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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Learnings From Krishnamurti Awareness Workshop

Last month, I was in Victoria, BC, to attend a workshop on Awareness based on teachings of my favorite philosopher, Krishnamurti (K). The workshop was held at the Krishnamurti Education Center of Canada. It is a beautiful and calm place, perfect for introspection. Following are my random notes from the workshop:

1. What drives our actions? The general understanding is that thought drives action. Hence, we try to control our thoughts with meditation. The idea is that if you control your thoughts then you will control your actions and if you control your actions then you will be happy. Everybody is looking for happiness and the cause for happiness or unhappiness is thought. However, K says that what you think is result of the state of your mind. And, the state of mind is influenced by one's unconscious. So what one thinks is caused by one's unconscious and thought becomes the effect and not the cause of one’s actions.  

2. The Mind, which always wants to satisfy senses, overindulges in pleasures. Why is it that animals don't overeat? They listen to their bodies. Humans listen to their mind more than they listen to their bodies.

3. Social conditioning influences how you satisfy your senses. Some societies prefer beer and others prefer wine. Some like frog legs and others like lentils.

4. The morning is the best time to get in touch with your unconscious because during sleep the unconscious is active and the conscious is resting. In the morning, a conscious mind is not fully active and that is an opportunity to tap into the unconsciousness. During the day, conscious takes control over unconscious.

5. Consciousness is what we are aware of i.e. it has content (e.g. thought and knowledge). Pure consciousness is without knowledge. K says that you  need this pure state of consciousness to see things as they really are.  

6. K's meditation is to observe thoughts. See how the mind transitions from one thought to another. The observation should occur without knowledge and interpretation. This observation slows down the conscious mind and gives the ability to tap the unconscious.

[My question was how does the mind observe itself i.e. there is no separation between the observer and the observee. Apparently, that is when you find The Truth or God when the observer and the observee are one]

7. To understand self, one has to let the mind be in the raw form i.e. no conditioning.

8. Exercise: To slow down the mind, lie down and exhale deeply. Don't worry about inhaling, it will happen automatically. After ten minutes of deep exhales, observe your thoughts.

9. Awareness is consciousness without interpretation i.e. pure consciousness.

10. At physiological and psychological levels all humans are the same. Different conditioning makes us different and creates social or imagined boundaries among humans.

11. "Life is changing." This statement is a conclusion that most people have drawn. Any conclusion about life is dangerous because it obstructs observation. Don't form the conclusion. People tend to start repeating the conclusion and stop discovery.

12. Exercise: Sit at a quiet and comfortable place and write down any questions that come to your mind for half an hour. Don't think about the questions, just keep on writing whatever is coming to your mind. With this exercise, the mind gets cleaned because it has to face itself and you get deeper into your unconscious.

13. At the end of an intense physical or mental activity there is a moment of silence in the mind.

14. When the body is relaxed, it is easier to observe the mind.

15. Meditation is choiceless awareness or thoughtless awareness. With meditation, the mind is aware at the moment.

16. Meditation is not trying to still the mind or seek concentration or focus. When you focus on something, your mind is in conflict because it fights with things you don't want to focus on. A mind in conflict can never be calm.

17. Conscious mind either suppresses or indulges.

18. Meditation is not something you do. Even trying to be aware is not meditation. Just being aware is meditation and not becoming aware.

19. Love = The Truth = Beauty = God

20. Who I am is a product of my thought. The thinker tries to change the thought that created it. How does thought change thought?

[I did not quite get this. Of course, thought can change thought. A person who is product of a society and can change society, etc.]

21. Exercise: No mind meditation. Speak gibberish for an hour. Get louder as time passes by. The idea is to let the unconscious come out because language comes from the conscious mind and when you speak a language the conscious mind is active. Basically, make random sounds without thinking anything. After an hour, lie down and observe the mind.

22. There are always conflicts in our consciousness.

23. Chanting calms the mind and the body because of the vibrations it creates.

24. Most of us are intellectually trained. Society wants only the intellectual output and not the total output that includes emotion and body.

25. Why a part of me, the intellect, has become supreme? It dictates everything - morality, virtue, daily life, etc. Why is the intellect so important in our life?

26. We live in the past or the future and never in the present.

27. The intellect is an isolating process. It creates the idea of I. We start thinking in terms of my this and my that. It creates a separation between me and everyone else.

28. I know nothing but the past. There is security in the past because it is certain. The dissatisfaction of the past is the hope for the future. The intellect creates the security in the past and hope in the future. That is why it dominates everything including emotions.

29. When we like something, we want to repeat that experience and want to have permanence in the experience. E.g I had a glass of wine I like. I must have it again. Or, I have a car for the last ten years so I must have it forever.

30. We live in the center created by the intellect. It is a self-perpetuating center. And, it is all about me. How do we break from this center?

31. Can we live in harmony among emotion, body, and intellect? The idea of harmony is not somewhere in the future. It is harmony now. With harmony, there is no conflict among body, emotion, and intellect (reason). You live as a whole.

32. If you make an effort then the intellect is driving it. With awareness, there is no directive or effort.

33. When you look at things through the intellect there is justification, condemnation, etc. When you look at things in harmony, there is no judgement, condemnation, etc.

34. Control has become important in our lives. We want the body, emotion, and intellect to follow certain direction. Don't resist. Just be aware. It is the awareness that can create harmony.

35. Harmonious life is possible by observing with attention. What you are observing is not important.

36. Joy is different than pleasure. Joy is in the present and is beyond senses and pleasure is sensual and wants to be repeated.