Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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What does it mean to be serious?

Total Freedom | First Talk at Rajghat School, Varanasi, 1955

Questioner: Can a mind be called free if it has only a tentative conclusion?

KRISHNAMURTI: Tentative or permanent, a conclusion is already a bondage, is it not? Do please think with me a little. If one wants to find out whether there is such a thing as God, what generally happens? By reading certain books or listening to the arguments of some learned person, one is persuaded that there is God, or one becomes a communist and is persuaded that there isn't. But if one wants to find out the truth of the matter, can one belong to either side? Must not one's mind be free from all speculation, from all knowledge, all belief?

Now, how is the mind to be free? Will the mind ever be free if it follows a method to be free? Can any method, any practice, any system, however noble, however new or tried out for centuries, make the mind free? Or does the method merely condition the mind in a particular way, which we then call freedom? The method will produce its own results, will it not? And when the mind seeks a result through a method, the result being freedom, will such a mind be free?

Look, suppose one has a particular belief, a belief in God, or what you will. Must one not find out how that belief has come into being? This does not mean that you must not believe - but why do you believe? Why does the mind say, ''This is so''? And can the mind discover how beliefs come into being?

You see insecurity in everything about you, and you believe in a Master, in reincarnation, because that belief gives you hope, a sense of security, does it not'? And can a mind that is seeking security ever be free? Do you follow? The mind is seeking security, permanency, it is moved by a desire to be safe, and can such a mind be free to find out what is true? To find out what is true, must not the mind let go of its beliefs, put away its desire to be secure? And is there a method by which to let go of the beliefs which give you hope, a sense of security? You see, this is what I mean by being serious.

Questioner: Are there periods of freedom in the conditioned mind?

KRISHNAMURTI: Are there periods or gaps of freedom in the conditioned mind? Which is it that you are aware of, the freedom or the conditioned mind? Please take this question seriously. Our minds are conditioned, that is obvious. One's mind is conditioned as a Hindu, as a communist, this or that. Now, can the conditioned mind ever know freedom, or only what it imagines to be freedom? And can you be aware of how your mind is conditioned? Surely, that is our problem, not what freedom is. Can you just be aware of your conditioning, which is to see that your mind functions in a particular manner? We are not talking of how to alter it, how to bring about a change; that is not the question. Your mind functions as a Hindu or a modified Hindu, as a Christian or a communist; it believes in something. Are you aware of that?

Questioner: Freedom is not an acquisition but a gift.

KRISHNAMURTI: That is a supposition. If freedom were a gift, it would only be for the chosen few, and that would be intolerable. Do you mean to say that you and I cannot think it out and be free? You see, sir, that is what I am saying: we are not serious. To know how one is conditioned is the first step towards freedom. But do we know how we are conditioned? When you make a red mark on your forehead, when you put on the sacred thread, do puja, or follow some leader, are not those the activities of a conditioned mind? And can you drop all that so that in dropping it you will find out what is true? That is why it is only to the serious that truth is shown, not to those who are merely seeking security and are caught in some form of conclusion. I am just saying that when the mind is tethered to any particular conclusion, whether temporary or permanent, it is incapable of discovering something new.

Questioner: A scientist has data. Is he prepared to give up that data?

KRISHNAMURTI: Are you talking as a scientist or as a human being? Even the poor scientist, if he wants to discover anything, has to put aside his knowledge and conclusions, because they will color any discovery. Sir, to find out we must die to the things we know.

Questioner: Can the unconditioning of the mind be done at the conscious or unconscious level, or both?

KRISHNAMURTI: Sir, what is the mind? There is the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is occupied with the everyday duties - it observes, thinks, argues, attends to a job, and so on. But are we aware of the unconscious mind? The unconscious mind is the repository of racial instinct, it is the residue of this civilization, of this culture, in which there are certain urges, various forms of compulsion. And can this whole mind, the unconscious as well as the conscious, uncondition itself?

Now, why do we divide the mind as the conscious and the unconscious? Is there such a definite barrier between the conscious and the unconscious mind? Or are we so taken up with the conscious mind that we have never considered or been open to the unconscious? And can the conscious mind investigate, probe into the unconscious, or is it only when the conscious mind is quiet that the unconscious promptings, hints, urges, compulsions come into being? So, the unconditioning of the mind is not a process of the conscious or of the unconscious; it is a total process which comes about with the earnest intention to find out if your mind is conditioned.

Please look at this and experiment with it. What is important is the total, earnest intention to find out if your mind is conditioned so that you discover your conditioning, and do not just say that your mind is or is not conditioned. When you look into a mirror you see your face as it is; you may wish that some parts of it were different, but the actual fact is shown in the mirror. Now, can you look at your conditioning in a similar way? Can you be totally aware of your conditioning without the desire to alter it? You are not aware of it totally when you wish to change it, when you condemn it or compare it with something else. But when you can look at the fact of your conditioning without comparison, without judgment, then you are seeing it as a total thing, and only then is there a possibility of freeing the mind from that conditioning.

You see, when the mind is totally aware of its conditioning, there is only the mind there is no 'you' separate from the mind. But when the mind is only partially aware of its conditioning, it divides itself, it dislikes its conditioning or says it is a good thing; and as long as there is condemnation, judgment or comparison, there is incomplete understanding of conditioning, and therefore the perpetuation of that conditioning. Whereas, if the mind is aware of its conditioning without condemning or judging, but merely watching it, then there is a total perception, and you will find, if you so perceive it, that the mind frees itself from that conditioning.

This is what I mean by being serious. Experiment with this, not just casually, but seriously watch your mind in action all the time - when you are at the dinner table, when you are talking, when you are walking - so that your mind becomes entirely aware of all its activities. Then only can there be freedom from conditioning, and therefore the total stillness of the mind in which alone it is possible to find out what is truth. If there is not that stillness which is the outcome of a total understanding of conditioning, your search for truth has no meaning at all, it is merely a trap to fall into.