Truth and the silent mind

It is only the silent mind that shall see the truth, not the mind that makes an effort to see.

If you observe closely, listen quietly, then you will hear; but if you strain, struggle to catch everything that is being said, your energy will be dissipated in the strain, in the effort.

So, you will not find truth through effort, it does not matter who says it, whether the ancient books, the ancient saints, or the modern ones. Effort is the very denial of understanding; and it is only the quiet mind, the simple mind, the mind that is still, that is not overtaxed by its own efforts - only such a mind shall understand, shall see truth.

– Krishnamurti, Bombay, 1950


Did you read the OP with a silent mind? If this silence is not effortless, and if effort prevents it from being, where does that leave us?

Obviously there is truth in this statement. This is the state our minds are in when we see something true or actual (whatever it is that we see).

There is strong resistance to this stillness. The noise (un-stillness) is comforting, feels safe and grounded. And it’s a potent distraction.

It seems to me what Krishnamurti was describing here is a brain with no sense of urgency, desire, pressure to do anything about the unceasing activity and effect of the thoughts and emotions that amount to itself. It has realized it is possessed by and limited to what it does not understand about itself, and has surrendered to the fact that until/unless it knows itself completely, it is the victim of its ignorance and misunderstanding.

The beleaguered brain is battling with itself until it awakens to what it is doing, and its elucidation begins.

Is this stillness something we resist?

I don’t feel it like that. It has not been my experience. The moments of tranquil watching, simple effortless seeing that I have experienced were really trouble-free, disturbance-free states.

But if one is looking at what it means to be still from a point of view outside such a state of stillness, then of course one can project any number of fears.

And then one’s mental noise can be a comforting distraction from these self-projected disturbances.

Do you see the urgency to be aware of the workings of the brain? Or no urgency whatsoever, let whatever happens happen: awareness, daydreaming, sleepiness, emotions, escapes, all good?

I think that’s a useful distinction. When still, there is little to no resistance. Kind of by definition, right: stillness is free of resistance. It’s when you flip back into un-stillness that the voice chimes in: That was borrrrrrrrrr-ing, I’m way happier now!

When there’s no escape from or alternative to being “aware of the workings of the brain”, how urgent is it?

urgent /ûr′jənt/


  1. Compelling immediate action or attention; pressing.
  2. Conveying a sense of pressing importance.

“an urgent message.”

  1. Urging; pressing; besetting; plying, with importunity; calling for immediate attention; instantly important

When there’s a problem, the urgency is to find out what it is, to see it for what it is, and once that’s done, there’s nothing to do but address it.

Yes. This seems to be the issue.

When there are no alternatives, I’d call it inevitable rather than urgent. ?

In nature there usually isn’t much stillness. During the day, birds and other animals are active and even noisy. During the night crickets, toads, frogs, are making noise calling for mates or stalking their prey.

The conditioned human brain is making more or less of it’s usual noises as it reacts and asserts and desires and complains and plots and schemes and dreads, and so on.

So what we mean by silence and stillness is the quietude and emptiness of the brain, the absence of what it identifies as itself.

It’s interesting right? We’re dealing with two very different states of mind.

Stillness feels right and natural and complete (no yearning for what is not present). Equanimity and relaxation reign, ego-self is background.

Un-stillness also feels right and natural (in a different way), but incomplete. Needs yearn to be met, holes yearn to be filled. Drama reigns, self is foreground.

When stillness is present, there is little to no feeling that it is ‘better than’ un-stillness. That would require comparison, and judgement/comparison are largely absent in stillness. But when un-stillness is present, there is (for me at least) a strong feeling that stillness is New Age silliness, bogus, a useless waste of time, squandering of pleasure, borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ing! In other words, stillness does not proclaim its glory and superiority, while un-stillness does.

Please elaborate, what does ‘the silent mind’ mean in the OP quote:

What would it mean to read this posting with a silent mind?

Could it mean to read without judging what has been read, without translating it, or without interpreting it, to read it as if it meant nothing?

Hear the inner narration as music rather than the transmission of semantic meaning?

Silence (not that I am an expert in silence) has a music which cannot be compared to the music of mental noise. - It is like comparing pure spring water to cheap lemonade or Fanta.

Yet as soon as one is no longer still or quiet, there is no longer anyone who is still or quiet to sing its praises.

I suppose this is why they say “the devil gets all the best tunes”!

Great! Delightfully appropriate. Un-stillness engages in wild self promotion, stillness just stills.

Though I am as ardent a non-fan of advertising as it gets, I have to admit un-stillness’s ads work for me, they persuade me.

I like this way of putting it.

Do things we delete go to the Akashic Records? Is there an app for reading them?