Jiddu Krishnamurti : The examination of oneself in order to modify or change is generally called introspection. To look within with an intention to change the responses of the self is what most people indulge in. In this process, there is always the observer and the observed, the observer having an end in view. In this process is involved not the understanding of what is, but only the transformation of what is. When that end, that transformation is not achieved, there is depression, there is frustration, that peculiar moodiness that goes with introspection. In this there is always the accumulating process of the ‘me’, the dualistic conflict from which there is no release. In this introspective action, there is a battle of the opposites in which there is always choice and the endless strife that it breeds.
Awareness is entirely different. Awareness is observation without choice, condemnation, or justification. Awareness is silent observation from which there arises understanding without the experiencer and the experienced. In this awareness, which is passive, the problem or the cause is given an opportunity to unfold itself and so give its full significance. In awareness there is no end in view to be gained, and there is no becoming, the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’ not being given the continuity.
In introspection there is self-improvement which causes self-centeredness. In the process of awareness there is no self-improvement; on the contrary, it is the ending of the self, the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’ with its idiosyncrasies, memories, demands, and pursuits. Self-introspection implies identification and condemnation, choice and justification. In awareness there are none of these things. Awareness is direct relationship without the intermediary of persuasion, like, or dislike. Awareness is being sensitive to nature, to things, to relationship of people and of ideas. It is an observation of every feeling, thought, and action as they arise from moment to moment. Awareness is not condemnatory; there is no accumulation of memory as the ‘me’. Awareness is the understanding of the actions of the self, that of the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’ in its relationship to things, people, and ideas. This awareness is from moment to moment and so it cannot be practiced; so awareness is not the cultivation of habit. A mind that is caught in the net of habits is insensitive. A mind that is functioning within a pattern of action is not pliable. Awareness demands constant alertness and pliability.
Introspection leads to frustration, to conflict, and misery. Awareness is a process of release from the activities of the self. To be aware of your daily actions, your movements of thought and feeling, to be aware of another, there must be that sensitive pliability which can only come with inquiry and interest. To know oneself fully – not just one or two layers of oneself – there must be that alert, expansive awareness and freedom so that the hidden intentions and pursuits are revealed.
Who is aware in awareness? In the state of experiencing, there is neither the experiencer nor the experience. It is only when the state of experiencing has gone, there emerges the experiencer and the experience, which is the division in memory itself. Since most of us live in memory with its responses, we invariably ask who is the observer and who is it that is aware. Surely, this is a wrong question, is it not? At the moment of experiencing, there is neither the ‘me’ which is aware nor the object of which he is aware. Most of us find it extremely difficult to live in a state of experiencing as it demands easy pliability, swift movement of thought and feeling, a high degree of sensitivity. All this is denied when we are pursuing a result, when achievement becomes far more important than understanding. Only a man who is not seeking an end, who is free from that bargaining spirit, who is not becoming – such a man is in a state of constant experiencing. You can experiment with this yourself and observe that, in experiencing, the experiencer and the experience do not exist.
The improvement of the self-expansion process can never bring truth. This self-expansion is ever self-enclosing. Awareness is the understanding of what is – the what is of your daily existence. It is only when you understand the truth of your daily existence that you can go far. But to go far, you must begin near. Without understanding the near, we look to the dim, distant future, which only brings confusion and misery.
Source – Jiddu Krishnamurti Tenth Talk in Bombay 1948