observation without the observer
Excerpts from a talk given by Stephen James Smith on the transformative psychology of J Krishnamurti.
… To engender a new way of seeing is, it seems to me, the most urgent human task. Seeing and being are closely aligned. For, it is when we see clearly that we truly are. We are then not what we think we are – which is, to put it briefly, a thought-world of conditioning – but we discover that what we thought we were – and what we are in terms of thought – is just a fiction of circumstances, one more image making its appearance in the hall of mirrors we call reality. Trouble is, it has no substance; to attribute, as we do, such importance to it is to lose ourselves in an endless, painful game. When we wake up, the game is over. We are now looking down a different track or, to put it more accurately, down the same track seen differently. Here, words can take us only so far because the act of seeing transforms the reality. We are seeing, literally, with eyes made new: the seer is the seen, instantaneously.
The very perception of this urgency, which is certainly a perception of what is, is in itself a call to awakening – perhaps it is part of awakening. For, in the world of thought, things are sequential; in the world of perception they are not: they are direct. By this I mean that there is no intervening mechanism, nothing that translates the seen into the known. In fact, in this moment, in this act of insight, the seer is the seen and there is instantaneous perception. Action then follows from the insight itself – it is not translated, not mediated – and can thus be said to be free of time, which is the heart of freedom, freedom-in-itself. Such action contains no trace of conflict, since its place of origin is beyond mentation, the corridor of opposites, the hall of mirrors. Being thus free, it engenders freedom also. That is why those who live in that freedom create the space for others to be free – which does not mean they can do their work for them.
This is where the journey begins: observation without the observer.
Characteristically, it is expressed via the negative. For, we have acquired nothing – quite the reverse – we have abandoned our baggage, nothing more.
The observer has been enfolded into consciousness and what is looking is consciousness itself, free of the distortion of the me. This means that things are seen as they are and not as we would like them to be. The revelation can be devastating! The crux of the matter, however, is that what flows from this seeing is accurate and true and, among other things, establishes order.
The dark continent of consciousness awaits us, with its depths, dangers, and unforeseen vistas. And, as we journey through it and it unfolds before our eyes, we realize we have never been here before, that most of what we did was foreplay, at best. This is the real thing, happening now. There is nothing final or determinate about it. It unfolds constantly out of itself, like a flower in its own furl. And, as well as being constant, it is never-ending: at no point is there any arrest. And, this is the nature of the transforming mind.
Part of a talk given at the International Conference on Krishnamurti and Consciousness, Hyderabad, India, January 2006.
Copyright 2006 by Stephen James Smith
Stephen James Smith is a veteran educator with the Krishnamurti schools worldwide. He is currently on the staff at Brockwood Park School in Hampshire, England.
Also see: Education for Wholeness