Freedom From the Known, mural in Belgrade, Serbia

“Not finding this nameless thing of a thousand names which we always sought, we have cultivated faith -- faith in a savior or ideal -- and faith invariably breeds violence. We look to someone to tell us what is right or wrong behavior, what is right or wrong thought, and in following this pattern our conduct and our thinking become mechanical, our responses automatic. We are satisfied with the descriptions of others, which means that we live on words and our life is shallow and empty. We are secondhand people. We have lived on what we have been told, either guided by our inclinations, our tendencies, or compelled to accept by circumstances and environment. We are the result of all kinds of influences and there is nothing new in us, nothing that we have discovered for ourselves; nothing original, pristine, clear. The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking or reality promised by another; we mechanically follow somebody who will assure us a comfortable spiritual life. It is a most extraordinary thing that although most of us are opposed to political tyranny and dictatorship, we inwardly accept the authority, the tyranny, of another to twist our minds and our way of life. So if we completely reject, not intellectually but actually, all so-called spiritual authority, all ceremonies, rituals and dogmas, it means that we stand alone and are already in conflict with society; we cease to be respectable human beings. You have now started by denying something absolutely false -- the traditional approach -- but if you deny it as a reaction you will have created another pattern in which you will be trapped; if you tell yourself intellectually that this denial is a very good idea but do nothing about it, you cannot go any further. If you reject it, however, with tremendous intelligence, because you are free and not frightened, you will create a great disturbance in yourself and around you but you will step out of the trap of respectability. Then you will find that you are no longer seeking. That is the first thing to learn -- not to seek. When you seek you are really only window shopping.
The question of whether or not there is a God or truth or reality can never be answered by books, by priests, philosophers or saviors. Nobody and nothing can answer the question but you yourself and that is why you must know yourself. Immaturity lies in total ignorance of self. To understand yourself is the beginning of wisdom. Leaving aside the metaphysics, mythology, and sectarian dogma, what contemplatives throughout history have discovered is that there is an alternative to being continuously spellbound by the conversation we are having with ourselves; there is an alternative to simply identifying with the next thought that pops into consciousness. And glimpsing this alternative dispels the conventional illusion of the self.
The individual is the little conditioned, miserable, frustrated entity, satisfied with his little gods and his little traditions, whereas a human being is concerned with the total welfare, the total misery and total confusion of the world. The outward social structure is the result of the inward psychological structure of our human relationships, for the individual is the result of the total experience, knowledge and conduct of man. Each one of us is the storehouse of all the past. The whole history of man is written in ourselves. Do observe what is actually taking place within yourself and outside yourself in the competitive culture in which you live, with its desire for power, position, prestige, name, success and all the rest of it -- observe the achievements of which you are so proud, this whole field you call living in which there is conflict in every form or relationship, breeding hatred, antagonism, brutality and endless wars.

Let us ask ourselves, can this society, based on competition, brutality and fear, come to an end? Not as an intellectual conception, not as a hope, but as an actual fact, so that the mind is made fresh, new and innocent and can bring about a different world altogether? It can only happen, I think, if each one of us recognizes the central fact that we as individuals, as human beings, in whatever part of the world we happen to live or whatever culture we happen to belong to, are totally responsible for the whole state of the world. Is it possible to bring about in ourselves, in the whole field of our thinking feeling, acting, and reacting,a total revolution that has nothing whatsoever to do with the structure of society as it is? Every day we see or read appalling things happening in the world as the result of violence in man. You may say, ‘I can’t do anything about it, or ‘how can I influence the world?’ I think you can tremendously influence the world if in yourself you are not violent, if you lead actually, every day, a peaceful life - a life which is not competitive, ambitious, envious - a life which does not create enmity. We have reduced the world to its present state of chaos by our self-centered activity, by our prejudices, our hatreds, our nationalism, and when we say we cannot do anything about it, we are accepting disorder in ourselves as inevitable. We have splintered the world into fragments and if we ourselves are broken, fragmented, our relationship with the world will also be broken. But if, when we act, we act totally, then our relationship with the world undergoes a tremendous revolution. Time is not the way. Whether we are old or young it is now that the whole process of life can be brought into a different dimension. But we carry our burdens all the time; we never die to them, we never leave them behind. It is only when we give complete attention to a problem and solve it immediately - never carrying it over to the next day, the next minute - that there is equanimity. Seeking the opposite of what we are is not the way either, nor is the artificial discipline imposed by a system, a teacher, a philosopher or priest - all that is so very childish. When we realize this, we ask ourselves is it possible to break through this heavy conditioning of centuries immediately and not enter into another conditioning - to be free, so that the mind can be altogether new, sensitive, alive, aware, intense, capable? That is our problem. There is no other problem because when the mind is made new it can tackle any problem. That is the only question we have to ask ourselves.
But we do not ask. We want to be told. One of the most curious things in the structure of our psyche is that we all want to be told because we are the result of the propaganda of ten thousand years. We want to have our thinking confirmed and corroborated by another, whereas to ask a question is to ask it of yourself. What I say has very little value. You will forget it the moment you stop reading this, or you will remember and repeat certain phrases, or you will compare what you have read here with some other book - but you will not face your own life. And that is all that matters - your life, yourself, your pettiness, your shallowness, your brutality, your violence, your greed, your ambition, your daily agony and endless sorrow - that is what you have to understand and nobody on earth or in heaven is going to save you from it but yourself.
Seeing everything that goes on in your daily life, your daily activities - when you pick up a pen, when you talk, when you go out for a drive or when you are walking alone in the woods - can you with one breath, with one look, know yourself very simply as you are? When you know yourself as you are, then you understand the whole structure of man's endeavour, his deceptions, his hypocrisies, his search. To do this you must be tremendously honest with yourself throughout your being. When you act according to your principles you are being dishonest because when you act according to what you think you ought to be you are not what you are. it is a brutal thing to have ideals. If you have any ideals, beliefs or principles you cannot possibly look at yourself directly. So can you be completely negative, completely quiet, neither thinking nor afraid, and yet be extraordinarily, passionately alive? Why is it that you, as a human being, who are so capable, so clever, so cunning, so competitive, who have such marvelous technology, who go to the skies and under the earth and beneath the sea, and invent extraordinary electronic brains - why is it that you haven't got this one thing which matters? Have you ever seriously faced this issue of why your heart is empty? But you are neither intense nor urgent, and that is because you haven't got energy, energy being passion - and you cannot find any truth without passion - passion with a fury behind it, passion in which there is no hidden want. Passion is a rather frightening thing because if you have passion you don't know where it will take you."

-Jiddu Krishnamurthi, from Freedom From The Known.

Ciao Folks! Here is my latest mural, in Belgrade, Serbia! Its on the rooftop terrace of Sun Hostel. Its been a crazy wondrous time here, and I'm stoked to be painting again in such a great place.

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