Tag Archives: observation

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We have names for everything. What if we forgot about those names? And we stopped seeing things as something? What if we just observed things, watched things, without giving them a name, without coming to a conclusion? What do you think would happen? You would transcend everything.

— Robert Adams – Silence of the Heart – (p. 198)

Names, Images, Labels

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If the mind turned outward and distracted,
starts observing its own being,
alienation ends, and the vestige ego,
merges in the light of true Awareness, shining in the heart.

— Sri Muruganar – The Garland of Guru’s (Sri Ramana Maharshi’s) Sayings (193)

The Light of True Awareness

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The mind must come to a state of silence, completely empty of fear, longing and all images. This cannot be brought about by suppression, but by observing every feeling and though without qualification, condemnation, judgement, or comparison. If unmotivated alertness is to operate the censor must disappear. There must simply be a quiet looking at what composes the mind. In discovering the facts just as they are, agitation is eliminated, the movement of thoughts becomes slow and we can watch each thought, its cause and content as it occurs. We become aware of every thought in its completeness and in this totality there can be no conflict. Then only alertness remains, only silence in which there is neither observer nor observed. So do not force your mind. Just watch its various movements as you would look at flying birds. In this uncluttered looking all your experiences surface and unfold. For unmotivated seeing not only generates tremendous energy but frees all tension, all the various layers of inhibitions. You see the whole of yourself.

Observing everything with full attention becomes a way of life, a return to your original and natural meditative being.

— Jean Klein – The Ease of Being (p. 28)

Observing everything with full attention becomes a way of life

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What is perception, what is seeing? How do you see that tree? Look at it for the moment. With what sight do you see it? Is it solely an optical observation, just looking at the tree with the optical reaction, observing the form, the pattern, the light on the leaf? Or do you, when you observe a tree, name it, saying. “That is an oak” and walk by? By naming it you are no longer seeing the tree—the word denies the thing. Can you look at it without the word?

So, are you aware how you approach, how you look at, the tree? Do you observe it partially, with only one sense, the optical sense; or do you see it, hear it, smell it, feel it, see the design of it, take the whole of it in? Or, do you look at it as though you are different from it—of course, when you look at it you are not the tree. But can you look at it without a word, with all your senses responding to the totality of its beauty?

— Jiddu Krishnamurti – The Flame of Attention (p. 34)

What is perception, what is seeing?

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You and I know many people who have been searching for many, many years, twenty years, thirty years, forty years, for the answers to life, for reality, yet they’re still in the same place they started twenty years ago. They have gone through all kinds of things. They’ve been to many places. They met certain teacher, but they’re still the same.

For they’ve never really investigated themselves. They say they do. They say they’ve been working on themselves for years, nothing has happened. But have they really been working on themselves? What they’ve been doing is sort of just thinking about it a little bit, reading books. But they’ve never dived deep enough in the Self to find the answers. And this is exactly what you have to do.

You have to dive deep, deep, deep within yourself, deeper than you can ever imagine. And the only way you can do this is by giving up the external world, mentally, not physically. In other words, by not reacting to things. To observe things, watch the world go by, leave it alone. It’s neither good nor bad. It has nothing to offer you.

— Robert Adams – Who Are You?

You have to dive deep to find answers

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It is enough to know what you are not. You need not know what you are. For, as long as knowledge means description in terms of what is already known, perceptual, or conceptual, there can be no such thing as self-knowledge, for what you are cannot be described, except as total negation. All you can say is: ‘I am not this, I am not that’. You cannot meaningfully say ‘this is what I am’. It just makes no sense. What you can point out as ‘this’ or ‘that’ cannot be yourself. Surely, you cannot be ‘something’ else. You are nothing perceivable, or imaginable. Yet, without you there can be neither perception nor imagination. You observe the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body acting; the very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. Can there be perception, experience, without you? An experience must ‘belong’. Somebody must come and declare it as his own. Without an experiencer the experience is not real. It is the experiencer that imparts reality to experience. An experience which you cannot have, of what value is it to you?

— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That – p. 2

What am I?

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Without freedom from the past there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. It is only the fresh, innocent mind that is free. Freedom has nothing to do with age, it has nothing to do with experience; and it seems to me that the very essence of freedom lies in understanding the whole mechanism of habit, both conscious and unconscious. It is not a question of ending habit, but of seeing totally the structure of habit. You have to observe how habits are formed and how, by denying or resisting one habit, another habit is created. What matters is to be totally conscious of habit; for then, as you will see for yourself there is no longer the formation of habit. To resist habit, to fight it, to deny it, only gives continuity to habit. When you fight a particular habit you give life to that habit, and then the very fighting of it becomes a further habit. But if you are simply aware of the whole structure of habit without resistance, then you will find there is freedom from habit, and in that freedom a new thing takes place.

It is only the dull, sleepy mind that creates and clings to habit. A mind that is attentive from moment to moment, attentive to what it is saying, attentive to the movement of its hands, of its thoughts, of its feelings, will discover that the formation of further habits has come to an end. This is very important to understand, because as long as the mind is breaking down one habit, and in that very process creating another, it can obviously never be free; and it is only the free mind that can perceive something beyond itself.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti – The Book of Life

Habits

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When the Zen master attained enlightenment
he wrote the following lines to celebrate it:

“Oh wondrous marvel:
I chop wood!
I draw water from the well!”

After enlightenment nothing really changes. The tree is still a tree; people are just what they were before and so are you. You may continue to be as moody or even-tempered, as wise or foolish. The one difference is that you see things with a different eye. You are more detached from it all now. And your heart is full of wonder.

That is the essence of contemplation: the sense of wonder.

Contemplation is different from ecstasy in that ecstasy leads to withdrawal. The enlightened contemplative continues to chop wood and draw water from the well. Contemplation is different from the perception of beauty in that the perception of beauty (a painting or a sunset) produces aesthetic delight, whereas contemplation produces wonder – no matter what it observes, a sunset or a stone.

This is the prerogative of children. They are so often in a state of wonder. So they easily slip into the Kingdom.

— Anthony de Mello – The Song of the Bird – Pages 16 – 17

I Chop Wood!

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Meditation is not a search, it’s not a seeking, a probing, an exploration. It is an explosion and discovery. It’s not the taming of the brain to conform nor is it a self-introspective analysis, it is certainly not the training in concentration which includes, chooses and denies. It’s something that comes naturally, when all positive and negative assertions and accomplishments have been understood and drop away easily. It is the total emptiness of the brain. It’s the emptiness that is essential, not what’s in the emptiness, there is seeing only from emptiness, all virtue, not social morality and respectability, springs from it. It’s out of this emptiness love comes, otherwise it’s not love. Foundation of righteousness is in this emptiness. It’s the end and beginning of all things.”
— Krishnamurti -Notebook

“So you must ask this question, put this question to yourself, whether your mind can be empty of all its past and yet retain the technological knowledge, your engineering knowledge, your linguistic knowledge, the memory of all that, and yet function from a mind that is completely empty. The emptying of that mind comes about naturally, sweetly without bidding, when you understand yourself, when you understand what you are. What you are is the memory, bundle of memories, experiences, thoughts. When you understand that, look at it, observe it; and when you observe it, see in that observation that there is no duality between the observer and the observed; then when you see that, you will see that your mind can be completely empty, attentive, and in that attention you can act wholly, without any fragmentation. All that is part of meditation – not just sitting in a corner for five minutes a day and going off to some idiotic conflict with yourself, not twisting your head or your breathing – these are all too infantile. They are exactly like candlelight in the sun.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti – Krishnamurti in India 1970-71 Chapter 5 5th Public Talk New Delhi 24th December 1970

Never miss a good chance to shut up.