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Public Talk 7 London, England - 19 June 1962
It seems to me that it would be a great pity if we went away after these talks with mere ideas, concepts or conclusions; because, as I have pointed out, ideas, concepts, conclusions do not fundamentally change the human mind. Although politically, economically, socially and commercially things are changing very rapidly, the rapidity of these changes is more significant than the changes themselves. What we need is a tremendous psychological revolution; but apparently we cannot keep up psychologically with the swift ,outward changes. Individually we are still caught in conflict, as we have been for centuries.
To discover what is true, all conclusions, every form of comparison and condemnation must be put aside; and that is a very difficult thing for most of us to do because we are educated, conditioned to condemn, to justify. When we have a problem, we try to find an answer instead of understanding the problem itself; arid the answer is in the problem, not away from the problem. For most of us, change is merely a change of pattern; and if you consider it you will see that a change of pattern is no change at all. Any change within the field of time is the same movement modified and continued.
Now, I am talking, not about a change of pattern, but about a deep psychological revolution - which means-breaking away completely from the psychological structure of society. Change within the pattern of society is a movement from the known to the known, is it not? I am this and I want to become that, which is my ideal, so I struggle to change. But the ideal is a projection of the known, and the pursuit of the ideal is still no change at all.
Revolution implies, surely, a total awareness of the whole psychological structure of the `me', conscious and unconscious, and being completely free of it without thinking of becoming something else. Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us have established a pattern of thought and activity, a patterned way of life. In trying to bring about a change in our life, consciously or unconsciously we accept a certain pattern, and we think we have changed; but actually there has been no change at all.
As I was saying the other day, without understanding the unconscious, any psychological `change' is merely conformity to a pattern established by the unconscious. And the present crisis not only the outward crisis, but also the crisis in consciousness demands a revolution. I am not talking of social or economic revolution, which is very superficial, but of a revolution in the unconscious - a complete breaking away from the psychological structure of society, a total abandonment of ambition, envy, greed, of the desire for power, position, prestige, and so on. This is the only revolution, because without it no new thing can be; without it we merely indulge in ideas, in concepts, and therefore there is always sorrow. There is an ending to sorrow only when there is this total revolution.
So the question is, how is this inward change, this total revolution to be brought about? If we make a deliberate, conscious effort to change, we engender conflict, struggle; and change that is born of conflict, struggle is productive only of further misery.
Now, is it possible to bring about a revolution in the psyche without conscious effort? I have carefully explained that the unconscious is the storehouse of the past. In the unconscious are stored not only the experiences of the individual, but also those of the race. It is the storehouse of the whole endeavour of man throughout the ages: his search for God, his denial of God, his worship of the State, his identification with the nation, with an idea, and so on. The totality of all that is the past, it is the unconscious background of each one of us, according to which we respond. We may try to understand the unconscious through examination and analysis, but that will obviously not bring about a revolution. You can modify, reform; but your reform will need further reform, it is not a revolution, a complete breaking away from the past. One needs a young, fresh, innocent mind, and that can be only when one breaks away psychologically from the past.
So, how is this revolution to take place without endeavour, without trying to do something about it? Any effort or struggle to bring about a change involves a contradiction, and that contradiction emphasizes the conflict that already exists; therefore it is not a change at all. You can perceive something; new only in a state of innocence that is, only when the past has ceased to have any psychological significance.
You know, innocency is one of the demands of modern society, but its demand is still very superficial. To people who have lived through a great deal of suffering, who are burdened with guilt, anxiety, fear - to them innocency is a great thing. But the innocency they talk about is the opposite of complexity, the opposite of sorrow, misery, strife, confusion. Real innocency, like love, is not an opposite. Love is not the opposite of hate. Love comes into being only when hate in every form has ceased. Similarly, the mind must be innocent, though it has gone through every form of experience. For the mind to realize that state of innocency, the accumulations of experience - which are still the past, still part of the unconscious background - must come to an end.
Now, how is this to be done? The religious people say you must turn to God and be in a state of receptivity so that the Grace,?f God can come into being. And there is every form of religious practice I was going to use the word `chicanery' - to persuade, influence, or control the human mind to the end that it may in one form or another achieve this innocency. There are also those who try various drugs and experience a heightened sensitivity of perception, an extraordinary state of bliss. But innocency cannot be brought about by any drug, by any form of yoga, by any belief or rejection of belief, or by waiting for the Grace of God. All these things imply effort seeing the urge to escape from the fact of what is. And innocency can come into being only when there is a total freedom from the known - that is, a dying to the known, a dying to the past, to pleasurable memories, to ideas, to all the things that one has cherished, built up, put together as character.
Unfortunately, most of us do not want to die to anything, particularly to that which gives us pleasure, to the memory of things that we have known and cherished. We would rather find an escape, live in an illusion. But one must die to the known for innocency to be. This is not a mere verbal statement or conclusion. There must be an actual dying to the known, to the past. And one cannot die to the known if one has a motive to die; for motive is rooted in time, in thought; and thought is the response of the background of consciousness, which is the known.
We are all conditioned, whether as Englishmen, Russians, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, or what you will. We are shaped by society, by environment; we are the environment. Most of you undoubtedly believe in God and in Jesus, because you have been brought up in that belief; whereas in Russia they are conditioned not to accept any of that. The totality of the mind's conditioning is the known, and that conditioning can be broken, but not through analysis. It can be broken only when it is approached negatively, and this negative is not the opposite of the positive. As love is not the opposite of hate, so this negative is not the opposite of the positive - the positive being examination, analysis, trying to change the existing pattern, or trying to conform to a different pattern. All this we consider to be positive; and the negative we are talking about is not the opposite of that. Nor is it a synthesis. A synthesis implies the coming together of the opposites, but this is productive of a further set of opposites. The negative we are talking about is a denial of the opposites altogether. When one denies totally the approach - which is part of our conditioning - that seeks to change the psyche through effort, through analysis, then one's approach is negative; and it is only in this state of-negation that the mind is innocent. Such a mind is really the religious mind.
The religious mind isn't the mind that believes, that goes to church every day, or once a week; it isn`t the mind that has a creed, that is bound by dogmas and superstitions. The religious mind is really a scientific mind - scientific in the sense that it is able to observe facts without distortion, to see itself as it is. To be free of one's conditioning requires, not a believing or an accepting mind, but a mind that is capable of observing itself rationally, sanely, and seeing the fact that unless there is a total breaking up of the psychological structure of society, which is the `me', there can be no innocency; and that without innocency the mind can never be religious.
The religious mind is not fragmentary, it does not divide life into compartments. It comprehends the totality of life - the life of sorrow and Win, the life of joy and passing satisfactions. Being totally free from the psychological structure of ambition, greed, envy, competition, from all demand for the `more', the religious mind is in a state of innocency; and it is only such a mind that can go beyond itself, not the mind that merely believes in a beyond, or that has some hypothesis about God.
The word `God' is not God; the concept you have of God, is not God. To find out if there is that which may be called God, all verbal concepts and formulations, all ideas, all thought i which is the response of memory, must come totally to an end. Only then is there that state of innocency in which there is no self-deception, no wanting, no desire for a result; and then you will find out for yourself what is true.
Such a mind is no longer seeking experience. A mind that seeks experience is immature. The innocent mind has ceased to be concerned with experience. It is free of the word - the word being the capacity to recognize from the background of the known. Recognition implies association, either verbal or through actual experience, and without that association you cannot recognize anything. The religious or innocent mind is free of the word, free of concepts, patterns, formulations, and such a mind alone can find out for itself whether there is or is not the immeasurable.
Perhaps you will now ask some questions relevant to what we have been considering together.
Questioner: What is the essence or mainspring of your teaching?
Krishnamurti: That would be rather difficult to put in a few words. As I have tried to explain, listening is an art. Most of us don't listen, because what we hear we translate according to our pleasure and pain, according to oui likes and dislikes, according to our conflicts and the formulations of what we already know. Nor do we generally see anything, because what we actually or visually see is interpreted in this way or in that. We may look at a flower botanically, but very few ever look at a flower non-botanically which is the only way one can see the essence, the beauty, the whole loveliness of the flower. in the same way, your perception of the significance of what is being said depends on how you have listened to all these talks. You can't possibly understand by merely picking up a few ideas, a few concepts or opinions. If that is what you have done, then I am afraid these talks will have very little meaning. Either you listen to the whole, or you hear nothing at all. And if you have listened to the whole of what we have been talking about, then you ii,ill see for yourself the essence of it; you will never ask me what is the essence. This is not just a clever way of turning the table; on you, sir. It is an actual fact.
You cannot hold the waters of the sea in a garment, or capture the wind in your fist. But you can listen to the deep murmuring of the storm, to the violence of the sea; you can feel the enormous power of the wind. its beauty and its destructiveness. For you must destroy totally the old for something new to be.
Questioner: What is the still, small voice of conscience? Is it not the voice of God speaking within each one of us?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid that the still, small voice of conscience must be utterly distrusted, just as one must utterly distrust and doubt the voice of God within one. That voice speaks to all the saints, to all the generals, to all the warmongers, as well as to you and to me. Such voice must be totally denied, because they lead us disastrously astray. For most people the voice of God is their own desire, their own longing, their own identification with a particular country, belief or idea. It is easy to produce a voice of God in yourself - too terribly easy. And if you happen to be an organizer with a certain capacity of speech, you will become a leader, and you will lead people to destruction, to greater misery.
Questioner: Why do you keep talking about the known? Why don't you talk to us about the unknown?
Krishnamurti: First of all, why do I talk at all? What is communication? We can communicate with each other verbally, or we can silently commune. Most of us prefer silent communion, because then one can preserve all one,s pet ideas and beliefs, one can remain in one's ivory tower. But when we try to communicate verbally, then the trouble begins, because then we have to establish a certain relationship, we have to understand each other through the meaning of words; and we can understand each other only when we meet at the same level, at the same time.
I am talking, not to persuade you to change, or to push you to any form of psychological revolution, but because one can't help talking about something which is so imminent, so real, so actual. When you yourself see the extraordinary beauty and light of a cloud, you want to tell others to look at it too= - at least I do. That's all. That's why I talk.
And the other question is: why do I always come back to the known? Why don't I stay with the unknown and talk from there?
You cannot know the unknown. You can know only that which you have already experienced and are therefore able to recognize. The unknown is not recognizable; and for the coming into being of that immensity, the known must end. There must be freedom from the known. That's why one is constantly talking about the known - to break it down.
You cannot possibly talk about the unknown. No word, no concept can ever bring it within the framework of the known. The word is not the thing; and the thing must be seen directly without the word. And that is extraordinarily difficult: to see something out of innocency. To see something out of love - love which has never been contaminated by jealousy, by hate, by anger, by attachment, possession. One must die to attachment, to possession, to jealousy, to envy - die without reason, without cause, without motive. And it is only then, in this freedom from the known, that the other thing may be.
Questioner: Do you believe that a repetition of words, however holy, is meditation?
Krishnamurti: Meditation cannot come about through any repetition of words, through what the Hindus call mantras and you call prayer. Prayers and mantras only put the mind to sleep.
By droning a series of words over and over again you can put yourself to sleep very nicely - which is what many of us do. In that soporific condition we felt we have achieved a most extraordinary state; but that is not meditation. That is merely drugging yourself with words. You can also drug yourself by taking certain chemicals, or by drinking, and in various other ways; but that is obviously not meditation.
Meditation is really extraordinary; and it is something you must do every day. But meditation is not separate from living. It is not something to be done in the morning and forgotten for the rest of the day - or remembered and used as a guide in your life. That is not meditation.
Meditation is an awareness of every thought, of every feeling, of every act and that awareness can come into being only when there is no condemnation, no judgment, no comparison. You just see everything as it is, which means that you are aware of your own conditioning, conscious as well as unconscious, without distorting or trying to alter it. You see all the responses, reactions, opinions, motives, urges within yourself. But that is only the beginning.
If you would have a religious mind you must meditate. You must bc aware of your own feelings, sensitive to every movement of your own thought - which is not concentration. Concentration is very easy. Every schoolboy learns it. But meditation is not being absorbed in something. When a small child is absorbed in a toy, he is very quiet, he is completely with the toy. And that is what most of us want: we want to be absorbed in something, identified with a toy, with an idea, with a belief, with a concept. But that is not meditation.
Meditation is something far beyond all this immature thinking. Meditation is that state of awareness in which there is attention to every thought and every feeling; and out of that attention there is silence - which is not the silence of discipline, control. Silence that is brought about through discipline, through control, is the silence of decay, of death. But there is a silence that comes into being naturally, effortlessly without your even being conscious of it, when there is this attention in which here is no experiencer, no observer, no thinker. That silence is really innocency; and in that silence - without being invited, without your seeking or asking - the unknown may come.
Questioner: You have said that in order to be free from the past, free from thought, one must die, and that this was not merely a verbal statement: there must be an actual dying. Do you mean we must die physically?
Krishnamurti: It is rather difficult to die even physically, because we so cling to the physical. But I am not talking about physical death. That, I am afraid, is inevitable for all of us. If the scientists discover some new chemical it may enable us to live for another fifty or more years, but we will still be the same at the end of it with our pettiness, our worries, our problems, our jealousies, with our longing to be sensitive, to be beautiful, and all the rest of it. I am talking of dying in terms of the psychological structure of the `me', which is what we are. To die in this sense is to die to one's envy, sir. Most of us are envious. Society is based on envy, on comparison, on the pursuit of the, more: more knowledge, more influence, more power, more wealth, more, more, more. That is the very essence of envy. And to die to that, to die to envy without argument, without persuasion, without knowing what there will be when you do die to envy - that is real death, because out of that death there is innocency. Thought - which in essence is the result of continuity, of the past - can be modified, changed, it can create a new series of ideas,formulas, concepts. But that which has continuity can never know an ending, and through that ending, an innocency.
However reasonable, however logical, thought can never know what innocency is, because thought can never be free.
Questioner: I believe you said that the avoidance of a problem was preferable to the finding of a solution.
Krishnamurti: No, sir, I am sorry, but I did not say that.
You see, most of us have problems, inward and outward, and we are always seeking an answer. All outward, mechanical problems have an answer; but inward, psychological problems have no answer. They have to be understood; and a mind that is seeking an answer to a psychological problem is incapable of understanding the problem. If I have a psychological problem, say, in relationship, and I try to find an answer to that problem, then I am avoiding the problem, because my concern with finding an answer prevents me from looking at the fact of the problem itself. To understand the problem, I have to look at the fact without opinion, without demanding an answer.
Questioner: If time permits, may we sit quietly and experience together a few moments of complete silence?
Krishnamurti: You know, that is one of the most dangerous things to do. (laughter). You have been sitting here together for an hour, listening, and while listening you were supposed to have been silent. If you have not been silent during that hour, or even for a few minutes, in the act of listening, then sitting quietly together and trying to experience silence will only lead to various forms of illusion. Silence is difficult and arduous, it is not to be played with. It isn't something that you can experience by reading a book, or by listening to a talk, or by sitting together, or by retiring into a wood or a monastery. I am afraid none of those things will bring about this silence. This silence demands intense psychological work. You have to be burningly aware - aware of your speech, aware oF your snobbishness, aware of your fears, your anxieties, your sense of guilt. And when you die to all that, then out of that dying comes the beauty of silence.
Questioner: What is the difference between meditation and contemplation?
Krishnamurti: First of all, what do you mean by the word `contemplation'? If contemplation implies an entity who is endeavouring to contemplate, to bring his mind into focus, then contemplation is the same as the so-called meditation in which there is a meditator who is trying to achieve a result. A person may `meditate' regularly in order to be quiet, in order to realize God, but that is not meditation, it is not contemplation. As long as there is an observer, a thinker, an experiencer, there cannot possibly be meditation. Meditation is not a thing that you can just pick up from a book and practise for a few years; it is not a matter of discipline. Most of us have disciplined our minds so much that we are dead, and within that pattern we try to meditate. What matters is the breaking down of the pattern; and the breaking down of the pattern is the beginning of meditation.
Questioner: How is it possible to be intensely aware while one is occupied with a particular job?
Krishnamurti: I do not see the difficulty. Why can't one be intensely aware while doing the job? Whether the job is mechanical, scientific, or bureaucratic, in being intensely aware while you are doing that job you will not only do it more efficiently, but you will also begin to be aware of why you are doing it, what are the motives behind your work. You will find out if you are afraid of your boss; you will observe how you talk to your underlings and to those above you. Being intensely aware in your relationship with others, you will know whether you are creating enmity, jealousy, hatred; you will see all your own responses in relationship, whether you are here, in a bus, in your office, or in the factory. All this is implied in intense awareness.
Also, if you are intensely aware, you might give up your job. Therefore most of us don't want to be intensely aware, it is too disturbing; we would rather continue with what we are doing, even if it is very boring. At best we break away from that which bores us and find a job which is less boring; but this too soon becomes routine.
So we are caught in habit: the habit of going to the office every morning, the habit of smoking, the sexual habit, the habit of ideas, concepts, the habit of being an Englishman, and so on. We function in habit. To be intensely aware of habit, has its own danger; and we are afraid of danger. We are afraid of not knowing, of not being certain. There is great beauty, there is great vitality in not being certain. It is not insanity to be completely insecure; it doesn't mean that one becomes psychotic. But none of us want that. We would rather break one habit and create a more pleasant habit.
Questioner: Can we not learn something from the innocence of a child?
Krishnamurti: The child is not innocent. The child is ignorant. The child is craving for more experience as he grows, matures. We are not talking about childhood innocency, that is for the poets. We are talking about the innocency of a mature mind - a mind that has gone through agony, travail, suffering, intense anxieties, doubts, and has left all that behind, has died to all that.
July 19, 1962