Quote of the Day

Feb 8, 2024
Krishnamurti: What is habit?

Questioner: Not being aware.

Krishnamurti: No. What is habit. - not how is it formed.

Questioner: Repetition of a movement.

Krishnamurti: Right. Why is there a repetition of this movement? Why is habit formed? You will see something extraordinary if you go slowly. We have all got short hair or long hair - why? Because others do it.

Questioner: Is that habit or imitation?

Krishnamurti: See what takes place. First you imitate others, then you say short hair is square.

Questioner: Is a custom a habit too?

Krishnamurti: Yes. I don't want to go too quickly into this. Isn't all thinking habit? You agree?

Questioner: Well, it is something you do over and over again.

Krishnamurti: Go on, see what you can discover for yourself when we go into this whole question of habit.

Questioner: It is really a situation with an old reaction, isn't it?

Krishnamurti: A new situation we meet with old responses. Is not identification a habit?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Because you are insecure. So do you know the nature of this machinery that makes for habit? Are you aware that you are always operating by habit? To get up at six o'clock every day; to believe "all this; to smoke, not to smoke, to take drugs - you follow? Everything is reduced to habit - it may be of a week, ten days, or fifty years, but the habit is formed. Why does the mind fall into this groove? Haven't you asked yourself why you have a habit? - habit being merely tradition. Have you watched your mind working in habit?

Questioner (1): It is easier.

Questioner (2): It takes really a lot of energy to live without habit.

Krishnamurti: I am coming to that. Don't jump, move from step to step. I am asking myself: why does the mind always live in habit? I thought that yesterday, I still think that today and I will think the same about it tomorrow - with slight modifications perhaps. Now why does the mind do this?

Questioner. One is half asleep.

Krishnamurti: We said laziness is part of it. What else? It feels easier with habits.

Questioner: One is afraid of the unknown.

Krishnamurti: I want to go a little deeper than that.

Questioner: The mind is afraid that if it doesn't maintain thinking in the same way, it will itself be threatened.

Krishnamurti: Which means what?

Questioner: It sees a certain kind of order in habit.

Krishnamurti: Is habit order?

Questioner: You can form a certain structure with habit, but that is not necessarily order.

Krishnamurti: Which means that the mind functions in habit for various reasons, like a machine. It is easier, it avoids loneliness, fear of the unknown, and it implies a certain order to say, "I will follow that and nothing else." Now why does the mind function in a groove, which is habit?

Questioner: Its nature is that.

Krishnamurti: But if you say that, then you stop enquiring. We know the reasons why the mind functions in habit. Are you actually aware of it? The highly psychopathic person has got a habit which is completely different from others. A neurotic person has got certain habits. We condemn that habit but accept others. So why does the mind do this? I want to go into it deeper, I want to see why it does it and whether the mind can live without habit.

Questioner: Because it feels it is the personality.

Krishnamurti: We said that: the personality, the ego, the `me' which says, "I am frightened, I want order", laziness, all that is `me' - different facets of the `me'. Can the mind live without habit? - except for the biological habits, the regular functioning of the body which has its own mechanism, its own intelligence, its own machinery. But why does the mind accept habit so quickly? The question, "Can it live without habit?" is a tremendous question. To say that there is God, there is a Saviour, is a habit. And to say there is no Saviour but only the State, that is another habit. So the mind lives in habit. Does it feel more secure in habit?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Go slowly, which means what? Functioning in the field of the known it feels safe. The known is habit - right?

Questioner: Even then, we still say we don't feel safe.

Krishnamurti: Because the known may change or may be taken away or get something added to it. But the mind is always functioning in the field of the known because there it feels secure. So the known is the habit, the known is knowledge - that is, knowledge of science, of technology, and the knowledge of my own experiences. And in that there is mechanical habit - of course. Now I am asking: can the mind move from the known - not into the unknown, I don't know what that means - but be free and move away from the borders of the known?

Look. If I know everything about the internal combustion engine, I can continue experimenting in the same direction, but there is a limitation. I must find something new, there must be some other way to create energy.

Questioner: Would the mind say that, if it wanted the security of the known?

Krishnamurti: I am not talking about security at the moment.

Questioner: Are you saying that there has to be a lack of continuity? In technology, in order for something new to happen, there has to be a break in continuity.

Krishnamurti: That's right. That is what takes place. Otherwise man couldn't have invented the jet, he must have looked at the problem differently. Are you following all this? My mind always works in the field of the known, modified, which is habit. In relationship with human beings, in thought - which is the response of memory and always within the field of the known - I am identifying myself with the unknown through the known. So I am asking: the mind must function with the known, because otherwise one couldn't talk, but can it also function without any habit?

Questioner: Does the mind ask that question because acting out of habit is unsuccessful?

Krishnamurti: I am not thinking of success.

Questioner: But what would make the mind ask this?

Krishnamurti: My mind says, "This isn't good enough, I want more." It wants to find out more it can't find it within the field of the known, it can only expand that field.

Questioner: But it has to realize the limitation.

Krishnamurti: I realize it, and I say to myself: I can function within the field of the known, I can always expand it or contract it, horizontally, vertically, in any way, but it is always within the field of the known. My mind says: I understand that very well. And so, being curious, it says: can the mind live, can it function, without habit?

Questioner: Is that a different question?

Krishnamurti: Now I am talking psychologically, inwardly. Apparently all life, all the mental activity in the psyche, is a continuity of habit.

Questioner: Is there really an impetus or something...

Krishnamurti: I am creating an impetus. The mind is itself creating the impetus to find out - not because it wants to find something.

Questioner: This is a very touchy point. This seems to be the key to some difficulty. Why - if I may just ask the question - does the mind say: I see the need for living without psychological habit?

Krishnamurti: I don t see the need, I am not positing anything. I am only saying I have seen the mind in operation in the field of the known - contracting, expanding horizontally or vertically, or reducing it to nothing, but always within that area. And my mind asks, is there a way of living - I don't know it, I don't even posit it - in which there is no habit at all?

So we come back: do you know what you are thinking about all day? You say, yes, I am thinking about myself, vaguely or concretely, or subtly, or in a most refined manner, but always round that. Can there be love when the mind is occupied with itself all the time? You say, "No". Why?

Questioner: Because if you are thinking about your self all the time, you can't...

Krishnamurti: Therefore you can never say, "I love you", until you stop thinking about yourself. When a man feels ambitious, competitive, imitative, which is part of thinking about oneself, can there be love? So we have to find a way of living in which habit is not. But habit can be used, the known can be used - I won't call it habit - in a different way, depending on the circumstances, the situation and so on. So is love habit? Pleasure is habit, isn't it? - is love pleasure?

Questioner: What do you mean by love, Sir?

Krishnamurti: I don't know. I will tell you what it is not, and when that is not in you, the other is. Listen to this: where the known is, love is not.

Questioner: So one has to find out first what habit is, and then about non-habit.

Krishnamurti: We have found it, we have said: habit is the continuation of action within the field of the known. The known is the tomorrow. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am going out for a drive - I know that, I have arranged it. Can I say, "Tomorrow I will love"?

Questioner (1): No

Questioner (2): I do.

Krishnamurti: What do you mean? "I will love you tomorrow?"

Questioner: We promise that.

Krishnamurti: In a church, you mean? That means love is within the field of the known and therefore within time.

Questioner: But if you love once, can you suddenly stop loving?

Krishnamurti: I loved you once, I am bored with you now!

Questioner: If you love someone today you can love him tomorrow.

Krishnamurti: How do you know? I love you today, but you want to be sure that I'll love you tomorrow, therefore I say, "I'll love you, darling, tomorrow."

Questioner: That is something else.

Krishnamurti: I am asking: has love a tomorrow? Habit has a tomorrow because it continues. Is love a continuity? Is love identification? - I love my wife, my son, my God? Therefore you have to really understand - not just verbally - the whole process, the structure and the nature of the known, the whole field of it inwardly, how you function always within that field, thinking from that field. The tomorrow you can grasp because it is projected from the known. To really understand this you have to understand all that we have said; you have to know what you think and why, and you have to observe it.

Questioner: You can know what you think, but you don't always know why you think it.

Krishnamurti: Oh yes, it is fairly simple. I want to know why I think, why thought comes in. Yesterday I went to the tailor and I forgot my watch there. Last night I looked for it and I thought about it and said, "How lazy of me, how inconsiderate on my part to leave it there, giving trouble" - all that went through the mind.

Questioner: When you say it was inconsiderate of you, you were identifying yourself.

Krishnamurti: No I forgot the watch. Which means they have to take the trouble to look after it, someone might take it, they will be responsible, all that. And I thought about it, and I know why this whole momentum of thinking arose from that I watched the whole flow of thought; you can know the beginning and the ending of thought - you look so mystified! - I have thought about it and I can end it. I left the watch there and I thought it might get lost; I have had it for a long time, I have cared for it. I would give it away, but not lose it. And it is lost! - finished. I didn't think any more about it. Now, to watch every thought, to be aware of it! Any thought is significant if you penetrate it; you can see the origin of it and the ending of it - not go on and on.

Questioner: And you say, Sir, if you see why the thought originated you will be able to see the ending of it.

Krishnamurti: No, look. Is there an individual thought separate from another thought? Are all thoughts separate or are they interrelated? What do you say?

Questioner: They are interrelated.

Krishnamurti: Are you sure?

Questioner: Well, they all come from one another.

Krishnamurti: If I understand their interrelationship, or if there is an understanding of the background from which all thought springs...

Questioner: That is the difficult point.

Krishnamurti: To watch without any question of wanting an answer means infinite watchfulness - not impatience - but watch carefully, then everything comes out. If you and I quarrel, I don't want to carry it in my mind, in thought, I want to finish it. I'll come to you and say, "I am sorry, I didn't mean it" - and it is finished. But do I do that? Have you learnt a lot this morning? Not "learnt" but "learning: what it means to learn.
Total Freedom - The Essential Krishnamurti | What is the Central Core of Your Thinking?