Jiddu Krisnamurthi's Public Talks

J. Krishnamurthi

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Krishnamurthi
"Krishnamurti's a great man, master of the world."

How to face a fact – whether it’s death, jealousy, whatever it is, even voting – how to face it as though it were new? And therefore, a mind that is not burdened with opinions, evaluations, with the past memories which are always projecting, confusing and making a conflict. As far as I see it, that is the real issue in all this: to not bring the past into the present and destroy the understanding of the present. Because for me the most important thing is not to be in conflict, under any circumstances, not just with regard to voting, or death or love, but whatever it is. Conflict is the very essence of stupidity. And here is a problem, which is that my wife has run away. I understand the whole business of conflict, and here is a situation that I must deal with anew. How am I to do it? That’s the question. Or there is the much greater problem: death, love, and this whole modern drive for ambition and success, in which is included tyranny. I support tyranny if I’m seeking success. So how do I look at these things non-neurotically, without any illusion? That is the real crux of it. So that my mind is a fresh mind, not the stupid old mind that has gone on and on through reactions. As far as I see, that is the real issue: to meet the present without neuroticism, which introduces conflict because of the past, or you have an idea about it and you force the fact to the idea, which creates conflict.

from Small Group Discussion 5 in Saanen, 3 August 1963
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J. Krishnamurti Online

We think society is something totally separate from us. But one of the fundamental truths is that you are responsible for society. Society is shaping you, and you are shaping the society in which you live. Can you, as a human being, radically transform your psychological state? Which is to be aware, to observe, to listen, to learn, not from another, but observing your own relationship with another. That is the mirror in which you can see yourself, actually. In that mirror, it shows you what you are, if you are willing to look. Then by looking at it, objectively, carefully, without any distortion, you see, you have an insight into the whole movement of your mind, the whole content of your mind. By observing it. To observe is to observe without an idea, without direction, without projecting your reactions and prejudices. To observe demands that you be free from this, from all the trivialities, so that you can look very clearly in the mirror of relationship. When you look so carefully, that very insight dissolves all trivialities. And freedom, which is being so misused now, that freedom to observe is to understand the whole nature and structure of the human mind.

from Interview 2 with Gary Null in Brockwood Park, 17 October 1980
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Thought cannot exist without knowledge.

from Dialogue with Geetha Varadan in Madras (Chennai), 23 January 1984

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All time is contained in the present; all time, the past, the future is now. See the inwardness of it immediately. It must be instant, not thought over. To see the depth, the inwardness and the beauty of it you have to have an instant perception, which is not the activity of thought.

from Dialogue 1 with Radha Burnier in Schönried, 12 August 1984

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Thought can never be intelligent.

from Dialogue with Asit Chandmal in Brockwood Park, 24 June 1982

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Your consciousness is not different from mine. It may have little variations and modifications, a little more expansion or contraction, but essentially consciousness is yours as well as mine. I am attached to my house, and so are you. I am attached to my knowledge; I am attached to my family; I am in despair whether I live in India, England or America, wherever it is. So that consciousness is common.

from Dialogue 13 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 26 February 1974

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Unless you stop and look, you are a confused entity.

from Students Discussion 3 in Gstaad, 29 July 1966

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In discussing religion, we ought to inquire very, very deeply into the nature of hurt, because a mind that is not hurt is an innocent mind. And you need this quality of innocency to be totally attentive.

from Dialogue 11 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 25 February 1974

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Most people are terribly lonely, bored with life, and pleasure becomes the means of escape from their loneliness, their depression, their ugliness, their brutality and all the rest of it. So one has to understand this extraordinary principle of pleasure on which most of our culture is based – morally, religiously, sexually, aesthetically, you know, every way that is the principle on which man functions. One can see how pleasure is sustained by thought. You had an extraordinary meal yesterday and it brought you pleasure, and you want that pleasure repeated tomorrow. One had physical pain and you are afraid that it might happen again. The fear comes in when you think what might happen. Like in death, you put it away, as far away as you can because you are afraid of what might happen, and you don’t want to die. Again thought puts it as far away as possible and never understands what death is, nor does it understand pleasure and fear, so it must escape. Thought and fear become mechanical, and our culture is mechanical because most people are second-hand people. I’m not insulting but just saying what is. To really understand the immense thing called love, one has to understand all this.

from Interview by Wilfred Thomas in Brockwood Park, 5 October 1970

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A group of people in a room chattering away is very noisy. Each is shouting, each is talking, each is expressing themself; it is a tremendous noise being generated. If those people were quiet, not only physically quiet but inwardly have understood the nature of silence… See the difference – that silence is equal to that sound of the tree.

from Dialogue 1 with Radha Burnier in Schönried, 12 August 1984

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When I approach a problem, the chaos, the misery, the suffering, the violence, all that, I approach it with my conclusions, with my fears, with my despairs. I don’t look at the problem itself.

from Dialogue 3 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 19 February 1974

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Human beings suffer. Being a human being, I suffer. My instinct is to run away from it, suppress it, to seek comfort, to seek all kinds of activity which move away from the fact. But if the brain can remain with the fact, without a single movement of thought involved in it, then that very fact is not, suffering is not.

from Dialogue with Geetha Varadan in Madras (Chennai), 23 January 1984


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Discipline is a form of suppression and control of desire – religious, sectarian, non-sectarian, it is all based on control. Control your appetite. Control your desires. Control your thought. And this control gradually squeezes out the flow of free energy.

from Dialogue 7 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 21 February 1974

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This is what I would do if I were teaching a class, the first thing I would begin with. I would say, ‘You are hurt and I am hurt. Both of us are hurt’. I would point out what hurt does, how it kills people, how it destroys people; how out of that there is violence, how out of that I want to hurt people. I would spend ten minutes talking about that, every day, in different ways, until both of us see it. Then as an educator I will use the right word, and the student will use the right word. There will be no gesture, no irritation; we are both involved in it. But we don’t do that. The moment we come into class we pick up a book, and it goes off. If I was an educator, whether with older or younger people, I would establish this relationship. That is my duty, that is my job, that is my function, not just to transmit information.

from Dialogue 11 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 25 February 1974

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As long as you fight a habit, you give it vitality. If you don’t fight it, it’ll die down very soon.

from Small Group Discussion 5 in Saanen, 3 August 1963

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The battle to achieve means conflict.

from Students Discussion 1 in Schönried, 8 July 1969

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I never look at my wife or husband. If I have a wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, I never look. I look at her or him through the image I have about her or him. The image is a dead thing. So I never look at a living thing. I never look at nature, with all the marvel of it, the beauty of it, the shape, the loveliness of it. I am always translating it, trying to paint it, write about it or enjoy it.

from Dialogue 16 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 27 February 1974

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After a thousand millennia, why haven’t we changed? We are still barbarians.

from Dialogue 2 with Radha Burnier in Schönried, 13 August 1984

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Physical survival is only possible when human beings get together, not as communists or socialists but as human beings who say, ‘This is our problem, for God’s sake, let’s solve it.’ But we won’t because we are burdened with problems, with plans of how to solve starvation, for example. You have your plan, I have my plan, he has his plan, and so planning becomes most important. The plans become most important rather than starvation. And so we fight each other. Common sense, affection, care, love can change all this.

from Dialogue 6 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 20 February 1974

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The past is the observer. The past is the accumulated knowledge as the ‘me’ and the ‘we’, ‘they’ and ‘us’. The observer is put together by thought as the past. Thought is the past. Thought is never free. Thought is never new because it is the response of the past, as knowledge, as experience, as memory. And the observer is observing with the memories, experiences, knowledge, hurts, despairs, hope. With all that background he looks at the observed. So the observer then becomes separate from the observed.

from Dialogue 2 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 18 February 1974

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Meditation is a part of cooperation and relationship. You cannot just say, ‘I’ll meditate,’ and not understand the rest of meditation.

from Students Discussion 1 in Schönried, 8 July 1969

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The brain needs security, otherwise it cannot function. So it finds security in a belief, in an image, in rituals, in the propaganda of 2,000 or 5,000 years. And there, there is a sense of safety, comfort, security, wellbeing, an image of somebody greater than me who is looking after me; inwardly they is responsible. When you are asking a human being to negate all that, one is faced with an immense sense of danger and one becomes panicked. So to see all that, to see the absurdity of all the present religions, the utter meaninglessness of it all, and to face being totally insecure, and not be frightened.

from Dialogue 15 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 27 February 1974

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We are becoming more and more artificial, more and more superficial, more and more verbal, moving in a linear direction. Not vertical at all, but linear. And so artificial things become more important – theatres, cinemas, the whole business of the modern world. And very few have the sense of beauty in themselves, beauty in conduct, beauty in behaviour, beauty in the usage of language, the voice, the manner of walking, the sense of humility. With that humility, everything becomes gentle, quiet, full of beauty. We have none of that and yet we go to museums and galleries. We have lost the delicacy, the sensitivity of the mind, the heart and the body. When we have lost this sensitivity how can we know what beauty is?

from Dialogue 9 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 22 February 1974

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We are frightened of being isolated. But every act a human being does is isolating himself. That is, his ambition is isolating himself. When he is nationalistic, he is isolating himself. When he says, ‘It is my family’ – isolating himself. ‘I want to fulfil’ – isolating himself. When you negate all that, not violently, but see the stupidity of all that, then you are alone. And that has tremendous beauty in it. Therefore that beauty, you can spread it everywhere, but it still remains alone. So the quality of compassion is that. But compassion isn’t a word; it happens; it comes with intelligence.

from Dialogue 12 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 25 February 1974

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If I am aware that I am neurotic, then I am already coming out of that neuroticism. But most of us are not aware of our peculiarities, of our slightly unbalanced states, our exaggerations, our idiosyncrasies and fixations. To be aware of that neurotic condition requires attention, watching. But most of us have not the energy, time or inclination to observe ourselves; we would rather go to an analyst or somebody who will do the job for us, and therefore complicate our life more and more. So if you are aware you are neurotic – not only superficially but deeply, as most of us are – then to bring about a change, one must be aware, one must watch; one must watch every word, the things that you feel and think – go into yourself profoundly. Perhaps then, out of that awareness, comes meditation.

from Public Talk 9 in Saanen, 25 July 1963

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A living thing you can never know; it is moving, it is never the same. And so I can never say that I know my wife, husband or children, because they are living human beings.

from Dialogue 15 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 27 February 1974

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Don’t conclude, intellectually, emotionally or in any way. Find out why you conclude, and if you can live without conclusion. Try it; it is the most marvellous thing to find out! When you find out, it is yours. Not yours in the sense of vanity – it is like discovering a new planet or a new mathematical problem.

from Students Discussion 2 in Schönried, 10 July 1969

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There is the necessary conditioning for physical security. But when there is the search and the demand for psychological security, then conditioning becomes tremendously potent.

from Public Talk 1 in Amsterdam, 3 May 1969

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The content of ‘me’ is your content also, it is not so very different. It is slightly modified, slightly exaggerated, given certain tendencies which depend on your conditioning, on environment and so on, but it is essentially the same consciousness. Unless a human being empties that consciousness, that consciousness goes on like a river – collecting, accumulating all that is going on. And out of that river comes the expression or the manifestation of the one that is dead. When the mediums and seances say that your brother, your uncle or wife is here, what has happened is they have manifested themselves out of that stream which is the continuous consciousness of struggle, pain, unhappiness, misery, all that. And one who has observed and looked at consciousness, and empties it, doesn’t belong to that stream at all. Then one is living each moment anew because one is dying each moment. There is no accumulation of the ‘me’ which has to be expressed. One is dying every minute; living every minute and dying every minute. Therefore in that there is – what shall I say? – there is no content; it is a tremendous energy in action.

from Dialogue 14 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 26 February 1974

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If I depend for my existence on entertainment, I’m not a human being, I’m just a shallow machine. So I reject that, though I may amuse myself – you know, go to the cinema occasionally, and so on. If I reject all these forms of entertainment, including the religious entertainment, including the circuses states put on, the political entertainment, if the mind rejects all that, what have I left? My own emptiness, my own insufficiency, dullness, my stupidity, craving for things which I want that have no value. So I’m left with myself. And myself is a very small blade of grass in a vast field. And I get frightened, so I cling more and more to my family, to my house, to my furniture and so on. So, the more I realise I am empty, the more I hold on, because that is an escape from the fear of loneliness, of emptiness, of having a void in myself. Now, if I don’t escape, and face that without distortion, without wanting to escape from it, without trying to cover it up, without trying to fill it, then I can look at it. If I look without the observer then I am that emptiness. The emptiness is not separate from me. I am that. The observer is that. Then what takes place? Then there is no longer a movement away from it, because any movement I make will still be in the category of escapes, entertainment. So the mind remains with it without becoming neurotic. It becomes neurotic the moment it wants to escape from it. So it can remain with it, without saying, ‘I must change it, I must fill it.’ So when there is this emptiness and there is no observer who wants to direct it, then that very emptiness undergoes a tremendous transformation. It’s no longer empty. Therefore there is no fear. Therefore this craving for pleasure and entertainment comes to an end.

from Dialogue with Donald Ingram Smith in Rajghat, 1 December 1969

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Through awareness, a choiceless observation in which there is space, every form of conditioning is dissolved.

from Public Talk 8 in Saanen, 23 July 1963

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Krishnamurti: I want to find the truth, whether I am a fool or a marvellous person. Therefore I listen without any reaction. The moment I have a reaction, I have stopped listening and I shan't find out whether I am a fool or a marvellous bird.
Q: Is that important?
K: It is important to find out. You may be telling the truth when you said I am a fool. So, I am listening and therefore learning. If I don't listen, I am not learning. But if I listen when you say I am a fool or a marvellous person, I am learning to find out the truth of it. But if I react, I've stopped learning. So am I listening?

from Students Discussion 2 in Amsterdam, 8 May 1969

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Self-knowledge is a process

"So, to understand the innumerable problems that each one of us has, is it not essential that there be self-knowledge? And that is one of the most difficult things, self-awareness, which does not mean isolation, a withdrawal. Obviously, to know oneself is essential; but to know oneself does not imply a withdrawal from relationship. And it would be a mistake, surely, to think that one can know oneself significantly, completely, fully, through isolation, through exclusion, or by going to some psychologist, or to some priest; or that one can learn self-knowledge through a book. Self-knowledge is obviously a process, not an end in itself; to know oneself, one must be aware of oneself in action, which is relationship. You discover yourself, not in isolation, not in withdrawal, but in relationship to society, to your wife, your husband, your brother, to man; but to discover how you react, what your responses are, requires an extraordinary alertness of mind, a keenness of perception."

– J. Krishnamurti
London, 1st Public Talk, 2nd October 1949

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Can the mind understand the limitations of imitation and conforming to a pattern?

Attention is not concentration.

In the very act of listening there is a revolution, a fundamental transformation.

A mind that sees the truth of something false or true is perceiving immediately, without any conflict, cause or after-results.

Q: How does one know whether one is seeing the whole volume or only a page?

What is the state of the mind that sees the whole?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=260PAc-z-uo

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Escape, suppression or any form of movement away from the fact is a waste of energy.

from Dialogue with Geetha Varadan in Madras (Chennai), 23 January 1984

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It is our business as a human being to realise the enormous suffering, misery and confusion in the world. And it is our responsibility to change all that – it is not the responsibility of the politician, the businessman or the scientist; it is our responsibility.

from Dialogue 1 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 18 February 1974


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When thought realises that it cannot possibly do anything about fear because it creates fear, then there is silence, there is the complete negation of any movement that breeds fear.

from Public Talk 3 in Amsterdam, 10 May 1969

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We are not aware that we are confused because we are so keen to act.

from Students Discussion 3 in Gstaad, 29 July 1966

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Thought is matter; it is stored up in the brain cells. Whatever thought creates is nothing but fragmentary matter.

from Dialogue with Donald Ingam Smith in Ojai, California, 14 April 1977

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Understanding only takes place in a flash, not in the process of time, not in the accumulation of information and knowledge, or from books. You see something immediately or not at all.

from Public Talk 3 in Saanen, 11 July 1963

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Can the mind bring about security, physical security, which means food, clothes and shelter for everybody? Not as a communist, capitalist or socialist, but meet together as human beings to resolve this problem. It can be done, but nobody wants to do it because they don’t feel responsible for it.

from Dialogue 6 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 20 February 1974

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Truth must be seen instantly and forgotten.

from Public Talk 8 in Saanen, 23 July 1963

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Learning means having a mind that can look very clearly.

from Students Discussion 3 in Schönried, 13 July 1969

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It is only self-knowing that breaks down all conditioning, and therefore the mind need not depend on any challenge to keep completely awake. This means a great deal of work inwardly, a great deal of work watching, everlastingly, which means no laziness. And we are lazy. When you are lazy, be lazy. But be aware that you are lazy. Then out of that awareness a different sense of meaning to that word comes. When you are lazy, you are lazy – completely. And when you are aware that you are lazy, you allow yourself to be lazy, when it is necessary. But when there is awareness of that laziness – and you are lazy because you went to sleep late last night, you overate, you did this or one of a dozen things that make you lazy – then that very awareness corrects the reasons for laziness. So what is important in all this, if I may point out, is to understand yourself, is to watch yourself as in a mirror. And you can only watch yourself in relationship, not in isolation, not as a hermit but in relationship with your boss, with your wife or husband, with your neighbour, with the ugly politician, and so on. Then in that awareness you come upon something that is indestructible, that is immense.

from Public Talk 5 in Amsterdam, 14 May 1969

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Unless I know the deep layers, the content of myself, how they are working, what they are doing, I have no basis for clear thought or clear looking.

from Students Discussion 1 in Schönried, 8 July 1969

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I put the question [of creation] with my being because it is something very serious in which is involved love, quietness, silence. It is not just a loved question; it is a question that is put in all depth and seriousness, and with considerable love and affection. So the question is there, and if you and I meet that question with the same integrity, with the same intensity and sense of meeting the thing together, then that question has an answer. The question is the answer. Creation is something that cannot be put into words. Either you realise that extraordinary state of creation or you don’t. It is not that you experience it. You cannot experience it; it’s too vast for the human brain to grasp.

from Small Group Discussion in Madras (Chennai), 27 January 1984

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If I have understood the outer, I have understood the inner. The inner has created the outer. The outer is the structure of society, the religious sanctions, all that is invented or put together by thought – the Christ, the Buddha, all that.

from Dialogue 10 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 22 February 1974

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Look at the content of your consciousness without direction, without choice. Be aware of it without any exertion of discernment. Be choicelessly aware of this extraordinary map. Then that choiceless awareness gives you tremendous energy to go beyond it.

from Dialogue 14 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 26 February 1974
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I put the question [of creation] with my being because it is something very serious in which is involved love, quietness, silence. It is not just a loved question; it is a question that is put in all depth and seriousness, and with considerable love and affection. So the question is there, and if you and I meet that question with the same integrity, with the same intensity and sense of meeting the thing together, then that question has an answer. The question is the answer. Creation is something that cannot be put into words. Either you realise that extraordinary state of creation or you don’t. It is not that you experience it. You cannot experience it; it’s too vast for the human brain to grasp.

from Small Group Discussion in Madras (Chennai), 27 January 1984

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Unless I know the deep layers, the content of myself, how they are working, what they are doing, I have no basis for clear thought or clear looking.

from Students Discussion 1 in Schönried, 8 July 1969

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It is only self-knowing that breaks down all conditioning, and therefore the mind need not depend on any challenge to keep completely awake. This means a great deal of work inwardly, a great deal of work watching, everlastingly, which means no laziness. And we are lazy. When you are lazy, be lazy. But be aware that you are lazy. Then out of that awareness a different sense of meaning to that word comes. When you are lazy, you are lazy – completely. And when you are aware that you are lazy, you allow yourself to be lazy, when it is necessary. But when there is awareness of that laziness – and you are lazy because you went to sleep late last night, you overate, you did this or one of a dozen things that make you lazy – then that very awareness corrects the reasons for laziness. So what is important in all this, if I may point out, is to understand yourself, is to watch yourself as in a mirror. And you can only watch yourself in relationship, not in isolation, not as a hermit but in relationship with your boss, with your wife or husband, with your neighbour, with the ugly politician, and so on. Then in that awareness you come upon something that is indestructible, that is immense.

from Public Talk 5 in Amsterdam, 14 May 1969

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An unoccupied mind is a silent mind. That silence has tremendous significance because in that silence there is no measure. It isn’t a continuous silence or a superficial silence because thought has not brought it. So it has tremendous meaning to it.

from Dialogue with Donald Ingam Smith in Ojai, California, 14 April 1977

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Would you say a religious life is a tremendously balanced life, a life in which there is no inward discord, problems, conflicts, conclusions, with a mind that is always moving, moving, moving? Because a mind in conflict is a distorted mind. Such a distorted mind may inquire expansively, study electronics, biology, mathematics, macrobiotics, whatever it is, but would such a mind be a religious mind? A mind that is always seeking more and more experience, always seeking, wanting, searching, more, more, more, would you call such a mind a religious mind?

from Students Discussion 3 in Schönried, 13 July 1969

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Death means coming to an end, coming to end of all the things you are attached to: your Gods, beliefs, Church, culture, everything, and your relationship physically comes to an end. But there is always this longing, the hope that even though the physical organism comes to an end, there must be some element, some essence of me that will continue. And that fear that you may not continue must naturally affect your daily life. Therefore it is imperative, if one is at all serious, to understand what it means to live and to die.

from Interview 1 with Gary Null in Brockwood Park, 16 October 1980

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Action demands energy, force, drive, but if that action is conditioned by an idea – idea being rationalised, thought-out, organised thought – then that action is limited. Being limited, in the very act it loses its momentum.

from Public Talk 9 in Saanen, 25 July 1963