Wholeness of Life
3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park
3rd September 1977
What Is Death?
One has known of thousands of deaths - the death of someone very close or the death of masses through the atomic bomb - Hiroshima and all the horrors that man has perpetrated on other human beings in the name of peace and in the pursuit of ideologies. So, without any ideology, without any conclusion, one asks: What is death? What is the thing that dies - that terminates? One sees that if there is something that is continuous it becomes mechanical. If there is an ending to everything there is a new beginning. If one is afraid then one cannot possibly find out what this immense thing called death is. It must be the most extraordinary thing. To find out what death is one must also enquire into what life is before death. One never does that. One never enquires what living is. Death is inevitable; but what is living? Is this living, this enormous suffering, fear, anxiety, sorrow, and all the rest of it - is this living? Clinging to that one is afraid of death. If one does not know what living is one cannot know what death is - they go together. If one can find out what the full meaning of living is, the totality of living, the wholeness of living, then one is capable of understanding the wholeness of death. But one usually enquires into the meaning of death without enquiring into the meaning of life.
When one asks: What is the meaning of life? - one immediately has conclusions. One says it is this; one gives it a significance according to one's conditioning. If one is an idealist, one gives life an ideological significance; again, according to one's conditioning, according to what one has read and so on. But if one is not giving a particular significance to life, if one is not saying life is this or something else, then one is free, free of ideologies, of systems, political, religious or social. So, before one enquires into the meaning of death one is asking what living is. Is the life one is living, living? The constant struggle with each other? Trying to under- stand each other? Is living according to a book, according to some psychologists, according to some orthodoxy living?
If one banishes all that, totally, then one will begin with "what is". "What is" is that our living has become a tremendous torture, a tremendous battle between human beings, man, woman, neighbour - whether close or far. It is a conflict in which there is occasional freedom to look at the blue sky, to see something lovely and enjoy it and be happy for a while; but the cloud of struggle soon returns. All this we call living; going to church with all the traditional repetition, or the new English repetition, accepting certain ideologies. This is what one calls living and one is so committed to it one accepts it. But discontentment has its significance - real discontent. Discontent is a flame and one suppresses it by childish acts, by momentary satisfactions; but discontent when you let it flower, arise, it burns away everything that is not true.
Can one live a life that is whole, not fragmented? - a life in which thought does not divide as the family, the office, the church, this and that and death so divided off that when it comes one is appalled by it, one is shocked by it so that one's mind is incapable of meeting it because one has not lived a total life.
Death comes and with that one cannot argue; one cannot say: "Wait a few minutes more" - it is there. When it comes, can the mind meet the end of everything while one is living, while one has vitality and energy, while one is full of life? When one's life is not wasted in conflicts and worries one is full of energy, clarity. Death means the ending of all that one knows, of all one's attachments, of one's bank accounts, of all one's attainments - there is a complete ending. Can the mind, while living, meet such a state? Then one will understand the full meaning of what death is. If one clings to the idea of 'me', that me which one believes must continue, the me that is put together by thought, including the me in which one believes there is the higher consciousness, the supreme consciousness, then one will not understand what death is in life.
Thought lives in the known; it is the outcome of the known; if there is not freedom from the known one cannot possibly find out what death is, which is the ending of everything, the physical organism with all its ingrained habits, the identification with the body, with the name, with all the memories it has acquired. One cannot carry it all over when one goes to death. One cannot carry there all one's money; so, in the same way one has to end in life everything that one knows. That means there is absolute aloneness; not loneliness but aloneness, in the sense there is nothing else but that state of mind that is completely whole. Aloneness means all one.
4th Public Talk Brockwood Park
4th September 1977
That Emptiness Is the Summation of All Energy
One's consciousness, which is oneself, is filled with one's own concepts and conclusions and with other people's ideas; it is filled with one's fears, anxieties and pleasures and with occasional flashes of joy and with one's sorrow. That is one's consciousness. That is the pattern of one's existence.
Is it at all possible to bring about a radical change in one's consciousness? For if it is not possible then one is everlastingly living in a prison of one's own ideas, one's own concepts - living in a field where there is every kind of confusion, uncertainty, instability. And one seems to think that if one moves from one corner of that field to another one has greatly changed, but still one is in the same field. As long as one lives within the field that one calls one's consciousness, however little or however great it may change, yet in that field there is no fundamental human transformation.
Ideologies, however clever, however carefully thought out, ultimately bring about dangerous illusions - whether they are the ideologies of the Right, Centre, or the extreme Left, they all end up either in great bureaucracies controlling man, or in concentration camps, or the destructive moulding of man according to a particular concept. This is what is happening throughout the world; the intellectuals have led us to this point.
We have been prisoners of religious ideologies and dogmas - the Catholic, the Hindu, the Buddhist and so on, and the gurus, with their modern modifications of the ancient traditions and ideologies, are also the prisoners of those ideologies.
If one observes all this, carefully, impersonally, objectively, one realizes that one must put away all ideologies and ask oneself whether consciousness with its content - which is what one is, with all one's conflicts, struggles, confusions, misery and occasional happiness - can become aware of itself and empty itself? That is one problem in meditation.
Meditation is not seeking an end; it is not groping purposefully after a goal. Out of meditation comes immense silence; not cultivated silence, not the silence between two thoughts, between two noises, but a silence that is unimaginable. The brain becomes extraordinarily quiet when in this process of enquiry; when there is silence there is great perception. In this silence there is emptiness, an emptiness that is the summation of all energy.
In examining the question of consciousness and its content it is very important to find out whether one, oneself, is observing it, or if in observing, consciousness becomes aware of itself. There is a difference. Either, one observes the movement of one's consciousness - one's desires, hurts, ambitions, greeds and all the rest of the content of our consciousness - as if from the outside; or consciousness becomes aware of itself. This is only possible when thought realizes that it is only observing what it has created, which is the content of its consciousness; then thought realizes that it is only observing itself, not `me' which thought has put together observing consciousness. There is only observation; then consciousness begins to reveal its content, not only the superficial consciousness but the deeper layers of consciousness, the whole content of consciousness. If one sees the importance of sheer absolute motionless observation, then the thing flowers; consciousness opens up its doors.
One learns the art of observing without any distortion, without any motive, without any purpose just to observe. In that there is tremendous beauty because then there is no distortion. One sees things clearly as they are. But if one makes an abstraction of them into ideas and then through the ideas observes, then it is a distortion.
One freely, without any distorting factor, enters into the observation of consciousness. There is nothing hidden and consciousness begins to reveal its own totality, its content, one's hurts, greed, envy, happiness, beliefs, ideologies, past traditions, the present scientific or factual traditions and so on and so on - all that is our consciousness. One observes it without any movement of thought; because it is thought that has put together all the content of our consciousness - thought has built it. When thought comes and says: "This is right, this is wrong, this shouldn't be, that should", one is still within the field of consciousness; one is not going beyond it. One has to understand very clearly the place of thought; it has its own place, in the field of knowledge, technology and so on. But thought has no place whatsoever in the psychological structure of man. So, can one observe one's consciousness and does it reveal its content? - not bit by bit, but the totality of its movement. Then only is it possible to go beyond it.
In enquiring, can one observe without any movement of the eye? Because the eye has an effect on the brain. When one keeps the eyeballs completely still observation becomes very clear because the brain is quietened. So, can one observe without any movement of thought interfering with one's observation? It is only possible when the observer realizes that he and that which he is observing are one - the observer is the observed. Anger is not different from me - I am anger, I am jealousy. There is no division between the observer and the observed; that is the basic reality one must capture. Then the whole of consciousness begins to reveal itself without the making of any effort. In that total observation there is the emptying of, or the going beyond, all the things that thought has put together - which is one's consciousness.
Then there is the problem of time - time psychologically, as a movement towards the fulfilment of an idea, an ideology. One is greedy, or violent: one says to oneself: "I will take time to get over it, or to modify it, or change it, or to get rid of it, or to go beyond it." That time is psychological time, not chronological time, by the watch or by the sun. There is this whole conditioning of one's mind which says: "I will take time to achieve that which I consider to be essential, to be beautiful, to be good." One questions that time, and asks: Is there psychological time at all? Is it not that thought has invented that time?
This is a very important thing to understand because it shatters altogether the idea of tomorrow - psychologically. It is a tremendous fact. If one understands that, psychologically, there is no tomorrow, then what will one do with that "which is"? If there is no time, then how is violence to end? One is conditioned to use time as a means of getting rid, slowly or quickly, of - say - violence. But if there is no time at all then what takes place when there is violence? Will there be violence? If it is one's whole outlook that, psychologically, there is no time at all, then is there a me who is violent? The me is put together through time. The me as violence, is time. But if there is no time at all as me, then there is nothing, there is no violence.
If there is no time at all, there is no past or future, but only something else, totally different. One is so conditioned to time and one says psychologically, that there must be time for me to evolve, for me to become something other than that which I am. When one sees the truth of the fact that thought itself is the cause of this time, then there is an ending of the past and the future; there is only the sense of timeless movement now. It is really extraordinary if one understands this. And, after all, love is that. Love is at the same level, at the same time, at the same intensity; at that moment that is love - not the remembrance of it, or the future hope for it. That state of mind, which is love, is really completely without time. Then see what happens in one's relationship with another. One perhaps has that extraordinary sense of love which is not of time, which is not of thought, which is not a remembrance of pleasure or pain; then what is the relationship between one who has that and another who has not? One has no image about another because the image is the movement of time, thought has built images step by step about another and that is no longer happening; but the other has made images about oneself step by step; for the other is in a movement of time and oneself has no time at all. One has this extraordinary sense of love which is not of time. What then is one's relationship with another? When one has that extraordinary quality of love then in that quality there is supreme intelligence. That intelligence is going to act in that relationship, it is not oneself who will act in that relationship. It is really a marvellous thing to go into because it totally alters all relationship; and if there is no such fundamental alteration in relationship there is no alteration in this monstrous society which we have built.
What is space? Can there be space without order? Just take an outward physical example: is there space when there is disorder in a room? When one throws one's clothes all over the place and everything is in disorder, is there space? There is only space when everything is in its right place. So, outwardly. Now inwardly: our minds are so confused, our whole life is self-contradiction, disorder, caught in various habits, drugs, smoke, drink, sex and so on. Obviously habits are mechanical and where there are habits there is disorder. What is order inwardly? Is order something dictated by thought? Thought itself is a movement of disorder. One thinks one can bring about social order by very careful thought, by ideological thought. Society, whether in the West or the East, is in disorder, is confused, is contradictory and the world is so totally mad. Wherever there is the movement of thought, time-binding, fragmentary and limited in itself, there must be total disorder.
Is there an action which is not the result of the movement of thought; an action not conditioned by ideologies which have been put together by thought? Is there an action totally free from thought? Such action, then, would be complete, whole, total - not fragmentary, not contradictory. Such action would be whole action in which there is no regret, no sense of "I wish I hadn't done that", or "I will try to do that". Disorder comes about when there is the movement of thought and thought itself is fragmentary and when it acts everything must be fragmentary. If one sees that very clearly, then one asks: "What is action without thought?" Action means the doing now, not doing tomorrow, or having done in the past. It is as love, it is not of time. Love and compassion are beyond intellect, beyond memory; they are a state of mind that acts because love and compassion are supremely intelligent - intelligence acts. Where there is space, there is order, which is the action of intelligence; it is neither yours nor mine, it is intelligence born out of love and compassion. Space implies a mind that is not occupied; yet our minds are occupied all day long about something or other and so there is no space, not even an interval between two thoughts, every thought is associated with another thought so that there is no gap - the whole mind is crowded, chattering, with opinions and judgements.
True order brings enormous space; space means silence; out of silence comes this extraordinary sense of emptiness. Do not be frightened by that word "empty; when there is emptiness then things can happen.
What is beauty? Does it lie in a picture, in a museum, in a poem? Does it lie in the line of the mountains against the sky; or in a sheet of water reflecting the beauty of the clouds, or in the line an architect gives a building; or in a home that has a certain beauty? What is beauty? - not the imagination that creates beauty; not the word that creates beauty; not a beautiful idea. When one sees something extraordinarily alive and beautiful, a mountain, a clear sky, a view, at that moment when seeing it totally one is absent, is one not? Because of the immensity of the mountain, its extraordinary stability, its sense of firmness and the line of it, its magnificence drives away the me - for the moment. The outer glory has driven away the petty little me - like a boy given a toy, he is absorbed by it, he will play with it for an hour and break it up and when you take the toy away he is back to himself, naughty, crying and mischievous. The same thing has happened; the great mountain has driven away the petty little me, and one sees it for the moment. When the me is absent, totally, there is beauty. Then one's relationship to nature changes completely; the earth becomes precious, every tree, every leaf, everything is part of that beauty - but man is destroying everything.
Is there anything sacred, holy? Obviously the things that thought has put together in the religious sense - investing sacredness in images, in ideas - are not sacred at all. That which is sacred has no division, not one a Christian, another a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and all the rest of the divisions. That which thought has put together is of time, is fragmentary, is not whole, therefore it is not holy, though you worship the image on a cross that is not holy, that is invested with sacredness by thought; the same with the images that the Hindus have put together, or the Buddhists and so on. What then is sacred? One can only find out when thought has discovered itself, its right place, without effort, without will and there is this immense sense of silence; the silence of the mind without any movement of thought. It is only when the mind is absolutely free and silent that one discovers that which is beyond all words, which is timeless. Then out of that comes the vastness of true meditation.
2nd Public Talk Brockwood Park
28th August 1977
When the Me Is Not, Then Compassion Comes Into Being
No guru and no system can help one to understand oneself. Without understanding oneself there is no raison d'etre to find out that which is right action, that which is truth. In investigating one's consciousness one is investigating the whole human consciousness - not only one's own - because one is the world and when one observes one's own consciousness one is observing the consciousness of mankind - it is not something personal and self-centred.
One of the factors in consciousness is desire. From perception, contact and sensation, thought creates the image and the pursuit of that image is the desire to fulfil, with all the frustration and the bitterness following from that. Now, can there be an observation of sensation not ending in desire? Just to observe. Which means one has to understand the nature of thought, because it is thought that gives continuity to desire; it is thought that creates the image out of sensation followed by the pursuit of that image.
Thought is the response of memory, experience and knowledge, stored up in the brain. Thought is never new, it is always from the past. Thought, therefore, is limited. Although it has created innumerable problems yet it has also created the extraordinary world of technology - marvellous things it has done. But thought is limited because it is the outcome of the past, therefore it is time-binding. Thought pretends to conceive the immeasurable, the timeless, something beyond itself; it projects all kinds of illusory images. Can one observe the whole movement of desire without images and the pursuit of those images; without thereby becoming involved in frustration, in the hope of fulfilment and so on? Just to observe the whole movement of desire; to become aware of it.
Can one psychologically be free yet not be caught up in the illusion that one is free? That illusion comes about when one says to oneself. "I must be free from fear" - which is the movement of desire. Having understood the nature of desire and its movement, its images, its conflicts, then one can look at fear in oneself and not deceive oneself that one is psychologically free from fear. Then one can go into the whole question of fear; not a particular form of fear, but go to the very root of fear, which is much simpler and quicker than taking the various branches of fear and trimming them. By observing the totality of fear then come to the root of it. One can only go to the root of it when one observes the totality of the various forms of fears - observe, become aware of them, but not try to do something about them. By observing the whole tree of fear, with all the branches, with all its various qualities, all its divisions, go to the very root of it.
What is the root of fear, psychologically? Is not the root of fear, time? - what might happen tomorrow, or in the future; what might happen if one does not do certain things. Time as the past, time as what might happen now or in the future; is not the root of fear and time the movement of thought?
The root of fear is the movement of time; which is thought as measure. Can one observe, can one be aware of this movement, not controlling it, suppressing it, or escaping from it, but just observing aware of its total movement? One is aware of this total movement of thought as time and measure - I have been, I shall be, I hope to be - one is choicelessly aware of this fact and remaining with it, not moving away from what actually is. What actually is, is the movement of thought, which says: "I have been hurt in the past and I hope I shall not be hurt in the future." That very process of thinking is fear - taking that as an example. Where there is fear, obviously there is no affection, there is no love.
A great part of consciousness is the enormous desire for and the pursuit of pleasure. All religions have said do not pursue pleasure, sexual or any kind of pleasure because you have given your life over to Jesus, or Krishna; they advocate suppressing desire, suppressing fear, suppressing any form of pleasure. Every religion has talked about it endlessly. We are saying: on the contrary do not suppress anything, do not avoid anything. Do not analyse one's fear - just observe. All human beings are caught in this pursuit of pleasure and when that pleasure is not given there is hatred, violence, anger and bitterness. So one must understand this pursuit, this enormous urge for pleasure which human beings have throughout the world.
The function of the brain is to register, as a computer registers. It registers pleasure, and thought gives the energy and the drive to pursue pleasure. One has had pleasure of various kinds yesterday: they are registered. Then thought says there must be more and thought then pursues the more. The more then becomes pleasure; the desire for continuity of pleasure is given vitality and driven by thought - thinking about it, today or tomorrow, later on. That is the movement of pleasure. Now: is it possible to register only that which is absolutely necessary and nothing else? We are continually registering so many things unnecessarily and so building up the self, the me - "I am hurt; I am not what I should be; I must achieve what I think should be", and so on. The whole of this registration is an action of giving importance to the self. Now we are asking: Is it possible to register only that which is absolutely necessary? What is absolutely necessary? - not all the things the psyche builds up, which are memories.
What is necessary to register and what is not necessary to register? The brain is occupied all the time with registering, therefore there is no tranquillity, no quietness, whereas if there is a clarity as to what is to be registered and what is not to be registered then the brain is quieter - and that is part of meditation.
Are the things that one registers psychologically necessary at all? Anything that you hold psychologically is unnecessary. By holding those things, registering those things, by the brain holding on to them, it attains a certain security; but that security is merely the me that has gathered all the psychological hurts and imprints. So we are saying: to register anything psychologically and hold it is absolutely unnecessary - one's beliefs, one's dogmas, one's experiences, one's wishes and desires, they are all totally unnecessary. So, what is it that is necessary? Food, clothes and shelter - nothing else. This is a tremendous thing to understand in oneself; it means that the brain is no longer the accumulating factor of the me. The brain is rested, tranquil and it needs considerable tranquillity; but it has always sought that tranquillity, that security, in the me which is the accumulation of all the past registrations, which are just memories, therefore worthless - like collecting a lot of dead ash and giving tremendous importance to it.
To register only that which is absolutely necessary; it is a marvellous thing if one can go into it and do it because then there is real freedom - freedom from all the accumulated knowledge, tradition, superstition and experience, which have all built up this enormous structure to which thought clings as the me. When the me is not, then compassion comes into being and that compassion brings clarity. With that clarity there is skill.
Where there is unnecessary registration there is no love. If one wants to understand the nature of compassion one has to go into this question of what love is and whether there is such a thing as love without any form of attachment with all its complications, with all its pleasures and fears.
2nd Public Talk Ojai California
3rd April 1977
The Division Between the Observer and The Observed Is the Source of Conflict
There are two types of learning: one, memorizing what is being taught and then observing through memory - which is what most of us call learning - the other, learning through observation and not storing it as memory. Put another way: one is to learn something by heart, so that it is stored up in the brain as knowledge and subsequently acting according to that knowledge, skilfully or unskilfully; when one goes to school and university, one stores up a great deal of information as knowledge and according to that knowledge one acts, beneficially for oneself or for society; but incapable of acting simply, directly. The other kind of learning - to which one is not quite so accustomed because one is such a slave to habits, to tradition, to every form of conformity - is to observe without the accompaniment of previous knowledge, to look at something as though for the first time, afresh. If one observes things afresh, then there is not the cultivation of memory; it is not as when one observes and through that observation stores up memory so that the next time one observes it is through that pattern of memory, therefore not anymore observing afresh.
It is important to have a mind that is not constantly occupied, constantly chattering. To an unoccupied mind a new seed of learning can germinate - something entirely different from the cultivation of knowledge and acting from that knowledge.
Observe the skies, the beauty of the mountains, the trees, the light among the leaves. That observation, if stored up as memory, will prevent the next observation being fresh. When one observes one's wife or friend, can one observe without the interference of the recording of previous incidents in that particular relationship? If one can observe or watch the other without the interference of previous knowledge, one learns much more.
The most important thing is to observe; to observe and not to have a division between the observer and the observed. Mostly there is a division as between the observer who is the total summation of past experience as memory and the observed, that which is - so the past observes. The division between the observer and the observed is the source of conflict.
Is it possible for there to be no conflict at all, right through one's life? Traditionally, one accepts that there must be this conflict, this struggle, this everlasting fight, not only physiologically in order to survive, but psychologically in desire and fear, like and dislike, and so on. To live without conflict is to live a life without any effort, a life in which there is peace. Man has lived, centuries upon centuries, a life of battle, conflict, both outwardly and inwardly; a constant struggle to achieve and fear of losing, dropping back. One may talk endlessly about peace, but there will be no peace as long as one is conditioned to the acceptance of conflict. If one says it is possible to live in peace, then it is just an idea and therefore valueless. And if one says it is not possible, then one blocks any investigation.
Go into it psychologically first; it is more important than physiologically. If one understands very deeply the nature and the structure of conflict psychologically and perhaps ends it there, then one may be able to deal with the physiological factor. But if one is only concerned with the physiological, biological factor, to survive, then one probably will not be able to do it at all.
Why is there this conflict, psychologically? From ancient times, both socially and religiously, there has been a division between the good and the bad. Is there really this division at all - or is there only "what is", without its opposite? Suppose there is anger; that is the fact, that is "what is", but "I will not be angry" is an idea, not a fact.
One never questions this division, one accepts it because one is traditional by habit, not wanting anything new. But there is a further factor; there is a division between the observer and the observed. When one looks at a mountain, one looks at it as an observer and one calls it a mountain. The word is not the thing. The word "mountain" is not the mountain, but to oneself the word is very important; when one looks, instantly there is the response, "that is a mountain". Now, can one look at the thing called "mountain", without the word, because the word is a factor of division? When one says "My wife," the word "my" creates division. The word, the name, is part of thought. When one looks at a man or a woman, a mountain or a tree, whatever it is, division takes place when thought, the name, the memory, comes into being.
Can one observe without the observer, who is the essence of all the memories, experiences, reactions and so on, which are from the past? If one looks at something without the word and the past memories, then one looks without the observer. When one does that, there is only the observed and there is no division and no conflict, psychologically. Can one look at one's wife or one's nearest intimate friend without the name, the word and all the experiences that one has gathered in that relationship? When one so looks one is looking at her or him for the first time.
Is it possible to live a life that is completely free from all psychological conflict? One has observed the fact, it will do everything if one lets the fact alone. As long as there is division between the image-making observer, and the fact - which is no image but only fact - there must be everlasting conflict. That is a law. That conflict can be ended.
When there is an ending of psychological conflict - which is part of suffering - then how does that apply to one's livelihood, how does that apply in one's relationship with others? How does that ending of psychological struggle, with all its conflicts, pain, anxiety, fear, how does that apply to one's daily living - one's daily going to the office etc. etc? If it is a fact that one has ended psychological conflict, then how will one live a life without conflict outwardly? When there is no conflict inside, there is no conflict outside, because there is no division between the inner and the outer. It is like the ebb and flow of the sea. It is an absolute, irrevocable fact, which nobody can touch, it is inviolate. So, if that is so, then what shall one do to earn a livelihood? Because there is no conflict, therefore there is no ambition. Because there is no conflict, there is no desire to be something. Because inwardly there is something absolute which is inviolate, which cannot be touched, which cannot be damaged, then one does not depend psychologically on another; therefore there is no conformity, no imitation. So, not having all that, one is no longer heavily conditioned to success and failure in the world of money, position, prestige, which implies the denial of "what is" and the acceptance of "what should be".
Because one denies "what is" and creates the ideal of "what should be" there is conflict. But to observe what actually is, means one has no opposite, only "what is". If you observe violence and use the word "violence" there is already conflict, the very word is already warped: there are people who approve of violence and people who do not. The whole philosophy of non-violence is warped, both politically and religiously. There is violence and its opposite, non-violence. The opposite exists because you know violence. The opposite has its root in violence. One thinks that by having an opposite, by some extraordinary method or means, one will get rid of "what is".
Now, can one put away the opposite and just look at violence, the fact? The non-violence is not a fact. Non-violence is an idea, a concept, a conclusion. The fact is violence - that one is angry; that one hates somebody; that one wants to hurt people; that one is jealous; all that is the implication of violence, that is the fact. Now, can one observe that fact without introducing its opposite? For then one has the energy - which was being wasted in trying to achieve the opposite - to observe "what is". In that observation there is no conflict.
So, what will a man do who has understood this extraordinary complex existence based on violence, conflict, struggle, a man who is actually free of it, not theoretically, but actually free? Which means, no conflict. What shall he do in the world? Will one ask this question if one is inwardly, psychologically, completely free from conflict? Obviously not. It is only the man in conflict who says: "If there is no conflict, I will be at an end, I will be destroyed by society because society is based on conflict."
If one is aware of one's consciousness, what is one? If one is aware, one will see that one's consciousness is - in its absolute sense - in total disorder. It is contradictory, saying one thing, doing something else, always wanting something. The total movement is within an area which is confined and without space and in that little space there is disorder.
Is one different from one's consciousness? Or is one that consciousness? One is that consciousness. Then is one aware that one is in total disorder? Ultimately that disorder leads to neurosis, obviously - and all the specialists in modern society such as psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and so on. But inwardly, is one in order? Or is there disorder? Can one observe this fact? And what takes place when one observes choicelessly - which means without any distortion? Where there is disorder, there must be conflict. Where there is absolute order there is no conflict. And there is an absolute order, not relative order. That can only come about naturally, easily, without any conflict, when one is aware of oneself as a consciousness, aware of the confusion, the turmoil, the contradiction, outwardly and inwardly observing without any distortion. Then out of that comes naturally, sweetly, easily, an order which is irrevocable.
6th Public Talk Saanen
21st July 1977
When There Is an Ending to Consciousness with Its Content There Is Something Entirely Different
To observe holistically is to observe - or to listen to - the whole content of something. Normally, we look at things partially, according to our pleasure, or according to our conditioning, or according to some idealistic point of view; we always look at things fragmentarily. The politician is mostly concerned with politics; the economist, the scientist, the business man, each has his own concern, generally throughout life. It seems that we never take, or observe the whole movement of life - like a full river with a great volume of water behind it; water right from beginning to end. It may become polluted but, given sufficient extent, it can cleanse itself. So,in the same way, we can treat life holistically moving totally from the beginning to the end without any fragmentation, without any deviation, without any illusion. It is important to understand how the mind creates illusions of self-importance and all the various types of illusions which are comforting and safe - at least for the time being. We look at something with a preconceived idea or belief, so that we never really actually see it.
Illusions are created by seeking satisfaction in desire. Satisfaction is entirely different from ecstasy. Ecstasy is a state of being, or not being, which is outside of oneself. That is ecstasy in which there is no experiencing. The moment there is experiencing, then it is the self with its past memories, its recollections, which is translating, creating illusions. Ecstasy never creates illusions. You cannot hold on to ecstasy because it is outside of oneself; there is no question of remembering it; there is no question of wanting it; wanting it is the desire to satisfy and that creates illusion.
Most of us are caught in some kind of illusion - the illusion of being, or not being, the illusion of power, position and so on: whole categories projected from the centre, which is the me. Illusion means to see sensuously through a definite conclusion, prejudice, or idea.
A mind that is caught in illusions has no order. Order can only come about holistically. We need order; even in a very small room one puts things in their right place otherwise it becomes disorderly, ugly, and lacking repose. We think order, psychologically, is in the following of a certain pattern or a certain routine which we have already established in the past. Order is, psychologically, something entirely different; it can only come about when there is clarity. Clarity brings order, not the other way round; try to seek order then that becomes mechanistic, a conformity to a pattern in which there can be no clarity.
Order implies harmony in daily life. Harmony is not an idea. We are caught in the prison of ideas and there is no harmony in that. Harmony and clarity imply seeing things holistically, observing life as a total unitary movement - not, I am a business man at the office and a different person at home; not, I am an artist and can do the most absurd and eccentric things; not this breaking up, or fragmenting, of life into various categories, the elite and the non-elite, the worker and the non-worker, the intellectual and the romantic, which is the way we normally live. See how important it is to treat life as a total movement in which everything is included, in which there is no breaking down, as the good and the bad and heaven and hell. See holistically so that when you observe your friend, or your wife or your husband, you see holistically in that relationship.
We think of freedom as freedom from something - freedom from sorrow, from anxiety, from work - which is really reaction and therefore not freedom at all. When someone says "I am free from smoking", that is a response from what has been, a moving away from what has been. But we are talking of freedom which is not from something, which implies observing holistically.
In observing holistically there is no fragmentation, or direction in that observation; for when there is direction there is distortion. Only when there is complete freedom can you observe holistically and in that observation there is no satisfaction and therefore there is no illusion.
So, observe life as a total movement, non-fragmented, holistic, flowing continuously - "continuously" but not in the sense of time. Usually the word "continuous" implies time; but there is a continuity which is not of time. We think of the relationship between the past and the future as a continuity, without breaking up. That is what we generally understand by the word "continuity", which is of time. Time is movement, a time-span to be covered through days, months, or years, with an ideal to be achieved at the end of it. Time implies thought; thought is a movement of measure; the movement of time. But,is there a continuity - if we can use that word, which is not perhaps quite right - is there a continuity which is not a series of incidents related to the past as cause becoming effect now and the effect in turn becoming future cause? Is there a state of being in which there is an ending, a coming to an end, of everything?
We think of life as a measured movement in time; a movement which ends in death. Up to that point that is what we call continuity. Yet one observes a movement which is not of time, which is not a remembrance of something of the past going through the present and modifying the future and so continuing. There is a state of mind which is dying to everything that is happening; all that happens is coming in and flowing out - there is no retaining but always a flowing out. That state of mind has its own sense of beauty and "continuity" which is not of time.
Every religion, from ancient times, has tried to find out if there is something beyond death. The Ancient Egyptians thought that, in a way, living is part of death, so you carried over your slaves, your cattle, as you died. To go over to the other side was to live as you have lived this side, in the past. That was a continuity. The ancient people of India said life must have a continuity; for otherwise what is the point of achieving moral character, having so much experience in life, having suffered so much, if it merely ends in death - what is the point of it? Therefore, they said, there must be a future and in that future the content of consciousness is modified life after life; its content went on. The Christians have a different kind of fulfilment, such as the resurrection and so on. But, we want to find the truth of it; not what you think, not what the professionals, the priests and the psychologists think. There have appeared certain articles in the press in America and Europe affirming that people have "died" and come back to daily life remembering having experienced extraordinary "after death" states, light, beauty - whatever. One questions whether they really died, because if one is really dead it means that oxygen is not going to the brain and after several minutes the brain deteriorates; when there is real death there is no coming back and therefore no recollection of something after you die. Death may be a most extraordinary experience, much greater than so-called love, much greater than any desire, any idea, any conclusion; or it may be the end of everything, of every form of relationship, every form of recollection, remembrance, accumulation. It may be total annihilation; the complete ending of everything. One must find out what is the truth of the matter.
To come upon the truth, every form of identification must end, every form of fear, every desire for comfort. One must not be caught in that illusion which says: "Yes, there is a marvellous state after death." The mind must have no identification with the name, with the form, or with any person, idea, conclusion. Is that possible? That does not deny love; on the contrary, when one is attached to a person there is no love; there is dependence; there is the fear of being left alone in a world where everything is so insecure, both psychologically and outwardly. To find out what is the truth of death, what is the meaning, the real depth, of that extraordinary thing that must happen, there must be freedom. And there is no freedom when there is attachment, when there is fear, when there is a desire for comfort. Can one put all that aside? To find the truth of this extraordinary thing called death one must also find the truth of what is before death; not the truth after death, but also the truth before death. What is the truth before death? If that is not clear the other cannot be clear. One must look very closely, carefully and freely, at what is before death, which we call living. What is the truth of one's living? - which means what is one, or who is one - which one calls living? A heavily conditioned mind brought about through education, environment, culture, through religious sanctions, beliefs and dogmas, rituals, "my country", "your country", the constant battle, wanting to be happy and being unhappy, depressed and elated, going through anxiety, uncertainty, hate, envy and the pursuit of pleasure; afraid to be alone, fear of loneliness, old age, disease - this is the truth of our life, our daily life. Can such a mind, which has not put order in this life - order in the sense of that which comes through clarity and compassion - can such a mind which is so utterly fragmented, disorderly, frightened, find out the truth about something outside of all that?
So what is the truth of death - that is, complete ending? There may be annihilation, or there may be something; but that is a hope creating distortion and illusion; so one is cutting that out.
One can only find out the truth of it when there is an ending - an ending to everything that you have; the ending to attachment, not giving it a day, ending it completely, now. That is what death means - ending, complete ending; and when there is complete ending something new is born.
Fear is a burden, a terrible burden and when one removes that burden completely there is something new that takes place. But one is afraid of ending - either ending at the end of one's life, or ending now. End your vanity, because without ending there is no beginning. We are caught in this continuity of never ending. When there is total, complete, holistic, ending there is something totally new beginning, which you cannot possibly imagine; it is a totally different dimension.
To find out the truth of death, there must be the ending of the content of one's consciousness. Then one will never ask "Who am I?' or `What am I?" One is one's consciousness with its content. When there is an ending to that consciousness with its content there is something entirely different, which is not imagined. Human beings have sought immortality in their actions; one writes a book and in that book there is one's immortality as a writer; a great painter makes a painting and that painting becomes the immortality of that human being. All that must end - which no artist is willing to do.
Each human being is a representative of the whole of humanity and when there is that change in consciousness one brings about a change in the human consciousness. Death is the ending of this consciousness as one knows it.
3rd Public Talk Saanen
14th July 1977
Without Clarity, Skill Becomes a Most Dangerous Thing
When one has developed a skill it gives a certain sense of well-being, security. And that skill, born of knowledge, must invariably, in its action, become mechanical. Skill in action is what one has sought because it gives a certain position in society, a certain prestige. Living in that field all the time, as one does in modern society, with all its economic demands, that knowledge and skill become, not only additive but also invariably a repetitive mechanical process that gradually gathers its own stimulation, its own arrogance, and power. In that power one has security.
Society, at the present time, is demanding more and more skill - whether one is an engineer, a technological expert, a scientist, a psychotherapist, etc. etc - but there is great danger - is there not? - is seeking all this skill resulting from accumulated knowledge, for in this increase there is no clarity. When skill becomes all important in life, not only because it is the means of livelihood, but because one is totally educated for that purpose - all our schools, colleges and universities are directed for that purpose - then that skill invariably brings about a certain sense of power, arrogance and self-importance.
The art of learning is not only in the accumulation of the knowledge necessary for skilful action, but also in that learning which is without accumulation. There are two types of learning: acquiring and accumulating a great deal of knowledge through experience, through books, through education which may be used in skilful action; and another form in which one never accumulates and in which one never registers anything other than that which is absolutely necessary. In the first form, the brain is registering and accumulating knowledge, storing it up and acting from that store skilfully, or unskilfully. In the second form, one becomes so totally aware that one only registers that which is absolutely necessary and nothing else; then the mind is not cluttered and influenced with the movement of accumulated knowledge.
In this art of learning, accumulating knowledge, by registering only the things that are necessary for skilful action, there is the non-registering of any psychological reactions; the brain is employing knowledge where function and skill are necessary and yet the brain is free not to register in the psychological area. It is very arduous this, to be so totally aware that one only registers that which is necessary and not, absolutely does not, register anything which is unnecessary. Someone insults you, someone flatters you, someone calls you this or that - no registration. This gives tremendous clarity. To register and yet not to register so that there is no psychological building up of the me, the structure of the self. The structure of the self arises only when there is the registration of everything that is not necessary; that is: giving importance to one's name, one's experience, one's opinions and conclusions, all that is the intensifying of the energy in the self - which is always distorting.
The art of learning gives this extraordinary clarity and if there is great skill in action without that clarity then it breeds self-importance, whether the self-importance is identified with oneself or with a group, or with a nation. Self-importance denies clarity. There cannot be compassion without clarity and because there is no compassion skill has become so important. If there is no clarity there is no awakening of intelligence, that intelligence which is neither yours nor mine, it is intelligence. That intelligence has its own action, which is non-mechanistic and therefore without cause.
As in the art of seeing and of listening, in the art of learning there is no movement of thought. Thought is necessary to accumulate knowledge to function skilfully, otherwise thought has no place whatsoever. This brings tremendous clarity. In such clarity there is no centre from which one is functioning; no centre which has been put together by thought, as the me, mine; for where there is that centre there must be a circumference, where there is a circumference there is resistance, there is the division which is one of the fundamental causes of fear. Without clarity skill becomes a most destructive thing in life - which is what is happening in the world; men can go to the moon and put the flag of their country there, but that is not from clarity; they can kill each other through wars as a result of the extraordinary development of technology, all from the movement of thought, which is not clarity. Thought can never understand that which is whole, that which is immeasurable, which is timeless.
2nd Public Dialogue Brockwood Park
1st September 1977
How Is One to Know Oneself?
What is the nature of thought that it ceases when there is complete attention and when there is no attention it arises? One has to understand what it is to be aware otherwise one will not be able to understand completely the full significance of attention.
Is there an idea of awareness or is one aware? There is a difference. The idea of being aware, or being aware. "Aware" means to be sensitive, to be alive, to the things about one, to nature, to people, to colour, to the trees, to the environment, to the social structure, the whole thing, to be aware outwardly of all that is happening and to be aware to what is happening inside. To be aware is to be sensitive, to know, to observe, what is happening inside psychologically and also what is happening outside, environmentally, economically, socially and so on. If one is not aware of what is happening outwardly and one begins to be aware inwardly then one becomes rather neurotic. But if one begins to be aware of what is exactly happening in the world, as much as possible, and then from there moves inwardly, then one has a balance. Then there is a possibility of not deceiving oneself. One begins by being aware of what is happening outwardly and then one moves inward - like the ebb and flow of the tide, there is constant movement - so that there is no deception. If one knows what is happening outside and from there moves inward one then has criteria.
How is one to know oneself? Oneself is a very complex structure, a very complex movement; how is one to know oneself so that one does not deceive oneself? One can only know oneself in one's relationship to others. In one's relationship to others one may withdraw from them because one does not want to be hurt and in relationship one may discover that one is very jealous, dependent, attached and really quite callous. So relationship acts as a mirror in which one knows oneself. It is the same thing outwardly; the outer is a reflection of oneself, because society, governments, all these things, are created by human beings fundamentally the same as oneself.
To find out what awareness is one must go into the question of order and disorder. One sees outwardly that there is a great deal of disorder, confusion and uncertainty. What has brought about this uncertainty, this disorder; who is responsible? Are we? Be quite clear as to whether we are responsible for the disorder outwardly; or is it some divine disorder out of which divine order will come? So, if one feels responsible for the outward disorder then is not that disorder an expression of one's own disorder?
One observes that disorder outwardly is created by our disorder inwardly. As long as human beings have no order in themselves there will be disorder, always. Governments may try to control that disorder, outwardly; the extreme form is the totalitarianism of Marxism - saying it knows what order is, you do not, it is going to tell you what it is and suppress you, or confine you in concentration camps and psychiatric hospitals and all that follows.
The world is in disorder because we are in disorder, each one of us. Is one aware of one's disorder or has one but a concept of disorder? Is one aware that one is in disorder or is it merely an idea which has been suggested that one accepts? The acceptance of an idea is an abstraction, an abstraction from "what is". The abstraction is to move away from "what is" - and one mostly lives in ideas and moves away from facts. Is one accepting a concept of disorder or is one aware that one is oneself in disorder? Does one understand the difference between the two? Does one become aware, per se, for itself?
What does one mean by disorder? There is contradiction; one thinks one thing, and does another. There is the contradiction of opposing desires, opposing demands, opposing movements in oneself - duality. How does this duality arise? Is it not that one is incapable of looking at "what is"? One would rather run away from "what is" into "what should be", hoping somehow, by some miracle, by some effort of will, to change "what is" into "what should be". That is: one is angry and one "should not" be angry. If one knew what to do with anger, how to deal with anger and go beyond it, there would be no need for "what should be", which is "do not be angry". If one can understand what to do with "what is", then one will not escape to "what should be". Because one does not know what to do with "what is", one hopes that by inventing an ideal that one can somehow through the ideal change "what is". Or, because one is incapable and does not know what to do, one's brain becomes conditioned to living always in the future - the "what one hopes to be". One is essentially living in the past but one hopes by living for an ideal in the future to alter the present. If one were to see what to do with "what is" then the future does not matter. It is not a question of accepting "what is", but remaining with "what is".
One can only understand something if one looks at "what is" and does not run away from it - not try to change it into something else. Can one remain with, observe, see, "what is" - nothing else? I want to look at "what is". I realize that I am greedy but it does not do anything. Greed is a feeling and I have looked at that feeling named greed. The word is not the thing; but I may be mistaking the word for the thing. I may be caught in words but not with the fact - the fact that I am greedy. It is very complex; the word may incite that feeling. Can the mind be free of the word and look? The word has become so important to me in my life. Am I a slave to words? - knowing that the word is not the thing. Has the word become so important that the fact is not real, actual, to me? I would rather look at a picture of a mountain than go and look at a mountain; to look at a mountain I have to go a great distance, climb, look, feel. Looking at a picture of a mountain is looking at a symbol, it is not reality. Am I caught in words, which are symbols, thereby moving away from reality? Does the word create the feeling of greed? - or is there greed without the word? This requires tremendous discipline, not suppression. The very pursuit of the enquiry has its own discipline. So I have to find out, very carefully, whether the word has created the feeling, or if the feeling exists without the word. The word is greed, I named it when I had that feeling before therefore I am registering the present feeling by a past incident of the same kind. So the present has been absorbed into the past.
So I realize what I am doing. I am aware that the word has become extraordinarily important to me. So then, is there a freedom from the word greed, envy or nationality, Communist, Socialist and so on - is there a freedom from the word? The word is of the past. The feeling is the present recognized by the word from the past, so I am living all the time in the past. The past is me. The past is time; so time is me. The me says: "I must not be angry because my conditioning has said: do not be greedy, do not be angry." The past is telling the present what it should do. So there is a contradiction because fundamentally, very deeply, the past is dictating the present, what it should do. The me, which is the past with all its memories, experiences, knowledge, a thing put together by thought, the me, is dictating what should happen.
Now, can I observe the fact of greed without the past? Can there be observation of greed without naming, without getting caught in the word, having understood that the word can create the feeling and that if the word creates the feeling then the word is `me', which is of the past, telling me "do not be greedy"? Is it possible to look at "what is" without the me - which is the observer? Can I observe greed, the feeling, its fulfilment and action, without the observer which is the past?
The "what is" can only be observed when there is no me. Can one observe the colours and forms around one? How does one observe them? One observes through the eye. Observe without moving the eye; because if one moves the eye the whole operation of the thinking brain comes into being. The moment the brain is in operation there is distortion. Look at something without moving one's eyes; how still the brain becomes. Observe not only with one's eyes but with all one's care, with affection. There is then an observation of the fact, not the idea, but the fact, with care and with affection. One approaches "what is" with care, with affection; therefore there is no judgement, no condemnation; therefore one is free of the opposite.
Small Group Dialogue Ojai California
22nd March 1977
Questioner(1): Can we discuss the relation between Krishnamurti's teaching and truth?
Questioner (2): Is there such a thing as a teaching at all, or is there only truth?
KRISHNAMURTI: Is it the expression of truth? There are two things involved. The speaker is either talking out of the silence of truth, or he is talking out of the noise of an illusion which he considers to be the truth.
Q: That is what most people do.
K: So which is it that he is doing?
Q: There could be a confusion between the word and truth.
K: No, the word is not the truth. That's why we said: either he is talking out of the silence of truth or out of the noise of illusion.
Q: But because one feels that he is speaking out of the silence of truth there is a greater possibility for the word to be taken as truth.
K: No, let's go slowly for this is interesting. Who is going to judge, who is going to see the truth of the matter? The listener, the reader? You who know Indian scriptures, Buddhism, The Upanishads, etc - you are familiar with them and know most of the contents of all that. Are you capable of judging? How shall we find out? You hear him talking about these things and you wonder if he is really speaking out of this extraordinary silence of truth, or as a reaction and from a conditioned childhood and so on. That is to say, either he is talking out of his conditioning or out of the other. How will you find out? How will you approach this problem?
Q: Is it possible for me to find out if what is meeting that teaching is the noise within myself?
K: That's why I am asking you. What is the criterion, the measure that you apply so you can say: "Yes, that is it." Or do you say: "I don't know"? I am asking what you do. Or don't you know but are examining, investigating; not whether he is speaking out of silence or conditioning, but you are watching the truth of what he is saying. I would want to know whether he was speaking out of this, or out of that. But as I don't know, I am going to listen to what he is saying and see if it is true.
Q: But what sees it as true?
K: Say one is fairly alive to things. One listens to this man and one wants to find out whether what he says is mere words or the truth.
Q: When I have come to the conclusion that it is the truth, then I am already not listening.
K: No, I don't know. My life is concerned with this problem - not just for a few years or a few days. I want to know the truth of this matter. Is he speaking out of experience or from knowledge, or not out of any of these things? Most people speak out of knowledge, so we are asking that question.
I don't know how you would find out. I'll tell you what I would do. I would put his personality, his influence, all that, completely aside. Because I don't want to be influenced, I am sceptical, doubtful, so I am very careful. I listen to him and I don't say "I know" or "I don't know", but I am sceptical. I want to find out.
Q: Sceptical means you are inclined to doubt it, which is already a bias...
K: Oh, no! I am sceptical in the sense that I don't accept everything that is being said.
P: But you lean towards doubting. It's negation.
K: Oh, no. I would rather use the word doubt, in the sense of questioning. Let's put it that way. I say to myself. Am I questioning out of my prejudice? This question has never been put to me before, I am exploring it. I would put everything aside - all the personal reputation, charm, looks, this and that - I am not going to accept or reject, I am going to listen to find out. Am I prejudiced? Am I listening to him with all the knowledge I have gathered about religion, of what the books have said, what other people have said, or what my own experience tells me?
Q: No. I may be listening to him precisely because I have rejected all that.
K: Have I rejected it? Or am I listening to him with all that? If I have rejected that then I am listening. Then I am listening very carefully to what he has to say.
Q: Or I am listening with everything that I already know of him?
K: I have said: I have put away his reputation. Am I listening to him with the knowledge that I have acquired through books, through experience, and therefore I am comparing, judging evaluating? Then I can't find out whether what he is saying is the truth. But is it possible for me to put aside all that? I am passionately interested to find out. So for the time being - while I am listening at least - I will put aside everything I have known. Then I proceed. I want to know, but I am not going to be easily persuaded, pulled into something by argument, cleverness, logic. Now am I capable of listening to what he is saying with complete abandonment of the past? It comes to that. Are you? Then my relationship to him is entirely different. Then I am listening out of silence.
This is really a very interesting question. I have answered for myself. There are a dozen of us here, how would you answer it? How do you know that what he is talking about is the truth?
Q: I wouldn't be concerned with that word truth. When you use the word truth you indicate you have the ability to judge what is true, or you already have a definition of truth, or you know what truth is. Which means you will not be listening to what somebody is saying.
K: Don't you want to know whether he is speaking falsehood, out of a conditioned mind, from a rejection and therefore out of a reaction?
Q: (1): I realize that in order to listen to this man I can't listen with a conditioned mind - not to anybody.
Q (1): Another question which arises is: I reject all this knowledge and listen in silence. Is truth in that silence?
K: I don't know. That is one of the things I have got to find out.
Q (1): If there is no rejection there is no silence.
Q (2): As this well is an endless source, is the teaching the same as truth?
K: How would you answer this question?
Q: I think first of all you can be sensitive to what is false. In other words, to see if there is something false, something incoherent.
K: Logic can be very false.
Q(1): Yes, I don't mean just logic, but you can be sensitive to the whole communication to see if there is some deception. I think one of the questions implied here is: Are you deceiving yourself?
Q(2): But doesn't that sensitivity imply the absence of one's own projections - the silence after having moved through all your own colouring of it. Only then can you be that sensitive.
Q(3): You have to be free of deceiving yourself to see that.
K: Again, forgive me for asking: How do you know he is speaking the truth? Or is he deceiving himself and is caught in an illusion which gives him a feeling that he is telling the truth? What do you answer?
Q: One goes into it oneself. One cannot accept it without going deeply into it.
K: But one can deceive oneself so appallingly.
Q: You go through the layers of all those deceptions and beyond them.
K: If I were a stranger I might say: You have listened to this man for a long time, how do you know he is telling the truth? How do you know anything about it?
Q: I could say that I have looked at what you have said, and each time I was able to test it to see if it was right. I have not found anything which was contradictory.
K: No. The question was: How do you find out the truth? - Not about contradiction, logic, all that. One's own sensitivity, one's own investigation, one's own delving - is that enough?
Q(1): If one goes all the way, if one goes through all the possible self-deceptions.
Q(1): And then goes so far as to say that in the moments when one is listening - I do not know how deeply, but listening at all - one feels there is a change in oneself. It may not be a total revolution, but there is a change.