Wednesday, February 23, 2011

freedom - it comes unexpectedly

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Freedom is of the highest importance, but we place it within the borders of our own conceit.  We have preconceived ideas of what freedom is, or what it should be; we have beliefs, ideals, conclusions about freedom.  But freedom is something that cannot be preconceived.  It has to be understood.  Freedom does not come through mere intellection, through a logical reasoning from conclusion to conclusion.  It comes darkly, unexpectedly; it is born of its own inward state.  To realize freedom requires an alert mind, a mind that is deep with energy, a mind that is capable of immediate perception without the process of gradation, without the idea of an end to be slowly achieved.  So, if I may, I would like to think aloud with you about freedom this evening.
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I think it is very important to understand this problem for oneself, because it is only in freedom that there is love; it is only in freedom that there is creation; it is only in freedom that Truth can be found.  Do what it will, a slavish mind can never find Truth; a slavish mind can never know the beauty and the fullness of life.
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What matters is to observe your own mind without judgement - just to look at it, to watch it, to be conscious of the fact that your mind is a slave, and no more; because that very perception releases energy, and it is this energy that is going to destroy the slavishness of the mind... We are concerned only with perceiving 'what is', and it is the perception of 'what is' that releases the creative fire.
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We are the product of our environment, of our culture; we are the product of the food we eat, of our climate, our customs, our traditions. ...As long as I accept the dictates of tradition, of a particular culture, as long as I carry the weight of my memories, my experiences - which after all are the result of my conditioning - I am not an individual, but merely a product.  When you call yourself a Hindu, a Muslim, a Parsi, a Buddhist, a communist, a Catholic, or what you will, are you not the product of your culture, your environment?
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Our minds are the result of a thousand yesterdays; being conditioned by the culture in which they live, and by the memory of past experiences, they devote themselves to the acquisition of knowledge and technique. ...most of us prefer to be slaves; it is less troublesome, more respectable, more comfortable.  In slavery there is little danger, our lives are more or less secure, and that is what we want - security, certainty, a way of life in which there will be no serious disturbance.  
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I wonder whether you have ever taken the trouble actually to look at a flower?  And when you do look at a flower, what happens?  You immediately name the flower, you are concerned with what species it belongs to, or you say, 'What lovely colours it has.  I would like to grow it in my garden; I would like to give it to my wife, or put it in my button-hole', and so on.  In other words, the moment you look at a flower, your mind begins chattering about it; therefore you never perceive the flower.  You perceive something only when your mind is silent, when there is no chattering of any kind.  If you can look at the evening star over the sea without a movement of the mind, then you really perceive the extraordinary beauty of it; and when you perceive beauty, do you not also experience the state of love?  Surely, beauty and love are the same.  Without love there is no beauty, and without beauty there is no love.  Beauty is in form, beauty is in speech, beauty is in conduct.  You don't have to do something to bring it about; there is no discipline, no method by which you can learn to perceive.
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Your minds are slaves to patterns, to systems, to methods and techniques.  I am talking of something entirely different.  Perception is instantaneous, timeless; there is no gradual approach to it.  It is on the instant that perception takes place; it is a state of effortless attention.  The mind is not making an effort, therefore it does not create a border, a frontier, it does not place a limitation on its own consciousness.  But to be aware of that timeless state, to feel the tremendous depth and ecstasy of it, one must begin by understanding the slavish mind.  
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You know, when you love something without any motive, without any want, such love brings its own results, it finds its own way, it is its own beauty.  ...if you really perceive for yourself that your mind is accumulating, that is enough.  To perceive requires complete attention; and when you give your whole mind, your whole heart, your total being to something, there is no problem.  
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~ J. Krishnamurti
excerpts from a talk in Bombay, 23 December 1959
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