How does one break free of habits? | J. Krishnamurti

Can I ask a question? How does one
break free of habits? Once one has intellectually reached
an understanding from such… …as one has just discussed, how
does one break free of habit then? When one understands something
verbally, so-called intellectually… …how does one break that habit? That is the question
the gentleman asked. What is habit? It is a repetition, isn’t it? Cleaning one’s teeth every day
– it becomes a routine… …you don’t pay attention, you
just do it very quickly and get off. So the brain establishes a pattern,
drinking, sex, whatever it is… …it establishes a pattern, then repeats
it, then it becomes mechanical. Right? Are you following all this? So the brain through constant
habits has become what it is now… …not active, alive. So the gentleman asks: how do you
break a habit, whatever the habit? A habit to search for god,
to go to some exotic guru… …who promises you everything
and lets you do what you like… …you know all the crazy things
that are going on in the world. Now how do you break a habit? Without conflict
– right? You understand? Let’s say I have a habit, of what
– give me a habit, would you please. Smoking. Smoking is such an easy affair,
that is an easy affair to stop. Always giving the same answer. I hope I am not
giving the same answer. It doesn’t matter. I have a habit, smoking, scratching
my head, keeping my mouth open… …habit of thinking the same thing
over and over and over again… …or the habit of chattering. Let’s take chattering. I am not only
chattering with myself… …but I am always endlessly
talking with others. Right? The other day somebody came
to see me, it was an interview. I don’t give interviews anymore
but she insisted, she came. The moment she entered – please, it is
none of you here – she began to talk… …talk, talk, and when she left,
‘I am glad to have met you.’ We all chatter endlessly; …not only some go back and forth,
but also chatter inwardly. That has become an extraordinary
habit for most people… …they can never be quiet,
never be silent. Silence in the sense the
brain completely still… …but that is a different matter,
we can go into it later. So this habit of chattering. How do I stop it? First of all, who is to stop it? Another chatterer who says,
‘I must stop this chattering… …but I will have my own chattering’
– you understand? So who is to stop chattering? Fear? Seeing that it is a wastage of
energy, chattering, chattering… …then will you stop that? So we have to ask a question
which is more serious: …is there an entity outside
of you, or inside of you… …that will act as a
brake upon chattering… …that will say,
‘No I will not chatter’? Is it – please listen carefully – is
it will, the decision not to chatter? And if it is will, what is will? The quintessence of desire
– right? Right?
Are you all tired? No. All right. How quickly you answered. So, how do you stop
a habit of chattering? First of all, if you stop it
through will, through desire… …that creates another conflict,
doesn’t it? And to stop chattering without conflict
– you understand my question? …is that possible? I chatter. First of all I am not
aware I am chattering. You point it out to me and say, ‘Old
chap do stop chattering so much.’ And I get rather hurt by it but
if I go beyond that and I say… …’Now, in what
manner am I to stop it?’ Then I have got the orthodox
means of will, or taking a drug… …that will quieten me down,
and having been quietened… …I take another drug to keep me awake
– and I keep on that routine. So I want to find out how to
stop a habit, like chattering… …keeping your mouth open,
scratching yourself… …all kinds of things,
without any kind of effort. You understand my question? This is an important question. To do something without effort. Does it amuse you, it’s fun. Will you do this? Find out your particular habit,
aware of it, and say, now… …can it be ended without any action
of will, decision, compulsion… …reward – you understand
– reward and punishment… …they are the two
elements we live on. So can I break that habit
without any side effects. Right? Can we go into this?
I will go into it. First of all am I
aware of my habit… …not that you point it out
to me and then I realise it… …but am I aware of my habits without
somebody telling me of my habits. You understand? See the difference. If you tell me my habit then I either
resist it, or say, yes, I must stop it. But if I see it for myself I am
a step ahead, if I can so put it. Right? Now are we aware of our particular
habit, chattering, we took that? Now what does that
awareness mean? Awareness means to look at something
without any reaction, without any choice. I am aware that I am
chattering, that is first. Then to be aware, to watch
it without any condemnation… …justification or explanation,
just to watch it. Will you do that? So that the old reactions don’t come
in, the old tradition doesn’t come in… …and say, ‘I must stop it’,
I must do this, I must do that. So to watch the
chattering very carefully. To watch it means without
any reaction of past memories. This becomes very difficult. You understand? If I watch that tree in movement in
the wind, it is a beautiful thing… …and I don’t like wind
therefore I won’t watch it. Similarly in a certain way,
I can watch my chattering. The watcher is not
different from chattering. So the watcher is not the structure of
words, memories, he is just watching. You understand that? Please this is rather complex and
requires a great deal of enquiry. We watch things with our
prejudices, with our opinions… …with our memories,
the whole structure of words. Right? We watch everything that way. Now can you watch without
all that memory, structure? That is where the art comes
in, the art of watching. Now I watch – there is a
watching of my chattering. I am aware and in
that awareness… …I am not seeking any reward
or punishment, I am just watching. Which means what? I am giving complete
attention at that moment. Right? At that second all my energy, all
my capacity and attention is there. Which means when there is
complete attention, complete… …not attention brought about
through any form of desire… …through any form of
reward or punishment… …just complete attention,
then that habit has no place. You understand?
Do it please, try it once. Now, you will say, yes, for
the moment it is possible… …I can see that can end, if I give
complete attention to something… …there is an ending to it,
but it comes back. Right?
Are you following? It comes back,
the chattering comes back. Then what is your reaction? I did it once, gave complete attention,
and it seems to subside for a second… …now if I give the same
attention it will subside again. So you have become mechanical. I wonder if you see this? Do you understand this? I gave attention, complete
attention, to my chattering. That flame of attention wiped
away for a few minutes chattering. I have seen the thing works. Then the next moment, or next
hour, whatever period of time… …you begin to chatter and
suddenly catch yourself and say… …’I must pay attention.’ So again you repeat,
again it disappears. So gradually what you are
learning is paying attention… …which means you
are not attending. Have you understood
what I am saying? If you are constantly reminding
yourself to attend, it is not attention. But attention has no time
– oh, I won’t go into all this. If you give your
complete attention… …which means there is no wastage
of energy, then the thing goes away. So your concern is not attention
but wasting energy – you follow? We waste energy in a 1,000 ways,
chattering is one of the ways. So, all right, I don’t pay attention
any more about chattering… …but I am going to see how I
waste my energy – right? I am going to pursue that. I am going to watch, learn,
see where I am wasting energy. Oh, there are so many ways.
Right? So my mind is now not
becoming mechanical… …by the repetition that I
must attend but it is moving. Right? All the time picking
up new things. I wonder if you see all this? So that the brain becomes
extraordinarily alert… …and when it is so
alert habits have no place. Is that enough for today? What time is it? Five after one. Oh! Sorry, I must stop.