London 4th Public Talk 9th May 1961
We have been talking about the new mind, and I am sure it cannot be brought about by any form of will, by any desire or through any intention or purposeful thought. But it seems to me that if we can understand the various factors that prevent that state from coming into being, then perhaps we can discover for ourselves what the nature of the new mind is. So I would like to discuss with you an issue which may be rather complicated, but I hope we can go into it fully and if necessary continue with it next time.
I do not know whether you have ever asked yourselves why there is this compulsive urge to commit oneself to a certain way of thought, to belong to something, to identify oneself with an idea, to commit oneself to a particular course of action. One commits oneself let us say, to Communism and one completely identifies oneself with those ideas, those activities. One can see why one does this; it is because one hopes ultimately for Utopia, and all the rest of it. But I think that is only a superficial explanation. I think there is a much deeper psychological reason why each one of us wants to belong to something - to a certain person, to a group, to certain ideas and ideals. And perhaps we can examine the inward nature of this urge. What exactly is it?
I think, first of all, there is the desire to act. We want to bring about some kind of reform, to change the world according to a certain pattern. There is the feeling that we must do something together, that there must be co-operative action. And at some levels - to improve the roads, to bring about better sanitation, and so on - it is perhaps necessary that we commit ourselves to a particular idea. But if one enquires more deeply, I think one begins to find out, does one not?, that there is this urge to identify ourselves with something in order to have a sense of assurance, a sense of security.
I am sure we all know many people who have committed themselves; to a particular political party or a particular course of action or a certain group of religious thought. And after a time they begin to find that it does not suit them, and so they drop it and take up something else.
I think it is important to find out why there is this urge. Why is it that we commit ourselves to something, or someone? I think if we enquire into this we can open the door into the whole problem of fear.
The mind, surely, is always seeking security, permanency. It seeks permanency in relationship with the wife, the husband, the children, in an idea, in knowledge and in experience. And the more experience we have, the more knowledge we accumulate, the greater is the sense of security. And may I say here that it is one thing to listen to the words that are being said, but it is quite another thing to experience what those words convey. I am merely describing the nature of our own minds; and if one is not aware of one's own thoughts and activities, the description becomes a very superficial thing. But if, by going through the words, one begins to understand oneself see how one is actually seeking security and what it implies, then it will have extraordinary significance. To be merely satisfied with words and explanations, which most of us are, seems to me utterly futile. No hungry man is satisfied with the word `food'.
So can we go into this whole question of fear, but not what we should do about it? We can come to that later, or perhaps it may not be necessary at all. Why does fear arise? And why is the mind always seeking security, not only physically, outwardly, but inwardly?
We are talking about the `outward' and the `inward', but, for me, it is all one movement which expresses itself outwardly as well as inwardly. It is a movement going out and going in, like a tide. There is no such thing as an outward world and an inward world, and to separate the two is to bring about a division, a conflict. But to understand the inward tide, the inward movement, one must understand the outward-going movement also. And if one is aware of things outwardly, and if there is no reaction to the outer in the form of a resistance, a defence or an escape, then it can be seen that the same movement goes inward, very deeply and profoundly; but the mind can follow it only if there is no division.
If we think about it a little we can see that most so-called religious people divide the outer and the inner; the outward activity is regarded as largely superficial, unnecessary and even evil, and the inner is regarded as very significant. And so there is conflict - which we went into rather thoroughly the other day. We are now enquiring into the question of fear, not only the fear caused by outward events but also by the inner demands and compulsion, the everlasting search for certainty. All experience, obviously, is a search for certainty. An experience of pleasure makes us demand more of it, and the `more' is this urge to be secure in our pleasures. If we love someone we want to be quite sure that that love is returned, and we seek to establish a relationship which we at least hope will be permanent. All our society is based on that relationship. But is there anything which is permanent? Is there? Is love permanent? Our constant desire is to make sensation permanent, is it not? And the thing which cannot be made permanent, which is love, passes us by. I wonder if I am making myself clear? Take the question of virtue. The cultivation of virtue, the desire to be permanently virtuous is essentially the desire to be secure. And is virtue ever permanent? Please, sirs, do not just nod your heads in agreement, but do follow this in yourselves.
Let us say: one is angry, or feels one lacks goodness, sympathy, affection. By cultivating non-anger, tolerance, one hopes to bring about a state of virtue, the virtue then being merely a commodity for convenience, a means to something else. And surely virtue, goodness is not cultivable at all. Goodness, like humility, only comes into being when there is full attention, without trying to gain anything from it. Take the question of being loved, or to love. Is it possible for the mind which is ambitious to love or be loved? The clerk who wants to become the manager, the so-called saint who wants to realize God - they are ambitious, occupied with their own achievements; and such a mind obviously cannot know love. The mind that would understand the nature of the word we call `love' must obviously be utterly free of that whole sense of security - which makes us essentially vulnerable. So is it ever possible to be really free of fear?
We want to be secure in this world, materialistically, and we want to be secure in our respectability, in our ideas; we want to be told what will happen to us after death; and our mind is everlastingly pursuing - if you will observe it - this desire to be certain. And I do not see how the mind can be free of fear, with all its frustrations, so long as the mind is seeking security. Obviously there must be some measure of physical security; we must know where our next meal is coming from, that we have somewhere to sleep, some clothes, and all the rest of it; and a fairly decent society tries to provide all that. Probably in about fifty years time the whole world will have some form of physical security. Let us hope so, but that is irrelevant for the moment. But we want to be secure both in our actions and inwardly; and is that not the cause of fear?
Fear is ever with us, is it not? Fear of darkness, fear of one's neighbour, of public opinion, fear of losing health, fear of not having capacity, fear of being a nobody in this monstrous, acquisitive, aggressive world; fear of not arriving, of not realizing some state of supreme happiness, bliss, God, or whatever it is. And of course there is the ultimate fear of death. We are not discussing death for the moment, but we are just trying to see, to uncover fear. Obviously fear is always in relation to something else. There is no fear by itself per se. There are dozens of fears, all in relation to something. And is it possible to stand completely alone? Is it possible for the mind to be completely alone without isolating itself, without building walls, ivory towers around itself? A mind is alone when it is no longer seeking security. And can it free itself so totally from all fear?
You see, time is involved in fear. Shall we go into it a little bit? Time as yesterday, today and tomorrow is a factor of fear. I am getting old, and there is death waiting for me, from now to all the tomorrows. And the thought of death is the thought of fear. Would there be fear of death, of an ending, if there was no thought of tomorrow, of the future? Please do not agree with me. Agreeing with an explanation is valueless. If you have actually gone into this question of fear for yourself you must have uncovered this question of time, which includes not only the tomorrow but the past - which means, does it not?, experience. Can the mind be so alone, so totally away from the past and the future that it is not enclosed at all in the field of time?
The mind is seeking security, is it not?, through identifying itself with an idea, a belief, a particular course of action, belonging to a group, to Christianity, to Hinduism, to Buddhism, this or that - and all of this is contrary to being alone. Most of us are terribly frightened of being alone. Then there is the conflict which arises from contradiction, and the root of this contradiction is the urge for fulfilment. So there is this constant urge to fulfil, to be, to become something permanent; and there is the question of time. These are all the factors of fear; and I do not think there is any need to go into further detail.
Now, having seen the totality of the picture, the total feeling of it, the question arises: can the mind put away all fear? This means, really, if one can so put it without being misunderstood, can one be alone, without relationship? Can there be an aloneness which is not merely an opposite to the conflict of contradiction which relationship creates? I feel that in that aloneness there is real relationship, not the other. In aloneness there is no fear.
After all, man has tackled this problem of fear for centuries, and we are not free from it. And the extreme forms of fear lead to various kinds of neurosis, and so on. Now the question is, can you and I, seeing all this, be totally free from fear, on the instant? Not hypnotizing ourselves and saying `I am now free from fear', because that is just silly. Seeing the whole of fear means, essentially, does it not?, a state of `non-being'.
Question: It appears to me that I am frightened of being forced into circumstances, like living in some great city or working in a factory where there is nothing I can love or feel is worthwhile.
Krishnamurti: So what will you do about it, sir? I have to work from morning to night, let us say, in a little London office, with an unpleasant boss. Going every day, by bus or tube, to work - the routine, the excruciatingly boring people, the horror of it all. What shall I do? Circumstances are forcing me to do it. I have a responsibility: the wife, the children, the mother and all the rest of it. I cannot go away, escape into a monastery - which would be another horror: the routine of getting up every morning at 2 o'clock, saying the same old prayers to the same old deities, and all the rest of it. In this world of routine, boredom, dirt and squalor we all do everything to escape; we all ask, `What can I do to get out of it?
First of all, we are educated wrongly - we are never educated to love the thing we do. So we are caught and cannot escape; and so we ask, `What shall I do?'. Right, sirs? To escape into romanticism, into beliefs, churches, organizations, ideas of Utopia is obviously absurd. I see the futility of it, and therefore I discard it. There is no longer the temptation to escape, and I am left with the fact - the brutal, hard fact. What shall I do? Tell me, sirs!
Question: Surely, you cannot do anything about it.
Krishnamurti: Sirs, have we ever lived with something, without any resistance? Have I ever lived with my anger, without resistance? - which is not the same as accepting it, which is merely continuing it. Living with anger, knowing the whole inward nature of it; living with envy, not trying to overcome it, to suppress it or transform it - have you ever tried it? Have you ever tried to live with something really beautiful, a picture, lovely scenery, a magnificent mountain with a view that is superb? And what happens if you do live with it? You soon get used to it, do you not? You see it for the first time, and it gives you a certain sense of release, perception, and you get used to it; after a few days it fades away. Look at the peasants in all parts of the world, living with marvellous scenery around them; they have got used to it. And the squalor of the cities all over the world, the dirt, the filth, the ugliness, the cruelty, the appalling brutality involved - we get used to that also. To live either with beauty or with ugliness, and never to get used to it - that requires an astonishing energy, does it not? Not to be overpowered by ugliness nor to be dulled by beauty, but to be able to live with both of them requires extraordinary sensitivity and energy. And can one do it? Do, please, sirs, think it out a little bit.
The problem of energy is quite complicated. Food does not give the energy of which I am talking. It gives energy of a certain type; but to live with something, to live with love demands a totally different kind of energy. And how does one come by this energy, which is, essentially, the energy, the nature of the new mind? Surely one comes by it when there is no fear, when there is no conflict, when you do not want to be something, when you live totally, anonymously.
But what is the good of my talking about all this? It implies an extraordinary perception of the outer and the inner search for security. And most of us are too tired, too old, committed to living in the past, or in our work, or in some other dark dungeon of our being.
So what shall we do?
Let us come back to our first question. Can the mind free itself, on the instant, from all the urge, the demand to be secure? Can one live in a state of complete uncertainty - without in the least going mad?
Question: If one has work which one enjoys very much, is there fear in that also?
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, because You may lose your capacity. You know, capacity is a dreadful thing, it gives you such a good escape. If you are a good painter, a good talker, if you have the capacity to put words together, to write, if you are a clever engineer or have any gift at all, it gives you such an extraordinary sense of security, confidence in yourself in this competitive acquisitive world. And if you have no confidence in your own abilities you feel utterly lost. But surely, to find God or whatever name you like to give, the mind must be completely empty, must it not? It must be free from knowledge, from experience, from capacity and therefore free from fear, completely innocent, fresh and young.
Question: That seems to be the end of myself as I know myself completely.
Krishnamurti: Surely, sir, that is so. I do not know, if you have tried to live a whole day so completely that there is no yesterday or tomorrow? That requires a great deal of understanding of the past. The past is not only the word, the language, the thought, but the looking back into yesterday with all its roots in the present. To completely let go the past - the wrong that one has done, the things said which were not true, the hurtful things, the damage one has done - , to let go all the pleasures, pains, and memories. I do not know if you have ever tried it - just to walk out of it. And one cannot walk out of it if there is either regret or pleasure in the things remembered. Try it sometimes not because I say so or because you hope to get a reward out of it or to have some wonderful experience - that would be just an exchange, a barter. But it is really quite extraordinary for the mind, which is the result of time, to be completely timeless. Question: Habit forms quite a large part of what you are talking about, surely?
Krishnamurti: You see, we have to find out. I am not just answering questions, we are discussing. And we see that the mind is always occupied. With most of us that is so. It is occupied with teaching, with the babies, with the house, the job; it is occupied with its own vanities and virtues - you know the innumerable things with which it is occupied. And the occupation denotes habit. Now why has the mind to be occupied? Whether it is occupied with sex, or with God, or with virtue, it is just the same. There is no noble or ignoble occupation. Is that not so? I do not know if you really see this. Mere substitution of occupation is no release from occupation. Now, why has the mind to be occupied?
Question: It may be a way of escape.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, it is escape all right; but, you see, explanations do not get us very far. Go a little bit further, sir. Go into it.
Question: It is or, is it not? It is greed, also, I think.
Krishnamurti: One can go on and on and on, adding more and more explanations: escape, fear, greed. And then what? I am not being cynical, rude or rough. We have given explanations: but the mind is not free from occupation.
Question: Because the mind is occupation.
Krishnamurti: You say the mind is occupation, which means, does it not?, that the mind that is not occupied, not active, thinking, functioning, enquiring responding, challenging - those are all symptoms of the mind - , is not a mind. Is that so? The word `door' is not the door, and the word `mind' is not the mind. Does the mind realize itself as occupation? Or is there a mind which says, `I am occupied'?
I want to find out why the mind insists on being occupied. Why do we say that if the mind is not occupied, active, searching, defending, having anxiety, fear, guilt, it is not a mind? If all those things are not there, is there no mind?
Question: Those things are the mind on one level, but not all the mind.
Krishnamurti: The anxiety, the guilt, the fear, the responses - that is all we know, is it not? And what is the totality of the mind, as we know it? The totality of the mind, as we know it, is, the unconscious and the conscious. Let us go back a bit. Why is the mind occupied? And what would happen if the mind was not occupied?
Question: If the mind is not occupied there is deep attention.
Krishnamurti: Not `if', that is speculation. You see, we are not going through.
Question: The mind is all the time reacting to various stimuli. That is the process of being occupied.
Krishnamurti: All right, sir, all right. Have you ever tried having no thought at all? Because every thought is occupation with something or other.
Question: It is impossible to try it, because if the mind is empty, one cannot.
Krishnamurti: No, no, sir! Again, it is not a question of `if; and I do not mean `try' in that sense. We are caught in words. Has it ever happened to you that thought has come to an end? Not just ending one thought because you have gone out and beaten it to death - I do not mean that. But when there is thought there is occupation. Thought sets habit going; which brings us back to the fact that thought is fear. Have you ever looked at anything without thought? I do not mean a state of blankness. You are all there, fully attentive, your whole being is there. Have you ever looked at something in that state, in which there is no thought? Have you ever looked at a flower without naming it, saying how beautiful it is, what a lovely colour it has, and so on? You know how the mind chatters. Have you looked at anything without any judgment, any evaluation?
You see, if we could look at fear without any resistance, without accepting or condemning or judging, merely observing it taking place within oneself, and living with it, then, would it be fear? But the living with it requires enormous energy, so that the mind is giving its attention completely.
Let us say that somebody says to me: `You are a very arrogant man'. Many people tell me things, that I am this or I am that. Every statement that they make I live with. If you will forgive me for talking a minute about myself, I live with it, I do not resist it; I neither say it is right nor it is wrong. And to live with it requires attention, to see if it is true. Attention is energy. Attention, energy is the whole universe - but that is irrelevant for the moment. Can one live with it, not distort it; not say, `I have been told that before', `I am not like that', or `I am like that and I must change'. Do you follow? Is it not possible to live with the pleasant and the unpleasant; to live with suffering - whether it is a toothache or some other form of suffering - , to live with fear, without getting unbalanced? You see, we want to live with the pleasant things, the lovely experiences we have had. They are dead and gone, but we want to live with them; therefore we are only living with a dead memory. Suffering we do not want to live with, we want to find a way out. But is it not possible to live with both, not asking for a solution, not asking for an answer, and not just going to sleep over it? You see, this is meditation.
May 9, 1961
London 4th Public Talk 9th May 1961
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.