Sunday, January 02, 2011

Understanding Oneself

To understand oneself is one of the most difficult tasks and demands the most strenuous effort and constant alertness, and very few have the inclination or the desire to comprehend deeply this process of suffering and sorrow. We have more opportunities to dissipate our energies through absurd amusements, futile conversations and vain pursuits, than to search out, to penetrate deeply into our own psychological demands, needs, beliefs and ideals. But this involves strenuous effort on our part, and as we do not wish to exert ourselves, we would rather escape into all manner of easy satisfactions.

If we do not escape through diversions, we escape through beliefs, through the activities of organizations with their loyalties and commitments. These beliefs become a shield, preventing us from comprehending ourselves.

To understand oneself profoundly, one needs balance. That is, one cannot abandon the world, hoping to understand oneself, or be so entangled in the world that there is no occasion to comprehend oneself. There must be balance, neither renunciation nor acquiescence.

This demands alertness and deep awareness.
We must learn to observe our actions, thoughts, ideals, beliefs, silently and without judgment, without interpreting them, so as to be able to discern their true significance. We must first be cognizant of our own ideals, pursuits, wants, without accepting or condemning them as being right or wrong. At present we cannot discern what is true and what is false, what is lasting and what is transient, because the mind is so crippled with its own self-created wants, ideals and escapes that it is incapable of true perception. So we must first learn to be silent and balanced observers of our limitations and frictions which cause sorrow.

J Krishnamurti

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