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.