QUESTION 12 'ON BOREDOM AND INTEREST'
Question: I am not interested in anything, but most people are busy with many interests. I don't have to work, so I don't. Should I undertake some useful work?
Krishnamurti: Become a social worker or a political worker or a religious worker - is that it? Because you have nothing else to do, therefore you become a reformer! If you have nothing to do, if you are bored, why not be bored? Why not be that? If you are in sorrow, be sorrowful. Don't try to find a way out of it, because your being bored has an immense significance, if you can understand it, live with it. If you say, "I am bored, therefore I will do something else", you are merely try to escape from boredom, and, as most of our activities are escapes, you do much more harm socially and in every other way. The mischief is much greater when you escape than when you are what you are and remain with it. The difficulty is, how to remain with it and not run away; as most of our activities are a process of escape it is immensely difficult for you to stop escaping and face it. Therefore I am glad if you are really bored and I say, "Full stop, let's stay there, let's look at it. Why should you do anything?"
If you are bored, why are you bored? What is the thing called boredom? Why is it that you are not interested in anything? There must be reasons and causes which have made you dull: suffering, escapes, beliefs, incessant activity, have made the mind dull, the heart unpliable. If you could find out why you are bored, why there is no interest, then surely you would solve the problem, wouldn't you? Then the awakened interest will function. If you are not interested in why you are bored, you cannot force yourself to be interested in an activity, merely to be doing something - like a squirrel going round in a cage. I know that this is the kind of activity most of us indulge in. But we can find out inwardly, psychologically, why we are in this state of utter boredom; we can see why most of us are in this state: we have exhausted ourselves emotionally and mentally; we have tried so many things, so many sensations, so many amusements, so many experiments, that we have become dull, weary. We join one group, do everything wanted of us and then leave it; we then go to something else and try that. If we fail with one psychologist, we go to somebody else or to the priest; if we fail there, we go to another teacher, and so on; we always keep going. This process of constantly stretching and letting go is exhausting, isn't it? Like all sensations, it soon dulls the mind.
We have done that, we have gone from sensation to sensation, from excitement to excitement, till we come to a point when we are really exhausted. Now, realising that, don't proceed any further; take a rest. Be quiet. Let the mind gather strength by itself; don't force it. As the soil renews itself during the winter time, so, when the mind is allowed to be quiet, it renews itself. But it is very difficult to allow the mind to be quiet, to let it lie fallow after all this, for the mind wants to be doing something all the time. When you come to that point where you are really allowing yourself to be as you are - bored, ugly, hideous, or whatever it is - then there is a possibility of dealing with it.
What happens when you accept something, when you accept what you are? When you accept that you are what you are, where is the problem? There is a problem only when we do not accept a thing as it is and wish to transform it - which does not mean that I am advocating contentment; on the contrary. If we accept what we are, then we see that the thing which we dreaded, the thing which we called boredom, the thing which we called despair, the thing which we called fear, has undergone a complete change. There is a complete transformation of the thing of which we were afraid. That is why it is important, as I said, to understand the process, the ways of our own thinking. Self-knowledge cannot be gathered through anybody, through any book, through any confession, psychology, or psychoanalyst. It has to be found by yourself, because it is your life; without the widening and deepening of that knowledge of the self, do what you will, alter any outward or inward circumstances, influences - it will ever be a breeding ground of despair, pain, sorrow. To go beyond the self-enclosing activities of the mind, you must understand them; and to understand them is to be aware of action in relationship, relationship to things, to people and to ideas. In that relationship, which is the mirror, we begin to see ourselves, without any justification or condemnation; and from that wider and deeper knowledge of the ways of our own mind, it is possible to proceed further; it is possible for the mind to be quiet, to receive that which is real.