Thinking about myself all day long
In attention there is no effort
2nd K School - Students Discussion, Rishi Valley
December 11, 1985
Krishnamurti: Do we all sit quietly, silently, or do we talk? Tell me.
K: You talk -then talk. What would you like to talk about?
S: Talk about yourself, sir.
S: Tell us something about yourself, sir.
K: About myself? Not very interesting.
S: It doesn't matter, sir.
Teacher: He said it doesn't matter.
K: I know. It matters to me though. What would you like me to talk about myself?
S: The past.
K: About my past? Are you really interested in it?
S: Yes, sir. (Laughter)
K: Why? You tell me why, and then I'll talk.
S: We're curious.
K: You're curious, and then what? If you're curious, and I fulfil your curiosity, alright, then what?
S: Then we'll be more curious.
K: More curious, you're quite right. So where shall we start?
S: From the beginning, sir.
K: From the beginning. (Laughter) Look, most of my life I've forgotten. Really. Really, I'm serious, and I tell you most of my life is blank to me.
S: Sir, tell us what you remember.
K: Ah - that's good. You're rather persistent, aren't you? (Laughs) I'll tell you what I don't remember, what people have told me. Right? I really don't remember, but what people have told me - either they're exaggerated - you understand? - or truthful, or imaginary. I think what they told me about myself - sounds so funny, doesn't it - is more or less accurate, because a lot of people have told me the same thing during the years. Right? Lord, I don't know where to begin. All right sirs.
You know somebody gave me personally 5,000 acres in Holland - you understand? - 5,000 acres is an awful lot, and a castle; and we had gatherings there - 6,000 people at one time, lots of people; curiosity, like you. Curiosity to find out what K was talking about, and so on. I was against - K was against, organisations. You understand? You don't understand, that's all right. You know what organisations are? To run a school, like Rishi Valley, you must have organisation. You must turn up punctually at 1 o'clock or half-past 12, when you have your lunch. Right? You must go to classes, you must do this, play from 4 o'clock and on. The whole of that requires organisation. But - lord, how did we get into this? Hey, come and help me, Radhikaji! And I was against so-called religious organisations. Right? Do you understand what that means? No. Do you want to know all this?
S: Yes, sir.
S: Yes sir.
K: Don't say, 'Yes sir', because...
T: In many of your books it mentions Krishnamurti's teachings, but then you always say that you are not a teacher - always this contradiction.
K: How does this come about that K's teachings are religious teachings, and K himself says he is not a teacher. Right? How do you account for it? How do you account for it? What do you say about it? I don't have to account to you sir. I was only joking, but I'm asking you how do you account for it? You asked that question, didn't you? Yes sir? What do you say about it? Is there a contradiction? Or K is not personally as a body - you understand? - as an organism, as a physical entity, he is not important. What he says is important. Right? That's all.
Where are we? You're interested in all this?
S: No, sir.
K: Not specially. Right? I thought the older boys were going to sit here.
S: Sir, why is our mind always so cluttered with thought? And why are we all so concerned about ourselves?
K: Why are we so concerned about ourselves and - ?
S: Why is our mind always so cluttered with thought?
K: Why is our mind so cluttered up with thought. Right? I'm not a brain specialist. You understand? I've talked to a great many scientists, in America, in England, and so on, and I've also talked to a great many biologists and psychiatrists, and so on. Have you ever considered what our brain is? What's your brain? Why is it so filled up with thought? Why is it that our brain is never quiet? Right? Why? I'm asking you. What's the other question?
S: Why are we always so concerned
K: Why are we so concerned about ourselves. Go on, you answer me. Why are you concerned about yourself all the time, most of the time?
S: We want the best for yourself.
K: What do you call best?
S: We want to have all the privileges.
K: You want to have all the privileges. What do you mean that? What do you mean by privileges?
S: We want to have all the comfort.
K: You want to all the comfort, all the land.
S: The advantages.
K: All the advantages, all the best things of the world. Right? Are we answering your question? No. You understand what that girl asked? She wanted to know why we are concerned about ourselves so much. Have you answered that question?
S: You are concerned about yourself because I mean you always think about yourself because you want something for yourself
K: Yes. I know that. Why are you so concerned about yourself? Everybody is - it's not something unusual. There are very rare people who are not concerned about themselves - very rare. So, why are you concerned about yourself?
S: Sir, because everything you do is usually circled around you.
K: Everything you do is around you.
S: It concerns you.
T: Speak louder.
S: Sir, everything you do ultimately concerns you.
K: Everything you do ultimately concerns you. Right? What is you? Who are you?
S: I am the body.
K: Yes - what are you? The body, blonde hair, purple eyes, dark skin, light skin, your name might be, what? Mr Rao or Mrs Rao, or Miss Rao, I don't know, whatever your name - that's what you are, aren't you? Your face, your body; and beyond that, what are you? Are you your BA's, and MA's? You're all going to pass exams, aren't you? Yes? I don't know why, but you are going to pass exams - like a lot of monkeys. And that's what you are: BA, MA, PhD, or a good lawyer, a good engineer, scientists, that's what you are. All that is you, isn't it? BA, MA, PhD, MAD. (Laughter) Right? All that's what you are. Aren't you? No? What are you then? You marry somebody, and you're called Mrs, after that - right? - or Miss, or whatever you like to call yourself. So what are you? Why are you so concerned about yourself? I know you want all the advantages, all the privileges, all the earth, but who is 'I' that wants all this?
S: Your mind.
K: Your mind, what do you really mean by 'the mind'? Don't just throw out words. What do you mean by the mind?
S: Your self, sir. Your soul. Our soul, sir.
K: Your soul.
S: You can see the mind is something that tells you, tells you what to do. I mean there's this thing called mind in you that keeps telling you, do this, do that, don't do this.
K: So what are you trying to say?
S: I want to know what the mind is.
K: You want to know what the mind is. Before you go in to enquire what the mind is, what is the brain, what's your brain like?
S: It helps you to think.
S: Your brain helps you to think, sir.
K: Your brain helps you to think. Right? It's getting rather complex, isn't it? What do you mean by thinking? You are all thinking, aren't you? Naturally. What do you mean by thinking?
S: The way you feel, your ideas and opinions.
K: No, I said what do you mean by thinking.
S: To find out.
K: Thinking, not finding out. You understand the difference between the two? I think this morning I'll go for a walk. I think. You understand? Now what do you mean by thinking?
S: It is the power to decide.
K: You're not answering my question, old boy. I'm asking you, if you'll kindly listen, what do you mean by thinking, not about something, not ask you to think about that, what do you mean by thinking? Perhaps this is too complex. You go to a class, there the educator tells you, now let's study mathematics. Probably you don't like that subject - mind you, you have to study it. Now, you are learning from that book, and what the professor, your educator tells you, so you memorise. Right? Am I saying something not right? You memorise, that is, you repeat over and over and over again till it becomes part of your brain. Right? So, you memorise, don't you? You don't know about physics, but you learn about it, that is, you memorise. You memorise your name. Right? Because you have repeated very, very, very, very often, my name is Smith, or Mr Rao, or Mr K. Right? So our learning is memorising. Right? Are you Do you agree to this? Our learning in a school, in a college, in a university, is all the time memorising. I won't go into the whole subject of it, because it is very complex, I won't put you through that.
Now, you memorise in order to act skilfully. Right? If you're a lawyer, you memorise all the previous incidents, judgements, and so on, and then you become a lawyer, and so on. A doctor, he must practise ten years, learn, then become an internee, and so on and so on. It may take fifteen years to be a really first-class doctor or a surgeon, or a scientist, and so on.
So what is happening to your brain? Tell me, don't go to sleep. What is happening to your brain during those ten years or during those five years?
S: Your brain is getting filled up.
K: Filled. Filled with what?
S: With information, sir. With information about what you are doing.
K: Yes, your brain is being filled with a lot of information. Right?
S: And knowledge.
K: And knowledge. What do you mean by that word 'knowledge'?
S: Information about the topic.
K: Yes, information about a certain topic, a certain subject, and your brain is filled with that. Right? I am a PhD, I know how etc., etc. Right? Right sir? Are you bored? It's all right, be bored, go to sleep. I don't mind, it's a nice morning - why shouldn't you go to sleep?
So, your brain contains all that you have learned. Right? Your name, your face, your father, your mother - it's a process of not only recognition, but also accumulation. Right? You understand my English? It is a process of gathering and spending what you have gathered. That's you have gathered Sanskrit and you speak that, and so on.
So your brain is full of memories. Right? You know where you live, you know your father's name, your mother's name, you know your brother, so it's filled with information as knowledge. Right? And you use that knowledge skilfully, or not skilfully; you can be a first-class engineer, or a rather dull engineer, and so on - Indian administrative bodies
K: Yes, and so on and so on, so on. Right? So you are always living within a circle; circle of what you have learned, what you have acquired as information, which becomes knowledge. So your brain contains all that you have acquired, all that you have learned, all that you have experienced. So that is full of knowledge: absurdities, imaginations, illusions, and this whole thing is me. Right? I may think I'm a great man, that's me - I may sit very quietly, and that's me. So, whatever I think and do is out of experience, knowledge. Right? And I can imagine I'm God, or I can imagine I'm a great painter, when I'm not, or when I'm you know, and all that. Or, I can have fantasies, that I'm the emperor of India. Right? I can have various fantasies, imaginations, ideas, illusions, and so on. I am all that - fear, pain, suffering, and so on. I am the - all that accumulation, I am. Right? Are you clear, don't agree with me, that's the last thing you should do. But find out if what we are saying is true or false. I can imagine there is God in me. But that may not be true. Right? So I am this whole bundle of two million years, gathered as me. Right? And I become very important.
S: Why, sir?
K: Because I am two million years old - I've learnt so much. That poor chap wandering up there in the garden doesn't know much, but you know a great deal. You respect those people who have a great deal of knowledge, and you despise those people who are there. Right?
So when you ask, why am I thinking about myself all day long - because you have been trained that way, you have been conditioned that way. Society helps you to think about yourself because if you didn't you might not get a job. So all the people help each other to think about themselves. Right? You are a Muslim, and you think about Allah. So you build up all kinds of imaginary, superstitious, illusory stuff, called Maya. Right? And there are people who say, 'I must get away from all this, get away from myself'. Right? 'I must forget myself, I must abandon myself, I must become something totally different from what I am'. But it is the same circle repeated over and over again because I'm thinking about myself. 'I must meditate for two hours', which is, I'm thinking about myself, and so on and so on.
And your next question was - what was it?
S: Why is the mind always cluttered with thought?
K: Why is the brain so occupied with thought? I explained just now, I see this thing in front of me - right? - and I call it microphone. Right? But the word 'microphone' is not that. I don't know if you see that. That's very important to see in life - very important - that the word is not the thing. You understand what I am saying? Or you are all nuts? It's very important to learn that the word is not the thing: the door, the word door, is not the actual door.
S: Sir, why do you say that?
S: That the door is not the door.
K: Now, you didn't listen. The word is different from the door. Is this too difficult? Look, my name is K. Right? But K is different from the actual. This becomes too difficult, does it?
S: Are you trying to say
K: Now just a minute. Rishi Valley, the words 'Rishi Valley', is not the actual. Is this difficult? Why is the girl not bound to Why don't you understand it? The word is not the actual. You understand? You, your name is something. Right? That name is not you.
S: What importance does that have?
K: Tremendous importance. The word is never the thing. I can paint a picture of the Himalayas, but the picture is not the actual. Right? I can describe New York, but New York is not what I describe. I can write about the Gita, or the Bible, or whatever it is, but what I write about is not the actual. I wish you'd get this deep into your brain, because it'll help you then to deal with things actually. I have pain in my legs - suppose - that pain is not the word 'pain'. Do you see it?
S: I think so.
K: I get hurt, a thorn, the pain, the word 'pain' is different from the actual thorn and pain. If you once grasp this fact that the symbol is not the real. Right? Go to a temple, and there is some monstrous figure there, and that figure is the symbol of something else. But you worship that symbol. Go to a church, and there is the cross - that's a symbol of something else, but you worship that cross. Do you understand all this?
S: Sir, the symbol cannot describe real the thing.
K: Yes, the symbol cannot describe. The symbol is not the actual - right? - and so on.
S: It just helps you identify with the real thing. It brings to your mind an picture of the real thing. It brings to your mind an idea of the real thing.
K: Does it? Is the idea a fact? The idea I'm going to climb the Himalayas. The idea is not fact, I'm not climbing it.
S: No, but if you see a picture of the Himalayas
K: Ah, but that again is a symbol.
S: Yes, it makes you realise what the Himalayas look like.
K: But you haven't seen the Himalayas. So the seeing is different from the picture. Right? The actual seeing, the Himalayan mountains, their valleys, the blue lights of a morning on there, and the snow, is quite different from the picture. But we worship the picture. I don't know if you're following all this.
So your question is, why do we think about ourselves all the time? And the other question is, why are our brains filled with thought? Now you ask the older people what they think of it. There they are, sitting in chairs. I'll wait, sir till you ask.
S: Sir. Our brain is like a box, sir, when we're young the box is empty, so there are hardly any thoughts, when you grow up the box starts getting filled.
K: That's right. You are like an empty bottle, you are saying, and as you grow up that bottle gets filled. Filled with what?
K: With dirty water, clean water?
K: Both, that's right. Filled with dirty water, and clean water. Right? You can't mix clean water with the dirty water, then the clean water becomes dirty. That's what you are doing.
So you asked me to talk about myself. I have. If you could learn, as you learn mathematics, whether your mind can ever be quiet, your brain. Absolutely quiet.
S: Then how do you get pure water, sir?
K: You don't. He asked, how do you get pure water. Life doesn't give you pure water, it gives you dirty water, because you have pain, you have sorrow, you have grief, you're ambitious, you want to be something or other. That's all dirty water.
S: But sometimes you get happiness, don't you?
K: Yes, sometimes you get happiness. Now what do you mean by that word 'happiness'?
S: When my wish is fulfilled.
K: Yes, when your wishes are fulfilled. Right? I want to live comfortably in a big house, with lots of servants; and if you can wish, if those wishes can be fulfilled, you are happy. Is that it? Suppose they are not fulfilled, you are sad - right? - you're unhappy, you're depressed. So what is the difference between happiness and depression? It's too difficult for you, don't bother.
You understand sirs, ladies, to me, religious organisations are silly. You understand? Going to church, going to temples, mosques, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. What happens when you repeat?
S: You don't find anything new, sir.
K: Therefore will you stop repeating?
S: How do you stop that, sir?
K: Don't ask me how I stop, will you stop? You stop scratching your head. I mean you start scratching, that becomes a habit. Right. And you can stop it, can't you, by saying, I won't do it. Right? Will you do that? Don't look at somebody else.
S: It's difficult sir.
K: That's right, it's difficult. So you'd rather keep on scratching. Right?
S: Sir, can we talk about the existence of god?
K: Jesus! How do you know if god exists?
S: That's what I want to ask.
K: You want to ask, is there god. Right?
S: If there is, where is he, and why do we believe in him?
K: Where is he, and why do we bother about it.
S: We want to be secure.
K: Yes, sir. First let me answer her question, will you - do you mind? Is there god? Right? What do you think?
S: I think there might be, but I don't believe in god.
K: Why, why don't you believe?
S: Because I have never seen, I have just heard about god.
K: Go on, tell me.
S: It seems to me that god is something like a pillar of support.
K: What, financial support?
S: No, a pillar of support.
K: You are quite right. Yes sir, yes sir, but I said financial support was pretty good. That is, you rely, or you seek god when you are depressed, when you are unhappy, when you want something, when you pray. Right? Now, how do you find out if there is god, or not?
S: When you actually see him, the person. When you actually see him.
K: Do you actually see him?
S: No, you find more about him when you see him. You know he exists.
K: Do you know the story of two Americans going to heaven? And they wander about in heaven, all over the place, for weeks and months, and there is a sign says 'God'. And they go up that path, and one of them says, 'That's too much climb, you go up there and tell me all about it'. So he goes up there and comes rushing back: 'My god it's a woman!' (Laughter) Right? Now how do you know there is god? Because a hundred people say so?
S: Just because a hundred people say that there is god, doesn't mean a thing. For all you know they might have heard from somebody else.
K: Quite right. So how do you know there is god?
S: When you see him.
K: Where do you see him?
S: Then who created the world?
K: He asks, if god didn't create the world - what do you mean by the world? You, the trees, the fishes, the water, the frogs, the elephants, the lion, the
S: All matter.
K: All matter. That is, all the rocks, the trees, the human beings, the valleys, the rivers, everything is created, you think, by god.
S: If it's not god, who else could it be?
K: If it's not god, he asks, who else could be.
S: It could be a form of energy or something.
S: It could be some form of energy.
K: How do you know?
S: I'm just guessing.
K: Guessing. That's what they're all doing. (Laughter) And so somebody guesses much more seriously, and says, 'There is', and then you accept it. Suppose you don't accept your tradition, that there is god, then what will you do, how will you find out? That's much more important than believing. Right? Do you agree to that, it's much more important to find out, rather than believing. Right? Now, will you stop believing?
S: I don't believe in anything.
K: No, stop it. Therefore, you are free from certain conclusions that there is god. Right? Will you do that, or you're frightened?
K: No, don't say no, we're all frightened people.
S: Sir, we are frightened that if we don't believe in god, then suppose our mothers and fathers believe in god, then they might start talking about something
K: That's right.
S: Sir, since we are children we are brought up to believe in god, sir. We start believing that if we don't believe in god, god will do something bad to us.
K: I know. But first find out why you want to believe in something. Don't go to sleep! Why do you want to believe in something? Does it give you comfort, does it help you, does it cover up your sorrow, pain, and all that? That's belief. Why do you believe in all this? What's wrong with you?
S: I think many people, including me, believe because they feel after so many stories which so many people have told them about god helping this person and god helping that person, they feel that if they also believe in god they might also be helped in difficult situations.
K: But find out if they have really been helped first.
S: I haven't been helped.
K: You're too young. You're too small. Don't bother about god and belief. You see that's one of our peculiarities, that we believe, right away. Right? We believe. We never find out. Your belief will prevent you from finding out. You understand what I am saying?
S: Sir, you believe when someone close to you believes it, like your mother.
K: Yes, yes, if your mother believes, she wants you to believe the same thing. Right? And you listen to her but you don't have to believe.
S: Sir, some people are frightened that they might be excommunicated from the religion, and they don't want to do that. They will be excommunicated from the religion if they don't believe in the god.
K: I know, of course. That's playing games.
S: Sir, does god help you sir?
K: Me? Are you asking me? Has god helped me?
S: No, helped anyone.
K: You'd better ask them. Better ask somebody who says, 'God has helped me'. Be careful. If he says it has, what will you do?
S: Believe in god.
K: Yes, that's all. Some nut comes along in peculiar clothes, like me, and he says, 'There is god, I know there is god', Right? Will you believe him?
S: No, sir.
S: We don't believe unless we see it, sir.
S: He's got to prove it.
S: There is no proof.
K: Too many people talking at once.
S: You've got to be very convincing. Only then can we believe.
K: You know, have you been to some of the magicians, some of the conjurers? Have you seen them?
S: Yes sir.
K: They will do something before you know what has happened. No, don't go into all that, you're all too small.
What time is it?
T: Quarter past.
T: Ten fifteen.
K: Ten fifteen. I've got fifteen minutes more? Too bad! What shall we talk about?
S: Is there a way of thinking without using the past?
K: Is there a way of thinking without the past. Is there a way of thinking without all the memories involved in the past. Right? To answer that question correctly, accurately, impersonally, you have to go into the whole structure, nature of thought. Right? Have you done it? No. Would you like to do it?
K: Would you like to listen to it? And would you like to follow it up after you have listened to it?
S: If it's true.
K: If it is true. Right? What is the origin, the beginning of thought? How does thought arise?
S: From the past experiences.
K: So, are you saying that thought has its roots in the past experience? In past experiences, plural. So you are saying, are you, that thought has its roots in experience? Right? Are you saying yes?
K: Be quite sure, don't hesitate. If you had no experience, would you think?
S: Sir, like I told you, sir, our thought in the beginning is like an empty box, and that has been filled up sir, and that is all the past. If there is no past sir, the box will be forever empty.
K: Quite right sir. You come out here. You don't mind? Do you mind coming up and sitting here?
S: No sir.
K: Good. He's saying, the bottle - you are going back to the bottle. You know what going back to the bottle means? Drinking. Where do you come from?
K: Mandu, good. Do you like it here?
K: Have you told the teachers you like it here?
S: My teacher asked that.
K: It's like an empty bottle that has been filled with a lot of experience. Right? This is what he says. And, from that experience, from that past, all the things that have been filled in the bottle, are memories, are remembrances, and so the bottle is always moving within itself. All right sir, and then what? Tell me, go on! Your brain is like an empty box, empty bottle, and filled from childhood with problems. Right. How to pass, how to read, how to write, and all that stuff, all through life. And so your brain, like a bottle, he says, is filled with all that. And when the bottle begins to move around, talk, the bottle, the contents of the bottle are remembrances, knowledge, which then are put into words - first thought, then words. Right? I wonder - don't agree, you don't learn anything if you agree merely.
S: Sir, pretend the box was empty, how did you get your first thought?
K: How did the first man, two million years ago, how did he begin to think. Have you seen that cartoon by a scientist, probably a biologist? You see the man - picture, a cartoon - a man who hunts then hunts, eats, and sleeps. Right? Are you listening? Then the next cartoon is a little more advanced, he doesn't hunt, but he gets somebody else to hunt.
S: Because he knows it is dangerous.
K: Yes, yes, yes. And the third picture is: he doesn't hunt, but he's learning how to use instruments, and so on. So ultimately, he's become very intellectual - right? - like you, very intellectual, very like us, you understand? First he begins by hunting and eating, then by making others hunt and eat, and third he's the picture of us. I don't know if you understand all this, it doesn't matter. So what makes us behave as we do? This is too difficult for you.
Have you ever sat quietly, not moving a muscle, not moving your eyes, have you done it? Would you like to do it? Sit absolutely quiet. Will you do it?
S: Sir, but what's the use of that?
K: Just to control your body, see if you can control your body. There is no use in anything; if you say, 'Why should I eat, what's the use of it?' You die. Right? So, will you try and sit very, very quietly. Not blink, not move your eyes. Try it old boy, try it for fun, you know, sit quietly, go on. Sit quietly.
S: Life is fun sir?
K: Move over your leg - put the other leg over there old boy.
S: Sir, is life fun, sir?
K: It all depends.
S: If we get dirty water it's no fun. If we get clean water, it's fun.
K: Clean water is, if you like to call it fun, but it is mixed all with dirty water. Right? So let's see if you will sit quietly for a minute.