Bombay 5th Public Talk 10th December 1958
Most of us are too occupied to admit the need of change. The mind is incessantly active, in a turmoil, occupied with this and that, with the innumerable problems of life, not only the external but the inward also, and this constant occupation both in the conscious and the unconscious does not allow a change to take place. It seems to me that it is very important to go very deeply into this question of change, because with the onrush of events, with the conflicting and contradictory environmental influences, with the pressures of social upheavals and the establishment of tyrannies, military dictatorships and so on, change merely becomes an outward adjustment. So the question is, is there change at all? If so, at what level do we change? And what do we mean by change? You and I obviously see that there must be some kind of change, not only in governments, in the economic and social structures, but also in the way of our living, in the way of our thoughts and aspirations. In all these things there must be some kind of revolution, some kind of change. Is it merely continued modification that is needed, or is there a need for a change which is totally different, which is not merely within the field of time?
I shall go into this, if I may, this evening. It seems to me that all the changes that take place under pressure, under influence, under social revolutions are in fact no change at all; they are merely adjustments to the environment. And that is what is happening all the time, constantly. A new government, a new social order, a new way of thinking comes into being - through propaganda, through various forms of mass communication - and because of the pressure we automatically adjust ourselves to it. That is what is actually going on in the world, and this striving to adjust, this struggle to conform, this incessant urge to yield, to follow, obviously wears down the mind, and in that process we think we are changing.
Now, how do you change? What makes you say, `I must change. I must no longer do this or that'? I do not know whether you have ever considered this? If you feel envious, jealous or ambitious, or whatever it is, what makes you seek to put an end to it - if you ever do? I do not know if you have ever examined it or whether you just go on with it - sometimes exploding, sometimes with jealousy dormant, but always simmering, always there. And if you want to change radically, to uproot jealousy altogether, then how do you proceed?
Most of us depend upon circumstances to bring about a change, but the fundamental situation always remains the same; circumstances may vary but the state of jealousy is always round the corner and the cause of jealousy is ever there. One may cover it up, one may run away from it through various forms of discipline and denial but essentially it is there and, given a new situation, it will arise again. You must have experienced this very often. Now what makes you or me change? And what do we mean by that word `change'? And is the mind capable of changing when it is occupied? Most of our minds are occupied, are they not? The mind is always occupied in the sense of being continually concerned with the daily activities, earning a livelihood with social problems, with sex, with amusement, with what the neighbours say, with the decrees of the government. If you are rich you are concerned with hiding your money from the tax authorities, and so on. Usually your mind is occupied, whether you are conscious of it or not. The mind is in a perpetual state of turmoil, always occupied with something, and when a problem is put to it - like this problem of change - it then begins to occupy itself with that problem. Is that not what happens, and what is happening now? I am putting to you the problem of what you mean by change, and at what level do you change, and what compels you to change, and your mind says: "By Jove, here is a problem, I must look at it, I must occupy myself with it." But a mind that is occupied with a problem, looking into it, revolving round it, analyzing it, forcing it along this way or that, such a mind will not allow any change.
I think change comes about in a totally different manner, and I would like to go into it with you. Change implies a movement from one point to another point - towards an idea, or a particular desire. There is either the social revolution, which is from a given condition to a new condition, or there is the feeling that I am greedy and I must change to non-greed, I am violent and I must become non-violent, which is again a process from a given point to another point, from one quality to another quality. That is what we call change, is it not? I hope this at least is clear between you and me, so that we are thinking together precisely and clearly on this point. I am ignorant and I must become learned, enlightened; I am miserable but I must try and be happy; I am in turmoil and I must find peace. So this movement is a change from something to something. Now what does this involve? Surely it involves time, does it not? There must be not only chronological time, but psychological time. That is, to move from one point to another implies distance, an interval, a gap which must be covered by thought, by activity, which requires chronological time as well as the psychological time of `I will do it one day' or `I really must be different'. I hope I am making that point clear, that whatever change is required, whether outwardly in social conditions, or inwardly, time is involved. And so you say time is necessary.
Now what do we mean by time? It involves not only the interval, the movement from one point to another point, but it also involves, does it not?, the movement from the present to the tomorrow, to the future. We always think in terms of time because our whole mind is based on time, is the result of time, is it not? You existed yesterday, you exist today and you will exist tomorrow if no accident takes place. So you are always functioning, are you not?, within that field of time. We are always thinking in terms of what has been, what is and what will be. And within that field of time we say we must change. But in that field is there change at all, or is there only the conflict between `what is' and `what should be'? After all, I cannot change the mind in an instant, nor can I change society, because there are too many contradictory urges at work, too many opposing desires, too many laws, regulations to control and shape mass activity. All that structure cannot be overthrown totally in an instant, by tomorrow. All the reformers and revolutionaries try to bring about change, either violently or gradually, but they all require time. And when I say to myself `I was', `I am' and `I shall be', I also am caught in time. So I am asking myself whether the element of time is the factor, the catalyst, the force that brings about change, or whether a totally different thing, a different element altogether is needed to bring about change. So long as I am changing in the field of time I am still functioning within the field of my own thought. The `what I should be', `what I am', and `what I must not be' are all within the field of my own consciousness, is it not so? When you have been angry or jealous you begin to discipline, correct, control, but it is always the `you' that is controlling, making an effort not to be angry. Always it is the self that is operating and the self is obviously in the field of time. The self is the field of time. Am I making this too difficult? I do not think so because, after all, most of us do function that way. A constant battle is going on within us, wearing us out in the process. So I am asking myself whether a change is possible, since change within the field of consciousness is no change at all. It is like merely putting on a different mask: I may no longer be angry, but the element of the `me' that has controlled the anger is still there. So how is change to be brought about? Because I see that so long as I think in terms of time there is no change. I do not know if I am conveying the significance of the fact that so long as I am thinking of changing I must resort to time. Time is a very difficult thing to understand because all striving implies time and self-consciousness, and in that field is there ever real change or is change something entirely outside the field of time?
Let us put it differently. Without learning about yourself - yourself as a social entity, an economic entity, an individual - obviously there can be no radical change. What you do without knowing yourself is merely alteration, adjustment to a certain pattern. So without knowing yourself there can be no radical transformation. Now, is learning about yourself a matter of time? Can you know the entirety of yourself on the instant, or is it a matter of time, - slowly analyzing, exploring, dissecting, examining? In that process, if you miss any particular angle, any particular layer, your conclusion, your examination will not be clear, it will be perverted. It would be an endless process, would it not?, a process in which any slightest mistake would lead to further confusion. So the question is: Can I know myself immediately? Can the mind learn of its entire process, its whole depth, discover its vastness, its extraordinary richness, on the instant?
Before we go further, I think that you should listen differently. You are listening now, are you not?, to see how you can transcend time and so bring about a change. I have pointed out that in the field of time there is no change at all; that a mind which struggles to be non-envious is still envious, and then I have asked if one can learn about oneself totally without the process of analysis. I am now asking how you are listening to me. Are you asking yourself how to get that change which is radical? If so, you are back in the field of time, are you not? Or are you listening to me and learning without that barrier of time? Am I making the problem clear or more difficult? Probably more difficult because this is a very complex problem, and if you have not followed inwardly then you will find what I am going to say now much more difficult.
Silence, the movement of silence is the only field in which there is a change; that is the only constant state from which change can take place.
Look, Sirs, the problem is this. I see that social influences, pressures, environment, bring about certain changes in me; a quarrel with my wife necessitates a certain adjustment. And throughout my life I keep on adjusting, constantly changing superficially, but inwardly I am the same, and the problem is how am I to change deeply, without influence, without compulsion, without a motive - because a motive implies time. I see I must change because I know I am dull, stupid, envious, anxious, fearful, and every pleasure is vanishing, and I want to change so radically, so totally, that my mind is new. If that is your problem also, then we are in relationship, we can commune with each other, and we must establish that relationship in order to understand what we are exploring and what we are going to discover. If you only change under pressure, under influence, then you will find that you are merely adjusting, imitating, conforming, and obviously that is not change. Behind it all the entity is still the same.
That very word `change' implies, does it not?, to change from this to that, so now let us eliminate the word `change' and ask: How am I to exist in a state of constancy which is invariable, which is not merely a permanent state?
You see, Sirs, we must differentiate between the permanent state and that which is constant. The state of permanency - wanting to be immortal, wanting to have permanent peace, joy, bliss - that is what most of us actually want, is it not? And can we get it? Or, is there a state which knows no change at all, in which there is always a quality of freshness, a newness, a sense of being? Change implies an impermanency which is seeking permanency. But there is a state without any change, in which there is a quality of shadowless movement - a movement which has no time in the sense of being this and becoming that. So how is the mind to move from this state to that? All our activity is based on the impermanent trying to become the permanent; politically, economically, socially, and psychologically. I can also see very clearly that there can be a state of mind in which there is no change at all; but it can only come about when the mind is motionless and stable. Such a motionless state is a still mind, not a dead mind, and it knows neither impermanency nor permanency. It is a mind that is completely quiet. Such a mind does not demand change, and all its action springs from that silence. That is the only state in which the weariness, the conflict of the worrying mind completely ceases. So, is it possible to move from here to there, but not in time?
Let me put it differently. I know hate, I know jealousy, ambition, and so on, and I can control hate, discipline it, but I see that that is an entirely different thing from the mind that never knows hate, that has never tasted hate because it is innocent, fresh, of a completely and totally different quality. Can the mind instantly be that which knows no hate? After all, the hating mind cannot know what love is. So how is hate to cease on the instant, totally, so that there is the other state where there is only love? That is the complete, radical change. And how is this miracle to take place? We say that the miracle can only take place by the grace of God or by some mysterious means. If you say that, it will never happen.
To bring about this miracle, first we must be very clear that there is no change in terms of time, only a process of putting on a different mask.
Let us attack it from another point of view. Are you ever conscious of being silent? Have you experienced silence? If you have experienced silence then it is not silence, is it? If there is an observer observing silence, then it is the projection of the experiencer - the experiencer wishing to be in a state of silence. Therefore it is not silence. Reality can never be experienced; if you do experience Reality then it is not Reality, because then there is the division between the experiencer and the experience. That division signifies duality and all the conflicts of duality. So. silence can never be experienced.
If you really understand that, if you are listening and learning the fact that silence can never be experienced, then what is the state of the mind that has no. experience of silence, that is silence? I begin to see that a mind which is silent is not conscious that it is silent. So also with humility. If you are conscious that you are humble, then that is not hUmility. If I am conscious that I am holy, spiritual, I am not; if I am conscious that I know, then I am ignorant. If I am conscious that my mind is silent then there is no silence. So silence is a state of mind in which there is the absence of the experiencer. Can you listen to me in that state of silence, being unaware that you are silent?
Sirs, this requires a great deal of energy, a great deal of precise thinking, but if you have thought very, very clearly, observed yourself very deeply, sharply, with such clarity that no shadow is left, then you will see that the mind has a quality of silence in which time and the movement of time have ceased; all question of change has totally ceased because there is no demand and no need for change.
This is one of the most difficult things to convey because words cannot describe it. If you are merely waiting to experience it, you will not; you will only wait and wait. But if you have examined deeply the whole problem of change, the whole movement of going from one state to another, from one point to another, if you have gone into it very, very deeply, grasped it, understood it, and abandoned it - in which abandonment there is neither hope nor despair - then there is a state of mind which is silence; and that silence is not recognizable by the mind because all recognition is a process of experience. So, change implies only a movement in time, and that movement is like cutting the air with a sword - it does nothing, it merely produces a lot of activity. But when you understand the whole process, the implications and the significance of change, and thereby let it drop away from you, you will see that the mind is in a state of silence in which all movement of time has ceased, and that new movement of silence is not recognizable and therefore not experienceable. Such a state does not demand change; it is in eternal movement, and therefore beyond time. Then there is an action which is right, which is true, always and under all circumstances.
December 10, 1958
Bombay 5th Public Talk 10th December 1958
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