London 6th Public Talk 26th June 1955
I think it is important to find out for oneself what it is that we are seeking, and why we are seeking it. If we can go into this rather deeply I think we will discover a great many things involved in it. Most of us are seeking some kind of fulfillment. Being discontented, we want to find contentment, - either in some relationship, or by fulfilling certain capacities, or by searching for some kind of action that will be completely satisfying. Or, if we are not of that disposition, then we generally seek what we think is the truth, God, and so on. Most of us are seeking, searching; and if we could each find out for ourselves what it is that we are seeking, and why we seek, I think it would reveal a great deal.
Being discontented with ourselves, with our environment, with our activities, our particular job, most of us want a better job, a better position, a better understanding, wider activities, a more satisfying philosophy, a capacity that will be entirely gratifying. Outwardly, that is what we want; and when that does not satisfy us we go a little deeper, we pursue philosophy, go in for reform, gather together in various groups to discuss, and so on; and still there is discontent.
It seems to me that it is important to find out whether the motive for our search is to understand discontent, or to find satisfaction. Because if it is satisfaction that we are seeking, at any level, then obviously our minds become very petty. Whereas there may perhaps be a discontent without an object, discontent in itself, which is not the urge to achieve a result, to get somewhere. I think that most of us, being dissatisfied in our relationships, in our ways of life, in our attitudes, in the values that we have, are trying to shake them all off and find a different set of values, different relationships, different ideas, different beliefs; but behind it all there is this urge ta be satisfied. I think it would be important if we could find out for ourselves whether there is such a thing as a discontent which has no motive, which is not the outcome of some frustration; because that very discontent without motive may be the quality that is necessary.
At present when we seek, our search is the outcome of dissatisfaction, discontent, and our motive is to find gratification in some form or another. Especially when we talk about, truth or God, we are, are we not?, seeking some state of mind which will be completely satisfying. Whether the mind is extensive,clever, has much capacity or little, if it is seeking satisfaction - however subtle - then its gods, its virtues, its philosophies, its values, are bound to be petty, small, shallow. So, is it possible for the mind to be free of all search? Which means, really, to be free of that discontent which has the motive of finding satisfaction. Because however clever the mind is, however intelligent, and whatever virtues it has cultivated, surely if it is merely seeking gratification in any form it is incapable of grasping what is true. Surely all the thinking process is petty, is very limited. After all, thinking is the result of accumulated memory, of association, of experience, according to our conditioning; thinking is the reaction of that memory, thinking is the response of a conditioned mind. When that conditioning creates dissatisfaction, then any outcome of that dissatisfaction is surely still conditioned. Our search remains so utterly futile while it is based on a discontent which is merely the reaction to a particular conditioning.
If one sees that, then the question arises as to whether there is any other form of discontent, - whether there is a discontent which is not canalized, which has no motive, which is not seeking a fulfilment. It may be that discontent without any motive, the discontent which is not the response to a conditioning, is the one essential. At present our thinking, our search, has a motive, and that motive is based on our demand to find some permanent state of complete satisfaction where there will be no disturbance of any kind, - which we call peace, which we call God or truth; and all our purpose in seeking is to gain that state.
So, search for most of us is based on the demand for satisfaction, the demand for a state of permanency in which we shall never be disturbed. And can such a mind, thinking from a motive of finding satisfaction, ever discover what is true? It seems to me that one must understand for oneself the whole process of why one seeks, and not be satisfied by any chosen word, by any chosen end or target, however ennobling, inspiring, or ideal it may seem. Because surely, the very way of the self, the `me', is this constant process of discontent directed towards a fulfilment; that is all we know. When there is no fulfilment, there is frustration; and then come the many problems of how to overcome that frustration. So, the mind seeks a state in which there will be no frustration, no sorrow. Therefore our very search for so-called `truth' may be merely the fulfilment, the expansion, of the self, of the `me'. And so we are caught in this vicious circle.
If one is aware of all this, completely, totally, then there is no sense of fulfilment in any belief, in any dogma, in any activity, or in any particular state. The search for fulfilment implies sorrow, frustration; and seeing the truth of that, the mind then is no longer seeking.
I think there is a difference between the attention which is given to an object, and attention without object. We can concentrate on a particular idea, belief, object, - which is an exclusive process; and there is also an attention, an awareness, which is not exclusive. Similarly, there is a discontent which has no motive, which is not the outcome of some frustration, which cannot be canalized, which cannot accept any fulfilment. Perhaps I may not be using the right word for it, but I think that that extraordinary discontent is the essential. Without that, every other form of discontent merely becomes a way to satisfaction.
So can the mind, being aware of itself, knowing its own ways of thinking, put an end to this demand for self-fulfilment? And, when that comes to an end, can one remain without seeking and be completely in a state of void, with neither hope nor fear? Must not one arrive at that state when there is complete cessation of all seeking? - for then only is it possible for something to take place which is not the product of the mind.
After all, our thinking is the result of time, of many yesterdays; and through time, which is thinking, we are trying to find something which is beyond time. We are using the mind, the instrument of time, to find something which cannot be measured. So can the mind totally cease, for something else to take place? Which does not mean, surely, a state of amnesia, a state of blankness, a state of thoughtlessness. On the contrary, it requires a great deal of alertness, an awareness in which there is no object nor an entity who is aware.
I think this is important to understand. At present when we are aware, simply, daily, there is in that awareness condemnation, judgment, evaluation; that is our normal awareness. When we look at a picture, immediately the whole process of condemnation, comparison, evaluation, is taking place; and we never see the picture, because the screen of the evaluating process has come between. Can one look at that picture without any evaluation, without any comparison? Similarly, can I look at myself whatever I am, all the mistakes, a miseries, failures, sorrows, joys, and see it all without evaluation, just be aware of it, without introducing the screen of condemnation or comparison? If the mind is capable of doing this, then we will find that that very awareness burns away the root of any particular problem.
When the mind is so aware, so totally aware, then there is no search; the mind is no longer comparing seeking satisfaction, thinking in terms of achievement. Then, is not the mind itself timeless? So long as the mind is comparing, condemning, judging, is conditioned, then it is in time; but when all that has totally ceased then is not the mind itself that state which may be called the eternal? In that there is no observer, no experiencer who has associations, who has memories, who is seeking, - which is all the product of time. So long as the experiencer is seeking, trying to fulfil, trying to gather experience, more knowledge, trying to find vaster fields in which to live, he is creating time, and whatever his actions are they will always be in the field of time.
That which is measureless can never be found by the experiencer, by the seeker. It is only in that state in which the mind is no longer seeking, when the mind is not cultivating, through search, an end to be achieved, - only then is it possible for reality to come into being.
Question: I am very interested in what you are saying, and feel full of enthusiasm. What can I actually do about it?
Krishnamurti: Enthusiasm soon fails. If you are merely inspired by what is being said, that inspiration will disappear, and you will seek another form of inspiration, or another sensation. But if what is being said is part of your own discovery, the result of your own inward inquiry, then it is yours, it is not another's. But if it is another's, then you have the whole complicated, tiresome, corroding process of building authority and worshipping authority. If you have listened, and if you have understood, then naturally you will do something about it; Aut if you are merely enthusiastic, `inspired', then you will join groups, form societies, organizations, - which will become another hindrance. After all, what is it that we are talking about? I am not saying anything new. We are only trying to understand how to observe the whole process of consciousness,that which we are. To understand oneself there must be self-knowledge, an awareness in which there is no condemnation, comparison, judgment,just the capacity to be aware, to know the way of our thought, the way of the self; and that needs no authority, surely. It is for you, as an individual, to find out for yourself.
The difficulty is that we want encouragement, we want companionship, we want to be told that we are doing very well, we want to meet others thinking along the same lines, which are all distractions. This is something that must be done entirely by yourself. You will find, if I may suggest, as you go deeper and deeper into the whole issue, that you will discover for yourself a state which will act of its own accord, you do not have to do anything. If you discover something real, that truth will operate itself. But we want to do something about it. So we begin to condition ourselves further by every kind of experience, in order to satisfy our own particular vanity through action.
But I think there is an activity which comes into being that is not the result of hearing a few talks or reading some books; it is an activity which comes into being because you yourself have experienced a state beyond the mind. But if you cling to that experience and try to act from it, because you think you have understood something, then it becomes your own impediment.
Question: How can we have peace in this world?
Krishnamurti: First of all let us see if anybody can give us peace. Politicians cannot give peace. There will be no peace while there are nationalists, while there are armies, separate governments, barriers of belief, barriers of religion,at least, so-called religion. There may be peace through terror, but surely that is not peace. Peace is something entirely different, is it not? Peace is the cessation of inward violence,that violence which expresses itself through ambition, through competition. And, are you and I willing to give up our ambitions? To be as nothing?
Peace is a state of mind, is it not?, which cannot be bought. And how is one to come to this inward sense of peace? Not through self-hypnosis, not by saying "I will be peaceful", and practicing the virtue of non-violence. That is merely a process of hypnotizing oneself into a certain state. So one can actually, inwardly psychologically, put aside all nationality,all sense of ambition, all sense of comparing oneself with somebody else?for all those things breed violence and envy, Only then is it possible, surely to have a world that can be called ours.
It is not our world now. Western civilization is opposed to Eastern civilization, and there is either the English world or the American world of the Communist world and so on. It is not our world, yours and mine, to live in. And that world of ours cannot come into being if any one of us has any sense of nationality, any sense of competition, of trying to achieve a result, becoming something. So long as I am trying to become something there is violence,which expresses itself in competition, in ruthlessness. So is it not possible for you and me, actually, not theoretically, to be as nothing, not as an escape be- cause my ambitions have not been fulfilled and therefore I try to become nothing, or because I have no opportunities for my capacities and therefore I try to become peaceful, but because I understand the whole process, the inward nature, of violence.
If I love something for itself there is no need for competition is there? It love what I am doing, not because of what it is going to bring me, the reward, the punishment, the achievement, the notoriety, and all the rest of it, but for its own sake, then all sense of competition has been rooted out of me, because I am no longer concerned with who is greater and who is less. Because we do not think in these terms, we have violence. There may be pacts, legislation perhaps, which will bring superficial peace; but inwardly we are seeking inwardly we are competing, struggling, trying to express ourselves to be something. And so long as that violence exists there will be no peace, do what you will.
To have peace there must be deep understanding of the ways of the self, the me that is competing, trying to become something. It is very difficult to understand that and to let go of it. All our tradition, all our education, our social culture, everything, as conditioned us to be something, and we think that if we are nothing we shall be destroyed. In fact, we e destroying ourselves because we are trying to be something, either as group, an individual, a nation, or a class; that is what is actually happening. We are destroying ourselves because we all demand to be something. But if we can understand the whole process of this urge to be something, Then perhaps, in being nothing, we may find a different way of living, which may be the only true way. But this requires a total revolution, - not the communist, or any other kind of outward revolution, but a complete inward revolution, in which there is no division as your religion and my religion, your belief and my belief. Then this is our world, to live in. From that feeling that the world is ours, a totally different kind of culture, of government, of power, can come into being.
Question: You say that if one thinks out completely a thought that arises, it will not take root, and one is therefore free of it. But even when I have done so to the best of my ability, the thought crops up again. How then can I deal with it?
Krishnamurti: You try to think out a thought completely because you want to get rid of it, do you not? Is that not the reason why you try to think out a thought completely? For the questioner says, "I cannot get rid of it, it recurs again and again". So he is concerned with getting rid of a particular thought; that is the motive of his examination. Therefore he is not thinking it out completely at all because all he wants is to be rid of a particular thought which is tiresome which is painful. If it is pleasant, obviously he will keep it, therefore there is no problem; it is the unpleasant thought that he wants to get rid of. So that is his motive for thinking it out. And if he is concerned with a particular thought only with the idea of getting rid of it, he is already condemning it, is he not?-He merely opposes a thought with the desire to remove it. So how can - he understand the thought completely when his intention is to put it away
So, what is important is not how to think out a thought completely, but to understand that you cannot think completely if there is any sense of condemnation, - which is fairly obvious, is it not? If I want to understand a child, I must study the child, I must not condemn him, I must not say "This child is better than that child", or identify myself with the child. I must watch him, - when he t is playing, when he is weeping, crying, eating, sleeping. So, can my mind watch a particular thought without naming it? Because, the very naming of a particular thought is already condemning it.
This is rather a complex process, but if you will kindly listen I am sure you will get the significance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious; and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it, and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons; but we are never able to get rid of it, it goes on and on indefinitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word `envy' has a condemnatory sense, I feel; so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called `envy' from the word? Because, the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as `envy', - with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word `envy' is associated the whole psychological and religious significance of condemnation. So, can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then, is there an entity, a `me', who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.
Let us go into this a little bit more. Please, if I may suggest, watch your own minds in operation; do not listen to me merely intellectually verbally but examine any particular feeling of envy or of violence with which you are familiar, and go into it with me. Let us say, I am envious. The ordinary response to that is either justifying it, or condemning it. I am justifying when I say to myself "I am not really envious. My desire to become somebody is a part of culture, a part of my society, and without it I shall be a nobody". Or I condemn it, because I feel it is not spiritual, or for whatever reasons there may be. So, I approach that feeling which I call `envy', either justifying it or condemning it. Now, if I do neither, - which is extremely difficult, because it means I have to free the mind from all my conditioning of the past, of the culture in which I have been brought up, - if the mind is free of that, then the mind also must be free of the word, - because that very word `envy' implies condemnation. You understand? Now, my mind is made up of words, of symbols, of ideas; those symbols, ideas, words, are `me'. And can there be a feeling of envy when there is no verbalization, when there is the cessation of all that is associated with the `me', which is the very essence of envy? So, is envy ever experienced when that `me' is absent? - because that `me' is the very essence of condemnation, verbalization, comparison.
To think out a thought completely, go to the very root of it, there must be an awareness in which there is no sense of condemnation, justification, and all the rest of it, nor any sense of trying to overcome a problem. Because if I am merely trying to dissolve a problem, then my attention is focussed on the dissolution of it, and not on the understanding of the problem. The problem is the way I think, the way I act; and if I condemn my way, the way I am, it obviously blocks further investigation. If I say "I must not be this and I must be that", then there is no understanding of the ways of the `me', whose very nature is envy, acquisitiveness.
The question is, can I be so deeply aware, without any sense of condemnation or comparison? - for then only is it possible to think out a thought completely.
Question: You appear to dismiss Yoga as useless, and I agree with you that Yoga is often practised as a method to escape from `what is'. But if we avoid the artificial fixing of the mind on a chosen object, and allow our so-called meditation to take the form of an inquiry over the whole field of `what is', without expecting any particular answer, this surely is what you recommend. Do you not think also that we may be able to do this difficult thing more easily if we have learned to quieten the body and the breathing
Krishnamurti: The questioner wants to know, really, how to meditate: whether quietening the body and steadying the breath will not help in meditation, - which is the process of inquiring over the whole field of `what is' and not running away from it. So let us find out flow to meditate.
Now, if you will kindly listen, without focussing your attention on any particular sentence, on any particular phrase of the answer, we can inquire together into the whole question of how to meditate. To me, the 'how' is not the problem at all. The problem is, what is meditation? If I do not know what is meditation the mere inquiry how to meditate has no significance. So my inquiry is not, how co to meditate, what method to follow, how to be aware of `what is' without escaping, how to sit quietly, how to repeat certain words and so on. We are not discussing all that. If I know what meditation is, then the question of how to meditate will not be an issue, surely.
Now, what is meditation? As we do not know what meditation is, we have no idea how to begin; so we must approach it with an open mind, must we not? Do you understand; You must come to it with a free mind which says "I do not know", and not with an occupied mind which is asking "How am I to meditate?" Please, it you will really follow this, - not hold on to what I am saying but actually experience the thing as we go along, - then you will find out for yourself the significance of meditation.
We have so far approached this problem with an attitude of asking how to meditate, what systems to follow, how to breathe, what kind of Yoga practices to do, and all the rest of it, - because we think we know what meditation is, and that the `how' will lead us to something. But do we know what meditation is, actually? I do not, nor, I think, do you. So we must both come to the question with a mind that says "I do not know", - though we may have read hundreds of books and practised many Yoga disciplines. You do not know actually.-You only hope, you only desire, you only want, through a particular pattern of action, of discipline, to arrive at a certain state. And that state may be utterly illusory; it may be only your own wish. And surely it is; it is your own projection, as a reaction from the daily existence of misery.
So, the first essential is not how to meditate, but to find out what is meditation. Therefore the mind must come to it without knowing, - and that is extremely difficult. We are so used to thinking that a particular system is essential in order to meditate, - either the repetition of words, as prayer, or the taking of a certain posture, or fixing the mind on a particular phrase or on a picture, or breathing regularly, making the body very still, having complete control of the mind; with these things we are familiar. And we believe these things will lead us to something which we think is beyond the mind, beyond the transient process of thought. We think we already know what we want, and we are now trying to compare which is the best way. That issue of `how' to meditate is completely false. But, can I find out what meditation is? That is the real question. It is an extraordinary thing, to meditate, to know what meditation is, so let us find out.
Surely meditation is not the pursuit of any system, is it? Can my mind entirely eliminate this tradition of a discipline, of a method? - which exists not only here, but also in India. That is essential, is it not? because I do not know what meditation is. I know how to concentrate, how to control, how to discipline, what to do; but I do not know what is at the end of it, I have only been told, "If you do these things, you will get it", and because I am greedy I carry out those practices. So can I, to find out what meditation is, eliminate this demand for a method?
The very going into all this is meditation, is it not? I am meditating the moment I begin to inquire what is meditation, - instead of how to meditate. The moment I begin to find out for myself what is meditation, my mind, not knowing, must reject everything that it knows, - which means, I must put aside my desire to achieve a state. Because the desire to achieve is the root, the base, of my search for a method. I have known moments of peace, quietness, and a sense of `other-ness', and I want to achieve that again, to make it a permanent state, - so I pursue the `how'. I think I already know what the other state is, and that a method will lead me to it. But if I already know what the other is, then it is not what is true, it is merely a projection of my own desire.
My mind, when it is really inquiring what meditation is, understands the desire to achieve, to gain a result, and so is free from it. Therefore it has completely set aside all authority; because, we do not know what meditation is, and no one can tell us. My mind is completely in a state of `not knowing', there is no method, no prayer, no repetition of words, no concentration, - because it sees that concentration is only another form of achievement. The concentration of the mind on a particular idea, hoping thereby to train itself to go further by exclusion, implies, again, a state of `knowing'. So, if I do not know, then all these things must go. I no longer think in terms of achieving, arriving. There is no longer a sense of accumulation which will help me to reach the other shore.
So, when I have done that, have I not found what meditation is? There is no conflict, no struggle; there is a sense of not accumulating, - at all times, not at any particular time. So, meditation is the process of complete denudation of the mind, the purgation of all sense of accumulation and achievement, - which is the very nature of the self, the `me'. Practising various methods only strengthens that `me'. You may cover it up, you may beautify it, refine it; but it is still the `me'. So, meditation is the uncovering of the ways of the self.
And you will find, if you can go deeply into it, that there is never a moment when meditation becomes a habit. For habit implies accumulation, and where there is accumulation there is the process of the self asking for more, demanding further accu- mulation. Such meditation is within the field of the known, and has no significance whatsoever except as a means of hypnotizing oneself.
The mind can only say "I do not know", - actually, not merely verbally, - when it has wiped away, through awareness, through self-knowledge, this whole sense of accumulation. So meditation is dying to one's accumulations, - not, achieving a state of silence, of quietness. So long as the mind is capable of accumulating, then the urge is always for more. And the `more' demands the system, the method, the setting up of authority, - which are all the very ways of the self. When the mind has completely seen the fallacy of that, then it is in a constant state of `not knowing'. Such a mind can then receive that which is not measurable and which only comes into being from moment to moment.
June 26, 1955
London 6th Public Talk 26th June 1955
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