Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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Life is a series of desires and frustrations. Why?


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Thu, 05 Jan 2017 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Life is a series of desires and frustrations.

I have a friend here in NZ who moved here from Sri Lanka some years ago. He was keen to migrate, he found well paying employment, and went through all the formalities. On a trip back to Sri Lanka he got married, an his wife came out to NZ. They have two young children. I learned yesterday they are seriously looking at moving back to Sri Lanka, weighing up the “pros and cons”.

I told a mutual friend about this, and she remarked how much trouble they had been through to settle here – finding a home, a lot of immigration application documentation, which she in fact had helped them with.

It came to me that this is really the story of people's lives. We develop desires for some new circumstances, or new relationship, new acquisition. We put enormous energy in trying to fulfil that desire, convinced that it will bring us happiness or security. And because of the great drive contained in desire, we often succeed in getting what we want. And then what?

Isn't it always the case that the satisfaction in achievement is very short lived? Does it not become rather meaningless very quickly? We realise, do we not, if we are honest with ourselves, we no longer want what we thought we wanted?

So what then is our response? The intelligent response would seem to be to question the whole process, the process of living by our desires. Is this what life is really about?

However, the mind is not intelligent. And overwhelmingly what happens is that we immediately develop another desire and pursue that. Only to find the next “fulfilment” turns to ashes. I am sure we are all familiar with this process. It may continue for the whole of people's lives (often being transferred, projected, onto their children). Or until they are very old, and they are faced with the meaninglessness of the cycle, but then it is too late, and they become bitter, depressed.

Why don't we see?

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Fri, 06 Jan 2017.

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Fri, 06 Jan 2017 #2
Thumb_ws_hp-wave_2560x1600 Mina Martini Finland 533 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
However, the mind is not intelligent. And overwhelmingly what happens is that we immediately develop another desire and pursue that. Only to find the next “fulfilment” turns to ashes.

Mina: Right. What is needed is to understand this whole movement of thought which IS desire, wanting for itself, seeking for itself. It is sorrow in action.

You are asking 'why don't we see'.

You do not see what this is fundamentally about, why this sorrow happens, and therefore you ask?

This post was last updated by Mina Martini Fri, 06 Jan 2017.

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Fri, 06 Jan 2017 #3
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Mina Martini wrote:
You do not see what this is fundamentally about, why this sorrow happens, and therefore you ask?

My question was: why don't we we see that this endless cycle of desire-frustration-new desire is ultimately futile - and so drop it completely? or perhaps better to ask "why doesn't the mind see this?"

i don't know, maybe you have seen throught this, Mina, and dropped it entirey from your life. I can't say for you. For myself, I am looking at it, inquiring into it. Looking at the whole role of desire in one's life. It is rather fundamental.

Why, in fact, do we not see ALL the movements of the mind that bring sorrow and conflict, and just drop them, as an act of pure intelligence? Are we somehow attached to them?

It seems to be that the self is blind, is incapable of understanding. And yet understanding DOES occur, as is being discussed on other threads. Vimala Thakar was pointing out that we somehow, usually, do not allow it to act. Why? Is it that we are frightened of the perceived consequences of understanding acting?

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Sat, 07 Jan 2017 #4
Thumb_ws_hp-wave_2560x1600 Mina Martini Finland 533 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Is it that we are frightened of the perceived consequences of understanding acting?

Mina: Thank you for the reply. May come later to other points in it. For now something concerning your sentence above.

The interesting thing is, that to be afraid of the perceived consequences etc, is to be totally in thought, here thought meaning fear. This is the movement of thought, not intelligence. Thought is always in duality with itself. Like here, afraid of the perceived consequences of WHAT exactly?
Obvioulsy of 'something' that is also thought, idea, not understanding.

Saying this because understanding is not of time. It is its own cause and consequence as one, so to say. There is no duality in it.

Interesting that yesterday I had something alike this in mind, to share with you. Love.

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Sat, 07 Jan 2017 #5
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 468 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell question:
Life is a series of desires and frustrations. Why?

We are born without any luggage and are going from this world without any.
From early age we get incentives for learning and that's gradually becoming gathering.
We see what others can and have and also want to be or do.
We are praised for every step forward and start thinking that is life and are become jealous, afraid etc.. etc.. on the non gathered performances.

Because we see Life is a series of desires and frustrations - which is time bounded -
instead of being alive moment by moment.

We don't see the fact that living is, what's between emptiness and emptiness !!

Truth will unfold itself for those who enquire their own actions and only to them and for them and to or for no one else.

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Sat, 07 Jan 2017 #6
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
From early age we get incentives for learning and that's gradually becoming gathering.

It is certainly true, Wim, that we are encouraged, conditioned, into this acquisitve way of living. But the encouragers entirely ommit to mention the frustration that is the other side of acquisition's coin.

And the ulimate consequences of this way of living is what we see hapening now - the destrution of the Earth, of the natural world

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Sun, 08 Jan 2017 #7
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Vimala Thakar:

When the mind, the ego, cherishes the wish - I wish I had it - the desire becomes and ambition, and you say “I must have him, I must have her”, for sexual relationship, for sensual pleasure or company, for psychological relationship. Or you say “I must have the car, the house, the dress”. The wish stimulates ambition, which is a kind of obsession. And efforts begin to attain what is desired. Circumstances may not be favourable to for filling your ambitions, the facts maybe otherwise, but the mind like a spoilt and pampered child says “I must have it” and creates its own misery and suffering.

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Sun, 08 Jan 2017 #8
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

So I think if we are honest, most of us would admit that we are caught in this trap of desire. The desires may be very major – major in the sense they weave through our life for perhaps many years – or they may be tiny, everyday affairs – desire for a coffee, a snack, meeting someone, purchasing something, desires that are fairly easily satisfied. And yet the sum total of these little desires, and their fulfilment, is still a sort of slavery, is it not?.

So is there a way out of this slavery to desire? Out of this cycle of desire- fulfilment-frustration-desire-fulfilment-frustration... Do we want a way out, or are we content to stay in it? I feel there might be a way out. By way out I do not mean trying to escape from it (which would only be another desire), but through the understanding of the mechanism of desire. Here is a quote from Vimala Thakar's book again, which explores this most eloquently:

Have you noticed that your mind is always busy converting simple perceptions, the sight of a delicate flower, for example, into an idea or an abstraction? The human brain has been trained to process perceptions, sensations, into abstractions, ideas. As soon as this ideation takes place, the communion with what you see or listen to is arrested.

You see a beautiful flower and being aesthetically alive, you say how beautiful it is. This is aesthetic appreciation of what you have perceived which is a natural voluntary response of an aesthetically cultivated brain. The perceptual responses is to the beauty of the flower, the tree, the person, the house, but you do not feel fulfilled by that response. So the mind creates an image of the beautiful house, or the handsome person and after a second or two you say to yourself, “I wish I had that house, I wish that handsome person was my wife, or husband”.

If communion has been fulfilled in the contacts of the census with something lovely, in the simple perception, then the mind would not convert the perception into an idea or an image which stimulates a psychological reaction to the event. If the image was not created, there would be perception, appreciation and the ending of it. But we have not been trained to simply appreciate quiet communion with the events of life; we have been conditioned to express ideas about everything we contact. And to allow these ideas to stimulate wishes or desires related to the ego.

The ego then establishes a relationship with the image of the beautiful person, or house or car and carriers that psychological response through time so that it affects all future encounters. We rarely are able to free ourselves from the hold of these images that we casually create.

Pure, sheer communion, the beauty and grandeur of an aesthetic response is spoilt, polluted, damaged, as soon as thought comes in, reducing communion to an idea and converting the idea to a wish that must be fulfilled. Please do see this in your own lives. It happens in your life everyday.

When I look at this in my own life, I realise that it is not so obvious, the difference between between the actual contact and the image formed from the contact, the transition happens so quickly, so automatically.

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Mon, 09 Jan 2017 #9
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 468 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
And the ulimate consequences of this way of living is what we see hapening now - the destrution of the Earth, of the natural world

With a lot of help from our technical development,
which is to overcome the natural situation.

In our overcrowded world, we help people to get children by test tube babies,
surrogate mothers, and all the other ways to found a family Instead of financial or other ways helping Those children from the third world who hasn't any chance for a decent live.
No we must have our own offspring !!

Nature gives us children but by desire we take kids
as if WE and Not Nature is the source of live !!

Truth will unfold itself for those who enquire their own actions and only to them and for them and to or for no one else.

This post was last updated by Wim Opdam Mon, 09 Jan 2017.

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Tue, 10 Jan 2017 #10
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote, quoting VImala Thakar:
If communion has been fulfilled in the contacts of the census with something lovely, in the simple perception, then the mind would not convert the perception into an idea or an image which stimulates a psychological reaction to the event. If the image was not created, there would be perception, appreciation and the ending of it

It seems to me that Vimala is saying just the same as K does about desire. He says that after contact with an object, a sensation arises. This is natural, he says. But then usually an image is formed from that sensation- an image involving the self having, possesing that thing. This is desire. And K asks, can there be a space, a hiatus, between the sensation and the image?

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Tue, 10 Jan 2017 #11
Thumb_a1056283319_2 Tom Paine United States 1495 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
It seems to me that Vimala is saying just the same as K does about desire. He says that after contact with an object, a sensation arises. This is natural, he says. But then usually an image is formed from that sensation- an image involving the self having, possesing that thing. This is desire. And K asks, can there be a space, a hiatus, between the sensation and the image?

In direct perception no image is formed at all....perceiving a flower, a sunset, a full moon, a small animal, etc. Theres nothing therefore to hold on to. It's when perception is contaminated by memory that there's pleasure and desire. In direct perception there's joy which cannot be held. I'm wondering how pleasure (and desire) differs from this joy. I used to walk in nature almost every day. Often I would become lost in the perceiving of the natural world...a state of perceiving with no separation...no thinking or holding on ....a state of wonder. At times this perceiving would come over me in the oddest circumstances....like mopping the floor in a home for the mentally ill where I once worked. Suddenly there was peace and joy in the midst of that very disturbed environment. This joy is totally different from the pleasure one gets from a good Italian dinner in a nice restaurant, or the pleasure from a good movie perhaps. I'm wondering what is the difference between pleasure and joy, as it's pleasure and the desire to hold on to it that leads to so much suffering. The joy can't be held on to as it doesn't leave a mark.

Let it Be

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Tue, 10 Jan 2017 #12
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
In direct perception there's joy which cannot be held.

Can you say why this is, Tom? Or anyone else of course. Why should this direct perception of something bring about pure joy?

Yeterday I noticed a tiny cricket leaping its way across a concrete driveway that must have appeared huge for it. Suddenly 'my heart went out to it', and there was a feeling of immense compassion for the tiny creature. I guess this is a similar feeling to what you describe?

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Tue, 10 Jan 2017 #13
Thumb_a1056283319_2 Tom Paine United States 1495 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Suddenly 'my heart went out to it', and there was a feeling of immense compassion for the tiny creature. I guess this is a similar feeling to what you describe?

yes....that kind of compassion can arise when there's no division between oneself and another living creature. I cant say why being in nature used to bring me this feeling of immense joy...K called it a benediction, I think. Perhaps that's our true nature...the wholeness that Mina speaks of. But when the thinking mind totally stops there is often this joy present. AS I said it can even happen while mopping the floor or doing some very ordinary task in a less than perfect environment. Like a very young child can be happy even in a slum apartment because they haven't learned yet to judge it or evaluate it.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Tue, 10 Jan 2017.

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Wed, 11 Jan 2017 #14
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Like a very young child can be happy even in a slum apartment because they haven't learned yet to judge it or evaluate it.

Yes, this is a good point Tom.

Perhaps joy (and love, beauty) is the natural state of being. Hmmm, such states are certainly not the result of thought. And I don't think they are dependent on anything - but now questioning that. Are they dependent on the object? Do they really HAVE an object in fact?

One thing is clear, we are educated, raised, conditioned, into UNhappiness. Ambition, striving, becoming, achieving ...... this is what scoiety is based upon. Which brings us back to the topic of this thread, life being regarded as an endless series of desires and frustrations. Was talking to a friend last night, who had been meeting, listening to a group of acquaintances. Their lives were nothing but achieving, becoming. And the very idea of an existence not based on this was regarded as a state of vegetation, of some dreadful void, to be avoided at all costs. They claimed to be "happy" but can there truly be happiness when one is struggling to achieve all the time?

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Thu, 12 Jan 2017 #15
Thumb_a1056283319_2 Tom Paine United States 1495 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Are they dependent on the object? Do they really HAVE an object in fact?

When there's no division between subject and object can we even speak of an object?

Clive Elwell wrote:
Their lives were nothing but achieving, becoming.

Indeed, effort and striving towards one's goal. For sure we have to be taught this. The little child knows nothing about goals, and little about the future/time. Primative man had to invent time in order to simply survive....gathering food and firewood for the future....very necessary to man's physical survival. So how did this invention of time wind up creating suffering and sorrow? Or did it? I don't see that it must necessarily do so. It need not set man against man, and I think Primative tribes worked together as a unit to gather food that would be shared equally among members of the tribe. At least in some cases. I think perhaps the African pigmies were a recent example of this. But then we begin to gather pleasure...seek continuity of pleasure and fulfillment in time. How does desire and frustration come about, then? We use time to guarantee that we have food for the future, but why dones the mind create desire? Why the desire for fulfillment? As you say, modern man bases his life upon searching for future fulfillment....and achieving goals...success.....totally beyond ones basic survival needs. We strive to make enough money to buy that Mercedes or Rolex watch...gold jewelry....designer fashions...status in the community...to be a success in sports...in music or art...to be a great writer or actor or dancer. Desire and frustration and more desire...

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Thu, 12 Jan 2017.

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Thu, 12 Jan 2017 #16
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Primative man had to invent time in order to simply survive

Not many people would accept the man invented time, Tom, but I think it is so. It was needed as a tool, as you say. Surely it is impossible to live entirely in the present, for practical purposes? And even animals have some sense of time, in knowing where food and shelter is to be found.

Tom Paine wrote:
So how did this invention of time wind up creating suffering and sorrow? Or did it? I don't see that it must necessarily do so. It need not set man against man,

I don't think that time alone brought about mankind's problems. They started when psychological time was created, and I think that came about with the "invention" of the psyche, the self. And then all the real, non-symbolic movements like time, fear, survival-instinct, pleasure (well-being) and yes, including desire (necessary in the physical realm) were transfered onto that psyche. Or the very transferrig created the psyche.

And I don't think this is of academic interest only, since we can see the process going on now.

But the real issue seems to me to be: can this endless chain of desire be broken? And really desire and the psyche are one, are they not?

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Thu, 12 Jan 2017 #17
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3039 posts in this forum Offline

I asked above if this apparently endless chain of desire-chasing can end. However, I think it would be wrong to pursue some ideal of killing desire. Not only wrong but contradictory! Clearly such a movement would be reaction only, and as such would be a continuation of the desire chain.

I happened to come across these words of K which throw a very interesting light on the issue of desire:

 
Now desire, contrary to general belief, is the most precious possession of
man. It is the eternal flame of life; it is life itself. When its nature and functions
are not understood, however, it becomes cruel, tyrannical, bestial, stupid.
Therefore your business is not to kill desire as most spiritual people in the world
are trying to do, but to understand it. If you kill your desire, you are like the
withered branch of a lovely tree. Desire must keep growing and find out its true
meaning through conflict and friction. Only by the continuance of the conflict
can understanding come. This is what most people do not see. As soon as the
conflict comes, and the sorrow born of conflict, they at once seek comfort.

pp. 191-2 (22 July 1930, Summer, Ommen)

From 1930 - I do not know if K has said anything similar later in his life.

I cannot say that I understand the latter part of K's words; ie:

Desire must keep growing and find out its true meaning through conflict and friction. Only by the continuance of the conflict can understanding come. This is what most people do not see. As soon as the
conflict comes, and the sorrow born of conflict, they at once seek comfort.

And I would be happy if someone could explore this, on a new thread.

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Thu, 12 Jan 2017.

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