We had driven through heavy traffic, and presently we turned off the main road into a sheltered lane. Leaving the car, we followed a path that wove through palm groves and along a field of green ripening rice. How lovely was that long, curving rice field, bordered by the tall palms! It was a cool evening, and a breeze was stirring among the trees with their heavy foliage. Unexpectedly, round a bend, there was a lake. It was long, narrow and deep, and on both sides of it the palms stood so close together as to be almost impenetrable.
He had come from some distance, and was eager to find out how to subdue the mind. He had practised a certain discipline for a number of years, but his mind was still not under control; it was always ready to wander off, like an animal on a leash. He had starved himself, but that did not help; he had experimented with his diet, and that had helped a little, but there was never any peace.
We think that if we do certain things, practise virtue, pursue chastity, withdraw from the world, we shall be able to measure the measureless; so it’s just a bargain, isn’t it? Your ‘virtue’ is a means to an end.
‘But discipline is necessary to curb the mind, otherwise there is no peace. Discipline is a means to an end. But the end is the unknown. Truth is the unknown, it cannot be known; if it is known, it is not truth. Discipline is the means; but the means and the end are not two dissimilar things, are they? Surely, the end and the means are one; the means is the end, the only end; there is no goal apart from the means. Violence as a means to peace is only the perpetuation of violence.
Discipline implies conformity to a pattern; you control in order to be this or that. Is not discipline, in its very nature, violence? Does not discipline imply the suppression of ‘what is’ in order to achieve a desired end? Suppression, substitution and sublimation only increase effort and bring about further conflict.Discipline is the suppression, the overcoming of ‘what is’. Discipline is a form of violence; so through a ‘wrong’ means we hope to gain the ‘right’ end.
Discipline implies compulsion, subtle or brutal, outward or self-imposed; and where there is compulsion, there is fear. Fear, compulsion, is used as a means to an end, the end being love. Can there be love through fear? Love is when there is no fear at any level.
‘Understanding comes with the ending of the thought process, in the interval between two thoughts. You say the mind must be still, and yet you desire it to function. Is it possible for thought to come to an end?
Again, listen without prejudice, without interposing any conclusions, either your own or those of another; listen to understand and not merely to refute or accept. Thought may place the thinker at a very high level and give a name to him, separate him from itself; yet the thinker is still within the process of thought, is he not? There is only thought, and thought creates the thinker; thought gives form to the thinker as a permanent, separate entity.
‘But how did thought arise originally?’ Through perception, contact, sensation, desire and identification; ‘I want’, ‘I don’t want’, and so on. Any form of compulsion, conscious or unconscious, is utterly futile, for it implies a controller, one who disciplines; and such an entity, as we see, is non-existent.
Thinking is the response of memory, of experience, of the past. This again must be perceived, not on the verbal level, but there must be an experiencing of it. Then only is there passive watchfulness in which the thinker is not, an awareness in which thought is entirely absent.
The mind, the totality of experience, the self consciousness which is ever in the past, is quiet only when it is not projecting itself; and this projection is the desire to become.
Thought cannot come to an end save through passive watchfulness of every thought. In this awareness there is no watcher and no censor; without the censor, there is only experiencing.
In experiencing there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced. The experienced is the thought, which gives birth to the thinker.
Only when the mind is experiencing is there stillness, the silence which is not made up, put together; and only in that tranquility can the real come into being. Reality is not of time and is not measurable.
- Excerpts from Commentaries on Living Vol 2 by J Krishnamurti