The Understanding of Space and the Nature of Silence

The Understanding of Space & the Nature of Silence
Excerpts from 5th Public Talk in Amsterdam, 1967
by Jiddu Krishnamurti

“There are two things which it is absolutely necessary to find out about: the understanding of space, and the nature of silence. It is a most interesting thing to find out what space means. We are not talking of the distance between the earth and the moon, but psychological space, the space within. A mind that has no space is a shoddy, little mind, a petty mind; it is caught in a trap and the movement in the trap it calls living.

You can observe how little space you have inwardly; we are overcrowded with noise, chattering, endless memories, images, symbols, opinions, knowledge, crammed full of secondhand things. There is no space there at all; therefore there is no freedom. And without this space, in which there is no boundary, the mind is incapable of finding out, of coming upon that immeasurable reality.

Then also one must understand what silence is. You know, we are never silent; either we are having a dialogue with ourselves, or with somebody else. The machinery of thought is incessantly active, projecting itself, what it should do, it must not do, how it has been – endlessly chattering; or conforming, accepting, comparing, judging, condemning, imitating, obeying. Knowing this, there are various forms of meditation which tell you how to control thought. But controlling thought is not meditation at all; anybody can concentrate, from the schoolboy to the higher general preparing for war. And it is only a silent mind that can perceive, that can actually see; not a chattering mind, not a controlled mind, not a mind that is tortured, suppressed – nor yielding, indulging. It is only a very silent mind that can actually see.

Meditation is one of the greatest arts of life – perhaps the greatest art. Because in the understanding of meditation there is love, and love is not the product of systems, of habits, of following a method. Love cannot be cultivated by thought. Love can perhaps come into being when there is complete silence. And the mind can only be silent when it understands the nature of its own movement, as thought and feeling. So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a bus, or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing birds, or looking at the face of your wife or husband. Meditation is no something apart; it is the understanding of the totality of life in which every form of fragmentation of life has ceased.

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3 Comments

  1. Lisa Hunter on April 20, 2017 at 5:35 am

    There is never anything to do, only something to see
    To me, meditation is relaxing and lightly being aware of my surroundings.Softly listening to the background noise and simultaneously allowing to feel whats going on inside without judgement or commentary. This can be done anywhere.
    It takes a lot of practice to come to the point when you see it an necessary way of living.

    It’s quite nice to live without a self even if its only for a few minutes. Slowing down and relaxing is the key for me.

  2. Leo on April 24, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Who would have guessed you can just watch your thoughts?
    ‘The machinery of thought is incessantly active, projecting itself, what it should do, it must not do, how it has been – endlessly chattering; ‘
    What great news that we don’t have to go along with this anymore!

  3. Steve on May 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    The great adventure of unraveling the complexities of a self and discovering how to have a life with real meaning awaits anyone who will head down a path that most are to busy to even give a second thought too. True indepentance is what I’m interested in.

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