On Ontology Of Thought And Self: Reflections From J. Krishnamurti. Part-(2)

Seeing “As It Is”

This is the point we are verily agnizing ourselves, not because someone said it. Such a state can’t be stagnant or concrete; instead, it’s evanescence and see-through one’s self from moment to moment. It doesn’t mean that in such a state, the mind is entirely free from all conditioning, it has countless conflicts, wishes, and feelings but the mind can see all are ‘as it is’. The mind is aware of its wishes and conflicts and the mind is not accepting or condemning anything; rather, it sees those feelings and thoughts as it is without any indulgence. Such a mind has to be in silence, a deep quietness, it is no longer wanting to be something nor seeking anything. 

The nature of society and the collective is that it is consistently going for some kind of goal or pursuing an ideal figure. Continuously looking for a higher level of livelihood, in such a society, there has to be a conflict between those who have more and those who have less ergo, the conflict arises between people and ourselves. To be free from such a society means being in nothing less, no longer seeking anything, and being aware of the fact. 

When the conditioned mind gets angry, it tries to solve the angriness, or won’t be aware of its anger. But the nature of a quiet mind is to see the way anger as it is and its quiddities. We all need pleasure and want to relinquish pain, and both pleasure and pain are the concomitants of desire. In our day to day life we used to point out that “I can’t suffer more”, “ I need something pleasurable”. We never said that “ I want to avoid both suffering and pleasure”.

So, here the question is, both suffering and pleasure are the concomitants of desire then, how can we keep something which is a pleasure and get rid of suffering? Nor, is it possible at all to do that?. 

From our experience, we can understand that it is impossible to avoid suffering because we have a deep-rooted desire. That is to say; we never considered feeling and thoughts as it is, instead we used to keep pleasure with us and get rid of suffering as an endless chain, and it is an impossible praxis. Desire creates conflict, and we can’t live in conflict. But if we can look at our desire not to get rid of it or seek it, as desire as it is then, the urge no longer influences the mind or contradicts it. Such a mind is a light to itself. 

Observing The Self and What it is?

That’s where the idea of ‘The observer is observed’ is indispensable. If we seek pleasure, there is pain, and both are contradictory, which we call desire. And this contradiction is existing in each nook and cranny of our life. According to Krishnamurthi, the contradiction is the division between the “observer and the observed, thinker and the thought” or call it as the centre (which is the self) experiences the outer world.  

When we look at one of our friends, what is the first thing that comes to mind? It is an image that we create through the years with the associations, inclinations, memories, and inherited and acquired moments with that friend. Here, we are looking at her/him with this image, and that person is also doing the same thing. That’s to say, it’s a rendezvous between two images that we created in the past. 

But, in our life, we have created multifarious images and continuously creating new images in the ground of old once. Therefore, our being is appending and removing new images with the old images, and that’s what we call the Me, Self, Individual etc.

One can question that if the self is there, we can only think in a self-centric way because, at the core of the matter there is self, so-so, whatever reflects from us coming from the self. But we understood that what we call as self means zillions of images, therefore, a mere illusion. This means the thought itself comes from such a centric arena as the destructive power because whatever you think, it can only think from the centre. It is not only making our idea of self is wrong, but everything is wrong. 

The meaning of self is that “a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others” here the self is getting dominant and leading value. Let’s think we all have the idea of ‘Self, Me, I’ am’ and we accept that it’s a real entity and it has the foremost priority in our day to day life but, once we gain the notion that self ( I am) is real then, it’s building an apparatus from all other things. Like, If someone calls you a moron then, the sudden realization would be that I am not a moron and we try to prove that the other is the moron. 

Because it is torture to imagine yourself as a moron but in the true essences what we understood as self is just an illusion of an image. Precisely articulating the thinker (you/me) is only an image, a mere illusion which our thought created. 

When The Thought Ends

The truth of the matter is that thoughts are conditioned. The process of thinking is the repercussion of its conditioning. It is not like one part of the mind is conditioned, and the other is not; therefore, the unconditioned part can eliminate the conditioned part ergo, it can’t act upon it. All that matters is, only when the thought ends, the mind still and quiet without any movement, then, only it is unconditioned. 

When we realize that whatever I think is conditioned and I can’t do anything about it because, no matter what I do about it, it is another form of conditioning itself. Therefore, only I can go beyond the conditioning when there is no thought at all. In such a state, there are no images, no perspectives, and no central point where you can look, and there is no thinker who thinks.

 In terms of Krishnamurti, “In ancient China, before an artist began to paint anything – a tree, for instance – he would sit down in front of it for days, months, years, it didn’t matter how long until he was the tree. He did not identify himself with the tree, but he was the tree, which means that there was no space between him and the tree, no space between the observer and the observed, no experiencer experiencing the beauty, the movement, the shadow, the depth of a leaf, the quality of color. He was totally the tree, and in that state only could he paint(1*)”.

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Practically speaking, when we ‘meditate’ we are giving full attention to our breath, seeing, hearing which usually happens without our attention as a preprogrammed process. But when attention is paying on to these processes, we are changing and challenging ourselves, creating a thoroughfare between the conscious and the unconscious parts of ourselves. Seeing each of our breath as it is and not comparing a breath to another and saying this breath is not as good as the previous one or thinking about the present breath and judging it is beauty and quality with the next one. 

Also, we are not thinking about breath; instead, we are utterly attentive to each breath. Here, we are creating new experiences one by one as an endless process. “Like the autumnal leaf that withers and is blown away, leaving the tree naked(2)*”.

Our Own Journey

To be an ‘observer’ means to be in outright attentiveness. Not comparing, analyzing or judging just be attentive and see things as it is. When we say ‘Today is not good as yesterday’ we are not at all attentive. Rather we are comparing today with yesterday which doesn’t have any meaning at all. But when we see and feel today as today with complete attentiveness, there is no space for judgment and comparison with yesterday. In such a state, we are creating new endless creativity and possibility. 

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It is like absolute freedom from enslavement. Maybe we can understand this logically, but we can’t truly experience what that means or can’t tell someone the meaning of freedom if that person ever realized slavery. There is an illimitable difference between telling about the freedom to a slave and being free from slavery. And the significance and impact of both would have a ginormous difference. Forbye, Freedom is not an end; it is just the beginning of an endless journey. It is a pathless path where we need to find a very own journey without an end. 

1*)- Krishnamurti, J. (2010). Freedom from the Known. London: Ebury Publishing, p. 94

2*)- Krishnamurti, J., 2007. As One Is. Prescott, Ariz: Hohm Press, p.19

Click here to read Part One.

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