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Series I - Chapter 19 - 'The Search for Truth'

Series I - Chapter 19 - 'The Search for Truth'

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Commentaries on Living

HE HAD COME a very long way, many thousands of miles by boat and plane. He spoke only his own language, and with the greatest of difficulties was adjusting himself to this new and disturbing environment. He was entirely unaccustomed to this kind of food and to this climate; having been born and bred in a very high altitude, the damp heat was telling on him. He was a well-read man, a scientist of sorts, and had done some writing. He seemed to be well acquainted with both Eastern and Western philosophies, and had been a Roman Catholic. He said he had been dissatisfied with all this for a long time, but had carried on because of his family. His marriage was what could be considered a happy one, and he loved his two children. They were in college now in that faraway country, and had a bright future. But this dissatisfaction with regard to his life and action had been steadily increasing through the years, and a few months ago it had reached a crisis. He had left his family, making all the necessary arrangements for his wife and children, and now here he was. He had just enough money to carry on, and had come to find God. He said that he was in no way unbalanced, and was clear in his purpose.

Balance is not a matter to be judged by the frustrated, or by those who are successful. The successful may be the unbalanced; and the frustrated become bitter and cynical, or they find an escape through some self-projected illusion. Balance is not in the hands of the analysts; to fit into the norm does not necessarily indicate balance. The norm itself may be the product of an unbalanced culture. An acquisitive society, with its patterns and norms, is unbalanced, whether it is of the left or of the right, whether its acquisitiveness is vested in the State or in its citizens. Balance is non-acquisitiveness. The idea of balance and nonbalance is still within the field of thought and so cannot be the judge. Thought itself, the conditioned response with its standards and judgments, is not true. Truth is not an idea, a conclusion.

Is God to be found by seeking him out? Can you search after the unknowable? To find, you must know what you are seeking. If you seek to find, what you find will be a sell-projection; it will be what you desire, and the creation of desire is not truth. To seek truth is to deny it. Truth has no fixed abode; there is no path, no guide to it, and the word is not truth. Is truth to be found in a particular setting, in a special climate, among certain people? Is it here and not there? Is that one the guide to truth, and not another? Is there a guide at all? When truth is sought, what is found can only come out of ignorance, for the search itself is born of ignorance. You cannot search out reality; you must cease for reality to be.

"But can I not find the nameless? I have come to this country because here there is a greater feeling for that search. Physically one can be more free here, one need not have so many things; possessions do not overpower one here as elsewhere. That is partly why one goes to a monastery. But there are psychological escapes in going to a monastery, and as I do not want to escape into ordered isolation, I am here, living my life to find the nameless. Am I capable of finding it?"

Is it a matter of capacity? Does not capacity imply the following of a particular course of action, a predetermined path, with all the necessary adjustments? When you ask that question, are you not asking whether you, an ordinary individual, have the necessary means of gaining what you long for? Surely, your question implies that only the exceptional find truth, and not the everyday man. Is truth granted only to the few, to the exceptionally intelligent? Why do we ask whether we are capable of finding it? We have the pattern, the example of the man who is supposed to have discovered truth; and the example, being elevated far above us, creates uncertainty in ourselves. The example thus assumes great significance and there is competition between the example and ourselves; we also long to be the record-breaker. Does not this question, "Have I the capacity?", arise out of one's conscious or unconscious comparison of what one is with what one supposes the example to be?

Why do we compare ourselves with the ideal? And does comparison bring understanding? Is the ideal different from ourselves? Is it not a self-projection, a homemade thing, and does it not therefore prevent the understanding of ourselves as we are? Is not comparison an evasion of the understanding of ourselves? There are so many ways of escaping from ourselves, and comparison is one of them. Surely, without the understanding of oneself, the search for so-called reality is an escape from oneself. Without self-knowledge, the god that you seek is the god of illusion; and illusion inevitably brings conflict and sorrow. Without self-knowledge, there can be no right thinking; and then all knowledge is ignorance which can only lead to confusion and destruction. Self-knowledge is not an ultimate end; it is the only opening wedge to the inexhaustible.

"Is not self-knowledge extremely difficult to acquire, and will it not take a very long time?"

The very conception that self-knowledge is difficult to acquire is a hindrance to self-knowledge. If I may suggest, do not suppose that it will be difficult, or that it will take time; do not predetermine whit it is and what it is not. Begin. Self-knowledge is to be discovered in the action of relationship; and all action is relationship. Self-knowledge does not come about through self-isolation, through withdrawal; the denial of relationship is death. Death is the ultimate resistance. Resistance, which is suppression, substitution or sublimation in any form, is a hindrance to the flow of self-knowledge; but resistance is to be discovered in relationship, in action. Resistance, whether negative or positive, with its comparisons and justifications, its condemnations and identifications, is the denial of what is. What is is the implicit; and awareness of the implicit, without any choice, is the unfoldment of it. This unfoldment is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is essential for the coming into being of the unknown, the inexhaustible.