Questioner: Though you have talked about it, I find concentration extremely difficult. Would you kindly go into it again?
Krishnamurti: Is not interested attention necessary if we would understand? Especially is it necessary if we would understand ourselves, for our thoughts and feelings are so vagrant, quick and apparently disconnected. To understand ourselves an extensional awareness is essential, not an exclusive mind with its rejections and judgments, not a narrowing concentration. From extensional awareness comes one pointedness, true concentration.
Now why is it that we find concentration so difficult? Is it not because most of our thinking is a distraction, a dissipation? Either through habit, laziness or through interests, or because our thought-feeling has not completed itself, thought wanders or is repetitive. If it wanders because of interest merely to suppress or control thought is of little use, for such suppression and control is another additional factor for further disturbance. Thought will revert to that interest, however trivial, over and over again till all its value ceases. So if thought wanders because of interest why not think it through instead of resisting it? Go with it, become aware of all its implications, study it disinterestedly till that particular thought, however stupid and petty, is understood and so dissolved. Thus you will discover through this process of extensional awareness that repetitive thoughts of trivial interest cease; and they cease only when you consciously think-feel them out, not suppress them. If thought wanders because of habit it is indicative and to become aware of it is important. If thought-feeling is caught in habit it is merely mechanical repetition and copy, and so is not thinking at all. If you examine such habit of thought you will perceive that it might be caused by education, through fear of opinion, through religious upbringing, through environmental influence and so on. So your thought follows a groove, a pattern which reveals your own state of being. It might be through laziness that thought wanders. Again this is also very indicative, is it not? To be aware of laziness is to become alert but to be unaware of it is to be truly lazy. We allow ourselves to become lazy through wrong diet, not paying sufficient attention to health or through circumstances or relationships that put us to sleep and so on. Thus when we become aware of the causes of our laziness we may produce inward disturbances which have outward effect, and so we may prefer to be lazy. Or thought is repetitive because it is never allowed to complete itself. Just as an unfinished letter becomes a source of irritation so unfinished thought-feeling becomes repetitive.
Through constant awareness you will begin to find out for yourself why your thought-feeling wanders or is repetitive, whether because of interest or habit or laziness, or because it is not completed. If you pursue your thoughts-feelings diligently, alertly, with passive disinterested watchfulness, there comes an extensional concentration which is essential for the understanding of the real. A mind that is formulating, creating, cannot understand creation, the uncrated. How can a chattering, noisy mind comprehend the immeasurable? Of what value is a beautiful piece of art to a child? It will play with it and is soon tired of it. So it is with most of us. We believe or disbelieve; we have other people's experiences and knowledge. Our minds are petty, cruel, ignorant. Our minds are broken up, there is no integration and stillness. How can such a mind understand that which is beyond all measure, beyond all formulation! To be truly concentrated all valuation must cease. Awareness flows into deep and quiet pools of meditation.
9th Public Talk 9th July, 1944