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

Does using the senses only serve the self?


Displaying all 18 posts
Page 1 of 1
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

At various times since the forum started, I have raised the issue of awareness, or attention. It has never gained much traction in discussion – perhaps because it is a difficult thing to discuss. As with all things, the mind turns it into an idea. Nevertheless, the issue is central to K's “teachings”, is it not? Not only that, whenever one starts to go deeply into any problem of the mind (or perhaps better to say the problem of the mind), enquiry always leads us inexorably towards the necessity for “choiceless awareness”.

Although I think it is fair to say there is in me a reasonable awareness of the movements of the mind (I may fall down in trying to communicate it), it is not accompanied by much awareness of the physical senses. One is often “lost in thought”, in a state of inattention to one's surroundings. I have often pondered why this is so. One is clumsy in one's movements, actions. It is so pronounced that it can put me in physical danger. I even wonder if I do not have the wrong concept of what physical awareness means.

When one is involved, caught up, in the operation of a single sense – say just looking at something, just listening to a particular sound, tasting something ….. such activity seems related to the self. The use of a single sense, in isolation, seems to be serving the self. I don't know if others would support this observation? And as such, this is not really a state of awareness at all. Because at some level, thought is operating, and thought is a state of inattention.

I have more to say, but will post this and see if there are any responses.

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Tue, 14 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 #2
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

I am copying this from the post (#2) on Tom's thread, "Attention and Truth"

Thank you for posting this, Tom, (part of a dialogue between K and Buddhist scholars). It raises questions that have been very much with me, on the nature of awareness and attention, and perhaps more immediately “how does one get there, into that state?”. How does one move from inattention to attention? I know these must be wrong questions, but they can act as a starting point.

K seems to be pushing Rahula on this point - “is it to be cultivated?”, “how does it come into being?”, “how is one to do it?”, “how does it flower?”, how does it happen?”, he asks all these questions.

I don't know if K really answers the questions. At one point he gives the 'bumper sticker' slogan “Just do it”!

And he seems to make some contradictory statements about the difference between awareness and attention.

I am going to make this post on the thread “Does using the senses only serve the self?”, for the sake of continuity.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 #3
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

I'm transferring my reply over to this thread at your suggestion that we continue here, Clive.

I found the following exchange interesting due to the fact K doesn't accept anything....he starts with 'I don't know':

"R: I don't think that is very appropriate. Truth exists (anyway) but cannot be 'seen'.

K: Ah, I don't know. You say 'truth exists' but I don't know.

R: But that doesn't mean that truth does not exist.

K: I don't 'know' , I said.

K: Jesus said ( Our) Father in Heaven. I don't know the Father. He may exist but I don't know Him, so I don't accept.

Let it Be

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
I found the following exchange interesting due to the fact K doesn't accept anything....he starts with 'I don't know':

We are generally afraid to approach discussion, and even life itself, from that not knowing, are we not? Yet when there IS not knowing, there is peace, quietness, and somehow, mysteriously, the capacity to meet all challenges fully.

K's "empty drum"?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 #5
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

I have been investigating the issue of awareness with a friend. When asked what is awareness?”, he suggested that it is life itself. I think Huguette one said a similar thing.

This seems to make sense. Basic awareness (putting aside the question “awareness of what” for now) is surely a characteristic of all life forms? In particular, all living things react to their environment, so they must be aware of that environment (interesting question here is it only human beings that are aware of themselves, but will not go off on that tangent now)
So awareness is natural. It is our natural state. Seen in this light, questions of the form “how does one become aware?” seem to be nonsensical. Similar to the question “how does one breath?”

And yet one is severely lacking in this awareness, that is a fact that cannot be ignored. If I raise myself from the keyboard/computer screen, I start to be aware of all the things there were not in the field of awareness – the sound of the birds, the weight and feel of the body, the taste of the tea I was drinking ….. so much. Including a certain quietness. So it seems the only explanation is that something was covering up, obscuring full awareness. Then the question is not “how to become aware?”, but can these obscuring factors, or this obscuring factor, be revealed, and perhaps come to an end?

But not sure of the “coming to an end”. It may be more a question of things finding their right place.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 #6
Thumb_open-uri20171115-31086-13da1wu-0 Dan McDermott United States 756 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
but can these obscuring factors, or this obscuring factor, be revealed, and perhaps come to an end?

Strangely enough, the "obscuring factor" may be us... I don't have the source of this K statement but I think it speaks to your question:

K.-"Please listen. You have not felt the shock of the realization that the thinker, the you, is in himself the poison; whatever he wishes and does will be poisonous. Why is it that you do not feel the shock of this realization? Either because you do not think that the thinker, the 'you', is the poison, or you are numbed. You have agreed all along that the thinker is the thought, that they are not separate, that they exist together. If on seeing that mountain, you do not respond to its beauty and you realize that you do not, then such a realization will give you a shock, will it not? Similarly, when you realize that the thinker himself is ignorance you are not startled by it, you pass on to other things.

You have made yourself shockproof by your reasons, explanations, decisions, conclusions. Your intellect has built walls of self protection against all discovery and spontaneity, against freedom and understanding. The intellect will never find the answer. But if you allow yourself to enquire into why you are not startled by the thought that the thinker is sorrow, then you will break down the self- enclosing walls. If you live with this dead numbness of the intellect and do not escape from it then you will find that the rock against which you have been beating your head will melt away.

You have become numb, and you do not allow yourself to realize it, to feel it. And only when you are shaken by its reality - the reality of numbness - is there the beginning of the cessation of the thinker and his thought. Then only is there the intimation of the eternal."

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Thu, 16 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 #7
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
K's "empty drum"?

In the excerpt, I think it's simply K. responding to the other man's assertions with a simple "please, don't conclude...I don't know"....admitting that intellectually, he doesn't accept or reject. His mind is questioning.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Thu, 16 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 #8
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
Strangely enough, the "obscuring factor" may be us...

It is not usually 'strange', after so many years of looking at this issue, feeling it. Although that is not to negate the power of this quote.

Yes, I am that factor, right now. And when the next thought tries to override this one, I will be that thought.

I am that analyser, that definer, that describer, that critic. I am the judger, the condemner, the justifier, the suggester. And the the changer, the controller, desirer, perceiver, the measurer. I am the admirer, the approver, the categoriser, the decider, the undecider, the finaliser.

At least I, as the thinker thought keeps putting together, am thought's attempt to do those things.

Curious that it never seems to learn that it can't fundamentally change itself.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 #9
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

Wim wrote, on the "Discomfort" thread:

"Though Thought can act in service of awareness".

This is not immediately clear to me, Wim. Could you enlarge on it, or give an example?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 #10
Thumb_open-uri20171115-31086-13da1wu-0 Dan McDermott United States 756 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
At least I, as the thinker thought keeps putting together, am thought's attempt to do those things.

Curious that it never seems to learn that it can't fundamentally change itself.

That's the "numbness" of the intellect that K. pointed at, isn't it? We just aren't "startled" by the the fact that we the 'thinkers' are only thought. That's the "reality of numbness" he suggests we have to live with, to be aware of in ourself.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sat, 18 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 #11
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote at #1:
I even wonder if I do not have the wrong concept of what physical awareness means.

Is there one kind of awareness for physical sensations, another kind of awareness for psychological sensations, and maybe others kinds of awareness for .... I don’t know what else? Does awareness make a distinction between physical and psychological sensations? Fear, for example, has both a physical and a psychological component or aspect, doesn't it? Isn't it one and the same awareness for the total movement of it? Isn't there just awareness - awareness of physical and mental sensations, awareness plain and simple?

Being “involved, caught up, in the operation of a single sense” - isn’t that what concentration is? Isn’t that an attempt to exclude the “irrelevant” and isn’t that what makes it “seem related to the self”, as you say? Is it one a single sense one is “caught up” in or is the single-minded effort to exclude? I’m not saying it is, just questioning it.

There’s also such a thing as being engrossed in, absorbed by an activity, but I think that’s not what were talking about here, do you?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 #12
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote at #5:
So awareness is natural. It is our natural state. Seen in this light....

Why conclude that awareness is our natural state? Perhaps our natural state is flux. To say that our natural state is awareness, that inattention is unnatural, means that “I must never” be inattentive. To say that our natural state is awareness suggests that inattention is “THE problem”. No?

One clearly cannot force oneself to be aware. One clearly cannot choose to be aware. It is only where there is awareness that one can learn about inattention. The mind cannot learn about inattention while it is fully engrossed in inattention, can it?

Awareness is not an end in itself, is it? In awareness, the mind glimpses inattention and learns about itself, doesn’t it? Then doesn’t that learning act even in moments of inattention? If the mind understands something, doesn’t that understanding act even in inattention? No will, no choice, no effort or decision, etc., needs to be made to “make use” of or to exercise that understanding or put it into action. If there is understanding, it must be “cut loose”, so to speak. If the mind "let's it go", it can act. But if the mind hangs on to it, isn't understanding lost?

Is it necessary or important to be in a constant state of awareness? Isn’t the important, necessary thing for the mind to understand itself? If the intervals of awareness which do occur have not been “sufficient” to … to do what? If those intervals have not brought about the desired or expected result, why would “constant” awareness do it?

http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/1961/1961-03-12-jiddu-krishnamurti-10th-public-talk:

“You can't watch yourself from morning
till night, vigilant, never blinking;
you can't. So you have to play with
it. When you play with something, you
can carry on for a long time. If you
do not know how to play with this
sense of awareness lightly, you get
lost; there again begins the conflict:
how am I to be aware, what is the
method, what is the system? As you are
playing, you learn. So learning is not
a matter of accumulation; the moment
you accumulate you have ceased to
learn. The mind which is full of
knowledge can only add to itself
further knowledge, further
information. But we are talking of
something in a totally different
dimension, and you have to learn about
it, and therefore it is not a problem;
if it is a problem it has come from
your knowledge, and therefore it has
the answer in the knowledge. But the
state of the new mind is not within
the field of knowledge, it is
something entirely different. It is
that state of creation which is
exploding all the time. You do not
know a thing about it, you cannot say
that it is a problem to you, because
it is a problem to you only when you
know about it: and you do not know
anything about it. Therefore to
understand a thing knowledge has to
come to an end.”

http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/commentaries-on-living-series-2/1957-00-00-jiddu-krishnamurti-commentaries-on-living-series-2-21-despair-and-hope:

The desire to find a way out only
brings another problem. By not
understanding the one problem, you
introduce many others. Your problem is
unhappiness, and to understand it
there must be freedom from all other
problems. Unhappiness is the only
problem you have; don't become
confused by introducing the further
problem of how to get out of it. The
mind is seeking a hope, an answer to
the problem, a way out. See the
falseness of this escape, and then you
will be directly confronted with the
problem. It is this direct
relationship with the problem that
brings a crisis, which we are all the
time avoiding; but it is only in the
fullness and intensity of the crisis
that the problem comes to an end.

This post was last updated by Huguette . Sat, 18 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sun, 19 Nov 2017 #13
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

Hi Huguette. Thanks for bringing the thread back to its original intention, and for your questioning.

Huguette . wrote:
Why conclude that awareness is our natural state? Perhaps our natural state is flux.

Clive: I have not concluded that awareness is our natural state, or made any conclusion. I may and do make statements, reflecting how things seems at the time, but always those statements may be questioned at any time, and so are not regarded as conclusions.

Yes, flux certainly also seems a natural state – of course it is not a matter of either-or, is it? And looking again, awareness does seem to come naturally, easily, when thought is not occupying the mind. And after all, if any animal in the wild was not in a state of constant awareness, alertness, they would not survive long! One observed this alertness in all animals no? It even seems to be there in sleep. But I am not arguing a case for us to be in "constant awareness". It is not a matter of choice anyway, as you said.

H: To say that our natural state is awareness, that inattention is unnatural, means that “I must never” be inattentive.

Clive: This is a step that thought tends to take, with its reactive ways, but it is clearly false.

H: To say that our natural state is awareness suggests that inattention is “THE problem”. No?

Clive: I would tentatively say that inattention is the primary problem. One wonders if the terrible, barbaric acts one reads of could be perpetrated by a mind aware of what it was doing.

H: One clearly cannot force oneself to be aware. One clearly cannot choose to be aware.

Clive: This is increasingly clear,

H: It is only where there is awareness that one can learn about inattention. The mind cannot learn about inattention while it is fully engrossed in inattention, can it?

Awareness is not an end in itself, is it? In awareness, the mind glimpses inattention and learns about itself, doesn’t it? Then doesn’t that learning act even in moments of inattention? If the mind understands something, doesn’t that understanding act even in inattention?

No will, no choice, no effort or decision, etc., needs to be made to “make use” of or to exercise that understanding or put it into action. If there is understanding, it must be “cut loose”, so to speak. If the mind "let's it go", it can act. But if the mind hangs on to it, isn't understanding lost?

Clive: This are interesting questions in their own right. They seem to infer that that learning is in some way accumulated, do they not? Yet I would very much question if they are accumulated as knowledge. That would be your “mind hanging onto it”, would it not? So how do you see this “cutting loose” process, Huguette?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sun, 19 Nov 2017 #14
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
There’s also such a thing as being engrossed in, absorbed by an activity, but I think that’s not what were talking about here, do you?

In what would you say this state differs from the state of concentration you mentioned in your post, Huguette?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sun, 19 Nov 2017 #15
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

A sudden realisation that awareness ….. but first the obvious statement that you cannot try to be aware. But this realisation was more than that …... it was that one cannot SEEK awareness, one cannot pursue it. Because all that one can pursue is images. One can only seek an image of awareness.

To put it a different way, the mind doesn't want to be aware, the mind wants to KNOW that it is aware. That is, to have an IMAGE that it is aware (because it has drawn some conclusion that awareness is a great state to be in). The mind wants to THINK that it is aware, and that is what it pursues. That is all that it CAN pursue, in fact. As in all things, the mind does not really care if it is in illusion or not, as long as it feels good/secure.

To put it yet another way, the mind wants to be in a position of saying “I am aware”. But is this possible?

What is the relationship between the mind and true awareness? Can the mind (by mind I mean consciousness, thought) really grasp awareness?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Mon, 20 Nov 2017 #16
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 590 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:

Wim wrote, on the "Discomfort" thread:

"Though Thought can act in service of awareness".

This is not immediately clear to me, Wim.
Could you enlarge on it, or give an example?

If you're being aware of the fact that you missed your exit on the highway
is knowledge not part of this ??

Thanks Huguette and Clive for the given replies,
at this moment no impuls to comment on those ;-)

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, 20 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 #17
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3818 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
If you're being aware of the fact that you missed your exit on the highway
is knowledge not part of this ??

Yes, you are right. That's a simple and revealing example. It is useful for me in that it widens the meaning of the term "awareness"

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Wed, 22 Nov 2017 #18
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 590 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:

Wim Opdam wrote:

If you're being aware of the fact that you missed your exit on the highway
is knowledge not part of this ??

Yes, you are right. That's a simple and revealing example. It is useful for me in that it widens the meaning of the term "awareness"

Yesterdays quote about experimenting while listening made suddenly clear that the use of the word 'part' was incorrect.
A part of something can be set aside but not when it is 'involved. !

Like an egg in a cake, one cannot withdraw it but it is involved.

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 Wed, 22 Nov 2017.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Displaying all 18 posts
Page 1 of 1
To quote a portion of this post in your reply, first select the text and then click this "Quote" link.

(N.B. Be sure to insert an empty line between the quoted text and your reply.)