← Back to Kinfonet

The moment I have done something it is the past

I would like to present the following excerpt from K:

". . . . . . . . The present, the immediate now, is ever the past. The moment I have done something it is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead. Every action, which takes place in the present, instantly becomes the past, and to that past belongs whatever you have understood of the progressive self. Whatever you have understood, whatever you have dominated, conquered, is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead, finished with.

The reason for presenting these words here is that instantly I read them I had a strong sense that they are words I could have written myself. They are felt to be true, true, true. And I felt the time had come to put the words - not the words but the living actuality of the words represent - to the test of other people’s perceptions, so to speak.

At the purely intellectual level, I don’t see how the words can be contested. Of course the present is dying all the time, disappearing into the past. The only ‘existence’ it then has is in memory, which is no existence at all.

But an intellectual description of the words in no way captures the significance of what the words are pointing to. That significance is enormous, when the actuality is lived (or rather, lived and died). All problems are dying all the time. Every moment the slate is being wiped clean, ready for a new start.

All effort, all struggle, is continually coming to an end - there is nothing that I need to do about it . And this is a fact, not a theory.

Any comments?

(The excerpt is from from “Morning talk” at Ommen 1929 pub in Chetana’s “Early Writings” page 56)


Hi Sam,

Yes, good quote, how life and death are related - one.

These words are some of my most treasured. The innate understanding and acceptance of them as fact is ever-present, even as they pass.

I read this passage, slowly, carefully, workng hard to understand it in context, and when I’m done … I go back over it, examine parts, check the logic, compare it to similar passages I’ve read, decide it has value for me, decide to keep it around, make it mine, save it to my personal archive, feel bolstered by its presence, enriched, moved enough to write about it here.

If I may say so, isn’t all this to miss the point entirely? Do not such responses remain in the domain of thought, of the intellect? One might decide “that is right” or “that is wrong”, but so what? Doesn’t one still remain in the same boat?

I don’t know how to approach this without giving the appearance that I am claiming to be some body special. I’m not. But I do “claim” that actually thought is dying/ending all the time. Which means the self, the me, is dying all the time… It seems to me to be a fact. It is lived, not just thought about. But it is very true that the description is not the described. The more I try to describe this process of psychological dying, the further away I get from it.

Thought simply cannot touch this phenomena, because one is talking about the ending of thought. Or put it another way - there is a space between thoughts. If thought tries in any way to approach this space, it denies, negates the space - obviously. It is in contradiction.

But in this space the true nature of thought is revealed.

But although it seems that this phenomena cannot be expressed without contradiction, it cannot be denied that thought is “continually” coming to an end. I’m sorry but words like “continually”, or “all the time”, or “continuously” do not work here - perhaps because one is talking about the ending of time. But as soon as I stop typing, as soon as I become inactive, the psychological dying becomes apparent. Not that I do it, but it is there.

“The moment I have done something it is the past”

What does it take to make the mind free from the past (dead)?

How a mind can realize the importance of such a statement?

Sometimes, it is difficult to come out of a negative mood. I do not know how this sentence will liberate the self from all its own images, in such a state.

Yes! It is a blow-by-blow of an earnest, well-intentioned, thorough, painstaking and utterly inappropriate way of listening.

So do we actually see, not theorise, that it is an utterly inappropriate response? And is that seeing a different sort of response?

Sivaram, I am responding to your last question first.

Why do you want, why do you try, to “come out” of a negative mood? And why do we define certain states as negative? Why do we not “go into” negative moods, rather than struggling to come out?

If we see the folly of struggling with ourselves, the uselessness of fighting ‘what is’, does not that create a different approach to living altogether? Then everything that arises in the mind, and in relationship, is an opportunity for learning, and so is to be welcomed. Everything then is the “precious jewel” that K talked about.

We can try to avoid suffering, fear, conflict, and all those things, for ever, but we know, do we not, that that approach never really works? So why persist in it?

As soon as we welcome, or at least are open to, these so-called negative moods, then at that moment doesn’t the fear of them end? Let them come! We will meet them when they come (and not before), we will explore. Because that is part of what it means to be a human being, is it not?

It is easier to see the inappropriateness after the fact, after the damage has been done, than when it is actually happening. And though we may be able to ‘repair’ some of the damage, it would probably be more effective to catch the inappropriateness early, before it has time to do harm.

I think I am having similar lines of thought on what you have said. Anyways, I replied to you from a completely different point of view. Let’s go like this,

The title of the thread is

The moment I have done something it is the past

Now my question is,

When does such a statement will arise inside the mind, in our life?

What does that “something” refer to?

What does it take to make the mind free from the past?

Hope you understood my intent. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, I understand. What does it mean, to see things as they are actually happening?

Does this not imply there is no separation between the observer and the observed? As soon as the observer appears, then it must necessarily be looking back, no?

And yet when there is this psychological dying that we are discussing, then where is the damage? There is dying to any concept of damage Psychological dying - it comes not to call it the ending of the known - is the resolution of all problems, is it not?

It arises, or may arise, when the fact is seen the fact that everything is continually dissolving into the past. The statement itself may also dissolve into the past. Seeing the fact is far more important than statements about it.

I would say all the contents of the mind. Thought, emotion, feeling, actions, anything that arises in the mind.

It is already happening,in the sense that thought is dying all the time. That MUST be so. so it doesn’t really “take” anything for it to happen.

I am talking about something quite simple really, but it starts to sound complicated when we talk about it, or think about it. It is obvious really. A thought arises in the mind. There is only room for one thought at a time in the conscious mind, so when a second thought arises (including in the guise of the thinker/observer) the initial thought no longer exists, does it? it has become the past - which means it does not actually exist. It had a brief existence, and died.

No sir, Jiddu said about it already. For me, such a statement is not complicated but it is important and there are many people, who do not know about it.

There will be some images stored in the brain, which could be related to childhood, adolescence, relationships, and other aspects of life. It is very rare, that a mind is free from the past.

May I suggest, tentatively, that what is important is the action of freeing the mind from the past, from moment to moment. This action IS the psychological dying we are enquiring into. Whereas the idea of a mind free from the past IS one of those images, stored in the brain that you mention. It is only a static image.

There is no actor behind this action

We have all sorts of habitual reflex-like reactions programmed into us. I don’t know if you can stop these reflexes from getting triggered and firing, but if you see them launch into action quickly enough, it might stop them before they snowball.

That’s the theory. But my psyche is still very much alive, so I don’t know. You?

Firstly, an apology for a typo. Above I wrote

But the "not " was a mistake. I meant to write: “psychological dying - it comes now to call it the ending of the know”.

So the statement "psychological dying is the resolution of all problems" is being questioned - as it should be.

Where do we go from there? Perhaps the statement is true, or perhaps it is just an idea created by thought? How can we find out the truth of it? I don’t think it can be proved, or disproved, with the intellect. So we are left with direct observation of the mind.

Can that be done? Can there be pure observation, without the past interfering? Not knowing the answer, I am taking this question away with me for the moment.

It’s as if we ignore the process, the presence of this activity called thought, as an actual manifestation, psychologically, (memory, ideas, belief, plans, inner voice, speculation, etc., etc.) and dwell intellectually on I know, or I don’t know.

Is the mind, your mind, my mind, ever totally free of a sense of psychological identity? All of the mind, both conscious and unconscious?

If not, observation of the mind can only yield hints, best guesses as to whether the statement is true or false.

I have been watching thought with this issue particularly in mind. It is very difficult to describe. Thought simply cannot grasp the space where it does not exist. What it can and does grasp is only more thought. Just descriptions. But all such descriptions also slide into the past, become non-existent. This actually happens, it is not a creation of thought.

It is a fact that thoughts are continually slipping into the past. That is indisputable, surely? Thought A arises ends, to be replaced by the arising of thought B Thought B ends, to be replaced by thought C, and so on. But the actual significance of this may vary from person to person.

As a thought ends, dies, does not its content end? The thought IS the content, surely? And if that content is a problem, or a conflict, that problem/conflict ends.

I think there may be a difficulty in the words “ending” and “dying” ( I have been using them to mean the same thing). There may be an ending in the moment, or there may be (a concept of) ending ‘permanently’, ie never to return. But I suggest tht the issue of whether a thought returns is completely immaterial.

To become aware of this movement of the present continually disappearing into the past, is to become aware of the true nature of thought, and so of its limitations. I cannot see that there us any other “way” (not a method) out of this morass, other than through such awareness.

1 Like