Most of us think one to be very serious when one is following a certain principle, a belief, an idea, or a formula; committing oneself to a particular course of action and pursuing it; or having an ideal and trying to live according to that ideal or principle, or according to a purpose or an objective. When a person does all these things, we consider him a serious person, an earnest person. I do not think such people are earnest. Because earnestness implies application, not according to an idea or a formula, but application to learning, to apply one's whole attention to learning - learning not only a particular subject, a particular part of life, but the whole of life, which is a vast field. If one commits oneself to a particular part of that life and devotes one's attention to that particular part, such activity obviously is not a very serious action. Whereas learning about the whole of life - that is, the whole of consciousness - means a great deal of attention. A person who takes just one part of that great field, which we call consciousness, and applies his whole mind to that particular part - I do not consider such a person at all serious. Whereas a person is serious, earnest, passionate, intense, when he tries to comprehend or learn about the whole process of consciousness, that is, the whole of life.
February 20, 1966