I awoke this morning with the thought that what I had earlier said Adyashanti called “seeing,” which is identical with what I have called “being with and observing,” was also in fact identical with what Krishnamurti had famously called “passive awareness” or “choiceless awareness.”
I’m actually convinced that Krishnamurti’s term “passive awareness” was his codename for what we call “God.”
So let me add a word about Krishnamurti and “passive awareness.”
The significance of this topic is that greeting life with “seeing” or “passive awareness” is the way to unlock blocked situations and restore flow in one’s life. Of course if we approach the task with the idea that we are intending to unlock blocked situations, we will not be passively aware, as Krishnamurti discusses below.
Passive awareness is also the way to realize oneself, although, since I haven’t done that myself, I’m guessing when I say that.
This may not seem like public issue number one at the moment, but as soon as life speeds up and we are greeted with an avalanche of novelty, being able to meet life with passive awareness will very soon grow in importance, even though we cannot strategize and remain passively aware.
The quintessential statement of what Krishnamurti meant by “passive awareness” and what its significance was for him is this one:
“Wisdom is the understanding of what is from moment to moment, without the accumulation of experience and knowledge. What is accumulated does not give freedom to understand, and without freedom there is no discovery; and it is this endless discovery that makes for wisdom. Wisdom is ever new, ever fresh, and there is no means of gathering it. The means destroys the freshness, the newness, the spontaneous discovery.” (1)
If you can just ponder those words until his meaning breaks for you, I think you will have added immeasurably to your toolbox.
“Wisdom is the understanding of what is from moment to moment.” Implicit in that is allowance, allowing what is to be without judgment, strategy, plan.
Have we not heard that from Saul day after day? Release judgment. Let go of deciding how it needs to be. Accept what is on its own terms. And once we begin meeting star nations from distant galaxies, will that not be so necessary? And will we not be hoping against hope that they meet us with the same acceptance?
“Without the accumulation of experience and knowledge.” How will our accumulated experience and knowledge serve us when novelty increases, when strangeness is the order of the day? It won’t. We’ll have to fall back on something else.
This something else is passive, choiceless awareness. When the penny drops, and you say “THIS is the passive awareness that Krishnamurti, Adyashanti, and Saul were talking about,” I assure you it will be a great day for you. Now you have the key for sailing through these strange waters.
“What is accumulated does not give freedom to understand.” No, it just gives more of the same. The past is used to understand the present. There is never the experience of the new. Everything is fitted into what we already know. But that won’t possibly work in the years ahead. We’ll be lost and confused and perennially fall short.
“Without freedom there is no discovery.” There is existence, getting by, flatness, but no discovery. “It is this endless discovery that makes for wisdom.” The key lies in what Krishnamurti means by “discovery.” The ability to meet something on its own terms allows us to walk into a new setting and conduct ourselves civilly and without conflict but it also allows us to learn the meaning of the new. And learning the meaning of the new, in its own terms, is what he means by discovering. Without discovery, there is no appropriate response, or wisdom.
“Wisdom is ever new, ever fresh, and there is no means of gathering it. The means destroys the freshness, the newness, the spontaneous discovery.” Wisdom is not born of scrapbooks and collections and stuffed experiences. Wisdom is a function of presence in this moment, of meeting, accepting, and knowing something in its own terms. Can you not see the value of that for terrestrials who are about to meet the family?
Krishnamurti goes on.
“Choiceless awareness of the manner of your approach will bring right relationship with the problem. The problem is self-created, so there must be self-knowledge. You and the problem are one, not two separate processes. You are the problem.” (2)
The way we be with things is the problem. The problem exists in our minds and the manner in which our minds work. But that is very difficult to see, perhaps impossible to see until we begin to be passively aware.
“To be extensively aware, there must be no condemnation or justification of the problem; awareness must be choiceless. To be so aware demands wide patience and sensitivity; it requires eagerness and sustained attention so that the whole process of thinking can be observed and understood.” (3)
Judge the situation, condemn, become partial and your awareness closes down as an organic instrument, as what Krishnamurti means by the term “awareness.” We remain aware, to be sure. But not in the umbrageous manner Krishnamurti is referring to. And, yes, it does require “eagerness and sustained attention,” which I think will become easier as the energies continue to rise.
“The truth of experience does not depend on personal idiosyncrasies and fancies; the truth of it is perceived only when there is awareness without condemnation, justification, or any form of identification.” (4)
This is hard advice because we tend to think of ourselves as our idiosyncracies: “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” But in fact it is our universal attributes, our God-given capacities that Krishnamurti is talking about here and these can only be unpacked, I think, if we let go of seeing ourselves as our idiosyncracies.
“Simplicity is the alert, passive awareness in which the experiencer is not recording the experience. Self-analysis prevents this negative awareness; in analysis there is always a motive – to be free, to understand, to gain – and this desire only emphasizes self-consciousness. Likewise, introspective conclusions arrest self-knowledge.” (5)
He is describing here the entire way in which most of us operate. We record the experience, analyze our own behavior, and reach conclusions about the way we acted, how others acted, the outcome, etc. Eventually we need to see that this is robot-like behavior and does not lead to the knowledge of who we really are, the knowing of which provides the reason for our total existence.
We are here to know who we are. We are here to provide God with the pleasure of knowing Himself (Herself, Itself) in a moment of enlightenment – our enlightenment. Galactics, angels, spirits are all here to help us with that result. Ascension, shift, transformation are all words to describe that experience at one level. Later, we’ll ascend again and again and again. We’ll have more moments of enlightenment, more umbrageous moments, moments of a deeper and deeper knowing.
Passive awareness is an irreplaceable tool in the toolbox for that process. I venture to say that any image you have of any saint or sage will feature a sense of them being passively aware. God is passively aware. We are passively aware. When we are being passively aware, in everyday life or in meditation, we are being as similar as it is possible to be to God.
(1) Krishnamurti, J. Commentaries on Living. First Series. Bombay, etc.: B.I. Publications, 1972; c1974, 96. On Krishnamurti, see Selections from the Teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti at http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/diction/krishna.html
(2) Ibid., 99.
(3) Ibid., 115-6.
(4) Ibid., 93-4.
(5) Ibid., 80.