JK (aka J.Krishnamurthi) is an interesting thinker.
Two of his ideas are intriguing & worth experimenting with.
Idea 1 – Know thyself first
We all seek something in life. Some call it happiness, gratification, peace, tranquility. We follow religions, read books, pursue gurus, attend talks and so on, to find that lasting & permanent ‘something’ we seek. As JK puts it, unless the seeker knows himself well, his search will be futile.
“Now without knowing yourself, without knowing your own way of thinking and why you think certain things, without knowing the background of your conditioning, and why you have certain beliefs about art and religion, about your country and your neighbor and about yourself, how can you think truly about anything? Without knowing your background, without knowing the substance of your thought and whence it comes – surely your search is utterly futile, your action has no meaning?”
“Before we can find out what the end-purpose of life is, what it all means – wars, national antagonisms, conflicts, the whole mess – we must being with ourselves, must we not? It sounds so simple, but it is extremely difficult.”
“The pursuit, all the world over, of gurus and their systems, reading the latest books on this and that, and so on, seems to be so utterly empty, so utterly futile, for you may wander all over the earth but you have to come back to yourself.”
“The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river. As one studies it, as one goes into it more and more, one finds peace. Only when the mind is tranquil – through self-knowledge and not through imposed self-discipline – only then, in that tranquility, in that silence, can reality come into being. It is only then that there can be bliss, that there can be creative action.”
Idea 2 – Just watch your mind.
What wears us out in life is struggle.
“We struggle to become somebody, achieve and maintain a certain position. All these external things soon weigh us down, and thereby we lose the joy of living. Look at the older faces around you, see how sad most of them are, how careworn and rather ill, how withdrawn, aloof and sometimes neurotic, without a smile.”
“When we struggle, the conflict is between what we are and what we should be or want to be.”
“If you observe your mind very quietly without giving explanations, if you just let the mind be aware of its own struggle, you will soon find that there comes a state in which there is no struggle at all, but an astonishing watchfulness. ….the mind is fully awake, and the mind that is fully awake is joyous.”
These 2 ideas – pursuit of self-knowledge and mind (or thought) watching – are related. One needs and supports the other.
Pursuing self-knowledge, we may discover our limitations, weaknesses and strengths. Each of us are different. What each of us seek is also different. What we seek may also change over time, as we age, as situations change & so on. Religions, Sciences, gurus, and books are sources of ideas. We can choose to accept or reject them, only when we know ourselves well.
To know ourselves well, we need to observe our mind and watch the flow of thoughts, without struggling with them or jumping to explanations.
Reversing the ideas is a useful way to remember them.
- Are we sad & gloomy? Its time to sit quietly, just watch our thoughts flow freely. Let the mind be aware of its own struggle.
- Are we confused and conflicted, seeking something, but don’t know what it is? Its time to analyze our true thoughts, beliefs & ideas, and know ourselves better.
In our modern extraordinarily busy & chaotic lives, there is little time or inclination to know ourselves or just watch our thoughts. No wonder there is widespread distress, disappointments and despair.
That’s a pity.