Network of Thought
Chapter - 5
5th Public Talk - Saanen - 21st July 1981
We have to consider together whether the brain, which is now only operating partially, has the capacity to function wholly, completely. Now we are only using a part of it, which one can observe for oneself. One can see that specialization, which may be necessary, brings about the functioning of only a part of the brain. If one is a scientist, specializing in that subject, naturally only one part of the brain is functioning; if one is a mathematician it is the same. In the modern world one has to specialize, and we are asking whether, even so, it is possible to allow the brain to operate wholly, completely.
And another question we are asking is: what is going to happen to humanity, to all of us, when the computer out-thinks man in accuracy and rapidity - as the computer experts are saying it will? With the development of the robot, man will only have, perhaps, two hours of work a day. This may be going to happen within the foreseeable future. Then what will man do? Is he going to be absorbed in the field of entertainment? That is already taking place: sports are becoming more important; there is the watching of television; and there are the varieties of religious entertainment. Or is he going to turn inwardly, which is not an entertainment but something which demands great capacity of observation, examination and non-personal perception? These are the two possibilities. The basic content of our human consciousness is the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of fear. Is humanity increasingly going to follow entertainment? One hopes these Gatherings are not a form of entertainment.
Now, can the brain be totally free so as to function wholly? - because any specialization, any following of a certain path, a certain groove or pattern, inevitably implies that the brain is functioning partially and therefore with limited energy. We live in a society of specialization - engineers, physicists, surgeons, carpenters and the specializations of particular beliefs, dogmas and rituals. Certain specializations are necessary, such as that of the surgeon or carpenter, but in spite of that can the brain function completely, wholly, and therefore have tremendous energy? This is, I think, a very serious question into which we have to enquire together.
If one observes one's own activity one finds that the brain functions very partially, fragmentarily, with the result that one's energy becomes less and less as one grows older. Biologically, physically, when one is young one is full of vitality; but as one is educated, and then follows a livelihood that needs specialization, the activity of the brain becomes narrowed down, limited and its energy becomes less and less.
Though the brain may have to have a certain form of specialization - not necessarily religious specialization because that is superstition - as a surgeon for example, can it also operate wholly? It can only operate wholly, with all the tremendous vitality of a million years behind it, when it is completely free. Specialization, which is now necessary for a livelihood may not be necessary if the computer takes over. It will not take over surgery, obviously. It will not take over the feeling of beauty, as when looking at the evening stars, but it may take over other functions altogether.
Can the human brain be totally free, without any form of attachment - attachment to certain beliefs, experiences and so on? If the brain cannot be totally free it will deteriorate. When the brain is occupied with problems, with specialization, with a livelihood, it is in limited activity. But when the computer takes over, this activity will become less and less and therefore it will gradually deteriorate. This is not something in the future; it is actually happening now if one observes one's own mental activity.
Can your consciousness, with its basic content of fear, the pursuit of pleasure with all the implications of grief, pain and sorrow, being hurt inwardly and so on, become totally free? We may have other forms of consciousness, group consciousness, racial consciousness, national consciousness, the consciousness of the Catholic group, the Hindu group and so on but basically the content of our consciousness is fear, the pursuit of pleasure, with the resultant pain, sorrow and ultimately death. These comprise the central content of our consciousness. We are together observing the whole phenomenon of human existence, which is our existence. We are mankind, because our consciousness, whether as a Christian living in the Western world, or as a Muslim in the Middle East, or a Buddhist in the Asiatic world, is basically fear, the pursuit of pleasure and the never ending burden of pain, hurts, sorrow. One's consciousness is not personal to oneself. This is very difficult to accept because we have been so conditioned, so educated, that we resist the actual fact that we are not individuals at all; we are the whole of mankind. This is not a romantic idea, it is not a philosophical concept, it is absolutely not an ideal; examined closely, it is a fact. So we have to find out whether the brain can be free from the content of its consciousness. Sirs, why do you listen to the speaker? Is it that in listening to the speaker you are listening to yourself? Is that what is taking place? The speaker is only pointing something out, acting as a mirror in which you see yourself, see the actuality of your own consciousness; it is not the description which the speaker is pointing out, which becomes merely an idea if you do no more than follow it. But if through the description, you yourself actually perceive your own state of mind, your own consciousness, then listening to the speaker has a certain importance. And if at the end of these talks you say to yourself: `I have not changed; why? It is your fault. You have spoken for fifty years perhaps, and I have not changed', is it the fault of the speaker? Or you say: `I have not been able to apply it; naturally it is the fault of the speaker`. Then you become cynical and do all kinds of absurd things. So please bear in mind that you are listening not so much to the speaker as looking at your own consciousness through the description in words - which is the consciousness of all humanity. The Western world may believe in certain religious symbols and certain rituals; the Eastern world does likewise, but behind it all there is the same fear, the same pursuit of pleasure, the same burden of greed, pain, of being hurt and wanting to achieve - all of which is common to the whole of humanity.
So, in listening we are learning about ourselves, not just following the description. We are actually learning to look at ourselves and therefore bringing about a total freedom in which the whole of the brain can operate. After all, meditation, love and compassion are the operation of the whole of the brain. When there is the operation of the whole there is integral order. When there is integral, inward order, there is total freedom. It is only then that there can be something which is timelessly sacred. That is not a reward; that is not something to be achieved; that which is eternally timeless, sacred, comes about only when the brain is totally free to function in wholeness.
The content of our consciousness is put together by all the activities of thought; can that content ever be freed so that there is a totally different dimension altogether? So let us observe the whole movement of pleasure. There is not only biological, including sexual, pleasure, there is also pleasure in possessions, pleasure in having money, pleasure in achieving something that you have been working towards; there is pleasure in power, political or religious, in power over a person; there is pleasure in the acquisition of knowledge, and in the expression of that knowledge as a professor, as a writer, as a poet; there is the gratification that comes about through leading a very strict, moral and ascetic life, the pleasure of achieving something inwardly which is not common to ordinary man. This has been the pattern of our existence for millions of years. The brain has been conditioned to it and therefore has become limited. Anything that is conditioned must be limited and therefore the brain, when it is pursuing the many forms of pleasure, must inevitably become small, limited, narrow. And probably, unconsciously realizing this, one seeks different forms of entertainment, a release through sex, through different kinds of fulfilment. Please observe it in yourself, in your own activity in daily life. If you observe, you will see that one’s brain is occupied all day with something or other, chattering, talking endlessly, going on like a machine that never stops. And in this way the brain is gradually wearing itself out - and it is going to become inactive if the computer takes its place.
So, why are human beings caught in this perpetual pursuit of pleasure - why? Is it because they are so utterly lonely? Are they escaping from that sense of isolation? Is it that they have been, from childhood, conditioned to this? Is it because thought creates the image of Pleasure and then pursues it? Is thought the source of pleasure? For example, one has had some kind of pleasure, eating very tasty food, or sexual pleasure, or the pleasure of being flattered and the brain registers that pleasure. The incidents which have brought about pleasure have been recorded in the brain, and the remembrance of these incidents of yesterday, or last week, is the movement of thought. Thought is the movement of pleasure; the brain has registered incidents, pleasurable and exciting, worth remembering, and thought projects them into the future and pursues them. So the question then is: why does thought carry on the memory of an incident that is over and finished? Is not that part of our occupation? A man who wants money, power, position, is perpetually occupied with it. Perhaps, the brain is similarly occupied with the remembrance of something of a week ago which gave great pleasure, being held in the brain, which thought projects as future pleasure and pursues. The repetition of pleasure is the movement of thought and therefore limited; therefore the brain can never function wholly, it can only function partially.
Now the next question that arises is: if this is the pattern of thought, how can thought be stopped, or rather, how can the brain stop registering the incident of yesterday which gave delight? That is the obvious question, but why does one put it? Why? Is it because one wants to escape from the movement of pleasure, and that that very escape is yet another form of pleasure? Whereas if you see the fact that the incident which gave great delight, pleasure, excitement, is over, that it is no longer a living thing, hut something which happened a week ago - it was a living thing then but it is not so now - can you not finish with it, end it, not carry it over? It is not how to end it or now to stop it. It is just to see factually how the brain, how thought, is operating. If one is aware of that, then thought itself will come to an end. The registering of pleasure is ended, finished.
Fear is the common state of all mankind, whether you live in a small house or in a palace, whether you have no work or plenty of work, whether you have tremendous knowledge about everything on earth or are ignorant, or whether you are a priest or the highest representative of god, or whatever, there is still this deep rooted fear which is common to all mankind. That is a common ground on which all humanity stands. There is no question about it. It is an absolute, irrevocable fact, it cannot be contradicted. As long as the brain is caught in this pattern of fear its operation is limited and therefore can never function wholly. So it is necessary, if humanity is to survive completely as human beings and not as machines, to find out for oneself whether it is possible to be totally free from fear.
We are concerned with fear itself, not with the expressions of fear. What is fear? When there is fear, is there at that very moment a recognition as fear? Is that fear describable at the moment the reaction is taking place? Or does the description come after? `After' is time. Suppose one is afraid: either one is afraid of something, afraid of something chat one has done in the past which one does not want another to know, or something has happened in the past which again awakens fear, or is there a fear by itself without an object? At the second when there is fear does one call it fear? Or does that happen only afterwards? Surely it is after it has happened. Which means that previous incidents of fear which have been held in the brain are remembered immediately after the reaction takes place; the memory says `That is fear'. At the immediacy of the reaction one does not call it fear. It is only after it has happened that one names it as fear. The naming of it as fear is from the remembrance of other incidents that have arisen which have been named fear. One remembers those fears of the past and the new reaction arises which one immediately identifies with the word fear. That is simple enough. So there is always the memory operating on the present.
So; is fear time? - the fear of something which happened a week ago, which has caused that feeling which we have named as fear and the future implication that it must not happen again; yet it might happen again, therefore one is afraid of it. So one asks oneself: is it time that is the root of fear?
So what is time? Time by the watch is very simple. The sun rises at a certain time and sets at a certain time - yesterday, today and tomorrow. That is a natural sequence of time. There is also psychological, inward time. The incident which happened last week, which has given pleasure, or which awakened the sense of fear, is remembered and projected into the future - I may lose my position, I may lose my money, I may lose my wife - time. So is fear part of psychological time? It looks like it. And what is psychological time? Not only does physical time need space, but psychological time needs space also - yesterday, last week, modified today, tomorrow. There is space and time. That is simple. So, is fear the movement of time? And is not the movement of time, psychologically, the movement of thought? So thought is time and time is fear - obviously. One has had pain sitting with the dentist. It is stored, remembered, projected; one hopes not to have that pain again - thought is moving. So fear is a movement of thought in space and time. If one sees that, not as an idea, but as an actuality (which means one has to give to that fear complete attention at the moment it arises) then it is not registered. Do this and you will find out for yourself. When you give complete attention to an insult, there is no insult. Or if somebody comes along and says, `What a marvellous person you are' and you pay attention it is like water off a duck's back. The movement of fear is thought in time and space. That is a fact. It is not something described by the speaker. If you have observed it for yourself, then it is an absolute fact, you cannot escape from it. You cannot escaPe from a fact, it is always there. You may try to avoid it, you may try to suppress it, try every kind of escape, but it is always there. If you give complete attention to the fact that fear is the movement of thought, then fear is not, psychologically. The content of our consciousness is the movement of thought in time and space. Whether that thought is very limited, or wide and extensive, it is still a movement in time and space.
Thought has created many different forms of power in ourselves, psychologically, but they are all limited. When there is freedom from limitation there is an astonishing sense of power, not mechanical power but a tremendous sense of energy. It has nothing to do with thought and therefore that power, that energy cannot be misused. But if thought says, `I will use it', then that power, that energy, is dissipated.
Another factor which exists in our consciousness is sorrow, grief, pain and the wounds and hurts that remain in most human beings from childhood. That psychological hurt, the pain of it, is remembered, it is held on to; grief arises from it; sorrow is involved in it. There is the global sorrow of mankind which has faced thousands and thousands of wars, for which millions of people have cried. The war machine is still with us, directed by politicians, reinforced by our nationalism, by our feeling that we are separate from the rest, `we' and `they', `you' and `me'. It is a global sorrow which the politicians are building, building, building. We are ready for another war and when we prepare for something there must be some kind of explosion somewhere - it may not be in the Middle East, it may happen here. As long as we are preparing for something we are going to get it - it is like preparing food. But we are so stupid that all this goes on - including terrorism.
We are asking whether this whole pattern of being hurt, knowing loneliness and pain, resisting, withdrawing, isolating ourselves, which causes further pain, can come to an end; whether the grief, the sorrow of losing some precious belief that we have held, or the disillusionment that comes when we lose somebody we have followed, for whom we have struggled, surrendered ourselves, can also come to an end? Is it possible ever to be free of all this? It is possible if we apply ourselves, not just endlessly talk about it. As it is we realize that we are hurt psychologically from childhood, we see all the consequences of that hurt, which we resist, from which we withdraw, not wanting to be hurt any more. We encourage isolation and therefore build a wall round ourselves. In our relationships we are doing the same thing.
The consequences of being hurt from childhood are pain, resistance, withdrawal, isolation, deeper and deeper fear. And as the speaker has said, there is the global sorrow of mankind; human beings have been tortured through wars, tortured under dictatorships, totalitarianism, tortured in different parts of the world. And there is the sorrow of my brother, son, wife, running away, or dying; the sorrow of separation, the sorrow that comes about when one is deeply interested in something and the other is not. In all this sorrow there is no compassion, there is no love. The ending of sorrow brings love - not pleasure, not desire, but love. Where there is love there is compassion with which comes intelligence, which has nothing whatever to do with the `intelligence' of thought.
We have to look very closely at ourselves as humanity, at why we have borne all these things all our lives, at why we have never ended this condition. Is it part indolence, part habit? We generally say: `It is part of our habit, part of our conditioning. What am I to do about it? How am I to uncondition myself? I cannot find the answer; I will go to the guru next door' - or further away, or the priest, or this or that. We never say: `Let us look at ourselves closely and see if we can break through it, like any other habit.' The habit of smoking can be broken, or that of drugs and alcohol. But we say: `What does it matter. I am getting old anyhow, the body is destroying itself, so what does little more pleasure matter?' So do we carry on. We do not feel utterly responsible for all the things we do. We either blame it on the environment, on society, on our parents, on past hereditary; we find some excuse but never apply ourselves. If we really have the urge, the immediate urge, to find out why we are hurt, it can be done. We are hurt because we have built an image about ourselves. That is a fact. When one says, `I am hurt', it is the image that one has about oneself that is hurt. Somebody comes along and puts his heavy boot on that image and one gets hurt. One gets hurt through comparison: `I am this but somebody else is better'. As long as one has an image about oneself one is going to get hurt. That is a fact and if one does not pay attention to that fact, but retains an image of oneself of any kind somebody is going to put a pin into it and one is going to get hurt. If one has an image about oneself as addressing large audiences and being famous, having gained a reputation which one wants to maintain, then someone is going to hurt it - somebody else with a bigger audience. If one gives complete attention to the image one has about oneself - attention, not concentration but attention - then one will see that the image has no meaning and it disappears.
Chapter - 6
6th Public Talk - Saanen - 23rd July 1981
I think we ought to talk over together, going into it rather deeply, the implication of sorrow, so as to find out for ourselves whether sorrow and love can exist together. And also what is our relationship to the sorrow of mankind? - not only to our own personal daily grief, hurt, pain, and the sorrow that comes with death. Mankind has suffered thousands of wars; there seems to be no end to wars. We have left it to the politicians, all over the world, to bring about peace, but what they are doing, if you have understood them, will never bring peace. We are all preparing for war. The preparations are going to have some kind of blow up somewhere in the world. We human beings have never been able to live in peace with each other. We talk about it a great deal. The religions have preached peace - Peace on earth and goodwill - but apparently it has never been possible to have peace on earth, on the earth on which we live, which is not the British earth or the French earth, it is our earth. We have never been able to resolve the problem of killing each other.
Probably we have violence in our hearts. We have never been free from a sense of antagonism, a sense of retaliation, never free from our fears, sorrows, wounds and the pain of daily existence; we never have peace and comfort, we are always in travail. That is part of our life, part of our daily suffering. Man has tried many many ways to be free of this suffering without love; he has suppressed it, escaped from it, identified himself with something greater, handed himself over to some ideal, or belief or faith. Apparently this sorrow can never end; we have become accustomed to it, we put up with it, we tolerate it and we never ask ourselves seriously, with a great sense of awareness, whether it is possible to end it.
We should also talk over together the immense implications of death. Death is part of life, though we generally postpone or avoid even talking about it. It is there and we ought to go into it. And we should also enquire whether love - not the remembrance of pleasure which has nothing to do with love and compassion - whether love with its own peculiar all-comprehending intelligence can exist in our life.
First of all: do we, as human beings, want to be really free from sorrow? Have we ever actually gone into it, faced it and understood all the movement of it, the implications involved in it? Why is it that we human beings - who are so extraordinarily clever in the technological world - have never resolved the problem of sorrow? It is important to talk this question over together, and find out for ourselves whether sorrow can really end.
We all suffer in various ways. There is the sorrow for death of someone, there is the sorrow of great poverty - which the East knows very well - and the great sorrow of ignorance - `ignorance' not in the sense of book knowledge but the ignorance of not knowing oneself totally, the whole complex activity of the self. If we do not understand that very deeply then there remains the sorrow of that ignorance. There is the sorrow of never being able to realize something fundamentally, deeply - though we are very clever at achieving technological success and other successes in this world. We have never been able to understand pain, not only physical pain, but the deep psychological pain, however learned or not very erudite we may be. There is the sorrow of constant struggle, the conflict from the moment we are born until we die. There is the personal sorrow of not being beautiful outwardly or inwardly. There is the sorrow of attachment with its fear, with its corruption. There is the sorrow of not being loved and craving to be loved. There is the sorrow of never realizing something beyond thought, something which is eternal. And ultimately there is the sorrow of death.
We have described various forms of sorrow. The basic factor of sorrow is self-centred activity. We are all so concerned with ourselves, with our endless problems, with old age, with not being able to have a deep inward yet global outlook. We all have images of ourselves and of others. The brain is always active in day dreaming, being occupied with something or other, or creating pictures and ideas from the imagination. From childhood one gradually builds the structure of the image which is `me'. Bach one of us is doing this constantly; it is that image, which is `me', that gets hurt. When the `me' is hurt there is resistance, the building of a wall round oneself so as not to be hurt any more; and this creates more fear and isolation, the feeling of having no relationship, the encouraging of loneliness which also brings about sorrow.
After having described the various forms of sorrow, can we look at it without verbalization, without running away from it into intellectual adaptation to some form of religious or intellectual conclusion? Can we look at it completely, not moving away from it, but staying with it? Suppose I have a son who is deaf or blind; I am responsible, and it gives sorrow knowing that he can never look at the beautiful sky, never hear the running waters. There is this sorrow: remain with it, do not move away from it. Or suppose I have great sorrow for the death of someone with whom I have lived for many years. Then there is this sorrow which is the essence of isolation; we feel totally isolated, completely alone. Now, remain completely with that feeling, not verbalizing it, not rationalizing it, or escaping from it, or trying to transcend it - all of which is the movement that thought brings about. When there is that sorrow and thought does not enter into it at alI - which means that you are completely sorrow, not trying to overcome sorrow, but totally sorrow - then there is the disappearance of it. It is only when there is the fragmentation of thought that there is travail.
When there is sorrow, remain with it without a single movement of thought so that there is the wholeness of it. The wholeness of sorrow is not that I am in sorrow, I am sorrow - and then there is no fragmentation involved in it. When there is that totality of sorrow, no movement away from it, then there is the withering away of it.
Without ending sorrow how can there be love? Strangely we have associated sorrow and love. I love my son and when he dies I am full of sorrow - sorrow we associate with love. Now we are asking: when there is suffering can love exist at all? But is love desire? Is love pleasure - so that when that desire, that pleasure, is denied, there is suffering? We say that suffering as jealousy, attachment, possession, is all part of love. That is our conditioning, that is how we are educated, that is part of our inheritance, tradition. Now, love and sorrow cannot possibly go together. That is not a dogmatic statement, or a rhetorical assertion. When one looks into the depth of sorrow and understands the movement of it in which is involved pleasure, desire, attachment, and the consequences of that attachment, which bring about corruption when one is aware without any choice, without any movement, aware of the whole nature of sorrow, then can love exist with sorrow? Or is love something entirely different? We ought to be clear that devotion to a person, to a symbol, to the family, is not love. If I am devoted to you for various reasons, there is a motive behind that devotion. Love has no motive. If there is a motive it is not love, obviously. If you give me pleasure, sexually, or various forms of comfort, then there is dependency; the motive is my dependence on you because you give me something in return; and as we live together I call that love. Is it? So one questions the whole thing and asks oneself: where there is motive can love exist?
Where there is ambition, whether in the physical world, or in the psychological world - ambition to be on top of everything, to be a great success, to have power, religiously, or physically - can love exist? Obviously not. We recognise that it cannot exist and yet we go on. Look what happens to the brain when we play such tricks. I am ambitious, I want to be spiritually next to god, specially on his right hand; I want to achieve illumination - you know, aU that deception; you cannot achieve illumination; you cannot possibly achieve that which is beyond time. Competitiveness, conformity, jealousy, fearfulness, hate, all that is going on, psychologically, inwardly. We are either conscious of it, or we deliberately avoid it. Yet I say to my wife or father, whoever it is, `I love you.' What happens when there is such deep contradiction in my life, in my relationship? How can that contradiction have any sense of deep integrity? And yet that is what we are doing until we die, can one live in this world without ambition, without competitiveness? Look at what is happening in the outward world. There is competition between various nations; the politicians are competing with each other, economically, technologically, in building up the instruments of war; and so we are destroying ourselves. We allow this to go on because we are also inwardly competitive.
As we pointed out, if a few really understand what we have been talking about for the last fifty years, and are really deeply involved and have brought about the end of fear, sorrow and so on, then that will affect the whole of the consciousness of mankind. Perhaps you are doubtful whether it will affect the consciousness of mankind? Hitler and his kind have affected the consciousness of mankind - Napoleon, the Caesars, the butchers of the world have affected mankind. Also the good People have affected mankind - I do not mean respectable people. The good are those who live life wholly, not fragmented. The great teachers of the world have affected human consciousness. But if there was a group of people who had understood what we have been talking about - not verbally but actually living life with great integrity - then it would affect the whole consciousness of man. This is not a theory. This is an actual fact. If you understand that simple fact you will see that it goes right through; television, newspapers, everything, is affecting the consciousness of man. So love cannot exist where there is a motive, where there is attachment, where there is ambition and competitiveness, love is not desire and pleasure. Just feel that, see it.
We are going into all this so as to bring about order in our life - order in our `house', which has no order. There is so much disorder in our life and without establishing an order that is whole, integral, meditation has no meaning whatsoever. If one's `house' is not in order one may sit in meditation, hoping that through that meditation one will bring about order; but what happens when one is living in disorder and one meditates? One has fanciful dreams, illusions and all kinds of nonsensical results. But a sane, intelligent, logical man, must first establish order in daily life, then he can go into the depths of meditation, into the meaning and the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the worth of it.
Whether we are very young, middle aged or old, death is part of our life, just as love, pain, suspicion, arrogance, are all part of life. But we do not see death as part of our life; we want to postpone it, or put it as far away from us as possible, so we have a time interval between life and death. What is death? This question is again rather complex.
The Christian concept of death and suffering and the Asiatic conclusion about reincarnation are just beliefs and like all beliefs they have no substance. So put those aside and let us go into it together. It may be unpleasant; you may not want to face it. You are living now, healthily, having pleasure, fear, anxiety and tomorrow there is hope and you do not want to be concerned with the ending of all this. But if we are intelligent, sane, rational, we have to face not only the living and all the implications of the living, but also the implications of dying. We must know both. That is the wholeness of life in which there is no division. So what is death apart from the physical ending of an organism that has lived wrongly, addicted to drink, to drugs and over indulgence or asceticism and denial? The body goes through this constant battle between the opposites, it has not a balanced harmonious life, but one of extremes. Also the body goes through great stress imposed by thought. Thought dictates and the body is controlled thereby; and thought being limited brings about disharmony. It causes us to live in disharmony physically, forcing, controlling, subjugating, driving the body - this is what we are all doing including fasting for political or religious reasons, which is violence. The body may endure all this for many years, reaching old age and not getting senile. But the body will inevitably come to an end, the organism will die; is that what death is? Is the coming to an end of the organism, either through some disease, old age or accident, what we are concerned about? Is it that thought identifies itself with the body, with the name, with the form, with all the memories, and says, `Death must be avoided'? Is it that we are afraid of the coming to an end of a body that has been looked after, cared for? Perhaps we are not afraid of that especially, perhaps slyly anxious about it, but that is not of great importance. What is far more important for us is the ending of the relationships that we have had, the pleasures that we have had, the memories, pleasant and unpleasant, all of which make up what we call living - the daily living, going to the office, the factory, doing some skilful job, having a family, being attached to the family, with all the memories of that family, my son, my daughter, my wife, my husband, in the family unit - which is fast disappearing. There is the feeling of being related to somebody, though in that relationship there may be great pain and anxiety; the feeling of being at home with somebody; or not at home with anybody. Is that what we are afraid of? - the ending of my relationships, my attachments, the ending of something I have known, something to which I have clung, something in which I have specialized all my life, - am I afraid of the ending of all that? That is the ending of all that is `me' - the family, the name, the home, the tradition, the inheritance, the cultural education and racial inheritance, all that is `me', the `me' that is struggling or that is happy. Is that what we are afraid of? - the ending of `me', which is the ending, psychologically, of the life which I am leading, the life which I know with its pain and sorrow. Is that what we are afraid of? If we are afraid of that and have not resolved that fear, still death inevitably comes, then what happens to that consciousness, which is not your consciousness but the consciousness of mankind, the consciousness of the vast whole of humanity? As long as I am afraid as an individual with my limited consciousness, it is that that I am afraid of. It is that of which I am scared. One realizes that it is not a fact that one's consciousness is totally separate from that of everybody else - one sees that separateness is an illusion, it is illogical, unhealthy. So one realizes, perhaps in one's heart, in one's feeling, that one is the whole of mankind - not an individual consciousness, which has no meaning. And one has lived this kind of life, which is pain, sorrow, anxiety, and if one's brain has not transformed some of all that, one's life is only a further confusion to the wholeness. But if one realizes that one's consciousness is the consciousness of mankind, and that for the human consciousness one is totally responsible, then freedom from the limitation of that consciousness becomes extraordinarily important. When there is that freedom then one is contributing to the breaking down of the limitation of that consciousness. Then death has a totally different meaning.
One has lived a so-called individual life, concerned about oneself and one's problems. Those problems never end, they increase. One has lived that kind of life. One has been brought up, educated, conditioned, to that kind of life. You come along as a friend - you like me, or you love me - you say to me: `Look, your consciousness is not yours; you suffer as other people suffer'. I listen to it and I do not reject what you say, for it makes sense, it is sane and I see that in what you have told me there can perhaps be peace in the world. And I say to myself: `Now, can I be free from fear? I see that I am responsible, totally, for the whole of consciousness. I see that when I am investigating fear I am helping the total human consciousness to lessen fear. Then death has a totally different meaning. I no longer have phantasies that I am going to sit next to god, or that I am going to heaven through some Peculiar nebula. I am living a life which is not my particular life. I am living a life of the whole of humanity and if I understand death, if I understand grief, I am cleansing the whole of the consciousness of mankind. That is why it is important to understand the meaning of death and perhaps to find that death has great significance, great relationship with love, because where you end something love is. When you end attachment completely then love is.
Chapter - 7
7th Public Talk - Saanen - 26th July 1981
We have talked about the complex problem of existence, about the forming of images in our relationships with each other and the images which thought projects and which we worship. We have talked about fear, pleasure and the ending of sorrow and the question of what love is, apart from all the travail that is involved in so-called love. We have talked about compassion with its intelligence and about death. We ought now to talk about religion.
Many intellectuals, throughout the world, shy away from the subject of religion. They see what religions are in the present world, with their beliefs, dogmas, rituals and the hierarchical set-up of their established existence; and they rather scoff at and run away from anything to do with religion. And as they age and come near to that threshold called death, they often revert to their old conditioning: they become Catholics or pursue some guru in India or japan. Religion throughout the world has lost its credibility and no longer has any significance in daily life. The more you examine, the more you are aware of the whole content of all the religious structures, the more sceptical you become about the whole business and like the intellectuals, you have nothing to do with them. And those who are not sceptical, treat religions romantically, emotionally, or as a form of entertainment.
If one puts aside the intellectual, the romantic and sentimental attitudes towards religions, one can then begin to ask, not with any naivety, but with seriousness: what is religion? - not looking for the mere meaning of that word, but deeply. Man, from ancient times, has always thought that there must be something beyond ordinary daily life, the ordinary misery, confusion and conflict of daily life. In his search he has invented all kinds of philosophies, created all kinds of images - from those of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Hindus to modern times - always getting caught apparently in some kind of delusion. He deludes himself and out of those delusions he creates all kinds of activities. If one could brush all that aside, not hypnotizing oneself, being free from illusion, then one can begin to examine, enquire very profoundly if there is something beyond all the contagion of thought, all the corruption of time, if there is something beyond one's usual existence in space and time and if there is any path to it, or no path, and how the mind can reach it, or come to it. If one asks that of oneself then how shall one set about it? Is any kind of preparation necessary - discipline, sacrifice, control, a certain period of preparation and then advance?
First of all it is important to understand that one should be free of all illusions. So, what creates illusions? Is it not the desire to reach something, to experience something out of the ordinary - extrasensory perception, visions, spiritual experiences? One must be very clear as to the nature of desire and understand the movement of desire, which is thought with its image and also have no motive in one's enquiry. It may seem very difficult to have no intention, to have no sense of direction so that the brain is free to enquire. There must be order in one's house, in one's existence, in one's relationships, in one's activity. Without order, which is freedom, there can be no virtue. Virtue, righteousness, is not something that is intellectually cultivated. Where there is order there is virtue; that order is something that is living, not a routine, a habit.
Secondly: is there something to be learnt? Is there something to be learnt from another? One can learn from another, history, biology, mathematics, physics; the whole complex knowledge of the technological world one can learn from another, from books. Is there something to be learned from psychology about our lives, about that which is eternal? - if there is something eternal. Or is it that there is nothing to learn from another because all the human experience, all the psychological knowledge that humanity has gathered together for millions of years, is within oneself. If that is so, if one's consciousness is that of the whole of mankind then it seems rather absurd, rather naive, to try to learn from somebody else about oneself. It requires complete clarity of observation to learn about ourselves. That is simple. So there is no psychological authority and no spiritual authority, because the whole history of mankind, which is the story of humanity, is in oneself. Therefore there is nothing to experience. There is nothing to be learnt from somebody who says: `I know' or, `I will show you the path to truth' - from the priests throughout the world, the interpreters between the highest and the lowest. To learn about, to understand, oneself, all authority must be set aside. Obviously. authority is part of oneself, one is the priest, the disciple, the teacher, one is the experience and one is the ultimate - if one knows how to understand.
There is nothing to be learnt from anybody, including the speaker; especially one must not be influenced by the speaker. One has to be free to enquire very, very deeply, not superficially. One may have done all the superficial enquiry during the last five or fifty years, and have come to the point when one has established order, more or less, in one's life, and as one goes along one may establish greater order, so that one can ask: what is the religious mind which can understand what meditation is?
Within the last fifteen years, that word meditation has become very popular in the West. Before that, only very few, who had been to Asia, enquired into the Eastern forms of meditation. The Asiatics have said that only through meditation can you come to, or understand, that which is the timeless, which has no measure. But during recent years, those who have nothing to do but call themselves gurus, have come over to the West bringing that word. It has become a word that has made meditation seem like a drug. There are also the various systems of meditation - the Tibetan, the Hindu, the Japanese Zen, and so on. These systems have been invented by thought and thought being limited the systems must inevitably be limited. And also they become mechanical, for if you repeat, repeat, your mind naturally goes dull, rather stupid and utterly gullible. It is common sense all this, but there is such eagerness to experience something spiritual, either through drugs, through alcohol, or by following a system of meditation which it is hoped will give some kind of exciting experience; there is such boredom with the daily life of going to the office for the next forty years and at the end of it to die. There is such boredom with the established religions that when somebody comes along with some fantastic notions people fall for them. This is happening; this is not exaggeration, this is not attacking anybody personally but a statement of the nonsense that is going on.
So, if one is sufficiently aware of all this one will have put it aside, for it is utterly meaningless; one does not have to go to India, or Tibet, or to Rome, if one uses common sense and has a critical mind that is questioning what others say and also questioning oneself. It is important to question anything that one considers to be correct, noble, or a real experience and it is essential to maintain a mind that is capable, rational, sane, free from all the illusions and any form of self-hypnosis.
Then what is a human being? The human being has lived on thought; all the architecture, all the music, the things that are inside the churches, the temples and mosques, they are all invented by thought. All our relationships are based on thought, though we say, `I love you', it is still based on the image which thought has created about another. Thought, to the human being, is astonishingly important; and thought itself is limited; its action is to bring about fragmentation - the fragmentation between people - my religion, my country, my god, my belief as opposed to yours, all that is the movement of thought, space and time.
Meditation is the capacity of the brain which is no longer functioning partially - the brain which has freed itself from its conditioning and is therefore functioning as a whole. The meditation of such a brain is different from the mere contemplation of one conditioned as a Christian or a Hindu, whose contemplation is from a background, from a conditioned mind. Contemplation does not free one from conditioning. Meditation demands a great deal of enquiry and becomes extraordinarily serious in order not to function partially. By partially is meant to function in a particular specialization or particular occupation that makes the brain narrow in accepting beliefs, traditions, dogmas and rituals, all of which are invented by thought. The Christians use the word `faith' - faith in god, in providence so that things will come out all right. The Asiatics have their own forms of faith - karma, reincarnation and spiritual evolution. Meditation is different from contemplation in the sense that meditation demands that the brain acts wholly and is no longer conditioned to act partially. That is the requirement for meditation, otherwise it has no meaning.
So the question is: is it possible to live in this world, which demands certain forms of specialization, a skilful mechanic, mathematician, or housewife, yet to be free from specialization? Suppose I am a theoretical physicist and have spent most of my life in mathematical formulation, thinking about it, questioning it, cultivating considerable knowledge about it, so that my brain has become specialized, narrowed down and then I begin to enquire into meditation. Then in my enquiry into meditation I can only partially understand the significance and the depth of it because I am anchored in something else, in the theoretical physics of my profession; anchored there I begin to enquire theoretically whether there is meditation whether there is the timeless; so my enquiry becomes partial again. But I have to live in this world; I am a professor at a university; I have a wife and children, I have that responsibility and perhaps I am also ill; yet I want to enquire very profoundly into the nature of truth, which is part of meditation. So the question is: is it possible to be specialized as a theoretical physicist and yet leave it at a certain level so that my brain (the brain which is the common brain of all humanity) can say: yes, it has that specialized function but that function is not going to interfere?
If I am a carpenter, I know the quality of the wood, the grain, the beauty of the wood and the tools with which to work it. And I see that that is natural and I also see that the brain that has cultivated the speciality cannot possibly understand the wholeness of meditation. If as a carpenter I understand this, the truth of it, that I, as a carpenter have a place, but also that that specialization has no place in the wholeness of comprehension, in the wholeness of understanding meditation, then that specialization becomes a small affair.
So then we begin to ask: what is meditation? First of all, meditation demands attention, which is to give your whole capacity, energy, in observation. Attention is different from concentration. Concentration is an effort made by thought to focus its capacity, its energy, on a particular subject. When you are in school you are trained to concentrate, that is to bring all your energy to a particular point. In concentration you are not allowing any other kind of thoughts to interfere; concentration implies the controlling of thought, not allowing it to wander away but keeping it focused on a particular subject. It is the operation of thought which focuses attention, focuses energy, on that subject. In that operation of thought there is compulsion, control. So in concentration there is the controller and the controlled. Thought is wandering off; thought says it should not wander off, and I bring it back as the controller who says, `I must concentrate on this.' So there is a controller and the controlled. Who is the controller? The controller is part of thought and the controller is the past. The controller says,-I have learnt a great deal and it is important for me, the controller, to control thought.' That is: thought has divided itself as the controller and the controlled; it is a trick that thought is playing upon itself. Now, in attention there is no controller, nor is there the controlled, there is only attention. So a careful examination is required into the nature of concentration with its controller and the controlled. All our life there is this controller - `I must do this, I must not do that, I must control my desires, control my anger, control my impetus.'
We must be very clear in understanding what concentration is and what attention is. In attention there is no controller. So, is there in daily existence, a way of living in which every form of psychological control ceases to exist? - because control means effort, it means division between the controller and the controlled; I am angry, I must control my anger; I smoke, I must not smoke and I must resist smoking. We are saying there is something totally different and this may be misunderstood and may be rejected altogether because it is very common to say that aIl life is control - if you do not control you will become permissive, nonsensical, without meaning, therefore you must control. Religions, philosophies, teachers, your family, your mother, they all encourage you to control. We have never asked: who is the controller? The controller is put together in the past, the past which is knowledge, which is thought. Thought has separated itself as the controller and the controlled. Concentration is the operation of that. Understanding that, we are asking a much more fundamental question, which is: can one live in this world, with a family and responsibilities, without a shadow of control?
See the beauty of that question. Our brain has been trained for thousands of years to inhibit, to control, and now it is never operating with the wholeness of itself. See for yourself what it is doing; watch your own brain in operation, rationally, critically examining it in a way in which there is no deception or hypnosis. Most of the meditations that have been put forward from the Asiatic world involve control; control thought so that you have a mind that is at peace, that is quiet, that is not eternally chattering. Silence, quietness and the absolute stillness of the mind, the brain, are necessary in order to perceive and to achieve this these forms of meditation, however subtle, have control as their basis. Alternatively you hand yourself over to a guru, or to some ideal and you can forget yourself because you have given yourself over to something and therefore you are at Peace, but again it is the movement of thought, desire and the excitement of attaining something you have been offered.
Attention is not the opposite of concentration. The opposite has its root in its own opposite. If love is the opposite of hate, then love is born out of hate. Attention is not the opposite of concentration; it is totally divorced from it. Does attention need effort? That is one of our principal activities; I must make an effort; I am lazy, I do not want to get up this morning, but I must get up, make an effort. I do not want to do something but I must. See how extraordinary it is that we cannot catch the significance of this immediately. It has to be explained, explained, explained. We seem to be incapable of direct perception of the difference between concentration and attention; unable to have an insight into attention and be attentive.
When does attention take place? Obviously not through effort. When one makes an effort to be attentive, it is an indication that one is inattentive and is trying to make that inattention become attention. But to have quick insight, to see instantly the falseness of all religious organizations, so that one is out of them. To see instantly that the observer is the observed and therefore one makes no effort, it is so. Effort exists when there is division. Does it not indicate that one's brain has become dull because one has been trained, trained, so it has lost its pristine quickness, its capacity to see directly without all the explanations and words, words, words. But unfortunately one has to go into this because one's mind, one's brain, cannot, for example grasp instantly, that truth has no path; it is unable to see the immensity of that statement, the beauty of it and put aside all paths so that one's brain becomes extraordinarily active. One of the difficulties is that one has become mechanical. If one's brain is not extraordinarily alive and active it will gradually wither away. Now one's brain has to think, it has to be active, if only partially, but when the computer can take over all the work and most of the thought, operating with a rapidity which the brain cannot, then the brain is going to wither. This is happening, it is not an exaggerated statement of the speaker, it is happening now and we are unaware of it.
In concentration there is always a centre from which one is acting. When one concentrates one is concentrating for some benefit, for some deep rooted motive; one is observing from a centre. Whereas in attention there is no centre at all. When one looks at something immense - like the mountains with their extraordinary majesty, the line against the blue sky and the beauty of the valley - the beauty of it for a moment drives out the centre; one is for a second stunned by the greatness of it. Beauty is that perception when the centre is not. A child, given a toy, is so absorbed by it that he is no longer mischievous, he is completely with the toy. But he breaks the toy and he is back to himself. Most of us are absorbed by our various toys; when the toys go, we are back to ourselves. In the understanding of ourselves without the toy, without any direction, without any motive, is the freedom from specialization which makes the whole of the brain active. The whole of the brain when it is active is total attention.
One is always looking or feeling with part of the senses. One hears some music, but one never really listens. One is never aware of anything with all one's senses. When one looks at a mountain, because of its majesty, one's senses are fully in operation, therefore one forgets oneself. When one looks at the movement of the sea or the sky with the slip of a moon, when one is aware totally, with all one's senses, that is complete attention in which there is no centre. Which means that attention is the total silence of the brain, there is no longer chattering, it is completely still - an absolute silence of the mind and the brain. There are various forms of silence - the silence between two noises, the silence between two notes, the silence between thoughts, the silence when you go into a forest - where there is the great danger of a dangerous animal, everything becomes totally silent. This silence is not put together by thought, nor does it arise through fear. When one is really frightened one's nerves and brain become still - but meditation is not that quality of silence, it is entirely different. Its silence is the operation of the whole of the brain with all the senses active. It is freedom which brings about the total silence of the mind. It is only such a mind, such a mind-brain, that is absolutely quiet - not quietness brought about by effort, by determination, by desire, by motive. This quietness is the freedom of order, which is virtue, which is righteousness in behaviour. In that silence alone is there that which is nameless and timeless. That is meditation.
Chapter - 8
1st Public Talk - Amsterdam - 19th September 1981
Most unfortunately there are only two talks and so it is necessary to condense what we have to say about the whole of existence. We are not doing any kind of propaganda; we are not persuading you to think in one particular direction, nor convince you about anything - we must be quite sure of that. We are not bringing something exotic from the East like the nonsense that goes on in the name of the gurus and those people who write strange things after visiting India - we do not belong to that crowd at all. And we would like to point out that during these two talks we are thinking together, not merely listening to some ideas and either agreeing or disagreeing with them; we are not creating arguments, opinions, judgements, but together - I mean together, you and the speaker - we are going to observe what the world has become, not only in the West but also in the East where there is great poverty, great misery, with enormous overpopulation, where the politicians, as here in the West, are incapable of dealing with what is happening. All politicians are thinking in terms of tribalism. Tribalism has become glorified nationalism. We cannot therefore rely on any politicians, on any leaders, or on any books that have been written about religion. We cannot possibly rely on any of these people, nor on the scientists, the biologists, or the psychologists. They have not been able to solve our human problems. I am quite sure you agree to all that. Nor can we rely on any of the gurus who unfortunately come to the West and exploit people and get very rich, they have nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
Having said all this it is important that we, you and the speaker, think together. We mean by thinking together not merely accepting any kind of opinion or evaluation but observing together, not only externally what is happening in the world, but also what is happening to all of us inwardly, psychologically. Externally, outwardly, there is great uncertainty, confusion, wars, or the threat of war. There are wars going on now in some parts of the world; human beings are killing each other. That is not happening in the West, here, but there is the threat of nuclear war, and the preparation for war. And we ordinary human beings do not seem to be able to do anything about all that. There are demonstrations, terrorism, hunger strikes and so on. There is one tribal group against another and the scientists are contributing to that, and the philosophers, though they may talk against it, are inwardly continuing to think in terms of nationalism, according to their own particular careers. So that is what is actually going on in the outward world, which any intelligent human being can observe.
And inwardly, in our own minds and in our own hearts, we ourselves are also very confused. There is no security, not only, perhaps, for ourselves but for the future generation. Religions have divided human beings as the Christians, the Hindus, the Muslims, and the Buddhists. So considering all this, observing objectively, calmly without any prejudice, it is naturally important that together we think about it all. Think together, not having opinions opposing other sets of opinions, not having one conclusion against another conclusion, one ideal against another ideal, but rather thinking together and seeing what we human beings can do. The crisis is not in the economic world, nor in the political world; the crisis is in consciousness. I think very few of us realize this. The crisis is in our mind and in our heart; that is, the crisis is in our consciousness. Our consciousness is our whole existence. With our beliefs, with our conclusions, with our nationalism, with all the fears that we have, it is our pleasures, the apparently insoluble problems and the thing that we call love, compassion; it includes the problem of death - wondering if there is anything hereafter, anything beyond time, beyond thought and if there is something eternal: that is the content of our consciousness.
That is the content of the consciousness of every human being, in whatever part of the world he lives. The content of our consciousness is the common ground of all humanity. I think this must be made very clear right from the beginning. A human being living in any part of the world suffers, not only physically but also inwardly. He is uncertain, fearful, confused, anxious without any sense of deep security. So our consciousness is common to all mankind. Please do listen to this. You may be hearing this for the first time; so please do not discard it. Jet us investigate it together, let us think about it together, not when you get home but now: your consciousness, what you think, what you feel, your reactions, your anxiety, your loneliness, your sorrow, your pain, your search for something that is not merely physical but goes beyond all thought, is the same as that of a person living in India or Russia or America. They all go through the same problems as you do, the same problems of relationship with each other, man, woman. So we are all standing on the same ground of consciousness. Our consciousness is common to all of us and therefore we are not individuals. Please do consider this. We have been trained, educated, religiously as well as scholastically, to think that we are individuals, separate souls, striving for ourselves, but that is an illusion because our consciousness is common to all mankind. So we are mankind. We are not separate individuals fighting for ourselves. This is logical, this is rational, sane. We are not separate entities with separate psychological content, struggling for ourselves, but we are, each one of us, actually the rest of human kind.
Perhaps you will accept the logic of this intellectually, but if you feel it profoundly then your whole activity undergoes a radical change. That is the first issue we have to think about together: that our consciousness, the way we think, the way we live, some perhaps more comfortably, more affluently, with greater facility to travel than others, is inwardly, psychologically, exactly similar to that of those who live thousands and thousands of miles away.
All is relationship, our very existence is to be related. Observe what we have done with our relationships with each other, whether intimate or not. In all relationship there is tremendous conflict, struggle - why? Why have human beings, who have lived for over a million years, not solved this problem of relationship? So let us this morning think together about it. Let us observe together actually what the relationship between a man and a woman is. All society is based on relationship. There is no society if there is no relationship, society then becomes an abstraction.
One observes that there is conflict between man and woman. The man has his own ideals, his own pursuits, his own ambitions, he is always seeking success, to be somebody in the world. And the woman is also struggling, also wanting to be somebody, wanting to fulfil, to become. Each is pursuing his or her own direction. So it is like two railway lines running parallel, never meeting, except perhaps in bed, but otherwise - if you observe closely - never actually meeting psychologically, inwardly. Why? That is the question. When we ask why, we are always asking for the cause; we think in terms of causation, hoping that if we could understand the cause then perhaps we would change the effect.
So we are asking a very simple but very complex question: why is it that we human beings have not been able to solve this problem of relationship though we have lived on this earth for millions of years? Is it because each one has his own particular image put together by thought, and that our relationship is based on two images, the image that the man creates about her and the image the woman creates about him? So in this relationship we are as two images living together. That is a fact. If you observe yourself very closely, if one may point out, you have created an image about her and she has created a picture, a verbal structure, about you, the man. So relationship is between these two images. These images have been put together by thought. And thought is not love. All the memories of this relationship with each other, the pictures, the conclusions about each other, are, if one observes closely without any prejudice, the product of thought; they are the result of various remembrances, experiences, irritations and loneliness, and so our relationship with each other is not love but the image that thought has put together. So if we are to understand the actuality of relationships we have to understand the whole movement of thought, because we live by thought; all our actions are based on thought, alI the great buildings, the cathedrals, churches, temples and mosques of the world are the result of thought. And everything inside these religious buildings - the figures, the symbols, the images - are all the invention of thought. There is no refuting that. Thought has created not only the most marvellous buildings and the contents of those buildings, but it has also created the instruments of war, the bomb in all its various forms. Thought has also produced the surgeon and his marvellous instruments, so delicate in surgery. And thought has also produced the carpenter, his study of wood and the tools he uses. The contents of a church, the skill of a surgeon, the expertise of the engineer who builds a beautiful bridge, are all the result of thought - there is no refuting that. So one has to examine what thought is and why human beings live on thought and why thought has brought about such chaos in the world - war and lack of relationship with each other - and examine the great capacity of thought with its extraordinary energy. We must also see how thought has, through millions of years, brought such sorrow for mankind. Please observe this together, let us examine it together. Do not just oppose what the speaker is saying, but examine what he is saying together so that we understand what is actually happening to all of us human beings, for we are destroying ourselves.
Thought is the response of the memory of things past; it also projects itself as hope into the future. Memory is knowledge; knowledge is memory of experience. That is, there is experience, from experience there is knowledge as memory, and from memory you act. From that action you learn, which is further knowledge. So we live in this cycle - experience, memory, knowledge, thought and thence action - always living within the field of knowledge.
What we are talking about is very serious. It is not something for the weekend, for a casual listening, it is concerned with a radical change of human consciousness. So we have to think about all this, look together, and ask why we human beings, who have lived on this earth for so many millions of years, are still as we are. We may have advanced technologically, have better communication, better transportation, hygiene and so on, but inwardly we are the same, more or less - unhappy, uncertain, lonely, carrying the burden of sorrow endlessly. And any serious man confronted with this challenge must respond; he cannot take it casually, turn his back on it. That is why these meetings are very, very serious because that is why we have to apply our minds and our hearts to finding out if it is possible to bring about a radical mutation in our consciousness and therefore in our action and behaviour.
Thought is born of experience and knowledge, and there is nothing sacred whatsoever about thought. Thinking is materialistic, it is a process of matter. And we have relied on thinking to solve all our problems in politics and religions and in our relationships. Our brains, our minds, are conditioned, educated to solve problems. Thinking has created problems and then our brains, our minds, are trained to solve them with more thinking. All problems are created, psychologically and inwardly, by thought. Follow what is happening. Thought creates the problem, psychologically; the mind is trained to solve problems with further thinking, so thought in creating the problem then tries to solve it. So it is caught in a continuous process, a routine. Problems are becoming more and more complex, more and more insoluble, so we must find out if it is at all possible to approach life in a different way, not through thought because thought does not solve our problems; on the contrary thought has brought about greater complexity. We must find out - if it is possible or not - whether there is a different dimension, a different approach, to life altogether. And that is why it is important to understand the nature of our thinking. Our thinking is based on remembrance of things past - which is thinking about what happened a week ago, thinking about it modified in the present, and projected into the future. This is actually the movement of our life. So knowledge has become all-important for us but knowledge is never complete. Therefore knowledge always lives within the shadow of ignorance. That is a fact. It is not the speaker's invention or conclusion, but it is so.
Love is not remembrance. Love is not knowledge. Love is not desire or pleasure. Remembrance, knowledge, desire and pleasure are based on thought. Our relationship with each other, however near, if looked at closely, is based on remembrance, which is thought. So that relationship - though you may say you love your wife or your husband or your girl friend - is actually based on remembrance, which is thought. And in that there is no love. Do you actually see that fact? Or do you say,-What a terrible thing to say. I do love my wife? - but is that so? Can there be love when there is jealousy, possessiveness, attachment, when each one is pursuing his own particular direction of ambition, greed and envy, like two parallel lines never meeting? Is that love?
I hope we are thinking together, observing together, as two friends walking along a road and seeing what is around us, not only what is very close and immediately perceived, but what is in the distance. We are taking the journey together, perhaps affectionately, hand in hand - two friends amicably examining the complex problem of life, neither of them leader or guru, because when one sees actually that our consciousness is the consciousness of the rest of mankind, then one realizes that one is both the guru and the disciple, the teacher as well as the pupil, because all that is in one,s consciousness. That is a tremendous realization. So as one begins to understand oneself deeply one becomes a light to oneself and not dependent on anybody, on any book or on any authority - including that of the speaker - so that one is capable of understanding this whole problem of living and of being a light to oneself.
Love has no problems and to understand the nature of love and compassion with its own intelligence, we must understand together what desire is. Desire has extraordinary vitality, extraordinary persuasion, drive, achievement; the whole process of becoming, success, is based on desire - desire which makes us compare ourselves with each other, imitate, conform. It is very important in understanding the nature of ourselves co understand what desire is, not to suppress it, not to run away from it, not to transcend it, but to understand it, to see the whole momentum of it. We can do that together, which does not mean that you are learning from the speaker. The speaker has nothing to teach you. Please realize this. The speaker is merely acting as a mirror in which you can see yourself. Then when you see yourself clearly you can discard the mirror, it has no more importance, you can break it up.
To understand desire requires attention, seriousness. it is a very complex problem co understand why human beings have lived on this extraordinary energy of desire as on the energy of thought. What is the relationship between thought and desire? What is the relationship between desire and will? We live a great deal by will. So what is the movement, the source, the origin, of desire? If one observes oneself one sees the origin of desire; it begins with sensory responses; then thought creates the image and at that moment desire begins. One sees something in the window, a robe, a shirt, a car, whatever it is - one sees it, sensation, then one touches it, and then thought says, `If I put on that shirt or dress how nice it will look' - that creates the image and then begins desire. So the relationship between desire and thought is very close. If there were no thought there would only be sensation. Desire is the quintessence of will. Thought dominates sensation and creates the urge, the desire, the will, to possess. When in relationship thought operates - which is remembrance, which is the image created about each other by thought - there can be no love. Desire, sexual or other forms of desire, prevent love - because desire is part of thought.
We should consider in our examination the nature of fear because we are all caught in this terrible thing called fear. We do not seem to be able to resolve it. We live with it, become accustomed to it, or escape from it through amusement, through worship, through various forms of entertainment, religious and otherwise. Fear is common to all of us, whether we live in this tidy, clean country, or in India where it is untidy, dirty and overpopulated. It is the same problem, fear, which man has lived with for thousands and thousands of years and which he has not been able to resolve. Is it possible - one is asking this question most seriously - is it at all possible to be totally, completely, free of fear, not only the physical forms of fear but the much more subtle forms of inward fear - conscious fears and the deep undiscovered fears which we have never even known were there? Examination of these fears does not mean analysis. It is the fashion co turn to the analyst if you have any problem. But the analyst is like you and me, only he has a certain technique. Analysis implies there is an analyser. Is the analyser different from that which he analyses? Or is the analyser the analysed? The analyser is the analysed. That is an obvious fact. If I am analysing myself, who is the analyser in me who says, `I must analyse'? It is still the analyser separating himself from the analysed and then examining that which is to be analysed. So the analyser is that which he is analysing. They are the same. To separate them is a trick played by thought. But when we observe, there is no analysis; there is merely the observing of things as they are - the observing of that which actually is, not analysing that which is, because in the process of analysing we can deceive ourselves. If you like to play that game you can, and go on endlessly until you die, analysing, and never bringing about a radical transformation within yourself. Whereas to look at the present as it is - not as a Dutchman, an Englishman, or a Frenchman or as this or that - to see what is actually happening, is pure observation of things as they are.
To observe what fear is, is not to examine the cause of fear, which implies analysis and going further and further back into the origin of fear. It is to learn the art of observing and not translating or interpreting what you observe, but just observing, as you would observe a lovely flower. The moment you take it to pieces the flower is not. That is what analysis does. But observe the beauty of a flower, or the evening light in a cloud, or a tree by itself in a forest, just observe. So similarly, we can observe fear and what is the root of fear - not the various aspects of fear.
We are asking if it is at all possible to be free of fear, absolutely. Psychologically, inwardly, what is the root of fear? What does fear mean? Does not fear arise from something that has given you pain in the past which might happen again in the future? Not what might happen now because now there is no fear. You can see for yourself that fear is a time process. Something that happened last week, an incident which brought psychological or physical pain, and from that there is fear that it might happen again tomorrow. Fear is a movement in time; a movement from the past through the present, modifying the future. So the origin of fear is thought. And thought is time, it is the accumulation of knowledge through experience, the response of memory as thought, then action. So thought and time are one; thought and time are the root of fear. That is fairly obvious. It is so.
Now it is not a question of stopping thought or time. Of course it would be impossible to stop them because the entity who says, `I must stop thought' is part of thought. So the idea of stopping thought is absurd. It implies a controller who is trying to control thought and such a controller is created by thought. Please just observe this; OBSERVATION IS AN ACTION IN ITSELF, it is not that one must do something about fear. I wonder if you understand this?
Suppose I am afraid about something or other, darkness, my wife running away, loneliness, or this or that. I am frightened, deeply. You come along and explain to me the whole movement of fear, the origin of fear, which is time. I had pain; I went through some accident or incident that caused pain, that is recorded in the brain, and the memory of that past incident produces the thought that it might happen again, and therefore there is fear. So you have explained this to me. And I have listened very carefully to your explanation, I see the logic of it, the sanity of it, I do not reject it; I listen. And that means that listening becomes an art. I do not reject what you are saying, nor accept, but I observe. And I observe that what you tell me about time and thought, is actual. I do not say, `I must stop time and thought', but having had it explained to me, I just observe how fear arises, that it is a movement of thought, time. I just observe this movement and do not move away from it, I do not escape from it but live with it, look at it, put my energy into looking. Then I see that fear begins to dissolve because I have done nothing about it, I have just observed, I have given my whole attention to it. That very attention is like bringing light on fear. Attention means giving all your energy in that observation.
Why is it that man pursues pleasure? Please ask yourself why. Is pleasure the opposite of pain? We have all had pain of different kinds, both physical and psychological. Psychologically, most of us from childhood have been wounded, hurt; that is pain. The consequence of that pain has been to withdraw, to isolate oneself so as not to be further hurt. From childhood, through school, by comparing ourselves with somebody else who is more clever, we have hurt ourselves, and others have hurt us through various forms of scolding, saying something brutal, terrorizing us. And there is this deep hurt with all its consequences, which are isolation, resistance, more and more withdrawal. And the opposite of that we think is pleasure. Pain and the opposite of it is pleasure. Is goodness the opposite of that which is not good? If goodness is the opposite, then that goodness contains its own opposite. Therefore it is not good. Goodness is something totally separate from that which is not goodness. So is pleasure something opposite to pain? Is it a contrast? We are always pursuing the contrast, the opposite. So one is asking, is pleasure entirely separate, like goodness, from that which is not pleasurable? Or is pleasure tainted by pain? When you look closely at pleasure it is always remembrance, is it not? You never say when you are happy, `How happy I am', it is always after; it is the remembrance of that which gave you pleasure, like a beautiful sunset, the glory of an evening, full of that extraordinary light, it gave great delight. Then that is remembered and pleasure is born. So pleasure is part of thought too - it is so obvious. The understanding of relationship, fear, pleasure and sorrow, is to bring order in our house. Without order you cannot possibly meditate. Now the speaker puts meditation at the end of the talk because there is no possibility of right meditation if you have not put your house, your psychological house, in order. If the psychological house is in disorder, if what you are is in disorder, what is the point of meditating? It is just an escape. It leads to all kinds of illusions. You may sit cross-legged or stand on your head for the rest of your life but that is not meditation. Meditation must begin with bringing about complete order in your house - order in your relationships, order in your desires, pleasures and so on.
One of the causes of disorder in our life is sorrow. This is a common factor, a common condition, in all human beings. Everyone goes through this tragedy of sorrow, whether in the Asiatic world or in the Western world. Again this is a common thing we all share. There is not only so-called personal sorrow but there is the sorrow of mankind, the sorrow which wars have brought about - five thousand years of historical records and every year there has been a war, killing, violence, terror, brutality, the maiming of people, people who have no hands, no eyes - the horrors and the brutality of wars which have brought incalculable misery to mankind. It is not only one’s own sorrow but the sorrow of mankind; the sorrow of seeing a man who has nothing whatsoever, just a piece of cloth, and for the rest of his life he is going to be that way - not so much in these Western countries, but in the Asiatic world it is like that. And when you see that person there is sorrow. There is also sorrow when people are caught an illusion, like going from one guru to another, escaping from themselves. It is a sorrow to observe this, the clever people going off to the East, writing books about it, finding some guru - so many fall for that nonsense. There is the sorrow that comes when you see what the politicians are doing in the world - thinking in terms of tribalism. There is personal sorrow and the vast cloud of the sorrow of mankind. Sorrow is not something romantic, sentimental, illogical; it is there. We have lived with this sorrow from time measureless, and apparently we have not resolved this problem. When we suffer we seek consolation, which is an escape from the fact of sorrow. When there is that grief, you try every form of amusement and escape, but it always is there. Apparently humanity has not resolved it. And we are asking the question: is it possible to be free of it completely? Not avoiding it, not seeking consolation, not escaping into some fanciful theory, but is it possible to live with it. Understand those words `to live with it: they mean not to let sorrow become a habit. Most people live with sorrow, with nationalism, which is most destructive, they live with their own separate religious conclusions, they live with their own fanciful ideas and ideals, which all again bring conflict. So live with something, live with sorrow, not accepting it, not becoming habituated to it - but look at it, observe it without any escape, without any question of trying to go beyond it, just `hold it in your hand' and look. Sorrow is also part of the tremendous sense of loneliness: you may have many friends, you may be married, you may have all kinds of things, but inwardly there is this feeling of complete loneliness. And that is part of sorrow. Observe that loneliness without any direction, without trying to go beyond it, without trying to find a substitute for it; live with it, not worship it, not become psychotic about it, but give all your attention to that loneliness, to that grief, to that sorrow.
It is a great thing to understand suffering because where there is freedom from sorrow there is compassion. One is not compassionate as long as one is anchored to any belief, to any particular form of religious symbol. Compassion is freedom from sorrow. Where there is compassion there is love. With that compassion goes intelligence - not the intelligence of thought with its cunning, with its adjustments, with its capacity to put up with anything. Compassion means the ending of sorrow and only then is there intelligence.