ON THE STILLNESS OF THE MIND
do you speak of the stillness of the mind, and what is this stillness?
Krishnamurti: Is it not necessary, if we would understand anything, that the mind
should be still? If we have a problem, we worry over it, don’t we? We go into
it, we analyse it, we tear it to pieces, in the hope of understanding it. Now,
do we understand through effort, through analysis, through comparison, through
any form of mental struggle? Surely, understanding comes only when the mind is
very quiet. We say that the more we struggle with the question of starvation, of
war, or any other human problem, the more we come into conflict with it, the
better we shall understand it. Now, is that true? Wars have been going on for
centuries, the conflict between individuals, between societies; war, inward and
outward, is constantly there. Do we resolve that war, that conflict, by further
conflict, by further struggle, by cunning endeavour? Or do we understand the
problem only when we are directly in front of it, when we are faced with the
fact? We can face the fact only when there is no interfering agitation between
the mind and the fact; so is it not important, if we are to understand, that the
mind be quiet?
You will inevitably ask, “How can the mind be made still?” That is
the immediate response, is it not? You say, “My mind is agitated and how can I
keep it quiet?” Can any system make the mind quiet? Can a formula, a
discipline, make the mind still? It can; but when the mind is made still, is that quietness, is that stillness? Or is the mind
only enclosed within an idea, within a formula, within a phrase? Such a mind is
a dead mind, is it not? That is why most people who try to be spiritual,
so-called spiritual, are dead—because they have trained their minds to be
quiet, they have enclosed themselves within a formula for being quiet.
Obviously, such a mind is never quiet; it is only suppressed, held down.
The mind is quiet when it sees the truth that understanding comes only
when it is quiet; that if I would understand you, I must be quiet, I cannot have
reactions against you, I must not be prejudiced, I must put away all my
conclusions, my experiences and meet you face to face. Only then, when the mind
is free from my conditioning, do I understand. When I see the truth of that,
then the mind is quiet—and then there is no question of how to make
the mind quiet. Only the truth can liberate the mind from its own ideation;
to see the truth, the mind must realize the fact that so long as it is agitated
it can have no understanding. Quietness of mind, tranquillity of mind, is not a
thing to be produced by will-power, by any action of desire; if it is, then such
a mind is enclosed, isolated, it is a dead mind and therefore incapable of
adaptability, of pliability, of swiftness. Such a mind is not creative.
Our question, then, is not how to make the mind still but to see the
truth of every problem as it presents itself to us. It is like the pool that
becomes quiet when the wind stops. Our mind is agitated because we have
problems; and to avoid the problems, we make the mind still. Now the mind has
projected these problems and there are no problems apart from the mind; and so
long as the mind projects any conception of sensitivity, practises any form of
stillness, it can never be still. When the mind realizes that only by being
still is there understanding—then it becomes very quiet. That quietness is not
imposed, not disciplined, it is a quietness that cannot be understood by an
Many who seek quietness of mind withdraw from active life to a village,
to a monastery, to the mountains, or they withdraw into ideas, enclose
themselves in a belief or avoid people who give them trouble. Such isolation is
not stillness of mind. The enclosure of the mind in an idea or the avoidance of
people who make life complicated does not bring about stillness of mind.
Stillness of mind comes only when there is no process of isolation through
accumulation but complete understanding of the whole process of relationship.
Accumulation makes the mind old; only when the mind is new, when the mind is
fresh, without the process of accumulation—only then is there a possibility of
having tranquillity of mind. Such a mind is not dead, it is most active. The
still mind is the most active mind but if you will experiment with it, go into
it deeply, you will see that in stillness there is no projection of thought.
Thought, at all levels, is obviously the reaction of memory and thought can
never be in a state of creation. It may express creativeness but thought in
itself can never be creative. When there is silence, that tranquillity of the
mind which is not a result, then we shall see that in that quietness there is
extraordinary activity, an extraordinary action which a mind agitated by thought
can never know. In that stillness,
there no formulation, there is no idea, there is no memory; that stillness is a
state of creation that can be experienced only when there is complete
understanding of the whole process of the ‘me’. Otherwise, stillness has no
meaning. Only in that stillness, which is not a result, is the eternal
discovered, which is beyond time.