A System of Meditation is not Meditation


The whole of Asia talks about meditation; it is one of their habits, as it is to believe in God or something else. They sit for ten minutes a day in a quiet room and “meditate”, concentrate, fix their mind on an image, an image created by themselves or by somebody who has offered that image through propaganda. During those ten minutes, they try to control the mind; the mind wants to go back and forth and they battle with it. They play that game everlastingly, and that is what they call meditation.


If one does not know anything about meditation, then one has to find out what it is–actually, not according to anybody, and that may lead one to nothing or it may lead one to everything. One must enquire, ask that question, without any expectation…


You can sit in the right posture with your back straight, breathing correctly, do pranayama and all the rest of it for the next ten thousand years and you will be nowhere near perceiving what truth is, because you have not understood yourself at all, the way you think, the way you live. You have not ended your sorrow, and you want to find enlightenment. You can do all kinds of twists and turns with your body and this seems to fascinate people, because they feel it is going to give some power, some prestige. Now all these powers are like candles in the sun; they are like candle light when the brilliant sun is shining…


If meditation is a continuation of knowledge, is the continuation of everything that man has accumulated, then there is no freedom. There is freedom only when there is an understanding of the function of knowledge and therefore freedom from the known. Meditation is the emptying of consciousness of its content, the known, the “me”….


If I meditate and continue with what I have already learned, with what I already know, then I am living in the past, within the field of my conditioning, In that there is no freedom. I may decorate the prison in which I live, I may do all kinds of things in that prison, but there is still a limitation, a barrier. So the mind has to find out whether the brain cells, which have developed through the millennia, can be totally quiet, and respond to a dimension they do not know. Which means can the mind be totally still?….


Meditation is not the repetition of the word, nor the experiencing of a vision, nor the cultivation of silence. The bead and the word do quiet the chattering mind, but this is a form of self-hypnosis. You might as well take a pill. Meditation is not wrapping yourself in a pattern of thought, in the enchantment of pleasure. Meditation has no beginnings, and therefore it has no end.


If you say, “I will begin today to control my thoughts, to sit quietly in the meditative posture, to breathe regularly, ” then you are caught in the tricks with which one deceives oneself. Meditation is not a matter of being absorbed in some grandiose idea or image; that only quiets one for the moment, as a child absorbed by a toy is for the time being quiet and as soon as the toy ceases to be of interest, the restlessness and the mischief begin again.


Meditation is not the pursuit of an invisible path leading to some imagined bliss. The meditative mind is seeing, watching, listening, without a word, without comment, without opinion, attentive to the movement of life in all its relationships throughout the day. And at night, when the whole organism is at rest, the meditative mind has no dreams for it has been awake all day. It is only the indolent who has dreams, only the half-asleep who need the intimation of their own states. But as the mind watches, listens to the movement of life, the outer and the inner, to such a mind comes a silence that is not put together by thought. It is not a silence which the observer can experience. If he does experience it and recognize it, it is no longer silence. The silence of the meditative mind is not within the border of recognition, for this silence has no frontier. There is only silence–in which the space of division ceases….


Meditation is to find out if there is a field which is not already contaminated by the known…


Meditation is a movement in and of the unknown. You are not there, only the movement. You are too petty or too great for this movement. It has nothing behind it or in front of it. It is that energy which thought-matter cannot touch. Thought is perversion, for it is the product of yesterday; it is caught in the toils of centuries and so is confused, unclear. Do what you will, the known cannot reach out for the unknown. Meditation is the dying to the known….


A system of meditation is not meditation. A system implies a method, which you practice in order to achieve something at the end. Something practiced over and over again becomes mechanical–does it not? How can a mechanical mind, which has been trained and twisted, tortured to comply to the pattern of what it calls “meditation”, hoping to achieve a reward at the end, be free to observe, to learn? …


– Krishnamurti. Beyond Violence.






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