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Jiddu Krishnamurti on Self Centered Activity
Jiddu Krishnamurti - Most of Us, I think, are aware that every form of persuasion, every kind of inducement, has been offered us to resist self-centred activities. Religions, through promises, through fear of hell, through every form of condemnation have tried in different ways to dissuade man from this constant activity that is born from the centre of the `me'.
These having failed, political organizations have taken over. There again, persuasion; there again the ultimate utopian hope. Every form of legislation from the very limited to the extreme, including concentration camps, has been used and enforced against any form of resistance. Yet we go on in our self-centred activity, which is the only kind of action we seem to know.
If we think about it at all, we try to modify; if we are aware of it, we try to change the course of it; but fundamentally, deeply, there is no transformation, there is no radical cessation of that activity. The thoughtful are aware of this; they are also aware that when that activity from the centre ceases, only then can there be happiness.
Most of us take it for granted that self-centred activity is natural and that the consequential action, which is inevitable, can only be modified, shaped and controlled. Now those who are a little more serious, more earnest, not sincere - because sincerity is the way of self-deception - must find out whether, being aware of this extraordinary total process of self-centred activity, one can go beyond.
To understand what this self-centred activity is, one must obviously examine it, look at it, be aware of the entire process. If one can be aware of it, then there is the possibility of its dissolution; but to be aware of it requires a certain understanding, a certain intention to face the thing as it is and not to interpret, not to modify, not to condemn it.
We have to be aware of what we are doing, of all the activity which springs from that self-centred state; we must be conscious of if it. One of our primary difficulties is that the moment we are conscious of that activity, we want to shape it, we want to control it, we want to condemn it or we want to modify it, so we are seldom able to look at it directly. When we do, very few of us are capable of knowing what to do.
We realize that self-centred activities are detrimental, are destructive, and that every form of identification - such as with a country, with a particular group, with a particular desire, the search for a result here or hereafter, the glorification of an idea, the pursuit of an example, the pursuit of virtue and so on - is essentially the activity of a self-centred person.
All our relationships, with nature, with people, with ideas, are the outcome of that activity. Knowing all this, what is one to do? All such activity must voluntarily come to an end - not self-imposed, not influenced, not guided.
Most of us are aware that this self-centred activity creates mischief and chaos but we are only aware of it in certain directions. Either we observe it in others and are ignorant of our own activities or being aware, in relationship with others, of our own self-centred activity we want to transform, we want to find a substitute, we want to go beyond.
Before we can deal with it we must know how this process comes into being, must we not? In order to understand something, we must be capable of looking at it; and to look at it we must know its various activities at different levels, conscious as well as unconscious - the conscious directives, and also the self-centred movements of our unconscious motives and intentions.
I am only conscious of this activity of the `me' when
I am opposing, when consciousness is thwarted, when the `me' is desirous
of achieving a result, am I not? Or I am conscious of that centre when
pleasure comes to an end and I want to have more of it; then there is
resistance and a purposive shaping of the mind to a particular end which
will give me a delight, a satisfaction; I am aware of myself and my
activities when I am pursuing virtue consciously. Surely a man who
pursues virtue consciously is unvirtuous. Humility cannot be pursued,
and that is the beauty of humility.
If you are aware of the total process of this self-centred
activity, fully cognizant of its activities at different levels of your
consciousness, then surely you have to ask yourselves if it is possible
for that activity to come to an end. Is it possible not to think in
terms of time, not to think in terms of what I shall be, what I have
been, what I am ? For from such thought the whole process of self-centred
activity begins; there, also, begins the determination to become, the
determination to choose and to avoid, which are all a process of time.
We see in that process infinite mischief, misery, confusion, distortion,
Seeing this whole picture, being aware of the whole
process of time as consciousness, without any choice, without any
determined, purposive intention, without the desire for any result, you
will see that this process of time comes to an end voluntarily - not
induced, not as a result of desire. It is only when that process comes
to an end that love is, which is eternally new.
Source: from Jiddu Krishnamurti Book "The First and last Freedom"
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