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Jiddu Krishnamurti on Seeking

Jiddu Krishnamurti - I think if each one of us could seriously inquire into what it is that we are each seeking, then perhaps our endeavor to find something lasting may have some significance. For surely, most of us are seeking something. Either the search is the outcome of some deep frustration or it is the outcome of an escape from the reality of our daily life, or the search is a means of avoiding the various problems of life. I think our seriousness depends on what it is we are seeking. Most of us, unfortunately, are very superficial, and we do not perhaps know how to go deeply, to dig profoundly, so as to reach something more than the mere reactions of the mind.

So I think it is important to find out what it is that we are seeking, each one of us, and why we are seeking - what the motive is, the intention, the purpose, that lies behind this search. I think in discovering what it is that we are seeking, and why we are seeking, we may be able to discover, each one of us, how to go very deeply into ourselves. Most of us, I feel, are very superficial; we just remain struggling on the surface, not being able to go beyond the mere superficial responses of pleasure and pain. If we are able to go beyond the surface, then we may be able to find out for ourselves that our very search may be a hindrance.

What is it that we are seeking? Most of us are unhappy, or we are frustrated, or some desire is urging us to move forwards. For most of us, I think, the search is based on some kind of frustration, some kind of misery. We want to fulfill, in some form or another, at different levels of our existence. And when we find we cannot fulfill, then there is frustration - in relationship, in action, and in every form of our emotional existence. Being frustrated, we seek ways and means to escape from that frustration; and so we move from one hindrance to another, from one blockage to another, always trying to find a way to fulfill, to be happy.

So our search - though we may say we are seeking truth or God or what you will - is really a form of self-fulfillment. Therefore it invariably remains very superficial. I think it is important to understand this profoundly. Because I do not think we will find anything of great significance unless we are capable of going very deeply into ourselves. We cannot go very deeply into ourselves if our search is merely the outcome of some frustration, the desire for an answer which will bring about a superficial response of happiness.

So I think it is worthwhile to find out what it is that each one of us wants, seeks, gropes after. Because on that depends what we find. And if there is no frustration, no misery, only a sense of finding a haven where the mind can rest, where the mind can find a refuge from all disturbance, then also such a search will inevitably lead to something superficial, passing, and trivial.

Now is it possible for us, for each one of us, to find out what it is that we are seeking and why we seek? In the process of our search we acquire knowledge, gather experience, do we not, and according to that gathering, that accumulation, our experiences are shaped. Those experiences then in turn become our guide. But all such experience is essentially based on our desire to be secure in some form or another, in this world or in an imaginary world or in the world of heaven, because our mind demands, seeks, searches out, a place where it will not be disturbed. In the process of this seeking there is frustration, and with frustration there is sorrow.

Now, is there ever any security for the mind? We may seek it, we may grope after it; we may build a culture, a society, which assures physical security at least, and we may thereby find some kind of security in things, in property, in ideas, in relationship; but, is there such a thing as security for the mind - a state of mind in which there will be no disturbance of any kind? And, is that not what most of us are seeking, in devious ways, giving it different terms, different words?

Surely, a mind that is seeking security must always invite frustration. We have never inquired, most of us, whether there can be security for the mind - a state in which there is no disturbance of any kind. And yet, if we look deeply into ourselves, that is what most of us want, and we seek to create that security for ourselves in various forms - in beliefs, in ideals, in our attachments and our relationship with people, with property, with family, and so on.

Now, is there any security, any permanency, in the things of the mind? The mind, after all, is the result of time, of centuries of education, of molding, of change. The mind is the result of time and therefore a plaything of time - and can such a mind ever find a state of permanency? Or, must the mind always be in a state of impermanency?

I think it is important to go into this and to understand that most of us are seeking, not knowing what we want. The motive of the search is far more important than that which we are seeking, for if that motive is for security, a sense of permanency, then the mind creates its own hindrances, from which arise frustration and therefore sorrow and suffering. Then we seek further escapes, further means of avoiding pain, and so invite more sorrow. That is our state; that is the complex existence of our everyday life.

Whereas, if we could remain with ourselves, if we could look to find out what the motive is of our search, of our struggle, then perhaps we would find the right answer. It is like accumulating knowledge - knowledge may give a certain security, but a man who is filled with knowledge obviously cannot find that which is beyond the mind.

So, is it not important to find out what it is that we are seeking, and why we seek, and also to inquire whether there can be an end to all seeking? Because, search implies effort, does it not? - the constant inquiry, the constant struggle to find. Can one find anything through effort? By ''anything'' I mean something more than the mere reactions of the mind, the mere responses of the mind, something other than the things that the mind itself has created and projected. Is it not important for each one of us to inquire if there is ever an end to the search? Because, the more we search, the greater the strain, the effort, the dilemma of not finding, and the frustration.

Please let us consider this carefully. Do not let us say, ''What will happen to us if there is no seeking?'' Surely, if we seek with a motive, then the result of that search will be dictated by the motive, and so it will be limited; and from that limitation there is always frustration and sorrow, and in that we are all caught.

So, is there existence without seeking? Is there a state of being without this constant becoming? The becoming is the struggle, the conflict; and that is our life. Is it not important for each one of us to find out whether there is a state in which this process of constant strife, constant conflict within ourselves, the contradictions, the opposing desires, the frustrations, the misery, can come to an end? - but not through some form of an invention or an image of the mind.

That is why it is so important to have self-knowledge - not the knowledge that one learns from books, from the hearsay of another, or from listening to a few talks, but to be constantly aware, just to observe, without choice, what is actually going on within the mind - observing all the reactions, to be alert in our relationships so that all the ways of our search, of our motives, of our fears, of our frustrations, are revealed. Because, if we do not know the origin of our thinking, the motive of our action, what the unconscious drive is, then all our thinking must inevitably be superficial and without very great significance.

You may have superficial values; you may mouth that you believe in God, that you are seeking truth, and all the rest of it; but without knowing the inward nature of your own mind, the motive, the pursuit, the unconscious drive - which is all revealed as one observes oneself in the mirror of relationship - there is only sorrow and pain. And I think that process of observation is seriousness. It is not giving oneself up to any particular idea, to any belief, to any dogma, or being caught in some idiosyncrasy; that is not seriousness. To be serious implies the awareness of the content of one's own mind - just to observe it without trying to distort it - as when one sees one's face in the mirror; it is what it is.

So, likewise, if we can observe our thoughts, our feelings, our whole being, in the mirror of relationship, of everyday activity, then we will find that there is no frustration of any kind. So long as we are seeking fulfillment in any form, there must be frustration. Because fulfillment implies the pursuit and the exaggeration of the self, the 'me'; and the 'me', the self, is the very cause of sorrow. To understand the whole content of that 'me', the self - all the layers of its consciousness with its accumulations of knowledge, of likes and dislikes - to be aware of all that, without judgment, without condemnation, is to be really serious.

That seriousness is the instrument with which the mind can go beyond the limitations of itself. After all, we want to find, do we not, a sense of something greater than the mere inventions of the mind, something which is beyond the mind, something which is not a mere projection. If we can understand the mind - the mind which is in me and in you, with all its subleties, its deceptions, its various forms of urges - in that very understanding there is an ending of its binding activities.

It is only when the mind no longer has any motive that it is possible for it to be still. In that stillness, a reality which is not the creation of the mind comes into being.

Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti Fourth Talk in Amsterdam, 1955

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