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Question: Must we get rid of the faculty of memory altogether in order to be alive in the present? Are there varieties of memory? What is the difference between your and my remembrance of the same past incident if you are liberated and I am not? When there is no memory of the past or expectation of the future then is one action more important than another?
Krishnamurti: Memory is begotten out of craving. When understanding is incomplete, there is memory. When mind is burdened with ideas, when mind is clothed with the future and the past, then there is memory. I am not speaking of memory in the sense of the remembrance of incidents. I am referring to memory begotten out of craving. You will see this is so if you think about it. By craving you create a resistance. By wanting something your mind is occupied with the future; that is, you are living by contrast, you are unhappy because you want to be happy. You think what happiness is, and by contrast there is unhappiness. Whereas, to free the mind from the idea of contrast, of the idea of the future, is to live in action without motive. When your mind is shaping itself to an ideal, or to what it conceives to be true, in that craving the present does not yield its full significance, so you recall an incident over and over again, and your mind is occupied with it, which is memory.
There is self-analysis, introspection, when you have not understood experience in the present, and understanding is ever of the present. In self-analysis you are stepping out of the flow of life and examining a thing that is past and dead; whereas, there is a natural process of observation, examination in movement, in living, which is of Life itself. Then the mind is not burdened with the past. Of what have you memory? Of things pleasant and unpleasant, which are still causing resistance in your mind; but if you live completely, alertly, in the present, though you may have a remembrance of those incidents, your mind is not burdened with memory because the mere remembrance of incidents cause no emotional response. That which you have lived completely, wholly, with clear penetration, does not burden your mind; but when your mind is divided, when it is burdened with the past, then there is a lack of understanding of the present.
Awareness is not a constant repetition of the idea that you must be aware, which becomes but a memory. Awareness is the fullness of perception, and you can fully perceive only when your mind is not edged about, crippled, with ideas set up through craving.
Self-consciousness is confusion, disharmony, the pursuit of an error; whereas, intelligence is harmony, which is the freedom from self-consciousness, personality, ego, individuality. Self-consciousness and its continuance depend on memory. You think of yourself only when you are frustrated, when something hinders you, and, becoming aware of the cause of resistance, you battle against it; thus there is created a series of memories, resistances, hindrances, which you call self-consciousness, individuality. Whereas, to a mind that is entirely unburdened with memory born of craving, there is no resistance at all, it is supremely concentrated.
Observe how your mind is pursuing an idea, or a memory. Or going over an incident that you have not completely understood, and thus creating a future. When you do not understand an experience, it pursues you until you understand it, which creates time; but if you live with complete understanding, there is the joy of intense awareness in the present.
Talks at Ojai Camp 1932