Question: One can grasp a problem or a situation in life, its cause and effect, clearly enough by the exercise of the intellect and equally so emotionally. But how does one do this mentally and emotionally at the same time? Please explain more fully how to bring about this poise of the mind and the heart.
Krishnamurti: To realize this poise and not merely theorize over it, you must first understand its vital importance. Through this understanding you will become aware of your disharmonious and conflicting actions. In that awareness there is instantaneous discernment, which is poise.
Let me take an example: You feel emotionally, or perceive intellectually, the cruelty of child-marriage. You feel the horror of it, with all its brutality and bestiality; yet your intellect or your emotion may yield to public opinion, or to the compulsion of your parents or nearest relatives. So although your feelings or your intellect may be strongly against child-marriage, yet you will permit it, because you will not resist public opinion, relations, tradition and custom. Thus in you there is disharmony. But if you carry your thought and your feeling completely through into action, then there is harmony about you. If you were cruel unconsciously, then you would be like an animal, and there would be no struggle or conflict; but to know that you are being cruel and yet yield to cruelty, creates this terrible turmoil and chaos in your mind and heart, which none but you yourself can allay. To do this, you must be constantly aware, that is, constantly complete every thought, every feeling that you have, in action. Think and feel it through, and you will see how your mind and heart are bound by public opinion, tradition, system, personal vanities and fears. In facing these hindrances you discover the cause, and thereby that which prevents the harmony of thought and feeling withers away.
Let me take another example, that of smoking. If you have the habit of smoking and someone comes to you and tells you how unhealthy, how nonspiritual it is to smoke, intellectually you may be convinced, but sensationally you still want to smoke. There you have created in yourself a conflict, so what do you do next? You try to control your desire, you exert your will-power, and this but strengthens the conflict. But if really you feel that you must smoke, then smoke, no matter what another may say; and if you really feel convinced with your mind and your heart about the stupidity of smoking, then give it up. Do not merely play with the idea because you like to castigate your mind and your heart. There is a sensation in this which you like, and you think that through this conflict and your self-control you will achieve progress and become spiritual. The exquisite reality of living exists in the completeness of thought and feeling carried into action. Thoughts and feeling without action rot in the mind and heart, and create conflict.
If you really feel that ceremonies, Masters, systems and paths are necessary for you, then seek them; but if in your heart you feel their futility, that they cannot give you the understanding of life, then do not remain in your illusions. Do not play with ideas, like a friend who said to me, "I do not believe in Masters, in the astral plane, in ceremonies, but I cling to them because - who knows? - they may be more real when one is dead."
You are neither hot nor cold, you are lukewarm, indifferent - you have to see this for yourself and create the capacity to live - and hence your intellect and your theories have become your destroyers. You consider yourself tolerant, because you can intellectualize what I say and destroy it, so you may continue to cling to your vanities, and pursue power and your many illusions. Either you must be against the pursuit of power or for it. Because you play with life, you think there are innumerable facets to truth and glorify tolerance.
You have lost the capacity to think and to feel; otherwise this cruel system of exploitation, economical and spiritual, could not exist. I cannot force you to be different. You have to see this for yourself and change in yourself. Systems cannot change fundamentally the human mind and heart. You have experimented with these for many centuries, and what is the result? You have become so hypocritical that you have lost all sense of the true, the normal, the simple. You fight over the sanctity of temples and the rights of the untouchables, but you do not see that the very idea of a temple itself is false and cruel.
Many of you may think and feel within yourselves that you cannot discover truth through paths, mediators and systems, and yet you seek them. I say to you: Be either hot or cold. and then you will understand and will awaken yourself form your stagnation of indifference. You are afraid to be either one or the other, because you are afraid to lose an opportunity here and an opportunity there. You are not living, you have lost the perfume of understanding, there is no depth in your feeling; and I say that where there is the profundity of thought and feeling, there alone can be the exquisite reality of the fullness of life.
Early Writings, Volume VII
Talks at Adyar, India 1932-33