Commentaries on Living [2]

Chapter - 56
Is There Profound Thinking?

FAR BEYOND THE palms was the sea, restless and cruel; it was never calm, but always rough with waves and strong currents. In the silence of the night its roar could be heard some distance inland, and in that deep voice there was a warning, a threat. But here among the palms there were deep shadows and stillness. It was full moon and almost like daylight, without the heat and the glare, and the light on those waving palms was soft and beautiful. The beauty was not only of the moonlight on the palms, but also of the shadows, of the rounded trunks, of the sparkling waters and the rich earth. The earth, the sky, the man walking by, the croaking frogs, and the distant whistle of a train - it was all one living thing not measurable by the mind.

The mind is an astonishing instrument; there is no man-made machinery that is so complex, subtle with such infinite possibilities. We are only aware of the superficial levels of the mind, if we are aware at all, and are satisfied to live and have our being on its outer surface. We accept thinking as the activity of the mind: the thinking of the general who plans wholesale murder, of the cunning politician, of the learned professor, of the carpenter. And is there profound thinking? Is not all thinking a surface activity of the mind? In thought, is the mind deep? Can the mind, which is put together, the result of time, of memory, of experience, be aware of something which is not of itself? The mind is always groping, seeking something beyond its own self-enclosing activities, but the centre from which it seeks remains ever the same.

The mind is not merely the surface activity, but also the hidden movements of many centuries. These movements modify or control the outer activity so the mind develops its own dualistic conflict. There is not a whole, total mind, it is broken up into many parts, one in opposition to another. The mind that seeks to integrate, coordinate itself, cannot bring peace among its many broken parts. The mind that is made whole by thought, by knowledge, by experience, is still the result of time and sorrow; being put together, it is still a thing of circumstances.

We are approaching this problem of integration wrongly. The part can never become the whole. Through the part the whole cannot be realized, but we do not see this. What we do see is the particular enlarging itself to contain the many parts; but the bringing together of many parts does not make for integration, nor is it of great significance when there is harmony between the various parts. It is not harmony or integration that is of importance, for this can be brought about with care and attention, with right education; but what is of the highest importance is to let the unknown come into being. The known can never receive the unknown. The mind is ceaselessly seeking to live happily in the puddle of self-created integration, but this will not bring about the creativity of the unknown.

Essentially, self-improvement is but mediocrity. Self-improvement through virtue, through identification with capacity, through any form of positive or negative security, is a self-enclosing process however wide. Ambition breeds mediocrity, for ambition is the fulfilment of the self through action, through the group, through idea. The self is the centre of all that is known, it is the past moving through the present to the future, and all activity in the field of the known makes for shallowness of mind. The mind can never be great, for what is great is immeasurable. The known is comparable, and all the activities of the known can only bring sorrow.

Chapter - 57
Immensity

THE VALLEY LAY far below and was filled with the activity of most valleys. The sun was just setting behind the distant mountains, and the shadows were dark and long. It was a quiet evening, with a breeze coming off the sea. The orange trees, row upon row, were almost black, and on the long straight road that ran through the valley there were occasional glints as moving cars caught the light of the setting sun. It was an evening of enchantment and peace.

The mind seemed to cover the vast space and the unending distance; or rather, the mind seemed to expand without an end, and behind and beyond the mind there was something that held all things in it. The mind vaguely struggled to recognize and remember that which was not of itself, and so it stopped its usual activity; but it could not grasp what was not of its own nature, and presently all things, including the mind were enfolded in that immensity. The evening darkened, and the distant barking of dogs in no way disturbed that which is beyond all consciousness. It cannot be thought about and so experienced by the mind. But what is it, then, that has perceived and is aware of something totally different from the projections of the mind? Who is it that experiences it? Obviously it is not the mind of everyday memories, responses and urges. Is there another mind, or is there a part of the mind which is dormant, to be awakened only by that which is above and beyond all mind? If this is so, then within the mind there is always that which is beyond all thought and time. And yet this cannot be, for it is only speculative thought and therefore another of the many inventions of the mind.

Since that immensity is not born of the process of the mind, then what is it that is aware of it? Is the mind as the experiencer aware of it, or is that immensity aware of itself because there is no experiencer at all? There was no experiencer when this happened coming down the mountain, and yet the awareness of the mind was wholly different, in kind as well as in degree, from that which is not measurable. The mind was not functioning; it was alert and passive, and though cognizant of the breeze playing among the leaves, there was no movement of any kind within itself. There was no observer who measured the observed. There was only that, and that was aware of itself without measure. It had no beginning and no word.

The mind is aware that it cannot capture by experience and word that whichever abides, timeless and immeasurable.


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