By Shawn Radcliffe and Jeanric Meller
In 1980 Indian spiritual philosopher J. Krishnamurti met with physicist David Bohm to talk about “insight, illusion, awakening, transcendence, renewal, morality, the temporal, and the spiritual.” Their conversations are captured in The Ending of Time: Where Philosophy and Physics Meet.
In part of their discussions, Krishnamurti and Bohm explore the existence of an intelligence that transcends thought. For Krishnamurti, thought has a basis in our physical being and is “born out of the image of what has been accumulated.” This accumulation occurs throughout our lifetime — or lifetimes — and results in a habitual movement of the mind between the extreme poles of the particular (personal) and the general (universal).
In order to break free of the cycle of accumulation, we first have to recognize that our thought patterns, or habits, exist. But that may not be enough. We also need to be able to stop the continual movements. This requires intelligence, but a form of intelligence very different from what we know as “ordinary intelligence.”
Krishnamurti suggests that this intelligence is related to love. Not the romantic or physical love that you experience when you have a crush on someone, but a love that is beyond the human realm. This ‘intelligent’ love is not personal, but it is also not general. It encompasses both of those and transcends them. It is “light”.
This type of love can break down the barrier between our perceptions and the Truth of reality, a wall that we build higher and wider with every habitual thought. Or as Krishnamurti puts it, “The wall is this movement. So when this movement ends, that quality of intelligence, love and so on, is there.”
Later in their conversations, Krishnamurti and Bohm discuss why it’s so difficult to become aware of that wall and break it down. Even if we notice one of our patterns and are able to let go of it, our mind will soon latch onto another one. We may do this to protect ourselves or because we don’t care. There could be many reasons for always putting another brick in the wall.
Bohm suggests that we get stuck in this “groove” because we impart significance to thoughts, some more significance than others: “Because this knowledge seems to have a tremendous value beyond all other values, it makes the mind stick to that. It seems the most important thing in the world (…) Knowledge stupefies the mind.”
Once knowledge is given importance, a strong defensive mechanism is put in place to prevent the mind from seeing that its divisiveness is destructive, to resist the flowering of intelligence and to reinforce our illusions.
In the end, says Bohm, “This knowledge creates the me.” That illusion of a self masquerades as a separate entity, “a real being”, whereas it really resides in knowledge itself.