedom from the self.

Awareness May Burn Away The Problems

All thinking obviously is conditioned; there is no such thing as free thinking. Thinking can never be free, it is the outcome of our conditioning, of our background, of our culture, of our climate, of our social, economic, political background. The very books that you read and the very practices that you do are all established in the background, and any thinking must be the result of that background. So if we can be aware—and we can go presently into what it signifies, what it means, to be aware—perhaps we shall be able to unconditional the mind without the process of will, without the determination to uncondition the mind. Because the moment you determine, there is an entity who wishes, an entity who says, "I must uncondition my mind." That entity itself is the outcome of our desire to achieve a certain result, so a conflict is already there. So, it is possible to be aware of our conditioning, just to be aware?—in which there is no conflict at all. That very awareness, if allowed, may perhaps burn away the problems.

Noble Conditioning

Does not the urge of the mind to free itself from its conditioning set going another pattern of resistance and conditioning? Having become aware of the pattern or mold in which you have grown up, you want to be free from it; but will not this desire to be free condition the mind again in a different manner? The old pattern insists that you conform to authority, and now you are developing a new one which maintains that you must not conform; so you have two patterns, one in conflict with the other. As long as there is this inner contradiction, further conditioning takes place.

...There is the urge that makes for conformity, and the urge to be free. However dissimilar these two urges may seem to be, are they not fundamentally similar? And if they are fundamentally similar, then your pursuit of freedom is vain, for you will only move from one pattern to another, endlessly. There is no noble or better conditioning, and it is this desire that has to be understood.

Freedom From Conditioning

The desire to free oneself from conditioning only furthers conditioning. But if, instead of trying to suppress desire, one understands the whole process of desire, in that very understanding there comes freedom from conditioning. Freedom from conditioning is not a direct result. Do you understand? If I set about deliberately to free myself from my conditioning, that desire creates its own conditioning. I may destroy one form of conditioning, but I am caught in another. Whereas, if there is an understanding of desire itself, which includes the desire to be free, then that very understanding destroys all conditioning. Freedom from conditioning is a by product; it is not important. The important thing is to understand what it is that creates conditioning.

Simple Awareness

Surely any form of accumulation, either of knowledge or experience, any form of ideal, any projection of the mind, any determined practice to shape the mind—what it should be and should not be—all this is obviously crippling the process of investigation and discovery....

So I think our inquiry must be not for the solution of our immediate problems but rather to find out whether the mind—the conscious as well as the deep unconscious mind in which is stored all the tradition, the memories, the inheritance of racial knowledge—whether all of it can be put aside. I think it can be done only if the mind is capable of being aware without any sense of demand, without any pressure—just to be aware. I think it is one of the most difficult things—to be so aware—because we are caught in the immediate problem and in its immediate solution, and so our lives are very superficial. Though one may go to all the analysts, read all the books, acquire much knowledge, attend churches, pray, mediate, practice various disciplines, nevertheless, our lives are obviously very superficial because we do not know how to penetrate deeply. I think the understanding, the way of penetration, how to go very, very deeply, lies through awareness—just to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, without condemnation, without comparison, just to observe. You will see, if you will experiment, how extraordinarily difficult it is, because our whole training is to condemn, to approve, to compare.

No Part of the Mind Is Unconditioned

Your mind is conditioned right through; there is no part of you which is unconditioned. That is a fact, whether you like it or not. You may say is a part of you— the watcher, the super-soul, the Atma — which is not conditioned; but because you think about it, it is within the field of thought, therefore it is conditioned. You can invent lots of theories about it, but the fact is that your mind is conditioned right through, the conscious as well as the unconscious, and any effort it makes to free itself is also conditioned. So what is the mind to do? Or rather, what is the state of the mind when it knows that it is conditioned and realizes that any effort it makes to uncondition itself is still conditioned?

Now, when you say, "I know I am conditioned," do you really know it, or is that merely a verbal statement? Do you know it with the same potency with which you see a cobra? When you see a snake and know it to be a cobra, there is immediate, unpremeditated action; and when you say, "I know I am conditioned," has it the same vital significance as your perception of the cobra? Or is it merely a superficial acknowledgment of the fact, and not the realization of the fact? When I realize the fact that I am conditioned, there is immediate action. I don't have to make an effort to uncondition myself. The very fact that I am conditioned, and the realization of that fact, brings an immediate clarification. The difficulty lies in not realizing it in the sense of understanding all its implications, seeing that all thought, however subtle, however cunning, however sophisticated or philosophical, is conditioned.

The Burden of the Unconscious

Inwardly, unconsciously, there is the tremendous weight of the past pushing you in a certain direction....

Now, how is one to wipe all that away? How is the unconscious to be cleansed immediately of the past? The analysts think that the unconscious can be partially or even completely cleansed through analysis—through investigation, exploration, confession, the interpretation of dreams, and so on—so that at least you become a "normal" human being, able to adjust yourself to the present environment. But in analysis there is always the analyzer and the analyzed, an observer who is interpreting the thing observed, which is a duality, a source of conflict.

So I see that mere analysis of the unconscious will not lead anywhere. It may help me to be a little less neurotic, a little kinder to my wife, to my neighbor, or some superficial thing like that; but that is not what we are talking about. I see that the analytical process—which involves time, interpretation, the movement of thought as the observer analyzing the thing observed—cannot free the unconscious; therefore I reject the analytical process completely. The moment I perceive the fact that analysis cannot under any circumstances clear away the burden of the unconscious, I am out of analysis. I no longer analyze. So what has taken place? Because there is no longer an analyzer separated from the thing that he analyzes, he is that thing. He is not an entity apart from it. Then one finds that the unconscious is of very little importance.

The Interval Between Thoughts

Now, I say it is definitely possible for the mind to be free from all conditioning—not that you should accept my authority. If you accept it on authority, you will never discover, it will be another substitution and that will have no significance....

The understanding of the whole process of conditioning does not come to you through analysis or introspection, because the moment you have the analyzer that very analyzer himself is part of the background and therefore his analysis is of no significance.

...How is it possible for the mind to be free? To be free, the mind must not only see and understand its pendulum-like swing between the past and the future but also be aware of the interval between thoughts...

If you watch very carefully, you will see that though the response, the movement of thought, seems so swift, there are gaps, there are intervals between thoughts. Between two thoughts there is a period of silence which is not related to the thought process. If you observe you will see that that period of silence, that interval, is not of time and the discovery of that interval, the full experiencing of that interval, liberates you from conditioning—or rather it does not liberate 'you' but there is liberation from conditioning.... It is only when the mind is not giving continuity to thought, when it is still with a stillness that is not induced, that is without any causation—it is only then that there can be freedom from the background.

Observe How Habits Are Formed

Without freedom from the past there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. It is only the fresh, innocent mind that is free. Freedom has nothing to do with age, it has nothing to do with experience; and it seems to me that the very essence of freedom lies in understanding the whole mechanism of habit, both conscious and unconscious. It is not a question of ending habit, but of seeing totally the structure of habit. You have to observe how habits are formed and how, by denying or resisting one habit, another habit is created. What matters is to be totally conscious of habit; for then, as you will see for yourself there is no longer the formation of habit. To resist habit, to fight it, to deny it, only gives continuity to habit. When you fight a particular habit you give life to that habit, and then the very fighting of it becomes a further habit. But if you are simply aware of the whole structure of habit without resistance, then you will find there is freedom from habit, and in that freedom a new thing takes place.

It is only the dull, sleepy mind that creates and clings to habit. A mind that is attentive from moment to moment - attentive to what it is saying, attentive to the movement of its hands, of its thoughts, of its feelings - will discover that the formation of further habits has come to an end. This is very important to understand, because as long as the mind is breaking down one habit, and in that very process creating another, it can obviously never be free; and it is only the free mind that can perceive something beyond itself.