London 4th Public Talk 24th June 1955
It seems to me that one of the most difficult problems is this question of how to bring about a fundamental change in ourselves. We often think the transformation of the individual is not important, but that we should rather be concerned with the mass, with the whole. I think that is quite a mistaken idea. I think transformation must begin with the individual, - if there is such an entity as the individual. There must be a fundamental change in you and me.
One can see that any conscious change is no change at all. The deliberate process of bringing about self-improvement, the deliberate cultivation of a particular pattern or form of action, does not bring about a real change at all, for it is merely a projection of one's own desire, of one's own background, as a reaction. Yet we are most of us concerned over this question of change, because we are groping, we are confused. And those of us who are at all given to seriousness must vitally inquire into this question of how to bring about a change in ourselves. The difficulty, it seems to me, lies in understanding the fact that any form of change in a conditioned mind gives only a different conditioning, not a transformation. If I, as a Hindu, or a Christian, or what you will, try to change within that pattern, it is no real change at all, it is only perhaps a seemingly better, more convenient, more adaptive conditioning; but fundamentally it is not a change. I think one of the greatest difficulties we are confronted with is that we think we can change within the pattern. Whereas, surely, for a mind which is conditioned by society, by any form of culture, to bring about a conscious change within the pattern is still a process of conditioning. If that is very clear, then I think our inquiry to find out what transformation is, how it is possible to bring about a radical change in ourselves, becomes very interesting, a vital issue. Because, culture, - that is, the society about us, - can never produce a religious man; it can breed `religion', but it cannot bring about a religious man.
Now, if I may somewhat go off the point, most of us have a strong reaction to that word `religion'. Some like it, the very word gives them a sense of emotional satisfaction; others are repelled by the word. But I think it is important to find out how to truly listen to what is being said. How does one listen? You hear the word `religion', and either you like it or you dislike it. That very word acts as a barrier to further understanding, to further exploration, because one reacts to the word. But can one listen without that reaction? For if we can listen without any reaction, without our prejudices, our peculiarities, our idiosyncrasies, our beliefs, coming in the way, then I think we can go very far. But it is very arduous to put our prejudices aside and give complete attention to something that is being said. Attention becomes narrow, exclusive, when it is merely concentrated on a particular idea. Most of us have ideas, certain prejudices, and so long as we are thinking along those lines we may pay so-called attention, but it is really only a form of exclusion, - which is not attention at all.
What I am suggesting is that to really listen, one must be aware of one,s own prejudices, one,s own emotional and neurological reactions to a particular word, like `God', `religion' `love', and so on, and put those reactions aside. If one can so listen, attentively, not looking for any particular idea which may tally with one's own, or any which may go contrary to one's own, then I think these talks will be worthwhile.
So, as I was saying, culture can only produce religions, not a religious man. And I think it is only the religious man who can really bring about a radical change within himself. Any change, any alteration within the conditioned mind of a particular culture, is no real change, it is merely a continuation of the same thing modified. I think that is fairly obvious, if one thinks about it, - that so long as I have the pattern of a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist, or what you will, any change I bring about within that pattern is a conscious change, still part of the pattern, and therefore no change at all. Then the question arises, can I bring about a change through the unconscious? That is, either I start consciously to change the pattern of my living, the ways I think, to remove consciously my prejudices, - which is all a deliberate process of effort in the pursuit of a determined object, ideal, - or, one tries to bring about a change by delving into the unconscious.
Surely, in both these approaches is involved the problem of effort. I see I must change, - for various reasons, for various motives, - and I consciously set about changing. Then I realize, if I think about it at all, that it is not a real change, and so I delve into the unconscious, go into that very deeply, hoping through various forms of analysis to bring about a change, a modification, or a deeper adjustment. And now, I ask myself whether this conscious and unconscious effort to change does bring about a change at all? Or, must one go beyond the conscious as well as the unconscious to bring about a radical change? You see, both the conscious desire as well as the unconscious urge to change imply effort. If you go into it very deeply you will see that in trying to change oneself into something else, there is always the one who makes the effort and also that which is static, that upon which the effort is exerted. So in this process of desire to bring about a change, - whether it is conscious or unconscious, - there is always the thinker and the thought, the thinker trying to change his thought, - the one who says "I must change", and the state which he desires to change. So, there is this duality; and we are always, everlastingly, trying to bridge this gap, through effort. I see in myself that there is, in the conscious as well as in the unconscious, the maker of the effort and that which he wishes to change. There is a division between that which I am and that which I wish to be. Which means, there is a division between the thinker and the thought; and so there is a conflict. And the thinker is always trying to overcome that conflict, consciously or unconsciously.
We are quite familiar with this process, it is what we are doing all the time; all our social structure, our moral structure, our adjustments, and so on, are based on that. But does that bring about a change? If not, then must not a change come about at a totally different level which is not in the field either of the conscious or of the unconscious? Surely the whole field of the mind, the conscious as well as the unconscious, is conditioned by our particular culture. That is fairly obvious. So long as I am a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian, or what you will, the very culture in which I have been brought up conditions my whole being. My whole being is the conscious as well as the unconscious. In the field of the unconscious are all the traditions, the residue of all the past of man, inherited as well as acquired; and in the field of the conscious I am trying to change. Such change can only be according to my conditioning, and therefore can never bring about freedom. So transformation, obviously, is something which is not of the mind at all; it must be at a different level altogether at a different depth, at a different height.
So, how am I to transform? I see the truth - at least, I see something in it - that a change, a transformation, must begin at a level which the mind, as the conscious or the unconscious, cannot reach, because my consciousness as a whole is conditioned. So, what am I to do? I hope I am making the problem clear? If I may put it differently, can my mind, the conscious as well as the unconscious, be free of society? - society being all the education, the culture, the norm, the values, the standards. Because if it is not free, then whatever change it tries to bring about within that conditioned state is still limited, and therefore no change at all. If I see the truth of that, what is the mind to do? If I say it must become quiet, then that very `becoming quiet' is part of the pattern, it is the outcome of my desire to bring about a transformation at a different level.
So, can I look, without any motive? Can my mind exist without any incentive, without any motive to change or not to change? Because, any motive is the outcome of the reaction of a particular culture, is born out of a particular background. So, can my mind be free from the given culture in which I have been brought up? This is really quite an important question. Because if the mind is not free from the culture in which it has been reared, nurtured, surely the individual can never be at peace, can never have freedom. His gods and his myths, his symbols and all his endeavours are limited, for they are still within the field of the conditioned mind. Whatever efforts he makes, or does not make, within that limited field, are really futile, in the deepest sense of that word. There may be a better decoration of the prison, - more light, more windows, better food, - but it is still the prison of a particular culture.
So, can the mind, realizing the totality of itself, not just the superficial layers or certain depths, - can the mind come to that state when transformation is not the result of a conscious or unconscious effort? If that question is clear, then the reaction to the problem arises, - how is one to reach such a state? Surely the very question "how?" is another barrier? Because the `how' implies the search for, and practice of, a certain system, a method, the `steps' towards that fundamental, deep, inevitable transformation at a new level. You understand? The `how' implies the desire to reach, the urge to achieve; and that very attempt to be something is the product of our society, which is acquisitive, which is envious. So we are caught again.
So, what is the mind to do? I see the importance of change. And I see that any change at any level of the conscious or unconscious mind is no change at all. If I really understand that, if I have grasped the truth of it - that so long as there is the maker of the effort, the thinker, the `I' trying to achieve a result, there must be a division, and hence the desire to bring about an abridgment, an integration between the two, which involves conflict, - if I see the truth?f that, then, what happens?
Here is the problem: Do I see that any effort I make within the field of thinking, conscious as well as unconscious, must entail a separation, a duality, and therefore conflict? If I see the truth of that, then what happens? Then, have I, has the conscious or unconscious mind, to do anything? Please, this is not some oriental philosophy of doing nothing, or going into some kind of mysterious trance. On the contrary, this requires a great deal of thought, penetration, and inquiry. One cannot come to it unless one has gone through the whole process of understanding the conscious as well as the unconscious, not by merely saying "Well, I won't think, and then things will happen". Things won't happen. That is why it is very important to have self-knowledge. Not self-knowledge according to some philosopher or some psychoanalyst, great or little, - that is mere imitation, it is like reading a book and trying to be that book; that is not self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is actually discovering in oneself the process of one's thinking, fee]ing, motives, responses, - the actual state in which we are, not a desired state.
That is why it is very important to have self-knowledge, - of whatever we are, ugly, good, bad, beautiful, joyous, the whole of it, - to know one's superficial conditioning as well as the deeper unconscious conditioning of centuries of tradition, of urges, compulsions, imitations, - to know, to actually experience the whole totality through self-knowledge. Then I think we will find that the conscious as well as the unconscious mind no longer makes any movement to achieve a change; but a change comes about, a transformation comes about, at a totally different level, - at a height, a depth, which the conscious as well as the unconscious mind can never touch. The transformation must begin there, not at the conscious or unconscious level which is the product of a culture.
That is why it is very important to be free of society, through self-knowledge. And I think then, when this whole process of recognition by society has ceased, when the mind is no longer concerned with reform of any kind, - then there is a radical transformation which the conscious or the unconscious mind cannot t-ouch, and from that transformation a different society, a different state, can be brought about. But that state, that society, cannot be conceived of, - it must come from the depths of self-discovery. So it seems to me that what is important is this inquiry into the `self', the `me', and to know the self as it is, with its ambitions, envies, aggressive demands, deceptions, the division as the high and the low, - to uncover it, so that not only the conscious mind is revealed but also the unconscious, the storehouse of past tradition, the centuries of deposits of all kinds of experiences. Knowing the totality of that is the ending of it. Then the mind, not being concerned with society, with recognition, with reformation, even with the changing of itself, finds that there is a change, that there is a transforma- tion, which is not the outcome of a purposeful effort to produce a result.
Question: I am an artist, and very much concerned with the technique of painting. Is it possible that this very concern hinders the true creative expression?
Krishnamurti: I wonder why most of us, including the artist, are so concerned with technique? We are all asking "How?" - how am I to be more happy, how am I to find God, how am I to be a better artist, how am I to do this or that? We are all concerned with the `how'. I am violent, I want to know how to be non-violent. Being so concerned with technique, and as the world offers nothing but that, we are caught in it. We pursue the technique because we want results. I want to be a great artist, engineer, musician, I want to achieve fame, notoriety. My ambition drives me to seek the method.
Can an artist, or any human being, if he is pursuing a technique, really be an artist? Whereas, if one loves the very thing one is doing, then is one not an artist? But we do not understand what that word means. Can I love a thing for itself, for its own sake, if I am ambitious, if I want to be known? If I want to be the best painter, the best poet, the greatest saint, if I am seeking a result, can I then really love a thing for itself? If I am envious, if I am imitative, if there is any fear; any competition, can I love that which I am doing?
If I love a thing, then I can learn the technique, - how to mix colour; or what you will. But now, we do not have this sense of real love of a thing. We are full of ambition, envy; we want to be a success. And so, we are learning techniques, and losing the real thing, - not losing it, because we have never had it. At present our whole mind is given to acquiring a technique which we get us somewhere. If I love what I am doing, surely then there is no problem, there is no competition, is there? I am doing what I want to do, - not because it gives me any publicity, to me that is not important. What is important is to totally love what one is doing, and that very love is then the guide.
If the parent wants his son to follow in his footsteps, to be something, if the parents try to fulfil themselves in their children, then there is no love; it is merely self-projection. The very love of the child will bring its own culture, will it not? But unfortunately we do not think in these ways. And so there is this whole problem, this astonishing development of technique.
Question: I am entirely occupied with the ordinary cares, joys and sorrows of daily life. I am quite aware that my mind is exclusively taken up with action, reaction, and motive, but I cannot go beyond these. Since reading your books and hearing you speak I see that there is another and a completely different way of living, but I cannot find the key which will unlock the door of my cramped, narrow abode, and lead me into freedom. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: I wonder if we are aware what our minds are occupied with! As the questioner says, the mind is only occupied with superficial things, - earning a livelihood, parenthood, all the rest of it. But do we know what our mind is occupied with at a deeper level? Apart from the daily occupations, do we know what our mind is occupied with at a different level, the unconscious? Or, are our conscious minds so occupied during the day, all the time, that, we do not know what the unconscious is occupied with? Are we aware what we are occupied with, apart from the daily routine, daily existence?
For most of us, our occupation is with the daily process of, living, and we are concerned with how to bring about a change in that, a better adjustment, more happiness, less of this and more of that. To hold on to superficial happiness,to put away certain things that cause us pain, to avoid certain stresses, strains, to adjust ourselves to certain relationships, and so on,that is our whole occupation.
Now, can we let that occupation alone,let it go on, on the surface, and find out deep down what our mind is unconsciously occupied with? We all see that there must be some kind of adjustment on the surface; but are we concerned with the deeper occupation of the mind? Do I know, and do you know, what the deeper mind is occupied with? Surely we should find out, because that occupation may translate itself into the superficial occupations and adjustments with their joys and sorrows, their miseries and trials. So unless you and I know the deeper occupations of the mind, mere alteration at the surface has very little meaning.
Surely all superficial occupation must come to an end? If my mind is occupied all the time with superficial adjustments, putting the picture straight which someone else has made askew, always concerned about the things of the home, about my children, about my wife, about what society thinks and doesn't think, about my neighbour's opinion, and so on, can that mind, which is already occupied, discover the deeper occupation of itself? Or, must not the superficial occupation come to an end? That is, can we let it go on, adjust itself without force, but also inquire deeply into what our mind is occupied with at a deeper level?
What is it occupied with at a deeper level? Do you and I know? Or do we merely conjecture about it, or think someone else can tell us? Surely I cannot find out unless I am not totally occupied with the superficial adjustments. That is, there must be release from the superficial, to find out. But we dare not release, we dare not let go, because we do not know what is below, we are frightened, we are scared. That is why most of us are occupied. Deep down there may be complete loneliness, a sense of deep frustration, fear, agonizing ambition, or what you will, - for of that we are not fully conscious. But being a little conscious, or being slightly aware, we are frightened of all that. So we are concerned with the room, the pictures, the lampshades, who comes and goes, the parties; we read books, listen to the radio, join groups, - you know, the whole wretched business. All that may be an escape from the deeper issue. And to examine the deeper issue, there must be the letting go of the room, and the contents of the room. Unfortunately, we want the room, and the discovery of the other is something we never allow ourselves to experience.
It is not a question of trying to reach the deeper level. Trying is always a question of time. If I want to inquire into the deeper issue, and I see the necessity of letting the superficial things alone, then there is no trying. I do not try to open the door and consciously make a move to get out of the house. I know I must get out, and I get out, - the door is there. There is no attempt to reach that door; you are not thinking in terms of trying. Understanding and action are simultaneous. But such integration cannot take place if you are merely concerned with the surface level. Question: Is there any real significance in dreams? What happens during sleep?
Krishnamurti: I think it would be good if we could go into this question very deeply. So, if I may suggest, do not merely listen to the description, but actually experience what is being said. Then perhaps we can go together into the significance of this whole process of sleeping and dreaming.
During the day, the waking hours, we are so occupied with our worries, with our miseries, with our little joys, the job, the livelihood, the passing fashions and all the rest of it, that we never receive any intimation, any hint of the deeper things; the superficial mind is too busy, too active. So when we sleep we begin to dream; and you can see that the dreams take various forms. various symbols, which contain the intimations, the hints. Then, realizing that these dreams have some kind of significance, we seek interpretations, in order to translate them into our daily life. So the interpreter becomes very important. and we gradually begin to depend on others, psychologically. Or else we interpret for ourselves, according to our own likes and dislikes; and so again we are caught.
Is it possible not to dream at all? The expert psychologists say it is impossible, - that though we may not remember it, there is always a dream process going on. But can I, can you and I, receive the intimations, the hints, in the waking hours, during the day, when the mind is alert? - at least, supposed to be alert. That is, can my mind not let a single thought go by, - please listen, - not let a single thought go by without knowing all the contents of that thought? Which does not mean I must be so concentrated that I will not let one thought escape me; you cannot be so concentrated. Thought will escape you; but there will be other thoughts.
So, can one play with a thought, - I'm using the word `play' deliberately, - and find out the whole content of it? - the motive, the reaction, and the further reaction of that motive. Which means, to have no condemnation of that thought, no justification, no comparison, no evaluation, but just to observe that thought as it arises. Can we watch each thought, as it goes by, so that the mind becomes aware of the depths of each thought, and begins to purgate itself of all the contents of its own thoughts? - and there are not very many thoughts, either. And, when the mind has finished watching thought, pursuing thought, then can it invite thought? So that all the thoughts that are hidden, accumulated in the dark, can be brought out, examined, looked at, gone into, - again, without condemnation, without evaluation, - just looked at, so as to know the whole business of it.
I am not describing a method. Please do not translate this as a method to empty the mind so as not to dream. Because all dreams, as we said, are mere intimations, hints, which will become unnecessary if during the waking consciousness we are extraordinarily alert, alive, aware of all the inward things. Then what happens when one does go to sleep? As the conscious mind has uncovered all the unconscious intimations, hints, warnings, and gone deeply into the unconscious during the day, it has become fatigued and quiet. So there is no contradiction, no conflict, between the conscious and the unconscious; there is a quietude. Then the mind can go beyond, can reach something which the conscious and unconscious mind can never reach.
I do not know if you have ever experimented with this, just for the fun of it, - not for any result, not in order to find a state of consciousness which is not touched, corrupted, by any human being; then it becomes a bargaining, a trade.But if one can really, without any motive, just find out, then sleep has a great deal of significance. What I am saying has nothing to do with the astral plane and all that stuff, the imaginations and peculiarities of our particular conditioning; all that must obviously go. Every thing that one has acquired, learned, must totally disappear. Then only is it possible, during that state which we call sleep, for something to come into being which is not the product of our ambitions, envies, desires, and pursuits.
I think it is very important to understand all this. And to understand it one must have self-knowledge,how the mind works during the day, it's motives, it's actions and reactions,so that at the end of the day the conscious mind becomes very quiet. Then, the contradiction between the conscious and the unconscious having been understood, the mind becomes really still,not made still. The mind that is made still is a dead mind, a corrupt mind. But the mind that is still through understanding, the mind that to stillness because of self-knowledge, such a mind in sleep can perhaps reach something,or rather, some thing else can reach the mind which the mind itself cannot pursue. Then, it seems to me, such a sleep has significance in the waking hours.
But that requires great delving, and not clinging to anything that one has discovered. Because if you are tied to your own knowledge, or to the knowledge of others you cannot go very far. There must be the dying to everything that one has accumulated, to every experience that one has rejoiced in or put aside. It is only then that something is beyond the mind can touch it.
June 24, 1955.
London 4th Public Talk 24th June 1955
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