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Jiddu Krishnamurti on living a Spiritual Life




Jiddu Krishnamurti on living a Spiritual Life

Question: Is it possible for the ordinary individual to lead a spiritual life without having a set of beliefs or taking part in ceremonies and ritual?

Jiddu Krishnamurti : I wonder what we mean by a spiritual life? Do you become spiritual by performing ceremonies and rituals, having innumerable beliefs, or by having principles according to which you are trying to live? Does that make you spiritual? Ceremonies and rituals sometimes, perhaps at the beginning, give a certain sensation, so-called uplift. But they are repetitious, and every sensation that is repeated soon wearies of itself.

The mind likes to establish itself in a routine, in a habit; and rituals, ceremonies, provide this and give to the mind an opportunity to separate itself, to feel itself superior, to feel that it knows more, and to enjoy the sensations of repetitious pleasures. Surely there is nothing spiritual about rituals and ceremonies; they only divide man against man. Since they are repetitious, they do not free the mind from its own self-projected sensations. On the contrary, for a spiritual life - a free life, a free mind, a mind that is not burdened by the ego, the 'me' - it is essential to see the falsity of ceremonies. To find reality or God or what you will, there must be no ceremonies, no rituals round which the mind can wrap itself and feel itself different, enjoying the sensations of oft-repeated action.

And a mind burdened with belief - is such a mind capable of perception, of understanding? Surely, a mind burdened with belief is an enclosed mind - no matter what belief it is, whether it is in nationalism, or any particular principle, or the belief in its own knowledge. A mind that is burdened with beliefs, either of the past or of the future, is surely not a free mind. A mind crippled with belief is incapable of investigation, of discovery, of looking within itself. But the mind likes beliefs because belief gives to it a certain security, makes it feel strong, energetic, aloof, separative.

We know all this as an everyday fact. And yet we continue in our beliefs - that you are a Christian and I am a Hindu - I with my set of idiosyncrasies, traditions, and experience handed down from the past, and you with yours. Obviously, belief does not bring us together. Only when there is no belief, only when we have understood the whole process of belief - then perhaps we can come together. The mind desires constantly to be secure, to be in a state of knowledge, to know; and belief offers a very convenient security. Belief in something, belief in a certain economic system for which one is willing to sacrifice oneself and others - in that the mind takes shelter; it is certain there. Or, belief in God, in a certain spiritual system; there again the mind feels secure, certain.

Belief, after all, is a word. The mind lives on words; it has its being in words, and there it takes shelter and finds certainty. And a mind that is sheltered, secure, certain, is surely incapable of understanding anything new, or receiving that which is not measurable. So belief acts as a barrier, not only between man and man, but also, surely, as a block, as a hindrance, to something that is creative, that is new. But to be in a state of uncertainty, of not knowing, of not acquiring, is extremely difficult, is it not - perhaps not difficult, but it requires a certain earnestness, without any distraction, inward or outward. But unfortunately most of us inwardly want to be distracted, and beliefs, ceremonies, rituals offer good, respectable distractions.

So, what is important in this question is, is it not, to free the mind from its own self-created habits, from its own self-projected experiences, from its own knowledge - which is, from the entity which is gathering, accumulating. That is the real problem - to be free inwardly, to be in that state when the mind is no longer inviting or accumulating experience. That is extremely arduous. And it is for everyone, not for the few, to free themselves from the process of time, which is the process of accumulation, gathering in, the desire for the 'more'.

This is only possible when we understand the ways of the mind, how it is constantly seeking security, permanency, either in beliefs, in rituals, in ceremonies, or in knowledge. All these are distractions, and a mind that is distracted is incapable of quietness. To go into this problem very deeply, one has to be aware inwardly, both at the conscious and at the unconscious level, of those attractions and distractions that the mind has cultivated - to observe them, and not try to transform them into something else but merely observe. Then begins the freedom in which the mind is no longer acquiring, accumulating.

Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti Talk April 8, 1952

Related Jiddu Krishnamurti Talks:
Jiddu Krishnamurti on Prayer, Concentration and Meditation
How can one be aware of an emotion without naming or Labelling it
Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end
In spite of your talks about following, you are aware that you are being continually followed by us

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