Conditioning – stepping off the curb

Stepping off the curb refers to a process referenced in Robert Pirsig’s book Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I wrote about the 12 step process of getting unstuck here. To show that I am not alone in showing interest in this book, take a look at the passage in the book as transcribed on this site.

Today I had one such moment of “stepping off the curb.” Pirsig talks about Poincare not using logic to get unstuck. The answer comes to you when you least expect like, like when you step off the curb.

Today, I stepped off the curb. When I did, this is what came to me:

How do you look at something anew as Krishnamurti recommends we do without any background knowledge like a certain technique to get through difficult times and yet not hold onto it under the guise of “learning” or being “hard” on oneself in order to learn one’s lesson?

Stepping off the curb and then stopping in y tracks for fear of not being done. Is that Conditioning? Am I holding onto things, not because I should in order to learn, but because I think I have to? I remember in my days of going to therapy of not wanting the negative feelings to completely go away so I could get more knowledge from it. I have heard Krishnamurti say that the chatter in the back of our minds and sometimes front and center, serve as company since the alternative scares us.

Maybe conditioning can happen anytime, not just when we are young.

Is this the same as the solution is causing the problem, or at least making it worse? Is the original problem not what I think it is? Am I thinking the problem and the solution are taking up time so I am making a cost value judgment? Like my mom use to tell us to go the bathroom when starting a journey in the car so we don’t have to stop.

Pirsig writes the solution seems insignificant at first because of duality, seeing things as separate from ourselves. It will take it’s right place in time. The stepping off the curb today didn’t seem that significant today but it stopped me in my tracks.

A couple other thoughts. Ignorance and Confusion are to blame. Can I see that in the present moment?

I also felt a similar feeling that this is taking forever. That is often the precursor to a switch. As described in getting unstuck. Boredom is the precursor to creativity. I was feeling down and it seemed to be dragging. I feel this at the end of the Krishnamurti meditation. After I begin to ask whether I am separate from my quality and if my quality is not separate from me. I feel very present but wonder if there is more. Is this supposed to lead to a breakthrough, dare I say enlightenment? I now see how much energy I spend in this process which is tied to desire, per Krishnamurti. It is related to habit.

Ego and itching is next.


As in most posts on, italicization of words refers to the words of either Jiddu Krishnamurti or Albert Low.  The website writer’s words are in regular text.

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