This is an open thread for anyone to post about aspects of K’s teachings that may have been a source of puzzlement or confusion (for them), but about which they now feel better able to comprehend and state more clearly.

These ‘comprehensions’ - or clarifications - are not intended as final, authoritative explanations (interpretations) about what K has said; but are merely a space for people to share those aspects of K’s teachings that have been difficult for them personally to understand, along with any clarity (or otherwise) they have been able to come to with respect to them.

For example, one thing that K said that has always puzzled me is why truth is not something to be experienced.

I have shared elsewhere why I have found the way K uses the word “experience” perplexing, but that has been explored on a separate thread. All I mean here is that for me (at least, as I have previously understood it) to ‘experience’ something means to be in direct contact with it. K often talks about the need for having a direct perception, to be directly in contact with nature, with people (or with a content of consciousness); of the need to “meet life” directly. And I always took this “meeting” to imply direct experience.

However, what I understand now is that when K uses the word “experience” (at least usually!), he is talking about a situation that involves thought and memory. That is, for K, experience implies an “experiencer” - the ego, the self; which is synonymous with thought, memory, one’s conditioning, etc - and this inevitably colours one’s perception. The “experiencer” (made up of thought, memory, conditioning, etc) interferes with perception, so that instead of a direct perception one instead ‘experiences’ one’s own background projections of thought and memory (one’s conditioning). And truth (or reality) cannot exist within the confines of the ego, of memory, of one’s projected background.

So only when psychological thought and memory are absent - which means the ego is absent: the “experiencer”, the observer, the self, etc, is in abeyance - can reality or truth show itself.

This is why K says that

Truth, God or what you will, is not something to be experienced, for the experiencer is the result of time, the result of memory, of the past, and so long as there is the experiencer there cannot be reality [i.e. truth]. There is reality only when the mind is completely free from the analyser, from the experiencer and the experienced (The First and Last Freedom).

I am not claiming that this clarification is the last word on the matter, but I hope it shows what kind of thing is intended by this thread.


If one seriously wants to find out what K meant about any word that he used one needs to do the research himself or herself . K’s audiences cannot clarify the teachings . That is the beauty of the teachings, it is self explanatory and needs no interpreter what so ever.

Examiner - I think the OP set out the purpose of this thread: it is for people to share any aspect of K’s teachings that they have found perplexing for one reason or another, that they have subsequently researched by themselves to later clarify (for themselves). The sharing is entirely voluntary, and the OP makes clear that any clarifications shared have no claim to be the final word on the subject, or to be taken as definitive interpretations, etc.

The thread is just one more way to engage with K’s teachings, and may help to throw some light on aspects of K’s teachings that people find confusing or perplexing for any number of reasons, with possible clarifications offered in a spirit of inquiry.

Clearly, if you have found everything that K has said or written completely self-explanatory, then this thread is not for you. No one is forcing you to contribute your clarity.

So you ignore the importance of what was said and want to just write things. Do what you want but please don’t tell us what to do because nobody will obey your words .

? - I honestly don’t see what has set you off like this? Who is ignoring what or telling anyone else what to do? Are you examining here (as per your forum name), or merely reacting? (I think, perhaps, the latter?).

Do you not see that you have similarly ignored what has already been said, and are as equally guilty of “just writing things” yourself?

I have no interest in being obeyed by anyone, Examiner - and return you the same: please don’t tell others what to do, because no one will obey you. :wink:

Thanks for this thread James.

Wonder if this is something to be understand or something to be discuss. Do one see this as to be true ? If one corroborated this by observation, in which there is no words, what happen ?

Does truth, god , reality, or even the immesurable are words pointing to the same thing? Or different things ? In this quote I think K. use the word reality as truth, as you pointed out. Does it mean that in a state of experience, something can be recorded by the brain/mind, but is then no more realty , but a souvenir, a memory ? So reality or the immesurable is out of reach of the experiencer , of consciousness ? Just somes thought about it.

I just find a quote from The Only Revolution, in which K. relate experience to meditation.

K.: DO NOT THINK THAT meditation is a continuance and an expansion of experience. In experience there is always the witness and he is ever tied to the past. Meditation, on the contrary, is that complete inaction which is the ending of all experience. The action of experience has its roots in the past and so it is time-binding; it leads to action which is inaction, and brings disorder. Meditation is the total inaction which comes out of a mind that sees what is, without the entanglement of the past. This action is not a response to any challenge but is the action of the challenge itself, in which there is no duality. Meditation is the emptying of experience and is going on all the time, consciously or unconsciously, so it is not an action limited to a certain period during the day. It is a continuous action from morning till night - the watching without the watcher. Therefore there is no division between the daily life and meditation, the religious life and the secular life. The division comes only when the watcher is tied to time. In this division there is disarray, misery and confusion, which is the state of society.


I’m not clear on K’s going on about the “future of mankind”. What is it about?

Firstly, thanks from me too for starting this thread James. Richard, thanks for the quote above.

I really have no idea what K is speaking about when he talks about meditation being an emptying of experience which is going on consciously or unconsciously all the time. Some people do seem less anchored in past experience than others though. Some people seem more free of their past experience than others. Is there any connection at all with this with and what K says about a conscious emptying of the past?

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There you are telling or giving order not to post in here.

You are the the one doing the ignoring.

The Teachings are mere words on a page. What part of them not being an authority don’t you understand? Therein lies their great beauty. They are pleading with you to cast them aside once you understand for yourself the sorrow of authority. Yet you are using them as a whip to thrash others with. Do you not see the irony of this?

Even the Teachings are dangerous to a hopeful, grasping mind. They can so easily become a stranglehold.


So the teachings according to you are a dead thing. Think what you want .

Is that not what we all do? Think what we want? Is that not the authority referred to in the Teachings.

The present is alive, not the Teachings. If we choose to live vicariously, through specters in books for example, we too are indeed dead. Life is dynamic and cannot be contained between pages in a book. It is far too miraculous.

The core message of the Teachings is that “truth is a pathless land”, is it not? What does one do with a statement like that? Take it at face value or do one’s damndest to understand what it implies?

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You are making too many assumptions that are not facts. First the teachings are dead. Second life is far too miraculous. Third who chooses to live “vicariously”. Forth k had no massage because he was not a Massinger . I can go on …

Apologies for being absent on the thread today - I have had my hands full with work commitments. I will be free (hopefully!) to participate more fully tomorrow.

If I remember rightly, wasn’t this a question that K and Bohm discussed one time? They were asking what will happen to human beings, to society, if it continues down the path it is currently on (a path of division, separation, etc)? They said that the future will just be the past conditioning, modified. The seeds of the future are in the present, not yet germinated.

The future also involves the impact of new technologies. In his very last talk K warned his audience of the challenges humanity will face when the computer and genetic engineering meet.

What do you understand by the phrase “future of mankind”?

Does your question perhaps relate to K’s denial of psychological time, and how this might be understood to deny any concept of the future (including a future for humanity)?

As you know, K sometimes used words in a very particular way, at variance from the usual way in which the word might be used. For example, when K uses the word intelligence he does not mean IQ. When he talks about thought he is also talking about what we commonly call emotion. When he uses the word consciousness he does not mean awareness.

I have discussed the issue of experience a few times with other people on the forum before, and it seem to me that K also uses this word in a very specific way that can be confusing for some. So when K uses the word experience he does not mean experiencing.

Experience is one thing, and experiencing is another. Experience is a barrier to the state of experiencing… The mind is the experience, the known, and it can never be in the state of experiencing; for what it experiences is the continuation of experience… Experience is not the means to experiencing, which is a state without experience (Commentaries on Living, Series 1, Chapter 12)

So, K is saying that experiencing is a state without experience, right? Experiencing, in fact, is a state of reality or truth.

So do you see why this may be a little confusing for the ordinary person? Ordinarily a person who is experiencing something would be said to be in an experiential state (aka a state of experience). But K is saying that experience and experiencing are two completely separate kinds of event. The existence of the one is the non-existence of the other.

So, for K, the word experience usually means a state in which recording is going on, recognition is going on, the activity of memory and knowledge are going on.

This process of recording, recognition, memory and knowledge simultaneously creates a fictional sense of an “experiencer” - the entity who is supposedly “having” the experience - who appears to be separate from the experience. But, according to K, the “experiencer” is actually co-creating the experience, as well as being itself a co-creation of the experience! So the experiencer and the experience are a unitary happening (the one does not exist without the other); the experiencer is the experience. And all of this is a denial of actual experiencing!

So when the word “meditation” is used in the passage you quoted, K can also be said to be talking about a state of experiencing without the experiencer, much like he spoke of ‘observing without the observer’.

In the passage K says that

Similarly, in ordinary observation there is a sense of an “observer” distinct from what is being observed, commenting on what is being observed, registering it, recording it, judging it, liking or disliking it, naming it, categorising it in relation to one’s knowledge, in relation to the past memories, etc. This “observer” (like the “experiencer”) conditions what it observes. So, similarly, the “observer” co-creates the observed - the “observer” and the observed are a joint phenomenon. Which is why K asks if there can be an observation (a state of observing) without the “observer”; or a

Obviously it seems strange to talk about a state of observing in which there is no “observer” (or a watching without a “watcher”) - in the same way that it is strange to talk about a state of experiencing without an “experiencer”. But this is what K seems to be pointing to.

So is it in fact experiencing itself which empties the mind of experience?


By “conscious emptying” are you perhaps referring to the recent discussion about “wiping away” one’s memories or day-dreams as they arise?

And does your question relate to how this conscious “wiping” relates to the unconscious “emptying” of (what K is calling here) meditation?

Is your question here about whether there can be (whether there exists) an ongoing state of meditation or awareness - an ongoing experiencing without an experiencer - that has a life of its own (separate from any conscious attempts to empty oneself of one’s experience)?

I am just trying to get you to unpack your question or clarification more clearly.

Hello James, thanks for replying. I wasn’t asking questions related to the recent discussion on “wiping away”. I was just trying to understand what K said about meditation in the quote Richard posted.

K spoke about conscious and unconscious emptying. I suppose my question was if K was saying that this was something which occured for him alone, as a result of the transformation he went through, or if perhaps it is something we all do, to a lesser or greater extent, in our everyday lives. The wider question is whether what K did was unique to him or whether there are moments when many people do some of the things which K did. For example, observe with a silent mind. Feel love for another. Moments when we are not separate from other living things.Does this make sense?

“Moments” yes. Recall that moment in the conversation with Needleman in The Awakening of Intelligence where K directs Needleman’s attention to the light on the mountain.

Or for me the pure joy of watching a small bird bathing before the image of a feathered Boris Johnson arises.

I would agree with Dan. I think there are moments when what K speaks about can happen for a person who is not transformed (“transformed”, that is, in the special way that K talked about). Such moments are a clue perhaps to the other; a reminder that the habitual way of living and acting is not the only way.

I wonder if the dreams we have each night, and the everyday emotional reactions we have in relationship, are not unconscious attempts by the mind to empty itself of its accumulated experiences?

K sometimes said that ‘experience’ means to go all the way through with something; but our minds have become habituated to always stopping part way, and so we never complete a reaction (allowing it to flower). Our dreams then take up the unfinished business of the day (i.e. the reactions that were not completed), and attempt to complete them in a different way (when the body and brain are quiet).

So meditation, as I understand K to have explained it, is a state of mind in which these daily reactions are completed and emptied as they arise (without any conscious intention to ‘empty’ them) - a kind of constant renewal of the mind, like a river continually cleansing itself of pollution; and is a state that can be ongoing in the ‘background’ (of the conscious, practical mind), as it were.

I’m not saying that this is exactly the same thing, but it has happened to me a few times (e.g. after a contemplative or ‘spiritual’ retreat) that the contemplation or meditation can continue in the background of the mind for a few days after, enhancing the quality of sleep, cleansing the mind of reactions and images as they arise; almost like a process of mental detoxification. I think many people have experienced something similar to this after a retreat, but the meditative quality of mind quickly dissipates. The difference for K perhaps is that this meditative was his normal state, and happened to him all the time - so the process of emptying went very, very deep.

What do you think?