Ojai 13th Public Talk 27th August 1949
For the past few weeks we have been discussing the importance of self-knowledge, and how it is essential, before there can be any action, before there can be right thinking, that one should know oneself; not only the superficial, conscious mind, but also the hidden, the unconscious. And those of you who have tried and experimented with what we have been discussing, must have come upon a very curious thing in experimenting: that through self-knowledge one accentuates self-consciousness. That is, one becomes more concerned about oneself. Most of us are caught in that, and one doesn't seem able to go beyond. And I would like to discuss this evening why it is that most of us contain ourselves, limit ourselves in self-consciousness, and are not capable of going beyond. Because, there is a great deal in it which needs further explanation and discussion; but, before I go into that, I would like to point out one or two things.
First of all, please don't bother to take photographs. You know, all this, what one is talking about, is very serious, at least for me. This is not meant for autograph-hunters. You wouldn't be thinking of taking pictures and asking for autographs if you were really very, very serious. Also, if I may say so, it is so infantile, immature. And the other thing I would like to point out is that, as I have already said before, you and I are trying to experiment together here, to feel our way into the problems that confront us. And that is impossible if you are anxiously interested in taking notes of what I am saying. You should be able to deal directly with the problem, not think it over afterwards; because, when you are really experiencing something, you don't take notes. You take notes when you are not experiencing, when you are not really thinking, feeling, experimenting. But if you are really experiencing, going along with what is being said, then there is no time or occasion to take notes. Surely, experiencing does not come through words. That is only furthering sensation; but there is an experiencing, if we can go more and more deeply and immediately into what is being said. So, it would be good, if each one of us were serious enough to experiment with what is being said, and not merely postpone or be distracted from the central issue.
As I was saying, in the search of self- knowledge, in the exploration of it, one gets caught in self-consciousness, one accentuates, emphasizes the me more and more; and how is it that that happens? As we have said during all these talks, what is important is the freedom from the me, the mine, the self; because, obviously, a man who does not know the whole process and content of the self, is incapable of right thinking - which is axiomatic. But yet we shun, we avoid the understanding of the self; and we think that by avoiding it, we shall be able to deal with the self or forget it more easily. Whereas, if we are capable of looking at it more intensely, more attentively, there is the danger of becoming more and more self-conscious. And is it possible to go beyond?
Now, to understand that, we have to go into the problem of sincerity. Simplicity is not sincerity. One who is sincere can never be simple; because the one who is trying to be sincere, has always the desire to fashion or to approximate himself to an idea. And one needs extraordinary simplicity to understand oneself, the simplicity which comes when there is no desire to attain, to achieve, to gain something; and the moment we desire to gain something through self-knowledge, there is self-consciousness in which we get caught - which is a fact. If you do not merely examine what the various psychologists and saints have said, but experiment with yourself, you will come to a point when you will see that unless there is, not sincerity, but complete simplicity, you cannot proceed. Self-consciousness arises only when there is a desire to achieve something - happiness, reality, or even understanding - through self-knowledge. That is, when there is a desire for achievement through self-knowledge, there is self-consciousness, which prevents going further into the problem. And as most of us, especially so-called religious people, try to be sincere, we have to understand this question, this word `sincerity'. Because sincerity develops will, and will is essentially desire. You have to be sincere in order to approximate yourself to an idea; and hence the pattern and the carrying out of that pattern become most important. To carry out a pattern, you must have will, which denies simplicity. Simplicity comes into being only when there is freedom from the desire to achieve, and when you are willing to go into self-knowledge without any end in view. And I think that that is really important to think over. What is required is not sincerity, not the exertion of will to be or not to be something, but to understand oneself from moment to moment, spontaneously, as things arise. How can you be spontaneous when you are approximating yourself to something?
When do you discover anything in yourself? Only at unexpected moments, when you are not consciously, deliberately, shaping your mind, your thoughts and feelings; only when there is a spontaneous response to the incidents of life. Then, according to those responses; you find out. But a man who is trying to be sincere to an idea can never be simple; and therefore, there can never be full, complete self-knowledge. And self-knowledge can be discovered more fully, more deeply and widely, only when there is passive awareness, which is not an exertion of will. Will and sincerity go together; simplicity and passive awareness are companions. Because, when one is passively aware, deeply, then there is a possibility of immediate understanding. As we discussed, when you want to understand something, if you are all the time consumed with the desire to understand it, making an effort to understand it, naturally there is no understanding. But if there is a passive, alert awareness, then there is a possibility of understanding. Similarly, to understand oneself ever more deeply and widely, there must be passive awareness, which is extremely difficult; for, most of us either condemn or justify. We never look at anything passively. We project ourselves upon the subject - a painting, a poem, or anything else - , especially where we are concerned. We are incapable of looking at ourselves without any condemnation or justification; and that is essential, surely, if we are to understand more and more widely and deeply. As most of us, in the search of self-knowledge, get caught in self-consciousness, the danger is, that, be- ing caught we make that in which we are caught the most important thing. To go beyond self-consciousness, there must be freedom from the desire to achieve a result. Because, after all, the attainment of a result is what the mind wants: it wants to be secure, to be safe, and therefore projects, out of its own momentum, an image, an idea, in which it takes shelter. And to avoid all the illusions that the mind creates, to avoid being caught in them, is possible only when there is no desire for a result; only when one is living from moment to moment.
Question: Would you please explain what you mean by dying daily?
Krishnamurti: Why is it that we are so frightened of death? Because death is the unknown. We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow; actually, we don't know what is going to happen. Though we build for tomorrow, actually, realistically, we don't know; and so there is always the fear of tomorrow. So, fear is the guiding factor, which is the incapacity to meet the unknown, and therefore we continue taking today over into tomorrow. That is what we are doing, is it not? We give continuity to our idiosyncrasies, to our jealousies, to our stupidities, to our memories; wherever we are, we carry them over from day to day. Don't we do that? And so there is no dying, there is only an assurance of continuity. That is a fact. Our names, our actions, the things that we do, our property, the desire to be - all these give a continuity. Now, that which continues obviously cannot renew. There can be renewal only when there is an ending. If you are the same tomorrow as you are today, how can there be renewal? That is, if you are attached to an idea, to an experience, which you have had yesterday and which you desire to continue tomorrow, there is no renewal; there is a continuity of the memory of the sensation of that experience, but the experience itself is dead. There is only the memory of the sensation of that experience; and it is that sensation you want to continue. And where there is continuity, obviously there is no renewal. And yet it is what most of us want: we want to continue. We want to continue with our worries, with our pleasures with our memories; and so most of us are actually uncreative. There is no possibility of a rebirth, a renewal. Whereas, if each day we died, finished at the end of the day all our worries, all our jealousies, all our idiocies and vanities, our cruel gossip - you know, the whole business; if each day we came to an end and did not carry all that over into tomorrow, then there would be a possibility of renewal, would there not?
So, why do we accumulate? And what is it that we accumulate, apart from furniture and a few other things? What is it that we accumulate? Ideas, words, and memories, do we not? And with these we live - we are those things. With those things we want to live, we want to continue. But if we did not continue, there would be a possibility of a new understanding, a new opening. This is not metaphysical, this is not something fantastic. Experiment with it yourself and you will see that an extraordinary thing takes place. How the mind worries over a problem, over and over and over again, day after day! Such a mind is incapable, obviously, of seeing something new, is it not? We are caught in our beliefs - religious, sociological, or any other form of belief; and those beliefs are oneself. Beliefs are words, and the word becomes important; and so we live in a sensation which we want to continue, and therefore there is no renewal. But if one does not continue, if one does not give continuity to a worry, but thinks it out, goes into it fully, and dissolves it, then one's mind is fresh to meet something else anew. But the difficulty is that most of us want to live in the past, in past memories, or in the future, future hopes, future longings; which indicates that the present is not significant, and therefore we live yesterday and tomorrow, and give continuity to both. If one actually experiments with this thing, really dying each day, each minute, to everything that one has accumulated, then there is a possibility of immortality. Immortality is not continuity, which is merely time; there is continuity only to memory, to ideas, to words. But, when there is freedom from continuity, then there is a state of timelessness, which cannot be understood if you are merely the result of continuity. Therefore, it is important to die every minute and to be reborn again - not as you were yesterday. This is really very important, if you would go into it seriously. Because, in this there is a possibility of creation, of transformation. And most of our lives are so unhappy, because we don't know how to renew; we are worn out, we are destroyed by yesterday, by yesterday's memories, misfortunes, unhappiness, incidents, failures. Yesterday burdens our minds and hearts; and with that burden we want to understand something which cannot be understood within the limits of time. And that is why it is essential, if one would be creative, in the deep sense of that word, that there be death to all the accumulations of every minute. This is not fantastic, this is not some mystical experience. One can experience this directly, simply, when one understands the whole significance of how time as continuity prevents creativeness.
Question: How does a truth, as you have said, when repeated, become a lie? What really is a lie? Why is it wrong to lie? Is this not a profound and subtle problem on all the levels of our existence?
Krishnamurti: There are two questions in this, so let us examine the first, which is: When a truth is repeated, how does it become a lie? What is it that we repeat? Can you repeat an understanding? I understand something. Can I repeat that? I can verbalize it, I can communicate it; but the experience is not what is repeated, surely. But we get caught in the word, and miss the significance of the experience. If you had an experience, can you repeat it? You may want to repeat it, you may have the desire for its repetition, for its sensation; but once you have an experience, it is over, it cannot be repeated. What can be repeated is the sensation, and the corresponding word that gives life to that sensation. And as, unfortunately, most of us are propagandists, we are caught in the repetition of the word. So, we live on words, and the truth is denied.
Take, for example, the feeling of love. Can you repeat it? When you hear, `Love your neighbor', is that a truth to you? It is truth, only when you love your neighbour; and that love cannot be repeated, but only the word. Yet most of us are happy, content, with the repetition, `Love your neighbor', or, `Don't be greedy', So, the truth of another, or an actual experience which you have had, merely through repetition does not become a reality. On the contrary, repetition prevents reality. Merely repeating certain ideas is not reality.
Now, the difficulty in this is to understand the question without thinking in terms of the opposite. A lie is not something opposed to truth. One can see the truth of what is being said, not in opposition, or in contrast, as a lie or a truth; but just see that most of us repeat without understanding. For instance, we have been discussing `not naming'. Many of you will repeat it, I am sure of it, thinking that it is the `truth'. You will never repeat an experience if it is a direct experience. You may communicate it; but when it is a real experience, the sensations behind it are gone, the emotional content behind the words is entirely dissipated.
Take, for example, the question, which we discussed a few weeks ago, that the thinker and the thought are one. It may be a truth to you, because you have directly experienced it. But if I repeated it, it would not be true, would it? - true, not as opposed to the false, please. It wouldn't be actual, it would be merely repetitive, and therefore would have no significance. But you see, by repetition, we create a dogma, we build a church, and in that we take refuge. The word, and not truth, becomes the `truth'. The word is not the thing. But to us, the thing is the word; and that is why one has to be so extremely careful not to repeat something which one does not really understand. If you understand something, you can communicate it; but the words and the memory have lost their emotional significance. Thereby, in ordinary conversation, one's outlook, one's vocabulary, changes.
So, as we are seeking truth through self-knowledge, and are not mere propagandists, it is important to understand this. Because, through repetition one mesmerizes oneself by words, or by sensations. One gets caught in illusions. And, to be free of that, it is imperative to experience directly; and to experience directly, one must be aware of oneself in the process of repetition, of habits, of words, of sensations. That awareness gives one an extraordinary freedom, so that there can be a renewal, a constant experiencing, a newness.
The other question is: "What really is a lie? Why is it wrong to lie? Is this not a profound and subtle problem on all the levels of our existence?" What is a lie? A contradiction, isn't it?, a self-contradiction. One can consciously contradict, or unconsciously; it can either be deliberate, or unconscious; the contradiction can be either very, very subtle, or obvious. And when the cleavage in contradiction is very great, then either one becomes unbalanced, or one realizes the cleavage, and sets about to mend it. Now, to understand this problem, what is a lie and why we lie, one has to go into it without thinking in terms of an opposite. Can we look at this problem of contradiction in ourselves without trying not to be contradictory? I don't know if I am making myself clear. Our difficulty in examining this question is, isn't it?, that we so readily condemn a lie; but, to understand it, can we think of it, not in terms of truth and falsehood, but of what is contradiction? Why do we contradict? Why is there contradiction in ourselves? Is there not an attempt to live up to a standard, up to a pattern - a constant approximation of ourselves to a pattern, a constant effort to be something, either in the eyes of another, or in our own eyes? There is a desire, is there not?, to conform to a pattern; and when one is not living up to that pattern, there is a contradiction.
Now, why do we have a pattern, a standard, an approximation, an idea which we are trying to live up to? Why? Obviously, to be secure, to be safe, to be popular, to have a good opinion of ourselves, and so on, and so on. There is the seed of contradiction. As long as we are approximating ourselves to something, trying to be something, there must be contradiction; therefore, there must be this cleavage between the false and the true. I think this is important, if you will quietly go into it. Not that there is not the false and the true; but why the contradiction in ourselves? Is it not because we are attempting to be something - to be noble, to be good, to be virtuous, to be creative, to be happy, and so on, and so on? And, in the very desire to be something, there is a contradiction, not to be something else. And it is this contradiction that is so destructive. If one is capable of complete identification with something, with this or with that, then contradiction ceases; but when we do identify ourselves completely with something, there is self-enclosure, there is a resistance, which brings about unbalance - which is an obvious thing.
So, why is there contradiction in ourselves? I have done something, and I don't want it to be discovered; I have thought something which doesn't come up to the mark, which puts me in a state of contradiction, and I don't like it. So, where there is an approximation, there must be fear; and it is this fear that contradicts. Whereas, if there is no becoming, no attempting to be something, then there is no sense of fear; then there is no contradiction; then there is no lie in us at any level, consciously or unconsciously - something to be suppressed, something to be shown. And as most of our lives are a matter of moods and poses, depending on our moods, we pose - which is a contradiction. When the mood disappears, we are what we are. It is this contradiction that is really important, not whether you tell a polite white lie or not. As long as this contradiction exists, there must be a superficial existence and therefore superficial fears which have to be guarded - and then white lies, you know, all the rest of it follows. We can look at this question, not asking what is a lie and what is truth, but without taking the opposites, go into the problem of contradiction in ourselves - which is extremely difficult. Because, as we depend so much on our sensations, most of our lives are contradictory. We depend on memories, on opinions; we have so many fears which we want to cover up - all these create contradiction in ourselves; and when that contradiction becomes unbearable, one goes off one's head. One wants peace, and everything that one does, creates war, not only in the family, but outside. And, instead of understanding what creates conflict, we only try to become more and more one thing or the other, the opposite, thereby creating greater cleavage.
So, is it possible to understand why there is contradiction in ourselves - not only superficially, but much more deeply, psychologically? First of all, is one aware that one lives a contradictory life? We want peace, and we are nationalists; we want to avoid social misery, and yet each one of us is so individualistic, limited, self-enclosed. So we are constantly living in contradiction. Why? Is it not because we are slaves to sensation? This is neither to be denied or accepted. It requires a great deal of understanding of the implications of sensation, which are desires. We want so many things, all in contradiction with one another. We are so many conflicting masks; we take on a mask when it suits us, and deny it when something else is more profitable, more pleasurable. It is this state of contradiction that creates the lie. And, in opposition to that, we create `truth'. But, surely, truth is not the opposite of lie. That which has an opposite, is not truth. The opposite contains its own opposite, therefore it is not truth; and to understand this problem very profoundly, one must be aware of all the contradictions in which we live. When I say, `I love you', with it goes jealousy, envy, anxiety, fear - which is a contradiction. And it is this contradiction that must be understood; and one can understand it only when one is aware of it, aware without any condemnation or justification - merely looking at it. And to look at it passively, one has to understand all the processes of justification and condemnation. So, it is not an easy problem to look passively at something; but in understanding that, one begins to understand the whole process of the ways of one's feeling and thinking. And, when one is aware of the full significance of contradiction in oneself, it does bring an extraordinary change: you are yourself then, not something which you are trying to be. You are no longer following an ideal, seeking happiness. You are what you are, and from there you can proceed. Then there is no possibility of contradiction.
Question: I feel sincerely that I desire to help people, and I think I can help; but whatever I say or do to another is interpreted as interference, and as the desire to domineer. So I am thwarted by others and feel myself frustrated. Why does this happen to me?
Krishnamurti: When we say we want to help another, what do we mean by that word? Like the word `service', what does it mean? You go to the gas station, the attendant serves you, and you pay him; but he uses the word `serve', like all the business people. All the commercial people use that word. Now those who wish to serve, have they not also the same spirit? They want to help if you also give them something; that is, they want to help you in order to fulfil themselves. And when you resist, you begin to criticize, they feel frustrated. In other words, they are not really helping you. Through help, through service, they are fulfilling themselves. In other words, they are seeking self-fulfilment under the guise of help and service - which, when thwarted, gets angry, begins to gossip, begins to tear you to pieces. This is an obvious fact, is it not? And can you not help and serve another without asking anything? - which is most difficult, which is not easy, you cannot just say, `It can be done'. When you give something to somebody, a few hundred dollars, haven't you something with which you are tied, don't you tie yourself with that hundred dollars, hasn't it a tail? Can you give, and forget? This giving from the heart is real generosity. But the generosity of the hand has always something to be held; and it holds. Similarly, those who want to help, when they are prevented for various reasons, feel frustrated, feel lost; they won't stand criticism; it is misrepresented, mistranslated, misinterpreted; because through their anxiety to help you, they are fulfilling themselves.
So, the problem is, is it not?, is there self-fulfilment? That is the next question. Is there self-fulfilment? Is not that word `self-fulfillment' a contradiction? When you want to fulfil yourself in something, what is that something in which you are fulfilling? Is it not self-projection? Say, I want to help you. I use the word `help', which covers my desire for self-fulfilment. What happens when I have such a desire? I neither help you, nor fulfil. Because, to fulfil means, for most of us, to have pleasure in doing something which gives us gratification. In other words, self-fulfilment is gratification, is it not? I am seeking gratification, superficial or permanent, which I call self-fulfilment But can gratification be permanent? Obviously not. Surely when we talk about self-fulfilment we mean a gratification that is deeper, more profound, than the superficial; but can gratification ever be permanent? As it can never be permanent, we change our self-fulfillment - at one period it is this, and later it is that; and ultimately we say, `My fulfillment must be in God, in reality'. Which means, we make of reality a permanent gratification. So, in other words, we are seeking gratification when we talk of self-fulfilment. And, instead of saying, `I want to help you in order to gratify myself', which would be too crude and we are too subtle for that, we say, `I want to serve you, I want to help you'. And when we are prevented, we feel lost, we feel frustrated, angry, irritated. Under the guise of help and service we do a lot of monstrous things - deceptions, illusions. Therefore, words like `self-fulfillment', like `help', like `service', need examination. And when we really understand them, not just verbally, but deeply, profoundly, then we will help without asking anything in return. Such help will never be misrepresented - and even if it is, it doesn't matter. Then there is no sense of frustration, no sense of anger, criticism, gossip.
Question: What is aloneness? Is it a mystical state? Does it imply freeing oneself from relationship? Is aloneness a way to understanding, or is it an escape from outward conflicts and inward pressures?
Krishnamurti: Are not most of us trying to isolate ourselves in relationship? We try to possess people, we try to dominate people - which is a form of isolation, is it not? Our beliefs, our ideas, are a form of isolation. When we withdraw, when we renounce, it is a form of isolation, is it not? The inward pressures and outward conflicts force us to protect ourselves, to enclose ourselves. That is a form of isolation, is it not? And through isolation, can there be any understanding? Do I understand you if I resist you, if I enclose myself within my ideas, my prejudices, my criticism of you, and so on, and so on? I can understand you only when I am not isolated, when there is no barrier between us, neither a verbal barrier, nor the barrier of psychological states, of moods and idiosyncrasies. But to understand, I must be alone, must I not? Alone in the sense of unenclosed, uninfluenced. Most of us are put together; we are made up of memories, of idiosyncrasies, of prejudices, of innumerable influences. And through all that we try to understand something. How can there be understanding when we are produced, brought together, made up? And when there is a freedom from that, there is an aloneness which is not an escape. On the contrary, it is the understanding of all these things that brings about an aloneness, with which you meet life directly. If we are a mass of opinions, beliefs, if we are merely put together, we think that we are an integrated being, or we try to seek integration with all these burdens. Surely, there can be integration, not merely at the superficial level, but completely, right through, only when there is a freedom, through understanding, from all the influences that are constantly impinging upon one - beliefs, memories, idiosyncrasies, and so on; one cannot merely throw them aside. Then, as one begins to understand these, there is an aloneness which is not contradiction, which is not an opposite of the collective or the individual. When you would understand something, aren't you alone? Aren't you completely integrated at that moment? Is not your attention completely given? And through withdrawal, can there be any understanding? Through resistance, can there be any understanding? When you renounce something, does that bring understanding? Surely, understanding comes, not through resistance, not through withdrawal, not through renunciation. Only when you understand the full significance of a problem, then the problem disappears. You don't have to renounce it. You don't have to renounce wealth, certain obvious greeds. But when you are capable of looking at them directly, without any criticism, being passively aware of them, they drop away from you. And in that state of passive awareness, is there not complete attention? - not as an opposite, or exclusive concentration. It is an awareness in which there is no contradiction; and therefore loneliness disappears. Most of us are lonely, most of us are solitary - there is no depth, we come to an end very quickly. And it is this loneliness that creates the withdrawals, the escapes, the covering up; and if we would understand that loneliness, we must discard all these coverings, and be with it. It is that being that is alone. Then you are uninfluenced, then you are not caught in moods; and it is essential to be alone - which most of us dread. We hardly ever go out by ourselves; we always have the radio, magazines, newspapers, books; or, if we haven't those, we are occupied with our own thoughts. The mind is never quiet. It is this quietness that is alone. That aloneness is not induced, is not made up. When there is a lot of noise and you are silent, you are alone, are you not? You must be alone. If you are a success, then there is something obviously wrong. Most of us seek success, and that is why we are never alone; we are lonely, but we are never alone.
Only when there is aloneness, then you can meet that which is true, which has no comparison. And, as most of us are afraid to be alone, we build various refuges, various safeties, and give them big-sounding names; and they offer marvellous escapes. But they are all illusions, they have no significance. It is only when we see that they have no significance - actually, not verbally - only then are we alone. Then alone can we really understand; which means that we have to strip ourselves of all past experiences, of memories; of sensations, which we have built so sedulously and guard so carefully. Surely, only an unconditioned mind can understand that which is unconditioned, reality; and to uncondition the mind, one must not only face loneliness, but go beyond; one must not hold on to memories that are crowding in. For memories are mere words, words that have sensations. It is only when the mind is utterly quiet, uninfluenced, that it can realize that which is.
August 27, 1949
Ojai 13th Public Talk 27th August 1949
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