I saw this morning a clip the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust put out on Instagram, where K is asked “What do you think about the Buddha?”
[I’m ignoring the first part of the video in which the questioner insinuates that K is arrogant, because this doesn’t interest me here].
K’s answer is:
I don’t think about the Buddha. Because thought doesn’t enter into the field of understanding. Thought doesn’t exist where love is; and when there is love, and when there is that state of mind when there is no operation of thought, there is no comparison.
This short clip made me wonder if this is the essential hub of K’s teachings? That is, to express it as a question:
- Is there a space of the mind - love, intelligence, insight, attention (what K refers to here as the “field of understanding”) - in which thought doesn’t exist; in which thought cannot enter?
Which is why, it seems to me, K spent so much time investigating into thought (and psychological time), because this is the central factor that prevents the awakening of intelligence.
I found an old doodle of mine in which I tried to sum this up:
So is there, or can there be, a space in the mind, an action, in which thought has no place; in which thinking does not enter?
This, I feel, gets to the heart of K’s teachings.
Is there a way to discuss this? I throw this pebble into the pond to see if it makes any ripple…
One way to look at this question is to ask oneself if there is ever a moment in which our minds are free from thinking, from mentally conceiving?
This has to do with present moment awareness.
Is there some small space in the mind to just be aware of one’s own psyche in operation - or aware outwardly of our environment, of the things around us?
If there is, then we have a sense of the possibility of the question being asked by K.
So everyday present moment self-awareness seems to be the key.
For a brain with supposedly infinite potential, this doesn’t seem to be asking too much? What’s the ‘obstacle’? “Thought must have a stop”. Why doesn’t it?
It’s the ‘supposedly’ aspect that may be a flaw here. Assuming too much may not help in this matter.
We can speculate that there is a dimension of consciousness, or even an area of the brain , that is unconditioned. But how are we to find out for ourselves whether this is true or not?
I think this investigation has to begin always afresh, with simple humble self-awareness, and see where that can lead us.
First of all we should say that thought has its right place, in the world of practical affairs. So that kind of thought will continue no matter what.
Secondly, perhaps because thought is so central to the evolution of the brain, the brain has become habituated to it, to being occupied with thinking.
So we are asking if the brain can do something other than just think.
And I feel it can: it can be aware.
Thought stops constantly, but it resumes immediately because the psychologically conditioned brain is caught in the exercise wheel of incessant thinking. It has taken the bait of becoming, thereby abandoning the here-and-now for a tantalizing future.
Thought is necessary to function, so thought must be exercised to learn how to think rationally, logically, and this takes time. But it also takes an understanding of why exercising thought for its own sake is a serious mistake that is the cause of disorder, confusion, and conflict.
Learning how to think logically and practically begins with knowing what not to do, and if the brain doesn’t learn this at the beginning, it may never learn it at all, and be dysfunctional until the brain is dead.
So what is it the brain is not to do to avoid becoming more of a weapon, a tool of destruction, an agent of disorder and derangement? It is to understand belief, believing, and why thought is tempted to do it.
For the young brain this is difficult, perhaps impossible. But as the brain matures, it can see the error of this way of thinking and avoid it. Unfortunately, however, few (if any) brains are cautioned about this.
Perhaps the jumping off the cliff I keep talking about is what happens when thought is dethroned?
Maybe. But maybe there is no jumping and no cliff - maybe the leap into the unknown is a projection from our deep habituation to think, imagine, project forward in time, etc.
So how are we to explore this question?
I think ordinary self-awareness has a part to play.
Well I guess we could do an experiment, kick thought off the throne and observe what happens. Would be simulation rather than real, but it could give a hint. I’ve done similar experiments lotsa times and it’s fascinating how utterly different and strange it feels to be thought-less. (The differentness and strangeness are felt after thought has returned.)
Completely different meaning of ‘understanding’ here.
Thought is necessary for ‘understanding’ in the practical world i.e. understanding how things work…but thought has no place whatsoever in the psyche, the “field of understanding”?
I don’t think jumping of a cliff dethrones the believer that believes jumping off a cliff may be the thing to do.
Thought is making the mistake it has been making for so long it can’t see itself making it. It is blind to what it is doing because it is what it knows how to do and doesn’t know how to stop being what it is.
Drawing upon my experience, thought is effortlessly absent during moments of ‘pure’ strong feeling and emotion. Maybe not fully absent, but close.
Thought’s movement here IS the “mistake”. Moving in a field that it has no place to be: images of cliffs, jumping off, etc.
I was thinking of it like a collaboration: the leap and the dethroning co-cause each other.
Yes. I was discussing this on another thread with Rick a couple of days ago - understanding (in K’s sense) is connected to observation, seeing, looking, and can perhaps be understood (!) as the fruit of observation. It is to see the whole situation. That is what I understand (!) by understanding.
Maybe. Although it probably depends on how pure, how undiluted the feeling or emotion is, and how cleanly, closely the mind/awareness can remain with these feeling-states.
There is also the fact, to be considered, that thought has played a large part in creating many - or even most - of our emotions. If this is the case, then the presence of strong feelings is not necessarily an indication of the absence of thought.
Yes and no. Practical thought is not a mistake - it’s essential. But the brain is deaf and blind to the difference between practical and psychological thought, and this is why it’s in a constant state of confusion and conflict.
Conflict and confusion is “home” to the PC brain. it’s comfort zone is familiar discomfort. Why isn’t the brain aware of how incoherent thought is sustaining conflict and confusion?
The doing of this is obviously complicated by the fact that the one doing the kicking is sitting on the throne. So I don’t feel a positive action is required. A negative awareness of the activity of thought, thinking, would be a more sensible beginning?
Because it can’t imagine that silence is what is called for? How could silence be the end of my fear, my loneliness, my worries etc? The mistake was bringing practical thought to ‘solve’ one’s sufferings: all the methods of salvation put together by thought? All based on the mistaken belief that someone needed ‘saving’?
Another aspect of the question is what it is that we mean by the word ‘love’?
If thought has no place in love, then it isn’t the love we usually call ‘love’, in which thinking and reacting (through thought) are staple features.
The way K uses the word love here is like a dimension of mind, a state of consciousness that exists independently of whatever one (or another) may think about it.
For many brains that may be. But a brain that is aware of how much of its thinking is unnecessary, inaccurate, misleading, disrupting, confusing and contradictory, know that silence “is what is called for”.
How could silence be the end of my fear, my loneliness, my worries etc?
Isn’t it obvious that “my fear, my loneliness, my worries etc?” are just my thoughts?
The mistake was bringing practical thought to ‘solve’ one’s sufferings: all the methods of salvation put together by thought? All based on the mistaken belief that someone needed ‘saving’?
Isn’t the mistake more fundamental than that? If the brain was wary of belief, how seriously could it take its thoughts that are not practical?