Question: You have suggested that through awareness alone, transformation is possible. What do you mean by awareness?
Jiddu Krishnamurti : Sir, this is a very complex question, but I shall try to describe what it is to be aware, if you will kindly listen and patiently follow it step by step, right through to the end. To listen is not just to follow what I am describing but actually to experience what is being described, which means watching the operation of your own mind as I describe it. If you merely follow what is being described, then you are not aware, observant, watchful of your own mind. Merely to follow a description is like reading a guidebook while the scenery goes by unobserved; but if you watch your own mind while listening, then the description will have significance, and you will find out for yourself what it means to be aware.
What do we mean by awareness? Let us begin at the simplest level. You are aware of the noise that is going on; you are aware of the cars, the birds, the trees, the electric lights, the people sitting around you, the still sky, the breathless air. Of all that you are aware, are you not? Now, when you hear a noise or a song, or see a cart being pushed, and so on, what is heard or observed is translated, judged by the mind; that is what you are doing, is it not?
Please follow this slowly. Each experience, each response, is interpreted according to your background, according to your memory. If there were a noise which you were hearing for the first time, you would not know what it was; but you have heard the noise a dozen times before, so your mind immediately translates it, which is the process of what we call thinking. Your reaction to a particular noise is the thought of a cart being pushed, which is one form of awareness.
You are aware of color, you are aware of different faces, different attitudes, expressions, prejudices, and so on. And if you are at all alert, you are also aware of how you respond to these things, not only superficially, but deeply. You have certain values, ideals, motives, urges, on different levels of your being; and to be conscious of all that is part of awareness. You judge what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong; you condemn, evaluate, according to your background, that is, according to your education and the culture in which you have been brought up. To see all this is part of awareness, is it not?
Now, let us go a little further. What happens when you are aware that you are greedy, violent, or envious? Let us take envy and stick to that one thing. Are you aware that you are envious? Please go with me step by step, and bear in mind that you are not following a formula. If you make it into a formula, you will have lost the significance of the whole thing. I am unfolding the process of awareness, but if you merely learn by heart what has been described, you will be exactly where you are now. Whereas, if you begin to see your conditioning, which is to be aware of the operation of your own mind as I go on explaining, then you will come to the point where an actual transformation is possible.
So you are aware, not only of outward things and your interpretation of them, but you have also begun to be aware of your envy. Now, what happens when you are aware of envy in yourself? You condemn it, don’t you? You say that it is wrong, that you must not be envious, that you must be loving, which is the ideal. The fact is that you are envious, while the ideal is what you should be. In pursuing the ideal, you have created a duality, so there is a constant conflict, and in that conflict you are caught.
Are you aware, as I am describing this process, that there is only one thing, which is the fact that you are envious? The other, the ideal, is nonsense; it is not an actuality. And it is very difficult for the mind to be free of the ideal, to be free of the opposite, because traditionally, through centuries of a particular culture, we have been taught to accept the hero, the example, the ideal of the perfect man, and to struggle towards it. That is what we have been trained to do. We want to change envy into nonenvy, but we have never found out how to change it, and so we are caught in everlasting strife.
Now, when the mind is aware that it is envious, that very word envious is condemnatory. Are you following, sirs? The very naming of that feeling is condemnatory, but the mind cannot think except in words. That is, a feeling arises with which a certain word is identified, so the feeling is never independent of the word. The moment there is a feeling like envy, there is naming, so you are always approaching a new feeling with an old idea, an accumulated tradition. The feeling is always new, and it is always translated in terms of the old.
Now, can the mind not name a feeling like envy but come to it afresh, anew? The very naming of that feeling is to make it old, to capture it and put it into the old framework. And can the mind not name a feeling – that is, not translate it by calling it a name, and thereby either condemning or accepting it – but merely observe the feeling as a fact?
Sir, experiment with yourself, and you will see how difficult it is for the mind not to verbalize, not to give a name to a fact. That is, when one has a certain feeling, can that feeling be left unnamed and be looked at purely as a fact? If you can have a feeling and really pursue it to the end without naming it, then you will find that something very strange happens to you. At present the mind approaches a fact with an opinion, with evaluation, with judgment, with denial or acceptance. That is what you are doing.
There is a feeling, which is a fact, and the mind approaches that fact with a term, with an opinion, with judgment, with a condemnatory attitude, which are dead things. Do you understand? They are dead things, they have no value, they are only memory operating on the fact.
The mind approaches the fact with a dead memory; therefore, the fact cannot operate on the mind. But if the mind merely observes the fact without evaluation, without judgment, condemnation, acceptance, or identification, then you will find that the fact itself has an extraordinary vitality because it is new. What is new can dispel the old; therefore, there is no struggle not to be envious – there is the total cessation of envy. It is the fact that has vigor, vitality, not your judgments and opinions about the fact; and to think the thing right through, from the beginning to the end, is the whole process of awareness.
Source- Jiddu Krishnamurti talks in India, 1955-56