Can the Mind Competely Understand Itself?

Anyone who wants to understand what Krishnamurti was trying convey to his audience will find what he had to say about meditation most illuminating. He said that meditation is being attentive to everything one is aware of, including the thoughts that arise spontaneously and incessantly. He said that the observation of thought brings about its own discipline, which involves the emptying of the known, and the silence that comes with the mind completely understanding itself.

It sounds wonderful and practicable, but if the mind’s response is less than complete, its inquiry will be less than thorough, and ultimately inconclusive. Krishnamurti was inviting the listener to find out by applying oneself completely to the task, and of course, that can’t happen when the mind is not complete.

The mind is incomplete until it is awakened to its duplicity and duality. Is there a process or a path by which the incomplete mind can find wholeness, health, sanity, silence? Krishnamurti said there is no way, no how, yet he talked about self-knowledge, meditation, observation, and freedom from the known.

So what are we to make of these words and phrases? Should we make a religion of them; regard them as sacred and holy and repeat them authoritatively as if they are Truth itself? Should we use them as if we understand what they represent? Or might one hold them for questioning until one’s ignorance and misunderstanding is revealed?


No of course not. They are not ‘truth’, they are words, symbols… Preserve them not worship them.

They may be completely false. Until and if they are revealed to oneself as true, they are just pointers. The pointer has no value in itself only what it points to: truth or falseness.


This might give the wrong impression that attention is an activity, as in something that one does through volition and/or effort towards a goal. Unfortunately, if such was the case, attention would be no more than the usual reaction/effort of the suffering human self.

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Not if he said “complete attention”.

Beautiful phrase and full of meaning, @DanMcD! Especially the last part!

We can’t know how accurate this quote is. You are paraphrasing K. But K often said there is nothing to do. No inquiry but observation of the quiet mind, no thought. Without perception and/or insight, which is based in truth not thought, there is no “illumination”. No discovery. Thought is the past rooted in memory, which is the basis of thought which is always accumulating experience and knowledge which is a movement in time. Psychological time.

No, I don’t think he was. The listener is the self, thought. Thought is the past, conditioned and can’t find out anything. Then you say “the mind is not complete.” What is the mind? The mind doesn’t have to be “complete” for there to be perception and insight. Perception and insight, as K pointed out, have nothing to do with thought. It is perception and insight that perceive, that discover. Not the listener which is thought. Why don’t you post what K said with a citation so we can see not only the quote but the context from which it came.