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The Questioning Mind

There are two different energies involved in any question: first, there is the energy of the question itself; and then there is the energy taken up by the search for an answer. This second form of energy is a dilution of or a diversion away from the first. Could we explore this by looking a little more carefully at the nature of the mind that puts a question?

I get the second, the search energy. But I’m not sure what you mean by the energy of the question. ?

Yes, we can, but have you explored it to the point where you must seek assistance, collaboration, in exploring, or have you explored it completely to where the question is answered?

I ask because if you’ve gone all the way with the question, you’re playing teacher, coaxing us to follow along. This is what Krishnamurti did, and you do seem to be following his example…

Sorry to jump in here, but I would say that K’s approach was some kind of constant discovery. If, for example, attachment was being discussed, K would engage in a discussion where he himself as well as the audience seemed to be exploring and discovering something new about attachment. So although K had thoroughly explored attachment himself, he didn’t seem to ever be talking from a point of view of past knowledge. There was never an “I know but you don’t know” approach. How do the rest of you see this?

What about his obvious frustration with the listeners? And his lighthearted mockery of the human situation?

Is it to do with the negation of the self (aka knowing) that is present in doubt ?

To be absolutely clear that “I don’t know”, we must arrive at the end/frontier of the self. Which in itself is a realisation, rather than a long drawn out accumulation of infinite data.

Yes, he “seemed” to be exploring and discovering, but he always repeated what he had said the last time the subject was addressed. This didn’t bother me because if you discover something that is actual, like the operation of the self-centered mind, the discovery remains the same over time.

What is a worthwhile life? When one poses such a question, a lot of answers start to form as the brain searches through its limited knowledge of the world and puts together it best efforts based on all its many experiences of dealing with similar questions over time. So this first response is already deemed to be the right response; and thought has already assumed that its very own efforts are worthwhile. Therefore any answer to what is worthwhile is going to be influenced by this approach, which is to use the past to answer the present.

But what is life? The noun, the thing itself, without any description or value attached to it, neither worthwhile or worthless. When we hear this kind of a question, time is not so important, is it? The question of a worthwhile life may bring up all sorts of images. But actual life is fairly simple to see.

So the search for an answer employs the energy of thought; whereas the question itself is demanding only that we look around us.

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Could we explore this by looking a little more carefully at the nature of the mind that puts a question?

What is life? There isn’t any final answer. We see two people in conflict, or two political groups, or two countries, two long-established ideologies. This is life as it is lived by human beings. Now, do we question this way of living? If so, where is the question coming from?

From the NOW, I guess.

Let’s find out. First of all, what is our reaction when we see conflict?

Did he always repeat what he had said the last time? If he did, it never felt like boring repitition, at least not to me. His discussions had an engaging, fresh feel to them which struck me as highly unusual and communicative. I suppose that in the end, he always came to the “truth” about the subject being discussed but the joint journey of exploration was the important thing. Is this not so?

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Well, he was human and humans do these sorts of things I suppose.

Actual events from our past do not somehow magically reside in us. Memories of these events, which are retrieved as thoughts, do. So let’s leave “the past” out of this and talk about what’s really going on: memory and thought.

You’re presented with a question, what do you do?

  1. You employ memory/thought to answer it.

  2. You look at what arises without searching for an answer.

  3. A mix of 1 and 2, you look/remember-think, look/remember-think.

It depends on the question. If there is no immediate answer in thought, then really it means that thought is redundant. An ‘immediate answer’ in the sense that I am being asked something that is safely in the field of knowledge. It may take a few moments to allow memory to unlock itself if it is about something from long ago or even if it about something from a day or so back which long-term memory hasn’t stored securely. A question that has no immediate answer from memory has to be allowed to grow and stretch; only then can it produce any flower.

Does the question about what is a worthwhile life have an answer in the field of knowledge? Let’s get this part clear first. It is no good saying, ‘It may have an answer if I spend time at it,’ - is there an immediate and obvious answer? There are a lot of contradictory answers from various sources, but that’s not the same thing at all.

Is thought limited to the field of the known? Or can it venture beyond?

Lots of answers, just look up “living the good life” or take a peek within to your personal code of values. Are these answers adequate? Satisfying?

I value honesty, yet I am dishonest. Or I value peace and I am violent. So the code is a worthless sham, any code of behaviour is. What matters surely is to see how one actually behaves in daily life with other people instead of trying to correct one’s behaviour in order to fit it into a pattern. So personal codes of value are out, finished. And all those who talk of living the good life, why do they talk of it? They are merely creating more and more values, which result in more and more chaos.

Why does it try to venture beyond? It is a limited tool which tries to go beyond its limitations through the quantity and variety of its endeavours. But it is always carrying a quality of limitation in its wake. And that which is limited is extremely dangerous in the wrong place.

Your answer to “What is life”? is, “There isn’t any final answer”. My answer is, “I don’t know”.

Most people demand answers. Some people don’t accept answers that aren’t self-evident or demonstrable.

You “suppose”? Be honest. You assume he came to the truth because that’s what you expected from him. If you knew he came to the truth, you’d have no need of his talks, his teaching.

the joint journey of exploration was the important thing. Is this not so?

Only if it showed you how dependent you are on your teacher to enlighten you.

I don’t understand what you’re saying here.Where does expecting anything come into it? Either what K says about attachment, fear etc makes some sense to you or it doesn’t. But it’s something to be discovered all the time rather than a fixed truth residing in past knowledge. That’s what I understand, at least.