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75 - Chapter 2 - Madras, 2nd Public Talk - 8th December 1974
We were talking yesterday about the art of listening. The word 'art' means to put everything in its right place. And to listen, there must be no comparison. You can't compare what is being said with what you already know or judge or evaluate; neither agreeing nor disagreeing, resisting or accepting, but actually listen to those crows, and to the wind among the leaves. There is also an art of seeing, seeing not only what is happening about one outwardly - the confusion, the misery, the starvation, the dirt and the beauty of a lovely tree in the sun set, the branch and the swaying leaves - the ways of the politicians, the affairs of businessmen, the crookedness of human thought but also to see inwardly, which is much more difficult. It needs a great awareness, attention to see exactly what is going on within oneself, within one's mind - the motives, the contradictions, the cunningness of thought, the movement of desire, the ambition, the greed, the envy, the corruption, the various activities of the mind - hidden and obvious. To observe all that becomes quite imperative in times like these when we are bombarded all around. We are bombarded by newspapers, politicians, priests, by philosophers; and to be aware and to observe our reactions - mechanical, innate, cultivated, educated reactions and so on - one must have no resistance, no shade of distraction but merely watch without any movement of thought, exactly 'what is'. That is quite an art and if you can watch exactly, without any movement, what is taking place within one, then you will find the content of your consciousness. Consciousness is capacity - intellectual, emotional, physical - with all its sensory demands. One becomes aware of the content of one's whole being. I do not know if you have ever tried, not be pained by what one sees, discouraged or depressed, but to look at exactly what is going on, so that all peripheral movements come to an end and there is immobility of all movement, there is cessation of all movement, but only seeing actually what is. Please experiment with what we are saying as we are exploring.
The content of our consciousness is consciousness; without the content there is no consciousness. I am going to go into it, because it is important to understand the nature of fear and pleasure and what love is. The content, if you have observed, if you are self-critically aware, is that which thought has put into consciousness. The Gods, the traditions, the cultural heritage, the immediate impressions, the attachments, the sense of great loneliness, the sense of frustration, the drive of ambition, the innumerable hurts, the wounds that one has received from childhood, the various compulsive desires, sexual lusts, the furniture that one clings to, the furniture which is knowledge, the beliefs, the dogmas, the rituals, all the things that man has sought and is seeking are the contents which make up our consciousness. That is simple, that is clear, that is obvious. Rama and Krishna, Jesus and various other religious propaganda have been thrown at us, century after century and through it all has run pleasure and fear, the two principal mainstreams - the pursuit of pleasure and in its wake the ebb and flow of fear.
So, that is the content of our consciousness. Now is one aware of it? Is one so aware that there is a certain quality of sensitivity not only biologically, physically but a much deeper sensitivity of the psyche, the inward tenor that receives, that sees, that vibrates to something that is going on? Are you aware of this, of your content, not only at the conscious level, but also at the deeper levels, deeper layers? If one is conscious, aware of the movements of thought, of desire, of pleasure, of the inevitable movement of fear at one level, one knows that the superficial content of our consciousness is the education which one has received from childhood - the hurts, the agonies, the anxieties, the ache of loneliness and suffering. And is it possible to observe it at deeper level, at the very root? Is it possible for a conscious mind to observe the very deep hidden demands, motives, hopes, fears, causes of pain and so on? You may be conscious or aware of your desires at a superficial level as most people do, but to enquire into the deeper hidden consciousness, the hidden contents, to be aware of every intimation and hint that has projected into consciousness, requires a mind that is very sensitive, watchful.
Then, there is the whole content of consciousness, the totality, not just the fragmentary - the incidents and accidents, fears and pleasures and hurts. One is totally the whole content and that very content limits consciousness. Do you see this? Look, if I am a Hindu the content of my consciousness, the religious content is what I believe, what I have been told to believe. And that propaganda has been going on for centuries and centuries and it has become tradition and I accept that tradition. That is one of the contents - and that very content, that very belief, that little tradition limits consciousness. The greater the limitation, the greater the prison in which that consciousness is held. In observing the content - the content is "what is" - every other movement ends. There must be a total attention. If I want to see you, to look at you, I must give all my attention to you, not bring in my prejudices, my likes and dislikes, but observe, see clearly. And, when you see this, not see it through description of words, but actually see it in yourself, you find these two dominant streams: of fear, of pleasure.
You all have experienced pleasure - sexual, sensual, the pleasure of ambition, of possession, prestige, status, the pleasure of being appreciated, the pleasure of your own attachments, whether it is a house or a belief or a person. And with pleasure, there are the innumerable fears that one has - physical pain, fear of danger, of peril. These two are the principal streams in this consciousness. And without really deeply understanding, without having an insight into pleasure and fear, love becomes extraordinarily superficial, has very little meaning. So if one really wants to find out for oneself, not with conceit, not with a sense of discovery and the pride that comes with it, but to find out for oneself what it means, it is only possible if one understands the nature and structure of pleasure and fear. If one has not fully delved into these two, then love is another glorified form of pleasure or devotion to some ideas, some image created by the mind or by the hand; and that devotion to an external thing is really projected from an inward demand. That devotion then becomes a self-enjoyment, especially in this country where people are so devoted. Whereas life is a total unitary movement, it is not to be broken up. So your devotion is part of the pursuit of pleasure. And is one aware of the movement and the pursuit of pleasure, not resisting it, not denying it, not suppressing it, not rationalizing it, but just be aware of actually "what is", which is pleasure in all its subtle forms? Can you see it as it is in yourself, how your mind is pursuing pleasure endlessly? Then you will ask "what am I do to do with it, it is so instinctive, it is so natural, it is so easy? "And all religions, in the name of God, in the name of service to God ask you to suppress your desire, your hope, to control it. So, one is trained, conditioned, educated not to the understanding of pleasure but to give a greater strength to it by suppressing it or by enjoying it. And can you watch this? Can you observe the actual movement of pleasure - the pleasure of taste, the food that you eat to which you have become so accustomed? Have you noticed how difficult it is to change your particular habit of pleasure to a totally different kind of food? And you are caught, trapped in this and you accept it and carry on day after day. And occasionally you take a vow and do something - fast or shave your head or do something and carry on the next day with your pleasure. You satisfy your superstitions and carry on with the one thing that your mind wants, which is pleasure. We are not saying that it must be suppressed or given full freedom. We are saying: See what is implied in pleasure, see the nature of it, the content of pleasure, have an insight into it, understand it, go into it, be aware of its movement. Then you will find what is enjoyment and what is joy. You see a beautiful sunset and you have joy. At that moment, in seeing the sun set, in taking delight in it, what takes place? The delight of that moment is registered in the brain as memory and that incident of delight which has gone, is now stored up as memory and the pursuit of that delight as memory becomes pleasure. Right? You have followed this? It is the same with your sex, the same with every form of pursuit of this dominating, demanding urgency of pleasure.
The other side of the coin is fear - both physical and psychological. Fear is danger, pain, hurt, disease and the fear of its recurring again - the whole biological, physiological responses. Watch your mind how it operates. That is, one has had physical pain, then that is recorded in the brain. Then that very recording stimulates thought and thought says, "I hope I will not have it next week, "and fear is set going. And there are both, as we said, physical fears and psychological fears. One has received hurts from childhood. Haven't you been hurt at school, the teacher compares you with another who is cleverer than you are, and that very comparison is a wound? And that wound is perpetuated through college, through university, through life. One builds a wall around oneself not to be hurt any more, one withdraws and any approach inwardly is the awakening of fear, of being further hurt. Do you know all these things? The speaker has never been hurt and therein lies innocence; that is a different matter. And there are the fears of death, of loneliness, of being loved or having loved, not receiving reciprocation and so on. We live in darkness of this fear, whether you are conscious of it or not. And we are saying, if you look, if you observe that you are the fear and you are the pleasure without the division as 'me' as the observer and the observed, then you remain with that reality. Please do tell me if we are communicating with each other.
Now, I am going to show you how to look. Please do give your heart and mind to this, not just casually sit down and listen, but give your attention to it. You are hurt, aren't you? Now, can you look at it, without any movement other than direct observation? I have been hurt, and I look at it without wanting to find out the cause of it. The wound is there and to go into the cause of that wound is a distraction to "what is". To rationalize it, to escape from it, to run away, is also a distraction to "what is". Can one then remain with that fact of the wound and look at it? And that is where the art comes in, the art of seeing, observing, to look without the observer. The observer is the past - the observer with all his resistance to that wound, the observer who has separated himself from that wound and is trying to do something about that wound. Can you look without the observer, the 'me', which means without time ? Can you just see actually what is going on? Now, there are two factors in this: The wounds that you have received from childhood and the prevention of further hurts. And is it possible not to be wounded at all? You understand? The wounds that I have received, if I have received any, what am I to do with them, I can't forget them; there they are deeply embedded; I may forgive, I may do all kinds of things to cover the wounds, but they are there, what am I to do with them. Don't say "what am I do so that I am never hurt again". Have you put all these questions to yourself or am I putting these questions to you? How will you so completely feel the past wounds that no marks are left in your consciousness, you no longer will receive any hurts? Because the consciousness that is hurt will never know what love is. You may do social work, become a member of the communist, socialist party, go from one guru to another, but as long as you have not understood this deep hurt, love will never come to your heart. That is so obvious.
It is absolutely essential to find out for yourself whether that wound can be healed so completely that it leaves no mark. First of all, is it possible? If you say it is possible or it is not possible, you are blocking yourself, What have you done with the hurts that you have received? If one is aware, then you see that you have built a wall around yourself. You know, you have built a wall around yourself, if you are hurt, but you do not build a wall around yourself when you are flattered - but both are wounds. Flattery is a form of wound as is insult. Neither flattery nor an insult should leave a mark. You understand what I am talking about? Can one live a life in which there is no hurt, a life in which every form of flattery leave no mark? Then only will you know what compassion is. Compassion is the regenerating factor in life. That factor brings a new life, however degenerate one is. Compassion means passion for all, for everything. Compassion also includes working together.
Now, will you heal the wound which is part of the content of consciousness as attachment to your house, to your wife, to your children? Because you are attached, there is the fear of losing; therefore you cultivate detachment which is another form of conflict. All your books say "be detached" but you are really attached to your customs, to your temples, to your mosques, to your books, to your knowledge, to your experiences, to your beliefs, which are all part of your consciousness. And one of the contents of that consciousness is hurt. If you understand that one content completely, you will have understood the whole and you will know instantly how to deal with it. So, first, are you aware of the hurt and are you aware that you are resisting, that you are frightened that hurt might increase and invite more hurts? Are you aware that seeking the cause of that hurt is a waste of time? Isn't it ? So, what has happened? You are not spending your energy in enquiring into the cause of that hurt, you are not building a wall around that hurt in order not to be hurt more; you are no longer trying to cover it up. So you are merely watching, observing, seeing, which means you are giving complete attention to that hurt. When you give your complete attention, then you will see that the hurt is no longer there. Which means the mind that is not attentive gets hurt. It is only the mind that is inattentive that gets hurt. So give your whole attention and that whole attention is not possible when you are resisting, building a wall around that hurt, frightened about being further hurt. These are indications a inattention. And when you give your complete attention, then you will see that there is no hurt, then only you can proceed to find out what love is.
Is love pleasure? You understand the meaning of my question? We have said, pleasure invites always fear, and is pleasure love, is pleasure desire, is desire love? Is the remembrance of something pleasurable that has happened yesterday, is that love? We are caught in that circle. Don't agree or disagree. Watch yourself and you will see that we are caught in that area. Every human being is caught in that. The ambitious man driven by his desire, by his pleasure to become something in the political field or in the business field, in whatever field he wants to succeed in, can such a man love? He may talk about it endlessly but he does not know love. You are also in that field, you may nod your head and say I agree with you as some of you are doing, but you haven't left that field, though you verbally agree. That is why you are living on words and therefore degeneracy is setting in your heart and mind because you have lived on words. Knowledge is words. Knowledge is not wisdom. You can't buy wisdom. You can attend any school where they teach you knowledge, but there is no book, there is no school where wisdom can be taught. If there is such a school, scrap it, don't go near it. Wisdom comes only when you understand what love is, the enormous compassion and that compassion can only come when you understand the depth of suffering and when you understand the content of your consciousness which is yourself. The content of that consciousness is yourself and in the understanding of yourself flowers wisdom. Do you want to ask any questions?
Questioner: Sir, we live in a society that is particularly hurting human beings. The society that has created this education, created this hierarchical outlook on life, the society that tramples, that destroys, that brings about wars and destruction, a society that has no love, that is immoral, in such a society, we must inevitably get hurt.
Krishnamurti: Now, who has created this society? Surely you and I collectively have created this society. Are you an individual or are you the collective? You are not individuals, you are the collective. That is so obvious, isn't it? You all think in one way as Hindus with your superstitions, with your Gitas; the Muslims, the Christians have their superstitions and beliefs. You are all the collective. Individual means an entity who is not fragmented in himself, who is not broken up, who is whole whereas we are the collective, the collective greed, the collective hate, the collective desire, the collective ambition and the collective has created this society and we are responsible for it. To change that society we must change, By your changing, you bring about a transformation in the collective consciousness. But you are not willing to change because it is too difficult and you say it is the fault of society. You find excuses. It is part of your laziness and so you are caught in this and you accept your hurts. I have shown you the way to end your hurts. The ending of your hurt which is the collective hurt affects the consciousness of the collective, which is you.