You are here

10th Public Talk - 30th July 1967

10th Public Talk - 30th July 1967

Facebook iconTwitter icon
Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1967

What is it each one of us is seeking in life? If we seriously put the question to ourselves, as to what it is, deeply, that we all want - I wonder what we would reply? Is the demand, the search, based on one's inclinations, guided by one's tendencies, or shaped by circumstances? If it is shaped by circumstances then it is merely a matter of making those conditions somewhat better, happier, more pleasant, more satisfactory. And if our demand is merely the dictate of tendency, according to our conditioning, to our culture, to our background, then it will naturally be enforced by our limited comprehension, our limited attention. If our demand, our deep search, is based on our inclination, then it is the search for greater and wider pleasure. Which of these three categories is it that guides, shapes or urges our search, our longings, our groupings? Apparently most of us are seeking something - greater pleasure, greater satisfaction, wider and deeper experiences - and there are those of us who are somewhat more serious and say we are seeking the truth. That word is one of the most dangerous words, for the search for truth demands not merely a casual intermittent drive, seeking greater pleasure - which most of us are, and though but rather a sustained, continuous looking, not in any particular direction, but a total comprehension of life. If we are there be nothing wrong with it - that greater pleasure brings with it greater pains and greater fears. And if there is merely a conditioned response, arising from tendency or circumstance, then it brings its own bondage, its own pains, its own sorrows. But if we are a little more cautious, hesitantly serious, then we shall be serious about everything in life. And one must be serious in life - not with regard to truth or pleasure or momentary satisfaction - but serious about everything that one touches, whether it is in the cooking of a delicious lunch or serious with regard to our relationship with another human being, or serious when one asserts to oneself that one is seeking something which is called 'truth'. I think one has to be extraordinarily, vitally, serious about everything in life - not about fragmentary parts of life - because each individual human being is responsible for all the misery, for the wars, for the hunger, for the brutalities and so on, for this enormous violence that exists in the world.

(For those of you, please, who are not really very interested, who merely came for curiosity, would they all get up and go now - it would be much simpler. If you are serious at all about anything then stay and pay as much or as little attention as you can.)

I feel very strongly that each one of us, being responsible for the chaos, misery and sorrow in the world, that each one of us as a human being must bring about a radical revolution in himself. Because each in himself is both the society and the individual, he is both violence and peace, he is this strange mixture of pleasure and hate and fear, aggressiveness, domination and gentleness; sometimes one predominates over the other and there is a great deal of unbalance in all of us.

We are responsible not only to the world but also responsible for ourselves, in what we do, what we think, how we act, how we feel. Merely to seek truth or pleasure without understanding this strange mixture, this strange contradiction of violence and gentleness, of affection and brutality, of jealousy, of greed, envy and anxiety, has very little meaning. Unless there is a radical transformation in the very foundation of ourselves, merely to seek great pleasure or to seek truth has very little meaning. Man has sought that thing we call truth, apparently, throughout historical times and before, an otherness which we call God, which we call the timeless state, a thing which is not measurable, which is not nameable. Man has always sought that because his life is very dull, there is always death, old age, there is so much pain, contradiction, conflict, a sense of utter boredom, a meaninglessness to life. We are caught in that and to escape from it - or because we have slightly understood this complex existence - we want to find something more, something that won't be destroyed by time, by thought, by any human corruption. And man has always sought that and not finding it he has cultivated faith - faith in a God, in a saviour, faith in an idea. I do not know if you have noticed that faith invariably breeds violence. Do consider this. When I have faith in an idea, in a concept, I want to protect that idea, I want to protect that concept, that symbol; that symbol, that idea, that ideology is a projection of myself, I am identified with it and I want to protect it at any price. And when I defend something I must be violent. And more and more, as one observes, faith has no place anymore; nobody believes in anything anymore - thank God. Either one becomes cynical and bitter, or one invents a philosophy which will be satisfactory intellectually - but the central problem is not resolved.

The central problem is really: how is one to bring about a fundamental mutation in this complex, unhappy world of confusion, not only outside but inside? - a world of contradiction, a world of such anxiety. Then, when there is a mutation, one can go further, if one wants. But without that radical, fundamental change every effort to go beyond that has no meaning. The search for truth and the question as to whether there is a God or not, whether there is a timeless dimension, will be answered - not by another, not by a priest, not by a saviour - by nobody but yourself and you will be able to answer that question for yourself only when there is this mutation that can and must take place in every human being. That is what we are interested in and concerned with in all these talks. We are concerned not only as to how to bring about a change objectively in this miserable world outside of us, but also in ourselves. Most of us are so unbalanced, most of us are so violent, greedy, and are hurt so easily when anything goes against us, that it seems to me the fundamental issue is - what can a human being, such as you and I, living in this world, do? If you seriously put that question to yourself I wonder what you would answer - is there anything to be done at all? You know, we are asking a very serious question. As human beings, you and I, what can we do, not only to change the world but ourselves - what can we do? Will somebody tell us? People have told us; the priests who are supposed to understand these things better than laymen like us, they have told us and that hasn't led us very far. We have the most sophisticated human beings, even they have not led us very far. We cannot depend on anybody, there is no guide, there is no teacher, there is no authority, there is only oneself and one's relationship with another and the world, there is nothing else. When one realizes that, faces that, either it brings great despair from which comes cynicism, bitterness and all the rest of it, or in facing it, one realizes that one is totally responsible for one self and for the world, nobody else; when one faces that, all self-pity goes. Most of us thrive on self-pity, blaming others, and this occupation doesn't bring clarity.

What you and I can do, to live in this world sanely, healthily, logically, rationally, but also inwardly to have great balance, to live without any conflict, without any hate, without any violence, seems to me to be a question which each of us has to answer for himself.

This morning if we can travel together, not along a verbal line, not along intellectual concepts, but by putting aside all those things, take a journey and find a state of mind which is never in conflict, and which therefore has no element of domination or servility. To find such a state of mind we must journey together and that means you will have to give a great deal of attention, not concentration, for there is a difference between attention and concentration. When you concentrate what actually takes place? watch it in yourself. When you concentrate on something, when you focus your thought, force it to be concentrated on something, there is a process of defence, there is the building of a wall within which the mind can concentrate upon something. Concentration is an exclusive process whereas attention is not. 'To attend' means to give complete attention, not a fragmentary or partial attention, that is, listen to the aeroplane, or the train going by, listen to the talk, see, hear and feel everything completely without any frontier, then in that state of attention we could journey together very far and very deeply.

We are asking what one can do, as a human being living in the world and in himself, being both violent and gentle, both full of antagonism and hate, or with an occasional burst of joy, what can one do to bring about a revolution in oneself. Now this requires attention. (At this moment there is a failure of the public address system and an attempt is made to remedy this while the talk proceeds.) There is a distraction going on here and my tendency is to observe what is taking place and yet to resist that tendency because I want to talk; so there is a contradiction - you're following all this? - so there is a conflict and in that state the mind cannot function clearly. The mechanical thing has gone wrong, it has to be put right, at the same time I have to talk clearly and to think without any contradiction; mere concentration won't bring that about. But whereas if there is attention, attention to what is going on, not being distracted by it and yet with that attention a listening to what is being said, then there is no contradiction. It is in that state of attention that we can look at ourselves and the more we know about ourselves the more deeply can the mind penetrate within itself and go beyond all the intellectual and verbal structures and symbols so that it is not caught in its own imagination, in its own illusion, in its own desires.

So first, you and I must know ourselves completely, so that there are no hidden corners, no secret untrodden recesses of the mind. Either you do this, step by step - please follow this very carefully - step by step through analysis, through examination, through opening every layer of one's consciousness, which means you take time - that is to say I'm angry, I am jealous, I am envious, and to understand why, the motive of it, to uncover, to unroll the vast and complex me, that will take time - either one does that, or there is a different way altogether. Please understand this very clearly. I can analyze myself, I can look at myself, if I want to, without any illusion, without any perversion, I can look at myself very clearly as I can look at myself in the mirror, and by looking at myself I begin to analyze, to go into the cause of every movement of thought, every feeling, enquire into every motive, and that will take a lot of time. It will take days, months, years, and in this process there is always distortion going on because there are other influences, other pressures, other strains. So that when I admit time in this process of understanding myself, I must allow for every form of distortion. And 'myself' is such a complex, deep entity - moving - living - struggling - wanting - denying, and I have to watch every movement to understand the whole of it. Either I do that or do what is generally done, that is, I identify myself with something greater, with the nation, with the state, with the family, or with an idea, as of the Saviour, of Buddha; I identify myself with that, a projection from myself, an idea of what I want to be, or what I should be, and in that there is conformity to that pattern and hence more struggle. That is what man has done through out ages, he has either gone inwardly, through introspection and analysis, or he has identified himself with something, or he has lived in a state of total negation, hoping that some thing will happen. Man has done all this and even more complex things and he has taken drugs. It is not only the modern world that is taking drugs, for the taking of drugs existed in China three or four thousand years ago, as it existed in India, and all to escape from the monotony of life, from the terrible boredom and the meaningless existence of going to the office every day, to have sex, to have children, to be in constant battle with oneself. Man has needed an escape of some kind, whether it is the escape of the football field or the escape of a church, they are exactly the same. So, if all that is not the way, because all that implies time and the sowing of more seeds of violence, antagonism, if you really understand that, then you put it away completely. You see that that is not the way. It's like a man who wants to go south but who has taken a path that leads north, suddenly when he realizes that is not the way then he turns his back to the north. It is the same when one realizes that all those attempts that human beings have made throughout time are not the way - it doesn't matter who says to the contrary - then you can look at yourself in quite a different way, you can look at yourself without time.

There is this total complex thing called 'me' with its antagonism, fears, hopes, aspirations, ambitions, greed, the whole thing that is me; can I look at it so completely and instantly that I understand the whole thing? After all, what is truth? - the seeing of truth, the feeling of what truth is, with its beauty, with its love - how does one see that? You can only see truth when the mind is not fragmented, when you see the totality. When you see the totality of yourself, all of it, not just the fragments here and there, but the totality of your being, that is the truth and you understand the whole complex.

Can one look at oneself so completely, so attentively that the whole of oneself is revealed in an instant? Most of us cannot do this because we have never approached the problem so seriously, we have never looked at ourselves, never. We blame others, we explain things away, or we are frightened to look at ourselves and so on, and we never look at ourselves as we are. You can only look totally when you give your whole attention. In such attention there is no fear, for when you're giving your mind, your body, your nerves, your eyes, your ears, everything, to look, there is no room for fear, there is no room for contradiction, there is no conflict. When you have looked at yourself so deeply, then you can go even deeper. When using the word 'deeper' we are not being comparative. We think in comparisons - depth and shallowness, happiness and unhappiness - we are always measuring. When I say, 'I must go deeply, or deeper in myself' the word 'deeper' is a comparative word. Now, are there such states as the shallow and the deep - in one self? When I say, 'my mind is shallow, petty, narrow, limited' - how do I know it is petty, narrow, limited? It is because I've compared my mind with your mind which is much more bright, has more capacity, is more intelligent, aware, and so on. Then I say, in comparison, 'my mind is shallow, my mind is petty' but can I know my pettiness without comparison? Do I know that I am hungry now because I was hungry yesterday or, do I know that I am hungry now without comparison with the hunger I knew yesterday? So when we use the word 'deeper' we are not thinking in comparative terms, we are not comparing.

A mind that is always comparing, always measuring, will always engender illusion. If I am measuring myself against you, who are clever, more intelligent, I am struggling to be like you and I am denying myself as I am, and I am creating an illusion. So when I have understood that comparisons in any form only lead to greater illusion and greater misery, that when I analyse myself, or when I identify myself with something greater, whether it be the state, a saviour, an ideology, when I understand that all such comparative thinking leads to greater conformity and therefore greater conflict, then I put it completely away. Then my mind is no longer seeking, no longer groping, searching, asking, questioning, demanding, waiting - which does not mean that my mind is satisfied with things as they are - then my mind has no illusion or imagination. Such a mind can move in a totally different dimension. The dimension in which we live, the life of everyday, the pain, pleasure, and fear that has conditioned the mind, that has limited the nature of the mind, all that is completely gone. Then there is enjoyment, which is something entirely different from pleasure. Pleasure is brought into being by thought, as thought brings into being fear. But enjoyment, the real joy, the feeling of great bliss, is not of thought. Then the mind functions in a dimension in which there is no conflict, there is no sense of 'otherness', no sense of duality.

Verbally one can go only so far; what lies beyond cannot be put into words for words are not the thing. You understand - the actual tree is not the word 'tree; the word is different from the fact. Up to now we can describe, explain, but the words or the explanations cannot open the door. What will open the door is daily awareness and attention. Awareness, without any choice, of what is going on within, of how you speak, what you say, how you walk, what you think; being daily aware of it. It's like cleaning a room to keep it in order, but keeping the room in order is of no importance; it is important in one sense and totally unimportant in another. There must be order in the room but the order will not open the window. What will open the window, the door, is not your volition, is not your desire. You cannot possibly invite the 'other'. All that you can do is to keep the room in order; which is to be virtuous, but not the virtuousness or morality of any society for what it will bring, but to be virtuous for itself, to be sane, rational, orderly. Then perhaps, if you're lucky, the window will open and the breezes will come in - and they may not. It depends on the state of your mind, and that state of mind can only be under stood by yourself, watching it yet never trying to shape it, which means watching it without any choice. Out of this choiceless awareness perhaps the door will open and you will know what that dimension is in which there is no conflict, no time, something which can never be put into words.

Do you want to ask any questions on what we have been talking about this morning?

Questioner: Sir, imagination - what is that?

Krishnamurti: What is imagination - don't you know? Do you want an explanation of that? You all know what imagination is, the fairy stories, the imaginative paintings, the invention of heaven and hell, the invention of gods the imagination, in memory, of that beauty which you saw yesterday evening in the cloud and so on. We live on myths and phantasies. A mind that is capable of inventing, imaging and projecting itself into various forms of visions, is such a silly mind.

Q: Sir, how is it possible to make any kind of art if we do not have any imagination; that would he impossible?

K: What place has art for a mind which is a religious mind? - not the phoney religious mind that belongs to some church, or that believes in some doctrine or in some philosophy, such a mind is not a religious mind at all - but to a mind that is living in a totally different dimension, to that mind, has art any meaning at all? Why is it that we depend so much on music, poetry - why? Is it a form of escape, a stimulation? You paint a picture and I look at it, I criticize it and say, 'how beautiful' or 'how ugly'. Or, if you become famous, it fetches a great price. But if you are directly in contact with nature, the hills, the clouds, the rivers, the trees, the birds, if you watch and are with the movement of a bird on the wing, the beauty of every movement in the sky, in the hills, in the shadows, or the beauty in the face of another, do you think you will want to go to any museum, to look at any picture? Is it perhaps, because you do not know how to look at all the things about you, that you go to the museum to look, or you take mescaline, marijuana, drugs to stimulate you, so that you can see better? One has to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary. You may have questioned the political tyrants, the dictators of religion, but have you never questioned the authority of a Picasso or of a great musician. We accept, and in that acceptance we grow weary and we want more pictures, more non-objective art and painting, and so on. But if we knew how to look at the face of a passer-by, at a flower by the roadside, a cloud of an evening, to look with complete attention and therefore with complete joy and love - then all these other things would have very little meaning.

Q: The state of complete attention is, in other words, a state without conflict; so is not to understand the state of being without conflict a presupposition of a state without conflict?

K: It's a vicious circle, isn't it? I live in conflict, my mind is in constant conflict, whatever it does is a strain and it's caught in that and the speaker says - 'in that state you will never understand anything', it is only when you are attentive that you will understand this whole process. But, to be attentive is not possible because my whole mind is in a state of conflict, so it becomes a vicious circle. Or, are you, the speaker, aware that you have created this vicious circle and that you have left us with the circle and nothing else? So what is one to do?

Being caught in a vicious circle, the speaker not telling us what to do, doesn't solve the problem. Now if you will kindly follow what I am saying, I am sure we will understand each other. First of all I realize that my mind is in conflict, whatever it does, whatever movement it makes it is still within the limits of that conflict. Whatever it does, whether it aspires, whether it desires, whether it imitates, whether it is conforming, suppressing, sublimating, taking drugs to expand it - whatever it does, it does in a state of conflict. If I have understood that, understood it not merely in the verbal sense but by actually seeing it as clearly as I see that microphone, without any distortion, then what takes place? If I see something very clearly, as when I see some thing very dangerous, like a precipice or a dangerous animal - what happens? All movement, for a moment, stops, there is no thought. In the same way if I really see what thought does, thought comes to an end. Whatever thought does it breeds misery, sorrow, conflict, and when thought realizes that, it will come to an end by itself, the vicious circle is broken; thought, which means time, has come to an end.

Q: Is this stillness, this awareness, synonymous with meditation?

K: That word 'meditation' is a very loaded word and in Asia it is given a particular meaning. There are different schools of meditation, different methods or systems of meditation, various systems which will produce attention. There is a system which says 'watch the movement of your front toe', 'pay attention to it, work and watch it, watch it' and so on. Meditation as control, following an idea, looking on an image endlessly, taking a phrase and going into it, listening to the word Om or Amen or some other word, listening to the sound of it, following the sound, and so on.

In all those forms of meditation there is implied an activity of thought, an activity of imitation, a movement of conformity to an established order. To the speaker those are not meditation at all. Meditation is something entirely different. Meditation is to be aware of thought, of feeling, never to correct it, never to say it is right or wrong, never to justify it, but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching and moving with that thought, with that feeling, you begin to understand and to be aware of the whole nature of thought and feeling. Out of this awareness comes silence, not simulated, not controlled, not put together by thought, for silence put together by thought is stagnant, is dead. Silence comes when thought has understood its own beginning, the nature of itself, how all thought is never free but always old. To see all this, to see the movement of every thought, to understand it, to be aware of it, is to come to that silence which is meditation, in which the 'observer' never is.

30th July, 1967