by J. Krishnamurti
We cling to life as the known and are afraid of the unknown. Being afraid we invent various theories, beliefs: the whole of the East believes in reincarnation, to be born anew next life, it gives them hope as in the Christian world there is the resurrection, again a hope. That is, between living and death there is time. Time, that interval between what actually is and something which we call death, of which we are afraid. This interval between life and death is brought about by thought. Of course there is actual dying: the physical organism, through disease, accident, through usage, dies. But there is fear of death and the sorrow of death as a psychological ending. So there is not only the fear of physical dying, but also the fear of losing all the things that one has learned, the memories, the experiences, the affections, the family, the hopes, the works, the character, all that one has developed, cultivated, nourished - fear of their coming to an end. We cling to life, life being this extraordinary battle from the moment we are born to the moment we die. That is all we know of life, in which there are moments of great joy, but that joy is at rare intervals and becomes a memory. So our life, as we live it is total disorder. All our relationship, human or otherwise, is a conflict. And that is all we know of life. To that we cling desperately. And we are afraid of something which we call death, of which we know nothing.
Can one find out what it means actually to die, not biologically, physiologically, but psychologically, which is a much deeper issue? Because it is only in dying that there is a renewal and not a continuity. That which has continuity is repetitive, it is of time. It is only when time comes to an end that something new takes place. So the question is: the life we know, which is turmoil, disorder, anarchy, can that come to an end totally? - because that is what we call death, the ending. Can there be a dying to all one’s memories, not only to the ugly memories, but to the memories that one has cherished, that one keeps very carefully locked up? To die every day, to every problem, to every pleasure, and not carry over to tomorrow any problem at all; so that the mind always remains tremendously attentive, active, clear. That is only possible when one dies every day to all the psychological accumulations.
J. Krishnamurti, Talks in Europe 1967, 1st Public Talk, Paris, 16th April 1967
Quoted from PARABOLA