Silence at the beginning

Silence like freedom is at the beginning, not at the end?

Peace and contentment does not arise out of the noise and effort of our struggle to win the prize.
Even when we get all that we desire, we find that we are still our primitive, suffering selves.

There is only one step between this world and the next.
The Christians call it faith & forgiveness (aka death)
The Buddhists point at seeing the true nature of self. (awakening)
Everyone seems to be pointing at me and my actions in the world that I see.

This one step into silence seems to hang on our taking responsibility for all the noise. But not by making more noise.

The word ‘silence’ has different resonances for different people, as it also had for Krishnamurti (see for example the thread on ‘What did K mean by silence?’).

The simple capacity we all have to look, to listen, to be aware, implies some quality of space in the mind that we could call quietness and freedom. But for myself to call that small space ‘silence’ would be going too far.

Just as we wouldn’t call the simple capacity to look or listen or be aware, a state of pure attention or total perception.

So, for example, K has said that

Silence is something entirely different, like beauty, like love. And this silence is not the product of a quiet mind, it is not the product of the brain cells which have understood the whole structure and say, ‘For God’s sake be quiet’; then the brain cells themselves produce the silence and that is not silence. Nor is silence the outcome of attention in which the observer is the observed; then there is no friction, but that is not silence… That silence which is not the silence of the ending of noise is only a small beginning. It is like going through a small hole to an enormous, wide, expansive ocean, to an immeasurable, timeless state.

(Freedom from the known)

Yes this is a good description of how I saw it.
The same with love, compassion, intelligence, freedom, etc. All at the ‘beginning’, all…there.

Yes. I think there can be a quality of affection, kindness, freedom, intuitive intelligence, etc from the beginning - just as there can be a quality of quietness, space in the brain.

But we have to be clear that what we call affection and kindness are not yet love (in K’s sense), just as the space of quiet in the brain to see, look, and listen is not yet silence (in K’s sense).

So, for example, silence for K

is not the silence which thought can conceive of… it is the silence when thought—with all its images, its words and perceptions—has entirely ceased.

(The Only Revolution)


Silence can only come psychologically when there is no registration whatsoever. Then the mind, the brain itself, is utterly without movement.

(This Light in Oneself)


A mind that is absolutely silent, absolutely, not relatively… a stillness which is not dependent on anything.

(Talk 7, Saanen, 1979)


When the mind is completely silent, it is not even aware that it is silent… That silence has no cause and, therefore, has no end.

(A Timeless Spring: Krishnamurti at Rajghat)


Silence… is beyond the brain.


These are all good descriptions! I would add one of my own: Silence is the space that thought can never touch.

Which “mind” is K talking about here? The mind beyond the brain, or the individual mind?

Can anyone suggest why K used the word ‘registration’ here? Not registering what?

Is the brain ever “utterly without movement “?

That quote struck me too - but kinfonet is a real whirlwind at the moment, so much excitement I forgot to react!

Registration can allude to the usual : “leave no trace” teaching. Each moment arises and dissapears, no build up of tension as we are born anew, holding no grudges (or truths). Thus no reaction from the past.

But I am always left wondering how far the known can dissapear. Can no registration also mean no perception of concepts (ie. this and that)? A momentary ending of self and experience?

I think the silence that he is describing is definitely without ‘self’. Certainly without thought. Desire for this state of silence would be ‘noise’ itself. So it struck me that any ‘approach’ that involved desire or time, the time to ‘get it’, would be futile. That is when I wondered whether it , the silence, was ‘ there’ , at the beginning, like freedom say, and it was the movement of desire or thought that ‘masked’ it? That it was not a product of the brain but was ‘outside’ it?

So this ‘model’ constructs itself for me: that we, everything, live immersed in this silence/beauty/love but we through being able to psychologically divide ourselves as ‘individuals’ suffer and try to mitigate our suffering by trying to ‘rejoin’ the world and by those very actions reinforce and prolong our imaginary division, estrangement, from it.

The quote is from a talk about meditation (and silence) towards the end of which Krishnamurti asks whether one’s brain can

never psychologically register anything - right? Do you understand? Never to register the flattery, the insult, the various forms of impositions, pressures, never. To keep the tape completely fresh. Then it is young. Innocence means a brain that has never been wounded - right? That is innocence, that knows no misery, conflict, sorrow, pain, all that, which is all registered in the brain and therefore it is always limited, old as it grows physically older. Whereas if there is no recording whatsoever, psychologically, then the brain becomes extraordinarily quiet, extraordinarily fresh…

So the brain then becomes, because of this insight, which we have talked about, because of that insight the brain cells undergo a change. It is no longer holding to memories

Then in that tremendous quality of silence you may find out - in that silence there may come something that is not touched by thought, because that silence is not created by thought.

So one has to question, go into the whole nature of silence.

There is silence between two noises, there is silence between two thoughts, there is silence between two notes in music, there is silence after noise, there is silence when thought says, “I must be silent” and creates that artificial silence and thinking that is real silence. There is silence when you sit quietly and force your mind to be silent. All those are artificial silences, they are not real, deep, uncultivated, unpremeditated silence.

We said silence can only come psychologically when there is no registration whatsoever. Then the mind, the brain itself is utterly without movement. Then in that great depth of silence, not induced, not cultivated, not practised but in that silence there may come that extraordinary sense of something immeasurable, nameless.

(Talk 4, 1978, Brockwood Park)

It is implied, in the talk, that the brain’s capacity to be “utterly without movement” is a direct consequence of insight, which empties or cleanses the brain cells of psychological memory and thought.

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The ‘insight’ reveals that the hurts that have been recorded were the result of the fear of the self seeking psychological security? The insults, hurts, wounds were registered as the cause of the self’s reaction to a sense of threat, a feeling of deflation? Carrying these past scars in memory destroyed the innocence and freshness of the brain, making the possible ‘sense’ of the Immensity, of the immeasurable , impossible…in effect depriving, closing off the brain from its birthright?
So to regain its innocence, the brain must cease to ‘register’ all insults, hurts, flattery, etc (K. “ My secret is that I don’t mind what happens”.) No movement of recording? Does this sound right?

My understanding is that the insight K is talking about here empties the brain of psychological thought and memory, and that this makes it possible not to register psychologically any insults, flattery, hurt, etc.

But I have also heard K talk about registration separately from insight, as something that people can experiment with in daily life. That is, we can experiment with not registering psychological experiences of various kinds - which goes with paying attention to, or being aware of, our experiences in daily life.