Here’s an excerpt from a piece in one of the Krishnamurti Foundation Bulletins that Krishnamurti dictated in 1970.It’s titled, “The Problem of Living.” When he speaks about how we act from our centre (center), he seems in this case to be describing how we act from our compulsion.
“As one can observe, we have always acted from a centre—a centre which contracts and expands. Sometimes it is a very small circle and at other times it is comprehensive, exclusive and utterly satisfying. But it is always a centre of grief and sorrow, of fleeting joys and misery, the enchanting or the painful past. It is a centre which most of us know consciously or unconsciously, and from this centre we act and have our roots. The question of what to do, now or tomorrow, is always asked from the centre and the reply must always be recognizable by the centre. Having received the reply either from another or from ourselves, we proceed to act according to the limitation of the centre. It is like an animal tethered to a post, its action depending on the length of the tether. This action is never free and so there is always pain, mischief and confusion.
“Realizing this, the centre says to itself: how am I to be free, free to live happily, completely, openly, and act without sorrow or remorse? But it is still the centre asking the question. The centre is the past. The centre is the ‘me’ with its selfish activities which knows action only in terms of reward and punishment, achievement or failure, and its motives, causes and effects. It is caught in this chain and the chain is the centre and the prison.
“There is another action which comes when there is a space without a centre, a dimension in which there is no cause and effect. From this, living is action. Here, having no centre, whatever is done is free, joyous, without pain or pleasure. This space and freedom is not a result of effort and achievement, but when the centre ends the other is.
“But we will ask how can the centre end, what am I to do to end it, what disciplines, what sacrifices, what great efforts am I to make? None. Only see without choice the activities of the centre, not as an observer, not as an outsider looking inward, but just observe without the censor. Then you may say: I cannot do it, I am always looking with the eyes of the past. Be aware, then, of looking with the eyes of the past, and remain with that. Don’t try to do anything about it; be simple and know that whatever you try to do will only strengthen the centre and is a response of your own desire to escape.
“So there is no escape, no effort and no despair. Then you can see the full meaning of the centre and the immense danger of it, and that is enough.“
- The Root of Understanding (ninepaths.com)