Flame of Attention
2nd Public Talk
27th December 1981
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday evening? I am afraid that noise has been going on all day, you will have to put up with it. Appropo of that so-called music, you have had Muslim rule over seven hundred years in this country. They didn't make any dent on the Hindu mind. Then you have had one hundred and fifty years of British rule. Perhaps they made a little dent on the Hindu mind. Since you have had freedom for the last nearly forty years you have torn everything to pieces. You have had five to three thousand years of so-called culture, and the moment you have had freedom, whatever that word may mean to most of you, you have torn that cloth that was woven during those three thousand, five thousand years, torn it all to pieces, and you are living in a state of chaos, without any kind of culture, without any kind of responsibility, without any integrity. And that is the result: worshipping local gods, tribal superstitions, even the so-called fairly educated people.
So after having said that with regard to that noise, which is called music, let's proceed with what we were talking about yesterday. I hope that is all right. Unfortunately the wind is blowing from that direction.
We were talking yesterday about conflict. We were asking whether human beings who have lived on this beautiful earth, with all the vast treasures of this earth, with their mountains, rivers and lakes, during all these millennia human beings have lived in perpetual conflict. Not only outwardly with the environment, with nature, but also with each other, and inwardly, so-called spiritually, we have been in constant conflict, from the moment we are born until we die we are in conflict. And we put up with it; we have become accustomed to it; we tolerate it. We find many reasons why we should live in conflict, because we think conflict, struggle, ever striving means progress: outward progress, or inward achievement towards the highest goal. There are various forms of conflict: the man who is struggling to achieve some result, the man who is in conflict, struggles with nature, trying to conquer it.
(Noise of music) I am so sorry - what you have reduced this country to, such a beautiful country, India is: lovely hills, marvellous mountains, tremendous rivers. Three thousand to five thousand years of human suffering, human struggle, obeying, accepting, destroying each other, and this is what we have reduced it to: a wilderness of wild thoughtless human beings, who do not care for the earth, nor for the lovely things of the earth, nor the beauty of a lake, a pond, of the swift running river, none of us seem to care. All that we are concerned with is our own little selves, our own little problem. And this, after three to five thousand years of so-called culture. I wonder if you realize what you as human beings have done in this country. It is most unfortunate that all this has to be said. One wants to cry with what we are doing in this country; what other countries are doing, perhaps more or less the same - the other countries also have loud music, nonsensical entertainments, but when we are concerned with this country we shouldn't compare with other countries. That is a political escape, not facing facts.
And we are going to face facts this afternoon. Because life has become extraordinarily dangerous, insecure, utterly without any meaning. You may invent a lot of meanings, significance, but actual daily life - it may be lived for thirty, forty, hundred years it has lost all meaning except to gather money, to be somebody, to be powerful and so on. I am afraid this has to be said.
As we were saying yesterday, no politicians, or any politics, whether it is left, right or centre, is going to solve any of our problems. Politicians are not interested in solving problems. They are only concerned with themselves and keeping their position. And the gurus and religions have betrayed man. You have followed the Upanishads, read them rather, the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and Bhagvad Gita, and it's the guru's game to read them aloud to an audience that are supposed to be enlightened, intelligent. So you cannot possibly rely on the politicians, that is, government; nor upon the religious scriptures, not upon any guru whatsoever because they have made this country what it is now. If one seeks further leadership they will also lead you up the wrong path. That is what we were saying yesterday afternoon. And as no one can help us, no one, we have to be responsible for ourselves totally, completely: responsible for our conduct, for our behaviour, for our actions and all that.
And we are going to talk about conflict this afternoon: whether it is possible to live in a world that is becoming more and more chaotic, more and more insecure and dangerous, whether we can be free of conflict both outwardly and inwardly. Please, as we said yesterday, this is not a lecture but rather that we are together, perhaps with my little help, we are together investigating, exploring whether we can live without a single conflict in our life. And it is necessary and important to find out if we can so live. (More loud noise of music) I think the wind will die down!
One must ask after all this millennia, why human beings have not solved the problem of struggle, conflict amongst themselves, with each other, in themselves? This is a very important question to ask: why we admit to and succumb to conflict? You know what conflict is? The struggle to become something, or not to become something, the struggle to achieve a result, personal advancement, personal success, try to fulfil something of your desires; the conflict of war, the preparations for war, of which you may not be aware. They are inventing dreadful machines to kill each other, kill us, and the competition involved in our desires to succeed. The conflict between man and woman, sexually in their daily relationship. Apparently this conflict is not only conscious, if one is at all aware but also deep down in the very recesses of our mind: conflict of pretension, trying to be something when you are not, conflict that exists in trying to achieve heaven, god, or whatever you like to call that thing that you adore, worship, conflict in meditation, struggle to meditate, struggle against lethargy, indolence. So our life is from the very beginning, from the time we are born until we die, it is a perpetual conflict. We are in conflict with that. (Noise of music) And they don't care whether other human beings suffer from their music, to their noise. It is not music.
So we must find out together why man, you as a human being, representing all the world - we went into that a little yesterday, you are the rest of the world - why we human beings have tolerated, put up with, become habituated to conflict? Please don't go to sleep. We are thinking over together most seriously whether it is possible to completely be free of all conflict; because conflict, consciously or unconsciously will inevitably bring about a society that is ourselves extended. Society is not an abstraction, it is not an idea, society is relationship between man and man. If that relationship is in conflict, painful, depressing, anxious, painful, then we create a society which represents us. It is a fact. Please look at it carefully. Society isn't something out there. Society, the idea of society, the idea is not actual society; society is what we are with each other. And we are asking whether this conflict can ever end?
What is conflict? When conflict is, when we do not accept what actually is, and escape to something called an ideal, the opposite of 'what is', then conflict is inevitable. Are we meeting each other? That is, when I am incapable of looking actually and observing what actually I am doing, thinking, acting, this is 'what is; and I project an ideal, so there is conflict between 'what is' and 'what should be'. You are following all this? I hope so. Sir, I am not talking for my pleasure. I am not trying to fulfil myself in talking, or build up a kind of reputation. I don't believe in any of those things. We are talking to convey, if we are serious, that there is a way of living in which there is not a spot of conflict. If you are interested in it, if you are concerned about it, if you want to find out a way of living that is without that sense of vain effort, then please do listen carefully, not to what I am saying, not to what the speaker is saying, but listen to the fact, the truth of what is being said, which is your own observation because we are together investigating. It is not what the speaker is pointing out but together we are looking. Please do pay attention to this. It is no fun for the speaker just to talk to blank faces, or people who are bored. Since you have taken the trouble to come and sit here under the beautiful trees, it is nice, but we are here to talk over together serious matters.
So we were saying conflict exists when we disregard what is actually taking place and translate what is taking place in terms of an ideal, in terms of 'what should be', in a concept which we have accepted, or which we ourselves have created. So when there is a division between 'what is' and 'what should be' there must inevitably be conflict. This is a law. Not the speaker's law but it is the law; like an apple or a fruit falls from the tree, that is a law; so similarly this is a law. So we are going to investigate why human beings have never faced 'what is' and are always trying to escape from that.
This country has always talked about non-violence. That is right, isn't it? (Noise of birds) Even the birds agree! This has been preached over and over again, politically, religiously, by all the various leaders that you have had - non-violence: which is not a fact, just an idea, a theory, a set of words, but the actual fact is that you are violent. That is the fact. That's what is. And we are not capable of understanding 'what is' and that is why we create this nonsense called non-violence. Right? So that becomes a conflict between 'what is' and 'what should be'. And while you are pursuing non-violence you are sowing the seeds of violence all the time. That is again so obvious. So can we together look at 'what is' without any escape, without any ideals, without suppressing or escaping from 'what is'? We are by inheritance from the animal, from the ape and so on, we are violent. Violence takes many forms, not merely brutal action, hitting each other; violence is a very complicated issue. Violence is imitation, conformity, obedience; violence is when you are not and pretend what you are supposed to be; that is a form of violence. Please see the reason of all this, the logic of all this. It is not just that we are making statements for you to accept or deny. We are walking down a path, in a forest, in the lovely woods, together and investigating, talking over together like two friends, about violence. And so we are talking about it amicably, without any persuasion, without any sense of resolution of the problem. We are talking together, we are observing together. We are walking along the same path, not your path or my path but the path of investigation into these problems.
We are violent. That is a fact. We get angry, we conform, we imitate, we follow, we are aggressive and aggression takes many forms - a polite, gentle aggressiveness, with a kid glove, persuading you through affection. That is a form of violence. Compelling you to think along a particular line, that is violence. Violence is the acceptance of something that you are not. So please understand violence isn't just getting angry or beating up each other, that is nothing, that is a very shallow form of violence. Violence is very, very complex and to understand it, to go into the very depths of it, one must see the fact first and not, "We should be non-violent". I hope this is very clear. We are communicating with each other, therefore if there is no understanding in our communication we must stop and go back. Communication means understanding together of a particular problem, using the words, as we are talking in English, that we both understand.
There is only 'what is', which is violence, and not non-violence, that is non-fact, not a reality, it is a projection of thought to escape, or to accept violence and pretend that we are becoming non-violent. This country has played that game for centuries. So can we look at violence freed from all that: from escape, from ideals, from suppression, but actually observe what violence is.
So we have to learn together how to observe. We are not teaching you, you are not the speaker's followers, he is not your guru, thank god; but we are merely walking together, investigating, there is no superior or inferior in this investigation. There is no authority in this investigation, but when your mind is crippled with authority, as you are, it is very difficult to be free of all that and look at violence. So it is important to understand how to observe. To observe what is happening in the world: the misery, the confusion, the hypocrisy, the lack of integrity, the brutal actions that are going on in the world, the terrorists, the people who are taking hostages and the gurus who have their own particular concentration camps. Please, don't laugh, you are part of all that. It is all violence. How can anyone say, "I know, follow me"? That is a scandalous statement. So we are together observing what violence is. So we are asking: what is it to observe? What is it to observe the environment around you; the trees, that pond in the corner there, made beautiful within this year, the stars, the new moon, the solitary Venus alone, the evening star by itself, the glory of a sunset, how do you watch it, if you have ever watched at all? You cannot watch, observe if you are occupied with yourself, with your own problems, with your own ideas, with your own complex thinking, you cannot observe. Right? You cannot observe if you have prejudice, or if there is any kind of conclusion which you hold on to, or your particular experience that you cling to, then it is impossible to observe. So how do you observe a tree, this marvellous thing called a tree, the beauty of it, how do you look at it? How do you look at it now as you are sitting there surrounded by these trees? Have you ever watched them? Have you seen their leaves, fluttering in the wind, the beauty of the light on the leaf, have you ever watched it? So can you watch a tree, or the new moon, or the single star in the heavens, without the word, the moon, the star, the sky, without the word? Because the word is not the actual star, the actual moon. So can you put aside the word and look? Right? That is outwardly.
Can you look at your wife without the word? Without all the remembrance of your relationship however intimate it has been, without all that builtup memory of ten days, or ten years, or fifty years, can you look at your wife, or your husband, without the memory of the past? Have you ever done it? Of course not. So will you please let us learn together how to look, how to observe a flower. If you know how to look at a flower, that contains eternity. Don't be carried away by my words. If you know how to look at a star, a dense forest, then you see in that observation there is space, timeless eternity. So we must together find out how to observe: to observe your wife or your husband without the image you have created about her or about him. You must begin very close - you understand - you must begin very close in order to go very far. But if you don't begin very close you can never go very far. If you want to climb the mountain or go to the next village on your feet, the first steps matter, how you walk, with what grace, with what ease, with what felicity. So we are saying that to go very, very far, which is eternity, you must begin very close, which is your relationship with your wife and husband. Can you look, observe with clear eyes your wife or your husband, without the words 'My wife', or 'my husband', 'My nephew', or 'My son', without the word, without all the accumulated hurts with all the remembrance of things past, can you look? Do it now as you are sitting there, observe. And when you are capable of observing without the past, that is all the images you have built about yourself and about her, then there is right relationship between you and her.
Now, as we have not observed each other, it is like two railway lines never meeting. That's our relationship. I wonder if you are aware of all this? If you are aware what actually our relationship is. We are together learning how to observe that tree, sitting next to your neighbour, the colour of the shirt, the colour of the sari, the type of the face, observe without criticism, without like or dislike, just to observe. Now when such observation takes place can you look at your violence; violence being anger, irritation, conformity, acceptance, getting used to some noise, some dirt, the squalor around your houses, can you look at all that? So when you so look you bring all your energy, you bring all your energy to observe, and when you so observe your violence you will find, if you have gone into it, if you do it, that violence because you have brought all your energy to observe, that violence totally disappears. Don't repeat, if I may most respectfully request, don't repeat what you have heard. By repeating what the speaker has said you become secondhand human beings. By repeating the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and all the printed books, you have made yourself secondhand human beings. You don't seem to mind, do you? You are not even ashamed of it, you just accept it. That acceptance is part of this complex problem of violence.
So we are saying that it is possible to live without conflict, when there is no duality. There is no duality now, not when you reach a certain state of consciousness. There is no actual duality, there is only 'what is'. You understand? Duality only exists when you deny, or try to escape from 'what is' into 'what is not'. Is this clear? Are we all together in this matter? I know your philosophy, Vedanta and all that stuff, I don't know anything about it, but people have talked to me a great deal about all these matters, pundits, scholars and ordinary people, they live in duality. Right? Not physical duality, there is man, woman, tall, short, light skin, dark skin, you know all that, that is not duality. But the idea that conflict is necessary because we live in duality and therefore those who are free from the opposite are the enlightened people. You invent a philosophy around that. And you read about it, accept it, read all the commentaries and you are stuck where you are. Whereas the speaker is saying there is no duality actually; not when you reach spiritual heights, you will never reach spiritual heights if you have dualities now, not in some future incarnation or at the end of your life. The speaker is saying there is only 'what is', there is nothing else. 'What is' is the only fact. Its opposite is non-fact, it has no reality. I hope this is very clear, even logically, with reason. If you are exercising your reason, your capacity to think logically, 'what is' is more important to understand than 'what should be'. And 'what should be' we cling to because we don't know how to deal with 'what is'. We use the opposites as a lever to free ourselves from 'what is'. You are following all this? I hope you are.
So there is only 'what is' and therefore there is no duality, there is no opposite: there is only greed and not non-greed. When you understand the depth of violence without escaping from it, running away to some idiotic ideals, as non-violence, when you look at it, when you observe it very closely, which is to bring all the energy which you have wasted in pursuing the opposite, which is a wastage of energy, when you try to suppress it, it is a wastage of energy which is conflict. But when you observe 'what is' there is no conflict. Please understand this.
Suppose I am envious, envious of you who are very clever, bright, intelligent, sensitive, see the beauty of the earth and the glory of the sky, and I don't see it. And you enjoy this lovely earth and to me it means nothing. Then I want to be like you. So I begin to imitate you, the way you walk, the way you look, the way you smile, the way you look at the heavens. I am greedy. Right? But I have been educated from childhood not to be greedy. The 'not' is the opposite of what I am. I have been educated, conditioned, all the books have said there is duality, or some books - that is not important, the books have said it. And I have accepted it. And it is very difficult for me to break that conditioning, so I begin to discuss with you, cleverly; there is duality, books have said it, my guru has told me. So my conditioning from childhood prevents the understanding of this very simple fact, which is, there is only 'what is'. Goodness is not the opposite of the bad. If good is born out of the bad then goodness contains the bad. You understand? Think it out sirs, work at it. Let's exercise our brains. So to always live with 'what is', with what actually is going on outwardly and inwardly. When I am envious, I live with that fact, I observe it. Again envy is a very complex process, part of competition, the desire for advancement, politically, religiously, business. And I have been brought up in that; to break that tradition in which I have been brought up demands a great deal of observation, not run away to the opposite of tradition. Just to observe what tradition is. You understand all this? I hope the speaker is making it all very clear. You are all traditional people. That is, you are repeating psychologically, even intellectually what you have been told. Your whole religion is based on that. And there they are.
So when once you see the fact, that there is only 'what is', and to observe with all the energy that you have, that fact, then you will see that fact has no value or importance, it is totally non existent. You are following this?
Look sirs: one has been told from childhood to be good. The word 'good' is an old fashioned word, but it is really a beautiful word. Good means to be correct; correct in your speech, correct in your behaviour, not according to an idea of what is correct. Correct means to be precise, accurate, not pretentious. I am not good - suppose I am not. And my parents, my teacher, my educator says, "Be good" - so I have created a conflict between I am and what I should be. I don't understand the meaning of that word, because that word again is very, very subtle, it demands a great deal of investigation into that word. Good means also to be completely honest, to have great integrity, which means one behaves not according to some tradition, fashion, but behaving with the sense of integrity, which has its own intelligence.
And also goodness means to be holistic, to be whole, not fragmented. I am all that, fragmented - suppose I am - fragmented, traditional, brought up in this chaotic tradition. What is important is not what is goodness, why my brain is caught in tradition - that is more important than being good. You understand? So I have to understand why the brain, which is again very, very subtle, has great depth to it in itself, why such a brain has followed tradition. It has followed because it is safe, there is security because I am following what my parents have said and so on, that gives one a sense of safety, protection - a false protection: I think it is safe but it is unreal, it is illusory, and I won't listen to you because I am frightened to be without tradition. Which means to live with all your attention.
So it is possible, if you go into it very carefully, to live a life without a shadow of conflict. Because those of you who believe in god, I am sure you all do, don't you, if god created you he must have meant that you must have a rotten life - right? But you have created god; that is a fact. God is your ultimate security and you believe in that. See what thought has done: created an image of god and then you worship that god which is self worship. You understand? Oh, you people don't. Then you begin to ask who created the earth, who created the heavens, the universe and so on. So your tradition begins to destroy the human mind. It is a repetition, it becomes mechanical, it has no vitality, except to earn money, go to the office every morning for the rest of your life and then die at the end of it.
So it is important to find out whether you, as a human being, who is the rest of humanity - we went into that the other day, your consciousness is the consciousness of the rest of man because every man throughout the world suffers, is anxious, depressed, lonely, uncertain, confused like you; your consciousness is like any other consciousness. And so when you live without a single conflict but only living everyday with 'what is' and observing 'what is', not only out there but inwardly, then you will create a society that will be without conflict. Right sirs.
5th Public Talk
6th February 1982
The average person wastes his life; he has a great deal of energy but he wastes it. He spends his days in the office, or in digging the garden, or as a lawyer or something, or he leads the life of a sannyasi. The life of an average person seems, at the end, utterly meaningless, without significance. When he looks back, when he is fifty, eighty, or ninety, what has he done with his life?
Life has a most extraordinary significance, with its great beauty, its great suffering and anxiety, the accumulating of money in working from eight or nine in the morning until five for years and years. At the end of it all, what have we done with life? Money, sex, the constant conflict of existence, the weariness, the travail, unhappiness and frustrations that is all we have with perhaps occasional joy; or perhaps you love someone completely, wholly, without any sense of self.
There seems to be so little justice in the world. Philosophers have talked a great deal about justice. The social workers talk about justice. The average man wants justice. But is there justice in life at all? One is clever, well placed, with a good mind and is good looking; having everything he wants. Another has nothing. One is well educated, sophisticated, free to do what he wants. Another is a cripple, poor in mind and in heart. One is capable of writing and speaking; a good human being. Another is not. This has been the problem of philosophy with its love of truth, love of life. But perhaps truth is in life, not in books, away from life, not in ideas. Perhaps truth is where we are and in how we live. When one looks around, life seems so empty and meaningless for most people. Can man ever have justice? Is there any justice in the world at all? One is fair, another is dark. One is bright, aware, sensitive, full of feeling, loving a beautiful sunset, the glory of a moon, the astonishing light on the water; one sees all that and another does not. One is reasonable, sane, healthy and another is not. So one asks, seriously, is there justice in the world at all?
Before the law all are supposedly equal, but some are `more equal' than others who have not sufficient money to employ good lawyers. Some are born high, others low. Observing all this in the world there is apparently very little justice. So where is justice then? It appears that there is justice only when there is compassion. Compassion is the ending of suffering. Compassion is not born out of any religion or from belonging to any cult. You cannot be a Hindu with all your superstitions and invented gods and yet become compassionate you cannot. To have compassion there must be freedom, complete and total freedom, from all conditioning. Is such freedom possible? The human brain has been conditioned over millions of years. That is a fact. And it seems that the more we acquire knowledge about all the things of the earth and heaven, the more do we get bogged down. When there is compassion, then with it there is intelligence, and that intelligence has the vision of justice.
We have invented the ideas of karma and reincarnation; and we think that by inventing those ideas, those systems about something that is to happen in the future, that we have solved the problem of justice. Justice begins only when the mind is very clear and when there is compassion.
Our brains are very complex instruments. Your brain, or the speaker's brain, is of the brain of humanity. It has not just developed from when you were born until now. It has evolved through endless time and conditions our consciousness. That consciousness is not personal; it is the ground on which all human beings stand. When you observe this consciousness with all its content of beliefs, dogmas, concepts, fears, pleasures, agonies, loneliness, depression and despair, it is not your individual consciousness. It is not the individual that holds this consciousness. We are deeply conditioned to think that we are separate individuals; but it is not your brain or mine. We are not separate. Our brains are so conditioned through education, through religion, that we think we are separate entities, with separate souls and so on. We are not individuals at all. We are the result of thousands of years of human experience, human endeavour and struggle. So, we are conditioned; therefore we are never free. As long as we live with or by a concept, a conclusion, with certain ideas or ideals, our brains are not free and therefore there is no compassion. Where there is freedom from all conditioning which is, freedom from being a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim or a Buddhist, freedom from being caught up in specialization (though specialization has its place) freedom from giving one's life entirely to money then there can be compassion. As long as the brain is conditioned, which it is now, there is no freedom for man. There is no 'ascent' of man, as some philosophers and biologists are saying, through knowledge. Knowledge is necessary; to drive a car, to do business, to go to from here to your home, to bring about technological development and so on, it is necessary; but not the psychological knowledge that one has gathered about oneself, culminating in memory which is the result of external pressures and inward demands.
Our lives are broken up, fragmented, divided, they are never whole; we never have holistic observation. We observe from a particular point of view. We are in ourselves broken up so that our lives are in contradiction in themselves, therefore there is constant conflict. We never look at life as a whole, complete and indivisible. The word `whole' means to be healthy, to be sane; it also means holy. That word has great significance. It is not that the various fragmented parts become integrated in our human consciousness. (We are always trying to integrate various contradictions.) But is it possible to look at life as a whole, the suffering, the pleasure, the pain, the tremendous anxiety, loneliness, going to the office, having a house, sex, having children, as though they were not separate activities, but as a holistic movement, a unitary action? Is that possible at all? Or must we everlastingly live in fragmentation and therefore for ever in conflict? Is it possible to observe the fragmentation and the identification with those fragments? To observe, not correct, not transcend, not run away from or suppress, but observe. It is not a matter of what to do about it; because if you attempt to do something about it you are then acting from a fragment and therefore cultivating further fragments and divisions, Whereas, if you can observe holistically, observe the whole movement of life as one, then conflict with its destructive energy not only ceases but also out of that observation comes a totally new approach to life.
I wonder if one is aware of how broken up one's daily life is? And if one is aware, does one then ask: how am I to bring all this together to make a whole? And who is the entity, the `I', who is to bring all these various parts together and integrate them? That entity, is he not also a fragment? Thought itself is fragmentary, because knowledge is never complete about anything. Knowledge is accumulated memory and thought is the response of that memory and therefore it is limited. Thought can never bring about a holistic observation of life.
So, can one observe the many fragments which are our daily life and look at them as a whole? One is a professor, or a teacher, or merely a householder, or a sannyasi who has renounced the world; those are fragmented ways of living a daily life. Can one observe the whole movement of one's fragmented life with its separate and separative motives; can one observe them all without the observer? The observer is the past, the accumulation of memories. He is that past and that is time. The past is looking at this fragmentation; and the past as memory, is also in itself the result of previous fragmentations. So, can one observe without time, without thought, the remembrances of the past, and without the word? Because the word is the past, the word is not the thing. One is always looking through words; through explanations, which are a movement of words. We never have a direct perception. Direct perception is insight which transforms the brain cells themselves. One's brain has been conditioned through time and functions in thinking. It is caught in that cycle. When there is pure observation of any problem there is a transformation, a mutation, in the very structure of the cells.
We have created time, psychological time. We are masters of that inward time that thought has put together. That is why we must understand the nature of time which man has created psychological time as hope, time as achievement. Why have human beings, psychologically, inwardly, created time - time when one will be good; time when one will be free of violence; time to achieve enlightenment; time to achieve some exalted state of mind; time as meditation? When one functions within the realm of that time one is bringing about a contradiction and hence conflict. Psychological time is conflict.
It is really a great discovery if one realizes the truth that one is the past, the present and the future; which is time as psychological knowledge. One creates a division between our living in our consciousness and the distant time which is death. That is, one is living with all one's problems and death is something to be avoided, postponed, put at a great distance which is another fragmentation in one's life. To observe holistically the whole movement of life is to live both the living and the dying. But one clings to life and avoids death; one does not even talk about it. So not only has one fragmented one's life, superficially, physically, but also one has separated oneself from death. What is death; is it not part of one's life? One may be frightened, one may want to avoid death and to prolong living, but always at the end of it there is death.
What is living? What is living, which is our consciousness? Consciousness is made up of its content; and the content is not different from consciousness. Consciousness is what one believes, one's superstitions, ambitions, one's greed, competitiveness, attachment, suffering, the depth of loneliness, the gods, the rituals all that is one's consciousness, which is oneself. But that consciousness is not one's own, it is the consciousness of humanity; one is the world and the world is oneself. One is one's consciousness with its content. That content is the ground upon which aIl humanity stands. Therefore, psychologically, inwardly, one is not an individual. Outwardly one may have a different form from another, yellow, brown, black, be tall or short, be a woman or a man, but inwardly, deeply, we are similar perhaps with some variations, but the similarity is like a string that holds the pearls together. We must comprehend what living is, then we can ask what dying is. What is before is more important than what happens after death. Before the end, long before the last minute, what is living? Is this living, this travail and conflict without any relationship with each other? This sense of deep inward loneliness; that is what we call living. To escape from this so-called living, you go off to churches, temples, pray and worship, which is utterly meaningless. If you have money you indulge in extravagance the extravagance of marriage in this country. You know all the tricks you play to escape from your own consciousness, from your own state of mind. And this is what is called living. And death is the ending. The ending of everything that you know. The ending of every attachment, all the money you have accumulated which you cannot take with you; therefore you are frightened. Fear is part of your life. And so whatever you are, however rich, however poor, however highly placed, whatever power you have, whatever kind of politician you are, from the highest to the lowest crook in politics, there is the ending, which is called death. And what is it that is dying? The `me' with all the accumulations that it has gathered in this life, all the pain, the loneliness, the despair, the tears, the laughter, the suffering that is the `me' with all its words. The summation of all this is `me'. I may pretend that I have in 'me' some higher spirit, the atman, the soul, something everlasting, but that is all put together by thought; and thought is not sacred. So this is our life; the `me' that you cling to, to which you are attached. And the ending of that is death. It is the fear of the known, and the fear of the unknown; the known is our life, and we are afraid of that life, and the unknown is death of which we are also afraid. Have you ever seen a man or a woman frightened of death? Have you ever seen closely? Death is the total denial of the past, present and the future, which is `me'. And being frightened of death you think there are other lives to be lived. You believe in reincarnation probably most of you do. That is a nice, happy projection of comfort, invented by people who have not understood what living is. They see living is pain, constant conflict, endless misery with an occasional flare of smile, laughter and joy, and they say `We will live again next life; after death I will meet my wife' or husband, my son, my god. Yet we have not understood what we are and what we are attached to. What are we attached to? To money? If you are attached to money, that is you, the money is you. Like a man attached to old furniture, beautiful l4th century furniture, highly polished and of great value, he is attached to that; therefore he is the furniture. So what are you attached to? Your body? If you were really attached to your body you would look after that body, eat properly, exercise properly, but you don't. You are just attached to the idea of the body the idea but not the actual instrument. If you are attached to your wife it is because of your memories. If you are attached to her she comforts you over this and that, with all the trivialities of attachment, and death comes and you are separated.
So one has to enquire very closely and deeply into one's attachment. Death does not permit one to have anything when one dies. One's body is cremated or buried, and what has one left? One`s son, for whom one has accumulated a lot of money which he will misuse anyway. He will inherit one's property, pay taxes and go through all the terrible anxieties of existence just as one did oneself; is that what one is attached to? Or is one attached to one's knowledge, having been a great writer, poet or painter? Or is one attached to words because words play a tremendous part in one's life? Just words. One never looks behind the words. One never sees that the word is not the thing, that the symbol is never the reality.
Can the brain, the human consciousness, be free of this fear of death? As one is the master of psychological time, can one live with death not separating death off as something to be avoided, to be postponed, something to be put away? Death is part of life. Can one live with death and understand the meaning of ending? That is to understand the meaning of negation; ending one's attachments, ending one's beliefs, by negating. When one negates, ends, there is something totally new. So, while living, can one negate attachment completely? That is living with death. Death means the ending. That way there is incarnation, there is something new taking place. Ending is extraordinarily important in life to understand the depth and the beauty of negating something which is not truth. Negate, for example one`s double talk. If one goes to the temple, negate the temple, so that your brain has this quality of integrity.
Death is an ending and has extraordinary importance in life. Not suicide, not euthanasia, but the ending of one's attachments, one's pride, one's antagonism, or hatred, for another. When one looks holistically at life, then the dying, the living, the agony, the despair, the loneliness and the suffering, they are all one movement. When one sees holistically there is total freedom from death not that the physical body is not going to be destroyed. There is a sense of ending and therefore there is no continuity there is freedom from the fear of not being able to continue.
When one human being understands the full significance of death there is the vitality, the fullness, that lies behind that understanding; he is out of the human consciousness. When you understand that life and death are one they are one when you begin to end in living then you are living side by side with death, which is the most extraordinary thing to do; there is neither the past nor the present nor the future, there is only the ending.
1st Public Talk
27th March 1982
It should be understood that we are not trying to convince you of anything. We are not making any kind of propaganda; nor putting forward new ideas or some exotic theory or fantastic philosophy; nor are we putting forward any kind of conclusion, or advocating any kind of faith. Please be quite convinced of that. But together, you and the speaker are going to observe what is happening in the world, not from any particular point of view, nor from any linguistic, nationalistic or religious attitude. We are together, if you will, going to observe, without any prejudice, freely, without distorting, what is actually happening throughout the world. It is important that we understand that we are simply observing, not taking sides, not having certain conclusions with which to observe; but observing freely, rationally, sanely, why human beings throughout the world have become what they are, brutal, violent, full of fantastic ideas, with nationalistic and tribalistic worship, with all the divisions of faiths, with all their prophets, gurus and all those religious structures which have lost all meaning.
Such observation is not a challenge, nor does it bring you the experience of something. Observation is not analysis. Observation, without distortion, is seeing clearly, not from any personal or ideological point of view; it is to observe so that we see things as they are, see both outwardly and inwardly, what is actually taking place externally and how we live psychologically. We are talking over together as two friends walking in a quiet lane, on a summer's day, observing and conversing about their problems, their pain, sorrows, miseries, confusions, uncertainties, the lack of security, and seeing clearly why human beings throughout the world are behaving as they do; we are asking why, after millennia upon millennia, human beings continue to suffer, to have great pain psychologically, to be anxious, uncertain and frightened, having no security, outwardly or inwardly.
There is no division between the outer and the inner, between the world which human beings have created outwardly, and the movement which is taking place inwardly it is like a tide, going out and coming in, it is the same movement. There is no division, as the outer and the inner, it is one continuous movement. To understand this movement we must examine together our consciousness, what we are, why we behave the way we do, being cruel and having no actual relationship with each other. We must examine why, after millennia upon millennia, we are living in constant conflict and misery and why religions have totally lost their meaning.
We are going to take our human existence as it is and observe it and actually find out for ourselves if there is any possibility of a radical change in the human condition not superficial change, not physical revolution, none of which has brought about a fundamental, radical, change in the psyche. And we are going to find out whether it is possible for the conflict, struggle, pain and the sorrow of our daily life to end. We are going to observe together and see if it is possible to be radically free of all this torture of life, with its occasional joy.
This is not a lecture; you are partaking, sharing, in this observation. We are not using any particular jargon, or any special linguistic references. We are using simple, daily English. Communication is only possible when both of us are together one must emphasize the word `together' all the time as we examine our lives and why we are what we have become.
What place has knowledge in the transformation of man? Has it any place at all in that transformation? Knowledge is necessary in daily living, going to the office, exercising various skills and so on; it is necessary in the technological world, in the scientific world. But in the transformation of the psyche, of which we are, has knowledge any place in it at all?
Knowledge is the accumulation of experience not only personal experience but the accumulation of past experience which is called tradition. That tradition is handed down to each one of us. We have accumulated not only individual, personal, psychological knowledge, but the psychological knowledge that has been handed down and conditioned man through millennia. We are asking whether that psychological knowledge can ever transform man radically, so that he is a totally unconditioned human being. Because if there is any form of conditioning, psychically, inwardly, truth cannot be found. Truth is a pathless land, and it must come to one when there is total freedom from conditioning.
There are those who accept and say that the conditioning of man is inevitable, and that he cannot possibly escape from it. He is conditioned and he can no more than ameliorate or modify that conditioning. There is a strong element of Western thought that maintains this position. Man is conditioned by time, by evolution, genetically and by society, by education, and by religion. That conditioning can be modified but man can never be free from it. That is what the Communists and others maintain, pointing out historically and factually that we are all conditioned, by the past, by our education, by our family and so on. They say that there is no escape from that conditioning, and therefore man must always suffer, always be uncertain, always follow the path of struggle, pain and anxiety.
What we are saying is quite different; we are saying that this conditioning can be totally eradicated, so that man is free. We are going to enquire into what this conditioning is, and what freedom is. We are going to see whether that conditioning, which is so deeply rooted, in the deep recesses of the mind, and also active superficially, can be understood, so that man is totally freed from all sorrow and anxiety.
So first we must look at our consciousness, what it is made of, what is its content. We must question whether that content of consciousness, with which we identify ourselves as individuals, is in fact individual consciousness. Or is this individual consciousness, which each one of us maintains as separate from others, individual at all? Or is it the consciousness of mankind? Please, listen to this first. You may totally disagree. Do not reject, but observe. It is not a question of being tolerant; tolerance is the enemy of love; just observe, without any sense of antagonism what we are saying: the consciousness with which we have identified ourselves as individuals, is it individual at all? Or is it the consciousness of humanity? That is, consciousness, with all its content of pain, remembrance, sorrow, nationalistic attitudes, faith, worship, is constant right throughout the world. Everywhere you go, man is suffering, striving, struggling, anxious, full of uncertainty, agony, despair, depression, believing all kinds of superstitious religious nonsense. This is common to all mankind, whether in Asia or here or in the West.
So, your consciousness, with which you have identified yourself as your `individual' consciousness, is an illusion. It is the consciousness of the rest of mankind. You are the world and the world is you. Please, consider this, see the seriousness of it, the responsibility that is involved in it. You have struggled all your life, as an individual, something separate from the rest of humanity, and when you discover that your consciousness is the consciousness of the rest of mankind, it means you are mankind, you are not individual. You may have your own particular skill, tendency, idiosyncrasy, but you are actually the rest of mankind, because your consciousness is the consciousness of every other human being. That consciousness is put together by thought. That consciousness is the result of millennia upon millennia of thought. Thought has always been most extraordinarily important in our lives. Thought has created modern technology, thought has created wars, thought has divided people into nationalities, thought has brought about separate religions, thought has created the marvellous architecture of ancient cathedrals, temples and mosques. The rituals, the prayers, all the circus if I may use that word that goes on in the name of religion, is put together by thought.
Consciousness is the activity of thought and thought has become so immensely important in our lives. We have to observe what thinking is, that has brought about such extraordinary confusion in the world. Thought plays a part in our relationships with each other, intimate or not. Thought is the source of fear. We have to observe what place thought has in pleasure, what place it has in suffering and whether thought has any place at all in love. It is important to observe the movement of thought per se.
Observing the movement of thought is a part of meditation. Meditation is not just some absurd repetition of words, spending a few minutes at it morning, afternoon and evening. Meditation is part of life. Meditation is to discover the relationship of thought and silence; the relationship of thought and that which is timeless. Meditation is part of our daily life, as death is part of our life, as love is part of our life.
It is fairly simple, when you are asked a question, which is familiar, to reply immediately. You are asked your name, your reply is instantaneous; because you have repeated your name so often it comes easily. But if you are asked a complicated question, there is an interval between the question and the answer. During that interval, thought is investigating and finally finding an answer. But when you are asked a very deep question and you reply, `I do not know', there is an end to thought. Very few people actually say, `I do not know', they pretend to think they know. Probably many of you believe in god. That is the last hope, the last pleasure, the ultimate security. And when you actually ask yourself the question, seriously, with great earnestness: do you really know god, do you really believe? then if you are honest, you say `Really, I do not know.` Then your mind is really observing.
The accumulation of experience stored up in the brain as memory is knowledge and the reaction to that memory is thought. Thought is a material process there is nothing sacred about thought. The image we worship as sacred, is still part of thought. Thought is always divisive, separative, fragmentary, and knowledge is never complete, about anything. Thought, however sublime or however trivial, is always fragmentary, is always divisive, because it is derived from memory. All our actions are based on thought, therefore all action is limited, fragmentary, divisive, incomplete it can never be holistic. Thought, whether of the greatest genius, of daily activity of thought, is always limited, fragmentary, divisive. Any action born out of that thought must bring about conflict. There are the nationalistic, tribal divisions, to which the mind clings in its search for security. That very search for security brings about wars. The search for security is also the activity of thought; so there is no security in thought.
The essence of the content of our consciousness is thought. Thought has brought about a structure in consciousness, of fear, of belief. The idea of a saviour, faith, anxiety, pain all that is put together by thought and is the content of consciousness. We are asking whether that content of consciousness can be wiped away so that there is a totally different dimension altogether. It is only in that dimension that there can be creativeness; creativeness not within the content of consciousness.
So, let us look at one of the contents of our consciousness, which is relationship between human beings. Between a man and a woman, why is there such conflict in that relationship, such misery, and constant division? It is important to enquire into this, because man exists in relationship; there is no saint, hermit or monk, who is not related, though he may withdraw into a monastery or go to some Himalayan cave he is still related. It is important to understand why human beings never live in peace in relationship, why there is this terrible struggle and pain, jealousy, anxiety, and to see whether it is possible to be free of all that and therefore be in real relationship. To find out what real relationship is demands a great deal of enquiry, observation. Observation is not analysis. This is again important to understand, because most of us are accustomed to analysis. We are observing the actual relationship of man to man and woman, between two human beings; asking why there should be so much struggle, anxiety, pain. In the relationship of two human beings, be they married or not, do they ever meet, psychologically? They may meet physically, in bed, but inwardly, psychologically, are they not like two parallel lines, each pursuing his own life, his own ambition, his own fulfilment, his own expression. So, like two parallel lines, they never meet, and therefore there is the battle, the struggle, the pain of having no actual relationship. They say they are related, but that is not true, that is not honest, because each one has an image about himself. Added to that image each one has an image of the person he lives with. Actually we have two images or multiple images. He has created an image about her, and she has created an image about him. These images are put together through the reactions which are remembered, which become the image, the image you have about her and she has about you. The relationship is between these two images which are the symbols of the remembrances, the pain. So actually there is no relationship.
So one asks: is it possible not to have any image about another at all? So long as one has an image about her and she has about oneself, there must be conflict, because the cultivation of images destroys relationship. Through observation can one discover whether it is possible not to have an image about oneself or about another completely not to have images? As long as one has an image about oneself, one is going to get hurt. It is one of the miseries in life, from childhood through school, college, university and right through life, one is constantly getting hurt, with all its consequences and the gradual process of isolation so as not to get hurt. And what is it that is hurt? It is the image that one has built about oneself. If one were to be totally free of all images, then there would be no hurt, no flattery.
Now most people find security in the image they have built for themselves, which is the image that thought has created. So we are asking, observing, whether this image built from childhood, put together by thought, a structure of words, a structure of reactions, a process of remembrances long, deep, abiding incidents, hurts, ideas, pain can end completely for only then can you have any kind of relationship with another. In relationship, when there is no image, there is no conflict. This is not just a theory, an ideal; the speaker is saying it is a fact. If one goes into it very deeply, one finds that one can live in this monstrous world and not have a single image about oneself; then one's relationships have a totally different meaning there is no conflict whatsoever.
Now please, as you are listening to the speaker, are you aware of your own image and the ending of that image? Or are you going to ask: 'How am I to end that image?' When you ask 'how', see the implication in that word. The `how' implies that somebody will tell you what to do. Therefore that somebody, who is going to tell you what to do, becomes the specialist, the guru, the leader. But you have had leaders, specialists, psychologists, all your life; they have not changed you. So do not ask `how' but find out for yourself whether you can be free of that image, totally. You can be free of it when you give complete attention to what another says. If your wife or your friend, says something ugly and if at that moment you pay complete attention, then in that attention there is no creation of images. Then life has a totally different meaning.
We are observing our consciousness, with its content. The content, like the hurt, like relationship, makes our consciousness. Another content of our consciousness is fear; we live with fear, not only outwardly but much more deeply, in the dark recesses of the mind, there is deep fear, fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of the actual present. We ought to talk over together whether it is possible for human beings, living in this world as it is at the present time threatened by wars, living our daily life to be totally, completely, free of all psychological fear. Probably most of you may not have asked such a question. Or you may have done so and tried to find a way of escaping from fear, or suppressing it, denying it, rationalizing it. But if you are really observing deeply the nature of fear, then you have to look at what fear is, actually see what the contributing causes of fear are. Most of us are frightened, frightened of tomorrow, frightened of death, frightened of your husband or your wife or your girlfriend; of so many things are we frightened. Fear is like a vast tree with innumerable branches; it is no good merely trimming the branches, you must go to the very root of it and see whether it is possible to eradicate it so completely that you are free of it. It is not a question of whether we will always remain free of fear; when you have really eradicated the roots, when there is no possibility of fear entering into your psychological life.
One of the reasons for fear is comparison, comparing oneself with another. Or comparing oneself with what one has been and what one would like to be. The movement of comparison is conformity, imitation, adjustment; it is one of the sources of fear. Has one ever tried never to compare oneself with another, either physically or psychologically? When one does not compare then one is not becoming. The whole of cultural education is to become something, to be something. If one is a poor man one wishes to become a rich man if one is a rich man one is seeking more power. Religiously or socially one is always to become something. In this wanting, in this desire to become, there is comparison. To live without comparison is the extraordinary thing that takes place when one has no measure. As long as one measures psychologically there must be fear, because one is always striving and one may not achieve.
Another reason for fear is desire. We have to observe the nature and structure of desire and why desire has become so extraordinarily important in our lives. Where there is desire, there must be conflict, competition, struggle. So it is important, if you are at all serious and those who are serious, really live, for them life has tremendous significance, responsibility to find out what desire is. Religions throughout the world have said, `Suppress desire'. Monks, not the sloppy religious people, but those who have committed themselves to a certain form of religious organization in their particular faith have tried to transfer or sublimate desire in the name of a symbol, a saviour. But desire is an extraordinarily strong force in our lives. We either suppress, run away from or substitute the activities of desire, we rationalize, seeing how it arises, what is the source of it. So let us observe the movement of desire. We are not saying it must be suppressed, run away from, or sublimate whatever that word may mean.
Most of us are extraordinary human beings. We want everything explained, we want it all very neatly set out in words or in a diagram, and then we think we have understood it. We have become slaves to explanations. We never try to find out for ourselves what the movement of desire is, how it comes into being. The speaker will go into it, but the explanation is not the actuality. The word is not the thing. One must not be caught in words, in explanations. The painting of a mountain on a canvas is not the actual mountain. It may be beautifully painted, but it is not that extraordinary deep beauty of a mountain, its majesty against the blue sky. Similarly the explanation of desire is not the actual movement of desire. The explanation has no value so long as we do not actually see for ourselves.
Observation must be free, without a direction, without a motive, in order to understand the movement of desire. Desire arises out of sensation. Sensation is contact, the seeing. Then thought creates an image from that sensation; that movement of thought is the beginning of desire. That is, you see a fine car and thought creates the image of you in that car and so on; at that moment is the beginning of desire. If you had no sensation you would be paralysed. There must be the activity of the senses. When the sensation of seeing or touching arises, then thought makes the image of you in that car. The moment thought creates the image there is the birth of desire.
it requires a highly attentive mind to see the importance of total sensation not one particular activity of the senses followed by the activity of thought creating an image. Have you ever observed a sunset with the movement of the sea with all your senses? When you observe with all your senses, then there is no centre from which you are observing. Whereas, if you cultivate only one or two senses then there is fragmentation. Where there is fragmentation there is the structure of the self, the 'me'. In observing desire as one of the factors of fear, see how thought comes in and creates the image. But if one is totally attentive then thought does not enter into the movement of sensation. That requires great inward attention with its discipline.
Another of the factors of fear is time, psychological time, not time as sunrise and sunset, yesterday and today and tomorrow, but psychological time, as yesterday, today and tomorrow. Time is one of the major factors of fear. It is not that time as movement must stop but that the nature of psychological time be understood, not intellectually or verbally but actually observed psychologically, inwardly. We can be free of time or be slaves of time.
There is an element of violence in most of us that has never been resolved, never been wiped away so that we can live totally without violence. Not being able to be free of violence we have created the idea of its opposite, non-violence. Non-violence is non-fact violence is a fact. Non-violence does not exist except as an idea. What exists, `what is', is violence. It is like those people in India who say they worship the idea of non-violence, they preach about it, talk about it, copy it they are dealing with a non-fact, non-reality, with an illusion. What is a fact is violence, major or minor, but violence. When you pursue non-violence, which is an illusion, which is not an actuality, you are cultivating time. That is, `I am violent, but I will be non-violent`. The `I will be' is time, which is the future, a future that has no reality, it is invented by thought as an opposite of violence. It is the postponement of violence that creates time. If there is an understanding and so the ending of violence, there is no psychological time. We can be masters of psychological time; that time can be totally eliminated if you see that the opposite is not real. The 'what is' has no time. To understand `what is', requires no time, but only complete observation. In the observation of violence, for example, there is no movement of thought but only holding that enormous energy which we call violence, and observing it. But the moment there is a distortion, the motive of trying to become non-violent, you have introduced time.
Comparison, with all its complexity, desire and time, are the factors of fear deep-rooted fear. When there is observation, and therefore no movement of thought merely observing the whole movement of fear there is the total ending of fear; and the observer is not different from the observed. This is an important factor to understand. And as you observe, completely, there is the ending of fear, the human mind then is no longer caught in the movement of fear. If there is fear of any sort, the mind is confused, distorted and therefore it has no clarity. And there must be clarity for that which is eternal to be. To observe the movement of fear in oneself, to watch the whole complexity, the weaving of fear, and to remain with it so completely, without any movement of thought, is the total ending of it.
1st Public Talk
1st May 1982
I would like to point out, if I may, this is not a weekend entertainment. We are going to deal with the whole of life, with all its complex problems, and not a particular subject. This is not a lecture; that is, to talk about a particular subject in view of giving information.
I think it would be good if we could, from the very beginning of these talks - and there will be, I believe, six of them and four question and answer meetings - if we could from the very beginning understand that we are not instructing anybody anything; we are not bringing up some kind of ideas or beliefs or some conclusions to convince you of anything. This is not a propaganda; but rather, if we could, during all these talks, think over together, observe together, listen to the whole movement of one life, whether it is in South Africa, South America, Europe or America or Asia. We are dealing with a very, very complex problem that needs to be studied very carefully, hesitantly, without any direction, without any motive, to observe, if we can, the whole outward happening of our life. Because if we don't understand what is happening outside of us, which is the measure by which we will be able to understand ourselves, if we do not understand what is actually going on in the world, the external world, outside the skin as it were, outside the psychological field, we will have no measure by which to observe ourselves.
So first, if we may, let us together observe. I mean by that word to look carefully without any bias, as an America or Argentine or British, or French or Russian, to observe - or Asia, forgot, sorry - to observe without any motive; which is rather difficult. To see clearly, if we can, what is going on. As one observes and travels around the world, there is a great deal of dissension, discord, disagreement, disorder; a great deal of confusion, uncertainty; there are the demonstrations against one particular form of war. There is terrorism; the preparation for wars; spending untold money on armaments. There are the national divisions: one nation against another preparing for eventual war. And there are the religious sectarian divisions: the Catholic, the Protestant, the Hindu, the Islamic world, the Buddhist. And there is this constant division in the world. Where there is division there must be dissension, conflict. We see this all over the world.
And there is the national honour, for which one is proud and willing to kill others. There are the various sects, gurus, with their particular following. There is the spiritual authority: the Catholic world, the Protestant world, not so much in the Buddhist and the Hindu world, but there is the authority of the book in the Islam. So wherever there is this dissension, disorder, there is not only conflict, destruction of each other, and the attachment to a particular nationality, hoping thereby to find some kind of security, physical outward security. This is the phenomenon that is taking place in the world, of which one is sure that we all observe the same thing: one group against another group. And so there is isolation taking place, not only for each human being, but the isolation of groups. Which is, bound by a belief, by a faith, by some ideological conclusion, as in the totalitarian states and in the so-called democratic world with their ideals; so the ideals, beliefs, dogmas, rituals are separating mankind.
This is actually what is going on in the world. The external world is the result of our own psychological world. This outward world is created by each one of us. Because we are isolated human beings. We have our own particular profession, our own particular belief, our conclusions and experiences, to which we cling, and so gradually each one is isolating himself. There is self-centred activity, which is expressed outwardly as the nation, belonging to some religious group, whether that group has 700 million people as the Catholic world has, each one of us is isolating himself. And so we are producing or creating a world externally through nationalism, which is a glorified form of tribalism; and each tribe is willing to kill another tribe for their belief, for their land, for their economic trade and so on, and so on, and so on.
We all know this; at least, those of us who are aware; who listen to all the radios, television, newspapers and so on. And there are those who say, this cannot be changed at all, there is no possibility of human conditioning being transformed. The world has been going on like this for thousands and thousands of years and this world is created by the human condition and that condition can never possibly be transformed, bring about a mutation in itself. They assert that there can be modification, slight change, but man will ever be what he is; in conflict with each other, murdering each other; and bringing about a division in himself and in the world.
And there are those who have tried social reform of various kinds all over the world; but they too have not brought about deep fundamental mutation in the human consciousness. This is the state of the world. And how do we look at it? What is our response to it, as human beings? Not to the technological world; the computers, and all those extraordinary things the human brain is inventing; but what is actually our relationship, not only with each other but with this external world; what is our responsibility? Do we leave it to the politicians? Do we seek new leaders? Please, this is a very serious problem which we are discussing, talking over together. New saviours, or go back to the old tradition, because human beings, unable to solve this problem, return to the old habitual tradition of the past? Which is also what is happening. The more there is confusion in the world, the more desire and urge to return to some past illusions, past tradition, past leaders, past so-called saviours.
So if one is aware of all this, as one must; what is our response to all this? Not a partial but total response to the whole phenomena that is going on, taking place in the world. Do we only consider our own personal lives? How to live a quiet, serene, undisturbed life in some corner; or are we concerned with the total human existence, with the total humanity? If we are only concerned with our own particular life, however troublesome it is, however limited it is, however much it is sorrowful and painful, then one does not realize the part is the whole. So one has to look at life, not the American life or the Asiatic life, but life as a whole; holistic observation. The observation that is not a particular observation; it's not my observation or your particular observation, but the observation that comprehends the totality, the holistic view of life. Each one of us has been concerned with his own particular problems: problems of more money, no job, seeking one's own fulfillment, seeking everlastingly pleasure; frightened, isolated, lonely, depressed, suffering, and creating, being personal, a saviour outside who will transform or bring about a salvation for ourselves, for each one of us. This tradition has been going on in the Western world for two thousand years: and the Asiatic world, which is probably the explosion from India or the East, has also maintained the same thing in different words, different symbols, different pictures, different conclusions: but it is the same individual's search for his own salvation, for his own particular happiness, to resolve his many complex problems. That what each one of us is trying to do.
If we cannot solve our particular problem, there are the specialists of various kinds, psychological specialists to whom one goes to resolve our problems. They too have not succeeded. Nor the scientists. On the contrary. Technologically the scientists have helped enormously - less disease, better communication, sanitation and so on and so on. And also the scientists are maintaining the war. Scientists are responsible for all the gadgets of war. They are responsible for murdering millions and millions of people at one blow. So scientists are not going to save mankind, nor the politicians, whether in the East or West, or in the middle part of the world. They seek power, position, and they play all kinds of tricks on human thought. You know all this. And in the Western world we elect them - god knows how we elect them. And in the Russian world you don't, they are a totalitarian dictatorship, complete prison. And it is exactly the same thing in the religious world, so-called religious world. The authority of the hierarchy, the authority of the pope, the bishops, the archbishop and the local priest in the name of some image which thought has created. And we, as human beings separated, isolated, we haven't been able to solve our problems. We are highly educated, cunning, self-centred, capable of extraordinary things outwardly. But inwardly we are more or less what we have been for a million years: we hate, we compete, we destroy each other; which is what is going on actually at the present moment. You have heard the experts talking about the recent war, they are not talking about human beings being killed, but destroying airfields, blowing up this or that. So there is this total confusion in the world, of which one is quite sure we are all aware of.
And from that arises the question: what shall we do? As a friend once some time ago told the speaker, you can't do anything. You are beating your head against a wall. It will go on like this for the next million years; fight, kill, destroy each other, competition, caught in various forms of illusion. This will go on. Don't waste your life and time. This tragedy, the terrifying events that may happen by some crazy person pressing a button; or the computer taking over man's capacities, thinking much quicker, more accurately; and the computer too may destroy the human being, the human mind, the human brain; because the computer, the robot can do all kinds of things as they are doing in Japan. So what is going to happen to human beings? So this is the vast problem which we are facing.
And our education from childhood till we pass, if we are lucky, through college, university, is to specialize in some form or another, accumulate a lot of knowledge, store it up in the brain and act, get a job and hold on to the job skilfully, if you can, for the rest of one's life; going to the office, from morning till the evening and dying at the end of it all. This is not a pessimistic attitude or observation; this is what actually is going on. When one observes the actuality, the fact, one is neither depressed, optimistic or pessimistic, it is so.
And one asks, if one is at all serious and responsible: what is one to do? Retire into monasteries? Form some commune? Go off to Asia and pursue Zen meditation or other forms of meditation? One is asking seriously this question. When you are confronted with this crisis in consciousness, the crisis is not over there outside of us. The crisis is in us. You know that saying, "we have seen the enemy and the enemy is us".
So the crisis is not economic, war, the bomb, the politicians, the scientists, but the crisis is within us, the crisis is in our consciousness. Until we understand very profoundly the nature of that consciousness, and question, delve deeply into it and find out for ourselves whether there can be a total mutation in that consciousness, the world will go on creating more misery, more confusion, more horror. So our responsibility is not some kind of altruistic action, political, or economic, but to comprehend the nature of our being; why we human beings, we have lived on this beautiful lovely earth, why we have become like this.
So if you are willing, if it is your responsibility, we can perceive together the nature of our consciousness, the nature of our being. This is not, as we said, a lecture. A lecture being a dissertation on a particular subject giving or pointing out information; that's what one means by a lecture. But here we are trying together, you and the speaker together, not separately, together, to observe the movement of this consciousness and its relationship to the world, whether that consciousness is individual, separate, or that consciousness is the whole of mankind. Do you understand? We are educated from childhood to be individuals, with your separate soul - if you believe in that kind of stuff - or you have been trained, educated, conditioned to think as an individual. We think because you have a separate name, separate form, that is dark, light, tall, short, fair, black, and so on, and your particular tendency, we think we are separate individuals, our own particular experiences and so on. Now we are going to question that very idea: whether we are individuals.
It doesn't mean that we are a kind of amorphous beings, but actually are we individuals, though the whole world maintains, both religiously and in other ways, that we are separate individuals. And from that concept, and perhaps from that illusion, each one of us trying to fulfil, become something. In that becoming something we are competing against another, fighting another. So if we maintain that way of life, we must inevitably cling to nationalities, tribalism, war. Why do we hold on to nationalism? The passion behind it; which is what is happening now - the British against the Argentines, the Jew against the Arab, Arab against the Jew, and so on. Why do we give such extraordinary passionate importance to nationalism; which is essentially tribalism? Why? Is it because in tribalism, holding on to the tribe, to the group, there is certain security; not only physical security but psychological security, inward sense of completeness, fullness. If that is so, then the other tribe also feels the same; and hence division and hence war, conflict.
If one actually sees the truth of this, not theoretically; and if one wants to live on this earth, which is our earth, not yours or mine, American or the Russian or the Hindu, it's our earth to live on, then there is no nationalism at all. There is only human existence. One life; it's not your life or my life, it's living the whole of life. And this tradition of individuality has been perpetuated by religions both in the East and in the West; individual saviour for each individual, and so on, so on. Now is this so? You know, it is very good to doubt, very good to have a mind that questions, doesn't accept; a mind that says, we cannot possibly live any more like this, in this brutal, violent manner. So doubt, questioning, has extraordinary importance; not just accept the way of life one has lived perhaps for 50, 60 or 30 years, or the way one has lived for a million years. So we are questioning the reality of individuality. Is your consciousness - do we understand by the meaning of that word, to be conscious, the content of your consciousness, to be conscious means to be aware, to know, to perceive, to observe - is your consciousness with its content, the content being your belief, your pleasure, your experience, your particular knowledge which you have gathered, either through some particular external subject or the knowledge you have gathered about yourself, your fears, the attachments, the pain, the agony of loneliness, the sorrow, the search for something more than mere physical existence; all that is one's consciousness with its content, the content makes the consciousness. Without content there is not the consciousness as we know it. Here there is no room for argument. It is so. Your consciousness, which is very complex, contradictory, with such extraordinary vitality, that consciousness, is it yours? Is thought yours? Or there is only thinking, which is neither East nor West, there is only thinking, which is common to all mankind, whether they are rich or poor, technically, technicians with their extraordinary capacity, or the monk who withdraws from the world and is consecrating himself to an idea, is still thinking.
Is this consciousness common to all mankind - common in the sense not degrading? Is this consciousness yours or also the rest of mankind? Wherever one goes, one sees suffering, pain, anxiety, loneliness, insanity, fear, seeking security, caught in knowledge; the urge of desire, loneliness, it is common, it is the ground on which every human being stands. Your consciousness is the consciousness of humanity, the rest of humanity. It's logical; you may disagree; you may say, my consciousness is separate, and it must be separate; but is it so? If one understands the nature of this, that you are the rest of mankind, though we may have a different name, we may live in different parts of the world, educated in different ways, affluent or very poor, when you go behind the mask deeply, you are like the rest of mankind: aching, loneliness, suffering, despair, neurotic; belief, believing in some illusion, and so on. Whether you go to the East or West, this is so. You may not like it; you may like to think that you are totally independent, free individual. But when you observe very deeply, you are the rest of humanity. You may accept this as an idea, an abstraction, as a marvellous concept; but idea is not the actual. An abstraction is not what actually is taking place. But most of us make an abstraction of 'what is' into an idea, and then pursue the idea, which is really non-factual.
So, if that is so, that is, if my consciousness and yours, with all its content - the content in itself is contradictory, confused, struggling against each other; fact and non-fact; wanting to be happy, being unhappy; wanting peace, living without violence and yet being violent - our consciousness in itself is disorder. It is the root of dissension. And until we understand, go into it very deeply, and discover total order, we shall have always disorder in the world.
So a serious person, I mean by that word, not easily dissuaded from the pursuit of understanding, the pursuit of delving deeply into himself, into his consciousness, which is the common consciousness of all man; a man who is not easily persuaded by amusement, entertainment, which is perhaps sometimes necessary, but to pursue consistently every day into the nature of man, that is, into yourself, to observe what is actually going on within oneself; and from that observation action takes place. Not, what shall I do as a separate human being, but action which comes out of total, holistic observation of life. By that word holistic we mean, a healthy, sane, rational, logical, and a perception that is whole, which is holy, h-o-l-y. We are using that word in that sense, holistic. Now is this possible? Is it possible for a human being like us who are laymen, not specialists, laymen, is it possible for us to look at this, look at the contradictory, confusing consciousness as a whole; or must we take each part of it? Please just listen for a few minutes, if you are interested.
I want to understand myself, my consciousness. I know from the very beginning it's very contradictory; wanting one thing, and not wanting the other thing; saying one thing and doing another. I know belief separates man. I believe in whatever it is, Jesus or Krishna or something, or I believe in my own experience which I hold on to; or the knowledge which I have accumulated through 60 years or 40 years or 10 years, that becomes extraordinarily important. I cling to that. So I recognize belief destroys and divides people. And yet I can't give it up because belief has strange vitality. It gives me a certain sense of security. I believe in god, there's an extraordinary strength in that. But god is invented by man. If we are all, as some people believe, we are all the children of god, god must be an extraordinary human being, extraordinary person, because if we observe what we are, we are miserable entities, and god must be also rather miserable about all this.
So god is the projection of our own thought, our own demands, our own hopeless despair and opposite of all that. Or I believe in some form of gurus, you know, all that, belief. Why do we have beliefs at all? A mind that is crippled by belief is an unhealthy mind. There must be freedom. That's again a very complex problem; what is freedom? - which we won't go into now. So, is it possible for me, for you, to delve deeply into this consciousness, not persuaded, not guided by psychologists, psychiatrists and so on, to delve deeply into ourselves and find out; so that we don't depend on anybody, including the speaker. In asking that question, how shall we know the intricacies, the contradictions, the whole movement of consciousness? Shall we know it bit by bit, take for instance, we took just now belief. And also in our consciousness, we are hurt. Each human being from childhood is hurt. Is hurt by the parents, psychologically I am talking about. Hurt in the school, through comparison, through competition, through saying, you must be first-class at this subject, and so on, in college, university, and life, this constant process of being hurt. We all know this. We are all human beings, we are hurt, deeply; of which we may not be conscious. And, from that hurt, there are all forms of neurotic actions. That's part of our consciousness; part of our hidden or open awareness that one is hurt.
Now is it possible not to be hurt at all? Because it's a very important question to ask. Because the consequences of being hurt are building a wall round oneself, withdrawing in our relationship with each other in order not to be hurt more. In that there is fear, a gradual isolation. Now we are asking: is it possible not only to be free of past hurts but also never to be hurt again; not through callousness, through indifference, through total disregard of all relationship, but rather enquire why and what is it that is being hurt? This hurt is, as we said, part of our consciousness; from which various neurotic contradictory actions take place. So we are examining, as we examined belief, we are examining hurt, which is part of our consciousness - please, it is not something outside of us, it's part of us. Now what is it that is hurt and is it possible never to be hurt? Do you understand, a human being that's free, total, never to be hurt by anything psychologically, inwardly? Isn't it an important question? And what is that is hurt? We say, that is me, I am hurt. What is that me? From childhood one has built up, built an image of oneself. We have many, many images; not only the images that people give us, but also the images that we ourselves have built: as an American, that's an image; as a Hindu, as a specialist. So, the 'me' is the image that I have built about myself, as a great man, or I am very good at this or that, and that image gets hurt. Right?
You have an image: you are a marvellous cook, a marvellous carpenter, great talker; I am not! Great talker, writer, spiritual being, a leader; we have created these images for ourselves. We have other images, which we won't go into for the moment. These images are the whole of me; when I say I am hurt, we mean the image is hurt. If I have an image about myself - which I have not - if I have one, you come along and tell me, don't be an idiot, I get hurt. That is, the image which I have built about myself as not being an idiot, a silly ass, you come along and say, you are, and that hurts me. And I carry that image, that hurt, for the rest of my life. Careful not to be hurt, warding off any statement of my idiocy. (Laughter) Don't laugh; it's your problem, not mine. Please, it's very serious, because the consequences of being hurt are very complex. And from that hurt we may want to fulfil, we may want to become this or that to escape from this terrible hurt. So one has to understand it. And is it possible not to have an image about oneself at all? Why do you have images about yourself? You may look very nice, bright, intelligent, clear-faced, and I want to be like you; and if I am not, I get hurt. So comparison may be one of the factors of being hurt, psychologically. Then, why do we compare? You understand all these questions?
So can one live a life in the modern world without a single image? The speaker may say, it is possible; it can be done. But that requires the understanding of relationship. What is relationship? - Have we got time to go into that? We have talked over an hour. You must be tired. If you are treating this as an entertainment, intellectual or otherwise, then it is just an amusement, something to do on Saturday morning. But if you are serious, in the deep sense of that word, committed to the solution of the human problems, then your brain must be as active as that of the speaker, not just accept a lot of words. Perhaps some of you are not used to all of this; because we think along the old traditional lines, habits, and take the easiest way of life. But this requires a great deal of energy; so that you find out whether it is possible never to be hurt. And whether it is possible to live a life without a single belief; which is dividing the world and human beings and so destroying each other. The South Americans believe in one thing and the Asiatic, the Western world believes something else. The ideas, the ideals, the ideologies, are destroying human beings. So whether one can live without a single belief; and to discover, never to be hurt, which means not to have an image about yourself; as a Hindu, as a Buddhist, as a Catholic, as a Protestant, as a professor; you may profess, you may teach, you may inform, but the image you have created about yourself as a professor, not what you profess, you understand? Is that possible? That's real freedom.
And it is possible when I am called an idiot, because I've an image about myself, if I have one - to give total attention to that statement as it is said. You understand? When I have an image about myself, and you call me an idiot, I react instantly. The reaction is immediate. As the reaction is immediate, to give attention to that immediacy. You understand? Am I making myself clear? That is, to listen very clearly to the idea that I am an idiot. You called me an idiot; to listen to it attentively, when you listen completely, there is no reaction. It is the lack of listening acutely that creates the image. Have you understood this? Suppose I have an image myself about myself, because I have travelled all over the world etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I have an image about myself. You come along and say, look, old boy, you're not as good as the other guru, or the other leader, or some other teacher, some other idiot. You are in yourself an idiot. I listen to that completely, give complete attention to what is being said. When there is total attention, there is no forming of a centre. It's only inattention that creates the centre. You have understood this?
Can one give such attention? You understand? A mind which has been so slack, a brain which has been confused, disturbed, neurotic, which has never actually faced anything, which has never demanded of itself its highest capacity; which is total attention. And when there is total attention to the statement that I am an idiot, it has lost totally all its significance. Because when there is attention there is not a centre which is reacting.
I have finished for this morning. I believe we meet tomorrow morning. May I get up please?