"Questions - Answers"
J. Krishnamurti


Question: With what should the mind be occupied?

Krishnamurti: Here is a very good example of how conflict is brought into being: the conflict between what should be and what is. First we establish what should be, the ideal, and then try to live according to that pattern. We say that the mind should be occupied with noble things, with unselfishness, with generosity, with kindliness, with love; that is the pattern, the belief, the should be, the must, and we try to live accordingly. So there is a conflict set going, between the projection of what should be and the actuality, the what is, and through that conflict we hope to be transformed. So long as we are struggling with the should be, we feel virtuous, we feel good, but which is important: the should be or what is? With what are our minds occupied - actually, not ideologically? With trivialities, are they not? With how one looks, with ambition, with greed, with envy, with gossip, with cruelty. The mind lives in a world of trivialities and a trivial mind creating a noble pattern is still trivial, is it not? The question is not with what should the mind be occupied but can the mind free itself from trivialities? If we are at all aware, if we are at all inquiring, we know our own particular trivialities: incessant talk, the everlasting chattering of the mind, worry over this and that, curiosity as to what people are doing or not doing, trying to achieve a result, groping after one's own aggrandizement and so on. With that we are occupied and we know it very well. Can that be transformed? That is the problem, is it not? To ask with what the mind should be occupied is mere immaturity.

Now, being aware that my mind is trivial and occupied with trivialities, can it free itself from this condition? Is not the mind, by its very nature, trivial? What is the mind but the result of memory? Memory of what? Of how to survive, not only physically but also psychologically through the development of certain qualities, virtues, the storing up of experiences, the establishing of itself in its own activities. Is that not trivial? The mind, being the result of memory, of time, is trivial in itself; what can it do to free itself from its own triviality? Can it do anything? Please see the importance of this. Can the mind, which is self-centred activity, free itself from that activity? Obviously, it cannot; whatever it does, it is still trivial. It can speculate about God, it can devise political systems, it can invent beliefs; but it is still within the field of time, its change is still from memory to memory, it is still bound by its own limitation. Can the mind break down that limitation? Or does that limitation break down when the mind is quiet, when it is not active, when it recognizes its own trivialities, however great it may have imagined them to be? When the mind, having seen its trivialities, is fully aware of them and so becomes really quiet - only then is there a possibility of these trivialities dropping away. So long as you are inquiring with what the mind should be occupied, it will be occupied with trivialities, whether it builds a church, whether it prays or whether it goes to a shrine. The mind itself is petty, small, and by merely saying it is petty you haven't dissolved its pettiness. You have to understand it, the mind has to recognize its own activities, and in the process of that recognition, in the awareness of the trivialities which it has consciously and unconsciously built, the mind becomes quiet. In that quietness there is a creative state and this is the factor which brings about a transformation.