Thursday, December 17, 2009


When you become aware of your conditioning you will understand the whole of your consciousness. Consciousness is the total field in which thought functions and relationships exist. All motives, intentions, desires, pleasures, fears, inspirations, longings, hopes, sorrows, joys are in that field. But we have come to divide this consciousness into the active and the dormant, the upper and the lower levels---that is, all the daily thoughts, feelings and activities on the surface and below them the so-called subconscious, the things with which we are not familiar, which express themselves through certain imitations, intuitions and dreams.

We are occupied with one little corner of consciousness which is most of our life; the rest, which we call the subconscious, with all its motives, its fears, it racial and inherited qualities, we do not even know how to get into. Now I am asking you, is there such a thing as the subconscious at all? We use that word very freely. We have accepted that there is such a thing and all the phrases and jargon of analysts and psychologists have seeped into the language; but is there such a thing? And why is it that we give such extraordinary importance to it? It seems to me that it is as trivial and stupid as the conscious mind--as narrow, bigoted, conditioned, anxious and tawdry.

So is it possile to be totally aware of the whole field of consciousness and not merely a part, a fragment, of it? If you are aware of the totality, then you are functioning all the time with your total attention, not partial attention. This is important to understand because when you are being totally aware of the whole field of consciousness there is no friction. It is only when you divide consciousness, which is all thought, feeling and action, into different levels that there is friction.

We live in fragments. You are one thing at the office, another at home; you talk about democracy and in your heart you are autocratic; you talk about loving your neighbor, yet kill him with competition; there is one part of you working, looking, independently of the other. Are you aware of this fragmentary existence of yourself? And is it possible for a brain that has broken up its own functioning, its own thinking, into fragments---is it possible for such a brain to be aware of the whole field? Is it possible to look at the whole consciousness completely, totally, which means to be a total human being?

If, in order to understand the whole structure of ’me’, the self, with all its extraordinary complexity, you go step by step, uncovering layer by layer, examining every thought, feeling and motive, you willl get caught up in the analytical process whioch may take you weeks, months, years---and when you admit time into the process of understanding yourself, you must allow for every form of distortion because the self is a complex entity, moving, living, struggling, wanting, denying, with pressures and stresses and influences of all sorts continually at work on it. So you will discover for yourself that this is not the way; you will understand that the only way to look at yourself is totally, immediately, without time; and you can see the totality of yourself only when the mind is not fragmented. What you see in totality is truth.

Now can you do that? Most of us cannot because we have never approached the problem so seriously, because we have never looked at ourselves. Never. We blame others, we explain things away or we are frightened to look. But when you look totally you will give your attention, your whole being, everything of yourself, your eyes, your ears, your nerves; you will attend with complete self-abandonment, and then there is no room for fear, no room for contradiction, and therefore no conflict.

Attention is not the same thing as concentration. Concentration is exlcusion; attention, which is totall awareness, excludes nothing. It seems to me that most of us are not aware, not only of what we are talking about but of our environment, the colours around us, the people, the shape of the trees, the clouds, the movement of water. Perhaps it is because we are so concerned with ourselves, with our petty little problems, our own ideas, our own pleasures, pursuits and ambitions that we are not objectively aware. And yet we talk a great deal about awareness. Once in India I was traveling in a car. There was a chauffeur driving and I was sitting beside him. There were three men behind discussing awareness very intently and asking me questions about awareness, and unfortunately at that moment the driver was looking elsewhere and he ran over a goat, and the three gentlemen were still discussing awareness---totally unaware that they had run iover a goat. When this lack of attention was pointed out to those gentleman who were trying to be aware it was a great surprise to them.

And with most of us it is the same. We are not aware of outward things or of inward things. If you want to understand the beauty of a bird, a fly, or a leaf, or a person with all his complexities, you have to give your whole awareness which is awareness. And you can give your whole attention only when you care, which means that you really love to understand---then you give your whole mind and heart to find out.

Such awareness is like living with a snake in the room; you watch its every movement, you are very, very sensitive to the slightest sound it makes. Such a state of attention is total energy; in such awareness the totality of yourself is revealed in an instant.

J Krishnamurti ~ Freedom From The Known
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