Ojai 12th Public Talk 21st August 1949
I do not know with what attitude one listens to these talks. I am afraid one is apt to listen to them with the intention of developing a method, a technique, a way; and I think it is very important to understand that tendency; because, if we are caught in a technique, in a way, in a method, we shall lose entirely the creative release. That is, through the cultivation of a technique, of a method, we shall lose creativeness. And I would like to discuss this morning, what are the implications in the cultivation of a technique, a method, a way, and how it dulls the mind, not only at the verbal level, but at the deeper psychological levels. Because, most of us are uncreative. We may paint a little, write a poem or two occasionally, or on rare occasions enjoy beautiful scenery; but for the most part our minds are so caught in the way, in habit, which is a form of technique, that we do not seem to be able to go beyond. The problems of life do not demand a method, because they are so vital, they are so alive, that if we approach any one of them with a fixed pattern, a method, a way, we shall totally misunderstand, we shall not adequately meet that problem. And, most of us want a technique, a method; because the problem, the movement of life, is so alive, so vital, so swift, that our mind are incapable of meeting it rapidly swiftly, with clarity; and we think that we shall be able to meet it, if we know how to meet it. So, we try to learn from another the how, the method, the technique, the way, the means.
I am not at all sure that most of us here are not concerned with the means. Don't deny it, because it is extremely difficult to be free from the desire for a technique in order to achieve. Because, when we have a means, we emphasize the end, the result. We are more concerned with the result than with the understanding of the problem itself, whatever the outcome may be. Why is it that most of us seek a method for happiness, for the right way of thinking, for peace of mind or peace of soul, or whatever it is?
First of all, we carry over the mentality of industrial technology to meet life. That is, we want to meet life efficiently; and to meet it efficiently, we think we need a method; and most religious societies, most teachers, offer a method: how to be peaceful, how to be happy, how to have a tranquil mind, how to concentrate, and so on, and so on. Now, where there is efficiency, there is ruthlessness; and the more you are efficient, the more intolerant, the more enclosed, the more resistant you are. This gradually develops the sense of pride; and pride, obviously, is isolating, it is destructive to understanding. We admire efficient people; and governments throughout the world are concerned with the cultivation of efficiency and the organization of efficiency: efficiency to produce, to kill, to carry out the ideology of a party, of a church, or of a particular religion. We all want to be efficient, and thereby we cultivate the psychological demand for a pattern to which we will conform in order to achieve efficiency. Efficiency, which means the cultivation of a technique, of a method, implies the constant practice of a habit, psychologically. We know about the industrial habits, but very little about the psychological habit of resistance. And I am not at all sure that that is not what most of us are seeking: the cultivation of a habit which will make us efficient to meet life, which is so swift. So, if we can understand, not only at the verbal level, but at the deeper, psychological levels, this whole process of the cultivation of technique, method, means, then we shall be able to understand, I think, what it is to be creative. Because, when there is the creative urge, it will find its own technique or its own means of expression. But if we are consumed, taken up, with the cultivation of a technique, obviously we shall never find the other. And why is it that we want technique, the psychological pattern of action which gives us certainty, efficiency, a continuity, a sustained effort? After all, if you must read religious books, most of them, I am pretty sure - not that I have read any of them - , contain the way. The way becomes important, because the way points the goal; therefore, the goal is separate from the way. Is that so? Is the means different from the end? If, psychologically, you cultivate a habit, a method, a means , a way, a technique, is not the end already projected, already crystallized? Therefore, the means and the end are not separate. That is, you cannot have peace in the world through violent methods, at whatever level. The means and the end are inseparable; and a mind that cultivates a habit will create the end which is already foreseen, already cultivated, already existent, projected by the mind. And that is what most of us want. The technique is only the cultivation of the known, of security, of certainty; and with the known the mind wants to perceive the unknown; therefore, it can never understand it. So, the means matters, not the end; because the end and the means are one. So, the mind which cultivates habit, way, technique, prevents creativeness, that extraordinary sense of spontaneous discovery.
Our problem, then, is not to cultivate a new technique, a new habit, or to discover a new way, but to be altogether free of the psychological search for a technique. If you have something to say, you will say it, the right words will come out. But if you have nothing to say, and you cultivate a marvellous eloquence you know, go to schools to learn how to speak, then what you project, what you say, will have very little meaning.
So, why is it that most of us are seeking a method, a technique? Obviously, we want to be sure, to be certain not to go wrong; we do not want to experiment, to discover. The practice of a technique prevents discovery from moment to moment; because truth, or what you will, is from moment to moment, it is not a continuous, increasing, growing arc. So, can we be free from the psychological urge to be sure, to cultivate a habit, a practice? These are all resistances, defences; and with this defensive mechanism, we want to understand something which is vital, swift. Now, if we can see that, see the implications in the cultivation or the search for a means, if we can see its psychological significance - not merely the superficial or industrial significance, which is obvious; if we can understand it fully, as I am explaining it and as you and I are experimenting with it, then perhaps we can discover what it means to be free of it. And, is it possible to be free from the desire to be secure psychologically? Technique, a means, offers security. You run in a groove, and then there is no going right or wrong; you are merely functioning automatically. Is it possible for a mind which has been trained for centuries to cultivate habit, a means - is it possible for such a mind to be free? It is possible only when we realize the whole significance of habit, the total process of its momentum. That is, as I am talking about it, silently observe your own process, be aware of the cumulative effect of all your desires to succeed, to gain, to achieve, which denies understanding. Because, the understanding of life, of this total process, does not come through desire - there must be a spontaneous meeting with it. If one can see this whole psychological process, as well as its outward expression - how all the governments, all society, all the various communities demand efficiency with all its ruthlessness - , then perhaps the mind will begin to break away from its accustomed habits. Then it will really be free, no longer seeking a means. Then, when the mind is quiet, there comes that creative something, which is creation itself. It will find its own expression, you don't have to choose an expression for it. If you are a painter, you will paint. It is that creative understanding that is vital, that gives grace, that gives happiness - not the technical expression of something which you have learnt.
So, reality, or God, or what you will, is something that cannot come through a technique, through a means, through long, determined practice and discipline. It is not a course laid out, with a known end. One must enter the uncharted sea. There must be an aloneness. Aloneness implies no means. You are not alone when you have a means. There must be complete nakedness, emptiness of all these accumulated practices, hopes, pleasures, desires for security - which are all consistently maintaining a means, a method, a technique. Then only is there the other, and then the problem is solved. A man who is dying from moment to moment, and therefore renewing, is able to meet life. It is not that he is separate from life; he is life.
Question: How can one be aware of an emotion without naming or labelling it? If I am aware of a feeling, I seem to know what that feeling is, almost immediately after it arises. Or, do you mean something different when you say, `do not name'?
Krishnamurti: This is a very difficult problem, and it requires a great deal of thinking, being aware of the whole content of it; and as I explain it, I hope you will follow, not merely verbally, but through experiencing it. I feel, if we can understand this question fully, deeply, we shall have understood a great deal. I shall try to approach it from different directions, if I can in the given time, because it is a very intricate and subtle problem. It requires all your attention, because you are experiencing what we are discussing, not merely listening and trying to experience it afterwards. There is no afterwards: either you experience now, always now, or never.
Now, why do we name anything? Why do we give a label to a flower, to a person, to a feeling? Either to communicate one's feeling, to describe the flower, and so on, and so on; or, to identify oneself with that feeling. Isn't it? I name something, a feeling, to communicate it. `I am angry'. Or, I identify myself with that feeling in order to strengthen it, to dissolve it, or to do something about it. That is, we give a name to something, to a rose, to communicate it to others; or, by giving it a name, we think we have understood it. We say, `That is a rose', rapidly look at it, and go on. By giving it a name, we think we have understood it; we have classified it, and think that thereby we have understood the whole content and the beauty of that flower.
Now, when not merely to communicate, what happens when we give a name to a flower, to anything? please follow it, think it out with me. Though I may talk aloud, you also are participating in the talking. By giving a name to something, we have merely put it into a category, and we think we have understood it; we don't look at it more closely. But, if we do not give it a name, we are forced to look at it. That is, we approach the flower, or whatever it is, with a newness, with a new quality of examination; we look at it as though we had never looked at it before. Naming is a very convenient way of disposing of people - by saying they are Germans, they are Japanese, they are Americans, they are Hindus, you know; give them a label, and destroy the label. But if you do not give a label to people, you are forced to look at them, and then it is much more difficult to kill somebody. You can destroy the label with a bomb, and feel righteous. But if you do not give a label, and must therefore look at the individual thing - whether it is a man, or a flower, or an incident, or an emotion - then you are forced to consider your relationship with it, and the action following. So, terming, or giving a label, is a very convenient way of disposing of anything, of denying, condemning, or justifying it. That is one side of the question.
Then, what is the core from which you name, what is the centre which is always naming, choosing, labelling? We all feel there is a centre, a core, do we not?, from which we are acting, from which we are judging, from which we are naming. What is that centre, that core? Some would like to think it is a spiritual essence, God, or what you will. So, let us find out what is that core, that centre, which is naming, terming, judging. Surely, that core is memory, isn't it? A series of sensations, identified and enclosed - the past, the given life through the present. That core, that centre, feeds on the present through naming labelling, remembering. I hope you are following this. We will see presently, as we unfold it, that as long as this centre, this core exists, there can be no understanding. It is only with the dissipation of this core that there is understanding. Because, after all, that core is memory; memory of various experiences, which have been given names, labels, identifications. With those named and labelled experiences, from that centre, there is acceptance and rejection, determination to be or not to be, according to the sensations, pleasures, and pains of the memory of experience. So, that centre is the word. If you do not name that centre, is there a centre? That is, if you do not think in terms of words, if you do not use words, can you think? Thinking comes into being through verbalization; or, verbalization begins to respond to thinking. So, the centre, the core is the memory of innumerable experiences of pleasure and pain, verbalized. Watch it in yourself, please, and you will see that words have become much more important, labels have become much more important, than the substance; and we live on words. Please, don't deny it, don't say it is right or wrong. We are exploring. If you merely explore one side of a thing, or stay put in one place, you won't understand the whole content of it. Therefore, let us approach it from different angles. For us words like truth God have become very important - or the feeling which those words represent. When we say the word `American', `Christian', `Hindu', or the word `anger' - we are the word representing the feeling. But we don't know what that feeling is, because the word has become important. When you call yourself a Buddhist, a Christian, what does the word mean, what is the meaning behind that word which you have never examined? Our centre, the core is the word, the label. If the label does not matter, if what matters is that which is behind the label, then you are able to inquire; but if you are identified with the label and stuck with it, you cannot proceed. And we are identified with the label: the house, the form, the name, the furniture, the bank account, our opinions, our stimulants, and so on, and so on. We are all those things - those things being represented by a name. The things have become important, the names, the labels; and therefore the centre, the core is the word.
Now, if there is no word, no label, there is no centre, is there? There is a dissolution, there is an emptiness - not the emptiness of fear, which is quite a different thing. There is a sense of being as nothing; and because you have removed all the labels, or rather, because you have understood why you give labels to feelings and ideas, you are completely new, are you not? There is no centre from which you are acting. The centre, which is the word, has been dissolved. The label has been taken away; and where are you as the centre? You are there, but there has been a transformation. And that transformation is a little bit frightening; therefore, you do not proceed with what is still involved in it; you are already beginning to judge it, to decide whether you like or don't like it. You don't proceed with the understanding of what is coming, but you are already judging; which means that you have a centre from which you are acting. Therefore, you stay fixed the moment you judge; the words `like' and `dislike' become important. But what happens when you do not name? You look at emotion, at sensation, more directly, and therefore have quite a different relationship to it, just as you have to a flower when you do not name it. You are forced to look at it anew. When you do not name a group of people, you are compelled to look at each individual face, and not treat them all as the mass. Therefore, you are much more alert, much more observing, more understanding, you have a deeper sense of pity, love; but if you treat them all as the mass, it is over,
If you do not label, you have to regard every feeling as it arises. Now, when you label, is the feeling different from the label? Or, does the label awaken the feeling? Please, think it over. When we label, most of us intensify the feeling. The feeling and the naming are instantaneous. If there were a gap between naming and feeling, then you could find out if the feeling is different from the naming; and then you would be able to deal with the feeling without naming it. Is this all becoming rather too difficult? I'm glad. I'm afraid it should be difficult. (Laughter)
The problem is this, is it not?, how to be free from a feeling which we term, such as anger? Not subjugate it, not sublimate it, not suppress it, which are all idiotic and immature; but how to be really free from it? And to be really free from it, we have to discover whether the word is more important than the feeling. The word `anger' has more significance than the feeling itself. And, to find that out, there must be a gap between the feeling and the naming. That is one part.
Then, if I do not name a feeling, that is, if thought is not functioning merely because of words, or if I do not think in terms of words, images, or symbols, which most of us do - then what happens? Surely, the mind, then, is not merely the observer. That is, when the mind is not thinking in terms of words, symbols, images, there is no thinker separate from the thought, which is the word. Then the mind is quiet, is it not-? - not made quiet. it is quiet. And, when the mind is really quiet, then the feelings that arise can be dealt with im- mediately. It is only when we give names to feelings and thereby strengthen them that the feelings have continuity; they are stored up in the centre, from which we give further labels, either to strengthen or to communicate them.
So, when the mind is no longer the centre as the thinker made up of words, of past experiences - which are all memories, labels, stored and put in categories, in pigeonholes - , when it is not doing any of those things, then, obviously the mind is quiet. It is no longer bound, it has no longer a centre as the me - my house, my achievement, my work - which are still words, giving impetus to feeling, and thereby strengthening memory. When none of those things are happening, the mind is very quiet. That state is not negation. On the contrary, to come to that point, you have to go through all this, which is an enormous undertaking; it is not merely learning a few sets of words and repeating them like a school boy - not to name, not to name. To follow through all its implications, to experience it, to see how the mind works and thereby come to that point when you are no longer naming, which means that there is no longer a centre apart from the thought - surely, this whole process is real meditation. And when the mind is really tranquil, then it is possible for that which is immeasurable to come into being. Any other process, any other search for reality, is merely self-projected, homemade, and therefore unreal. But this process is arduous, and it means that the mind has to be constantly aware of everything that is inwardly happening to it. To come to this point, there can be no judgment or justification from the beginning to the end - not that this is an end. There is no end, because there is something extraordinary still going on. There is no promise. It is for you to experiment, to go into yourself deeper and deeper and deeper, so that all the many layers of the centre are dissolved; and you can do it rapidly, or lazily. But it is extraordinarily interesting to watch the process of the mind, how it depends on words, how the words stimulate memory, resuscitate the dead experience and give life to it. And, in that process the mind is living, either in the future or in the past. Therefore, words have an enormous significance, neurologically as well as psychologically. And please, don't learn all this from me, or from a book. You cannot learn it from another, or find it in a book. What you learn, or find in a book, won't be the real. But you can experience it, you can watch yourself in action, watch yourself thinking, see how you think, how rapidly you are naming the feeling as it arises - and watching this whole process, frees the mind from its centre. Then the mind, being quiet, can receive that which is eternal.
Question: What is the right relationship, if any, between the individual and the collective, the mass?
Krishnamurti: Do you think there is any relationship between the individual and the mass? Between you and the collective? The State, the government, would like us to be merely the citizen, the collective. But we are man first, and afterwards the citizen - not the citizen first, and man afterwards. The State would like us not to be the man, the individual, but the mass. Because, the more we are the citizen, the greater our capacity, the greater our efficiency - we become the tool which the bureaucrats, the authoritarian states, the governments, want us to be.
So, we must distinguish between the private individual and the citizen, the man and the mass. The individual, the man, has his private feelings, hopes, failures, disappointments, longings, sensations, pleasures. And there is the point of view which wants to reduce all that to the collective; for it is very simple to deal with the collective. Pass an edict, and it is done. Give a sanction, and it is followed. So, the more organizations there are, and the more efficiently they are organized, the more the individual is denied, whether by the church or by the State - we are then all Christians, all Hindus, not individuals. And with that mentality, in that state, which most of us want, has the individual reality any place? We recognize there must be collective action. But does collective action come into being with the denial of the individual? Is the individual in opposition to the collective? Is the collective not fictitious, the mass not unreal? Seeing the difficulty of dealing with the individual, we create the opposite, the mass, and then try to establish a relationship between the individual and the collective. If the individual is intelligent, he will co-operate. Surely, that is our problem, isn't it? We first create the mass, and then try to find the relationship of the individual with the mass. But let us find out if the mass is real. The group of us here can be made into the collective by hypnotism, by propaganda; through various means we can be aroused to act collectively for an ideology, for a State, for a church, for an idea, and so on, and so on. That is, collective action can be externally imposed, directed, compelled, through fear, reward, and all the rest of it. Having produced that condition, we try to establish the relationship of the individual, which is the actual, with that which is produced. Whereas, is it not possible for the individual to lose his sense of separateness through definite understanding of all the implications of separateness, and therefore act co-operatively? But, as that is so difficult, States, governments, churches, organized religions, force or entice the individual to become the corporate. What place has the individual in history? What does it matter what you and I do? There is the historical movement going on. What place has reality with this movement? Probably none at all. You and I don't count at all. This movement is gigantic, it is going on; it has the momentum of centuries, and it will go on. What is your relationship, as an individual, to this movement? Whatever you do, will it affect it? Can you stop a war because you are a pacifist? You are a pacifist, not because there is a war, not because you have found a relationship with it, but because in itself war is wrong and you feel you cannot kill, and there the matter ends. But to try to find a relationship between your understanding, your intelligence, and this monstrous, logical movement of war, seems to me utterly futile. I can be an individual and yet see what creates antisocial feelings in me, and so be free of separative actions. I may have a little property; surely, that doesn't make me a separative entity. But it is the whole psychological state to be separate, to be isolated, to be something - it is that which is calamitous, which is so destructive. And, in order to overcome that, we have all the external sanctions and impositions and edicts.
Question: What is the significance of pain and suffering?
Krishnamurti: When you suffer, when you have pain, what is the significance of it? Physical pain has one significance, but probably we mean psychological pain and suffering, which has quite a different significance at different levels. What is the significance of suffering? Why do you want to find the significance of suffering? Not that it has no significance - we are going to find out. But why do you want to find it? Why do you want to find out why you suffer? When you put that question to yourself, `Why do I suffer?', and are looking for the cause of suffering, are you not escaping from suffering? When I seek the significance of suffering, am I not avoiding, evading it, running away from it? The fact is, I am suffering; but the moment I bring the mind to operate upon it and say, `Now, why?', I have already diluted the intensity of suffering. In other words, we want suffering to be diluted, alleviated, put away, explained away. Surely, that doesn't give an understanding of suffering. So, if I am free from that desire to run away from it, then I begin to understand what is the content of suffering.
Now, what is suffering? A disturbance, isn't it?, at different levels - at the physical, and at the different levels of the subconscious. It is an acute form of disturbance, which I don't like. My son is dead. I have built around him all my hopes - or around my daughter, my husband, what you will. I have enshrined him, with all the things I wanted him to be. And I have kept him as my companion - you know, all that; and suddenly he is gone. So, there is a disturbance, isn't there? That disturbance I call suffering. Please, I am not being harsh, we are examining, trying to understand it. If I don't like that suffering, then I say, `Why am I suffering?', `I loved him so much', `He was this', `I had that'. And I try to escape in words, in labels, in beliefs, as most of us do. They act as a narcotic. But, if I do not do that, what happens? I am simply aware of suffering. I don't condemn it, I don't justify it - I am suffering. Then I can follow its movement, can't I? Then I can follow the whole content of what it means - `I follow' in the sense of trying to understand something.
So, what does it mean? What is it that is suffering? Not why there is suffering, not what is the cause of suffering, but what is actually happening? I do not know if you see the difference. Then I am simply aware of suffering, not as apart from me, not as an observer watching suffering - it is part of me, that is, the whole of me is suffering. Then I am able to follow its movement, see where it leads. Surely, if I do that, then it opens up, does it not? Then I see that I have laid emphasis on the me - not on the person whom I love. He only acted to cover me from my misery, from my loneliness, from my misfortune. As I am not something, I hoped he would be that. So, that has gone; I am left, I am lost, I am lonely. Without him, I am nothing. So I cry. It is not that he is gone, but that I am left. I am alone. To come to that point is very difficult, isn't it? It is difficult to really recognize it, and not merely say, `I am alone, and how am I to get rid of that loneliness?', which is another form of escape; but to be conscious of it, to remain with it, to see its movement. I am only taking this as an example. So, gradually if I allow it to unfold, to open up, I see that I am suffering because I am lost; I am being called to give my attention to something which I am not willing to look at; something is being forced upon me which I am reluctant to see and to understand. And there are innumerable people to help me to escape - thousands of so-called religious people, with their beliefs and dogmas, hopes and fantasies - `it is karma, it is God's will', you know, all giving me a way out. But if I can stay with it and not put it away from me, not try to circumscribe or deny it, then what happens? What is the state of my mind when it is thus following the movement of suffering? Now, please follow this, continuing what we discussed previously.
Is suffering merely a word, or an actuality? If it is an actuality, and not just a word, then the word has no meaning now. So, there is merely the feeling of intense pain. With regard to what? With regard to an image, to an experience, to something which you have, or have not. If you have it, you call it pleasure; if you haven't, it is pain. So, pain, sorrow, is in relationship to something. Is that something merely a verbalization, or an actuality? I don't know if you are following all this. That is, when sorrow exists, it exists only in relationship to something. It cannot exist by itself - as fear cannot exist by itself, but in relationship to something: to an individual, to an incident, to a feeling. Now, you are fully aware of the suffering. Is that suffering apart from you, and therefore you are merely the observer who perceives the suffering; or, is that suffering part of you? Surely, we are trying to understand what suffering, pain, is; we are trying to go into it fully, not just superficially.
Now, when there is no observer who is suffering, is the suffering different from you? You are the suffering, are you not? You are not apart from the pain - you are the pain. Now, what happens? Please, follow it up. There is no labelling, there is no giving it a name and thereby brushing it aside - you are merely that pain, that feeling, that sense of agony. Then, when you are that, what happens? When you do not name it, when there is no fear with regard to it, is the centre related to it? If the centre is related to it, then it is afraid of it. Then it must act and do something about it. But if the centre is that, then what do you do? There is nothing to be done, is there? Please, it is not mere acceptance. Follow it, and you will see. If you are that, and you are not accepting it, not labelling it, not pushing it aside - if you are that thing, what happens? Do you say you suffer then? Surely, a fundamental transformation has taken place. Then there is no longer `I suffer', because there is no centre to suffer; and the centre suffers, because we have never examined what the centre is. We just live from word to word, from reaction to reaction. We never say, `Let me see what that thing is that suffers'. And you cannot see by enforcement, by discipline. You must look with interest, with spontaneous comprehension. Then you will see that the thing we call suffering, pain, the thing that we avoid, and the discipline, all have gone. As long as I have no relationship to the thing as outside of me, the problem is not; but the moment I establish a relationship with it outside me, the problem is. As long as I treat suffering as something outside - I suffer because I lost my brother, because I have no money, because of this or that - , I establish a relationship to it, and that relationship is fictitious. But if I am that thing, if I see the fact, then the whole thing is transformed, it all has a different meaning. Then there is full attention, integrated attention; and that which is completely regarded, is understood and dissolved, and so there is no fear; and therefore the word `sorrow' is non-existent.
August 21 1949
Ojai 12th Public Talk 21st August 1949
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