It began to rain gently, but all of a sudden, the heavens opened and there was a deluge. The water on the street was almost knee-deep, and it covered the pavement. People were wading across the street, soaked, but enjoying the downpour. The downpour lasted for a while, and then stopped as suddenly as it began. Everything was washed clean. How simple it is to be innocent!
Without innocence, it is impossible to be happy. The pleasure of sensations is not the happiness of innocence. Innocence is freedom from the burden of experience. Knowledge, a burden of the past, is corruption. The power to accumulate, the effort to become destroys innocence; and without innocence, how can there be wisdom? Those merely curious can never know wisdom; they will find, but what they find will not be truth. ‘I have become a very successful moneymaker; my efforts in that direction have produced the results I wanted. But family life is not the same as making money or running an industry. At home there is a great deal of friction with very little to show for it. Our efforts to cooperate have not brought about a deep companionship between us.
What do you mean by effort? ‘To strive for something. I have also striven to have a happy family life, but this has not been very successful; so now I am struggling.’
We make a constant effort to become something — positively or negatively. The struggle is always to be secure in some way. It is an endless becoming, expanding, growing. If at the physical level man is used for an end, an ideal, whether by private interests or by the State, effort only produces more confusion and misery. Effort to acquire for the individual, and for the State. Without understanding this striving after acquisition, effort at the physical level will inevitably have a disastrous effect on society.
Is effort at the psychological level — the effort to be, to achieve, to succeed — necessary or beneficial? ‘If we made no such effort, would we not just rot?’ So far, what have we produced through effort at the psychological level? ‘Not very much, I admit. Effort has been in the wrong direction. The rightly directed effort is of the greatest significance. It is the result that is important, and without the enticement of a goal we would make no effort.’ If the result is your measure, then surely you are not concerned with the means; or are you? ‘I will use the means according to the end. If the end is happiness, then a happy means must be found.’
(Excerpts from Commentaries on Living Vol 2 by J Krishnamurti)