London 2nd Public Talk 31st March 1953
Is not the conditioned mind - the mind that is held, limited, confined to various forms of beliefs, to many experiences, to a particular mode of conduct, to certain prejudices, attitudes - one of the major causes of confusion? Such a mind obviously does create confusion, because each of us is conditioned - you as a Christian, another as a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a communist, a socialist, and so on. So, whether this conditioning is externally imposed through education, or inwardly imposed through our own fears, our own experiences, through knowledge, through certain capacities, the conditioned mind obviously is incapable of being free. And it seems to me that it is only in freedom that one can discover what is true and that as long as the mind is conditioned it is incapable of that discovery. Only in the discovery of what is true can there be a harmony, a real love between man and man.
Is it possible to be free from this conditioning? And what is the factor that goes to make up the conditioning? If we can understand what it is, without making an effort to uncondition the mind perhaps then we shall find out what it is to be free from the various limitations which the mind has imposed upon itself.
After all, each society, each group of people, the various religions, they all impose certain conditions on us. From childhood, we are all conditioned - climatically geographically, religiously, socially, economically. These influences are constantly impinging on our minds. And we do not seem to be able to free ourselves from these conditionings imposed from our childhood, or the experiences that we have acquired - experience being the conjunction of the past with the present in the moment of reaction.
Is it ever possible to be free of this conditioning? After all, so long as I am a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or a Christian, I think of reality or God in the framework in which I have been brought up; I believe that there is only one church through which salvation can be found, or only one economic system through which society can be saved; or I have innumerable beliefs imposed or cultivated, through anxiety, through fear. Surely such a mind is incapable of finding any reality! It can only find what it has been conditioned to find. If you are conditioned one way and I another way, there must be confusion, contention in our action, in our attitude, in our relationship. We have each been brought up in a certain framework, and each separate group of people think they alone have found certainty, reality, that their's is the best way. But life is in constant movement; it is not capable of being held in a particular system of thought; and so there is always conflict between the conditioned mind and the vital, living movement of life.
Realizing this, we say, `Is it not possible to uncondition ourselves?' All that we can do, surely, is to put the mind into a better pattern, a better framework, make it more sociable, more moral. Can a mind which is so conditioned find reality? And, what is the factor that makes the mind conditioned, held in limitation? Perhaps if we understand that, we may be able to step out of conditioning almost immediately. The gradual unconditioning of the mind is really not possible, because in the very process of gradual unconditioning you are conditioning it in another direction.
So, what is the factor that conditions the mind? Is it not the power of the mind to acquire and to hold on to what it has acquired? The mind is constantly seeking knowledge, security, experience. It has become a storehouse. And through that screen we translate everything So long as the mind has the power, the urge to acquire, it must obviously be conditioning itself all the time; it is never in a state of freedom; it is limited by its own acquisitions, by its own knowledge, by its own capacity.
So, can the mind be free from this power to acquire and to retain what it has acquired, whether it is knowledge, capacity or experience? Can it not let experience, knowledge pass by, and yet remain without being conditioned? Can I not realize how I am conditioned as a Hindu, a Christian, or what you will, and understand how that conditioning comes into being socially, morally, in my relationships? Can I not see how the mind in that conditioning feels secure, feels that it has acquired certain knowledge, certain experience, that it is certain in itself? Cannot knowledge be used for action, without the action or the knowledge limiting the mind, conditioning the mind?
These things have to be felt out, thought out. It is not a question of being convinced, or being persuaded to a certain attitude. What we have to find out is whether, being conditioned, it is possible to free oneself from that conditioning, inwardly, totally. Because, then there may be a possibility of the mind being so deeply free as to discover what is real. to discover what is God. And it seems to me that if the mind is not capable of freeing itself from this constant acquisition - acquisition in becoming something, in being certain, in safeguarding itself - if the mind continues to hold on to this power to store up what it has learned, to gather experience and retain it, obviously the mind will ever be conditioned. We are experiencing all the time; but cannot the mind experience, and let it go by without holding, never identified with it, never calling it `mine'?
Surely, if we can feel that out - not intellectually, abstractly as an idea, but actually see, feel out directly experience this mind that is acquiring, storing, and then acting - then, surely, we shall comprehend that state in which the mind experiences and lets the experience go by, without itself being caught in the experience. Then, it seems to me, there is a real freedom, not the so-called freedom within the framework of a conditioned state.
As a Christian or as a Hindu, one says one is free; but that is not freedom. To be free within a conditioned state is still to be conditioned; and in that state it is obviously not possible to discover what is the real, what is the highest. Any projection of the conditioned mind is still the result of its own experience, the outcome of its past conditioning. So is it possible for me, knowing that I am conditioned, and the factors that condition me, the causes, is it possible so to be aware of it that without any effort, without any action of will, I can let the experience, the knowledge go by, without the mind being caught in it? After all, the mind is memory, is it not. It is the past, it is of time. And most of us are occupied with memories. We cannot deliberately put memory aside; but we can let the memories go by without corrupting the mind without being occupied with any particular memory, pleasant or unpleasant. It is this occupation that conditions the mind, this concern with the particular memory from childhood or from yesterday which I have acquired and to which I cling.
Is it possible to go into this whole process of acquiring, and be free from it? We seem to think that freedom is not possible as long as economically we are bound. Perhaps we shall always be bound economically. I do not think freedom lies in that direction. But perhaps freedom is to be found, not in the seeking of physical comforts but in the freedom from acquisition, the freedom from being conditioned, so that the mind is always in a state of quiescence, quietude, not being disturbed by any experience, by any shadow. Surely such a state is necessary if one would know what is real, what is true creativeness. Question: I am always hungry. Where can I find the food that will fill me forever?
Krishnamurti: We want to find contentment, do we not? We want to fulfil ourselves in some action, in some person in an idea. And we try one thing after another - join one society, one group after another; attach ourselves to certain ideas, beliefs, and then push them aside when they do not satisfy, when they no longer give us what we want. So we keep on moving, everlastingly hungry. The hunger becomes painful only when it has nothing to feed upon. But the moment it has found something it can feed upon, there is no pain. Pain exists only when I cannot find food when I'm hungry. But if I find food when I'm hungry, there is no pain.
So, being hungry, inwardly insufficient, frustrated, I want to find something that will give me everlasting fulfilment, everlasting happiness. So I seek, I try one thing after another. That is our state, is it not? Being discontented, being hungry, being frustrated, we want to find an outlet somewhere, where one can find contentment, where there is no such thing as frustration. So, I try to quieten my discontent by theories, by explanations, or by identifying myself with the State, throwing myself into some social activity, or joining a society, a religious group. But always there is hunger, there is anxiety, there is fear, there is discontent.
Now, why shouldn't I be discontented? What is wrong with the discontent? It is only painful, surely, when I want to alter it. Discontent in itself is not painful. It is only when I wish I could find contentment, it is only in relation to contentment, that the main pain of discontent arises. So, being discontented, I am seeking contentment. And when I cannot find it, then there is pain. So I go from door to door, from Master to Master, from saint to saint, from one teacher to another; because my intention is to find contentment, to find satisfaction, perpetual peace. In myself I am in turmoil, confused, frustrated; and as I cannot find the means of alteration of the state in which I am, from that arises pain.
So, can I understand what is discontent, and not ask how to transform it, how to become contented? It is very simple, is it not?, how to be contented. I can take a drug, condition myself to certain beliefs, become active socially, politically, or follow some authority, and so on; thereby it is fairly easy to find contentment; but there is always pain, fear, behind that contentment. But if I can understand discontentment - that flame, that thing that is constantly active, inquiring, searching, that thing that is not satisfied - then that very understanding may be the essential thing, not contentment at all. If I am not capable of constant inquiry, constant watchfulness of the things that are happening, taking shape in me - the thoughts, the feelings, the experiences - if I am not capable of that questioning, inquiring, then only is it that discontent becomes a pain. And from that pain I want to escape. And so I want to find food that is everlastingly satisfying.
Is it not necessary to be discontented and not to find an easy channel through which the discontent can be pacified? Discontent, this feeling of searching to find out what is true, to be inwardly in revolution, is essential, is it not? Then that flame will give a new life, a new relationship to everything that the mind in) vents, so that the mind's power to create illusion is burnt out. That power to create illusion is not burnt out by experience, because experience creates illusion. It is only the understanding of the accumulative process of experience that gives freedom. So, is it not important, not to seek satisfaction, contentment, the everlasting food, the manna from heaven, not to ask for it? Because, the moment you ask you are given; and what you are given turns to ashes. Is it not important to have this capacity of discontent - perhaps that may not be the right word - to have that feeling of not being easily satisfied, of not seeking satisfaction at all, not being in pursuit of any form of gratification; and so, to be in this permanent state of revolution, not doubting - doubting has no place in it - but inquiring, fathoming, searching out? Such a mind cannot be conditioned, because it has never a resting place, never calls anything `mine'.
Surely we must have such a mind. But the moment you say `How can I have such a mind?' the method becomes the factor of your conditioning. If we can see the truth of that, feel it out inwardly - not merely intellectually or verbally - then an unconscious revolution is taking place; then the mind no longer is satisfied; it can never be satisfied; it is not thinking in terms of satisfaction then at all. And therefore the mind is not caught in frustration, despair, and in hope; it is not held in that terminology or in that field.
So is it possible for the mind, for you and me - who are just ordinary people, not geniuses, but ordinary mediocre struggling people - is it possible for us to free ourselves from this craving for satisfaction? Because, the moment we are satisfied, we cease to be creative. Creation is not the mere writing of a poem, or the painting of a picture, I'm not talking of that. I am not talking of the projections that the mind creates and calls reality, but of that reality which comes when the mind is capable of receiving it, which alone is creativeness. So, should not the mind be constantly in revolution, never acquiring, never having a place where it feels safe, being ever in that state where no experience can enrich it? Because, the moment you are enriched, revolution has ceased to be, and therefore creativeness is not.
So, is it not possible for the mind which is seeking food for its satisfaction, to be timelessly in a state of non-acquisition so that it is no longer struggling, and is therefore extraordinarily still? Because, in that stillness, perhaps that which is the creative, the timeless, can come into being.
Question: Sleep is necessary for the right function of the physical body. Apart from that, what is the function of sleep?
Krishnamurti: Without making sleep and what happens during sleep into all kinds of mystical nonsense - you know all the things that we invent - can we not find out what actually takes place, the truth of the matter, not the invention of the mind, not what the mind would like to be happening? Because, something does happen during sleep. Problems are solved; new discoveries are made. I may have been thinking over a problem for days, and suddenly in sleep the answer may be revealed. Sleep is necessary. And perhaps we can, by understanding it, going into it, discover what actually happens - not theoretically, not what we would like to happen, not all the explanations which various societies invent as to what happens during sleep. But cannot we, putting aside all those, really, deeply inquire into it, and find out the truth of the matter?
Obviously sleep is essential, not only for physical well-being but also for psychological well-being. Because, during that period, obviously, the so-called conscious, active mind, the daily mind, the mind that goes to the office, the mind that is tied to the kitchen, the mind that nags, the mind that quarrels, the mind that is perpetually occupied with some silly thing, with what your neighbour says, with the Coronation, and so on, that mind is quiet; actually it is quiet when you sleep. But that is only one part of the mind, the very, very superficial part. The rest of the mind is going on acting. It is never asleep, surely. You can see that when any deep problem, when any deep trouble, anxiety, when a fundamental question in the waking consciousness has been touched upon and no answer found, the deeper mind which does not sleep, is still inquiring; searching out. And because it is searching out without the interference of the superficial mind - the mind that is occupied with the trivial things of daily life - the deeper mind is more free to inquire. That is why suddenly we may wake up in the morning and say, `By Jove, that is the answer!; or, you have a new idea, a new outlook, a new impression. That new impression comes into being, does it not?, when the so-called superficial mind is quiet. I dig into a problem, look at it all round, talk about it, discuss; and when I have given up finding a solution, and go to sleep, out comes the right answer. It has happened to all of us. And perhaps it is because the superficial mind is no longer interfering.
And so, sleep becomes very important. But as most of us live and have our being in the superficial mind, we never touch the other. Perhaps, occasionally through dreams the other gives hints; but these hints are translated by the trivial mind; and in the very process of translating, that which has significance is made trivial.
So, sleeping and waking - keeping fully awake during the day - both have significance, have they not? So can I not during the day keep awake - not be a slave to the superficial mind but keep awake to the whole process of the mind, the various levels of consciousness; not just live on a certain level, the level which I choose, the level on which I have said `This is the perfect state, and in that state I am going to live'? Is it not possible during the day to be aware of the total process of the mind, not just one segment? That process is understood more significantly in sleep; and so again, the waking consciousness becomes much more vital.
So, what is important is not what happens during sleep, and the interpretation of dreams with all its complications, but, to be awake to the whole process of the mind, of consciousness, during the day, so that at night sleep becomes a deeper, a further understanding of what is going on. For, in that sleep, there are a great many hints, suggestions that the conscious mind cannot possibly think of.
But as long as there is an interpreter, the translator, the censor, the one that judges or condemns, the total process of consciousness is not understood. There can be no entity that is looking at the consciousness and translating the hints. The total process cannot be understood by the part, by the entity that is observing, that is translating. That is why a silent mind is necessary, a mind that no longer condemns, judges. Then the whole process of consciousness reveals itself through every action, through every word. Therefore the waking consciousness and the sleeping are both important; because then the greater depths of consciousness are revealed.
Question: My son is dead. How am I to meet that sorrow?
Krishnamurti: Actually, how do we meet sorrow? Do we ever meet it? We do not know what sorrow, is; we are forever running away from it. That is all we know. If I know how to meet it, how to meet the fact, then the fact will do something to me. I cannot do anything about the fact; but I want to do something about it. So my very desire to translate, to interpret the fact, helps me to run away from it.
Look, and see what actually happens. My son is dead; and I am in sorrow. So my mind, in pain, in anxiety, in fear wants some consolation. The natural response, not the cultivated response, is, `I want comfort for that pain, for that fear, for that loneliness'. So I turn to something - to a belief, to a seance, to mediums, to reincarnation, or rationalization of the fact of death - hoping to find some assurance. So, the mind is everlastingly active about the fact. The fact is: my son is dead. And I cannot face it. So the mind begins to invent, symbolize, find assurance, hope, in something. So the mind is never meeting sorrow-
When you say `How am I to meet sorrow?', what you are concerned with is not `meeting sorrow', but `how to deal with sorrow', what you should do about sorrow; with what attitude, value, you should look upon it'. So, you are really concerned, not with meeting sorrow but how to have the self-protective attitude with which to meet it. After all, when I have a belief in reincarnation, that I'm going to meet my son next life, I do not meet sorrow. Or, if I resort to a seance, of course I do not meet my sorrow. Or, if I try to forget it by becoming active socially, in dozens of ways, I still avoid sorrow. And that is what we are actually doing.
If I want to meet sorrow, my mind must not escape from the fact - which does not mean that I accept the fact. The fact is a fact; I don't have to accept it, it is so. If I cultivate the attitude of acceptance, then I again prevent myself from meeting the fact. So, the mind is everlastingly finding ways, devices, not to meet the fact. And yet sorrow can only be understood when I meet it. And it is only possible to meet it when the mind is really still, not interpreting, not accepting, not trying to find the reasons, the explanations, not indulging in theories, speculations.
When the mind is completely still, not because it wants to understand the fact but because it knows its own process then only can I meet the extraordinary experience of death, that unknowingness, that sense of not knowing what death is, despite the innumerable books that have been written about it. Only when the mind is quiet, completely still, can I understand the fact which is: there is sorrow and there is no explanation. Surely, in such a state of mind, when it is completely silent before the fact of death, something extraordinary happens. This is not a promise. So do not cultivate quietness of the mind. But when the mind is not seeking any solution, has no beliefs, has no hope, is completely silent, then only can it meet sorrow. And in that state, sorrow ceases to be.
March 31, 1953.
London 2nd Public Talk 31st March 1953
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