Question: Does not this process of constant self-awareness lead to self-centeredness?
Krishnamurti: "It does, does it not? The more you are concerned about yourself, watching, improving, thinking about yourself, the more self-centered you are, are you not? That is an obvious fact. If I am concerned with changing myself, then I must observe, I must build a technique which will help me to break up that centre. There is self-centeredness as long as I am consciously or unconsciously concerned with a result, with success, as long as I am gaining and putting aside - which is what most of us are doing. The incentive is the goal I am pursuing; because I want to gain that end, I watch myself. I am unhappy, I am miserable, frustrated, and I feel there is a state in which I can be happy, fulfilled, complete; so I become aware in order to gain that state. I use awareness to get what I want; so I am self-centered. Through awareness, through self-analysis, through reading, studying, I hope to dissolve the "me",and then I shall be happy, enlightened, liberated, I shall be one of the elite - and that is what I want. So, the more I am concerned with gaining an end, the greater is the self-centeredness of thought. But thought is ever self enclosing anyhow, is it not?
So, what? To break down the self-centeredness, I must understand why the mind seeks an end, a goal, a particular result. Why does my mind go after a reward? Why? Can it function in any other way? Is not the movement of the mind from memory to memory, from result to result? I have acquired this, I don't like it, and I am going to get some thing else. I don't like this thought, but that thought will be better, nobler, more comforting, more satisfying. As long as I am thinking, I can think in no other terms; for the mind moves from knowledge to knowledge, from memory to memory. Is not thinking self-centered in its very nature? I know there are exceptions, but we are not discussing the exceptions. In our everyday life, are we not consciously or unconsciously pursuing an end, gaining and avoiding, seeking to continue, putting aside anything that is disturbing, that is insecure, uncertain? In seeking its own certainty, the mind creates self-centeredness; and is not that self-centeredness the "me", which then watches over and analyzes itself? So, as long as we seek a result, self-centeredness must exist, whether in an individual, in a group, in a nation or a race. But if we can understand why the mind seeks a result, a satisfying end, why it wants to be certain - if we understand that, then there is a possibility of breaking down the walls that enclose thought as the "me". But that requires an astonishing awareness of the total process, not only of the conscious, but also of the unconscious levels, an awareness from moment to moment in which there is no gathering, no accumulation, no saying, "Yes, I have understood this, and I am going to use it for tomorrow", a spontaneity which is not of the mind. Only then is there a possibility of going beyond the self-enclosing activities of thought."
Ojai, 23rd August 1952
7th public talk