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Watch, Listen, Learn

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Awaken your senses fully to watch, listen and learn about how to act. Learning is the soil in which the seed of goodness can grow, says J KRISHNAMURTI

One never appreciates the earth unless one really lives with it, works with it, puts one’s hand in the dust, lifting big rocks, stones; one never knows the extraordinary sense of being with the earth, the gigantic trees and strong grass, and the hedges along the road.

Everything was alive this morning. As we watched, there was a sense of great joy and the heavens were blue, the sun was slowly coming out of the hills, and there was light. As we watched the mockingbird on the wire, it was doing its antics, jumping high, doing its somersault, then coming down on the same spot on the wire. The watcher was no longer there, only the bird, grey and white, with a longish tail. The watching was without any movement of thought, watching the flurry of the bird that was enjoying itself.

We never watch for long. When we watch with great patience, watch without any sense of the watcher, watch those birds, those droplets on the quivering leaves, bees, flowers, and the long trails of ants, then time ceases, time has a stop. One doesn’t take time to watch or have the patience to watch. One learns a great deal through watching — watching people, the way they walk, talk and their gestures. You can see through their vanity, or their negligence of their own bodies. They are indifferent, they are callous.

There was an eagle flying high in the air, circling, without the beat of the wings, carried away by the air current beyond the hills, and it was lost.

Watching, learning: Learning is time, but watching has no time. Or when you listen, listen without interpretation, without any reaction, listen without any bias. Listen to that thunder in the skies, the thunder rolling among the hills. One never listens completely, there is always interruption. Watching and listening are a great art, watching and listening without any reaction, without any sense of the listener or the see-er. By watching and learning, we learn infinitely more than from any books. Books are necessary, but watching and listening sharpen your senses. For, after all, the brain is the centre of all the reactions, thoughts, and remembrances. But if your senses are not highly awakened, you cannot really watch and listen and learn, not only how to act but also about learning, the very soil in which the seed of goodness can grow.

When there is this simple, clear watching and listening, then there is an awareness — awareness of the colour of those flowers, red, yellow, white; of the spring leaves and stems, so tender, so delicate; awareness of the heavens, the earth and those people who are passing by. They have been chattering along that long road, never looking at the trees, flowers, skies, and at the marvellous hills. They are not even aware of what is going on around them. They talk a great deal about the environment, how we must protect nature and so on, but it seems they are not aware of the beauty and the silence of the hills and the dignity of the marvellous old tree. They are not even aware of their own thoughts, their own reactions, nor are they aware of the way they walk, of their clothes.

It does not mean that you are to be self-centred in your watching, in your awareness, but just be aware. When you are aware, there is a choice of what to do, what not to do, like and dislike, your biases, fears, anxieties, the joys which you have remembered, the pleasures you have pursued; in all this there is a choice, and we think that choice gives us freedom. We like the freedom to choose — or, rather, that choice gives us a sense of freedom; but there is no choice when you see things very, very clearly.

Abridged from ‘Krishnamurti to Himself’, courtesy KFI ■


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