Saturday, April 7, 2012

why attention is of the highest importance

Now this reality is something which I assert that I have attained. For me, it is not a theological concept. It is my own life-experience, definite, real, concrete. I can, therefore, speak of what is necessary for its achievement, and I say that the first thing is the recognizing exactly what desire must become in order to fulfil oneself, and then to discipline oneself so that at every moment, one is watching one's own desires, and guiding them towards that all-inclusiveness of impersonal love which must be their true consummation. When you have established the discipline of this constant awareness, this constant watchfulness upon all that you think and feel and do, then life ceases to be the tyrannical, tedious, confusing thing that it is for most of us, and becomes but a series of opportunities towards that perfect fulfillment. The goal of life is, therefore, not something far off, to be attained in the distant future, but it is to be realised moment by moment in that now which is all eternity.
Do not think that what I say applies to the young and not to the old, or vice-versa. I am emphasizing this because a friend of mine said the other day, "Why have you taken up this work ? You are too young. You might still fall in love." As though spirituality were reserved for the aged and those with one foot in the grave. The moment you divide up life and think of its goal as something to be 

attained eventually in some distant future, the sweet purpose of this realisation is lost, because the eventuality of life is in the very movement of action. Life knows no division into young and old. Early Works, circa 1930 Early Works, circa 1930
Learning in the true sense of the word is possible only in that state of attention, in which there is no outer or inner compulsion. Right thinking can come about only when the mind is not enslaved by tradition and memory. It is attention that allows silence to come upon the mind, which is the opening of the door to creation. That is why attention is of the highest importance. Knowledge is necessary at the functional level as a means of cultivating the mind, and not as an end in itself. We are concerned, not with the development of just one capacity, such as that of a mathematician, or a scientist, or a musician, but with the total development of the student as a human being.
How is the state of attention to be brought about ? It cannot be cultivated through persuasion, comparison, reward or punishment, all of which are forms of coercion. The elimination of fear is the beginning of attention. Fear must exist as long as there is an urge to be or to become, which is the pursuit of success, with all its frustrations and tortuous contradictions. You can teach concentration, 

but attention cannot be taught just as you cannot possibly teach freedom from fear; but we can begin to discover the causes that produce fear, and in understanding these causes there is the elimination of fear. So attention arises spontaneously when around the student there is an atmosphere of well-being, when he has the feeling of being secure, of being at ease, and is aware of the disinterested action that comes with love. Love does not compare, and so the envy and torture of `becoming' cease.
J. Krishnamurti Life Ahead Saanen 4th Public Dialogue 3rd August 1974.

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