Jiddu Krishnamurti – We are concerned with life, and with the living of that life every day, with its painful struggles and fleeting pleasures, with its fears, hopes, despair and sorrow, with the aching loneliness and the complete absence of love, with the crude and subtle forms of selfishness, and with the ultimate fear of death.
So it is that which directly concerns us and to understand it deeply, with all the passion at our disposal, meditation is the key, but not the meditation given by another, put together by some book, by some philosopher or specialist, because the quality of meditation is very important. The word itself means to ponder over, to think over, to enter deeply into an issue.
Meditation then is not how to think or what to do to control the mind so that it becomes quiet and silent, but rather the understanding of all life’s problems, so that the beauty of silence comes into being, because without this quality of beauty, life has no significance at all. I do not mean by beauty, the beauty of those mountains, of those trees, the beauty of the light over the water or the bird on the wing, but the beauty in living, to come upon it in your daily life whether you are in the office or at home, when you are walking by yourself communing with nature and the world, because without that beauty life is utterly meaningless.
So let us together go into this question, not only objectively, outwardly but also inwardly. The outward movement is the inward as well, the two are not separate; they are like the outgoing and incoming tide and to understand them, not separate or divided, is the beauty of meditation. Therefore what is required to live totally, in which there is no strife, no contradiction, is balance and harmony, and meditation is the way.
Many things are involved in meditation; I hope you are interested in all this because it is one of the most important things to understand. If you do not know how to meditate, how to live – I am afraid most of us lead a very superficial life, going to the office, having a good job, having a family and a home, being entertained either at a cocktail party or at the cinema, and this we call living – then your life becomes a very dull, empty, shallow affair.
Unfortunately modern civilization, especially in this country, is becoming more and more standardized, more superficial. You may have all the luxuries in the world, good food, good houses, good bathrooms, and enjoy good health, but without the inward life, not the second-hand inward life of another, but an inward life of your own, which you have discovered for yourself, which you have cherished, which you are living and which is meditation, then life becomes a very shoddy business; then we shall have more wars, more destruction and more misery; so meditation, whether you like it or not, is absolutely essential for every human being, whatever he is, whether he is highly sophisticated or a simple person by the wayside, so I hope we can enter and take this journey together.
Meditation involves concentration, which if one observes it, is a way of exclusion; that is, concentration implies forcing thought in one particular direction and excluding everything else; that is generally what is meant by concentration. You focus and direct the mind upon something and that concentration builds a wall, erects a barrier which prevents any other thought from entering, and in doing that there is a dualistic process at work, a division, a contradiction, which is fairly obvious if you look at it.
So meditation is something other than concentration and control of thought although, of course, concentration is necessary. Meditation involves attention, which is not concentration, although concentration is included in attention. To attend – that means to give your whole mind, your heart and your body passionately to something and in that attention, if you observe very carefully, there is neither the thinker nor the thought, neither the observer nor the observed, but only a state of attention; and to attend so completely, so freely, there must be freedom.
Here then is the whole problem: it is only a mind which is totally free that can give complete attention, that can attend both intellectually and emotionally, aware of all its responses, from which comes freedom. And this is not so difficult, if you don’t give it an extraordinary meaning; it is really very simple. When you listen to anything – whether to music or to the weird cry of the coyotes as they call to each other of an evening, whether to the song of a bird or to the voice of your husband or wife – then give complete attention to it, and you do when the challenge is very great, immediate, then you listen with extraordinary attention.
When it is painful or profitable, when you are going to get something out of it, you listen very attentively; but when there is a reward in that listening, there is always the fear of losing.
Therefore in attention there is freedom, and only a free mind is capable of that quality of attention in which there is no achieving, no gaining or losing, and no fear. And a quiet, attentive mind is absolutely essential to understand this immense problem of living and come upon that state of love