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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


MEDITATION IS A movement in attention. Attention is not an achievement, for it is not personal. The personal element comes in only when there is the observer as the centre, from which he concentrates or dominates; thus all achievement is fragmentary and limited. Attention has no border, no frontier to cross; attention is clarity, clear of all thought. Thought can never make for clarity for thought has its roots in the dead past; so thinking is an action in the dark. Awareness of this is to be attentive. Awareness is not a method that leads to attention; such attention is within the field of thought and so can be controlled or modified; being aware of this inattention is attention. Meditation is not an intellectual process - which is still within the area of thought. Meditation is the freedom from thought, and a movement in the ecstasy of truth.

It was snowing that morning. A bitter wind was blowing; and the movement upon the trees was a cry for spring. In that light, the trunks of the large beech and the elm had that peculiar quality of grey-green that one finds in old woods where the earth is soft and covered with autumn leaves. Walking among them you had the feeling of the wood - not of the separate individual trees with their particular shapes and forms - but rather of the entire quality of all the trees.

Suddenly the sun came out, and there was a vast blue sky towards the east, and a dark, heavily-laden sky against the west. In that moment of bright sunlight, spring began. In the quiet stillness of the spring day you felt the beauty of the earth and the sense of unity of the earth and all things upon it. There was no separation between you and the tree and the varying, astonishing colours of the sparkling light on the holly. You, the observer, had ceased, and so the division, as space and time, had come to an end.

He said he was a religious man - not belonging to any particular organization or belief - but he felt religious. Of course he had been through the drill of talking with all the religious leaders, and had come away from them all rather despairingly, but without becoming a cynic. Yet he had not found the bliss he sought. He had been a professor at a university, and had given it up to lead a life of meditation and enquiry.

"You know," he said, "I am always aware of the fragmentation of life. I, myself, am a fragment of that life - broken, different, endlessly struggling to become the whole, an integral part of this universe. I have tried to find my own identity, for modern society is destroying all identity. I wonder if there is a way out of all this division into something that cannot be divided, separated?"

We have divided life as the family and the community, the family and the nation, the family and the office, politics and the religious life, peace and war, order and disorder - an endless division of the opposites. Along this corridor we walk, trying to bring about a harmony between mind and heart, trying to keep a balance between love and envy. We know all this too well, and we try to make out of it some kind of harmony.

What makes this division? Obviously there is division, contrast - black and white, man and woman, and so on - but what is the source, the essence, of this fragmentation? Un- less we find it, fragmentation is inevitable. What do you think is the root cause of this duality?

"I can give many causes for this seemingly endless division, and many ways in which one has tried to build a bridge between opposites. Intellectually I can expose the reasons for this division, but it leads nowhere. I have played this game often, with myself and with others. I have tried, through meditation, through the exercise of will, to feel the unity of things, to be one with everything - but it is a barren attempt."

Of course the mere discovery of the cause of the separation does not necessarily dissolve it. One knows the cause of fear, but one is still afraid. The intellectual exploration loses its immediacy of action when the sharpness of thought is all that matters. The fragmentation of the I and the not-I is surely the basic cause of this division, though the I tries to identify itself with the not-I, which may be the wife, the family, the community, or the formula of God which thought has made, The I is ever striving to find an identity, but what it identifies itself with is still a concept, a memory, a structure of thought.

Is there a duality at all? Objectively there is, such as light and shade, but psychologically is there? We accept the psychological duality as we accept the objective duality; it is part of our conditioning. We never question this conditioning. But is there, psychologically, a division? There is only what is, not what should be. The what should be is a division which thought has put together in the avoiding or the overcoming of the reality of what is. Hence the struggle between the actual and the abstraction. The abstraction is the fanciful, the romantic, the ideal. What is actual is what is, and everything else is non-real. It is the non-real that brings about the fragmentation, not the actual. Pain is actual; non-pain is the pleasure of thought which brings about the division between the pain and the state of non-pain. Thought is always separative; it is the division of time, the space between the observer and the thing observed. There is only what is, and to see what is, without thought as the observer, is the ending of fragmentation.

Thought is not love; but thought, as pleasure, encloses love and brings pain within that enclosure. In the negation of what is not, what is remains. In the negation of what is not love, love emerges in which the I and the non-I cease.