Here, I’d like to examine some material from Jiddu Krishnamurti about experience and transcending the mind’s conditioning, which has kept all of us from connecting with our essence at one point or another. As he’ll tell us here, external experience is one of many things that reinforces our sense of separation from our higher consciousness, and we have to do away with our attachment to it if we want to leave the realm of the mind.
We don’t have to be ruled by the desire to gain experiences, and the conditioned mind seems to require certain experiences before it can find temporary peace. It’s never really at peace, but it’s peaceful for a moment when we have fun or enjoyable experiences.
Depending on what we’re doing, the mind doesn’t seem very active when we enjoy ourselves. In that moment, we aren’t being conditioned to want or need something before we can be happy, because we’re already having fun. The moment our enjoyment is taken away, the mind will go right back to needing things or experiences to be happy.
We’ll continue to struggle with endless desire until we can transcend the need to gain certain experiences, which is one of many of the mind’s tools that keep us trapped in limitation. I’m not referring to the kind of desire that encourages us to do constructive things that help the world – I’m talking about the self-serving kind that keeps us from connecting with our essence and exploring our True Reality, which is much different from the illusory, limited reality we’ve been conditioned to accept.
First, Krishnamurti shares the link between belief and experience. Our experiences are formed around our beliefs, he tells us, which then strengthens our beliefs and offers us more relatable experiences.
“Belief conditions experience, and experience then strengthens belief. What you believe, you experience. … Belief is another cloak of desire. Knowledge, belief, conviction, conclusion and experience are hindrances to truth; they are the very structure of the self. … The unknown can never be experienced by the known; the known, the experienced must cease for the unknown to be.” (1)
The mind knows it can’t experience a higher consciousness, because this consciousness exists well outside of the mind and any attempts we make to mentally define it will be in vain, he tells us.
“The mind is aware that it cannot capture by experience and word that which ever abides, timeless and immeasurable.” (2)
He also explains how experience conditions us to be separate from our essence.
“Experience is the response to challenge. This response is conditioned by the past, by memory; such response only strengthens the conditioning. Experience does not liberate, it strengthens belief, memory, and it is this memory that responds to challenge; so experience is the conditioner.” (3)
Our response to challenge comes from our memories and previous experiences, and this automatically makes it harder to handle. If we could open up, get to a space beyond the mind and allow our essence to make itself known, we could find new, inventive ways to complete our challenges and gradually, they’d get easier.
These troubles are harder when we’re stuck in the mind, but when we can get to that crucial space beyond it, we’ll no longer approach them from the perspective of someone who’s separate from their essence and only has their memories and experiences to go by.
They’ll get easier when we stop dealing with them from a conditioned space, and slowly but surely, we’ll find that they no longer stop us at all. They’ll stop presenting themselves at a certain point because they’ll no longer be necessary. We’ll have found all of the love, strength and perseverance we used to seek from the confines of the mind, and any challenges we do face will be as simple as breathing or walking.
In our final quote, Krishnamurti explains why living in the mind and being focused on external experiences will never allow us to glimpse the unknown. This quote might sound confusing, but keep in mind that he uses the word ‘experience’ when referring to the external experiences that hold us back and ‘experiencing’ when referring to being connected with our higher reality.
The most important part of this quote, in my opinion, is the sentence, “Life is the present, it is not the experience”.
“Experience is already in the net of time, it is already in the past, it has become a memory which comes to life only as a response to the present. Life is the present, it is not the experience. The weight and strength of experience shadow the present, and so experiencing becomes the experience.
“The mind is the experience, the known, and it can never be in the state of experiencing; for what it experiences is the continuation of experience. The mind only knows continuity, and it can never receive the new as long as its continuity exists. What is continuous can never be in a state of experiencing, which is a state without experience. Experience must cease for experiencing to be.” (4)
As we continue to open (or depart) the mind, we’ll understand all of the psychological mechanisms that have held us back as we get ready to leave the mind and embrace ‘experiencing’, which, as Krishnamurti said, is ‘a state without experience’. The mind’s experiences, which repeat over and over again in our heads in an endless loop, block our perception of the nondual reality we can access, and transcending the mind’s influence and the need to gain external experiences is the best way to connect with this new reality and allow our wisdom to flow through us.
The next time you struggle, try to get out of the mind and part ways with whatever attachments were making you struggle. Try to approach whatever you’re doing with a clear, detached mind and a connection with the nameless, formless reality we’re rediscovering, and watch as your struggles get easier. You’ll no longer be attached to them, and your attachment to the experience of success will have faded along with every other attachment that keeps us locked in the mind and hinders our progress.
When the need to experience ceases to be, we’re left only with the silence, stillness and calmness of the present moment, where anything’s possible. We’re basically infinite when we’re in this space, and the funny thing is that we might not want to do anything at all except explore it and see how deep we can go.
With every non-effort and every departure from the confines of the mind, we’ll go deeper and deeper until we eventually realize the reality of our connection with God. In this space, we’ll be truly free from the mind’s distortions and distractions, and as a result, we’ll finally know peace.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. First Series. Bombay, etc.: B.I. Publications, 1972; c1974, 89.
- J. Krishnamurti,Commentaries on Living. Second Series. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1967; c1958, 242.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. First Series. Ibid., 139.
- Ibid., 32.
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