Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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On Awareness

Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1967 | 6th Public Dialogue, August 7th, 1967

Questioner: You mentioned awareness about things and states of mind. Does that mean that awareness always has an object, such as fear?

Krishnamurti: We're going to find out. We're going to begin. Look! I know nothing about it. Right? I know nothing about awareness. I'm going to find out what it means, not what somebody tells me. First of all am I aware, conscious, of outward things? - the shape of the tree, the bird sitting on the telegraph pole preening itself, the potholes in the road, the face opposite me. That is, just to look? First to look - to see! Or, do I see the image that I have about that bird, or that tree, or the image which I have about the face I see in front of me? right? That is, not only do I see the bird on the post - I also have an image of that bird - so there is the seeing and the image which sees the bird. Is that somewhat clear? I see you - actually, visually - and I also have an image about you - you're old, young, nice looking, or you're dirty, you're this, you're that. Right?

Questioner: How are we ever sure that we are seeing a bird without an image?

Krishnamurti: Sir, look. Forget the bird. You're sitting there and I'm sitting here. How do you know that you see me? How do I know that I see you? - you're there and I'm here.

Questioner: Sir, there is something that is not clear to me. Do I see the bird or the image of it - I can't understand.

Krishnamurti: This is a conundrum! Let's forget the bird, let's forget the tree, let's forget everything. There you are. You're sitting there and the speaker is sitting on the plat form. You see him, not only actually (brown coat, etc.) but also you see him through the image you have about him. Right? I see you not only visually, what you actually look like, but also, because I have known you, I have an image about you. Now that's part of awareness, isn't it? I'm aware of your face, your colour, the scarf around your neck, the brown shirt - but I also have an image about you because I have known you - you have said pleasant or unpleasant things - I have built an image about you. That's part of awareness isn't it? Right? Of course!

Now, go a step further. I see you through the image which I have built about you. I see you - not only the brown shirt and so on - but also I see you through my image. Right? So actually I don't see you at all! That's part of awareness, isn't it? To realize that the image which is looking at you prevents the mind from looking at you directly. This is fairly simple. No? That's also part of awareness isn't it? I am aware of the brown shirt you have and the colour of the scarf around your neck. I'm also aware that I have an image about you and that image is looking at you. That's part of awareness. Obviously, Sirs.

Now, next move. By being aware of this, that awareness says, I am really not looking at you at all - my image is looking at you! Are you following this? My image is looking at you. First of all I am aware that I have an image, which I was not aware of before. Then I am aware how that image has come into being. Right? Now how has that image come into being? That image has come into being because you have hurt me, or you have said pleasant things to me, you have flattered me you have said, 'what a marvellous person you are', or 'for God's sake become more intelligent', or this or that. Through your verbal expression and the feeling which you have put into those words, and my reactions to those words and to those feelings, I have built an image about you - which is the memory that I have about you. Right?

Questioner: But you form an image about someone even the first time you meet....

Krishnamurti: Yes, yes. It can be in an instant. I don't like your face, or I like your face. I like the perfume which you have on, I don't like it, and so on. I've already built an image, instantly. Right? So I am aware for the first time that I have an image about you. And also I am aware that this image has been put together by like and dislike. I am a German and you are a Frenchman and I don't like you and so on. So I am aware through the image I have built about you, from my reactions to you. Right? Shall we go on? Are you following the words or actually watching yourselves, watching the image you have about me or about somebody else, how that image has been built? If you have a husband or a wife you know very well how that image has been built; and are you aware of this image? Not, whether you like it or dislike it. Because if you are aware and say 'I like' or 'I don't like' then you are adding to that image. Right? Or you say, I must get rid of that image. You're again adding to that image. But if you observe without any reaction to the image - I wonder if you're following all this, is it too difficult? - would you like to 'take a trip'?

This is a very complex process. Unless you follow this very, very closely you're going to miss the whole thing. Therefore you have to pay attention. I am aware of your brown shirt and scarf and the colour of the scarf. I am also aware that I look at you through the image I have built about you and the image has been built through your words, through your gestures, or through my prejudice about you or my like and dislike of you. That is part of awareness. And also I see I am aware that this image prevents me from looking at you directly. It prevents me from looking at you, coming into contact with you directly. Then I say to myself, 'I must get rid of this image'. You're following this? Then begins the conflict, doesn't it? When I want to get rid of the image which I have built about you, to be free of it, because I want to come closer into contact with you, to see you directly, that is another form of reaction to the image.