A beginner’s mind

This is the whole point Voyager! You don’t seem to see what you have done and are continuing to do. You have already passed over the first step. You have done it. You have gone beyond.

Maybe you have gone beyond, and so you can now enjoy the journey in your sailing boat :sailboat:. But in the discussion as it was, I don’t feel we had even reached a shared comprehension of what the first step actually is.

I’m rather shocked that you fail to perceive this. You are smart, quick witted, verbally even brilliant - and yet you rush over things which I’m not sure you can rush over.

For myself, I don’t yet know what the first step involves. We haven’t discussed it yet. This is why I have been trying to draw you back to the topic of this thread: having a beginner’s mind, looking at things afresh, as though one were a beginner. Aka, looking at the first step in observation.

But you seem to want to play the role of expert. Someone who has done all that, who has taken the first step, and is now bored with the first step, wants to find out something more, etc.

But for me, everything “more” (love, holistic awareness, etc) is potential in this first step.

As Suzuki’s quote points out: in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. Meaning: in the first step potentially all the other steps are included - if we can have the attitude of remaining with, learning about, exploring into this first step.

If I may point this out, this is your interpretation of what we have been doing. It does not resonate for me.

This is the other, perhaps secondary isssue, which has been dividing us.

We are all using words on this forum. This is inevitable in verbal or written communication. You are also pointing all of this out in a sequential series of statements. But this does not mean that what is being pointed to is a sequential series of steps. Nor does it mean we have even been attempting to capture the whole of K’s vast body of teachings in one phrase. So the totality of Krishnamurti’s teachings are not relevant here. We are, in fact, putting all these things aside for the time being, in order to look at one thing and one thing only: what is involved in taking the first step? What is involved in observing outwardly and inwardly?

It is not a matter of being verbally linear or non-linear. The word is never the thing. But we need to be able to point verbally to the area we are interested in exploring. That’s all.

This, on a more human level, seems to have been the third reason why our dialogue went off the rails. And here I accept that I am culpable. It’s true that I had in mind emotion - contents of consciousness - when looking inwardly. Though contrary to what you say, this wasn’t “planned” or “decided”, it is simply that this is what I find most challenging when it comes to looking inwardly.

K talks about looking at jealousy - or any other inward emotion - in the same way that one might look at the moon. I found this a very pregnant remark of K’s, and I wanted to investigate this aspect of it.

But I accept that for you this may not have been (or in fact wasn’t) what you had in mind when we spoke of looking inwardly.

This may simply be a matter of personality. When I look inwardly what captures my attention almost immediately is reactions, emotions, feelings of various kinds. More abstract movements of thought do not interest me as much - or rather they do not bother me, so I do not feel the need to pay more attention to them. This is probably an oversight on my part, as it is these cloud-like movements of thought which are, in the end, what create (through accumulation, association and repetition) the inward emotional states.

Perhaps, if our conversation had proceeded more easily, we could have addressed this point and found a common approach to the issue. But, unfortunately, that boat seems to have sailed.

Anyway, if nothing else, our argument has brought to my attention these salient points, and this is a small positive to take away, even if we are unable to clear away the dark clouds that have covered the sun.

Are you saying that you/the other people partecipating in this thread need to discuss it more? Don’t you see that this is in contradiction with your affirmation that the starting point is to observe and nothing else is required? And how do you think to understand the first step if you don’t do it? No further explanation will give you the comprehension, as I have already said, you must start the journey unprepared.

What is so difficult to understand? Is observation a special and difficult ability?

You insisted that looking inside is just the same observation which take place in observing a cloud, then why don’t you go and do it?
You want to start the navigation remaining in the harbour. With that attitude you will never do the first step.

Not at all, I just wanted to stress the necessity to be serious and to put into practice what we talk about. It seems that you - including maybe other participants, are interested only in words, in discussing and not in doing. This is just one of the reasons why so few people have changed. We never do the first step, we never observe, either in daily life or in meditation.

@rickScott is right, how can you observe, how do you find the time to observe inwardly when you are occupied morning and evening, day after day, with discussing things here, talking, talking, reading, reading, answering, finding quotations, etc.?
I’m appalled by the number of posts you write every day, only one of them would be too much to me if I want to observe seriously my mind. That is why I wrote: slow down. That was a meta-message.

And I’m not an expert, I am a complete beginner, and I asked those questions (I see now that it was a mistake) about the difference between staying with what is and being absorbed with what is, just because I am a beginner and while navigating I found myself -maybe momentarily - in the fog. My mistake was that I thought you could help me. But I received only theoretical answers.

This is only theory, knowledge, second hand knowledge. I’m not interested in discussing second hand knowledge. Actually I’m not interested in discussing per sé. That is why I was away from this forum for an year.

And now, please, don’t put other irons on the fire. As I told you I’m leaving tomorrow and I have too many things to do in preparation. So this will be my last reply for the moment.

Is it fair to talk to me in this way, and then allow no right of reply simply because you lack both time and patience? Is this what you have learned about love and all these other words you say interest you Voyager?

Love, huh? Who needs it if this is all it means.

There is no damn love in your words. There is some truth in them - a lot of truth in fact (in the sense of firing a gun at someone with a thousand bullets and some of them landing on my heart). If you wanted to end the conversation with a single blow, congratulations I guess.

But, for me, this is not an appropriate way to discuss with an equal. You have clearly dismissed me as someone who is lazy, who hasn’t taken “the first step” in observation (whatever this means to you), and who hasn’t done his utmost to try to untangle from the volcanic eruptions of your own posts what the hell it is you think, feel, want, or just care for.

You don’t care for discussion. Ok. Point taken. Part of the truth I mentioned is that I feel this in myself. I see the limits of what discussion can achieve (at least on a forum like this, among people who I do not seem to gel with at all). In the time I have been on Kinfonet I have been interested in getting an overview of K’s teachings. Maybe this was a mistake, maybe this was a blessing. But I do grasp the limitations of this exercise, and having been mulling over in my mind how much longer to explore in this way, especially when it doesn’t really interest other people part from myself.

However, to make a blanket assertion that because I have spent part of my free time over the last year researching different aspects of K’s teaching here, that I am not interested in observation, or do not take what you (not I) are calling the “first step” is an assumption, a conclusion, an image you are inventing. It has no truth for me. For me, the first step is the everlasting step. I am not looking to get “beyond it” or past it to some never-never land projected by thought. I don’t think you see this point. Your arrogance - if I may point this out - seems to blind you to it. I think - despite your protestations - you honestly think you have gone beyond this first step, which helps to explain how aggressive and hostile you are to my requests to you to slow down and look afresh (you see, you have accused me of doing what you yourself have done: you have not bothered to slow down an inch, a millimetre). The first step is the everlasting step dude.

If one considers that a true, complete, holistic observation has the potential to empty all the contents of consciousness - which is what K talked about all the time - then yes, I do think that there are aspects of what it means to observe that I do not feel I have grasped, which is why they are still questions to me. Have you, Voyager, emptied the contents of your consciousness? If not, then you have not observed them holistically. Isn’t this so?

Accepted. Point taken. This is a valid challenge to me, one that I accept.

This quality has not been successfully communicated I am afraid. You come across as an arrogant know it all who has been to Saanen and Brockwood, and who thinks they therefore know it all.

I do not accept this. The first movement of observation, I feel, has tremendous potential in it. This isn’t a theory for me.

Anyhow, as you have said, you don’t want to discuss, you just want to put me in my place. Too bad.

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Bon voyage, Voyager. What a privilege it must be to take the first step. Send us a postcard from the other side.

Yes, and Krishnamurti said one must remain with these states because they are who/what we are. To escape, deny, or justify who/what we are is dishonesty, duplicity.

This is what baffles me. For me, to even think that I have taken the first step (in the context of what this whole discussion has been about) is foolishness. It can’t possibly be true. Because, for me at least, the first step is the last step.

But maybe, as people get old, they are dissatisfied with this, they want to feel that their lives have not been wasted. They start to talk about going beyond, they think that they know what love is, they start to look back on their achievements and think - “Yes, I’ve taken the first step. Why not? I’ve been on vipassana retreats, I’ve meditated in the jungle, I’ve done yoga, I’ve listened to enlightened human beings. I’ve observed myself. I know how to stay with certain emotional states and dissolve them. I’m ready for more.” And then they look at someone who genuinely says - as I am saying - “I don’t know what the first step is, but I’m interested to explore what it means today with you, as though for the first time” - and instead of joining in with this fresh inquiry, they judge it, dismiss it, are already bored with it because they think they have gone up a level in the spiritual hotel.

It’s so annoying.

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Yes, but it’s good that you went through with it in this case because it demonstrates to everyone here what’s going on. I commend you for your patient persistence. My impulse is to provoke these fools into exposing themselves, or to conserve energy by ignoring them.

This is the whole point! Voyager has implicitly been saying that this no longer applies to him. He is “beyond” such an inquiry. Has he honestly “gone beyond” suffering, and so is now helping us to discover reality from a space of pure compassion?

Of course not!

Which means this inquiry is still relevant for him. And yet, rather than get his teeth into it, he has a million justifications to hand to dismiss it: “it’s all intellectual discussion. It’s all linear. Nobody has been able to do it apart from Krishnamurti. It is too easy, everyone has done it. We can’t discuss any of this because the ego will sabotage all discussion. Just do it, don’t discuss it. Make an action in the darkness of non knowing what you are even doing”. Etc.

I think though, these kinds of discussion are helpful in exposing the mind to itself: which is, really, human beings showing each other what our nature really is. We find it so difficult to communicate, to share, to “love” (that cursed word). We just can’t do it, beyond a few superficial exchanges. Why? Why is this so impossible?

Is it ideology? Experience? The feeling that we know? Ego and its desire not to be challenged?

Why is it so hard to look at something together without it immediately turning into an argument?

Of the possibilities you suggest, I think it’s the feeling that we know.

We feel we must have knowledge we can’t have when we don’t really know (and resist knowing) what/who we are. We’re acutely insecure, so we’re intensely attached to what we presume to know, what we believe. We’re operating on a false sense of security and the confidence of the believer one must be to maintain this mode of operation.

I think our “wrong turn” was discovering our ability to believe without the foresight to predict the consequences.

Sorry if this comes across as cynical and cranky. It’s just a theory.

Yes. But why do we fall into this trap of thinking that we know?

Obviously we can and do know all kinds of things: I might know more about certain things than another person because I have studied something and they have not studied that same thing. And they might know more than me about something else because I haven’t studied that.

But when it comes to observation, what do we know?

This is the problem with spiritual communities, or people who have invested long years in meditation, yoga, and other such things. They come to a point where they think they are experts in observation. And so they lose the quality of humility. They no longer have a beginner’s mind. They become ‘spiritually’ arrogant.

Krishnamurti has pointed some things out which I feel are worth investigating (such as the importance of remaining with inward psychological states), and I can know what those things are verbally - but this knowledge does not mean that I have understood the whole of what it means to observe merely because K has said there is such a thing as holistic observation.

So in the end, it seems that even K is a barrier to communication, because everyone seems to interpret what he says differently. So it is probably only when we are able to put all our knowledge aside - including what K has said - that we can discuss or inquire together without argument.

Probably, but how can I put all my knowledge aside when I am the heart of my knowledge? It’s the ultimate betrayal to turn against that which has escorted and guided you through life, to see loyalty as your downfall and reduction to this state of mind and heart.

Am I afraid that revolt will kill me and leave we with nothing; transform me into something that is always starting from nothing?

Yes. This is the crux of it. To observe without the observer…

I think this is why we always circle back to this point:

Is it possible for there to be an observation without thought, memory, the observer intruding?

There may be a spectrum of responses to this question, but for me it is possible to look externally - at a plant :potted_plant: , a flower :tulip: , a cloud :cloud_with_rain: , the moon :waxing_crescent_moon: etc - without the observer actively interfering. For a few seconds that is.

But obviously the sense of self, the ‘I’, the ego, is deep rooted in the mind, and so even if it is in abeyance for a short space of time, it will come back.

So the question is whether there can be an observation which unearths this selfish entity? And for me, this is what a deep psychological reaction consists in: that is, a deep hurt, a deep anxiety, a deep sorrow, is the ego. And so the question of what it means to observe one’s deep rooted psychological contents is the same question, for me, asked in a different way, as before:

can there be an observation which unearths the whole of one’s sorrow?

And yet it is much more difficult to observe sorrow than it is to observe the moon :waxing_crescent_moon:. This is the challenge I feel for myself.

It seems difficult because we can’t do it - it happens or it does not. We either set ourselves up for it, or keep ourselves together.

Ha! Is it a puzzle?

It’s difficult because we can’t do it, and we can’t do it because it’s difficult! Both these things are self reinforcing.

I think there is a way of breaking into this seemingly robust difficulty, but there needs to be an opening in one’s life - as you say, a “happening”. One cannot manufacture through conscious endeavour such a “happening”.

But perhaps - and I am just putting it out there - one needs to experiment with simple nonverbal observation to be in the opportune space for this “happening” to happen.

The first step is always observation. To observe what is going on - within us or around us, it doesn’t matter which. But we don’t - or least I don’t - know the depths or possibilities of what this observation involves. So I don’t say that I have completed the first step. Obviously I’m still suffering, I’m still egotistic, how can I say I’ve truly observed my consciousness at depth? I can’t. But this doesn’t mean I cannot (at least sometimes) take the one step that presents itself to me in each moment: to observe, be aware, look, listen, feel, sense, etc. These are the only tools I that feel matter in this business of dealing with suffering/ego/thought.

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They’re the only tools I know of.