London 1st Public Talk 7th April 1952
It seems to me that having so many problems, each so complex, few of us find a happy solution for them. Intellectually we have many theories, many ways of solving our human complex problems. Politically, the left offers a certain type, either through compulsion, conformity, or by accepting a certain set of ideas; and religions throughout the world offer a hope, either in the future, or through living according to a certain pattern laid down by teachers. And yet, most of us find that our problems are growing more and more complex, our relationship to society more and more intricate, and our individual relationships with one another extremely difficult, conflicting and painful. Few of us are really inwardly content and happy. We do not seem to find a way out, - and when we do, it is an escape, which brings about further complications, further problems, greater intricacies and illusions.
Thought has not solved our problem, and I don't think it ever will. We have relied on the intellect to show us the way out of our complexity. The more cunning, the more hideous, the more subtle the intellect is, the greater the variety of systems, of theories, of ideas. And ideas do not solve any of our human problems; they never have and they never will. The mind is not the solution; the way of thought is obviously not the way out of our difficulty. And it seems to me that we should first understand this process of thinking, and perhaps be able to go beyond, - for when thought ceases perhaps we shall be able to find a way which will help us to solve our problems, not only the individual but also the collective.
And may I suggest here that in listening, we should not reject anything that we may hear for the first time; for most of us have so many ideas, so many prejudices, so many biases, through which we cannot listen, which hamper our understanding of anything that is put forward, anything that may be new. So may I suggest that we should listen, not in order to condemn or justify, or oppose what is said by our own ideas, but listen so that both of us can understand this problem of living. You and I are talking as two individuals, and if we can think individually, - that is, think over our problems as two friends, going deeply into them, - then perhaps we shall come upon that intelligence which is neither collective nor individual. It is that intelligence alone that can solve our intricate, everincreasing problems. To listen properly is not to oppose one idea by another idea. Probably you know already what you think, the way of your thought; you are familiar with your own reactions. And I presume that you have come here to find out what I have to say. To find out what I have to say you have to listen, surely, with a mind that is free from prejudices, that is watching to find out what the other fellow is saying, - which means, with a mind that is willing to examine the problem, a mind that is capable of discovering freely, and not merely a mind that is comparative, that judges, weighs, balances. So, if I may suggest it, as you would listen to a friend to whom you go with a problem, let us with that same attitude, with that same feeling of two individuals trying together, to solve this complex problem of living.
As I said, thinking has not solved our problems. The clever ones, the philosophers, the scholars, the political leaders, have not really solved any of our human problems, - which are, the relationship between you and another, between you and myself. So far we have used the mind, the intellect, to help us investigate the problem, and thereby are hoping to find a solution. Can thought ever dissolve our problems? Is not thought, unless it is in the laboratory or on the drawing board, always self- protecting, self-perpetuating, conditioned? Is not its activity self-centred? And can such thought ever resolve any of the problems which thought itself has created? Can the mind, which has created the problems, resolve those things that it has itself brought forth?
Before we can say yes or no, surely we must find out what this process of thinking is, this thing which we worship, this intellect to which we look up. What is this thought which has created our problems and which then tries to resolve them? Surely, until we understand that, we cannot find another way of living, another way of existence. Seeing that thought has not freed man, you and I, from our own conflicts, surely we must understand the whole process of thinking, and perhaps thereby let it come to an end. We may find out, then, if we have love, - which is not the way of thought.
What is thinking? When we say "I think", what do we mean by that? When are we conscious of this process of thinking? Surely, we are aware of it when there is a problem, when we are challenged, when we are asked a question, when there is friction. We are aware of it as a self-conscious process. Please do not listen to me as a lecturer holding forth; but you and I are examining our own ways of thought, which we use as an instrument in our daily life. So I hope you are observing your own thinking, not merely listening to me, - that is no good. We shall arrive nowhere if you are only listening to me and not observing your own process of thinking, if you are not aware of your own thought and observing the way it arises, how it comes into being. That is what we are trying to do, you and I, - to see what this process of thinking is.
Surely, thinking is a reaction. If I ask you a question, to that you respond, - you respond according to your memory, to your prejudices, to your upbringing, to the climate, to the whole background of your conditioning; and according to that you reply, according to that you think. If you are a Christian, a communist, a Hindu, or what you will, that background responds; and it is this conditioning that obviously creates the problem. The centre of this background is the me in the process of action. So long as that background is not understood, so long as that thought process, that self which creates the problem, is not understood and put an end to, we are bound to have conflict, within and without, in thought, in emotion, in action. No solution of any kind, however clever, however well thought out, can ever put an end to the conflict between man and man, between you and me. And realizing this, being aware of how thought springs up and from what source, then we ask, can thought ever come to an end?
That is one of the problems, is it not? Can thought resolve our problems? By thinking over the problem, have you resolved it? Any kind of problem, - economic, social, religious, - has it ever been really solved by thinking? In your daily life, the more you think about a problem, the more complex, the more irresolute, the more uncertain it becomes. Is not that so? - in our actual, daily life? You may, in thinking out certain facets of the problem, see more clearly another person's point of view, but thought cannot see the completeness and fullness of the problem, it can only see partially, and a partial answer is not a complete answer, therefore it is not a solution.
The more we think over a problem, the more we investigate, analyse and discuss it, the more complex it becomes. So is it possible to look at the problem comprehensively, wholly? And, how is this possible? Because, that, it seems to me, is our major difficulty. For our problems are being multiplied, - there is imminent danger of war, there is every kind of disturbance in our relation- ships, - and how can we understand all that comprehensively, as a whole? Obviously it can be solved only when we can look at it as a whole, - not in compartments, not divided. And when is that possible? Surely, it is only possible when the process of thinking - which has its source in the me, the self, in the background of tradition, of conditioning, of prejudice, of hope, of despair - has come to an end. So can we understand this self, not by analysing, but by seeing the thing as it is, being aware of it as a fact and not as a theory? - not seeking to dissolve the self in order to achieve a result, but seeing the activity of the self, the me, constantly in action. Can we look at it, without any movement to destroy or to encourage? That is the problem, is it not? If, in each one of us, the centre of the me is non-existent, with its desire for power, position, authority, continuance, self-preservation, surely our problems will come to an end!
The self is a problem that thought cannot resolve. There must be an awareness which is not of thought. To be aware, without condemnation or justification, of the activities of the self, - just to be aware, is sufficient. Because if you are aware in order to find out how to resolve the problem, in order to transform it, in order to produce a result, then it is still within the field of the self, of the me. So long as we are seeking a result, whether through analysis, through awareness, through constant examination of every thought, we are still within the field of thought, which is, within the field of the me, of the I, of the ego, or what you will.
As long as the activity of the mind exists, surely there can be no love. When there is love, we shall have no social problems. But love is not something to be acquired. The mind can seek to acquire it, like a new thought, a new gadget, a new way of thinking; but the mind cannot be in a state of love as long as thought is acquiring love. So long as the mind is seeking to be in a state of non-greed, surely it is still greedy, is it not? Similarly, so long as the mind wishes, desires, and practises in order to be in a state in which there is love, surely it denies that state, does it not?
So, seeing this problem, this complex problem of living, and being aware of the process of our own thinking and realizing that it actually leads nowhere, - when we deeply realize that, then surely there is a state of intelligence which is not individual or collective. So, the problem of the relationship of the individual to society, of the individual to the community, of the individual to reality, ceases; because then there is only intelligence, which is neither personal nor impersonal. It is this intelligence alone, I feel, that can solve our immense problems. And that cannot be a result; it comes into being only when we understand this whole total process of thinking, not only at the conscious level, but also at the deeper, hidden levels of consciousness.
Perhaps, as we are going to meet during the whole of this month, we shall be able to talk over this problem more fully, exchange ideas, discuss them. But what I feel is that to understand any of these problems we have to have a very quiet mind, a very still mind, so that the mind can look at the problem without interposing ideas, theories, without any distraction. And that is one of our difficulties, - because thought has become a distraction. When I want to understand, look at something, I don't have to think about it, - I look at it. The moment I begin to think, to have ideas, opinions about it, I am already in a state of distraction, looking away from the thing which I must understand. So thought, when you have a problem, becomes a distraction, - thought being an idea, opinion, judgment, comparison, - which prevents us from looking, and thereby understanding and resolving the problem. But unfortunately, for most of us thought has become so important. You say, "How can I exist, be, without thinking? How can I have a blank mind?" To have a blank mind is to be in a state of stupor, idiocy, or what you will, and your instinctive reaction is to reject it. But surely, a mind that is very quiet, a mind that is not distracted by its own thought, a mind that is open, can look at the problem very directly and very simply. And it is this capacity to look without any distraction at our problems that is the only solution. For that, there must be a quiet, tranquil mind.
Such a mind is not a result, is not an end product of a practice, of meditation, of control. It comes into being through no form of discipline or compulsion or sublimation, without any effort of the me, of thought; it comes into being when I understand the whole process of thinking - when I can see a fact without any distraction. In that state of tranquillity of a mind that is really still, there is love. And it is love alone that can solve all our human problems.
I have several questions here, and I will try to answer them. May I suggest that in listening to the answers, you do not merely listen to me, - that you are not caught by my words, but that actually we go through the problem together and try to resolve it together. That is, do not, if I may suggest, follow verbally the description of the problem, or intellectually try to resolve it. Any of these questions is a problem for most of us, and it will be beneficial, I think, if you can follow them as they are happening in yourselves. If you can listen to each problem, not as of another, but as of yourself, then we can deal with it directly and tackle it immediately.
Question: I have been to several psychoanalysts to free myself from the fear which dominates me. I have not been able to get rid of it. Would you kindly suggest how I am to set about freeing myself from this constant oppression?
Krishnamurti: Surely most of us have fears, conscious or unconscious, of various kinds! We are not discussing the kind of fear, but fear as a whole. When I can understand fear as a whole, then after having understood it I can deal with the particular.
So, let us find out how to resolve this fear, - not theoretically, not as something to be thought over the day after tomorrow, when you have leisure, but actually do it now as we go along. Let us see if we can experiment with this.
How do we look at fear? When we are aware of it, how do we regard it? What is our attitude, our state of mind, when we are aware that there is fear? Please, follow this step by step, and if it is not fear, substitute for it your own particular nightmare, your own particular burden. And let us go into it step by step, completely, if we can, and see if we cannot resolve it. What is the state of the mind when it discovers that there is fear? What happens to the mind? What do you do? You have opinions about it, have you not? You have ideas about it, have you not? You look at it from a distance, do you not? You do not look at it directly, you are not in immediate contact with it. You are far away from it, and regard it as something to be avoided, something to be got rid of, something about which you can have theories. You look at it, either with condemnation, or with a desire to run away from it, so that you are never directly in contact with it, you never look at it immediately, directly, simply. You have all these barriers of distraction.
So, we are going to look directly. And to do that, you must approach it, you must come nearer to it. And you cannot come nearer to it if you have opinions about it, or about the cause of it. You cannot see it directly if your mind is occupied with analysis, the why and the wherefore going backwards indefinitely. The discovery of the cause of fear will not dissolve fear. It can be dissolved only when you can directly look at it, when you can have direct relationship with it. Merely analysing, groping in the past to discover its cause, will not dissolve it, because your mind is distracted, because you are not facing the fact of fear.
So, having an opinion about it, or analysing it, will not bring you close to it, direct to it. So, that must go away. And it will disappear, this opinion with regard to it, when you feel the urgent necessity of looking at that fear. Then what happens? You have come a little nearer to it, have you not? - to the thing that you call fear. Then what happens? What is the reaction then? You still have ideas about it, have you not? - the idea that you must get rid of it, the idea that you cannot bear to look at it, the idea that even if you do look you will not know how to resolve it. So, the idea about fear creates fear, does it not? That is, I am afraid, there is fear in me; I am trying to understand what that fear is, - that is, to look at it. I cannot look at it if I have ideas about it, - the idea being the word, the image. As long as I have an idea about fear, surely idea creates fear. If I recognize, if I am aware of that, what is my relationship to the thing that I have called fear? I hope you are following this. How do I look at the thing that I call fear, now? I've come closer; the barrier of opinion, judgment, analysis, has gone; I am no longer in a position where idea dominates. So, what is my relationship to the thing that I call fear? Is that thing called fear separate from me, the observer, the onlooker? Surely it is not. The observer is fear. The observer is not watching fear; the observer himself is the fear. So, that is a fact.
Now, let us go a little closer, still further. Is that thing which I call fear the result of a word? Is it the product of a word, - the word being thought? If it is, then the word is very important, isn't it? And for most of us the word is very important. Verbalizing is the process of thinking. So for us the word "fear" is fear. The word is fear, not the thing which we call fear. So, when I can look at myself in a state which I have called fear, - which is merely the word, - surely then the word disappears; and I realize that as long as the mind is active, verbalizing, in any direction, - which is, to have symbols, - there must be fear.
So, I am not different from fear; the thinker is the thought. And for thought to come to an end the thinker cannot discipline thought, - because it is himself. All that he can do is to be in a state without any movement, in any direction. Only then, surely, fear ceases.
Question: We all recognize that inward peace and tranquillity of the mind are essential. What is the method or the "how" which you suggest?
Krishnamurti: Now again, let us try to see the truth of this "how", of this method. You say, tranquillity of the mind and a peaceful heart are essential. Is that so? Or, is that merely a theory, merely a desire? Because we are so disturbed, distracted, we want that quietness, that tranquillity, - which then is merely an escape. It is not a necessity; it is an escape. When we see the necessity of it, when we are convinced it is the only thing that matters, the only thing that is essential, - then, do we ask the method for it? Is a method necessary when you see something is essential?
Method involves time, does it not? If not now, then eventually, - tomorrow, in a couple of years, - I shall be tranquil. Which means, you do not see the necessity of being tranquil. And so, the "how" becomes a distraction; the method becomes a way of postponing the essentiality of tranquillity. And that is why you have all these meditations, these phoney, false controls to get eventual tranquillity of the mind, and the various methods of how to discipline in order to acquire that tranquillity. Which means you do not see the necessity, the immediate necessity, of having a still mind. When you see the necessity of it, then there is no inquiry into the method at all. Then you see the importance of having a quiet mind, and you have a quiet mind.
Unfortunately, we do not see the necessity of having a still mind, a tranquil mind. We are too fond of our distractions; and we want to be weaned away from our distractions through the process of time. And therefore we ask the method, the "how", the practice. I think that is a very false approach. A tranquil mind is not a result; it is not the end of a practice. A tranquil mind is not a static mind; and that which is a result is static. When you have a quiet mind as a result, through discipline, it is no longer a still mind. It is a state which is a product; and that which has been put together can be dismembered again.
So, what is important in this question is not the method, - because there are innumerable methods to produce a result; and a man who is seeking a result has no tranquil mind. But what is important in this is to see directly, simply, that only a tranquil mind can understand; that a still mind is essential, not in some future, but immediately. When you see such a necessity, then the mind is still.
Such a still mind will know what it is to be creative. Because in that state which is not a result, which is not the product of years of practice, in that still mind, you will find that all movement of thought is non-existent. Thought does not create; thought can never create. It can project its own desires, its own sensations, its own imagery, symbols, but that which it has projected is not true, it is of itself. Let thought be of Christ, of a Master, or what you will, - it is its own projection. And the worship of that projection is self-worship. Such a mind is not a tranquil mind. But you will see, if it is truly tranquil, quiet, that there is no movement in it. Therefore all experiencing, as we know it, has ceased. Because that which we experience is recognizable; and as long as there is the centre of recognition, the mind is not tranquil. For reality, or God, is not to be recognized, is not to be experienced by the mind. When experiencing ceases, - which is, when recognizing comes to an end, - then there is that which is not to be experienced, that which is not to be recognized. And only when we see the necessity of such tranquillity, such stillness, - only then it comes into being.
April 7, 1952.
London 1st Public Talk 7th April 1952
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