Questioner: Do you advise meditation?
Krishnamurti: It all depends on what you call meditation. There is a great deal involved in this question. Have you ever done any so-called meditation? Perhaps some of you have in one form or another. Perhaps you have reflected deeply when there was a pressing human problem that demanded an answer; this can be considered to be a form of meditation. Through continual dwelling upon a certain idea which helps to eliminate other intruding ideas, you will learn con- centration; this also is considered to be a form of meditation. You want to awaken certain powers, the so-called occult powers, because you hope by having these powers you will find greater understanding. These practices are also considered a form of meditation.
To be constantly alert and aware, to be thoughtful, is the beginning of meditation, for without the true foundation of discernment, mere concentration and other forms of so-called meditation become dangerous and are without any deep significance. As I pointed out, when you are aware you will find that the mind is seeking a result, a conclusion, desiring achievement, security. To pursue a predetermined conclusion is no longer meditation for thought then is caught in its own net of images.
Let us consider the process of meditation a little more fully. It is very difficult to steady the wandering and trembling thought; it moves from one object of sensation to another, from one interest to another. In this process one becomes aware of the extreme sensitiveness of thought. Thought wanders from one set of ideas to another, either because of interest or merely because it is sluggish and indifferent. If thought merely controls itself from wandering, it becomes narrow, limited, and destructive. If thought is interested in wandering, then merely controlling itself is useless because that will not reveal why it is interested in the dissipation of its own energy. But if you are interested to find out why it is wandering then you are beginning to discern and be aware and there is then a natural, spontaneous concentration. So, first you must observe that thought is wandering, then discern why it wanders. When thought perceives that it is indolent, lazy, it is already beginning to be active, but merely controlling thought does not bring about creative action.
When there is a natural concentration of interest, not mere control, you begin to discover that thought is in a process of constant imitation and that it is ever wandering through its many layers of memories, precepts, examples; or, having had a stimulating sensation or experience during moments of concentration it re-creates it and tries to vivify the past sensation, but thereby it only stultifies its own creative process; or, apart from daily life, thought tries to develop various qualities in order to control its daily actions, and living loses its inherent significance, and standard becomes most important.
All this then is merely a form of approximation and not creative meditation. If you are aware in your daily activities - when you are talking, when you are walking, when you are making money or seeking pleasure - in that awareness, depending on your earnestness, there begins an understanding, a love, which is not at the behest of intellect or of emotion. So, meditation is a process of awareness in action. From the reality of life must spring meditation, and then meditation is a process of self-liberation. Meditation is not the approximation of a pattern. The stilling of the mind through will, choice, may achieve certain calmness but this calmness is of death, producing languor. This is not meditation. But the understanding of choice, which is a very delicate and strenuous process, is meditation in which there is calmness without a trace of languor or contentment. There must be alert and strenuous discernment in meditation. Meditation is a process of completeness, wholeness, not a series of achievements culminating in reality.
7th Public Talk 7th July, 1940