Question: How do you “see” a fact without any reaction – without condemnation or justification, without prejudice or the desire for a conclusion, without wanting to do something about it, without the sense of thine and mine? What is the point of such “seeing” or awareness? Have you actually done this, and could you exemplify from your own experience?
Jiddu Krishnamurti: First of all, do we see a fact? – not how do we see a fact, but do we see a fact? Do we see the fact, for example, of greed, of contradiction, in ourselves? What exactly do we mean by “seeing”? Am I aware that I am greedy? And how do I regard it? Am I capable of seeing that I am greedy, without explanations, without condemnation, without trying to do something about it, without justifying it, without the desire to transform it into nongreed? Let us take the example of envy or greed, or feeling inferior or superior, or jealousy, and so on. Take one thing like that, and see what happens.
First of all, most of us are unaware that we are envious; we brush it casually aside as a bourgeois thing, as being superficial. But deeply, inwardly, profoundly, we are envious. We are envious beings. We want to be something, we want to achieve, we want to arrive – which is the very indication of envy. Our social, economic, spiritual systems are based on that envy.
First of all, be aware of it. Most of us are not. We justify it; we say, “If we hadn’t envy, what would happen to civilization? If we did not make progress and had no ambition, and so on, what would we do? – everything would collapse, would stagnate.” So, that very statement, that very justification, surely prevents us from looking at the fact that we are, you and I, envious.
Then, if we are at all conscious, aware, seeing all this – then what happens? If we do not justify, we condemn, don’t we? – because we think that state of envy, or whatever state it is you feel, is wrong, not spiritual, not moral. So we condemn, which prevents us seeing what is, does it not? When I justify or condemn or have a desire to do something about it, that prevents me from looking at it, doesn’t it? Let us examine this glass in front of me on the table.
I can look at it without thinking who made it, observing the pattern, and so on; I can just look at it. Similarly, is it not possible to look at my envy, not to condemn it, not to have the desire to alter it, to do something about it, to justify it? Then, if I do not do all that, what happens? I hope you are following this, substituting for envy your own particular burden.
I hope you are not merely listening to me telling you something about it but are observing your own relation to a certain fact which is causing you disturbance or pain or confusion. Please watch yourself, and apply what we are saying to yourself – watch your own mind in the process of thinking. We are partaking together, sharing together in this experiment to find out what “seeing” is, going more and more deeply into it.
So, if I would see that I am envious, be aware of it, see the content of it, then the desire to do something, to condemn, to justify, obviously comes to an end because I am more interested to see what it is, what is behind it, what is its inward nature. If I am not interested to know more deeply, more intimately, the content of this whole problem of envy, then I am satisfied by merely condemning.
So, if I am not condemning, not desiring to do something about it, I am a little nearer, intimate, more close to the problem. Then how do I look at it? How do I know I am greedy? Is it the word that is creating the feeling of wanting more? Is the reaction the outcome of memory, which is symbolized by a word? And is the feeling different from the word, the name, the term? And by recognizing it, giving it a name, a label, have I resolved it, have I understood it?
All this is a process of seeing the fact, isn’t it? And then, to go still further, is the ‘me’, the observer, experiencing greed? Is greed something apart from me? Is envy, that extraordinarily exciting and pleasurable reaction, something apart from me, the observer? When I do not condemn, when I do not justify, when I am not desirous of doing something about it, have I not removed the censor, the observer? And when the observer is not, then is there the word greed – the very word being a condemnation? When the observer is not, then only is there a possibility of that feeling coming to an end.
But in looking at the fact, I do not start with the desire to bring it to an end; that is not my motive. I want to see the whole structure, the whole process; I want to understand it. And in this process I discover the ways of my own thinking. And it is through this self-knowledge – not to be gathered from books, from printed words and lectures, but by actually sharing together as in this talk – that we find out the ways of the self.
It is seeing the truth of the fact – which I can only do when I have been through this process – which frees the mind from that reaction called envy. Without seeing the truth of that, then do what you will, envy will remain. You may find a substitute for it; you may do everything to cover it up, to run away from it, but it is always there. Only when we can understand how to approach it, to see the truth of it, is there freedom from it.
Source – Jiddu Krishnamurti Talk April 8, 1952