Wednesday, May 12, 2010

die to everything that you know


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We have to understand another phenomenon in life, which is death: death from old age, or disease, and accidental death, through disease, or naturally.  We grow old inevitably, and that age is shown in the way we have lived our life, it shows in our face, whether we have satisfied our appetites crudely, brutally.  We lose sensitivity, the sensitivity we had when young, fresh, innocent.  And as we grow older we become insensitive, dull, unaware, and gradually enter the grave.
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So there is old age.  And there is this extraordinary thing called death, of which most of us are dreadfully frightened.  If we are not frightened, we have rationalized this phenomenon intellectually and have accepted the edicts of the intellect.  But it is still there.  And obviously there is the ending of the organism, the body.  And we accept that naturally, because we see everything dying.  But what we do not accept is the psychological ending, of the "me," with the family, with the house, with success, the things I have done, and the things I have still to do, the fulfillments and the frustrations - and there is something more to do before I end!  And the psychological entity, we're afraid that will come to an end - the "me," the "I," the "soul," in the various forms, words, that we give to the center of our being.
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Does it come to an end?  Does it have a continuity?  The East has said it has a continuity: there is reincarnation, being born better in the next life if you have lived rightly.  If you believe in reincarnation, as the whole of Asia does (I don't know why the do, but it gives them a great deal of comfort), then in that idea is implied, if you observe it very closely, that what you do now, every day, matters tremendously.  Because in the next life you're going to pay for it or be rewarded depending on how you have lived.  So what matters is not what you believe will happen in the next life but what you are and how you live.  And that is implied also when you talk about resurrection.  Here (in the West) you have symbolized it in one person and worship that person, because you yourself don't know how to be reborn again in your life now (not "in heaven at the right hand of God," whatever that may mean).
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So what matters is how you live now- not what your beliefs are - but what you are, what you do.  But we are afraid that the center, called the "I," may come to an end.  We ask: Does it come to an end?  Please listen to this!
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You have lived in thought; that is, you have given tremendous importance to thinking.  But thinking is old; thinking is never new; thinking is the continuation of memory.  If you have lived there, obviously there is some kind of continuity.  And it is a continuity that is dead, over, finished.  It is something old; only that which ends can have something new.  So dying is very important to understand; to die; to die to everything that one knows.  I don't know if you have ever tried it.  To be free from the known, to be free from your memory, even for a few days, to be free from your pleasure, without any argument, without any fear, to die to your family, to your house, to your name, to become completely anonymous.  It is only the person who is completely anonymous who is in a state of non-violence, who has no violence.  And so to die every day, not as an idea but actually-do do it sometime!
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You know, one has collected so much, not only books, houses, the bank account, but inwardly, the memories of insults, the memories of flattery, the memories of neurotic achievements, the memory of holding on to your own particular experience, which gives you a position.  To die to all that without argument, without discussion, without any fear, just to give it up.  Do it sometime, you'll see.  It used to be the tradition in the East that a rich man every five years or so gave up everything, including his money, and began again.  You can't do that nowadays; there are too many people, everyone wanting your job, the population explosion, and all the rest of it.  But to do it psychologically-not give up your wife, your clothes, your husband, your children, or your house, but inwardly-is not to be attached to anything.  In that there is great beauty.  After all, it is love, isn't it?  Love is not attachment.  When there is attachment, there is fear.  And fear inevitably becomes authoritarian, possessive, oppressive, dominating.
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So meditation is the understanding of life, which is to bring about order.  Order is virtue, which is light.  This light is not to be lit by another, however experienced, however clever, however erudite, however spiritual.  Nobody on earth or in heaven can light that except yourself in your own understanding and meditation.
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To die to everything within oneself!  For love is innocent and fresh, young, and clear.  Then, if you have established this order, this virtue, this beauty, this light in yourself, then you can go beyond.  This means that the mind, having laid order-which is not of thought-the mind then becomes utterly quiet, silent, naturally, without any force, without any discipline.  And in the light of that silence all actions can take place, the daily living, from that silence.  And if one were lucky enough to have gone that far, then in that silence there is quite a different movement, which is not of time, which is not of words, which is not measurable by thought, because it is always new.  It is that immeasurable something that man has everlastingly sought.  But you have to come upon it; it cannot be given to you.  It is not the word or the symbol; those are destructive.  But for it to come, you must have complete order, beauty, love.  Therefore you must die to everything that you know psychologically, so that you mind is clear, not tortured, so that it sees things as they are, both outwardly and inwardly.
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~ J. Krishnamurti,
 from talks in Europe 1968
May 19, 1968
Amsterdam
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