You could have what you want, if you could just stop wanting it.

Can the crude mind become sensitive?

Listen to the question, to the meaning behind the words. Can the crude mind become sensitive? If I say my mind is crude and I try to become sensitive, the very effort to become sensitive is crudity. Please see this. Don’t be intrigued, but watch it. Whereas, if I recognize that I am crude without wanting to change, without trying to become sensitive, if I begin to understand what crudeness is, observe it in my life from day to day – the greedy way I eat, the roughness with which I treat people, the pride, the arrogance, the coarseness of my habits and thoughts – then that very observation transforms what is.

Similarly, if I am stupid and I say I must become intelligent, the effort to become intelligent is only a greater form of stupidity; because what is important is to understand stupidity. However much I may try to become intelligent, my stupidity will remain. I may acquire the superficial polish of learning, I may be able to quote books, repeat passages from great authors, but basically I shall still be stupid. But if I see and understand stupidity as it expresses itself in my daily life – how I behave towards my servant, how I regard my neighbour, the poor man, the rich man, the clerk – then that very awareness brings about a breaking up of stupidity. You try it. Watch yourself talking to your servant, observe the tremendous respect with which you treat a governor, and how little respect you show to the man who has nothing to give you. Then you begin to find out how stupid you are; and in understanding that stupidity there is intelligence, sensitivity. You do not have to become sensitive. The man who is trying to become something is ugly, insensitive; he is a crude person.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Think on These Things

The very act of wanting, the intention, is what prevents from achieving.

The one who wants to be intelligent, who says “I want to be smart”, cannot be.

“How do I become intelligent?”

Follow such and such process – read all the trending books, read x pages a day, write y words every day, take a multivitamin, exercise 30 minutes, brainstorm 5 minutes, do yoga, raise the levels of this hormone or that chemical.

You can do any of these or all of these, but you do not change who you are; it is still the same person who wants to be intelligent, who asks how to become smart.

No one who has wanted to become sensitive became sensitive, no one who has wanted to become intelligent became intelligent.

It is when you see what you are – when you actually see the stupidity in your actions, the crudeness – when you witness it – witness it as it is, without distorting it with emotions, with intentions, by trying to suppress it or change it or encourage it, that you display intelligence or sensitivity.

It is not the one who says I must do so and so – I must help help this beggar, I must talk nicely to the waiter, I must not shout, I must not make hurtful remarks – who is sensitive. You can go your whole life doing these things without losing your crudeness, without becoming sensitive.

Nor is it the one who says I must only talk of lofty ideas, I must shun gossip, who becomes intelligent.

That is just ‘disciplining’ yourself, training yourself to behave a particular way in particular situations. Just as a human can be trained to kill people, he can be trained to help them or to pray or speak a certain way.

This is only programming yourself – IF X, then Y; else Z.

Only worse, because a program will faithfully execute its instructions; the human might not even do that. The human remains the same, only the script might change every time he tries to ‘become’ something.

The irony is that the truly sensitive or intelligent person doesn’t even follow a script.

You can be sensitive and yet not always help everyone who asks, or intelligent without behaving like an “intellectual”.

Understanding is Transformation

“How do I become smart?”

“I want to ‘become stoic’ – what should I do?”

What they usually want is: “By following X, Y and Z steps”.

Do this, then that, and finally that – and you’re done.

The real answer, the one that they won’t like hearing, is – by not wanting to.

But you can’t really tell anyone something they don’t already nearly know.

That answer helps almost no one, and the only result is the one who gives such an answer is seen as rude and unwilling to help.

The fallacy is that the asker has already decided what he wants to be.

He thinks he knows an ‘ideal’ state he needs to achieve.

You create a distorted picture of what a ‘smart’ person is, or what a ‘stoic’ is – and then try to mould yourself into this artificial creation.

Maybe you try to ‘fake it till you make it’ – but when what you are trying to make is itself fake, you will only spend your life faking it, even if you do ‘make’ it – because you only make something fake.

There’s no need to fake anything because there’s no need to make anything.

Rather than wanting to become smart or stoic or anything, why not ask what is wrong with what I actually am?

For that, I must see, and more importantly, understand what I am – not what I want to be.

It doesn’t matter what you think you want to be; that is irrelevant, nothing to do with what you are.

It doesn’t matter what you think you don’t want to be or what you want to change about what you are.

When you see yourself, when you see your crudity without wanting to be sensitive, your stupidity without wanting to be intelligent, your temperamentality without wanting to be stoic – in that very understanding there is transformation.

What does that mean to say “in that understanding there is transformation”?

It means that the sensitivity, the intelligence is in the understanding, and not in anything else.

Not in any gestures you do to ‘be kind’ or any witticisms you say to sound intelligent.

Only someone sensitive can see how crude he is, only someone intelligent can see how stupid he is.

Sensitivity is nothing but awareness of how crude I really am; intelligence nothing but awareness of how stupid I really am. Only an intelligent person can be aware of his stupidity, a sensitive person aware of his crudeness.

Sensitivity is not me saying nice things to make people feel good so that I in turn can feel good about myself, thinking that I am becoming a ‘sensitive’ person – that is intentionality, when I follow a script because I think I want to be something – something that I call ‘sensitive’.

Words – stoic, smart, sensitive or whatever – are just labels, constructs, ideas. A word in the dictionary is a tool created by someone – there’s not necessarily anything in the real world it corresponds to exactly.

They don’t really mean anything definite – there’s a general broad consensus about a word like ‘stoic’, but there are as many variations as there are so-called Stoics, and each will have his own ideology, practice.

To tie yourself down to a word, to a label – to tell yourself you need to ‘become’ it – that is crudeness and stupidity, but much worse – it is bondage.

A label – an idea someone tries to adhere to – controls and dictates his behaviour and thoughts.

Either a created joy at ‘succeeding’ to be stoic or sensitive, or self-recrimination when your conduct falls short of the artificial standard you have set for yourself.

Before deciding to want to become such and such then – why not see what you actually are?

See it without condemning it, without praising it, without wanting to change it or retain it.

Which means – not “I should not have shouted at him”, or “I’m proud I didn’t lose my cool” – but “I shouted at him”, or “I did not lose my cool”. Facts, not judgments.

When you see and understand – understand the facts, without labels, which means understanding that “I lose my temper frequently” instead of “I am not stoic” – that understanding is what brings transformation, because that understanding is the transformation from what you were – a person unaware of his temper – to what you’ve become.

Not any imposed discipline or following of a script to adhere to some artificial construct. To take this particular example – wisdom begets stoicism, and not the other way – you don’t set out to become stoic, but some wise people may become stoic, just as others may not.

A lot of times, you could have what you want, if you could just stop wanting it – the very wanting is what holds you back.