| Meditation | Mystic Musings | Enlightenment | Counseling | Psychic World
Mother Earth | Therapies  | EBooks | Life of Masters | Links |   Quotes | Store | Stories | Zen
Osho | Gurdjieff | Krishnamurti | Rajneesh | Ramana | Ramakrishna | Shankara | Jesus | Buddha | Yoga








Jiddu Krishnamurti on Meditation for Westerners

Question: Is it possible for Westerners to meditate?
Jiddu Krishnamurti : I think this is one of the romantic ideas of Westerners - that only Easterners can meditate. So, let us find out, not how to meditate, but what we mean by meditation. Let us experiment together to find out what meditation means, what are the implications of meditation.

Merely to learn how to meditate, to acquire a technique, is obviously not meditation. Going to a yogi, a swami, reading about meditation in books and trying to imitate, sitting in certain postures with your eyes closed, breathing in a certain way, repeating words - surely, all that is not meditation; it is merely pursuing a pattern of conformity, making the mind repetitive, habitual. The mere cultivation of a habit, whether noble or trivial, is not meditation. This practice of cultivating a particular habit is known both in the East and in the West, and we think that it is a process of meditation.

Now, let us find out what is meditation. Is concentration meditation? Concentration on a particular interest chosen from among many other interests, focusing the mind on an object or an entity - is that meditation? In the process of concentration, obviously there is resistance to other forms of interest; therefore, concentration is a process of exclusion, is it not? I do not know if you have tried to meditate, tried to fix your mind on a particular thought.

When you do that, other thoughts come pouring in because you are also interested in those other thoughts, not only in the particular thought you have chosen. You have chosen one particular thought, thinking it is noble, spiritual, and that you should concentrate on it and resist other thoughts. But the very resistance creates conflict between the thought that you have chosen to think about and other interests; so you spend your time concentrating on one thought and keeping off the others, and this battle between thoughts is considered meditation.

If you can succeed in completely identifying yourself with one thought and resisting all others, you think you have learned how to meditate. Now, such concentration is a process of exclusion and therefore a process of gratification, is it not? You have chosen a particular interest that you think will ultimately give you satisfaction, and you go after it by repeating a phrase, by concentrating upon an image, by breathing, and so on.

That whole process implies advancement, becoming something, achieving a result. That is what we are all interested in - we want to be successful in meditation. And the more successful we are, the more we think we have advanced. So obviously, such forms of concentration, which we call meditation, are mere gratification; they are not meditation at all. So, mere concentration on an idea is not meditation.

What, then, is meditation? Is prayer meditation? Is devotion meditation? Is the cultivation of a virtue meditation? The cultivation of a virtue only strengthens the 'me', does it not? It is I who am becoming virtuous. Can the 'I', the 'me', ever become virtuous? That is, can the center of resistance, of recognition, which is a process of isolation - can that ever be virtuous? Surely, there is virtue only when there is freedom from the 'I', from the 'me', so the cultivation of virtue through meditation is obviously a false process.

But it is a very convenient process because it strengthens the 'me', and as long as I am strengthening the 'me', I think I am advancing, becoming successful spiritually. But obviously, that is not meditation, is it? Nor is prayer - prayer being mere supplication, petition, which is again a demand of the self, a projection of the self towards greater and wider satisfaction. Nor is meditation the immolation of oneself to an image, to an idea, which we call devotion, because we always choose the image, the formula, the ideal, according to our own satisfaction. What we choose may be beautiful, but we are still seeking gratification.

So, none of these processes - concentration, repeating certain phrases, breathing in a special manner, and all the rest of it - can really help us to understand what meditation is. They are very popular because they always produce results, but they are all obviously foolish ways of trying to meditate.

Now, what is meditation? The understanding of the ways of the mind is meditation, is it not? Meditation is the understanding of myself, it is being aware of every reaction, conscious as well as unconscious - which is self-knowledge. Without self-knowledge, how can there be meditation? Surely, meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge, because if I do not know myself, whatever I do must be merely an escape from myself. If I do not know the structure, the ways of my own thinking, feeling, reacting, of what value is it to imitate, to try to concentrate, to learn how to breathe in a particular way, or to lose myself in devotion? Surely, in that way I will never understand myself; on the contrary, I am merely escaping from myself.

Meditation, then, is the beginning of self-knowledge. In that there is no success, there are no spectacular processes. It is most arduous. As we do not want to know ourselves but only to find an escape, we turn to Masters, religious books, prayers, yogis, and all the rest of it, and then we think we have learned how to meditate. Only in understanding ourselves does the mind become quiet, and without understanding ourselves, the tranquillity of the mind is not possible.

When the mind is quiet, not made quiet through discipline - when the mind is not controlled, not encased in condemnations and resistance, but is spontaneously still - only then is it possible to find out what is true and what is beyond the projections of the mind. Surely, if I want to know if there is reality, God, or what you will, the mind must be absolutely quiet, must it not? Because, whatever the mind seeks out will not be real - it will merely be the projection of its own memories, of the things it has accumulated; and the projection of memory is obviously not reality or God. So, the mind must be still, but not made still; it must be naturally, easily, spontaneously still. Only then is it possible for the mind to discover something beyond itself.

Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti Book Total Freedom

^Top                                                        Back to Krishnamurti Meditation