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9th Public Talk - 27th July 1967

9th Public Talk - 27th July 1967

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Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1967

I think we have sufficiently talked over the question of fear, but, of course, we could go into greater detail and explore more minutely, but we would still be left, if we have not already understood, with the problem with which we began, which was fear. Mere concern with the details of fear does not necessarily indicate - it seems to me - a serious mind, however much we may be serious about those details. It is far more important to be serious about the total process of fear and also with what lies beyond fear; to enquire whether it is at all possible for us to be completely free, rid of fear. And that enquiry may be rather futile, because most of us still are caught in fear; but having discussed it during the several meetings that we have had here, I think we should go further and not keep on at that one issue.

As we were saying, a petty little mind, a narrow, shallow mind, is very concerned about details and is very serious about those details. But when presented with a greater issue - about which it has to be far more serious - then such a mind hesitates because it doesn't see the full implication of what it is presented with. So this morning, if we may, we will go into the question of what the mind is; and going into it, exploring it, we may perhaps come upon the beginning of all thought and perhaps something much deeper, which is love; we may find for ourselves what the meditative mind is.

In exploring this question of what the mind is, we see that the specialist, the neurologists, the various psychologists, and theoreticians, religious and intellectual, have defined it - more or less - as that which remembers, has the capacity to think, both reasonably and unreasonably; it functions not only technologically but more widely and is considered susceptible to certain intimations from something which is above, it contains both the conscious and the unconscious; it is the whole storehouse of memory which is in the brain which is part of the mind; the mind cannot be separated from the body, and so on. It is important for each one of us here, to find out for ourselves what we mean by the mind - not according to these specialists, however capable, or according to the theologians, or to the religious people, but putting all that aside - to find out what the mind actually is. Then, after that, we could ask a further question - what is the origin of thought? Can one discover how thought begins? That discovery will reveal a still further depth, which we shall go into as we go along.

We should be able to find out for ourselves, what the mind is, the mind that is conscious, that thinks, that has the whole background of time; and the brain that reacts according to its conditioning, the brain that is the storehouse of memory, which is part of the mind. And do we actually find out for ourselves, or are we merely finding what we have been told? I think this is important, this question as to whether you find merely what you have been told, which therefore is not your discovery, or whether you discover for yourself. If you find out for yourself what the mind is, from there you can proceed; but if you are accepting a theory, a communication about the mind, then you are dealing second hand and what you find remains merely a theory, it has no value at all.

So, can one find out what the mind is? You know, to go into this question deeply one has to be in a state of meditation - not meditation according to some system or method, or with the desire to achieve a certain result, which is not meditation at all, but the meditation of a mind that is free to look, to observe, a mind that is extraordinarily quiet. And when you observe your own mind - that is, your whole consciousness - is there an observer which can examine? To examine that microphone, to see how it works, I must take it to pieces and see what is inside it. But in looking at this whole field of consciousness - which is the mind, which is the brain, the nerves, the whole store of memories and so on - is there in fact an entity which can look at it, examine it? - is there an entity separate from the thing it examines? - and if there is a separate entity then is that not invented by thought, and therefore part of the mind and not separate at all, therefore not able to find out what the mind is? How then is one to find out what the mind is, without that separate entity, the observer?

I want to know what my mind is, the mind that thinks, the brain that reacts, the thoughts that arise from memories, with motives, intimations, the self-centred pursuits, the ideas, beliefs, dogmas which are all within the field of this consciousness, which are all part of me. And I say to myself 'I must look, I must find out what the origin of thought is, the beginning, I must find out what consciousness actually is.' And when I say, 'I must find out', is that 'I' separate from the thing it is going to look at, examine, observe, therefore capable of looking objectively? If it is not, if that 'I' who observes this totality of consciousness, which we call the mind, is not separate then how is it to find out, or be aware of, this total state which is called the mind?

I must be very clear on this point as to whether there is an observer which is separate from the mind for obviously if there is such an observer it is created by thought, it is part of this consciousness and therefore it is not separate. Then how is the totality of the mind to be understood if there is not a separate entity who can say 'I have examined' and 'I have understood'? This demands a great deal of discipline - not self-imposed discipline, control, suppression - and the very act of looking, examining, itself brings its own discipline. I want to find out and to find out I am asking myself whether the observer is different from the mind that he observes. To ask that question, to find whether the observer is different, demands a great deal of discipline; not the discipline of conformity, because there is no pattern here. So the very asking of what the mind is and if there is a separate entity who observes that mind, is bringing about a discipline. This discipline is not conformity and is therefore freedom; freedom is related to discipline. Is this fairly clear? Not clear in the verbal sense but are you doing this with me? Are we going together? You can ask this question if you are free, if you have no opinions, no conclusions, no beliefs, and in the very asking of it there is austerity - you follow - you are putting away everything except that question which may open the door to enormous vision, enormous depths. So if the observer is part of the observed, if the mind which is consciousness has itself divided itself into the observer and the observed then it is a division that is erroneous; then what is the state that can be aware of this totality which we will call the mind? If the observer is the observed, if the entity that observes all this is part of the mind, then when I ask myself 'What is the mind?' and the observer is not, what then is the state of the mind - what state discovers this, sees consciousness as it is, with its frontiers, with its limitations and so on? In asking this we are trying to find out what it is that is aware and which is obviously not separate, when there is no observer.

What is it to be aware? I am aware, sitting on this platform, of seeing different colours, the tent overhead, aware of the noise of that stream, the movement of one or two people, the silence - I am aware of this. In that awareness is there an observer who says 'I am aware separately of that colour and that colour'? Because what we are going to question further, as we go along, is, if all consciousness is limitation - and all consciousness is limitation, in it there is no freedom whatsoever - then is it possible to go beyond that limitation, is it possible to experience that which is beyond the limitations of consciousness and if so, who is the entity who is going to experience? So I have to understand what is meant by awareness - to be aware. As I said, I am aware of all this and ask, 'Am I aware as an observer separate from the thing observed or am I aware without the observer?' You know what love is - is there an observer who says 'I love'? And if there is that observer, is that love? And when you say there is love, is there a complete absence of the observer? If the observer is not absent then that love becomes hate, jealousy, pain, anxiety, guilt, - you know all the rest of it - which is not love; it becomes merely desire and pleasure, which again is not love, which we went into previously.

It is very important to find out what we mean by being aware, being attentive. We have asked the question - what is the mind? - because we want to find out what is the beginning of all thought, and in that question we are asking - who is the entity who is going to find out? - who is going to receive the answer? If the entity is part of consciousness, or part of thought, then he is incapable of finding out; what can find out is only that state of awareness. In that state of awareness is there still an entity who is aware, who says 'I must be aware', 'I must practise awareness'? When you look at the blue sky this morning, those mountains and clouds, seeing the whole depth and height of the sky, when you are aware of all that, do you say - I am aware? - or is there only an awareness of all that, without the observer, though you see it with your eyes, with all the rest of it? That very seeing, without creating the observer, is to be totally aware. When one looks at that tree, is one aware of that tree without the observer? The observer is the entity who has gathered information about that tree and according to that information, image, symbol, he looks at that tree, such looking, with the observer, is not being totally aware of the actual tree. Is this somewhat clear?

That is - to bring it a little more directly - when you look at your wife or your husband, are you aware of the wife or the husband through the image which you have created about the wife or the husband? - or, are you directly aware of her or of him, actually, without the observer? This is an infinitely difficult thing to do - I can look at the sky, the clouds, the river and all the rest, because they do not intimately touch my feelings, my reactions, but when I have lived with somebody for a number of years I have created an image about that person, and that person has created an image about me. In these circumstances when we say we are aware, we generally mean the image becomes aware of itself in relation to the other image - which is part of awareness, but we have gone much farther than that. And we say that when there is this image there is a centre which observes, there is a division and hence a conflict. Where there is conflict there is no awareness at all. To be free from conflict one has to become aware and do so without creating another centre which is aware of the image that I have created about myself or about another. So, is there an awareness without the centre, of this whole of consciousness, with its boundaries, its limitations, its content? - the very contents make the boundaries, the content of my consciousness, as the Hindu and all the stuff of education, experience.

So we are beginning to find out that thought has its origin, its beginning, in consciousness in which there is the division between the observer and the observed. Let's put it round the other way. How will you find out for yourself how thought, any thought, begins? Have you ever asked yourself that question? If you have, how will you find out? To find out anything, it doesn't matter what it is, your mind, the whole of consciousness - not a part of it - must be quiet, mustn't it? If I want to look at you, to see you very clearly, my mind must be very quiet, without all the prejudices, the chatters, the dialogues, the images, the pictures, - all that must be put aside to look at you. And then - because there is freedom and therefore quietness - in that state there can be observation. So can I - please follow my next question - can we, you and I, observe the beginning of thought? I can only observe the beginning of thought in silence - not when I begin to search, ask questions, wait for a reply - it is only then when my mind is completely quiet after having put that question - what is the beginning of thought? when it is completely quiet right through my being, that I can begin, out of that silence, to see how thought takes shape. It is very important this question - because if there is an awareness of the beginning of thought then there is no need to control thought. As you know, we spend a great deal of time - not only in schools and colleges but as we grow older - controlling thought, - 'this is good thought' 'this is bad thought', 'this is a pleasant thought I must go with it', 'it is an ugly thought I must suppress it' - and so on and so on - we control, suppress. There is a battle going on all the time between various thoughts, the mind is a battlefield, a field in which there is constant conflict, one thought against another thought, one desire against another desire, one pleasure dominating all other pleasures, and so on. But if there is an awareness of the beginning of thought, then there is no contradiction in thought.

Am I talking nonsense, or is there some kind of sense in it? I think there is a little sense in it, because you know, a life of conflict has no meaning whatever. The conflict with myself, or with a neighbour, or with ideas - I don't want any kind of conflict because every conflict is a tension, a distortion. A life of conflict wears itself out very quickly and one must find out if there is a way of living without one breath of conflict at any time in one's life. And I can only come upon that way of living when I begin to discover the beginning of thought. If the mind can discover without being aware of the centre, then every thought is not a distraction. Every thought then has not its opposite, for there is only thought, not the opposing thought. Therefore it is an important question and one which has some sense in it and it is not quite nonsense.

One can see the beginning of thought only when there is silence, when mind has become silent, not through discipline, not through control, not through various forms of meditation and all the rest of that ugly business, but naturally. It is only in silence that I can discover anything; it is only then that the mind can find out and come upon this extraordinary discovery of something new. Such discovery is only out of silence and that silence cannot possibly be cultivated, it cannot be put together by thought; if it is put together by thought it is dead, it is stagnation. When thought puts anything together there is always conflict. So one comes upon the discovery of the beginning of thought because the mind is completely quiet, it doesn't matter what thought it is - thought. And if there is only thought it has no contradiction. Oh, you don't see this? There is only desire, but contradiction arises when there is the desire for this in opposition to that and when one begins to find out the beginning of desire then there is no contradiction. Contradiction implies conflict and one who wants to live without conflict has to understand this. To understand all this the mind must be silent and this silence is meditation. A mind that is extraordinarily alive and alert no longer stores up every discovery, and one comes upon something else - for a mind so greatly alert, alive, is a light to itself, without any experience.

Most of us crave experience, whether going to the moon or the experience of a little mind that seeks through drugs the state of a consciousness in which there are visions, heightened sensitivity and so on and so on; the mystical experience, the religious experience, the sexual experience, the experience of having a great deal of money, power, position, domination - you know - we all crave experience. And this because our own life is so shallow, so empty, so insufficient, and we think that without experiences the mind becomes dull, stupid, heavy. That's why we read book after book, we go to the museums, concerts, rituals, churches, football - every form of experience. But we never ask what is involved in this experiencing, or ask if there is anything new in experiencing. Every experience demands recognition, other wise it is not an experience. If I don't recognize it as an experience involving something, it is not an experience. It is only when I recognize it that I call it an experience, but to recognize I must have already known. Through experience there can be no new thing at all. So one has discovered a fundamental truth, that a mind that is seeking, craving, searching for wider, deeper experience, such a mind is shallow because it lives always with its memories, with its recognitions, and what is remembered, recognized, is not the new. But there is no experiencing in silence and one asks, how is it possible to act in this world if the mind is really quiet, silent? You understand? Is it possible to function, in this world, with this enormous sense of silence? One has a certain function, one has to do a certain thing, as a librarian, as a cook, as a technician, sit in an office and so on, which all demands accumulated information as knowledge, experience; and one asks, can my mind which has understood and is living in that state of silence function in these circumstances? When one puts that question, one separates silence from the action; it is therefore the wrong question. But when there is the silence one will function in the office. You know, it is like a drum that is highly tuned and you strike on it and it gives you the right note, but it is always empty, silent. It doesn't say - 'I am silent' - 'How am I to function in the office?'

So one discovers that all consciousness, both the hidden and the obvious, the secret and the surface, is part of this process of thinking. One can only be aware of the beginning of thought when there is silence, when there is no frontier to consciousness. All this demands a great deal of discipline in itself, not discipline for something, and if we have gone that far, we can then ask, what is love? You understand, it is necessary to enquire if love is within the field of consciousness, which is thought? I say 'I love you, love my country, love my God, love my books, love my position' - you know - love. We use that word rather slackly yet rather intensely, when you say to somebody, 'I love you', what does that word mean? Religious people throughout the world have divided it into the profane and sacred and so on. Is love desire? - don't say 'No' because for most of us it is, desire and pleasure, the pleasure that is derived through the senses, through sexual attachment and fulfilment, through my wife, my husband, my family as opposed to the other families, my country, my God, my King - you know all that stuff! We call that love, for which we kill others, in which there is jealousy, hatred. But is that love? In that love there is possession, domination, dependence, the seeking of satisfaction, pleasure, comfort, companionship - an escape from myself. Is that love? Or does love lie beyond this turmoil of thought? If you say it does, then what will happen to my wife, my children, my family, they must have security I must have security. If you put that question then you have never been outside that field of consciousness. When once you have been outside that field off consciousness you will never put that question, because then you will know what love is, love in which there is no thought, no tomorrow and therefore no time. But you will listen to this - pleased and probably mesmerized and enchanted - but to actually go beyond thought, beyond time - because time is thought and thought is sorrow - to go beyond is to be aware that there is a different dimension called love. From there one can act, one can be.

There arises another question - what is beauty? Is beauty in the object or in the eyes of the beholder? - or is beauty neither in the object nor the beholder but when the observer and the observed have been totally abandoned? This can only be when there is total austerity, but not the austerity of the priest with its harshness, with its sanctions, rules, obedience. Austerity means simplicity, not in ideas, clothes, in behaviour or in food, but being totally simple, which is complete humility. Therefore there is never a climbing - therefore there is never an achievement - therefore there is no ladder to climb, there is only the first step and the first step is the everlasting step.

Without understanding beauty and love and meditation - the real thing I mean - then life as it is, lived as it is, with its sorrow, pain, conflict, has very little meaning. You may take drugs to give it meaning, you may cling to your sexual appetites to give life a meaning, but dependence on any drug on any thought, or any demand of pleasure, only brings about more conflict, more misery, more confusion.

Questioner: I just want to say, as you were talking about experience that since a few years I have had a tremendous craving to go up in a glider and I thought that would be really wonderful. Yesterday I had the chance to go up with a Swiss officer and glided for one hour - a most interesting experience - but when I came down it was just as if I had had that experience before. It was not necessary to go up.

Krishnamurti: The questioner says he went up in a glider yesterday and he wanted to go up because he wanted to have a new experience.

Q: To do it myself.

K: To do it yourself, another form of experience.

And when he came down he found it was not an experience at all - he had already had it. Look Sir, why do you crave for experience, whether in a glider, or of sex, climbing mountains, taking drugs and getting psychedelic expansions and so on? Why do you crave for experiences? First ask that. And if you didn't have any experience, not one experience, what would happen to you? Is that possible? Now, we depend on experiences to keep us awake, experience is a form of challenge - without challenges do you know what would happen to most of us? - we would be asleep. If there was no political change, if there was no conflict within ourselves, if everything was as we wanted it to be and we were undisturbed, we would all be fast asleep. Challenges are necessary for most of us, different challenges and it is they that keep us awake. We depend on experiences - pleasant or painful - to keep us awake; every form of challenge we want, to help us keep awake. When one realizes that this dependence on challenges and experiences only makes the mind more dull and that they do not really keep us awake - when one realizes that we have had, as we said the other day, thousands of wars and haven't learnt a thing, that we are willing to kill our neighbour tomorrow on the least provocation - then one asks, why do we want them and is it at all possible to keep awake without any challenge? This is the real question - you follow? I depend on a challenge, experience, hoping it will give me more excitement, more intensity, make my mind more sharp, but it does not. So I ask myself if it is possible to keep awake totally, not peripherally at a few points of my being, but totally awake, without any challenge, without any experience? That means, can I be a light to myself, not depending on any other light? That doesn't mean I am vain in not depending on any stimulation. Can I be a light that never goes out? To find that out I must go deeply within myself, I must know myself totally, completely, every corner of myself, there must be no secret corners, everything must be exposed. I must be aware of the total field of my own self, which is the consciousness of the individual and of society. It is only when the mind goes beyond this individual and social consciousness that there is a possibility of being a light to oneself which never goes out.

27th July, 1967