Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Frognerseteren, Norway | 3rd Public Talk, September 9, 1933

Questioner: You have spoken against the spirit of acquisition, both spiritual and material. Does not contemplation help us to understand and meet life completely?

Krishnamurti: Is not contemplation the very essence of action? In India there are people who withdraw from life, from daily contact with others, and retire into the woods to contemplate, to find God. Do you call that contemplation? I wouldn't call it contemplation - it is but an escape from life. Out of meeting life fully comes contemplation. Contemplation is action.

Thought, when it is complete, is action. The man who, in order to think, withdraws from the daily contact with life makes his life unnatural; for him life is confusion. Our very seeking for God or truth is an escape. We seek because we find that the life we live is ugly, monstrous. You say, 'If I can understand who created this thing, I shall understand the creation; I shall withdraw from this and go to that.' But if, instead of withdrawing, you tried to understand the cause of confusion in the very confusion itself, then your finding out, your discovery, would destroy the thing that is false.

Unless you have experienced truth, you cannot know what it is. Not pages of description nor the clever wit of man can tell you what it is. You can only know truth for yourself, and you can know it only when you have freed your mind from illusion. If the mind is not free, you but create opposites, and these opposites become your ideals, as God or truth.

If I am caught in suffering, in pain, I create the idea of peace, the idea of tranquility; I create the idea of truth according to my like and dislike, and therefore that idea cannot be true. Yet that is what we are constantly doing. When we contemplate as we generally do, we are merely trying to escape from confusion. 'But,' you say, 'when I am caught in confusion I cannot understand, I must escape from it in order to understand.' That is, you are trying to learn from suffering.

But as I see it, you can learn nothing from suffering, though you should not withdraw from it. The function of suffering is to give you a tremendous shock; the awakening caused by that shock gives you pain, and then you say, 'Let me find out what I can learn from it.' Now if, instead of saying this, you keep awake during the shock of suffering, then that experience will yield understanding. Understanding lies in suffering itself, not away from it; suffering itself gives freedom from suffering.

Tags: escape, suffering

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