Amsterdam 4th Public Talk 23rd May 1955
I think if each one of us could seriously inquire into what it is that we are each seeking, then perhaps our endeavour to find something lasting may have some significance. For surely, most of us are seeking something. Either the search is the outcome of some deep frustration, or it is the outcome of an escape from the reality of our daily life, or, the search is a means of avoiding the various problems of life. I think our seriousness depends on what it is we are seeking. Most of us, unfortunately, are very superficial; and we do not perhaps know how to go deeply, to dig profoundly, so as to reach something more than the mere reactions of the mind.
So I think it is important to find out what it is that we are seeking, each one of us, and why we are seeking; what the motive is, the intention. the purpose, that lies behind this search. I think in discovering what it is that we are seeking, and why we are seeking, we may be able to discover, each one of us, how to go very deeply into ourselves. Most of us. I feel, are very superficial, we just remain struggling on the surface, not being able to go beyond the mere superficial responses of pleasure and pain. If we are able to go beyond the surface, then we may be able to find out for ourselves that our very search may be a hindrance.
What is it that we are seeking? Most of us are unhappy, or we are frustrated, or some desire is urging us to move forwards. For most of us I think the search is based on some kind of frustration, some kind of misery. We want to fulfil, in some form or another, at different levels of our existence. And when we find we cannot fulfil, then there is frustration, - in relationship, in action, and in every form of our emotional existence. Being frustrated, we seek ways and means to escape from that frustration; and so we move from one hindrance to another, from one blockage to another, always trying to find a way to fulfil, to be happy.
So our search, - though we may say we are seeking truth, or God, or what you will, - is really a form of self-fulfilment. Therefore it invariably remains very superficial. I think it is important to understand this profoundly. Because I do not think we will find anything of great significance unless we are capable of going very deeply into ourselves. We cannot go very deeply into ourselves if our search is merely the outcome of some frustration, the desire for an answer which will bring about a superficial response of happiness. So I think it is worthwhile to find out what it is that each one of us wants, seeks, gropes after. Because on that depends what we find. And if there is no frustration, no misery, only a sense of finding a haven where the mind can rest, where the mind can find a refuge from all disturbance, then also such a search will inevitably lead to something superficial, passing, and trivial.
Now is it possible for us, for each one of us, to find out what it is that we are seeking, and why we seek? In the process of our search we acquire knowledge, gather experience, do we not?, and according to that gathering, that accumulation, our experiences are shaped. Those experiences then in turn become our guide. But all such experience is essentially based on our desire to be secure, in some form or another, in this world or in an imaginary world or in the world of heaven; because our mind demands, seeks, searches out, a place where it will not be disturbed. In the process of this seeking there is frustration; and with frustration there is sorrow.
Now, is there ever any security for the mind? We may seek it. we may grope after it; we may build a culture, a society, which assures physical security at least, and we may thereby find some kind of security in things, in property, in ideas, in relationship; but, is there such a thing as security for the mind, a state of mind in which there will be no disturbance of any kind? And, is that not what most of us are seeking, in devious ways, giving it different terms, different words? Surely, a mind that is seeking security must always invite frustration. We have never inquired, most of us, whether there can be security for the mind, a state in which there is no disturbance of any kind. And yet, if we look deeply into ourselves, that is what most of us want; and we seek to create that security for ourselves in various forms, - in beliefs. in ideals, in our attachments and our relationship with people, with property, with family, and so on.
Now, is there any security, any permanency, in the things of the mind? The mind, after all. is the result of time, of centuries of education, of moulding, of change. The mind is the result of time, and therefore a plaything of time, - and can such a mind ever find a state of permanency? Or, must the mind always be in a state of impermanency?
I think it is important to go into this and to understand that most of us are seeking, not knowing what we want. The motive of the search is far more important than that which we are seeking; for if that motive is for security, a sense of permanency, then the mind creates its own hindrances, from which arise frustration and therefore sorrow and suffering. Then we seek further escapes, further means of avoiding pain; and so, invite more sorrow. That is our state; that is the complex existence of our everyday life. Whereas, if we could remain with ourselves, if we could look to find out what the motive is of our search, of our struggle, then perhaps we would find the right answer. It is like accumulating knowledge, - knowledge may give a certain security, but a man who is filled with knowledge obviously cannot find that which is beyond the mind.
So, is it not important to find out what it is that we are seeking, and why we seek, and also to inquire whether there can be an end to all seeking? Because, search implies effort, does it not? - the constant inquiry, the constant struggle to find. Can one find anything through effort? By `anything' I mean, something more than the mere reactions of the mind, the mere responses of the mind, something other than the things that the mind itself has created and projected. Is it not important for each one of us to inquire if there is ever an end to search? Because, the more we search, the greater the strain, the effort, the dilemma of not finding, and the frustration.
Please let us consider this carefully. Do not let us say "What will happen to us if there is no seeking?" Surely, if we seek with a motive, then the result of that search will be dictated by the motive; and so it will be limited; and from that limitation there is always frustration and sorrow, and in that we are all caught. So, is there existence without seeking? Is there a state of being without this constant becoming? The becoming is the struggle, the conflict; and that is our life. Is it not important for each one of us to find out whether there is a state in which this process of constant strife, constant conflict within ourselves, the contradictions, the opposing desires, the frustrations, the misery, can come to an end? - but not through some form of an invention or an image of the mind.
That is why it is so important to have self-knowledge, - not the knowledge that one learns from books, from the hearsay of another, or from listening to a few talks, but to be constantly aware, just to observe, without choice, what is actually going on within the mind, observing all the reactions, to be alert in our relationships, so that all the ways of our search, of our motives, of our fears, of our frustrations, are revealed. Because, if we do not know the origin of our thinking, the motive of our action, what the unconscious drive is, then all our thinking must inevitably be superficial and without very great significance. You may have superficial values; you may mouth that you believe in God, that you are seeking truth, and all the rest of it; but without knowing the inward nature of your own mind, the motive, the pursuit, the unconscious drive, - which is all revealed as one observes oneself in the mirror of relationship, - there is only sorrow and pain.
And I think that process of observation is seriousness. It is not giving oneself up to any particular idea, to any belief, to any dogma, or being caught in some idiosyncrasy; that is not seriousness. To be serious implies the awareness of the content of one's own mind, - just to observe it, without trying to distort it, - as when one sees one's face in the mirror; it is what it is. So, likewise, if we can observe our thoughts, our feelings, our whole being, in the mirror of relationship, of everyday activity, then we will find that there is no frustration of any kind. So long as we are seeking fulfilment in any form, there must be frustration. Because fulfilment implies the pursuit and the exaggeration of the self, the `me; and the `me', the self, is the very cause of sorrow. To understand the whole content of that `me', the self, all the layers of its consciousness, with its accumulations of knowledge, of likes and dislikes, - to be aware of all that, without judgment, without condemnation, is to be really serious.
That seriousness is the instrument with which the mind can go beyond the limitations of itself. After all, we want to find, do we not?, a sense of something greater than the mere inventions of the mind, something which is beyond the mind, something which is not a mere projection. If we can understand the mind, - the mind which is in me and in you, with all its subtleties, its deceptions, its various forms of urges, - in that very understanding there is an ending of its binding activities.
It is only when the mind no longer has any motive that it is possible for it to be still. In that stillness, a reality which is not the creation of the mind comes into being.
Question: A man fully occupied is kept busy day and night in his own subconsciousness with practical problems which have to be solved. Your vision can only be realized in the stillness of self-awareness. There is hardly any time for stillness; the immediate is too urgent. Can you give any practical suggestion?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what do we mean by "practical suggestion"? Something that you should do immediately? Some system that you should practise in order to produce a stillness of the mind? After all, if you practise a system, that system will produce a result; but it will only be the result of the system, and not your own discovery, not that which you find in being aware of yourself in your contacts in daily life. A system obviously produces its own result. However much you may practise it, for whatever length of time, the result will always be dictated by the system, the method. It will not be a discovery; it will be a thing imposed on the mind through its desire to find a way out of this chaotic, sorrowful world.
So what is one to do when one is so busy, occupied night and day, as most people are, with earning a livelihood? First of all, is one occupied the whole of the time with business, with a livelihood? Or, does one have periods during the day when you are not so occupied? I think those periods when you are not so occupied are far more important than the periods with which you are occupied. It is very important, is it not?, to find out what the mind is occupied with. If it is occupied, consciously occupied, with business affairs all the time, - which is really impossible, - then there is obviously no space, no quietness, in which to find anything new. Fortunately, most of us are not occupied entirely with our business, and there are moments when we can probe into ourselves, be aware. I think those periods are far more significant than our periods of occupation; and if we allow it, those moments will begin to shape, to control, our business activities, our daily life.
After all, the conscious mind, the mind that is so occupied, obviously has no time for any deeper thought. But the conscious mind is not the whole entirety of the mind; there is also the unconscious part. And, can the conscious mind delve into the unconscious? That is, can the conscious mind, the mind that wants to inquire, to analyze, - can that probe into the unconscious? Or, must the conscious mind be still, in order for the unconscious to give its hints, its intimations? Is the unconscious so very different from the conscious? Or, is the totality of the mind the conscious as well as the unconscious? The totality of the mind, as we know it, conscious and unconscious, is educat- ed, is conditioned, with all the various impositions of culture, tradition and memory. And perhaps the answer to all our problems is not within the field of the mind at all; it may be outside it. To find that which is the true answer to all the complex problems of our existence, of our daily struggle, surely the mind, the conscious as well as the unconscious, must be totally still, must it not?
And the questioner wants to know, when he is so busy, what shall he do? Surely he is not so busy, - surely he does amuse himself occasionally? If he begins to give some time during the day, five minutes, ten minutes, half-an-hour, in order to reflect upon these matters, then that very reflection brings longer periods in which he will have time to think, to delve. So I do not think mere superficial occupation of the mind has much significance. There is something far more important, - which is, to find out the operation of the mind, the ways of our own thinking, the motives, the urges, the memories, the traditions, in which the mind is caught. And we can do that while we are earning our livelihood, - so that we become fully conscious of ourselves and our peculiarities. Then I think it is possible for the mind to be really quiet, and so to find that which is beyond its own projections.
Question: All my life I have been dependent for happiness on some other person or persons. How can I develop the capacity to live with myself and stand alone?
Krishnamurti: Why do we depend on another for our happiness? Is it because in ourselves we are empty, and we look to another to fill that emptiness? And, is that emptiness, that loneliness, that sense of extraordinary limitation, to be overcome by any capacity? If it is to be overcome, that emptiness, through any system or capacity or idea, then you will depend on that idea or on that system. Now, I depend perhaps on a person. I feel empty, lonely, - a complete sense of isolation, - and I depend on somebody. And if I develop or have a method which will help me to overcome that dependence, then I depend on that method. I have only substituted a method for a person.
So, what is important in this is to find out what it means to be empty. After all, we depend on someone for our happiness because in ourselves we are not happy. I do not know what it is to love, therefore I depend on another to love me. Now, can I fathom this emptiness in myself, this sense of complete isolation, loneliness? Do we ever come face to face with it at all? Or, are we always frightened of it, always running away from it? The very process of running away from that loneliness, is dependence. So can my mind realize the truth that any form of running away from "what is' creates dependence, from which arises misfortune and sorrow? Can I just understand that, - that I depend on another for my happiness because in myself I am empty? That is the fact, - I am empty, and therefore I depend. That dependence causes misery. Running away in any form from that emptiness is not a solution at all, - whether we run away through a person, an idea, a belief, or God, or meditation, or what you will. To run away from the fact of `what is',is of no avail. In oneself there is insufficiency, poverty of being. Just to realize that fact, and to remain with that fact, - knowing that any movement of the mind to alter the fact is another form of dependence, - in that there is freedom.
After all, however much you may have of experience, knowledge, belief, and ideas, in itself, if you observe, the mind is empty. You may stuff it with ideas, with incessant activity, with distractions, with every form of addiction; but the moment you cease any form of that activity, one is aware that the mind is totally empty. Now, can one remain with that emptiness? Can the mind face that emptiness, that fact, and remain with that fact? It is very difficult and arduous, because the mind is so used to distraction, so trained to go away from `what is', to turn on the radio, to pick up a book, to talk, to go to church, to go to a meeting, - anything to enable it to wander away from the central fact that the mind in itself is empty. However much it may struggle to cover up that fact, it is empty in itself. When once it realizes that fact, can the mind remain in that state, without any movement whatsoever?
I think most of us are aware, - perhaps only rarely, since most of us are so terribly occupied and active, - but I think we are aware sometimes that the mind is empty. And, being aware, we are afraid of that emptiness. We have never inquired into that state of emptiness, we have never gone into it deeply, profoundly; we are afraid, and so we wander away from it. We have given it a name, we say it is `empty', it is `terrible', it is `painful; and that very giving it a name has already created a reaction in the mind, a fear, an avoidance, a running away. Now, can the mind stop running away, and not give it a name, not give it the significance of a word such as `empty' about which we have memories of pleasure and pain? Can we look at it, can the mind be aware of that emptiness, without naming it, without running away from it, without judging it, but just be with it? Because, then that is the mind. Then there is not an observer looking at it; there is no censor who condemns it; there is only that state of emptiness, - with which we are all really quite familiar, but which we are all avoiding, trying to fill it with activity, with worship, with prayer, with knowledge, with every form of illusion and excitement. But when all the excitement, illusion, fear, running away, stops, and you are no longer giving it a name and thereby condemning it, is the observer different then from the thing which is observed? Surely by giving it a name, by condemning it, the mind has created a censor, an observer, outside of itself. But when the mind does not give it a term, a name, condemn it, judge it, then there is no observer, only a state of that thing we have called `emptiness'.
Perhaps this may sound abstract. But if you will kindly follow what has been said, I am sure you will find that there is a state which may be called emptiness but which does not evoke fear, escape, or the attempt to cover it up. All that stops. when you really want to find out. Then, if the mind is no longer giving it a name, condemning it, is there emptiness? Are we then conscious of being poor and therefore dependent, of being unhappy and therefore demanding, attached? If you are no longer giving it a label, a name, and thereby condemning it, - the state which is perceived, is it any longer emptiness, or is it something totally different? If you can go into this very earnestly you will find that there is no dependence at all, on anything, - on any person, on any belief, on any experience, any tradition. Then, that which is beyond emptiness is creativeness, - the creativity of reality; not the creativity of a talent or capacity, but the creativity of that which is beyond fear, beyond all demand, beyond all the tricks of the mind.
Question: Will evolution help us to find God? Krishnamurti:I do not know what you mean by evolution, and what you mean by God.
I think this is a fairly important question to go into, because most of us think in terms of time, - time being the distance, the interval, between what I am and what I should be, the ideal. What I am is unpleasant, something to be changed, to be moulded into something which it is not. And to shape it, to give it respectability, to give it beauty, I need time. That is, I am cruel, greedy, or what you will, and I need time to transform that into the ideal, - the ideal may be called what you will, that is not of great importance. So, we are always thinking in terms of time.
And the questioner wants to know, if through time, that which is beyond time can be realized. We do not know what is beyond time. We are slaves to time; our whole mind thinks in terms of yesterday, today, or tomorrow. And being caught in that, the questioner wants to know if the
I can be reached through the process of time. There is obviously some form of evolution, growth, - from the simple car to the jet-plane, from the oil-lamp to electricity, the acquiring of more knowledge, more technique, developing and exploiting the earth, and so on. Obviously technologically there is progress, evolution, growth. But, is there a growth or evolution beyond that? Is there something in the mind which is beyond time, - the spirit, the soul, or whatever you like to call it? That which is capable of growth, of evolving, becoming, obviously is not part of the eternal, of something which is beyond time; it is still in time. If the soul, the spiritual entity, is capable of growth, than it is still the invention of the mind. If it is not the invention of the mind, it is of no time, therefore we need not bother about it. What we do have to be concerned with is, whether through time the inward nature, the inward being, changes at all.
The mind is obviously the result of time; your mind and my mind are the result of a series of educations, experiences, cultures, a variety of thoughts, impressions, strains, stresses, all of which has made us what we are now. And with that mind we are trying to find out something which is beyond time. But surely God, or truth, or whatever it is, must be totally new, must be something inconceivable, unknowable by the mind which is the result of time. So, can that mind which is the result of time, of tradition, of memory, of culture, - can that mind come to an end? - voluntarily, not by being drilled, not by being put into a straight-jacket. Can the mind, which is the result of time, bring about its own end?
After all, what is the mind? Thought, the capacity to think. And thinking is the reaction of memory, of association, of the various values, beliefs, traditions, experiences, conscious or unconscious; that is the background from which all thought springs. Can one be really aware of all that, and thereby enable thought to come to an end? Because thought is the result of time; and thinking obviously cannot bring about or reveal that which is beyond itself. Surely, only when the mind, as thought, as memory, comes to an end, only when it is completely, utterly still, without any movement, - then alone is it possible for that which is beyond the responses of the mind to come into being.
May 23, 1955.
Amsterdam 4th Public Talk 23rd May 1955
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