The Awakening of Intelligence – J. Krishnamurti

Jiddhu Krishnamurti is a renowned speaker known for his absolute rejection of all authority when it comes to matters considering the individual psyche and spiritual development.  The Awakening of Intelligence is a collection of nearly thirty lectures given across many years and continents, speaking to a wide variety of audiences.  Speaking to professors, swamis, and even physicists, Krishnamurti delves into topics such as fear, love, the nature of thought, conflict, order, self-knowledge, and relationships, among many others with a no-holds-barred clarity that jarringly illuminates the sources of human suffering.

This book contains a collection of transcriptions based on dialogues that Krishnamurti has with Dr. Jacob Needleman, Alain Naude, Swami Venkatesananda, and David Bohm (whom Einstein referred to as his successor).  There are also transcriptions of lectures he gave to large audiences, with audience members engaged in a Q&A format.  In typical Krishnamurti fashion, he rarely gives a straightforward answer to the questions proposed to him, instead answering questions with questions of his own that further clarify the matter at hand.  He frequently urges us to look deeper into the source of the problem instead of accepting the problem and trying to fix it.

The overarching theme present throughout the dialogues is Krishnamurti’s insistence of the individual to be the final authority on all inward matters.  He stresses the importance of questioning everything, thinking critically, and discovering the answers on your own. He takes a topic, such as troubles in our relationships, and dissects it in a very clear and accessible way that gets to the root of the problem.  Specifically, he shows that we are essentially speaking to an image of the other in our relationship to them.  This is the root cause of all issues of dependency, neediness, and hurt.  However, he does not want us to accept his answer.  He wants us to use his words as a mirror into our own experience and to discover this pattern of behavior within ourselves.  Merely accepting his words would be doing exactly what he urges us NOT to do, which is accepting an outside authority’s words as truth without coming to that discovery on our own.

I found the most valuable dialogue in this book to be his dialogue on the nature of the mind.  He states that the mind is entirely in the past.  In fact, the mind IS the past.  It is a combination of a learned language and experiences from the past stored as memory.  He says that the cause of all suffering is that we are trying to reconcile the pain of the present moment – all the violence, hate, brutality that we see in ourselves and in the world – by using the mind to abstract away from the present as a way to comfort ourselves or aid ourselves in some way.  When we feel the great pain of losing a loved one or falling prey to disease, is thinking about it going to get rid of it?  It is impossible, but this is what many of us try and do.  We use mental concepts to try and run away from or cure the pain that is felt in the present moment, and this creates a conflict in which we become fragmented.  This fragmentation splits up the world into dualities such as good and bad, right and wrong, myself and other.  This fragmentation is the effect of the root cause – believing in the mind.

Krishnamurti’s discourses on the mind can also be seen in his book Freedom from the Known, in which he also highlights the importance of being able to see the mind for what it is.  It is this seeing that is the awakening of real intelligence, because it resolves all conflict borne from the mind.  It brings order, unity, and harmony to one’s being.  Intelligence is not merely the knowledge of facts, beliefs, and stories, and the capability to spit out the correct fact when called upon.  It is not a state to be arrived at; it is something that remains when the false is removed, just as health is what remains when disease is removed.

Krishnamurti’s book is a great aid at helping us in our journey to understand ourselves.  His radical and lucid examinations of the human psyche are essential for anybody interested in spiritual or psychological matters. It is valuable to begin to question ourselves and to see where we are still clinging to the comforts of the mind, and to find out for ourselves how that is causing conflict in our lives.

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