“Do not think about doing it, but actually do it now. That is, be aware of the trees, the palm tree, the sky; hear the crows cawing; see the light on the leaf, the colour of the sari, the face; then move inwardly. You can observe, you can be aware choicelessly of outward things. It is very easy. But to move inwardly and to be aware without condemnation, without justification, without comparison is more difficult. Just be aware of what is taking place inside you—your beliefs, your fears, your dogmas, your hopes, your frustrations, your ambitions, and all the rest of the things. Then the unfolding of the conscious and the unconscious begins. You have not to do a thing.”
If you were to spend some time — say a month — away from the city, up among the Colorado mountains, in the high forests there, then you might eventually notice that your senses had become sharper, more sensitive. That they were now acutely alert to subtleties in your environment which you had entirely failed to notice before you came to the mountains. But much more likely, you would not really notice how sharp your senses had become until you came back down from the mountains and returned to the city.
It’s a story I’ve heard on several occasions from people here in Colorado. Someone goes off to live in the wilderness for a few weeks or a month. Afterwards, they return to the city only to find the city changed when they were gone. Now, the city lights are much too bright; the city noises are too loud; the rhythm of events is senseless and abrupt; the smells are poignant and ugly. Of course, what’s really happened here is not that their city has changed — instead, their senses have become sharper, more sensitive.
I was thinking about that earlier this morning in connection with understanding the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
In my experience, it seems much easier to understand Krishnamurti — to the extent he can be understood — when something has made us more sensitive, sharpened us. Not primarily sharpened our senses, but rather sharpened our mind. I suspect this is true not just of Krishnamurti’s writings, but also of much other wisdom literature.
Perhaps it sounds strange at first, but Krishnamurti should be read when one is in love. I think love makes us more sensitive to what he is saying. Love tunes both our inner and outer awareness more or less like a month in the wilderness tunes our senses. Suddenly, one not only sees something of what Krishnamurti is talking about, but his message might even become urgent.
If you really want to understand certain aspects of the city, you would do well to experience the city with sharpened senses — with senses that have not been dulled down by too recent an overexposure to the brash, melodramatic sights, sounds, and smells of the city. And if you really want to understand certain aspects of Krishnamurti’s writings, then you will do well to experience his writings with a mind that is as sensitive as possible — that has, perhaps, been made as sensitive as love can make a mind. Otherwise, it seems very difficult to understand Krishnamurti.