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The Book of Life

Memory Has No Life in Itself

September 8th ~ What do we mean by thought?  When do you think?  Obviously, thought is the result of a response, neurological or psychological, is it not?  It is the immediate response of the senses to a sensation, or it is psychological, the response of stored-up memory.  There is the immediate response of the nerves to a sensation, and there is the psychological response of stored-up memory, the influence of race, group, guru, family, tradition, and so on–all of which you call thought.  So, the thought process is the response of memory, is it not?  You would have no thoughts if you had no memory, and the response of memory to a certain experience brings the thought process into action.

What, then, is memory?  If you observe your own memory and how you gather memory, you will notice that it is either factual, technical, having to do with information, with engineering, mathematics, physics, and all the rest of it–or, it is the residue of an unfinished, uncompleted experience, is it not?  Watch your own memory and you will see.  When you finish an experience, complete it, there is no memory of that experience in the sense of a psychological residue.  There is a residue only when an experience is not fully understood, and there is no understanding of experience because we look at each experience through past memories, and therefore we never meet the new as the new, but always through the screen of the old.  Therefore, it is clear that our response to experience is conditioned, always limited.

October 30th, 2019 ~ It is interesting to consider psychological residue and experience.  There is no residue when we “complete” experiences.  When I do what I call Krishnamurti’ing or K’s meditation, and sit still with a difficult emotion as if I am that emotion, it does feel like that experience or emotion is complete.  Later, I don’t have the “obsession” with challenging emotions like I do if I don’t process similar emotions.  When we sit still and notice and observe, we understand more.  That is all I have to say about this.

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The Book of Life

Consciousness Is of the Past

September 9th ~ If you watch very carefully you will see that it is not a constant but that there is an interval between two thoughts; though it may be but an infinitesimal fraction of a second, there is an interval that has significance in the swinging backwards and forwards of the pendulum.  We see the fact that our thinking is conditioned by the past, which is projected into the future; the moment you admit the past, you must also admit the future, because there are not two such states as the past and the future but one state which includes both the conscious and the unconscious, both the collective past and the individual past.  The collective and the individual past, in response to the present, give out certain responses that create the individual consciousness; therefore consciousness is of the past and that is the whole background of our existence.  The moment you have the past, you inevitably have the future, because the future is merely the continuity of the modified past, but it is still the past, so our problem is how to bring about a transformation in this process of the past without creating another conditioning, another past.

October 29th, 2019 ~ There are some deep and challenging concepts in this entry but in many ways it is quite straightforward.  The idea of an interval between two thoughts sticks in my mind.  It is comforting to me and re-assuring.  I mean, when I just observe my experience while in meditation, it is but for a second, an interval.  It feels amazing and astonishing.  It is also quite simple, straightforward.  But it doesn’t last.  But it is an interval, as K says.  It seems too simple.  

Where this gets a bit tricky for me is: “…because there are not two such states as the past and the future but one state which includes both the conscious and the unconscious, both the collective past and the individual past.”  Both the collective past and the individual past.  We have heard similar terms before:  “collective unconscious.”  Finally, the last sentence:   “…so our problem is how to bring about a transformation in this process of the past without creating another conditioning, another past.”  “Without creating another conditioning, another past” is interesting.  Perhaps, it is related to this interval, this moment, this space between thoughts…

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The Book of Life

Why Is One Thoughtless?

September 10th ~ The thinker thinks his thoughts through habit, through repetition, through copying, which brings ignorance and sorrow.  Is not habit thoughtlessness?  Awareness creates order, but it never creates habit.  Settled tendencies only bring about thoughtlessness.  Why is one thoughtless?  Because to think is painful, it creates disturbances, it brings opposition, it may cause one’s actions to go contrary to the established pattern.  To think-feel extensionally, to become choicelessly aware may lead to unknown depths, and the mind rebels against the unknown; so it moves from the known to the know, from habit to habit, from pattern to pattern.  Such a mind never abandons the known to discover the unknown.  Realizing the pain of thought, the thinker becomes thoughtless through copying, through habit; being afraid to think, he creates patterns of thoughtlessness.  As the thinker is afraid, his actions are born of fear, and then he regards his actions and tries to change them.  The thinker is afraid of his own creations; but the deed is the doer, so the thinker is afraid of himself.  The thinker is fear itself; the thinker is the cause of ignorance, of sorrow.  The thinker may divide himself into many categories of thought, but the thought is still the thinker.  The thinker and his efforts to be, to become, are the very cause of conflict and confusion.  

October 28th, 2019 ~ Being okay with the unknown.  That is what I am striving towards.

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The Book of Life

The Thinker Is the Thought

September 11th ~ Is it not necessary to understand the thinker, the doer, the actor, since his thought, his deed, his action cannot be separated from him?  The thinker is the thought, the doer is the deed, the actor is the action.  In his thought the thinker is revealed.  The thinker through his actions creates his own misery, his ignorance, his strife.  The painter paints this picture of passing happiness, of sorrow, of confusion.  Why does he prodcue this painful picture?  Surely, this is the problem that must be studied, understood and dissolved.  Why does the thinker think his thoughts, from which flow all his actions?  This is the rock wall against which you have been battering your head, is it not?  If the thinker can transcend himself, then all conflict will cease: and to transcend he must know himself.  What is known and understood, what is fulfilled and competed does not repeat itself.  it is repetition that gives continuity to the thinker.  

October 27th, 2019 ~ The quote: “Why does the thinker think his thoughts, from which flow all his action?”  is a powerful one.  To not resist or act on these thoughts, but to notice them.  The world would be a better place.

Later, “What is known and understood, what is fulfilled and completed does not repeat itself.   It is repetition that gives continuity to the thinker.”  Just noticing our thoughts and letting them pass by like floating clouds.  They say to do this for meditation.  There is so much pressure to act and do things.  

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The Book of Life

There Is No Freedom of Thought

September 12th ~ I do not know if it is clear to each one of us that we live in a state of contradiction.  We talk about peace, and prepare for war.  We talk about nonviolence, and are fundamentally violent.  We talk about being good, and we are not.  We talk about love, and we are full of ambition, competitiveness, ruthless efficiency.  So there is contradiction.  The action that springs from that contradiction only brings about frustration and further contradiction…

You see, sirs, all thought is partial, it can never be total.  Thought is the response of memory, and memory is always partial because memory is the result of experience, so thought is the reaction of a mind that is conditioned by experience.  All thinking, all experience, all knowledge is inevitably partial; therefore, thought cannot solve the many problems that we have.  You may try to reason logically, sanely, about these many problems, but if you observe your own mind you will see that your thinking is conditioned by your circumstances, by the climate you live in, by the newspapers you read, by the pressures and influences of your daily life…..

So we must understand very clearly that our thinking is the response of memory, and memory is mechanistic.  Knowledge is ever incomplete, and all thinking born of knowledge is limited, partial, never free.  So there is no freedom of thought.  But we can begin to discover a freedom which is not a process of thought, and in which the mind is simply aware of all its conflicts and of all the influences impinging upon it.

October 26th, 2019 ~ The quote from the 2nd paragraph:”…but if you observe your own mind you will see that your thinking is conditioned by your circumstances, by the climate you live in, by the newspapers you read, by the pressures and influences of your daily life…..”  Here in Silicon Valley, aka the SF Bay Area, the weather is pretty unbelievable.   It allows for independence.  I have read stories about how the humid climate in Asia causes disease and people have to support each other more.  Areas of extreme weather would be the same.  What you eat, K is saying, impacts your mind…and your health.  This is hard for a lot of people to accept or believe.  What you read, what TV and movies and books you are into, does the same.  The pressures and influences of our life impact our life.  It is hard for me to accept Silicon Valley heavyweights who think they are “self-made” men.   It is usually men who think they made their wealth all by themselves, even though a lot of things have to happen before they can even begin to be successful.  If we really could see and appreciate that our lives are impacted by pressures and influences of our daily life, it would seem that high paid executives and CEOs would see that they aren’t separate from others including the poor and the sweatshops they hire in places like China.  Of course, these people are feeling pressure and it impacts their mind.  That not everyone there or even here in the US and Silicon Valley can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and be successful in the American Dream.

We are full of contradictions as K says.  Back in my late 20’s, I met a Native American Shaman in Hollister.  He used to run Sweats with his wife in their backyard.  Everytime I saw him, which was about 3 times, he said: “Doug, it is all about the contradictions.”  He didn’t have his act totally together: he had health issues and the food they were serving wasn’t the healthiest, but he knew.   He was very generous in allowing me to attend these events.  He even allowed me to bring my a men’s group I was part of to a sweat, which I was very appreciative.  Can we see how we are conflicted?  How we say one thing and do another?  

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The Book of Life

Thinking Without the Thinker

September 13th ~ The monkey in the tree feels hungry, and then the urge arises to take a fruit or a nut.  Action comes first, and then the idea that you had better store it up.  To put it in different words, does action come first, or the actor?  Is there an actor without action?  Do you understand?  This is what we are always asking ourselves: Who is it that sees?  Who is the watcher?  Is the thinker apart from his thoughts, the observer apart from the observed, the experiencer apart from the experience, the actor apart from the action?. . . But if you really examine the process, very carefully, closely and intelligently, you will see that there is always action first, and that action with an end in view creates the actor.  Do you follow?  If action has an end in view, the gaining of that end brings about the actor.  If you think very clearly and without prejudice, without conformity, without trying to convince somebody, without an end in view, in that very thinking there is no thinker–there is only the thinking.  It is only when you seek an end in your thinking that you become important, and not thought.  Perhaps some of you have observed this.  It is really an important thing to find out, because from that we shall know how to act.  If the thinking comes first, then the thinker is more important than thought, and all the philosophies, customs, and activities of the present civilization are based on this assumption; but if thought comes first then thought is more important than the thinker.  

October 25th, 2019 ~ I like reading this without trying to articulate anything meaningful, especially in how it might relate to business.  To me, it all goes back to the top line about the monkey feeling hungry and an urge arises to take a fruit or a nut.  Action comes first.  At the end, K says the thought comes first and that thought is more important that the thinker.  Thought can exist without a thinker.  

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The Book of Life

Immediate Perception

September 14th ~ To me there is only perception–which is to see something as false or true immediately.  This immediate perception of what is false and what is true is the essential factor–not the intellect, with its reasoning based upon its cunning, its knowledge, its commitments.  It must sometimes have happened to you that you have seen the truth of something immediately–such as the truth that you cannot belong to anything.  That is perception: seeing the truth of something immediately, without analysis, without reasoning, without all the things that the intellect creates in order to postpone perception.  It is entirely different from intuition, which is a word that we use with glibness and ease…

To me there is only this direct perception–not reasoning, not calculation, not analysis.  You must have the capacity to analyze; you must have a good, sharp mind in order to reason; but a mind that is limited to reason and analysis is incapable of perceiving what is truth…

If you commune with yourself, you will know why you belong, why you have committed yourself; and if you push further, you will see the slavery, the cutting down of freedom, the lack of human dignity which that commitment entails.  When you perceive all this instantaneously, you are free’; you don’t have to make an effort to be free.  That is why perception is essential.

October 24th, 2019 ~ Perception vs. Intuition.  Follow your gut.  We hear that a lot.  When we are born, all we have to go on is Direct Experience, says Steve Hagen.  This is Perception.  We are not going on Intuition when we are born, are we?  When we are born, things are a bit overwhelming.  We have to make things out: faces, sounds, smells.  Commitments we make.  Based on intellect.  I am committing to this because it is good for me, because I will get something from it.   Seeing the truth of something immediately.  Facts, not ideas.  How does this relate to business?   Business is about what is in it for me.  Business is about commitment.

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The Book of Life

Moment – to – Moment Understanding

September 15th ~ The fundamental understanding of oneself does not come through knowledge or through the accumulation of experiences, which is merely the cultivation of memory.  The understanding of oneself is from moment to moment; if we merely accumulate knowledge of the self, that very knowledge prevents further understanding, because accumulated knowledge and experience become the center through which thought focuses and has its being.

October 23rd, 2019 ~ This observing the self is moment to moment.  It is challenging to continue to do this.  What more is their to say?

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The Book of Life

Understand the Process of Your Thinking

September 16th ~ Suppose you had never read a book, religious or psychological, and you had to find the meaning, the significance of life.  How would you set about it?  Suppose there were no Masters, no religious organizations, no Buddha, no Christ, and you had to begin from the beginning.  How would you set about it?  First, you would have to understand your process of thinking, would you not?–and not project yourself, your thoughts, into the future and create a God who pleases you; that would be too childish.  So first you would have to understand the process of your thinking.  That is the only way to discover anything new, is it not?

When we say that learning or knowledge is an impediment, a hindrance, we are not including technical knowledge–how to drive a car, how to run machinery–or the efficiency that such knowledge rings.  We have in mind quite a different thing: that sense of creative happiness that no amount of knowledge or learning will bring.  To be creative in the truest sense of that word is to be free of the past from moment to moment, because it is the past that is continually shadowing the present.  Merely to cling to information, to the experiences of others, to what someone has said, however great, and try to approximate your action to that–all that is knowledge, is it not?  But to discover anything new you must start on your own; you must start on a journey completely denuded, especially of knowledge, because it is very easy, through knowledge and belief, to have experiences; but these experiences are merely the products of self-projection and therefore utterly unreal, false.  

October 22nd, 2019 ~ This is interesting.  K differentiates technical knowledge–how to knowledge, from memory knowledge.   He has said we need technical knowledge, but it always seemed we lean even on technical knowledge.  He is saying that leaning on no amount of knowledge or learning can bring what creative happiness brings.  It seems that we as a society are so attached to technical knowledge rather than only using it as a means to give us the ability to focus on our inner world.  It is the memory of past and thinking of the future that get us into trouble.  Steve Hagen talks about how we are born into this world with nothing to go on but our direct experience.  Krishnamurti says we can “very easily, through knowledge and belief, have experiences, but these experiences are merely the products of self-projection and therefore utterly unreal, false.”  Wow.  Yes, we need technical know-how, in life and the business world, but to focus more on direct experience and a newness, that would be something truly revolutionary in the business world.

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The Book of Life

Knowledge Is Not Wisdom

September 17th ~ In our search for knowledge, in our acquisitive desires, we are losing love, we are blunting the feeling for beauty, the sensitivity to cruelty; we are becoming more and more specialized and less and less integrated.  Wisdom cannot be replaced by knowledge, and no amount of explanation, no accumulation of facts, will free man from suffering.  Knowledge is necessary, science has its place; but if the mind and heart are suffocated by knowledge, and if the cause of suffering is explained away, life becomes vain and meaningless…

Information, the knowledge of facts, though ever increasing, is by its very nature limited.  Wisdom is infinite, it includes knowledge and the way of action; but we take hold of a branch and think it is the whole tree.  Through the knowledge of the part, we can never realize the joy of the whole.  Intellect can never lead to the whole, for it is only a segment, a part.

We have separated intellect from feeling, and have developed intellect at the expense of feeling.  We are like a three-legged object with one leg much longer than the others, and we have no balance.  We are trained to be intellectual; our education cultivates the intellect to be sharp, cunning, acquisitive, and so it plays the most important role in our life.  Intelligence is much greater than intellect, for it is the integration of reason and love; but there can be intelligence only when there is self-knowledge, the deep understanding of the total process of oneself.

October 21st, 2019 ~ I am glad I am reading this one tonight since last nights was a bit confusing.  The important quotes for me in this lesson are twofold.  The first is:  “We have separated intellect from feeling, and have developed intellect at the expense of feeling.”  The second is: “Intelligence is much greater than intellect, for it is the integration of reason and love; but there can be intelligence only when there is self-knowledge,…”  At the top, he says we are blunting the sensitivity to cruelty.  This is sad.  And disconcerting.  We are becoming more and more specialized and less and less integrated.  Albert Low in Zen and Creative Management says science breaks things down into problems.  That is what technology does and it can never be the solution, even though we forget this, since nature isn’t like this.  We know it on some level.  He also says man tries to overcome nature but man is nature.  

We separate things.  This is when we as a people get into trouble.  When we feel separate.  The Dalai Lama says that is when human beings commit horrible acts.  When we feel separate from others.  Intelligence is the integration of reason and love.  That is beautiful.  Can we do this in business?