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9th Public Talk - 25th July 1968
WE ARE GOING to talk over together a rather complex problem. Most of us function in fragments political, religious, social, individual, family and so on. We do not seem to be able to find for ourselves an action which will be total not broken up into fragments and which will answer all the issues comprehensively. We do not seem to be able to live a total, complete and full life and we are always trying to find an action that will somehow bring a total contentment, a total satisfaction in whatever we are doing, whether we are professional people, politicians, or religious persons. It seems almost impossible to find an activity that will answer all these issues without contradiction, without a feeling of insufficiency.
This morning we can go into a question that perhaps will answer this need for comprehensive and total activity in which there is no division, in which there is no pulling of one action against another. We are going to talk over together this question of meditation. Some of you, perhaps, may think that meditation is merely an entertaining individual experience to find something that is beyond the measure of the mind. Some of you may think it is merely an unnecessary introduction to something that has no value when we are concerned with daily living. And some of you, perhaps, have already experimented according to some systems of meditation from the Far East, the Near East or the Middle East.
Before we go into it I think we should lay down, for clarification, certain absolute necessities. Firstly, we must be free of all hypocrisy, there must be no pretension whatsoever, no double standard of life, no double activity the saying of one thing the doing of another every form of self-deception is ruled out. And most of us are so delicately balanced between hypocrisy and the desire to tell the truth. We are so pretentious, having experienced some footling little vision or emotional state which we think is the absolute end of everything! So, is it possible for the mind, for the whole of one's being, in action, in thought, to be completely honest and not hypocritical? That is very important; if one is at all hypocritical, in any way, then it leads to self-deception, illusion. A mind that is wanting to find out what right meditation is must in no way be intent with this double standard of life, a way into which one so easily slips, saying one thing and doing another and thinking another thing altogether.
Secondly there must be the highest form of discipline. Most of us dislike that word 'discipline'. Discipline means, I believe, from the root of that word in Latin, to learn. But we have misrepresented or misinterpreted that word to mean conformity, obedience, imitation, in all of which there is involved the suppression of one's own desires, ambitions and needs, in order to conform to a pattern, to a formula, to follow an ideal; in this there is always conflict between the 'what is' and what 'should be'. If one pursues what 'should be' that leads to hypocrisy. And most idealists have if I may put it very gently a tinge of hypocrisy, because they are avoiding 'what is'. Conforming to a pattern of what should be' leads to conflict, struggle, a dual existence and it inevitably leads to double standards and hypocrisy; when we use the word 'discipline' we are using it in a totally different sense. We said there must be the complete and highest form of discipline, without conformity, without suppression, without following an ideology and the creating of a double, dualistic, existence. This discipline is not an external compulsion, or something you impose on yourself as an inward demand to conform, to imitate, to follow, to obey, but rather, in the very act of learning about anything is discipline itself. If
I want to learn a language that language demands that the mind be disciplined; the very learning implies discipline; in that there is no conflict at all. If you do not want to learn a language that is the end of it, but if you do want to learn a language, then the very learning of it brings about its own discipline. So discipline in the highest sense, which is the sensitivity of intelligence, must exist. So that is the second thing.
Thirdly, something which is a little more complex, is this whole problem of gurus. I believe that word in Sanskrit means 'one who points out', he does not take any responsibility for you. That word has been misused, like many other words. The guru, in the ancient of days, was one with whom you lived; he told you what to do, how to look, how to examine. You lived with him and perhaps thereby learned; you were learning not by imitating, not by conforming to the pattern which he set, but through observing. From that grew this whole illusion of gurus. Please, one has to understand this rather deeply because in going to go into this question of meditation, which in itself is very, very complex one must understand the necessity of freedom from all authority, including that of the speaker, so that the mind, that highest form of supreme intelligence, is a light to itself; and that intelligence will not accept any authority, be it of the saviour, the master, the guru, or anybody; it has to be and it is a light to itself; it may make a mistake, it may suffer, but in the very process of suffering, of making a mistake. it is learning and therefore it is becoming a light to itself.
There are so many gurus in the world, the hidden ones and the open ones. Each of them promises that, through conformity to a certain system or method, the mind will arrive at that realization of what truth is; hut no system or method which implies imitation, conformity, following, and thereby fear has any significance whatever for a mind that is enquiring into this whole question of meditation, a question which needs such a very delicate, highly sensitive intelligent mind. The guru is supposed to know and you not to know. He is supposed to be far advanced in evolution and has therefore acquired, through many lives, through many experiences, through following other superior gurus and so on, immense knowledge. And you, who are down below, are gradually going to come to that highest form of knowledge. This whole hierarchical system which exists not only outwardly in society but also inwardly and among the so-called gurus is obviously, when one is enquiring into what is truth, an illusion
Knowledge apart from technology of what value is it? There must be technological, scientific knowledge, you cannot wipe away all that man has accumulated through the centuries. That knowledge must exist, you and I cannot possibly destroy it; the saints and all those who have said mechanical knowledge is useless, they have their own particular prejudice. I can know about myself, most profoundly; yet when there is an accumulation of knowledge, it begins to interpret, to translate what is seen in terms of its own past. As long as there is this burden of knowledge, psychological, inward knowledge, there is no free movement. And there is the difference between the man who is free of that burden and he who says he knows and will lead another to that knowledge, to that supreme thing and if he says he has realized, then you distrust him completely, for a man who says he knows, he does not know. And that is the beauty of truth.
There must be the foundation of right behaviour, of righteousness. We make a mistake, we put in a foundation stone which may not be strong; but put a strong stone there so as to make the foundation unbreakable in virtue. There is no virtue if there is no love; virtue is not a thing to be cultivated so that it becomes a habit, virtue is never a habit, it is a living thing, and the beauty of it is since it is not a habit that it is ever living.
So there must be the foundation of virtue in which there is no hypocrisy whatsoever and therefore no self-deception. And there must be that highest form of discipline, which is a sensitivity of quick action, quick understanding. Discipline is not something that you make into a habit; you have to watch it all the time, every minute, every day. Because if you do not lay that foundation, every form of calamity, deception, hypocrisy, illusion, will come. And as we said, all authority we are talking of inward authority, not the authority of law all inward authority, anchored in knowledge, in experience, in the concept that there is one who knows and the other who does not know, only breeds arrogance and a lack of humility, both on the part of the one who knows and on the part of one who tries to follow him. So when this is firmly established, deeply, then we can proceed to enquire into that extraordinary thing called meditation.
For most of us the word 'meditation' has very little meaning. It is firmly established in the East that 'meditation' means certain ways of thinking, concentrating, the repetition of words and the following of systems all of which deny the freedom and the quickness of the mind. Meditation is not a deviation, or something that is entertainment, it is part of one's whole life. It is as fundamentally important and essential as love and beauty. If there is no meditation, then one does not know how to love, then one does not know what beauty is. And do what one will one may search, go from one religion, from one book, from one activity to another, always seeking to find out what truth is one never will find out, because the 'search' for truth implies that a mind can find it and has the capacity to say 'that is truth'. But does one know what truth is? Can one recognize it? If one recognizes it, it is already something of the past. So truth cannot be found through search; either it must come uninvited, or, if one is lucky, by chance. Meditation is not an escape from life, not a particular, individual process of one's own.
There is no path to truth. There is not your path or my path. There is no Christian way to it, or Hindu way to it. A 'way' implies a static process to something which is also static. There is a way from here to that next village, the village is firmly there, rooted in the buildings, and there is a road to it. But truth is not like that, it is a living thing, a moving thing and therefore there can be no path to it, neither yours nor mine nor theirs. That must be very clear in one's mind, in one's understanding; for man has invented so many ways, he has said that you must do this in order to find like the Communists who say that theirs is the only way to govern people, implying tyranny, dictatorship, brutality, murder. When one has cleared the field, cleared the decks, then one can proceed to find out what meditation is. And it is not a monopoly of the East that is one of the most monstrous things, to say that there are those who will teach you how to meditate, that obviously is the... I will not use adjectives!
Let us proceed to find out for ourselves not as individuals, but as human beings living in this world with all the extraordinary complexity of modern society, as we are let us try to find out what love is. Not 'find' it, but be in that state of perfection, in that quality of mind which is not burdened with jealousy, with misery, with conflict, self-pity. Then only there is a possibility of living in a different dimension which is love. And as love is of immense importance, so is meditation.
How shall we I am asking this not casually but seriously how shall we proceed with this problem? the fairly obvious problem that our minds are conditioned, our minds are everlastingly chattering, never quiet. We try to impose quietness or it happens casually, by chance. To proceed with this problem, to learn, to see, there must be the quietness of a mind that is not broken up, that is not torn apart, that is not tortured. If I want to see something very clearly, the tree, or the cloud, or the face of a person next to me, to see very clearly without any distortion, the mind must not be chattering, obviously. The mind must be very quiet to observe, to see. And the very seeing is the doing and the learning. So what is meditation? Is meditation possible using the word with the meaning given in the dictionary, not the extraordinary meaning given by those who think they know what meditation is; is it possible to consider, to observe, to comprehend, to learn, to see very clearly, without any distortion, to hear everything as it is, not interpreting it, not translating it according to one's prejudice? When you listen to the bird of a morning is it possible to listen to it completely without a word cropping up into your mind, to listen to it with total attention, to listen to it without saying how beautiful, how lovely, what a lovely morning? All that means that the mind must be silent and the mind cannot be silent when there is any form of distortion. That is why one must understand every form of conflict, between the individual and society, between the individual and the neighbour, between himself, his wife, his children, her husband and so on. Any form of conflict, at any level, is a distorting process. When there is contradiction within oneself, which arises when one wants to express oneself in various different ways and one cannot, then there is a conflict, there is a struggle, there is a pain, it distorts the quality, the subtlety, the quickness of the mind.
Meditation is the understanding of the nature of life with its dual activity, its conflict; seeing the true significance and truth of it, so that the mind though it has been conditioned for thousands of years, living in conflict, in struggle, in battle becomes clear, without distortion. The mind sees that distortion must take place when it follows an ideology, the idea of what should be as opposed to what is, hence a duality, a conflict, a contradiction and so a mind that is tortured, distorted, perverted. There is only one thing, that which is, 'what is', nothing else. To be completely concerned with 'what is' puts away every form of duality and hence there is no conflict, no tortured mind. So meditation is a mind seeing actually 'what is', without interpreting it, without translating it, without wishing it were not, or accepting it; a mind can only do this when the 'observer' ceases to be. Please, this is important to understand. Most of us are afraid; there is fear, and the one who wants to get rid of fear is the observer. The observer is the entity who recognizes the new fear and translates it in terms of the old fears which it has known and stored up from the past, from which he has escaped. So as long as there is the 'observer' and the thing observed there must be duality and hence conflict, the mind becomes twisted; and that is one of the most complicated states, something which we must understand. As long as there is the 'observer' there must be the conflict of duality. Is it possible to go beyond the 'observer'? the 'observer' being the whole accumulation of the past, the 'me', the ego, the thought which springs from this accumulated past. So, meditation is the understanding of the whole machinery of thought. I hope, as the speaker is putting it into words, you are listening to and observing it very clearly, to see if it is possible to eliminate all conflict so that the mind can be utterly at peace not contented, contentment arises only when there is dissatisfaction, which again is the process of duality. When there is no 'observer' but only 'observing' and hence no conflict, then only can there be complete peace otherwise there is violence, aggression, brutality, wars and all the rest of the ways of modern life. So meditation is the understanding of thought and the discovering for oneself whether thought can come to an end. It is only then, when the mind is silent that it can see actually 'what is', without any distortion, hypocrisy or self-illusion. There are those systems and the gurus and so on, who say that to end thought you must learn concentration, you must learn control. But a disciplined mind, in the sense of being disciplined to imitate, to conform, to accept and obey is always frightened. Such a mind can never be still, it can only pretend to be still. And the quiet mind is not possible through the use of any drug or through the repetition of words; you can reduce it to dullness, but it is not quiet.
Meditation is the ending of sorrow, the ending of thought which breeds fear and sorrow the fear and sorrow in daily life, when you are married, when you go to business. in business you must use your technological knowledge, but when that knowledge is used for psychological purposes to become more powerful, occupy a position that gives you prestige, honour, fame it breeds only antagonism and hatred; such a mind can never possibly understand what truth is. Meditation is the understanding of the way of life, it is the understanding of sorrow and fear and going beyond them. To go beyond them is not merely to grasp intellectually or rationally the significance of the process of sorrow and fear, but it is actually to go beyond them. And to go beyond is to observe and to see very clearly sorrow and fear as they are; in seeing very clearly the 'observer' must come to an end.
Meditation is the way of life, it is not an escape from life. Obviously meditation is not the experiencing of visions or having strange mystical experiences; as you know, you can take a drug that will expand your mind, it will produce certain reactions chemically, which will make the mind highly sensitive and in that sensitive state you may see things heightened, yet according to your conditioning. And meditation is not a repetition of words; you know, there has been the fashion lately of someone giving you a word, a Sanskrit word, you keep on repeating it and thereby hope to achieve some extraordinary experience which is all utter nonsense. Of course, if you keep on repeating a lot of words your mind is made dull and thereby quiet; but that is not meditation at all. Meditation is the constant understanding of the way of life, every minute, the mind being extraordinarily alive, alert, not burdened by any fear, any hope, any ideology, any sorrow. And if we can go together that far and I hope some of us have been able to go actually and not theoretically that far then we enter into something quite different.
As we said at the beginning, you cannot go very far without laying the foundation of this understanding of daily life, the daily life of loneliness, of boredom, of excitement, of sexual pleasures, of the demands to fulfil, to express oneself, the daily life of conflict between hate and love, life in which one demands to be loved, a life of deep inward loneliness; without understanding all that, without distorting, without becoming neurotic, being completely, highly sensitive and balanced, without that being there you cannot go very far. And when that is deeply laid, then the mind is capable of being completely quiet and therefore completely at peace which is entirely different from being contented, like a cow then alone is it possible to find out if there is something beyond the measure of the mind, if there is such a thing as reality, as God, something which man has sought for millions of years; something which he has sought through his gods and temples, through sacrificing himself, by becoming a hermit and all the absurdities and inventions that man has gone through.
You know, up to a certain point, up to now, verbal explanation, verbal communication, is possible but beyond that there is no communication, verbally which does not imply some mysterious, metaphysical or parapsychological thing. Words exist only for communicating purposes, for communicating something that may be expressed in words, or through a gesture.
But it is not possible to put into words what is beyond all this, to describe it becomes so utterly meaningless. All that one can do is to open the door, that door which is kept open only when there is this order not the order of society which is disorder the order that comes into being when you see actually 'what is', without any distortion brought about by the 'observer'. When there is no distortion at all, then there is order, which in itself brings its own extraordinary, subtle discipline. And to leave that door open is all that one can do, whether that reality comes through that door or not one cannot invite it and if one is very lucky, by some strange chance, it may come and give its blessing. You cannot seek it. After all, that is beauty and love, you cannot seek it, if you seek it, it becomes merely the continuation of pleasure, which is not love. There is bliss which is not pleasure; when the mind is in that state of meditation, there is immense bliss; then the everyday living, with its contradictions, its brutalities and violence, has no place. But one must work very hard, every day, to lay the foundation; that is all that matters, nothing else. Out of that silence which is the very nature of a meditative mind may come love and beauty.
25th July 1968.