Perhaps Krishnamurti was a bit too hard on concentration meditation and in particular mantra meditation. He saw it as 'utterly mechanical' and something for 'the frustrated, narrow, shallow mind, the conditioned mind.' However, many people find it helpful. Me? I don’t. Concentration meditation of whatever form is just another attachment, and it actually strengthens attachment because it relies almost entirely upon the use of one's conditioned mind and constant repetition. There is far too much focus on one thought or object. That is not a good thing. I like to get rid of attachments. (I’ve had quite a considerable number of them in my lifetime, and all they ever gave me was suffering.) You need to know this---concentration meditation doesn't lead to freedom from suffering, for where there is attachment, there is suffering. Also, concentration meditation does not provide you with any insight nor does it lead to wisdom in any deep sense (or at all for that matter). Did you get that? Concentration meditation will not give you any perspective on yourself. It throws no light on the basic problems of our lives---namely, our innate selfishness. The latter is the result of too much self-absorption. If anything, concentration results in more self-absorption, but you wouldn’t know because you’re too busy focusing your damn attention on some silly candle or statue or mantra. Not my cup of tea.
On the other hand, the practice of mindfulness (or insight meditation as it is also known) does lead to wisdom and insight. The essence of mindfulness is non-attached (note: not attached, but rather detached) objective and choiceless awareness of what is actually present from one moment to the next. The expression choiceless awareness means awareness without discrimination, judgment, interpretation, or analysis. Anything, absolutely anything, can and ought to be made the subject of your awareness. The great thing about mindfulness is that you can ‘do’ it all day long. It’s not something you do for just 20 minutes in the morning or evening although that is highly recommended as well. Mindfulness is simply ... living mindfully. All the activities of daily life can and ought to be the objects of mindfulness, that is, your awareness: occurrences outside of you as well your own bodily actions and sensations, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and mental images of all kinds. Nothing is ignored or suppressed when it comes to awareness---not even awareness itself.
Smell, wander, sit and stand,
Renounce the vanity of discussion,
Abandon thought and be not moved from singleness.
You see, what you need is already there, within you, in abundance. Get rid of a few things---things such as judgmentalism, condemnation, and analysis, as well as all forms of self-absorption and self-centredness---and you will find what is already there. You do not have to ‘work’ for it in the sense of concentrating hard on some damn object. What is needed is to dis-identify and dis-relate the mind … with an effortless and gentle kind of effort … the effort of non-effort, it’s been called. Yes, let go of all attachments. Concentration is just another form of attachment, and more attachment will just keep you in the prison-house longer. Don’t be bound by anything---not even meditation.
I love these other words from Krishnamurti. He was talking about mindfulness---even though he didn't actually use the word ‘mindfulness’---when he said the following:
Note. The 'Keep Calm and Aum' image is courtesy of http://www.doyouyoga.com/the-power-of-aum/. All rights reserved.