Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Public Talk 21st March, 1948 | Mumbai, India

Question: What is the difference between awareness and introspection? And who is aware in awareness?


Awareness is observation without condemnation. Awareness brings understanding, because there is no condemnation or identification, but silent observation. Surely, if I want to understand something, I must observe, I must not criticize, I must not condemn, I must not pursue it as pleasure or avoid it as non-pleasure. There must merely be the silent observation of a fact. There is no end in view, but awareness of everything as it arises. That observation and the understanding of that observation cease when there is condemnation, identification, or justification. Introspection is self-improvement, and therefore introspection is self-centredness. Awareness is not self-improvement. On the contrary, it is the ending of the self, of the `I', with all its peculiar idiosyncrasies, memories, demands and pursuits. In introspection, there is identification and condemnation. In awareness, there is no condemnation or identification; therefore, there is no self-improvement. There is a vast difference between the two. The man who wants to improve himself can never be aware, because improvement implies condemnation and the achievement of a result. Whereas, in awareness, there is observation without condemnation, without denial or acceptance. That awareness begins with outward things, being aware, being in contact with objects, with nature. First, there is awareness of things about one, being sensitive to objects, to nature, then to people, which means relationship, and then there is awareness of ideas. This awareness, being sensitive to things, to nature, to people, to ideas, is not made up of separate processes, but is one unitary process. It is a constant observation of everything, of every thought and feeling and action as they arise within oneself. And as awareness is not condemnatory, there is no accumulation. You condemn only when you have a standard, which means there is accumulation, and therefore improvement of the self. Awareness is to understand the activities of the self, the `I', in its relationship with people, with ideas, and with things. That awareness is from moment to moment, and therefore it cannot be practiced. When you practise a thing, it becomes a habit; and awareness is not habit. A mind that is habitual is insensitive, a mind that is functioning within the groove of a particular action is dull, unplayable; whereas, awareness demands constant pliability, alertness. This is not difficult. It is what you all do when you are interested in something, when you are interested in watching your child, your wife, your plants, trees, birds. You observe without condemnation, without identification; therefore, in that observation, there is complete communion, the observer and the observed are completely in communion. This actually takes place when you are deeply, profoundly interested in something. So, there is a vast difference between awareness, and the self-expansive improvement of introspection. The one, which is introspection, leads to frustration, to further and greater conflict; whereas, awareness is a process of release from the action of the self; it is to be aware of your daily movements, of your thoughts, of your actions, and to be aware of another, to observe him. You can do that only when you love somebody, when you are deeply interested in something; and when I want to know myself, my whole being, the whole content of myself and not just one or two layers, then there obviously must be no condemnation. Then I must be open to every thought, to every feeling, to all the moods, to all the suppressions; and as there is more and more expansive awareness, there is greater and greater freedom from all the hidden movement of thoughts, motives and pursuits. So, awareness is freedom, it brings freedom, it yields freedom. Whereas, introspection cultivates conflict, the process of self-enclosure; therefore in it there is always frustration and fear.

Tags: awreness

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