Questioner: Am I to understand we have to meditate, but our minds are prevented from meditating because they tick over automatically and so we are unable to observe what happens around us? Does this mean that we must therefore observe what goes on inside our minds first?
Krishnamurti: 'To observe one needs to meditate' - I didn't say so. Observing is meditation, it is not that in order to observe you must meditate. To observe is one of the most, difficult things. To observe a tree, for example, is very difficult, and that is because you have ideas, images, about that tree, and these ideas - botanical knowledge - prevent you from looking at that tree. To observe your wife or your husband is even more difficult, again because you have an image about your wife and she has an image about you, and the relationship is between those two images. That is what is generally called relationship, which is two sets of memories, images, having a relationship. Just think of the absurdity of it - all relationship as we generally know it, is dead. To observe means actually to be aware of the interference of thought; to see how the image you have about the tree, about the person, about whatever it is, interferes with looking - observe that you forget what you are looking at, which is the tree, or the person; and see why thought interferes, why you have an image about that person. Why do you have an image about anybody? Here we are, you are looking at me, and I am looking at you - the speaker and you, the audience. You have an image about the speaker - unfortunately - but because I don't know you, I have no image and I can therefore look at you. But I cannot look at you if I say to myself, I'm going to use that audience to achieve power, position, to exploit it, become a famous man - you know all the rest of it - all that rubbish which human beings cultivate. So, to observe means to observe without the interference of one's background; but one is the background - you follow?-one's whole being which looks is one's background - as a Christian, as a Frenchman, or as an intellectual. in observing one discovers this background and observing it without any choice, without any inclination, is tremendous discipline, - not the absurd discipline of conformity, imitation. Such observation makes the mind extraordinarily active, extraordinarily sensitive - and the whole of that is meditation. Not, 'to observe you must meditate'; but rather it is in observing that all these things take place, and all this is meditation - not just some kind of control of thought, which we will discuss another time.
Talks in Europe, 1967
1st Public Talk Paris 16th April 1967