First Step Is The Last Step
First Step Is The Last Step
At first glance, the title may give an indication that the topic refers to a series of steps that we try to cross progressively in order to reach an intended goal. If that is so there must be a number of steps involved, each step contributing its own value addition because of which we will be able to reach the goal. In other words, no two steps can be alike and must necessarily result in positive value addition. But then how can the first step be the last step? Doesn’t it contradict the whole principle of the life cycle of activity we may undertake in order to achieve something in time? In the philosophical world that is how things happen and we cannot consider them as a contradiction at all. J Krishnamurti says that is how it happens with respect to the ‘Self Realization’ and beyond.
According to J Krishnamurti, anything that is a product of time is dangerous since for the mind that is trying to ‘become something’ or ‘achieve something’ other than ‘what is’ looks for time naturally and the same time will become a means of escape for it from achieving its intended goal. For every small progress to be made the mind tries to take time without knowing whether the time is a necessary factor or not. Probably because of this reason J Krishnamurti rejected the time and made the first step the last step too. So, we must understand the first step totally since it constitutes the last step also.
As we know already, all thoughts originate from our memory that stores information gathered through life experience and inheritance. So the ability to comprehend something is limited. But the egoistic mind doesn’t get satisfied with its limited ability and hence tries to buy time constantly towards achieving its intended goal. With time effort will be involved and the mind may not know that the effort could be futile. Either the ambition to achieve something great or the fear of losing something else in the event of a failure to achieve may compel the mind to stay on the course of time forever. This could lead to an illusion also where the mind says it is progressing always while the end goal could be unreachable.
In the religious or the spiritual world man has been trying to comprehend God, Truth or whatever we might call it, which is immeasurable and incomprehensible. When we say it is ‘immeasurable’ how can the limited thought try to comprehend it? The limitation is due to the conditioning of the mind that would have existed for millions of years of man’s existence. The result of the conditioning is the individual consciousness that has its own opinions, conclusions, feelings, emotions, etc., which all eventually operate during the process of judgement by the mind. Hence whatever judgement is done could be incorrect or incomplete.
Same is true with the understanding of the ‘immeasurable’ but the mind always tries to reach at a conclusion because there is a sense of comfort, satisfaction, fulfilment and so on in any conclusion. This is nothing but an escape from the reality, truth. When the mind reaches a conclusion it may stop further enquiry and hence the truth remains deluded to it. In other words, a mind that is already having a known field of knowledge with which it always operates cannot possibly perceive the truth. So, if one wants to perceive the truth his/her mind must be totally free from all conditioning, which is nothing but staying in a silent observation where there is no identification, justification or condemnation whatsoever. Such a mind will always be watchful of every movement of thought, its actions, and the consequences of the actions and so on, trying to understand totally and learning from it. Such an understanding must be of the “Self’, the “I”, the “Me” or the “Centre” since without understanding it all that it produces as thoughts will be distorted. Hence understanding the “Self” forms the first step towards perceiving the truth.
Having identified the first step we obviously look for the next one or next few steps. But as J.Krishnamurti mentioned there cannot be any more steps involved since it is not in the field of time. In that case this first step must be the last step also. Does it mean that once we cross the first step, which is the “Self-realization” we will be able to perceive the truth? Before finding an answer to this question we must understand the nature of truth. If the h can be perceived by crossing a step or a milestone then it will obviously mean that there is a definite path to Truth. But J Krishnamurti says there is no path to truth or truth is a pathless land and hence one cannot approach it by organizing any religion, sect, faith, etc. Going further he says that the truth will always be in a constant movement expressing itself in different colours or flavours to us and hence it is not a static entity. So, by just crossing the first step how can we perceive the truth? We must also understand what we mean by the word “crossing”. If we say that we have crossed the first step, which is self-realization it means that the self-realization is an end or attainment by itself. This is also not correct according to J Krishnamurti who says that self-realization is a life process that has to continue throughout our life. Our life has so much in abundance to offer to us and understanding it totally must be a continuous process because our life cannot be simply a bundle of selected few events or achievements.
If one is on the path of “self-realization”, which is a continuous process, he/she need not look at what is there ahead to achieve or reach or cross. Our mind will be in such a state that it will be operating autonomously where there will be no duality. There will be only awareness, understanding and learning in a continuum, which is nothing but the perception of truth moment to moment. Can we divide this state of constant perception of truth into multiple steps and try to cross over one by one? Not at all since one cannot invite the truth willfully. One can only be in a state of reception with total freedom. So, the first step is indeed the last step.