Awareness is a pathless land

When Jiddu Krishnamurti was 34 he gave up his position as the ‘world teacher’ his mentors had brought him up be, telling his followers that he was not a teacher, and certainly not a guru. Instead he told them a story about the Devil.

“The devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw a man pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, ‘What did that man pick up?’ ‘He picked up a piece of the truth,’ said the devil. ‘That is a very bad business for you, then,’ said his friend. ‘Oh, not at all,’ the devil replied, ‘I am going to help him establish a new religion.”

For Krishnamurti ‘truth is a pathless land.’ No one can guide another towards the truth, it has to be earned for yourself. He said:

“I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.”

Now Krishnamurti spent the next 56 years of his life (he died in 1986) as a sort of anti-guru teaching only one thing: Awareness.

That’s it: nothing else. Just Awareness. And it’s right there in the teachings of Buddha and Shankara: just sit on your ass and train your awareness on what’s going on right now.

What Awareness means

Here are some of the things I have learned about Awareness:

  • Awareness arises in Consciousness, the gift you were given at birth and will survive your death.
  • In consciousness you can train your awareness on external events and on internal experience, without being bound by either.
  • It is not detachment. You are still involved in experience but you are also aware of how and what you do when you are in it.
  • Awareness is not thinking. Awareness notices thoughts come up and waits for them to process and go away. It has the power to defuse from any thought.
  • It does not require meditation (in fact, some types of meditation – the ones that try to ’empty the mind’ might just get in the way).
  • Awareness means witnessing everything that happens to you, without interfering in the flow of events. You observe how you move, how you walk, how you eat, how you talk.
  • Practicing Awareness makes you intensely aware of your living in the moment – now.
  • You also become more emotional, not less.
  • States of joy, peace and serenity, become more and more common.
  • Worry becomes hard to do.
  • As you develop Awareness you cease to dwell in the past or in the future.
  • You become more and more grounded, centred in your body,
  • Suffering becomes more bearable – you are aware that that experience, too, will pass.
  • Because the practice of Awareness makes you less intolerant, and less judgmental, you become more compassionate towards others.
  • Once in a while this state of Awareness opens up and expands – and for a split-second you go into an ecstatic state of consciousness.


To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this, a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor.


Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

5 thoughts on “Krishnamurti on Awareness”
  1. John…..this article really pressed the right button for me…it brought tears to my eyes……it takes practise but worth the practise
    Thank you

  2. John, when you said you were introduced to a spiritual teacher, I immediately thought of Krishnamurti. I too was introduced to him in Ojai when I heard him speak. Since then I have been on an awareness learning journey taking Mindfulness & mindfulness compassion & awareness course at UCSD Jon Kabatt Zin’s mindfulness model & with Jack Kornfield’s Power of Awareness. I recently introduced mindfulness & meditation to my sister & she told me about you & your Reverse Therapy mindfulness model. I have been having some problems with sleeping restfully & only getting about 6 hours sleep most nights. This has sim I got caused stress on my body & upper respiratory immune problems. I more easily get bronchitis. I am healthy with this exception. I think lack of restful & moresleep is compromising my immune system. I appreciate any thoughts & suggestions. Thank you so much

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