This sutra deserves your total attention: Observation not only creates knowing, it transforms as well. Actually, observation brings knowing and knowing brings transformation. The revolution of knowing is one’s life transformed. It is just like digging away the earth and exposing all the roots of a tree to light in order to know them. Not only will this enable the roots to be known, but bringing them out of the darkness and separating them from the earth will be their death as well. On one hand I will be observing the roots of the tree, on the other hand the branches will be withering away.
Observation can become the death of the roots of desire and passion. They cannot bear light. Evil cannot endure knowing. When Socrates said, "Knowing is virtue," he most likely meant to convey this very thing. I also say the very same thing: Knowing is virtue; ignorance is evil. Light is real morality; darkness, immorality.
Observation, the constant observation of oneself, of the mind’s unconscious tendencies, awakens the consciousness and allows it to penetrate into the unconscious mind. The unconscious enters the conscious through the door of stupor, unawareness, intoxication and carelessness, and overpowers it. We have seen that animalistic instincts and tendencies become possible only in unawareness. Anger and lust grab hold of us only when we are unconscious and that is the reason intoxicants help in satisfying our animal instincts.
Consciousness enters the unconscious mind through the overcoming of stupor, through vigilance, watchfulness and awareness, and overpowers it. To the degree that watchfulness and awareness grow in us, and to the degree that right-mindfulness and observation of our tendencies, actions, passions and desires develop in us, is to the same degree that consciousness fills us. And those drives and outbursts of passion, those blind, unconscious impulses disappear because they can only exist in a state of unawareness, sleep, and unconsciousness. They simply cannot exist in a state of consciousness.
Bear in mind that to date nobody has ever done anything wrong while aware, while conscious. All sin is born out of unawareness, it is unawareness itself. As I see it, unawareness is the only sin. Observation destroys unawareness. So let us understand what observation is and how it can be brought about.
What is self-observation then? It is sitting quietly – just as I explained yesterday when we discussed the experiment in right-mindfulness – and observing, watching whatever happens within oneself. There is a world of thoughts and passions inside. One observes that world; one keeps on looking at it just as one stands on the seashore looking at the waves. Krishnamurti has called this “choiceless awareness.” It is completely indifferent observation. To be indifferent is very necessary.
Indifference means one makes no choice, no judgment. One does not label any passion or desire as good or bad. One does not make any judgment of good and evil, between virtue and vice. One simply observes. One simply becomes a witness, standing aloof and apart, as if one has no other purpose than that of remaining aware and observing. The moment purpose creeps in, the moment choice or judgment comes in, observation comes to an end. Then I am not observing; then I have begun to think.