New Delhi 1962
New Delhi 6th Public Talk 7th February 1962
I would like this evening, if I may, to go into the question of meditation, because I feel that without understanding and knowing the full implication of meditation, the religious mind about which we have been talking is not possible. As we said the other day, the religious mind contains the scientific spirit; but the scientific mind does not include the religious spirit. The scientific mind is partial, it is concerned with the superficial; but the religious mind is concerned with the totality of life. Without understanding and knowing the deep implication of meditation, it is not at all possible to have that quality of mind which can go above and beyond time. But before I go into that, I think it is important to understand the nature of mediocrity.
Mediocrity is of the petty mind, of the narrow limited mind. The petty mind may be, and is, generally concerned with the immediate; and the immediate may be projected into the future, but it is still the immediate. The politicians, though they may be concerned about the future, are concerned with the immediate in relation to the future. Most of us are also concerned with the immediate - the short view instead of the long view - and all our life is hedged about with immediate concerns. Not that the immediate is not important; but if the immediate becomes all-important and the long view has been totally forgotten, then the immediate concern of bread and butter - the way to live, the job, the husband and wife, the petty thoughts, the shallow attempts - this limited, narrow, short view with which most people are concerned, does lead to misery, does lead to sorrow and to strife. And this mediocrity of the petty mind invariably commits itself to some course of action, to some form of belief, to some dogma. It is the nature of the petty mind to belong to something. It is the nature of this mediocrity which is rampant in the world at the present time, to be concerned out of proportion with society.
And if I may point out, as I have done throughout all these talks, we are not discussing ideas, we are not verbalizing, we are not indulging in theory. We are dealing with actual facts, and the understanding of the facts is the only problem. As we said the other day, any escape or running away from the facts creates the problem. When we talk about mediocrity and the shallow mind, we are not discussing it as an idea - something to be broken down and to be replaced by a very clever mind that is extraordinarily active and has immense width and depth. We are just showing that a mediocre mind is the soil in which sorrow grows; and as most of us are in sorrow of some kind or another, without breaking down the walls of pettiness, sorrow will invariably continue.
As we have pointed out before, listening is an art - to listen not only to what is being said but also to everything in life, to the birds, to the incessant chatter of children, to the sound of a flute in the early morning; to listen without interpretation, without comparison, without condemnation; just to listen. In that listening you will discover for yourself, if you do so listen attentively, how your mind is working. though the speaker is describing, you are observing the actual state of your mind, of your own thought and feeling.
We are not indulging in ideas, in ideation and ideals. A man who is concerned with facts has no ideals and we are concerned with facts. The fact is that there is mediocrity, pettiness - not that someone else is petty but each one of us is petty. So one has to be aware of it oneself, apply it to oneself. The highest form of criticism is self-criticism, but we do not criticize; we merely see and avoid. The critical capacity is to be aware of the total implication. As we are talking about mediocrity, pettiness, shallowness, please be aware of it, in yourself. Merely to be verbally aware of it is of no value at all. Verbally being aware of mediocrity does not bring about a change in the mediocre mind.
The petty mind commits itself to some course of action - social action, economic action, political action, so-called religious action, or the acquisition of knowledge. The petty mind is always committing itself; it is always belonging to something - and the desire to belong is a psychological phenomenon of an intellectual mind. It belongs to the Communist Party and then denies it later; it belongs to some kind of dogmatic religious activity which, later, it denies. You will observe, if you have taken note of it in the world, that the so-called intellectual people subscribe, either in groups or singly, to some form of theory, to some form of utopia, to some committed religiosity. The desire to belong is the desire for permanency.
Please follow all this, because we are enquiring into the process of meditation, and this is part of that meditation. You all belong to something. You are not an entity - alone, integrated. You are put together by society, by the environmental influences which compel you to belong. If one is anxious to bring about a change in the world, one belongs to something. All of us do belong to various forms of beliefs, dogmas, and activities, because in belonging we not only expand ourselves, but by identifying ourselves with the thing to which we are committed we feel - intellectually, physically, emotionally - acting as a total entity in a world that is disintegrating. Without understanding the urge, to commit oneself to a particular course of action - whatever it be, a particular thought, a particular idea, a particular aspect of technological knowledge - or to belong to something, is surely an indication of pettiness.
A petty mind then proceeds to enquire into the immensity of life. Having committed itself to something, it proceeds to enquire from that commitment, into what it is all about. Now, we have to find out what is meditation which is really a most marvellous thing, which has nothing to do with romanticism, ideation, speculation, seeing visions, or having all kinds of sensations which are utterly immature. So, this urge to belong, to commit oneself to a method, to a system, must be understood.
Most of us, if you will permit me to say so without any disrespect, are mediocre; even the most talented are mediocre because their talent is partial, limited, narrow. A gift does not lift you out of mediocrity. A painter may paint the most beautiful pictures, but he is still a mediocre person when he hungers after fame, recognition by society. He wants to be rich, known, famous - which all indicate a petty, shallow, mediocre mind though gifted with a talent. Most of us, unfortunately, have neither great talents nor great capacity of thought. Perhaps it is just as well, because when we are eager to find out, to search out, to enquire, the man who has committed himself to something refuses to enquire into anything except to proceed along the lines he has chosen.
So, to find out what is the meditative mind, there must be no commitment - which is quite a difficult thing; because you may be committed either to prayer, to a repetition of words, or to contemplate upon something; or because you may be committed to a symbol. Most of us are committed to symbols - not to reality because reality is much too dangerous, much too destructive. The petty mind cannot contain reality; therefore, it seeks symbols and has committed itself to symbols - the symbol of the Church, of Christianity; the symbol of the Hindu; the symbol of the Muslim and so on. The petty mind has committed itself to the symbol, the word, the shadow, the unreal - not to the fact but to the image graven by the mind or by the hand, in the temple or in the mosque or in the church. Please observe this for yourself, see it yourself. Being committed, then you proceed to meditate; and then you want to seek methods, systems, to arrive at what you think is the permanent, what you think is God, what you think is a most extraordinary vision. What you think is conditioned by your past, by the society in which you live. Of course, if you are a Christian, you have extraordinary visions of the Christ, and you project that vision. If you are a Hindu, you have your own images, your own visions. When you get a vision, an image, projected, that gives you a certain sensation; and you call that meditation. If you examine this, you will find it is utterly immature, because it is your own desire seeking fulfilment in an unreality which has no basis except your own thought; it is conditioned by the past, by the society in which you live, by the experience which you have gathered through that condition.
So meditation is not seeking visions or indulging in prayer. Prayer implies supplication, begging, asking, demanding. When do you demand? When do you seek? When do you search out?
You do all this when you are in trouble, when you are in pain, when you are in misery, when you are in conflict. That means, you want comfort - not the comfort which you get at home - , you want psychological comfort. So you pray; and unfortunately, psychologically the prayer is answered because you do find comfort. That comfort is awakened, has formed itself, in an idea which you have projected, in an idea or in a belief or in a dogma in which you take shelter, comfort. It is like a person taking shelter in a storm - in a shelter made up of words, ideas. By sticking to that, by holding on to that, by having committed himself to that, he hopes to find shelter; but that shelter is merely in words, not in reality, not in something that has substance. And with that most of us are satisfied.
So, meditation is not prayer, nor the desire to find truth. A petty mind seeking God will find God of its own pettiness. Do you understand, sirs? If I have a petty mind, a small, narrow, shallow mind full of ambition, greed, envy, jealousy of another, and I think about God, my God is equally petty, stupid; and with that stupidity we are satisfied.
Now, we are enquiring into the process of meditation. To enquire you must first deny, you must negatively approach it - that is, you must be aware of something which has no reality except a projected reality of one's own desire, one's own fancy; you must put away what is false. So, through negative thinking we are going to find out what is the positive. But negative thinking is essential, because that is the highest form of thinking - not positive thinking. Positive thinking is an imitative process, moving from the known to the known. We will never find the unknown if we merely proceed from the known to the known which is the so-called positive process. That way, you will never find out for yourself what is real meditation. The things that have been put forward as meditation are so utterly immature, and have no psychological basis at all. So, if you are serious enough, if you want to go into the question of meditation right to the end - not just play with it - you must meditate as you go to the office, as you breed families, as you beget children. There must be meditation because it breaks down the wall of pettiness, it breaks down the wall of respectability and imitation. An absolutely free mind is necessary right at the beginning, not at the end.
So, negatively we are thinking out what is meditation. Meditation is not contemplation - to contemplate is to think about an idea, to contemplate upon something, generally on a symbol or on a phrase which one has read in the so-called sacred books - which are not sacred at all but are just books like any others. You pick a phrase and you think about it; and that you call contemplation. You do not enquire into the entity that contemplates. That entity is conditioned; that entity is petty, narrow, jealous. And that entity enquires, contemplates upon something!
So meditation is not prayer. Meditation is not contemplation. Meditation is not the pursuit of a particular method or system. The method or the system conditions the mind. And what the method or system offers, you will get, but what you get will be a dead thing. It is like having a dull, stupid mind that is disciplined through a system and refuses to think any more; it has lost all pliability, all sensitivity; it is no longer fresh. So, meditation is not a system to be practised. Meditation is not a process of disciplining the mind. Please follow all this intellectually, if you cannot do it actually. If you do it actually, then you can go very far. I am going to go very far into it this evening with those who have the capacity to travel light, far, freely.
So, meditation is none of these things, nor is it discipline. What does discipline imply? Discipline implies conformity, imitation, adjustment to a pattern, to an idea, to an ideal; and therefore control which implies suppression - this does not mean that you indulge in what you want to do. You are going into the entire machinery of discipline. Where there is suppression there is contradiction; where there is contradiction there is conflict and effort. A mind that makes an effort to achieve, except in mechanical things - to achieve what it calls God, to achieve a purpose, an end - is a dead mind. For meditation you want an extraordinarily pliable mind, a highly sensitive mind. And you cannot be sensitive if you are committed, if you are caught in a system invented by man through his fear.
Meditation then is none of these things. But you must lay a foundation for meditation. As meditation is none of these things, it is too immature even to think about the obviously psychological tricks that we have played upon ourselves through the centuries. You must lay the right foundation. The right foundation for meditation is: not to be ambitious, not to have envy, not to accept any form of authority. The laying of the foundation is of the highest importance, because without that you cannot build. A house cannot be built without a foundation; it topples over. To be without ambition, without authority, without envy, without fear, jealousy and all that, must be a thing that must be seen immediately, and not cultivated as an ideal - this is where the difficulty lies.
The importance of laying the foundation for meditation has to be seen immediately. If you say, `I will lay the foundation' you introduce the factor of time. Just taking one brick for laying the foundation, envy, you may say, `I will not be envious, because intellectually you have seen that it is not profitable and that it involves strain, struggle, pain. But mere intellectual acceptance does not absolve you from envy; nor your saying, `I will use an ideal in order to get rid of envy; that is to say, I will not be envious', will absolve you because that `I will not' implies time. When you say, `I shall not be envious', you have introduced the factor of time - that is, you think it will take you time to get rid of envy, and you say that in a few years, or sometime later, you will get rid of envy. And when you introduce time, the continuity of envy goes on; you do not get rid of it; you are still envious when you say, `Envy should not be'. Please understand this. Envy has to be cut immediately; and it can be cut immediately only when you `see' the thing, when you `see' envy.
As I said, we do not `see', nor do we listen. We never see because we have opinions about what we see. When you are envious and when you consider envy, you justify it, because the whole structure of society is based on envy and you are educated to be envious; and you say, `How am I to live in this world without envy?' So you approach the fact, which is envy, by having an opinion about it already. The word `envy' is already condemnatory, and so you approach it with condemnation. So, to see envy, you have to be free of the word.
What I am talking about is not complicated; it is very simple. It is really extraordinarily simple if you listen, if you try even intellectually to listen. The word is not the thing. The word is the symbol. We are brought up in symbols, and not brought up in actualities, not brought up with what is the fact. Envy is not a thing to be postponed. Either you are envious, or you are not envious. A man who wants to meditate, who wants to go into this question of meditation very profoundly, has no time to postpone envy. Envy has to cease completely, totally. So also ambition has to cease totally, because a man who is ambitious has no love. Those people who out of ambition seek position, prestige and power, have no love, though they may talk about peace, about brotherhood. They may have sympathy, pity, organizing capacity for social action; but they have no love.
A mind which is envious, which is comparing, which is wanting, seeking power, position, authority has no love. One may read about love in the Gita, in the Upanishads and in other books; but love does not come through books. Love comes only when you are no longer envious, when you are no longer ambitious, when you are no longer seeking power, when you are no longer a slave to the morality of society. The morality of society is concerned only with one thing - which is sexual. Society is not concerned with greed, ambition, envy, nor with following this or that.
To meditate you must lay the foundation, not during the days to come, but immediately. This is very difficult - that is the real crux of this matter - , because we want to be ambitious, we want to be envious; and we also talk about God, truth and all the rest of it. Your gods or your truths have no value as long as there is no foundation. When you are no longer caught in the machinery of society and its morality - which means: when your mind is free from ambition, greed, envy, power and all the things that man seeks and which society has encouraged from your childhood - then there is freedom; not tomorrow, not at the end of your life, but right at the beginning, now.
That is the beginning of meditation. That implies self-knowing, not knowing the Supreme Self. There is no Supreme Self for a petty mind, except the thing which it has invented and which it calls the Supreme Self. So when the mind is free - not tomorrow but actually immediately, on the instant - of envy, greed, acquisitiveness, of the search for fame and power, then you begin to meditate. For such a mind seeking stops. When you say you are seeking, what are you seeking? You are seeking something you already know; otherwise you won't seek. You cannot seek something you do not know; you can seek something which is recognizable, and recognition is of the past. Recognition is part and parcel of knowledge - that is, of the known. So when you deny totally ambition, greed, envy, authority, through self-knowing, you have become a light to yourself; then the mind, being free and uncommitted, is not seeking because it has nothing to seek, is still.
How can a petty mind seek the immense? It can only translate the immense in terms of its own shallow pettiness. Therefore the mind must be completely free of all these. When the mind is completely free of all these, then the mind becomes quiet; it has not to seek peace of mind - which is an absurdity; it is like people talking about corruption but keeping their hands in another man's pockets. There must be complete dissociation from society. This does not mean that you leave society, go to a forest, or become a hermit - that is merely a change of clothes, a change of habitation. You must completely dissociate yourself from society so that you become alone; your mind then is uninfluenced by society.
When your mind is uninfluenced by society, it is capable of standing completely alone. Then you proceed to meditation. You will then notice that the brain - which is the result of time; which is the result of all animal instincts, biological instincts; which is the result of the accumulated knowledge of society, of the nation, the race, the group, the family - becomes extraordinarily quiet, because it is no longer seeking. The brain is no longer frightened; it is no longer pursuing an idea; it is no longer craving for comfort, for security, for permanency. Therefore, the brain becomes extraordinarily quiet; and it must be quiet because any movement of the brain which is compelled by the past, if it projects, creates illusion. Therefore the brain is completely still.
The stillness of the brain is not acquired. You cannot acquire stillness; you cannot practise stillness, because a brain that practises stillness is a dead brain. How can you force the brain which is extraordinarily active - and it must be sensitive - to become quiet? You can destroy it - and you do destroy it - by denying the world and escaping to some form of other world, by destroying beauty and thinking that God is something else. A sensitive mind cannot be destroyed; it must be sensitive. If you understand the whole significance of discipline, then there is an extraordinary discipline which is the outcome of freedom, which is not controlled. When you practise a discipline, the discipline that you practise is out of fear of punishment, or for reward, or for gaining something which you want. Such a discipline makes the brain dull, insensitive.
Life does not belong to the hermit, or to the sannyasi, or to the politician, or even to the saintly politician. Life, is something extraordinarily vast, immense, immeasurable. A petty mind cannot possibly understand it. A petty mind is essentially an ambitious mind, a greedy mind, an acquisitive mind. And the moment you cease to be ambitious in every form - even the ambition to find out God - the moment you have broken off from ambition, your brain becomes astonishingly quiet. The brain then is quiet without any movement of desire, because desire has been understood. When you have understood the imaginary visions, belonging to this and that, when all that has been set aside, forgotten, then you are no longer caught by the known. Most of us move from the known to the known; that is our daily activity. All your life is spent in the office or in some technical work, from the known to the known. Your mind thinks in terms of the known and therefore is never free from the known.
A meditative mind is free from the known - that means free from the word, the symbol, the idea, the belief, the dogma, the projections from the past. When the brain is free from the past, or rather when the brain is quiet, the totality of the whole consciousness becomes completely still - the totality of consciousness, not just one part - because it is completely alone, uninfluenced. It no longer belongs to any society, any group, any caste, any religion, any dogma; it has finished with all these. Therefore there is complete stillness of the mind; and in that stillness there is neither the observer nor the observed - because the observer, as I explained, is the result of the reaction of thought; the observer, the thinker, is the reaction of thought. You can yourself think all this out if you are interested, afterwards.
So there is no state of experiencing - which it is very important to understand. Experience - I will put it very quickly and briefly - is that state when there is response to a challenge. Every response to a challenge produces an experience, and that experience is the result of your conditioning. If you are a Hindu, with your background you respond to a challenge, even to the smallest challenge. Even to a petty challenge of every day you respond from the background of your Hinduism, of your conditioning, and that reaction is experience. So a mind that is experiencing is reacting and therefore it is never a free mind.
A still mind is not seeking experience of any kind. And if it is not seeking and therefore is completely still, without any movement from the past and therefore free from the known, then you will find, if you have gone that far, that there is a movement of the unknown which is not recognized, which is not translatable, which cannot be put into words; then you will find that there is a movement, which is of the immense. That movement is of the timeless, because in that there is no time, nor is there space, nor something in which to experience, nor something to gain, to achieve. Such a mind knows what is creation - not the creation of the painter, the poet, the verbalizer; but that creation which has no motive, which has no expression. That creation is love and death.
This whole thing from the beginning to the end is the way of meditation. A man who would meditate must understand himself. Without knowing yourself you cannot go far. However much you may attempt to go far, you can go only so far as your own projection; and your own projection is very near, is very close, and does not lead you anywhere. Meditation is that process of laying the foundation instantly, immediately, and bringing about - naturally, without any effort - that state of stillness. And only then is there a mind which is beyond time, beyond experience and beyond knowing.
February 7, 1962
New Delhi 1962
New Delhi 6th Public Talk 7th February 1962
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