natural state

You are always in a natural state. There is no question of going in and out of it, you are always there. It is a state of not knowing, you really don’t know what you are looking at.

Your natural state has no relationship whatsoever with the religious states of bliss and ecstasy. They lie within the field of experience. Those who have led man on his search for religiousness throughout the centuries have perhaps experienced those religious states, so can you. They are thought-induced states of being and as they come so do they go. All are trips in the wrong direction. They are all within the field of time. Timeless can never be experienced, grasped, contained, much less given expression to, by any man. That beaten track will lead you nowhere. There is no oasis situated yonder. You are stuck with the mirage.

Does such a thing as enlightenment exist? To me what does exist is a purely physical process. There is nothing mystical or spiritual about it. All that you know lies within the framework of your experience, which is of thought.

You can never understand the tremendous peace that is always there within you that is your natural state. Your trying to create a peaceful state of mind is in fact creating disturbance within you. You can only talk of peace, create a state of mind and say to yourself that you are very peaceful, but that is not peace, that is violence. There is no use in practicing peace or reason to cultivate silence. Real silence is explosive. It is not the dead state of mind that spiritual seekers think. That doesn’t mean anything at all. This is volcanic in its nature. It’s bubbling all the time — the energy, the life — that is its quality.

There is no self looking. The consciousness is like a mirror reflecting whatever is there outside. The depth, the distance, the color—everything is there, but there is nobody who is translating these things. Unless there is a demand for knowledge about what I am looking at, there is no separation, no distance from what is there. There is a kind of clarity.

Get this straight — you can never hear one word from anyone no matter how intimately you think you are in relationship with that person. You hear only your own translations always. They are all your words you are hearing. All that the other person’s words can possibly be to you is a noise, a vibration picked up by the eardrum and transferred to the nerves which run to the brain. You are translating those vibrations all the time trying to understand because you want to get something out of what you are hearing. When there is no translation, all languages sound the same whether or not your particular knowledge structure speaks a particular language. The only differences are in the spacing of the syllables and in the tune. Languages are melodic in different ways but the appreciation of music, poetry and language is all culturally determined and is the product of thought.

My talking comes out in response to the questions which are asked. I cannot sit and give a talk on the natural state. That is an artificial situation for me. There is nobody who is thinking thoughts and then coming out with answers. This state is expressing itself. I really don’t know what I’m saying and what I’m saying is of no importance. You may transcribe my own talking but it will make no sense to me.

The natural needs of a human being are basic: food, clothing and shelter. You must either work for them or be given them by somebody. If these are your only needs they are not very difficult to fulfill. To deny yourself the basic needs is not a sign of spirituality. But to require more than food, clothing and shelter is a neurotic state of mind.

The body has an extraordinary mechanism for renewing itself. This is necessary because the senses in the natural state are functioning at the peak of their sensitivity all the time. So when the senses become tired the body goes through death. This is real physical death not some mental state. It can happen one or more times a day. You do not decide to go through this death. It descends upon you.

Life is action. Questioning your actions is destroying the expression of life. A person who lets life act in its own way without the protective movement of thought has no self to defend. What is keeping you from being in your natural state? You are constantly moving away from yourself. You want to be happy either permanently or at least for this moment. You are dissatisfied with your everyday experiences and so you want some new ones. You want to perfect yourself, to change yourself. You are reaching out, trying to be something other than what you are. It is this that is taking you away from yourself.

There may not be any ultimate truth. You don’t know a thing about it. Whatever you know is what you have been told, what you have heard, and you are projecting that information. What you call something is determined by the learning you have about it, and whatever knowledge you have about it is exactly what you will experience. The knowledge creates the experience and the experience then strengthens the knowledge. What you know can never be ultimate reality.

In the natural state the movement of self is absent. The absence of this movement probably is the beyond but that can never be experienced by you. It is when the you is not there. The moment you translate, the you is there. You look at something and recognize it. Thought interferes with the sensation by translating. You are either thinking about something which is totally unrelated to the way the senses are functioning at the moment or else labeling. That is all that is there. The word separates you from what you are looking at, thereby creating the you. Otherwise, there is no space between the two.

Every time a thought is born, you are born. When the thought is gone, you are gone. But the you does not let the thought go and what gives continuity to this you is the thinking. Actually, there is no permanent entity in you, no totality of all your thoughts and experiences. You think that there is somebody who is thinking your thoughts, somebody who is feeling your feelings. That’s the illusion. I can say it is an illusion but it is not an illusion to you.

All that you know about what you call thought is what you have been told. You are all the time trying to do something with it because somebody has told you that you must change this or replace that, hold on to the good thoughts and not the bad thoughts. Thoughts are thoughts; they are neither good nor bad.

As long as you want to do something with whatever is there you are thinking. Wanting and thinking are not two different things. Wanting to understand means there is a movement of thought. You are adding momentum to that movement, giving it continuity. The senses function unnaturally in you because you want to use them to get something. Why should you get anything? Because you want the self to continue you are protecting that continuity. Thought is a protective mechanism. It protects you at the expense of something or somebody else.

Everything that is poisoned and contaminated by the culture is thrown out of the system. It is thrown out of your system and then that consciousness or life or whatever you want to call it expresses itself and functions in a very natural way. The whole thing has to be thrown out of your system.

You will never know what life is. Nobody can say anything about life. You can give definitions but those definitions have no meaning. You can theorize about life but that is a thing which is not of any value to you. It cannot help you to understand anything. When the question burns itself out what is there is energy. You can’t say anything about that energy. It is already manifesting itself, expressing itself in a boundless way. It has no limitations, no boundaries. It is not yours, not mine. It belongs to everybody. You are part of that. You are an expression of that. Just as the flower is an expression of life, you are another expression of life.

You are not different from the animal. You don’t want to accept that fact. The only difference is that you think. Thinking is there in the animal also but it has become very complex in the case of man. That’s the difference. Don’t tell me that animals do not think. They do. But in man it has become a very complex structure and the problem is how to free yourself from this structure and use it only as an instrument to function in this world. It has no other use at all. It has only a contingent value — to communicate something, to function in the world —that’s all, not philosophical concepts. That has no meaning at all.

Wanting anything other than the basic needs is self-deception. All this thinking has no meaning at all. Thinking is unnecessary except to communicate with somebody. Everyone is talking to themselves. It is wearing you out and all methods that we use are adding more and more to that, unfortunately. All techniques and systems are adding to that. There is nothing you can do to end thinking. You see, you have to come to a point where you say to yourself, “I am fed up with this kind of thing.” Nobody can push you there.

Thought is there when there is a demand for it. When there is no demand for it you don’t know whether it is there or not. But when there is a need for it, when there is a demand for it, it is there to guide you and to help you communicate with someone. What decides that demand is not here it is out there. The situation demands its use. It is not self-initiated.

You have no way at all of finding out for yourself the seat of human consciousness because it is all over and you are not separate from that consciousness. For some reason or the other the culture has limited the possibility of the potential evolving into its completeness and wholeness.

The human being has lost all of the animal instincts and he has not developed the human instincts. What these people talk of—psychic powers, clairvoyance—they are all human instincts. And they are necessary because there are two things that the human organism is interested in. One: its survival at any cost. That is one of the most important things. It has a survival mechanism of its own which is quite different from the survival mechanism of the movement of thought. The second thing is to reproduce itself. It has to reproduce. These are the two fundamental characteristics of the human organism, the living organism.

You are moving away from yourself. You have to be yourself and a path is trying to turn you into something other than yourself. Why do you want to be somebody other than yourself? You see, otherwise you wouldn’t listen to anyone. Look here, I want to be full of feeling for everybody. Somebody is talking about love, for example, so you want to be full of that love, whatever it is. You are projecting a hundredfold what you think love is, for example. That’s what makes it difficult for you to be yourself.

This is the only reality I have, the world as it is today. The ultimate reality that man has invented has absolutely no relation to the reality of this world. As long as you are seeking, searching and wanting to understand what you call ultimate reality, or call it by whatever name you like, it will not be possible for you to come to terms with the reality of the world exactly the way it is. So anything you do to escape from the reality of this world will make it difficult for you to live in harmony with the things around you.

We have an idea of harmony, of how to live at peace. There is an extraordinary peace that is there already. What makes it difficult for you to live at peace with yourself is the creation of what you call peace, which is totally unrelated to the harmonious functioning of this body. When you free yourself from the burden of reaching out there to grasp, to experience and to be in that reality, then you will find that it is difficult to understand the reality of anything.

So we have to accept the reality as it is imposed on us by the culture, by society or whatever you want to call it and at the same time understand that there is nothing that we can do to experience the reality of anything. Then you will not be in conflict with the society, and the demand to be something other than what you are will come to an end. The goal that you have placed before yourself, which you have accepted as the ideal to be reached, and the demand to be something other than what you are, are no longer there.

The pursuit of those goals which the culture has placed before us and that we have accepted as desirable is not there any more. The demand to reach them is no longer there, so you are what you are. When the movement in the direction of becoming something other than what you are isn’t there any more, you are not in conflict with yourself. If you are not in conflict with yourself you cannot be in conflict with the society around you. As long as you are not at peace with yourself it is not possible for you to be at peace with others. Even then, there is no guarantee that your neighbors will be peaceful, but, you see, you will not be concerned with that.

When you are at peace with yourself then you are a threat to the society as it functions today. You will be a threat to your neighbors because they have accepted the reality of the world as real and because they are also pursuing some funny thing called peace. You will become a threat to their existence as they know it and as they experience it. So you are all alone. Not the aloneness that people want to avoid. You are all alone.

The movement there and the movement here are one and the same. The human machine is no different from the machine out there. Both of them are in unison. Whatever energy is there, the same energy is in operation here. So any energy you experience through the practice of any techniques is a frictional energy. That energy is created by the friction of thought. The demand to experience that energy is responsible for the energy you experience, but this energy is something which cannot be experienced at all.

This is just an expression of life, a manifestation of life. You don’t have to do a thing. Anything you do to experience that is preventing the energy which is already there, which is the expression of life, which is the manifestation of life, from functioning. It has no value in terms of the values we give to whatever we are doing— the techniques, meditation, yoga and all that. I am not against any one of those things, please don’t get me wrong, but they are not the means to achieve the goal that you have placed before yourself. The goal itself is false.

There is no such thing as permanent happiness or permanent bliss at all. You think that there is because all those books talk of eternal bliss, permanent bliss or permanent happiness. Yet you know jolly well that it is not leading you anywhere. So the mechanism that is involved, the instrument that you are using, is the one that keeps you going, because it does not know anything else. It has come into being through so many years of hard work, effort and will.

Your wanting to be in a state of effortlessness through the use of effort is not going to succeed. So forget about the effortless state. It doesn’t exist at all. You want to achieve an effortless state through effort. How the hell are you going to achieve that goal? You forget that everything that you are doing, any movement that is there, any want that is there for whatever reason, is effort.

Effortlessness is something which cannot be achieved through effort. Anything that you do to stop the effort is itself an effort. It’s really a maddening thing. You have not really pushed yourself into that corner. If you do, then you will really go crazy. But you are frightened of that. You have to see that everything that you are doing to be in that effortless state, for whatever reason you want to be there, is effort. Even wanting not to use effort also is effort. The total absence of will and effort, all and every kind, may be called an effortless state, but that is not something that you can achieve through effort.

You can change the techniques, you can change the teachers, but basically and essentially the very teaching that you are using to reach your goal is the obstacle. It doesn’t matter what teacher you follow. Understanding is the absence of the demand for understanding. It may sound funny to you but that’s the way it is. So what do you want to understand? You can’t understand me at all. You are not going to understand anything at all. It’s not that it is difficult. It is so simple. The complex structure that is involved is the very thing that does not accept the simplicity of it. That is really the problem. “It can’t be that simple,” you think, because that structure is so complex that it doesn’t want even to consider the possibility that it could be so simple.

I am not saying anything profound. I have been repeating the same thing day after day. Basically, it sounds very contradictory to you. What I am doing is I make a statement and the second statement negates the first statement. Sometimes you see contradictions in what I am saying. Actually, they are not contradictions. This statement does not express what I am trying to express so the second statement is negating the first statement. The third statement is negating the first two statements and the fourth statement is negating the previous three statements, not with the idea of arriving at any goal, not with the idea of communicating anything to you. There is nothing to be communicated, only this series of negations, not with the idea of arriving at any goal. Your goal is understanding. You want to understand, you see. There is nothing to understand here. Every time you make some sense out of it, I try to point out that is not it.

You are not going to reach your goal of completely controlling your thought. Thought has to function in its own way, in its disconnected, disjointed way. That is something which cannot be brought about through any effort of yours. It has to fall into its normal rhythm. Even if you want to make it fall into a normal rhythm, you are adding momentum to that. It has a life of its own which has, unfortunately, established a parallel life within the movement of life. These two are always in conflict. That will come to an end only when the body comes to an end.

Thought has become the master of this body. Thought has totally mastered the whole thing. It is still trying to control everything that is there. You don’t have to do a thing. You are not separate from that, that’s all I am emphasizing. You cannot separate yourself from the thought and say, “These are my thoughts.” That is the illusion you have, and you cannot be without any illusion. You always replace one illusion with another illusion; always.

You accept that you are always replacing one illusion with another illusion, so your wanting to be free from illusion is an impossibility. That itself is an illusion. Why do you want to be free from illusions? That’s the end of you. It’s not that I am frightening you, I am just pointing out that it is not just a lighthearted game to play. That is you, you as you know yourself. When that knowledge you have of yourself is not there any more, the knowledge you have about the world also is not there any more, it can’t be there any more. It is not going to come to an end that easily. It will always be replaced by another illusion.

You don’t want to be a normal person. You don’t want to be an ordinary person. That is really the problem. It is the most difficult thing to be an ordinary person. Culture demands you must be something other than what you are. That has created a certain momentum, a powerful movement of thought. You can use it to achieve something, otherwise it has no use. You can build a tremendous philosophical structure of thought, but that has no value at all. You can interpret any event, but thought is not intended for that. At the same time, you forget that everything you have around you is the creation of thought. You are yourself born out of thought, otherwise you would not be here at all. In that sense it has value. Yet it is the very thing that destroys you. That’s the paradox.

What you think are your thoughts are actually just combinations and permutations of the thoughts of others.

While you are living, the knowledge that is there does not belong to you. So why are you concerned as to what will happen after what you call you is gone? The physical body is functioning from moment to moment because that is the way the sensory perceptions are. To talk of living from moment to moment by creating a thought-induced state of mind has no meaning to me except in terms of the physical functioning of the body.

To be yourself is very easy. You don’t have to do a thing. No effort is necessary. You don’t have to exercise will. You don’t have to do anything to be yourself, but to be something other than what you are you have to do a lot of things.

The only thought that is necessary for this body is the thought that it has to use for the survival of the living organism. Even if you do not feed this body, it is not concerned about that. It has certain resources which you have built up through years of eating it falls back on. At the same time, it is foolish not to feed the body hoping that you will attain some spiritual goals. That’s what they do in India, they put the body through all kinds of stresses and strains, torture it, because they feel that through this endurance they will be able to achieve whatever their spiritual goals may be.

There is nothing that you can do to make this happen through any will of yours, through any effort of yours, through any volition of yours. If this kind of a thing happens, it is not something mysterious. Thought falls into its natural rhythm of discontinuous and disconnected functioning, that’s all. That’s all that is there.

You have no way of knowing what you are at all. Knowing what is there is impossible. That is always related to what you want to be. What you see here is the opposite of what you would like to be, what you want to be, what you ought to be, what you should be. What do you see here? You want to be happy so you are unhappy. Wanting to be happy creates the unhappiness. What you see here is the opposite of your goal of becoming happy, of wanting to be happy. Wanting to have pleasure all the time creates the pain here. So wanting and thinking, they always go together. They are not separate. Anything you want creates pain because you begin to think. If you don’t want a thing in this world, there is no thinking. That does not mean thoughts are not there.

The nervous system has to be very alert for the survival of this living organism. It has to be very sensitive. Your sensory perceptions have to be very sensitive. Instead of allowing them to be sensitive you have invented what is called the sensitivity of your feelings, the sensitivity of your mind, the sensitivity towards every living thing around you, the sensitivity to the feelings of everybody that is there, and this has created a neurological problem.

Society is interested in the status quo. It doesn’t want to change. The only way it can maintain the status quo or the continuity is through the demand that everybody should fit into its structure, whereas every individual is unique. Nature is creating something unique all the time. It is not interested in a perfect man. It is not interested in a religious man. We have placed before man the goal or the ideal of a perfect man, a truly religious man. So anything you do to reach that goal of perfection is destroying the sensitivity of this body. It is creating violence here. It is not interested in that.

The body is not interested in your practices or silences. It has no interest in your moral dilemma or whatever you want to call it. It’s not interested in your virtues or vices. As long as you practice virtues so long you will remain a man of vice. They go together. If you are lucky enough to be free from this pursuit of virtue as a goal, along with it the vice also goes out of your system. You will remain a man of violence as long as you follow some idea of becoming a non-violent, kind, soft, gentle person. A kind man — a man who is practicing kindness and virtue — is really a menace, not the violent man.

Thought is trying to protect itself. That is why it is interested in continuity. The body is not interested in protecting itself. Whatever intelligence is necessary for the survival of the body is already there. The jungle we have created through our organizations needs that intellect, the intellect that we have acquired through our studies, through our culture, through the whole lot. It has a parallel existence of its own and it is interested in a different kind of survival because there is no end to the life here. This is only an expression of life. If you and I go, life goes on.

The body cannot take any sensation, be it pleasurable or painful, for long. It will destroy the sensitivity of the sensory perceptions and the sensitivity of the nervous system. The moment you recognize a particular sensation as a pleasurable sensation, naturally there is a demand to make that pleasurable sensation last longer. So every sensation, depending upon the intensity of that sensation, which is plagued by you to invest it with more intensity or less intensity, has a limited life of its own.

The demand comes only when you separate yourself from that pleasurable sensation and begin to think of how you can extend the limits of the pleasurable sensation or the moments of happiness. Your thinking has turned that particular demand to make this pleasurable sensation last longer than its natural duration into a problem. It has turned that into a problem for the functioning of this body and by so doing it has created a neurological problem. It is doing everything possible to absorb that, whereas your thinking makes it impossible for this body to handle that in its own way for the simple reason that you are trying to solve those problems within the field of your religious or psychological approaches.

Anger is energy, a tremendous outburst of energy, and by destroying that energy, through any means, you are destroying the very expression of life itself. It becomes a problem only when you try to do something with that energy. When it is absorbed by the system you will not do the things that you think you will do if the anger is left alone. You are actually not dealing with the anger but the frustration, or avoiding such a situation which has resulted in clumsiness in your relationships or in your understanding of yourself.

You want to be prepared to meet such situations as and when they arise in the future. The instrument which you are using has been used by you every time there is an outburst of anger yet you have not succeeded in freeing yourself from the anger. You won’t come into the possession of anything extraordinary other than this instrument which you have been using all these years, and at the same time you hope that somehow this very thing will help you to be free from the anger.

You are creating the problems but actually you are not looking at them at all. You are not dealing with them. You are more interested in solutions than the problems. That makes it difficult for you to look at the problem. I am suggesting that, Look here, you don’t have any problems.


U.G. Krishnamurti