London 6th Public Talk 24th April 1952
Instead of the usual talk, this evening I will try to answer some of the many questions that have been put.
It seems to me it is very important to understand the deteriorating factors that destroy us, not only inwardly but outwardly. I have tried during these talks to indicate that there are definite factors that cripple the mind, that pervert and destroy the capacity to discover what is true. The discovery of what is true is not for the few, - though only the few are serious. And those who are earnest can obviously find that which cannot be destroyed. But most of us are caught in things that create constant conflict between what we are and what we should be, and we think this endless struggle is necessary, will bring about a revolution, happiness. We consider this conflict between thesis and antithesis is progress, and we hope it will create a synthesis. But when we go very deeply into it we find this conflict exists only when there is no comprehension of the inward, deeper things of life.
In answering these questions I hope you will not merely listen to what is being said, but actually experience. What is important, I feel, is not merely the experience of a projection, but to experience something which is not of the mind. It is very important, I feel, to understand this thing which we call experience. This so-called experience comes to us when there is recognition of it. When we say " I have had an experience", surely we mean something that we have recognized, that we have named, that memory can respond to. But what is recognizable is not true. And it is the truth that is the liberating factor, and not the thing that we recognize. Because, recognition is of the mind, of memory, of time, of desire and fear. And so long as we indulge in these things, which we call experience, the other is not. So I hope this evening, if we can, we shall really experience something, - not sentimentally, something which is the response of memory, of what you have read, that you have accumulated and stored up, which reacts or projects, - all of which we call experience. But perhaps, if we go into this problem very deeply, we shall really experience something which is not nameable, which is not a thing of the mind, of memory.
Surely, so long as we are functioning within the field of memory there is no possibility of freedom. And that is why it is important, I feel, to understand the whole process of thought, and if possible to go beyond the projections of thought. The difficulty is that in listening we are apt to merely follow the words, which evoke certain responses; and through those responses we have further reactions of sentiment, sensation. But surely, sensation, which is of the mind, cannot possibly uncover that which is timeless. So, in answering these questions, perhaps we can both go together beyond the verbal level, and experience directly that which is not merely of the mind.
Question: I feel deeply moved when you talk. Is this just sentimentality?
Krishnamurti: Probably it is. But if you can go beyond the mere suggestions, mere reactions, which the words evoke, then you put aside the speaker, then the speaker is not important at all. But what is important, surely, is to find out for yourself what is true; not some distant truth, unattainable, imaginary, mythical, not something that you have read or heard of, but something which you have discovered directly. And that discovery is not possible if we are merely depending on sensations.
Most of us want to find something which is really indestructible, which is not of time. Everything around us is transitory; all our relationships soon weary and end. Though we are comfortable or not comfortable, have much to do or little, the thoughtful obviously recognize the transiency of everything. And the incessant battle, not only within but outwardly, between groups of people, between nations, further increases war and misery. Knowing all this, we must find out something which is not of the mind, which is not merely knowledge. And perhaps if we can discover that, not through the suggestions of the speaker, but by watching our own daily activities, thoughts, impressions, reactions, then we shall go beyond the mere veil of sentiment; and that is what is important. What the individual is, the society is. What you are, matters infinitely. That is not a mere slogan; but if you go into it really deeply, you will discover how significant your actions are, how what you are affects the world in which you live, which is the world of your relationships, however small, however limited. And if we can fundamentally alter, bring about a radical revolution in ourselves inwardly, then there is a possibility of creating a different world, a different set of values.
But so long as we only treat these talks as a new sensation, something with which to be entertained, - instead of going to the cinema come here, - then obviously it has very little value and very little significance. But those who are really serious, ardent to discover what is true, do not depend on others. They do not follow, they have no authority. And it is their own discovery, from moment to moment, that is essential; for the discovery of that which is true is the only liberating factor.
Question: What is the function of the mind, if thought is to come to an end?
Krishnamurti: What is the present function of the mind? It is used as an instrument of survival, is it not? - to exist, to survive. And in the process of survival we have created various forms of society, various values, moral, ethical, spiritual, and so on. But the whole activity of our present mind is, in some form or other, the continuance of the self, of the me. That is our present activity, cunning, subtle, - at any cost to survive; to survive in this world, and in the hereafter; to identify with a group, or with a nation, or with a country; or to identify with anything larger, with a word, with knowledge, with a projection; ever seeking permanency, always demanding security, physically or psychologically. That is the present state of our mind, - a self-centred activity, except at rare moments; and we are not discussing the rare moments. Those things are all that we know. And, that has not led us very far. We destroy each other, we exploit each other, our relationships are constant conflicts; with that we are all familiar. Though the mind seeks security, it is destroying itself, and destroying others. Physically, we are insecure; there is always the threat of war. So, in its very search to be secure, the mind is inviting destruction.
That is the state of our mind, its present state. And we say: "What is the function of the mind, if there is no thought?" Obviously, we can see what thought, self-centred activity, has produced. And is it not possible to go beyond that self-centred activity? Every form of inducement has been offered, religiously, psychologically,and outwardly; every form of compulsion, threat, we have endured; and yet the self-centred activity has never stopped; it is always the me in subtle form. And surely, to find out what is beyond thought, - which is the result of time, thought has to come to an end.
I do not know if you have ever found that creative state which comes when the mind is not active, agitated, but is very quiet, - naturally, spontaneously, not induced. That state of mind, that state of being, cannot be understood by the thought process. And because we are unhappy, because everything we touch deteriorates, every relationship soon withers away, we want something beyond time. I think it is the function of the mind to discover that, to experience that. But it cannot experience that as long as there is the self-centred activity. And that discovery is not something to be pursued relentlessly. It comes; but you cannot invite it. If you do invite it, then it is your own projection, - it is but another form of self-centred activity.
So, recognizing what the mind is, as it is now, is it possible to go beyond and discover? I say it is. But you cannot discover if it is merely a hobby, something you occasionally turn to. But it becomes a reality when the process of the mind and its activities are understood.
Question: The memory of an incident recurs over and over again. How is one to be free from the memory of that incident, and of the incident itself?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by "memory"? How does memory come into being? Perhaps if we can go a little deeply into the matter, we may be able to answer this question fully. Is not the whole process of memory, the recollection, the recognizing process, - is not that of consciousness? Please, I am not trying to complicate the question. The question itself sounds simple; but if you would really understand it you will find it is very complex. So, we must go into the problem of what we mean by consciousness. Please, have patience; and you will answer the question for yourself.
When are we conscious of anything? Only when there is friction, when there is a blockage, when there is a hindrance. Otherwise, the movement of thought or consciousness is not self-conscious. It is only when we are frustrated, when there is fear, when there is the desire to achieve a result, that there is self consciousness, - that is, the me being conscious of itself in action. I want to fulfil, I want to achieve a result, - and as long as I am progressing towards what I want there is no hindrance; but the moment I am blocked, there is a conflict. And the process of consciousness is one of recognizing, which means naming. That which I recognize I can only recognize when I name, when I give it a symbol, a term. So, the me is a bundle of memories; the me is the product of time; it is always in the process of accumulating, gathering.
And an incident is an experience, is it not? And that experience comes only when we are capable of recognizing it. If I am not capable of recognizing an experience, it is not an experience. So memory, which is the storehouse of words, of experiences, - not only one's own, but the collective, - is always functioning, whether you are conscious or unconscious of it. So, it retains an incident. Having recognized it, verbalized it, it stores it away. Take a simple thing like being hurt by another. You are hurt, someone says something cruel, - or something pleasant. It is retained, and the incident is stored away. If you are hurt the feeling of antagonism, of pain, is retained. And then you begin to forgive the person, - if you are morally inclined. So, you first retain, keep the hurt; and then, being trained morally, you begin to forgive. So, the incident is held. For, if we collected no incidents, if we were not constantly active, either receiving hurts or forgiving, being greedy or not being greedy, - if the mind was not in this constant activity it would feel lost, would it not? For it, this activity is necessary, to know it is alive.
So, as long as you are accumulating and rejecting, you cannot forget the incident, or the memory of it; the memory remains with you. And the problem is, what are you to do with it? - because it keeps on repeating. How is one to be free from it? To really be free from it, not superficially, you have to go into the problem of habit, have you not? Because the mind lives in habit, and the memory of the incident has become a habit. And so the mind keeps constantly going back to it. So you discover how the mind lives in the past, and you discover how habits are created. The mind is the past; there is no present mind, there is no future to the mind, the mind exists because of the past; the mind is the past. And you say: "How am I to be free from the past?" You can only be free when you understand the process of accumulation, - which is essentially based on the desire to protect oneself, to be secure, to be certain. So long as that urge, compulsion, exists, there must be the memory of incidents, and the struggle with those memories. So, this question can only be resolved when we understand the whole process of accumulation, which is the process of time, which is the me, from which all activities take place.
So, to be really free from memory is to meet incidents, experiences, fully, - which is, to be aware of them without condemning, without justifying, without identifying, without naming. By being aware of every movement of thought, whether good or bad, without justifying, - merely observing, without any sense of prejudice, - then you will see that every incident, every experience, indicates its own truth. And what is true is the liberating factor.
Question: How is one to expose the hidden depths of the unconscious?
Krishnamurti: Before we ask how to discover the hidden depths of the unconscious, I wonder if we are aware of the conscious? Are we aware consciously of what we are doing? Are you conscious of what you are saying, what you are thinking? Most of us are not. Not being consciously aware of the superficial level, we ask how to uncover the deeper levels. You cannot, - which is an obvious fact. If I am not aware of what I am actually doing, thinking, at the surface level, how can I go deeper? But if we want to go deeper, to expose the hidden motives, intentions, purposes, obviously the conscious mind must be somewhat tranquil. If I want to find out what my deeper motives are, which are not obvious, if I want to bring them to the surface, the conscious mind must be alert, must it not?, must be somewhat quiet, inquiring, hesitant, tentative, patient. But if the surface mind is incessantly agitated, active, - as most of our minds are, - then what happens? Then there is a conflict between the conscious and the unconscious. And this conflict becomes more and more accentuated, strong, acute, till there are all kinds of psychological and physiological diseases.
So, if I would discover the deeper levels of consciousness, I have to be extraordinarily awake on the surface, superficially, outwardly. The unconscious is not only the recently acquired, but also it is the storehouse, is it not?, of the past, - of tradition, of the race, of all hopes. Your unconscious is not only limited to the you, but is of the whole past. You are the result, surely, of all the past; you are the summation of all mankind. And to understand that, to go into it really profoundly, mere study of psychology will not help, nor being analysed. Analysis of the unconscious by the conscious mind cannot reveal the truth. If I want to discover the deeper levels of the unconscious I may analyse myself, or go to somebody who will help me to analyse, but what happens? In that process of analysis, of digging down deeply, can I investigate every movement, every nuance, every subtle response? Not only would it take time, but it is almost impossible, is it not? Because I may miss one memory, one layer, one prejudice, which if missed will obviously thwart or pervert my judgment. Also there is the projection of the unconscious through dreams, which need interpreting; and what if I do not interpret them rightly? Even if the analyst does interpret them rightly, the conflict goes on, does it not?
So, the question is, how is it possible to open the unconscious, to let all the hidden pursuits come to the surface, not to have any one blank spot? How does one set about it? We see that analysis, introspection, will not do it; it may uncover a few spots, but the totality of it cannot be understood or revealed by a part of the mind, a division which merely observes. Surely, to understand something there must be total perception of it. I do not know if you are following all this! If I would understand a picture, a painting, I must see the whole of it, not take a part and investigate that part. Similarly, I must be able to look at this whole process of consciousness as a total thing, as a whole, not as the conscious and the unconscious; I must be able to have an integrated understanding of the whole. If I merely look at it partially, it will be a partial understanding; and a partial understanding is no understanding at all.
So, can I, the observer, the investigator, look at the total process, and not at the part? Please follow this carefully, and you will see. Is not the investigator always the part and not the whole? When you analyse, when you look, when you say "How am I to expose all the layers, intimations. accumulations of the unconscious, the residue of the past?", are you not looking at it, investigating it, as an entity apart from the whole total process? Obviously you are. The analyser is something apart, looking, investigating, trying to understand, trying to interpret, translate. So the analyser is always a separate entity, looking into the unconscious, trying to fathom it, trying to expose it, trying to do something about it. Therefore the entity who keeps himself apart cannot understand the whole total process. Please follow this.
So, as long as there is the interpreter, the analyser, the total process cannot be understood. And to eliminate the analyser is to eliminate the unconscious, - that is, to bring the whole thing out and understand the total process. Because it is the separate entity, the analyser, that is looking. And the analyser, the separate being, is itself the result of the past, of the total accumulation, of the race, of the individual, of the group. Surely the me, the investigator, is the result of tradition, of memory. And when the investigator, who is the result of memory, tries to understand part of himself, he is incapable of understanding it. You can only understand it when there is complete identity, the cessation of the analyser. It is only then, when the mind is really quiet, that the intimation of the totality is projected, is seen. But as long as the superficial mind, through partial awareness, separates itself and analyses, it cannot understand the totality.
You can experiment with this yourself, very simply. Occasionally, when you are not concerned about yourself and your activities, about what you think and do not think, when you are quietly walking in the country, you suddenly perceive some hidden motive, hidden totality. In that moment there is no conscious investigator; you see the whole thing completely. But then the conscious mind comes in, intervenes, wants to pursue the thing further, - because at that moment it was an extraordinary experience. And the moment the conscious mind intervenes, it becomes a memory, and you pursue that memory. Memory is of the part and not the whole.
So, if you can be in that state of unself-conscious perception, without pursuing the memory, then you will see from moment to moment how the unconscious totality comes up in different forms, different ways of expression. Then you will find that as the truth of each expression is seen, there is a freedom, - freedom from the accumulated prejudices, the racial antagonisms, the incessant desires which have been thwarted, the blind spots. These are all seen in moment; when the mind is quiet, when the mind is not a separate entity investigating, censoring, judging. Then only is it possible to find that which is indivisible.
Question: I have done a great many spiritual exercises to control the mind, and the image-creating process has become less powerful. But still I have not experienced the deeper implications of meditation. Would you please go into this.
Krishnamurti: Right meditation is important. But to discover what is the right kind of meditation is very difficult. Because we are so eager to still the mind, to find out something new, to experience something which the teachers, the books, the religious persons, have experienced. But perhaps this evening we can go into it and discover what is true meditation. And perhaps if we can experience it as we go along, step by step, we shall know how to meditate.
We think a petty mind, a small mind, a narrow mind, a greedy mind, by disciplining itself will become non-petty, something great. And is that not an illusion? A petty mind will always remain petty, however much it disciplines itself. That is so, is it not? If I am narrow, limited, and my mind is stupid, however much I may discipline I will still remain stupid; and my gods, my meditations, my exercises, will still be limited, stupid, narrow. So, first I have to realize that I have a petty mind, that my mind is prejudiced, that is seeking something as a reward, that it is escaping, - which are all indications of its narrowness. And how can such a mind, though it practises spiritual exercises, controls, disciplines, - how can such a mind be free? Surely it is only in freedom that you discover, not when your mind is bound, trained, controlled, shaped. So that is the first thing to realize, - that a mind seeking a reward, a result, however much it may train itself, will experience only its own projection. Its Masters, its gods, its virtues, are its own projections. That is the first thing to see the truth of, to realize.
Then we can proceed to the next thing, - which is, that a mind which has learned concentration is incapable of understanding the total, the whole. For concentration is a process of exclusiveness, is a process of discarding, putting aside, in search of a result. A mind that is merely narrowed down, through effort, through the desire to achieve a result, a reward - surely such a mind can only be exclusive; it is not aware of its total process. But most of us are trained to concentrate, in our daily work. And those who are seeking so-called spiritual heights are equally as ambitious as the worldly people; they want to arrive, they want to experience. And it is this drive to experience that forces them to narrow down their consciousness, their thought, excluding all but the one thing they desire to attain, be it a phrase, an image, a picture, or an idea. Again, such a mind is incapable of comprehending the whole.
This does not mean the mind must wander all over the place. On the contrary, the moment there is awareness of the wandering, there is no resistance, there is the understanding of each wandering. Then each thought has its significance, and is understood, not excluded, not put down, suppressed. Then the mind, instead of being petty, narrow, greedy, is no longer fettered by its own compulsions. It is then beginning to be open, to inquire, to discover. Which means, really, that we must discard the whole process of what we have learned as meditation. Then meditation is not for a few minutes or an hour during the day, but is a constant process, all the time seeking, discovering, what is true.
Then, as you go deeper into the problem, you will see that the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet, - not disciplined, not the quietness of stagnation, of enclosure, but a quietness. a tranquillity, in which all movement of thought has ceased. And in that silence the entity who experiences has completely ceased. But what most of us want is to experience, to gather more. It is the desire for the more that makes us meditate, that makes us do spiritual exercises, and so on. But when all that is understood, when all that has dropped away, then there is a silence, then there is a tranquillity of the mind, in which the experiencer, the interpreter, is absent. Then only is there a possibility for that which is not nameable to come into being. It is not a reward for good deeds. Do what you will, be as selfless as you like, force yourself to do the good things, the noble things, to be virtuous, - all those are self-centred activities; and such a mind is only a stagnant mind. It can meditate; but it will not know that state of silence, quietness, in which the real can be.
And that reality is not the word; the word love is not love. One knows, in that silence, that which is love, without the word. And that love without the word is neither yours nor mine, neither personal nor impersonal. It is a state of being. There are no words to describe it. It is an experience which is not recognizable, because the recognizer is absent. You can call it what you like, - love, God, truth, what you will. It is that experience which puts an end to all conflict, to all misery.
Question: I have listened to all your talks and I have read all your books. Most earnestly I ask you, what can be the purpose of my life if, as you say, all thought has to cease, all knowledge be suppressed, all memory lost? How do you relate that state of being, whatever it may be according to you, to the world in which we live? What relation has such a being to our sad and painful existence?
Krishnamurti: Since the questioner is earnest, let us go into it seriously. We want to know what this state is which can only be when all knowledge, when the recognizer, is not; we want to know what relationship this state has to our world of daily activity, daily pursuits. We know what our life is now, - sad, painful, constantly fearful, nothing permanent; we know that very well. And we want to know what relationship this other state has to that, - and if we put aside knowledge and become free from our memories, and so on, what is the purpose of existence?
What is the purpose of existence as we know it now? - not theoretically but actually? What is the purpose of our everyday existence? Just to survive, isn't it? - with all its misery, with all its sorrow and confusion, wars, destruction, and so on. We can invent theories, we can say: "This should not be, but something else should be." But those are all theories, they are not facts. What we know is confusion, pain, suffering, endless antagonisms. And we know also, if we are at all aware, how these come about. Because, the purpose of life, from moment to moment, every day, is to destroy each other, to exploit each other, either as individuals or as collective human beings. In our loneliness, in our misery, we try to use others, we try to escape from ourselves, - through amusement, through gods, through knowledge, through every form of belief, through identification. That is our purpose, conscious or unconscious, as we now live. And, is there a deeper, wider purpose beyond, a purpose that is not of confusion, of acquisition? And, has that effortless state any relation to our daily life?
Certainly, that has no relation at all to our life. How can it have? If my mind is confused, agonised, lonely, how can that be related to something which is not of itself? How can truth be related to falsehood, to illusion? But we do not want to admit that. Because, our hope, our confusion, makes us believe in something greater, nobler, which we say is related to us. In our despair we seek truth, hoping that in the discovery of it our despair will disappear.
So, we can see that a confused mind, a mind ridden with sorrow, a mind that is aware of its own emptiness, loneliness, can never find that which is beyond itself. That which is beyond the mind can only come into being when the causes of confusion, misery, are dispelled or understood. All that I have been saying, talking about, is how to understand ourselves. For without self-knowledge the other is not, the other is only an illusion. But if we understand the total process of ourselves, from moment to moment, then we shall see that in clearing up our own confusion the other comes into being. Then experiencing that will have a relation to this. But this will never have a relation to that. Being this side of the curtain, being in darkness, how can one have experience of light, of freedom? But when once there is the experience of truth, then you can relate it to this world in which we live.
That is, if we have never known what love is, but only constant wrangles, misery, conflicts, how can we experience that love which is not of all this? But when once we have experienced that, then we do not have to bother to find out the relationship. Then love, intelligence, functions. But to experience that state, all knowledge, accumulated memories, self-identified activities, must cease, so that the mind is incapable of any projected sensations. Then, experiencing that, there is action in this world.
Surely that is the purpose of existence, - to go beyond the self-centred activity of the mind. And having experienced that state, which is not measurable by the mind, then the very experiencing of that brings about an inward revolution, which is the only true revolution. Then, if there is love, there is no social problem. There is no problem of any kind when there is love. Because we do not know how to love, we have social problems, and systems of philosophy on how to deal with our problems. And I say, these problems can never be solved by any system, either of the left or of the right or of the middle. These can be solved, - our confusion, our misery, our self-destruction, - only when we can experience that state which is not self-projected.
April 24, 1952.
London 6th Public Talk 24th April 1952
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