Beyond intellectual understanding

On the ‘pure perception’ thread @Sean shared something that, expressed as a question, would be:

Where does intellectual understanding end and some kind of deeper understanding which impacts on our perception and understanding of the present begin?

I understand this question to be asking us how aware, how attentive are we in daily life? Do we actually apply what K has said about the importance of seeing, being self-aware, being attentive, etc?

One aspect of the question is that K has said that the ground of any new perception is a brain that is quiet, not full of thoughts and images, tranquil. And can that quietness be consciously cultivated (as religions such as Buddhism have said it can)?

As we know, K says that a quiet, attentive brain cannot be cultivated, is not cultivable. So for those of us who take this statement seriously, what does it mean to go beyond theory and bring K’s teachings on awareness, attention, perception, etc, into the field of our actual daily life (our relationships, our activities, our present-tense interests and concerns)?

To put the same thing slightly differently, we are all familiar with the distinction commonly made between theory and practice. And by ‘practice’ we mean the actual doing, the actual acting. So what does it mean for us to go beyond the merely intellectual understanding of what K has said (which is the theory), and to live it out in our daily life?

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I think it starts with the belief that the brain to realize its potential must be silent. Then the understanding that this silence cannot come about through will or effort but with the ending of ‘noise’. We don’t have to will ourselves to breathe, the lungs do it. But the lungs can’t do it efficiently if they are congested, enough congestion and they cease, they atrophy. As we live enveloped in the ‘air’ that the body needs to exist, are we also enveloped in an even finer material than air? Awareness? Mind? And if so, is this the ‘breath’ of the silent, still, empty brain? It’s a simple concept: through ignorance and conditioning, the brain has been deprived of the contact with its ‘air’, that it needs to develop fully, to blossom?

You probably mean to say that it starts with a perception, a seeing, that the brain must be quiet - Isn’t this what you mean to say?

Because if it is a matter of belief, then one belief is just as good as another belief.

So, you are saying, just as the lungs cannot work if they are full of cigarette smoke, the brain cannot perceive clearly if it is full of worries, thoughts, doubts, chatter, etc.

The seeing of this fact makes the brain quiet. Right?

No it starts with hearing Krishnamurti say that the brain needs to be empty, silent and ‘feeling’ that he knew what he was talking about.
Then understanding this brings about an awareness of the ‘noise’
The negation, mitigation of the noise comes about in the way that it’s perceived and treated?
The comparison with the lungs occurred to me this morning.

As I said before, a belief is as good as any other belief. I’m not sure why you reject this point. Belief has no value at all in perception. Belief is simply ‘intellectual understanding’ by another name.

But if, in listening to K, one sees/perceives/understands the truth of what he is saying (about the importance of a quiet brain, a brain that is empty of the ‘noise’ of thought), then this seed of understanding acts.

You may reject this because you are in the habit of rejecting what another is saying (!), but I think this is what you are actually meaning - unless you are wanting to turn Krishnamurti’s teachings into a belief system…

Is there something we can say to distinguish clearly between belief/knowledge and an intellectual understanding and acceptance of a claim - before going into the next possible way of seeing some fact (beyond intellectual understanding)?

As usual Douglas I really don’t understand what you are asking? You splice together several different questions into the one question, which makes it impossible to give a simple, clear answer (or response).

Remember, the topic of this thread is where the ‘rubber’ of our understanding of Krishnamurti’s teachings ‘hits the road’ of our actual daily life.

This is the question. But maybe there is no big difference between the 2? Maybe thats not what you and Dan are disagreeing about? Maybe by see/understand you are pointing at something else.

You have mentioned

  1. belief

  2. intellectual understanding

  3. acceptance of a claim


  1. seeing (where by understanding we mean something has been perceived clearly by the mind, by perception).

The first 3 are all related.

Number 4 is not related to the previous 3 (unless by “acceptance of a claim” we mean something has been perceived to be true, factual).

Is there a way to tell whether “4.seeing” is free from/not affected by conditioning? That might help us understand how 4. is not related to the first 3.

Seeing something clearly is different from seeing something abstractly.

An actual fire cooks and burns. An image in my mind of a fire does not cook or burn.

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I may feel that K knew what he was talking about, but that doesn’t mean I believe what he said is true because I honestly don’t know. The truth is that I am biased in favor of the possibility that what K said can be taken seriously.

A belief is a commitment, putting all my eggs in one basket. It’s dishonest because I don’t really know enough to justify total commitment, and reckless because it’s setting myself up for total loss instead of having reasonable doubt and investigating to find out if my feelings have any validity.

Okay…I changed it to ‘feeling’. :sweat_smile:

After decades of pondering K’s teaching and attending to my own thoughts/feelings, the rubber of my understanding has never met the road.

I’m a suspended tire spinning with K-isms and can’t hit the road until the spinning stops…or at least slows down enough to attempt a landing.

Being attentive to one’s inattention, the ‘contents of consciousness’ may be all that can be ‘done’. K-ism: the seeing is the doing.

This is what this thread is for looking at. I think many of us who read K have this question, and so here we have a space to look at it a little, and ask ourselves why there is a gap, a disconnect, between our intellectual grasp of what K has said - about awareness, attention, thought, knowledge, etc - and our actual daily life.

One possible reason, that you hint at in your post, is that our minds are spinning with habitual energy, with the inertia of constant usage. And we

Ever since childhood we have had to think think think, and we grow up believing that only through thinking can we get ahead. All education is based on thinking thinking thinking. And all the intellectual people are held in such high esteem, and so we feel we must think their thoughts, or think even more than them. And so by the time we turn 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 it has become an ingrained habit to think. We can’t stop it. And when we do stop it we feel empty, bored, listless. All our senses have been dulled through daily neglect.

So whether the content of our thinking is Krishnamurti or politics, office gossip or our own private fears and worries, it is all the same stream of thinking; and so we never meet ourselves exactly as we are; we never have a clear, thought-free perception of anything.

So can this spinning wheel of thinking thinking thinking slow down just enough for us to begin to see or feel ourselves, or to see and feel the world outside, as though for the first time?

Isn’t this part of the question?

When I say I ‘feel’ that what X is saying is true, this can mean one of two things:

  1. either it means that I have an inclination, a belief, based on my own temperament, presuppositions, assumptions, etc, that what X is saying is true.

  2. Or it means that I actually see - perhaps not completely - that there is some truth in what X is saying.

It is the truth of what X is saying that can work directly on one’s consciousness, if there has been a direct seeing of it for oneself.

Then it is not a belief, a vague ‘feeling’ that can be forgotten about in the next moment. It is something that one has seen for oneself to be true.

Obviously the answer to whether one has really seen the truth of something is a completely subjective matter. The only test for it is in our daily life (of relationship, life challenges, immediate experience, etc).

This is what this thread is set up to explore into a bit more.

So, for you (@danmcderm ), the things that you feel you have seen to be true are the necessity for the brain being quiet, and the importance of paying attention to inattention.

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Firstly, many thanks to James for starting this thread!

I get the impression that your comment above is light-hearted Inquiry, but it does touch on something I think is important. Does coming into contact with K’s teachings actually change us in any way? Another question is whether transformation is moment to moment or whether some sort of transformative event occurs which changes everything.

I said before that I sometimes find that after reading K or discussing something here, l find my mind a little sharper, with a little more awareness. For example, after hearing K talk about the art of listening, I might find myself more attentive when listening to a friend speaking. In that sense, I do think that the teachings can impact on our everyday lives. However, the silence of the mind which seems necessary for clear observation to take place, appears to come and go, at least in my case.

So the rubber is meeting the road to a certain extent. How do others see this?

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I think it is interesting to note that it is very difficult (or impossible?) to point at the difference between very clear and deep belief/knowledge that something is true, and the deep impression that we are perceiving a true reflection of an actual fact.

But where the rubber meets the road, where there is action, this is definitely something that can only honestly, effortlessly arise when we are deeply persuaded (eg. by intense personal experience), feel that we have clearly seen, that something is really so.

Awareness of the movement of self arises effortlessly when we feel that the movement of self is far from innocuous.

Isn’t this essentially the same issue you have been discussing on the ‘observer/observed’ and ‘pure attention’ threads?

I realise that we all have a tendency to complicate things, because of things we’ve read about, or intellectual doubts we have had about things we have read. But putting books, theories and intellectual issues aside, wouldn’t you agree that there is a wide difference, a qualitative (and not merely quantitive) gulf between

  1. seeing for oneself a fire :fire: (and not merely seeing it, but being close enough to feel its heat, its burning presence, etc);

  2. and having an image of a fire :fire: in one’s memory, in one’s imagination?

Similarly there is way of being in actual contact with a content of thought - such as suffering - which is qualitatively different from merely thinking theoretically or abstractly about ‘suffering’.

My sense is that the quality of perception that K is talking about has to do with this kind of non-theoretical seeing (whether of fires :fire: or inward psychological states). And the difference, I think you will find, is quite clear and sharply drawn.