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A K koan

Krishnamurti often says at the outset of his dialogues that we must begin with freedom.

On the surface, this entreaty strikes one as patently absurd since if someone already knew what freedom was to begin with, it is highly unlikely they would be in the audience at all.

As I doubt K is being deliberately obtuse, what is he attempting to convey?

Extract from Public Talk 1 New Delhi, India - 19 November 1967

To commit oneself to freedom and to find out what love is - those are the only two things that matter - freedom and that thing called `love’. Without total freedom there cannot possibly be love; and a serious man is committed to these two things only, and to nothing else. Freedom implies - does it not? - that the mind frees itself totally from all conditioning…

So what is necessary first of all is for the mind to free itself from conditioning. You may say it is not possible. If you say it is not possible, then there is no way out. It is like a man living in a prison and saying, “I cannot get out”. All that he can do is decorate the prison, polish it, make it more comfortable, more convenient, limit himself and his activities within the four walls of his own making… But if you say, `it must be possible to uncondition the mind’, then we can go into it; then we are together - not some authority leading you to it, not the speaker taking your hand and leading you step by step, because when there is freedom there is no authority. Freedom is at the beginning as well as at the end, and if you accept an authority at the beginning, you will always be a slave at the end. So one has to enquire together in freedom; please do understand this. …

So enquire into this question of freedom, not intellectually, but actually, with your blood, with your mind and with your heart! It is only in freedom that you can live, and only when there is freedom is there peace. Then in that freedom the mind has immense peace to wander; but a mind that is not free, tethered to a belief, tethered to an ambition, tethered to a family or to some petty little god of its own invention, such a mind can never understand the extraordinary beauty or the love that comes out of this freedom. And this freedom can only come about naturally, easily, when we begin to understand conditioning, and you cannot be aware of this conditioning when you are held tightly by the four walls of your particular religion, or by ambitions; and to enquire into this conditioning one must first become aware. To be aware: this means to observe, to look, to look at your own thoughts, to look at your beliefs, to look at your feelings. But when we do look, we condemn, or justify, or say `that is natural’. We don’t look with choicelessness, we are not aware of our conditioning. We are aware of our conditioning with choice, with likes and dislikes of what is pleasurable and what is not pleasurable. But we are not actually aware of our conditioning as it is without any choice at all. …

Probably you have never looked at your wife or your husband without the image that you have about him or about her. Please observe this in your own life. You have an image of him, or she has an image of you and the relationship is between these two images; and these images have been built up, through many years of pleasure and of wrangles, bitterness, anger, criticism, annoyance, irritation, frustration. And so we look at things through the images that we have built about them. You are listening to the speaker, but you have an image about him, therefore you are listening to the image, and you are not directly in contact with him, nor with anything in life. When one is in direct contact, do you know what happens? Space disappears, the space between two people disappears and therefore there is immense peace - and this is only possible when there is freedom - freedom from the making of images, from the myths, the ideologies, so that you are directly in contact. Then, when you are directly in contact with the actual, there is a transformation.

The full talk is here: Public Talk 1 New Delhi, India - 19 November 1967

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From my May 7th journal entry:

Krishnamurti’s conundrum:
Nobody can help you to be free.
But the teachings can if you know how to listen.
You can’t listen unless you are free.
You can’t be free until you listen.

Listening may be our only freedom on earth. Our thinking isn’t free, nor are our actions when they arise from thinking. But listening is its own action, completely unlike any other action we know.

It would appear ‘absurd ‘to us while caught in thought/time… which prevents our freedom . Knowing this is not freedom…