Krishnamurti on “concentration”


Someone asked Jiddu Krishnamurti once,

“When I read something, my mind wanders. How am I to concentrate?”


To which he replied:

We answered that question the other day. Do you know what concentration is? Do you know that you have concentrated when you are watching a dance which you really like? Listen to what I am saying. Last night, we had a dance. I do not know if you were watching it. When you watched, did you know that you were concentrated? Did you? When you are watching something in which you are interested – two bulls fighting, or a bird in flight, or two boats with full sail going on the river against the current – are you conscious that you are concentrated? Do you understand what I am talking about? Do listen.

When your mind is not attracted to something, when you are forcing yourself to listen to music which you really do not enjoy, then you are conscious of making an effort to listen. This forcing, you call concentration. But if you listen with real delight, because you are really enjoying the music, then your whole mind, your whole being, is in it. You are not saying `Well, I must concentrate.’ You are already there with the dancer, you are almost dancing yourself. But you see, we never look at or listen or read anything that way, we are never interested in anything so completely. We are only partially interested. One part of the mind says `I do not want to read that beastly book, it is boring’ and the other part says `I must read it, because I have to study for my examination.’ When one part says that you must read, the other part which knows the book is terribly boring, wanders off. So, you have struggle, and you say `I must begin to concentrate.’

Really, you do not have to learn to concentrate. Please listen to this. Do not force yourself to concentrate, but be interested, love the thing that you are doing, for itself. When you paint, paint for itself; when you look at a dance, enjoy it, look at it, see the beauty of it, so that your mind is not broken up into different parts, so that the mind is a whole thing, a complete thing, so that there is no fractional looking with a mind that is broken up in different parts and which says `I must look.’

What is important is not concentration, but the love of the thing; the very love of the thing for itself brings an astonishing energy, energy which is attention; without that, your learning, your looking, has no meaning; and you merely pass examinations or become glorified clerks.