Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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Understanding Loneliness

Talks by Krishnamurti in Europe | June 25th, 1955. London, England

Question: If we have not experienced that complete stillness, how can we know that it exists?

KRISHNAMURTI: Why do we want to know that it exists? It may not exist at all; it may be my illusion, a fancy. But one can see that so long as there is conflict, life is a misery. In understanding conflict, I will know what the other means. It may be an illusion, an invention, a trick of the mind - but in understanding the full significance of conflict, I may find something entirely different.

My mind is concerned with the conflict within itself and without. Conflict inevitably arises so long as there is an experiencer who is accumulating, who is gathering, and therefore always thinking in terms of time, of the 'more' and the 'less'. In understanding that, in being aware of that, there may come a state which may be called silence - give it any name you like. But the process is not the search for silence, for stillness, but rather the understanding of conflict, the understanding of myself in conflict.

I wonder if I have answered the question - which is, how do I know that there is silence? How do I recognize it? You understand? So long as there is a process of recognition, there is no silence.

After all, the process of recognition is the process of the conditioned mind. But in understanding the whole content of the conditioned mind, then the mind itself becomes quiet, there is no observer to recognize that he is in a state which he calls silence. Recognition of an experience has ceased.

Question: I would like to ask if you recognize the teaching of the Buddha that right understanding will help to solve the inner problems of man, and that inner peace of the mind depends entirely on self-discipline. Do you agree with the teachings of the Buddha?

KRISHNAMURTI: If one is inquiring to find out the truth of anything, all authority must be set aside, surely. There is neither the Buddha nor the Christ when one wishes to find what is true. Which means, really, the mind must be capable of being completely alone, and not dependent. The Buddha may be wrong, Christ may be wrong, and one may be wrong oneself. One must come to the state, surely, of not accepting any authority of any kind. That is the first thing - to dismantle the structure of authority. In dismantling the immense structure of tradition, that very process brings about an understanding. But merely to accept something because it has been said in a sacred book has very little meaning.

Surely, to find that which is beyond time, all the process of time must cease, must it not? The very process of search must come to an end. Because if I am seeking, then I depend - not only on another, but also on my own experience, for if I have learned something, I try to use that to guide myself. To find what is true, there must be no search of any kind - and that is the real stillness of the mind.

It is very difficult for a person who has been brought up in a particular culture, in a particular belief, with certain symbols of tremendous authority, to set aside all that and to think simply for himself and find out. He cannot think simply if he does not know himself, if there is no self-knowledge. And no one can give us self-knowledge - no teacher, no book, no philosophy, no discipline. The self is in constant movement; as it lives, it must be understood. And only through self-knowledge, through understanding the process of my own thinking, observed in the mirror of every reaction, do I find out that so long as there is any movement of the 'me', of the mind, towards anything - towards God, towards truth, towards peace - then such a mind is not a quiet mind; it is still wanting to achieve, to grasp, to come to some state. If there is any form of authority, any compulsion, any imitation, the mind cannot understand. And to know that the mind imitates, to know that it is crippled by tradition, to be aware that it is pursuing its own experiences, its own projections - that demands a great deal of insight, a great deal of awareness, of self-knowledge.

Only then, with the whole content of the mind, the whole consciousness, unraveled and understood, is there a possibility of a state which may be called stillness - in which there is no experiencer, no recognition.