A beautiful way to see the problem of awareness (Krishnamurti)

Questioner: You said in your second talk that one should be aware not only when awake but also during sleep.

KRISHNAMURTI: Is there an awareness when you are asleep as well as when you are awake? Do you understand the question? That is, during the day one is superficially or deeply aware of everything that is going on inwardly; one is aware of all the movements of thought, the division, the conflict, the misery, the loneliness, one’s demand for pleasure, the pursuit of ambition, greed, anxiety, one is aware of the whole of that. When you are so aware during the day, does that awareness continue during the night in the form of dreams? Or are there no dreams but only an awareness? Please listen to this: am I, are you, aware during the day of every movement of thought? Be honest, be simple: you are not. You are aware in patches. I am aware for two minutes, then there is a great blank and then again a few minutes, or half an hour later, I realise I have forgotten myself and pick it up again. There are gaps in our awareness—we are never aware continuously and we think we ought to be aware all the time. Now first of all, there are great spaces between awareness, aren’t there? There is awareness, then unawareness, then awareness and so on, during the day. Which is important? To be continuously aware? Or to be aware for short periods? What is one to do with the long periods when one is not aware? Amongst those three, what do you think is important? I know what is important for me. I am not bothered about being aware for a short period, or wanting to have awareness continuously. I am only concerned with when I am not aware, when I am inattentive. I say I am very interested in why I am inattentive, and what I am to do about that inattention, that unawareness. That is my problem—not to have constant awareness. You would go crazy unless you had really gone into this very, very deeply.

So my concern is: why am I inattentive and what happens in that period of inattention? I know what happens when I am aware. When I am aware nothing happens. I am alive, moving, living, vital; in that nothing can happen because there is no choice for something to happen. Now, when I am inattentive, not aware, then things happen. Then I say things which are not true, then I am nervous, anxious, caught, I fall back into my despair.

So why does this happen? Are you getting my point? Is that what you are doing? Or are you concerned with being totally aware and trying, practising to be aware all the time? I see I am not aware, and I am going to watch what happens in that state when I am not aware. To be aware that I am not aware is awareness. I know when I am aware; when there is an awareness it is something entirely different. And I know when I am not aware, I get nervous, I twitch my hands, I do all kinds of stupid things. When there is attention in that unawareness the whole thing is over. When at that moment of unaware-ness I am aware that I am not aware, then it is finished; because then I don’t have to struggle nor say, “I must be aware all the time, please tell me a method to be aware, I must practise and so on”—becoming more and more stupid. So you see when there is no awareness and I know I am not aware, then the whole movement changes.

Now, what happens during sleep? Is there an awareness when you are asleep? If you are aware during the day-time in patches, then that continues while you are asleep—obviously. But when you are aware, and also aware that you are inattentive, a totally different movement takes place. Then when you sleep there is an awareness of complete quietness. The mind is aware of itself. I won’t go into all this, it is not a mystery, it is not something that is extraordinary. You see, when the mind is deeply aware during the day, that awareness in depth brings about a quality of mind during sleep that is absolutely quiet. During the day you have observed, you have been aware, either in patches, or you have been aware of your inattention; then as you go through the day the activity of the brain has established order when you sleep. The brain demands order, even if that order is in some neurotic belief, in nationalism, or in this or that—but in that it finds an order which inevitably brings about disorder. But when you are aware during the day, and aware of your unawareness, then at the end of the day there is order; then the brain does not have to struggle during the night to bring about order. Therefore the brain becomes rested, it is quiet. And the next morning the brain is extraordinarily alive, not a dead, corrupt, drugged thing.



Change is good. Writing too slowly wastes your time, while writing too quickly wastes your ideas. Writing too long wastes other people’s time, while…

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Maximilian Rehn

Change is good. Writing too slowly wastes your time, while writing too quickly wastes your ideas. Writing too long wastes other people’s time, while…