Memoirs

Letter 18

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

One does get agitated, anxious and sometimes frightened. These things do happen. They are the accidents of life. Life is a cloudy day. It was clear and sunny the other day, but now it is raining, cloudy and cold; this change is the inevitable process of living. Anxiety, fear suddenly comes upon one; these are causes for it, hidden or fairly obvious, and one can with a little awareness find those causes. But what is important, is to be aware of these incidents or accidents and not give them time to take root, permanent or temporary. One does give root to these reactions when the mind compares; it justifies, condemns or accepts. You know, one has to be on one’s toes all the time, inwardly, without any tension. Tension arises when you want a result, and what arises again creates tension which has to be broken. Let life flow.

It is fatally easy to get used to anything, to any discomfort, to any frustration, to any continued satisfaction. One can adjust oneself to any circumstances, to lunacy or to asceticism. The mind likes to function in grooves, in habits, and this activity is called living. When one sees this one breaks away from all this and tries to lead a life which has no meaning, no moorings, no interests. Interests, if one’s not very alert, bring us back to a pattern of life. In all this you will see the will, the directive, is functioning, the will to be, to achieve, to become and so on. Will is the very center of the chooser and so long as will exists, the mind can only function in habits, either self-created or imposed. Freedom from will is the real problem. One can play various tricks upon oneself, to be free from will, the center of the me, the chooser, but it will go on under a different name, under a different cloak. When one sees the real significance of habit, of getting used to things; choosing, naming, pursuing an interest an so on; when there is an awareness of all this, then the real miracle takes place, the cessation of will. Experiment with this, be aware of all this, from moment to moment, without any wish to arrive anywhere.

Southern skies and northern skies are so extraordinary different. Here, in London, for a change, there is not a cloud in the tender blue sky and the towering trees are just beginning to show their green. It is spring here, just about beginning. Here it is grimy, the cheer in the people is not there, as in the South.

A quiet mind, but very alert, watchful, is a blessing; it is like the earth, rich with immense possibilities. When there is such a mind, not comparing, not condemning, then only is it possible for the immeasurable richness to be.

Don’t let the smoke of pettiness smother you and let the fire go out. You have to keep going, tearing away, destroying, never taking root. Don’t let any problem take root, finish with it immediately and wake up every morning fresh, young, and innocent…

Be wise and definite about your health; don’t let emotion and sentiment interfere with your health nor belittle your action. There are too many influences and pressures that constantly shape the mind and heart, be aware of them, cut through them and don’t be a slave to them. To be a slave is to be mediocre. Be awake, aflame.

Face the fear, invite it, don’t let it come upon you suddenly, unexpectedly, but face it constantly; pursue it diligently and purposefully. Hope you are well and don’t be scared by all that; probably it can be cured and we will go after it. Don’t let it frighten you.

Deeply, inwardly, there may be a sow withering away; of this you may be unconscious or, being conscious, negligent. The wave of deterioration is always on the top of us, it does not matter who it is. To be ahead of it and meet it without reaction and be out of it requires great energy. This energy only comes when there is no conflict whatsoever, conscious or unconscious. Be very awake.

Don’t let the problems take root. Go through them rapidly, cut through them as through butter. Don’t let them leave a mark, finish with them as they arise. You can’t help having problems, but finish with them immediately.

There has been a distinct change in you-deeper inward vitality, strength and clarity-keep it-let it function-give it an opportunity to flow extensively and deeply. Don’t, whatever happens, be smothered by circumstances, by the family-by your own physical condition. Eat properly, exercise, and don’t become slack. Having come to a certain state, keep going, don’t stay there-either go forward or you retrogress. You can’t be static. You have ridden on the inward wave for so many years, withdrawn, inward, but now from that inward movement you must go out-meet more people-expand.

Have done a great deal of meditation and has been good. I hope you are doing it too-begin by being aware of every thought-feeling-all day, the nerves and the brain-then become quiet, still-this is what cannot be done through control-then really begins meditation. Do it without thoroughness.

Whatever happens don’t let the body shape the nature of the mind-be aware of the body, eat right, be by yourself during the day for some hours-don’t slip back and don’t be a slave to circumstances. Be tremendous-be awake.

Letter 17

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

It is good to experiment with identification. How do we experiment with anything? From the most simple to the most complex. We say this is mine-my sandals, my house, my family, my work, and my god; with identification comes the struggle to hold. Containing it becomes a habit. Any disturbance which might brake the habit is pain, and then we struggle to overcome that pain. But identification, the feeling of the mine, belongs to something that continues. If one really experiments with this, just being aware, without any desire to alter or choose, one discovers so many astonishing things in oneself. The mind is the past, the tradition, the memories which are the foundation of identification. Can the mind, as we know it now, function, without this process of identification? Find out, play with it; be aware of the movements of identification with the common daily things, with the most abstract. One finds out odd things, how thought fades, how it plays tricks upon itself.

Let awareness pursue thought through the corridors of the mind, uncovering, never choosing, ever pursuing.

It is especially difficult, as one is placed, not to desire, crave for certain things, happenings; not to compare. But whatever the condition, desires, cravings, comparisons continue. We always crave for more or for less, for continuity of some pleasure and the avoidance of pain. What is really interesting is this: Why does the mind create a center, within itself, round which it moves and has its being? Life is a thousand and one influences, innumerable pressures, conscious and unconscious. Among these pressures an influences, and choose some and discard others, and so we gradually build up a center. We don’t let all these pressures and influences pass by, unaffected by them. Every influence, every pressure affects us, the effect is called good or bad, we don’t seem to be able to watch, to be aware of pressure, and not take part in it one way or the other, resisting it or welcoming it. This resistance or welcome makes for the center from which we act. Can the mind not create this center? The answer can only be found through experimentation, not through any form of assertion or denial. Se experiment and find out. With the ending of this center there is true freedom.

Letter 16

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

How is everything? Are your days swifter than a weaver’s shuttle? Do you live in one day, a thousand years? It is strange, for most people boredom s a very real thing; they must be doing something, be occupied with something, an activity, a book, the kitchen, children, or God. Otherwise they are with themselves which is very boring. When they are with themselves they get self-centered, crochety, or become ill and ill-humored. An unoccupied mind-not a negative black mind, but an alert passive mind, a totally empty mind-is a sweet thing, capable of infinite possibilities. Thoughts are wearisome, uncreative, and rather dull. A thought may be clever, but cleverness is a sharp instrument-it soon wears itself out, and that is why clever people are dull.

Let there be an unoccupied mind without deliberately working for it. Let it happen than cultivate it. Read this with awareness and let it take place. Hearing it or reading about the unoccupied mind is important, and how you read and how you listen.

What is important is to have the right kind of exercise, good sleep, and a day that has significance. But one slips so easily into a routine, and then one functions in the easy pattern of self-satisfaction, or in the pattern of self-imposed righteousness. All their patterns invariably lead to death-a slow withering away. But to have a rich day, in which there is no compulsion, no fear, no comparison, no conflict, but to be simply aware, is to be creative.

You see, there are rare moments when we feel this, but most of our life is made up of eroding memories, frustration, and vain efforts, and the real thing goes by. The cloud of dullness covers everything and the real thing fades away. It is really quite arduous to penetrate through this cloud and to be in the simple clarity of light. Just see all this and that is all. Don’t try to be simple. This trying only breeds complexity and misery. The trying is becoming and the becoming is always desire, with its frustrations.

How important is to free oneself from all emotional, psychological shock, which does not mean that one must harden oneself against the movement of life. It is these shocks that gradually build up various forms of illness. Life is a series of events (wanted and unwanted); and as long as we pick, choose which shall keep and which we shall discard, there must inevitably be a conflict (of duality) which is the shock. These series of checks harden the mind, heart; it is a self-enclosing process and so there is suffering. To aloe the movement of life, without choice, without any particular movement, desirable or undesirable, to take root needs enormous awareness. It is not a matter of trying to be aware all the time, which is wearisome, but seeing the very necessity of the truth of awareness, then you will see that the very necessity operates without forcing yourself to be aware.

One may travel, be educated in the best of schools, in different parts of the world; have the best of foods, instruction, climate; but does all this make for intelligence? One knows of such people, and are they intelligent? The Communists are trying, as others, like the Catholics, to control and shape the mind. The very shaping of the mind does have certain obvious effects-more efficiency, a certain quickness and alertness of mind-but all these different capacities do not make intelligence. The very learned people, those who have plenty of information, knowledge, and those who are educated scientifically, are they intelligent? Don’t you think intelligence is something entirely different? It is really the total freedom from fear. Those whose morality is based on security is the outcome of fear. Fear and the constraint of fear, which we call morality, is really not moral at all. Intelligence is the total freedom from fear, and intelligence is not respectability, nor is the various virtues cultivated through fear. In understanding fear is something which is wholly different from the formulations of the mind.

Letter 15

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

The sun is attempting to break through the clouds, probably it will manage to break during the day. One day it is spring and the next day it is almost winter. The weather represents man’s moods, up and down, darkness and temporary light. You know, it is strange how we want freedom and we do everything to enslave ourselves. We lose all our initiative. We look to others to guide us, to help us, to be generous, to be peaceful; we look to the gurus, masters, saviors, meditators. Someone writes great music, someone plays it, interpreting it in his own way and we listen to it, enjoying it or criticizing it. We are the audience watching the actors, football players, or watching the cine-screen. Others write poems and we read; others paint and we gape at them. We have nothing, so we turn to others to entertain us, to inspire us, to guide or save us. More and more, modern civilization is destroying us, emptying of us all creativeness. We ourselves are empty inwardly and we look to others to be enriched and so our neighbor takes advantage of this to exploit, or we take advantage of him.

When one is aware of the many implications involved in looking to others, that very freedom is the beginning of creativeness. That freedom is true revolution and not the false revolution of social or economic adjustments. Such revolution is another form of enslavement.

Our minds make little castles of security. We want to be sure of everything, sure of our relationships, of our fulfillments, hopes, and our futures. We build these inward prisons and woe to anyone that disturbs us. It is strange how the mind is ever seeking a zone where there will be no conflict, no disturbance. Our living is the constant breaking up and rebuilding, in different forms, of these zones of safety. Our mind then becomes a dull and weary thing. Freedom consists in having no security of any kind.

It is really astonishing to have a still and a very calm mind, without a single wave of thought. Of course, the stillness of a dead mind is not the calm mind. The mind is made to be still by the action of will. But can it ever be profoundly, right through its whole being, silent? It is really most amazing what happens when the mind is, thus, silent. In that state all consciousness, as knowing, recognizing ceases. The instictual pursuit of the mind, memory, has come to an end. And it’s very interesting how the mind begins to do its best to capture that wordless state, trough thinking, verbalizing, perfecting symbols. But for this process to come to an end, naturally and spontaneously, is like dying to everything. One does not want to die, and so there is always an unconscious struggle going on, and this struggle is called life. It is odd how people want to impress others, by their achievements, by their cleverness, by their books-by any means to assert themselves.

Letter 14

From the book "Letters to a young friendTexts"

It is cloudless morning, very early, the sky is so pure, gentle and blue. All the clouds seem to have gone, but they may come again during the day. After this cold, this wind and this rain, spring will burst forth again; spring has been gently going on, in spite of the cold winds, but every leaf and bud will rejoice. What a lovely thing the earth is! How beautiful are the things that come out of it-the rocks, the streams, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the endless things that she produces-only man grieves, he alone destroys his own species, his own kind; he alone exploits his neighbor, he tyrannizes and destroys. He is the most unhappy and most suffering, the most inventive and the conqueror of time and space. But with all their capacities, in spite of his lovely temples and churches, mosques and cathedrals, he lives in his own darkness. His gods are his own fears and his loves are his own hates. What a marvelous world we could make of it, without these wars, without these fears. But what is the use of speculation; it’s no use at all.

The real thing is man’s discontent, the inevitable discontent. It is a precious thing, a jewel of great worth. But one’s afraid of it, one dissipates it, uses it or allows it to be used to bring about certain results. Man is frightened of it, but it is a precious jewel, without value. Live with it, watch it day after day, without interfering with its movements, then it is as a flame burning away all the dross, leaving that which is homeless and measureless. Read all this wisely.

The rich man has more than enough and the poor man goes hungry, looking for food and struggling and working all his life. One who has nothing makes of his life or allows life to make itself rich, creative, and another who has all the things of this world, dissipates and withers away. Give one man a piece of earth, he makes it beautiful, productive, and another neglects it and allows to die, as he himself dies. We have such infinite capacities, in every direction, to find the nameless or to bring about hell on earth. But somehow, man prefers to breed hatred and enmity. It is so much easier to hate, to be envious, and such as society is based on the demand for the more, human beings slip into every form of acquisitiveness. And so there is everlasting struggle, which is justified and made noble.

There is unlimited richness of a life without struggle, without will, without choice. But that life is impossibly difficult when our whole culture is the outcome of struggle and the action of will. Without the action of will, for almost everyone living, there is death. Without some kind of ambition, for almost everyone, life has no meaning.

There is a life without will, without choice. This life comes into being when the life of will comes to an end. I hope you don’t mind reading all this; if you don’t mind then read it and listen to it with pleasure.

“ We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free. „
© 2013 Krishnamurti Library of Athens, all rights reserved.