“Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom… freeing the mind from conditioning is the ending of sorrow”

“What we are talking about is something of immense importance because unless there is a fundamental revolution in each one of us, I do not see how we can bring about a vast, radical change in the world. And surely, that radical change is essential. Mere economic revolution, whether communistic or socialistic, is of no importance at all. There can be only a religious revolution, and the religious revolution cannot take place if the mind is merely conforming to the pattern of a previous conditioning. As long as one is a Christian or a Hindu, there can be no fundamental revolution in this true religious sense of the word. And we do need such a revolution. When the mind is free from all conditioning, then you will find that there comes the creativity of reality, of God, or what you will, and it is only such a mind, a mind which is constantly experiencing this creativity, that can bring about a different outlook, different values, a different world.

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“We are here to awake from our illusion of separateness.” Thich Nhat Hanh

And so it is important to understand oneself, is it not? Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. Self-knowledge is not according to some psychologist, book, or philosopher but it is to know oneself as one is from moment to moment. Do you understand? To know oneself is to observe what one thinks, how one feels, not just superficially, but to be deeply aware of what is without condemnation, without judgment. without evaluation or comparison. Try it and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is for a mind that has been trained for centuries to compare, to condemn, to judge, to evaluate, to stop that whole process and simply to observe what is; but unless this takes place, not only at the superficial level, but right through the whole content of consciousness, there can be no delving into the profundity of the mind.

The mind is completely conditioned – which is an obvious fact if you come to think about it. It is not my invention, it is a fact. We belong to a particular society; we were brought up according to a particular ideology with certain dogmas, traditions; and the vast influence of culture, of society, is continually conditioning the mind. How can such a mind be free, since any movement of the mind to be free is the result of its conditioning and must therefore bring about further conditioning? There is only one answer. The mind can be free only when it is completely still. Though it has problems, innumerable urges, conflicts, ambitions, if – through self-knowledge, through watching itself without acceptance or condemnation – the mind is choicelessly aware of its own process, then out of that awareness there comes an astonishing silence, a quietness of the mind in which there is no movement of any kind. It is only then that the mind is free because it is no longer desiring anything; it is no longer seeking; it is no longer pursuing a goal, an ideal – which are all the projections of a conditioned mind. And if you ever come to that understanding, in which there can be no self-deception, then you will find that there is a possibility of the coming into being of that extraordinary thing called creativity. Then only can the mind realize that which is measureless, which may be called God, truth, or what you will – the world has very little meaning. You may be socially prosperous, you may have innumerable possessions, cars, houses, refrigerators, superficial peace, but unless that which is measureless comes into being, there will always be sorrow. Freeing the mind from conditioning is the ending of sorrow.

– J. Krishnamurti, “As One Is: To Free the Mind from All Conditioning

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