Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
A Quiet Space | moderated by Clive Elwell

When there is attention, there is no centre


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Thu, 18 May 2017 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

On the thread “The fundamental challenge is: Can the self end?”, I wanted to approach the issue of awareness, as being relevant, essential really, to the issue of the self (ego) and its dissolution. But already we have gone off tangentially (at least in my perspective). Perhaps this is not coincidental. When the mind approaches the issue of awareness …... it seems that it cannot do so …. the mind can only think ….. feeling lost at this point. The same thing happens in this mind ….. trying to approach the issue of awareness, in a real sense thought always appears as a distraction ….. perhaps because thought simply CANNOT approach the matter.

Yes, I can think about awareness. But the awareness that is thought about, is not awareness. I don't think this is just playing thought-tricks when I say this – it a basic problem. Thought always wants to be active, thought always thinks it has something to contribute. This is a fundamental problem, because awareness itself is not thought., perhaps it has nothing to do with thought. Perhaps trying to discuss it, even with oneself, is futile.

These simple words from K, from an early talk, seem to suggest that that the self and awareness cannot meet.

“When there is attention, there is no centre
As soon as there is no attention, the 'you' creeps up”

I do not want to discourage discussion, but wondering if we could keep focused on this question on this thread, and not go down the usual wandering paths?

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Thu, 18 May 2017 #2
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 590 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
When the mind approaches the issue of awareness …... it seems that it cannot do so …. the mind can only think ….. feeling lost at this point. The same thing happens in this mind ….. trying to approach the issue of awareness, in a real sense thought always appears as a distraction ….. perhaps because thought simply CANNOT approach the matter.

Clive,

to me the clue is in when the mind approaches it's busy with other things (Beatle song)
but when the mind is available, empty something else can take place.

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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Thu, 18 May 2017 #3
Thumb_rodin_de_denker Olive B Netherlands 238 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
“When there is attention, there is no centre
As soon as there is no attention, the 'you' creeps up”

Hi Clive,

In other words:

When there is seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, smelling, there is no subject-object relation, there is no separate self.

As soon thought is superimposing on seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, smelling there is a subject-object relation, “you” creeps up.

Experience alone must be the test of reality.

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Thu, 18 May 2017 #4
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
Clive: perhaps because thought simply CANNOT approach the matter.

Wim: to me the clue is in when the mind approaches it's busy with other things (Beatle song)
but when the mind is available, empty something else can take place.

Agree, Clive...it cannot because thought is unawareness. Thinking about my child is not being aware of him/her.

Wim,

Not sure what you mean by 'busy with other things'? I assume you mean thinking.

Let it Be

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Thu, 18 May 2017 #5
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

Clive, it seems to me that you have actually said what is essential about the incompatibility of thought and awareness in your post #1 (and elsewhere):

“When the mind approaches the issue of awareness …... it seems that it cannot do so …. the mind can only think …..”,
“….. perhaps because thought simply CANNOT approach the matter”,
“ the awareness that is thought about, is not awareness”,
“awareness itself is not thought”

Obviously the mind SEES the contradiction between its understanding of its own limitations and its persistence in trying to break through the problem by means of thought. And yet the mind persists in approaching the issue as though thought could get to the crux of it and so solve it. Why?

Is it that the mind has an expectation of what “true” understanding produces - i.e. immediate results, immediate liberation, immediate transformation - and that the mind has an idea about what that means, what that should look like? If so, that’s another contradiction, isn’t it: the mind is not looking for results, seeing the falseness of that process, and yet it is still expecting instant results to come out of that process.

11th Conversation with David Bohm at Brockwood Park, September 1980:

“K: Again, that mind, the limited mind
with all its consciousness and its
content, all the rest of it, says,
it's over, that part. Now is that mind
which has been limited, and having had
insight into this limitation, and
therefore moved away from that
limitation
, is that an actuality, a
something that is really tremendously
revolutionary? You follow? And
therefore it is no longer the human
mind. Forgive me for using that word.”

What does “move away from that limitation” mean? Does it mean that the movement of thought in the mind which has - since the beginning of time - been following the path of thought to solve all its problems instantly ends? It can’t, can it? It doesn't, does it? The mind simply can’t - is incapable - of ending it willfully. But the effort CAN end. The established pathways, grooves, habits of thought still move on their own. And there is nothing the mind can do to end habit.

ALL this can be seen at “one glance”, can’t it? --- the understanding of self and the false division between self and the observed, the habitual movements, the trap of it, the nature of time, and the inability to do anything about ending thought, the inability to become free through will or effort or any other way. Isn’t that where the mind is? Is this condition the same condition as the mind which has no insight into its own condition, into its own processes? It’s like having a dreadful painful medical condition. Understanding what it is does not cure it but understanding is better than not. One may get better, one may die from it. Either way, death is coming.

Dialogue with Michael Toms in San Francisco, May 1984:

“Go into the question of ending. Of
course finishing something, but the
nature of ending something - ending.
Do we ever end anything? That is, if
we end something, in that very ending
there is something else coming. I have
got cancer - suppose - if I end it I
will be very happy. There is always a
reward, or a punishment. I don't know
if... So we live... our life is based
on reward and punishment. And we have
never enquired what it means to end.
End. Not, if I end what is there? If
you say there is something there, you
have already projected something,
therefore you have never ended.
This
is really a very interesting question,
the ending. [...] Sir, to end
conflict. Not, if I end conflict what
is there? Not to ask that question.
[...] We are wasting our energy,
tremendously - conflict is wastage of
energy.”

And what is conflict? Isn’t it the effort to solve a problem? Conflict is not the problem itself but the effort to solve it, isn’t it? The problem requires awareness, attention, not effort, no? The problem - fear, loneliness, discontent - is exacerbated, not solved, by effort. And as soon as I’m afraid, I escape - into analysis, putting together a plan, taking positive action, aggression, drugs, sex, entertainment, food, and so on. Can I NOT escape? Not because it will get me somewhere or something but because escape is a waste of energy and solves nothing. Then there's just living ... in awareness, not ignorance, not seeking.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #6
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Olive B wrote:
When there is seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, smelling, there is no subject-object relation, there is no separate self.

Yes, but is there not the possibility of an inner awareness, beyond those external senses of the body?

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #7
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Agree, Clive...it cannot because thought is unawareness. Thinking about my child is not being aware of him/her.

Yes Tom, I think this points to something very important.

So thinking about awareness is not awareness. But this is more than a simple statement of fact. It implies when one starts to think about awareness, one is departing FROM awareness. So that, the thinking, is a wake-up call, so to speak.

I don't know if I am making any sense?

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #8
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 590 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:

Clive,

to me the clue is in when the mind approaches it's busy with other things (Beatle song)
but when the mind is available, empty something else can take place.

Tom Paine wrote:

Wim,

Not sure what you mean by 'busy with other things'?
I assume you mean thinking.

Tom,

If the mind approaches it's already busy isn't it ?
you can give that a name or not but it's not available it has a goal in sight !

Huguette calls is nicely in one glance

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 Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #9
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
Clive, it seems to me that you have actually said what is essential about the incompatibility of thought and awareness in your post #1 (and elsewhere):

Yes, one might have said it, but still there is an ongoing investigation, beyond the verbal. There is letting the awareness BE, and act.

Seems to me this is the real work. What do you say?

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #10
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
And yet the mind persists in approaching the issue as though thought could get to the crux of it and so solve it. Why?

That's a good question, Huguette. One I have been asking, in different forms, for quite a time.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #11
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
The mind simply can’t - is incapable - of ending it willfully. But the effort CAN end. The established pathways, grooves, habits of thought still move on their own. And there is nothing the mind can do to end habit.

Yes, as you go on to point out, there is a contradiction here, because it draws a distinction between the mind, and what the mind is doing. So this may be seen.

Huguette . wrote:
It’s like having a dreadful painful medical condition. Understanding what it is does not cure it but understanding is better than not.

I don't think that that is a very good analogy, Huguette. A medical condition may be a fixed thing, definite, with a known outcome (barring the unexpected, which is always a possibility). One can say reasonably that one is different from the medical condition, one can examine it, and it stays the same thing.

But the things of the mind cannot be looked at that way, because there is not this separation between it and what it is looking at. This brings in a great fluidity, if one can call it that. It reduces the known to the unknown.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #12
Thumb_rodin_de_denker Olive B Netherlands 238 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
inner awareness

Clive I don’t know what you mean by “inner”awareness, sounds like there is also an “outer” awareness.

All we can know for sure is “I am experiencing seeing” or “there is seeing”.

It is not seeing OF anything.

Seeing OF objects/others is superimposed by thought.

Ask yourself the question ”What is it that sees, hears, touches, smells, without superimposing.”

Experience alone must be the test of reality.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #13
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
If the mind approaches it's already busy isn't it ?
you can give that a name or not but it's not available it has a goal in sight !

True enough, Wim....thanks for the clarification. And the intellect approaches every issue/problem like that....wishing to change or eliminate the observed.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #14
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

re #11:

Clive Elwell wrote:
A medical condition may be a fixed thing, definite, with a known outcome (barring the unexpected, which is always a possibility). One can say reasonably that one is different from the medical condition, one can examine it, and it stays the same thing.

But the things of the mind cannot be looked at that way, because there is not this separation between it and what it is looking at. This brings in a great fluidity, if one can call it that. It reduces the known to the unknown.

The mind is fluid, its condition and "what is" changing from one moment to the next. But the cause of our suffering is not fluid, as I understand it. The cause has its effect and the effect has its cause. The cause is rooted in self, in time, in fear and all that is associated with self/time/fear, isn’t it?

If one is hit by a bus or beaten, if one has ALS or cancer, we understand the source of pain. Some of it can heal, some of it cannot.

If one lives in fear, anxiety, disillusionment, self-hate, hate of others, anger, and so on, so that one is discontented with life, so that life is sorrowful - that is another form of suffering. And we don’t want to suffer. This is the whole reason K and Buddha and others talked, and it is the reason for our talks together. At the end of all this talking and listening, we uncover, understand, the cause of our suffering. If I hammer my finger, it hurts. If past fears are stirred up, it hurts. If self is thwarted, it hurts.

The mind understands, sees, the cause and yet it keeps trying in all the old, habitual ways to deal with the effect, to end it. The mind - not self - sees the illusory nature of self and time. It is the mind which understands, and yet self/time still “acts”, overriding the mind’s understanding. The mind sees that fear is rooted in the unconscious, in the past, and yet it reacts to fear by attributing the cause of it to the present environment or circumstances. “It’s quite extraordinary”, isn’t it?

I’m not saying that even “ending” effort is all there is to life, or that ending suffering gives life meaning or purpose, beauty or joy. Still, there’s NO effort in that “first step” of seeing what is actually going on within, not interpreting it, just seeing the whole fact and process of it, is there? Can the mind stay with the seeing that movement of life unfolding, the fluidity of it, without making its habitual efforts to change it or act on it? Can the mind SEE - and so let go of - its expectations, desires and hopes for an end to suffering? Isn’t it the dashing of those expectations, desires and hopes - and therefore those expectations, desires and hopes - which keep us chained to effort-making? Just asking, just looking into it.

15 minutes later:
....those expectations, desires and hopes are still the movement of time/thought, aren't they?

This post was last updated by Huguette . Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #15
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
It implies when one starts to think about awareness, one is departing FROM awareness. So that, the thinking, is a wake-up call, so to speak.

Not sure about the 'wake up call' part. Can you elaborate? The part in bold is obviously true, and when I think about fear, anger or my wife, for that matter, that is also a departure from awareness. As you and Huguette have pointed out, we know this, yet when there's a strong conflict or a 'problem', thought continues to interfere. I put the word problem in quotes because once an emotion or conflict is labelled as a problem we are already condemning it.

Let it Be

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #16
Thumb_open-uri20171115-31086-13da1wu-0 Dan McDermott United States 756 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
..those expectations, desires and hopes are still the movement of time/thought, aren't they?

Where there is attachment to anything, pain and suffering will continue?

Later:

Intelligence sees that to be 'attached' will bring pain and suffering but attachment gives a sense of connection, pleasure, security etc. So we keep our attachment and long for a 'freedom'. But of course, attachment precludes freedom. But we continue to "desire" and to "hope"...I think what needs to be remembered is that when we are in the midst of pain, fear , suffering, that what is 'happening' is 'lawful'. This is the result of attachment. (as when it rains the streets get wet.) And then, can I stay with that fear, suffering? Can I understand it, keep it close, in that "solitude". Not with the desire to be rid of it, to be free of it. Just look at it and be with it.

Because I am it.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #17
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

re 16:

Above all, attachment to the movement of thought itself. One can say that attachment IS thought, no? That movement has been the central factor in man’s life and action “forever”. It is all we know for facing, meeting or approaching life. Every “one” of us has acted through that movement and, except for the exceptions, we have taken the validity of that approach as self-evident. Action, as far as man has been concerned - as far as man has thought - springs from thought alone. So that approach has a tremendous weight and momentum, the weight and momentum of millenia. It cannot be countered through effort, effort itself belonging to the approach. We want pain and suffering to end but the very means of ending it are its continuance. Division, attachment, time, and so on, have their naturally “lawful” effect, as you say. I think that’s right. Like the “law of gravity”, the “laws of nature”, cause and effect.

Thought registers and replicates inwardly what is observed outwardly and the inner replica is taken to be as real as the original outer fact. But a copy is a copy. It never has the exactness or creative source or aspect of the original. That replication, that imagery, is useful in the proper context. In the inappropriate context, it causes suffering. It’s the law :-)

Another question naturally arises: What, if anything, lies beyond pain and suffering? The question arises and it cannot be answered.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #18
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
It cannot be countered through effort, effort itself belonging to the approach.

Right...effort is a product of thought....past conditioning and brainwashing....a product of fear and desire. Am I totally clear about this? Not sure....will look at the issue again later...time to shut down for work. Great posts, btw, lately, Huguette..thanks.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #19
Thumb_open-uri20171115-31086-13da1wu-0 Dan McDermott United States 756 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
What, if anything, lies beyond pain and suffering?

"Beyond" the next tree, beyond the next hill, the next galaxy etc. we can answer but psychologically is there a 'beyond' or only now? And isn't that where 'thought' escapes to, the 'beyond'?

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #20
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
psychologically is there a 'beyond' or only now? And isn't that where 'thought' escapes to, the 'beyond'?

yes, that's it ... even trying to escape to beyond the escapes....

This post was last updated by Huguette . Fri, 19 May 2017.

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #21
Thumb_open-uri20171115-31086-13da1wu-0 Dan McDermott United States 756 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
. even trying to escape to beyond the escapes...

Crazy isn't it?

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Fri, 19 May 2017 #22
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 590 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
And the intellect approaches every issue/problem like that....wishing to change or eliminate the observed.

Yes Tom and intellect is already interfering by describing something observed !!
While the words busy with other things came out without thought,
thought immediately called 'Beatle song !'.
That can be observed and in my vieuw that's awareness being active.

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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Fri, 19 May 2017 #23
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
Yes Tom and intellect is already interfering by describing something observed

K often said that the word..,the label...is not the thing, yet when we observe anger or some other emotional reaction we immediately label it and assume we know exactly what it is. Actually we never really observe it...we react....condemning or justifying....saying anger is wrong...or you are wrong for making me angry.

Let it Be

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #24
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Olive B wrote:
Clive I don’t know what you mean by “inner”awareness, sounds like there is also an “outer” awareness.

There is a state called "day-dreaming", is there not? Which means thought is active, thought is creating stories, reliving memories, no? This state is of no awareness. But one suddenly "wakes" from this state, becomes aware of what has been happening. Is this then not a state of being aware of the inner?

Olive B wrote:
Ask yourself the question ”What is it that sees, hears, touches, smells, without superimposing.”

I don't think there is any entity that sees, hears, etc. As soon as there is suggestion of "entity", then thought is active, thought is doing that, creating that.

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #25
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Not sure about the 'wake up call' part. Can you elaborate?

What I write is the perception of the moment, and I usually find it difficult to re-enter that state later on, to take up where I left off. But lets see...

we can reasonably say that when we are aware, we are awake. On the contrary, when thought is active, there is no awareness, thinking is a state of being asleep. Consciousness is absorbed in thinking, as it can be absorbed in any activity.

I know some thinking is necessary, but much of it is completely unnecessary. Psychological thought has no real meaning, I don't know if you would agree with this. But I think the state of attention does have meaning (not drawing any distinction between attention and awareness at this point).

We can become aware that we have been inattentive, can we not? Become aware suddenly that we have been 'lost in thought' (day-dreaming as I described to Olive). Is this not a "wake up call"?

I'm sorry, I don't think I have managed to capture the insight of my previous post. It came from silence, and there is no silence here at the moment.

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #26
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Going back to a slightly earlier post, Huguette, as I would like to take this matter slowly.

Huguette . wrote:
And what is conflict? Isn’t it the effort to solve a problem? Conflict is not the problem itself but the effort to solve it, isn’t it?

That is an interesting take on conflict, Huguette. I have been looking at it, and it seems an accurate statement. I might add, feeling one SHOULD solve a problem is also conflict, even if one never makes the effort to do so. And also it lies in the feeling that one is unable to solve a problem, one doesn't see a way forward, but one feels there should be one.

Huguette . wrote:
The problem requires awareness, attention, not effort, no?

This is reminiscent of K's “the answer to a question lies in the question itself". And not in a projected solution.

Huguette . wrote:
Can I NOT escape? Not because it will get me somewhere or something but because escape is a waste of energy and solves nothing. Then there's just living ... in awareness, not ignorance, not seeking.

What you are talking off is acceptance, is it not? And I think you are suggesting that with this acceptance, there is no conflict. It seems to me this is how it is, yes. I have been talking in this vein to a very sick friend, but the 'impulse' to overcome a problem runs very deep. Of course it makes sense in some situations.

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #27
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3817 posts in this forum Offline

Without awareness, there is an infinity of problems. And there is a life spent in trying to solve problems.

With awareness, there is only one issue, the issue of thought. Thought being the creator of all problems.

Strange that for so many thousands of years, mankind has been lost in this way.

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #28
Thumb_rodin_de_denker Olive B Netherlands 238 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
"day-dreaming"

Day-dreaming are thoughts to the notion of being a personal entity.
You are acting on auto-pilot.

Clive Elwell wrote:
I don't think there is any entity

Clearly you haven’t ask yourself the question: ”What is it that sees, hears, touches, smells, without superimposing.”,otherwise your answer should not refer to an entity.

Experience alone must be the test of reality.

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #29
Thumb_rodin_de_denker Olive B Netherlands 238 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
when thought is active, there is no awareness, thinking is a state of being asleep.

Being asleep to consciousness/awareness.

So deep sleep is a “state” of awareness.

And how has this awareness an issue with thought #27?

Experience alone must be the test of reality.

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Sat, 20 May 2017 #30
Thumb_rodin_de_denker Olive B Netherlands 238 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Consciousness is absorbed in thinking, as it can be absorbed in any activity.

It is the other way around.

The act of thinking appears in consciousness.

Thinking/thought is made from consciousness.

Consciousness/awareness is reality, not thinking/thought.

Experience alone must be the test of reality.

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