What is Thought

What is Thought

While I was reading a book this morning, the mind began adding money that was in my wallet. Sounds funny, but what was really going on? Here I am reading information that will supposedly make my life better, yet there is a distraction preventing me from attending to what it is I am doing.  In the following excerpt, Krishnamurti brings up the question ‘What is Thought?’


“Why has thought become so important in our lives — thought being ideas, being the response to the accumulated memories in the brain cells? Perhaps many of you have not even asked such a question before, or if you have you may have said, ‘It’s of very little importance — what is important is emotion.’ But I don’t see how you can separate the two. If thought doesn’t give continuity to feelings, feelings die very quickly. So why in our daily lives, in our grinding, boring, frightened lives, has thought taken such inordinate importance? Ask yourself as I am asking myself — why is one a slave to thought — cunning, clever thought which can organize, which can start things, which has invented so much, bred so many wars, created so much fear, so much anxiety, which is forever making images and chasing its own tail — thought which has enjoyed the pleasures of yesterday and given the pleasures continuity in the present and also in the future — thought which is always active, chattering, moving, constructing, taking away, adding, supposing?

“Ideas have become far more important to us than action — ideas so cleverly expressed in books by the intellectuals in every field. The more cunning, the more subtle, these ideas are, the more we worship them and the books that contain them. We are those books, we are those ideas, so heavily conditioned are we by them. We are forever discussing ideas and dialectically offering opinions. Every religion has its dogma, its formula, its own scaffold to reach the gods, and when inquiring into the beginning of thought we are questioning the importance of this whole edifice of ideas. We have separated ideas from action because ideas are always of the past and action is always in the present — that is, living is always the present. We are afraid of living and therefore the past, as ideas, has become so important to us.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known


Inner Life Exercise

Become aware of thought when it talks, when it criticizes, when it offers a distraction to the action you are performing. Deliberately return to what you are actually doing right now.


  1. Gina on August 3, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Why think about the very Life I should be Living? Something is always lost in the translation… This is a wonderful reminder of what I should being doing!! It is one way or the other.

  2. Alberto on August 3, 2018 at 2:03 am

    It is beautiful to know that thought goes on outside of me and is in no way connected to who I really am. Viva la vida!

  3. Carol on August 3, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    I have spent a lifetime of trying to find God. I joined churches, read self help books, prayed and never once found Him. Now i know all I was doing is looking for myself. Vernon Howard says that only by leaving your thoughts and ego by the side of the road will the path to God be possible. Thoughts have never been my friend although i have always relied on them. Lost in my world of memories, ideas, hopes, dreams and a massive ego I have only known pain. Pain from the separation from God. My search continues but now i know I will never find Him doing it my way. Thank God there is His way.

  4. Steve on August 5, 2018 at 1:27 am

    My mistake towards the thought is I somehow believe it is ‘my’ thought. I identify and believe that it is connected to my well being and now if an opposing thought is presented I’m threaten with danger of loss. Get this…Believing in a self is believing in a mere thought. Everyone must struggle to make the whole idea that there really is no separate self, not in the spiritual world, but only personal bad habits and that… we are sure we already understand life. Make everything clear for yourself. This bad habit, wrong process is unconscious to everyone but the very few who want to get out of the self imprisonment of their own True Spirit. Slowing down and watching with total honesty breaks up old imprisoning ideas. Great news for anyone whom wants to escape.

  5. Leo on August 12, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Mr Krishnamurti says ‘We are afraid of living’. I sense this is true for me. What a crazy situation. I want out of the thought trap.

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