Question: Will you please give an example of the practical exercise of constant awareness and choice in everyday life.
Krishnamurti: Would you ask that question if there were a poisonous snake in your room? Then you wouldn't ask, "How am I to keep awake? How am I to be intensely aware?" You ask that question only when you are not sure that there is a poisonous snake in your room. Either you are wholly unconscious of it, or you want to play with that snake, you want to enjoy its pain and its delights.
Please follow this. There cannot be awareness, that alertness of mind and emotion, so long as mind is still caught up in both pain and pleasure. That is, when an experience gives you pain and at the same time gives you pleasure, you do nothing about it. You act only when the pain is greater than the pleasure, but if the pleasure is greater, you do nothing at all about it, because there is no acute conflict. It is only when pain overbalances pleasure, is more acute than pleasure, that you demand an action.
Most people wait for the increase of pain before they act, and during this waiting period, they want to know how to be aware. No one can tell them. They are waiting for the increase of pain before they act, that is, they wait for pain through its compulsion to force them to act, and in that compulsion there is no intelligence. It is merely environment which forces them to act in a particular way, not intelligence. Therefore when a mind is caught up in this stagnation, in this lack of tenseness, there will naturally be more pain, more conflict.
By the look of things political, war may break out again. It may break out in two years, in five years, in ten years. An intelligent man can see this and intelligently act. But the man who is stagnating, who is waiting for pain to force him to action, looks to greater chaos, greater suffering to give him impetus to act, and hence his intelligence is not functioning. There is awareness only when the mind and heart are taut, are in great tenseness.
For example, when you see that possessiveness must lead to incompleteness, when you see that insufficiency, lack of richness, shallowness must ever produce dependence, when you recognize that, what happens to your mind and heart? The immediate craving is to fill that shallowness; but apart from that, when you see the futility of continual accumulation, you begin to be aware how your mind is functioning. You see that in mere accumulation there cannot be creative thinking; and yet mind is pursuing accumulation. Therefore in becoming aware of that, you create a conflict, and that very conflict will dissolve the cause of accumulation.
11th Public Talk 30th June, 1934