01 February 2009

Agitated Mind

Our mind is agitated because we have problems…

Quietness of mind, tranquillity of mind, is not a thing to be produced by will-power, by any action of desire; if it is, then such a mind is enclosed, isolated, it is a dead mind and therefore incapable of adaptability, of pliability, of swiftness. Such a mind is not creative. Our question, then, is not how to make the mind still but to see the truth of every problem as it presents itself to us. It is like the pool that becomes quiet when the wind stops. Our mind is agitated because we have problems; and to avoid the problems, we make the mind still. Now the mind has projected these problems and there are no problems apart from the mind; and so long as the mind projects any conception of sensitivity, practises any form of stillness, it can never be still. When the mind realizes that only by being still is there understanding—then it becomes very quiet. That quietness is not imposed, not disciplined, it is a quietness that cannot be understood by an agitated mind.

J. Krishnamurti – The First & Last Freedom

What prevents this quietness of mind is obviously conflict

Most of us are in such turmoil, worried about so many things, anxious about life, death, security, and our relationships. There is constant agitation; and it is extremely difficult, naturally, for a mind that is so agitated to understand the every-increasing social as well as psychological problems. And it is essential, is it not? that to understand a problem completely, there should be a silent mind, a mind that is not biased, a mind that is capable of being free, still, and allowing the problem to reveal itself, unfold itself. And such a quiet mind is not possible when there is conflict. Now, what makes for conflict? Why are we in such conflict, each one of us, and so society, and so the State and the whole world? Why? From what does conflict arise? When conflict ceases, obviously there can be a peaceful mind; but a mind that is caught in conflict cannot be tranquil. So, if we would understand the process of conflict, and how it arises, then perhaps there would be a possibility of the mind being free, quiet.

J. Krishnamurti, London, 1949

How can a man who is tortured by ambition have a still mind?

A mind which has many hidden drawers, hidden cupboards with innumerable skeletons held down by will, by denial, by suppression, how can such a mind be still? It can be driven, willed to be still; but is that stillness? A man who is hanging on to passion, who is lustful and has suppressed it, held it down, how can such a man have a calm, still, rich, mind? A man who is tortured by ambition and therefore frustrated, and who tries to fly from that frustration through every means of escape, how can such a man have a still mind? It is only when ambition is understood, when the problems of ambition, with its frustrations, with its conflicts, with its ruthlessness, have been understood, that the mind becomes quiet. By looking into oneself deeply, opening all the cupboards, all the drawers, unearthing all the skeletons and understanding them, the mind becomes quiet. You cannot have stillness of mind with locked doors.

J. Krishnamurti, Bombay, 1948

This silence demands intense psychological work

Silence is difficult and arduous, it is not to be played with. It isn’t something that you can experience by reading a book, or by listening to a talk, or by sitting together, or by retiring into a wood or a monastery. I am afraid none of these things will bring about this silence. This silence demands intense psychological work. You have to be burningly aware—aware of your speech, aware of your snobbishness, aware of your fears, your anxieties, your sense of guilt. And when you die to all that, then out of that dying comes the beauty of silence.

J. Krishnamurti, London, 1962


  1. Thank you, sir, for arranging the apt quotations and revealing JK's insights on silence in a new and profound way.

  2. Dear Baskar,

    Thank you for encouraging and warm comments.

    JK's teaching is beyond words. He has simplified the understanding of our complex mind and offered us the most meaningful dimension.

    That reminds me of a small story by Chuang-Tsu

    "The purpose of a fishtrap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
    The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
    The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
    Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to."

    I wish you great joy in your spiritual endeavor.