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Questioner: How would you cope with an incurable disease?
Jiddu Krishnamurti : Most of us do not understand ourselves, our various tensions and conflicts, our hopes and fears, which often produce mental and physical disorders.

Of primary importance is psychological understanding and well being of the mind-heart, which then can deal with the accidents of disease. As a tool wears out so does the body, but those who cling to sensory values find this wasting away to be a sorrow beyond measure; they live for sensation and gratification, and the fear of death and pain drives them to delusion. As long as thought-feeling is predominantly sensate, there will be no end to delusion and fear; the world in its very nature being a distraction, it is essential that the problem of delusion and health be approached patiently and wisely.

If we are organically diseased then let us cope with this condition, as with all mechanism, in the best way possible. The psychological delusions, tensions, conflicts, maladjustments produce greater misery than organic disease. We try to eradicate symptoms rather than cause; the cause itself may be sensate value. There is no end to the gratification of the senses, which only creates greater and greater turmoil, tension, fear, and so on; such a living must culminate in mental and physical disorder or in war.

Unless there is a radical change in value, there will and must be ever increasing disharmony within, and so, without. This radical change in value must be brought about through understanding the psychological being; if you do not change, your delusions and ill-health will inevitably increase; you will become unbalanced, depressed, giving continuous employment to physicians. If there is no deep revolution of values, then disease and delusion become a distraction, an escape, giving opportunity for self-indulgence. We can unconditionally accept an incurable disease only when thought-feeling is able to transcend the value of time.

The predominance of sensory values cannot bring sanity and health. There must be a cleansing of the mind-heart which cannot be done by any outer agency. There must be self-awareness, a psychological tension. Tension is not necessarily harmful; there must be right exertion of the mind. It is only when tension is not properly utilized that it leads to psychological difficulties and delusions, to ill-health and perversions.

Tension of the right kind is essential for understanding; to be alertly and passively aware is to give full attention without the conflict of opposition. Only when this tension is not properly understood does it lead to difficulty; living, relationship, thought demand heightened sensitivity, a right tension. We are conscious of this tension and generally misread or avoid it, thus preventing the understanding that it would bring. Tension or sensitivity can heal or destroy.

Life is complex and painful, a series of inner and outer conflicts. There must be an awareness of the mental and emotional attitudes which cause outward and physical disturbances. To understand them you must have time for quiet reflection; to be aware of your psychological states there must be periods of quiet solitude, a withdrawal from the noise and bustle of daily life and its routine. This active stillness is essential, not only for the well-being of the mind-heart but for the discovery of the real, without which physical or moral well-being is of little significance.

Unfortunately, most of us give little time to serious and quiet self-recollectedness. We allow ourselves to become mechanical, thoughtlessly following routine, accepting and being driven by authority; we become mere cogs in the vast machine of the present culture. We have lost creativeness; there is no inward joy. What we are inwardly, that we project outwardly. Mere cultivation of the outer does not bring about inward well-being; only through constant self-awareness and self-knowledge can there be inward tranquillity. Without the real, existence is conflict and pain.

Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti, July 8, 1945, Living in an Insane world

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