Bombay 3rd Public Talk 23th February 1955
One of the fundamental issues that we are all faced with is the choice between good and bad. Choice implies conflict, and conflict, surely, is a destructive element, a waste of energy. We know this conflict in our daily existence, the everlasting struggle to maintain the good and to avoid evil; and it seems to me not only that this conflict is a dissipation of energy, but that the very struggle to choose and maintain the good destroys creative release. And is it possible not to choose, and thereby have no conflict, but always to maintain that which is good?
I do not know if you have thought about this problem at all. Most of us are caught in the conflict created by the choice between good and bad, but if one is at all alert and awake to the issue, one observes that this conflict is a continual waste of energy; and surely one needs a great deal of energy to find out what is truth. The attempt to maintain the good through effort, through struggle, through choice invariably dissipates energy, and the good then becomes merely a non-creative action, a reaction to the bad, which is a form of frustration.
So, the conflict between good and bad is destructive, degenerative, as all conflicts are; and is it possible not to have conflict between good and bad, but always to maintain that which is good without introducing the element of choice? This is really a very important question, because it is this maintenance of the good without choice that brings about the fullness of energy, and only then is it possible for the mind to be still. That is, to have a quiet mind, a still mind, one needs a great deal of energy, and that immense energy cannot come into being as long as energy is dissipated through conflict of any kind. Any form of choice is conflict, and is it possible to lead a life in which there is no choice at all?
Now, how is one to maintain the good without conflict? Perhaps you have never put this question to yourself, because you are used to the everlasting struggle between that which is evil and that which is good. Your whole outlook, your way of life, your social and religious structure, all condition the mind to choose between good and evil; and is it possible not to have this struggle at all, but at the same time to maintain that which is good?
Do you understand the question? Most of us are used to conflicts, and all conflict is obviously a waste of energy. One needs tremendous energy for the mind to be still, and only a still mind can find that which is the truth, the eternal, the highest. Stillness of mind is not the outcome of practice, of choice, of the struggle to achieve a result; but our whole life, from childhood till we die, is a constant battle between that which is good and that which is evil, between what is and what should be. Our life is a ceaseless effort to become something; and is it possible for the mind to be without this conflict?
I think this is an important question to ask ourselves: not how to achieve and maintain goodness, but whether it is at all possible to maintain goodness and yet not be caught in the conflict of the opposites? It is possible only when we realize what an extraordinarily destructive thing conflict is, not only within ourselves but outwardly. After all, the conflict without is a projection of the conflict within. But we do not see the falseness of conflict. We accept conflict as part of life, and we think it is necessary for various reasons, for progress, for inquiry, for every form of achievement; we are used to it, we are conditioned to think in that way.
Now, is action without conflict at all possible? Surely it is possible only when we love what we are doing; but in our hearts we love nothing, and so action is this process of conflict which is continually going on. I do not know if you have noticed that when you love to do something there is no conflict in it at all, action is entirely stripped of conflicting elements; there may be various forms of obstruction, but that very action is the overcoming of the obstruction.
So, is it possible to love the good, and not have this endless conflict between the good and the bad? Please, there is no method. The moment you have a method, that very method is a process of struggle to achieve a result. What matters is for the mind to be fairly quiet so that it is capable of receiving that which is true. Now, I am saying that every form of struggle is destructive, that in conflict there is no love, and that when you love something completely, all conflict ceases. Just listen to this, see the fact as it is, neither accepting nor rejecting it; let your mind inquire, go into it, see the truth of it without effort, without resistance. Then you will find that the maintenance of the good is not such an extraordinary thing, that it is possible to love and to maintain the good without conflict; and this implies attention. When you love something or some person, you are full of attention, and it is that attention which has the quality of goodness.
Desire is energy, and when we treat it as something evil, to be suppressed, controlled, shaped according to the sanctions of religion and society, desire becomes destructive - which does not mean that we must yield to every form of desire. Mere control of desire, without understanding the whole process of desire, destroys that extraordinary energy which is required to find the eternal. In creative energy lies a life of goodness, a life in which the eternal is not absent; but such a life is possible only when we understand the whole process of conflict.
Conflict exists as long as there is the outward movement of desire, which meets with frustration and then recoils. This movement, with its frustration and recoil, sets going the conflict between good and bad, and as long as there is this movement there can be no goodness. Goodness can come into being only when the mind is really very still, and that stillness arises only when there is abundance of energy. That is why the question of discipline is very important. We use discipline to achieve a result. Psychologically, inwardly, we discipline ourselves in order to maintain the good, and the discipline itself is a process of conflict. It is a conflict between one desire as opposed to another, and this conflict of desires is a dissipation of energy.
So, is it possible for the mind to inquire, to go into and see the truth of all this, and then to let that truth operate without pursuing or operating upon the truth? This whole process is true meditation.
Sirs, why do we ask questions? Is it to find an answer, a solution to a problem, or is it to explore the problem? If the mind is merely concerned with the solution, with seeking an answer to the problem, it is restricted and therefore incapable of exploring the problem. In considering these questions we are concerned, surely, with the exploration of the problem, and that very exploration of the problem is its own answer. It is not necessary to seek a solution to the problem, for in the very process of exploring the problem you will find the solution. And that is what we are going to do: to explore, to investigate the problem together. But to be capable of exploring any problem, the mind must be free of conclusions, it must not be tethered to any form of experience or belief. And when the mind is free of conclusions, of experiences, when it is no longer tethered to a belief, then has it any problem? It is only the mind that clings to a belief, that has a conclusion, that approaches life through a series of experiences which are the reactions of a particular conditioning it is only such a mind that creates problems. But if the mind is aware of how problems are created and is capable of exploring, of inquiring into a problem without a conclusion and without seeking a solution, then surely the problem ceases.
Question: You say that to be creative there must be complete abandonment, and yet there must also be austerity. Can the two exist together?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is beauty, and how does the state of creative beauty come into being? Obviously, there must be love. And love means total abandonment, does it not? Not abandonment through desire, but the abandonment in which there is no sense of restriction, no hope of achieving a result, and therefore no fear. There can be complete abandonment only when there is no self, no `me; and when there is no self, in that abandonment is there not austerity, simplicity?
To most people austerity means the destruction of beauty about them. Outwardly they deny all worldliness and have only a few things, but inwardly they are not at all simple; on the contrary, they are extraordinarily complex, full of burning desires, longing to achieve a certain result. Surely, that is not austerity. But to be austere does not mean the denial of desire. Please listen. Abandonment comes only when the self is not, but the self cannot be destroyed by merely suppressing desire. After all, desire is energy, and if you destroy energy, nothing is possible. You need tremendous energy for the mind to be still, to find out what is God, what is truth, and if that energy is controlled, shaped through fear, through every form of conditioning, then it cannot flow with abandon it cannot be free; and yet when that energy is free, it will create its own austerity.
It is this abandonment with austerity that makes for beauty, and then it is love. If one has no love, how can one appreciate beauty or create that which is beautiful? But there is no love as long as there is no abandonment, and that abandonment will come into being only when there is no `me', no self. So this creative state can arise only when there is love, abandonment and austerity; but mere austerity without abandonment, without love, has no meaning at all.
The problem, then, is not how to be austere, not how to abandon or put away the self, but to inquire into what we mean by love. You see, we have divided love as the divine and the earthly, and so we have created a battle between the urge of the flesh and the urge to seek the divine, between the noble love and the physical love. And is it possible to love, not divinely or physically, but just to have the goodness and the perfume of love in one's heart with all the things of the mind removed from it? Surely, that is possible only when we give our hearts to something completely; then there is no conflict, then there is abandonment, and that very abandonment creates its own austerity, as a river creates the banks which hold it.
But the respectability of society has no place in this austere abandonment. What society demands is respectability, control, mediocrity; but a mediocre mind cannot abandon itself, it is neither hot nor cold, it is full of fears, apprehensions, and such a mind cannot possibly know what love is. Most of us are merely controlled by the sanctions of society, by the social morality which says, `This is good and that is bad; we are caught in the conflict between what is and what should be, and that is why we have ceased to love. We are merely imitative machines, so we never know that state of abandonment in which there is austerity and which is the only creative state. You cannot find God, that which is truth, without total abandonment, without being free of all belief, all dogma, all fear, which means opening your heart completely and not filling it with the things of the mind. There can be goodness, generosity, only when the mind is quiet; beauty, that something which is really God, which is love, which is truth, comes into being only when there is complete abandonment of the self. And the self cannot be abandoned by any regulation, by any practice, by any meditation. The self must cease through awareness of its own limitation, the falseness of its own existence. However deep, wide and extensive it may become, the self is always limited, and until it is abandoned, the mind can never be free. The mere perception of that fact is the ending of the self, and only then is it possible for that which is the real to come into being.
Question: You spoke the other day of the urgency of total attention. Please explain what you mean by total attention.
Krishnamurti: It is not a question of what I mean by total attention, but let us inquire into it together, and then perhaps we shall be able to find out what total attention is.
What do we mean by attention? You are listening to what is being said, and you have other thoughts; your mind goes wandering off, and you pull it back in order to listen. Is that attention? You want to look out of the window because you are bored with what is taking place in the room, but politeness and courtesy demand that you listen, so you pull your thought back from the sea and listen. Is that attention? Is there attention when you make an effort to listen, when you try to concentrate in order to understand, in order to find out? That is what you do, is it not? You make an effort to listen, and that process of concentration is really exclusion; you want to think of other things, but you force your mind to come back because you want to get somewhere or achieve a result.
Is there attention as long as there is incentive? A schoolboy pays attention when the teacher tells him to because he has the incentive of passing an examination. Such attention is effort, concentration, which is the exclusion of every other thought and putting your mind on a particular thought in order to achieve a result. So there is an incentive, a motive; and as long as there is this motive to achieve something, is there attention? That is the concentration which we all know and in which there is obviously exclusion, the shutting out of everything else in order to concentrate on a particular subject. Surely, that is not attention, is it? If there is effort, is there attention? And there must be effort as long as there is incentive.
Now, is attention possible without incentive, without motive? We know attention or concentration through motive; I want to meditate, or I want to pass an examination, or I want to achieve a certain position, so I exclude everything else and concentrate. If I do not exclude, I dissipate, so in order not to dissipate I force myself to concentrate, which is a process of exclusion. This involves a constant strain, a constant waste of energy, because there is effort, resistance; and where there is resistance, is there attention? Attention, surely, means a state of mind in which there is no resistance. The moment you create resistance you are merely concentrating, which is entirely different from attention.
How, if you are listening to what is being said, not in order a find God, or to get somewhere, or to achieve a result, but without any incentive so that there is no strain of any kind, then you will discover that your mind is so extensively aware that you are also listening to the crows, to the train, to the noise of busses, to all the various sounds; and when there is this attention without motive, without incentive, it can turn to concentration without exclusion, it can look, observe, watch, without resistance.
You try and you will find out for yourself that as long as there is mere concentration there must be effort; even though you are so interested in what you are doing that you are absorbed in it, such concentration is a process of exclusion and therefore there is resistance. Absorption is not attention, because in absorption there is exclusion. Concentration is not attention, because in it there is incentive, motive; and where there is incentive, motive, there must be resistance. Whereas, if you listen to this, which is an obvious fact, and understand the truth of it, then you will see that there is attention without incentive, attention without any fixed point; the mind is not resisting, it is completely open, and such a mind, being full of attention, can turn and concentrate without resistance.
Sirs, when there is a moment of creativeness, of great joy, there is no resistance. In that moment of creative reality the mind is completely quiet and attentive, it has no motive. The translation of what it has seen into words, into a poem, into some form of communication, may require concentration, a focussing - let us leave out the word `concentration' - , but that focussing is not resistance. All that we know is resistance, which means really that we are doing things which we do not love; our hearts are not in what we do, and so the mind has to invent motives or incentives in order to achieve. But if you understand the whole process of incentive, concentration, effort, see the actual fact of it, how your mind operates, then you will also see what an extraordinary thing it is to have attention without motive, a mind that is completely alert, fully aware, sensitive. Only such a mind can focus without resistance.
Question: What do you mean by aloneness?
Krishnamurti: Sir, let us find out. Now, to find out, please give attention, if I may use that word - attention, not merely to what I am saying, but to the working of your own mind. Be aware of your own mind, not in order to alter it, not in order to make it more beautiful, more this and less that, but just be aware, attentive, and we shall find out together what it means to be alone.
I think most of us know what it means to be lonely, we are familiar with that extraordinary fear, anxiety, which comes from the self-enclosing process of the mind, and which we call loneliness. Have you not felt, at one time or another in your life, a sense of complete isolation? There comes a certain barrier, a sense of destruction, of frustration, or the cessation of all relationships. Surely we have all felt this; and having felt it we are afraid of it, we run away from it, so we turn to religions. Please watch your own mind, you are not merely listening to me. This is actually what is happening to all of us, to human being everywhere. Because we are lonely we want to be loved; because we are lonely we turn on the radio, go to the cinema, and seek every other form of distraction, noble and ignoble, religious and non-religious. This is our life. We do not want to face the state of loneliness, which is extraordinarily fearful - at least we think it is fearful - , so we run away, we escape, we take flight from that loneliness. We seek companionship, love, we have a wife or a husband, we worship an authority, and so on, always depending on another through some form of attachment, because then we do not have to face in ourselves that which is lonely, which is empty, which is so completely self-enclosing. Whether you accept it or not, that is the actual fact, it is what is happening psychologically to most people.
Now, if you can look at the emptiness, that sense of being cut off from all relationships, without escape, if you can be with it without fear, without trying to fill it or alter it in any way, then you will find that it is really the complete abandonment of society, an aloneness which is not an escape, but which has no recognition by society. Do you understand what that means? Society is a process of recognition; one is recognized as a saint, as a writer, as a good man, as a bad man, as a Capitalist, a Communist, or whatever you like. In breaking away from all that the mind is completely alone, not lonely, but alone. It is no longer influenced by society, it is completely dissociated from all recognition, therefore it is capable of being alone. Surely, there must be such aloneness for reality to be. Only the mind that is alone, incorrupt, innocent, though it may have thousands of years of experience - only such a mind is capable of perceiving that which is God, truth. And that is possible only when we face loneli- ness, this loneliness in our hearts which we try to cover up by every means: by so-called love, by distraction, through worship, through amusements, through knowledge. When the mind sees the futility of all that and remains with that which is completely self-enclosing, limiting, empty, then in that emptiness there comes aloneness. Then the mind is fresh, alone, innocent, and it is only such a mind that receives the eternal.
February 23, 1955
Bombay 3rd Public Talk 23th February 1955
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