Saanen 9th Public Talk 9th August 1962
This morning I am going to talk about meditation. It is something very complex, and yet very simple. It is not at all the mysterious, oriental affair that many of us imagine it to be, with all kinds of romantic, nonsensical ideas around it. And to go into it very deeply, as I propose to do this morning, certain things are obviously necessary.
First of all, we must understand very clearly that the word is not the thing. The word `meditation' is not meditation, and one has to be extraordinarily aware if one is not merely to remain at the verbal level and regard meditation as something intellectual, or fanciful, and therefore not of great significance in daily life. One also requires a mind that is very subtle and very sensitive. Subtlety and sensitivity go together when the mind is no longer seeking. By that word `seeking' I mean trying to achieve a goal, grasping at visions, being caught in various forms of self-hypnosis. In other words, one must be capable of logical, rational, clear thinking. When one thinks very clearly without any pressure of seeking, one finds that thought comes to an end; and to understand what is meditation, it is essential for thought to end.
Before we go into this question of meditation, we must also understand what is the religious mind. The religious mind is not the confused, stagnant mind which is caught in belief,in dogma, in ritual. It is not a slave to authority. It does not belong to any group, to any organized religion, nor does it look to any saviour, master or guide. It is a light unto itself.
A religious mind is a mind that is free from all influence. To be swayed by any form of influence distorts the mind. You cannot get rid of influences - you have to be aware of them. You have to be aware, consciously and also unconsciously, of the influence on your mind of all that you have read about meditation - about the various systems of meditation which offer the meditator an opportunity to achieve certain results by conforming to a specified pattern. One has to be aware of all that and put it aside.
A religious mind is very simple, uncomplicated. To me the word `simplicity' means not being caught in conflict. It does not mean taking only one meal a day, or wearing a loincloth, or withdrawing into a monastery. That is not simplicity at all. Such a mind is merely conforming to a pattern, whether laid down by itself or by somebody else, as a reaction to the complexity of life.
So, a religious mind is simple, direct; it is not caught in words and does not create a time interval between what is and what should be. It perceives directly the psychological facts of its own nature and therefore does not provide the soil in which problems take root.
Now, let us see if we can go step by step into this question of meditation. I feel that meditation is as important as taking a bath, or having a meal, or seeing the beauty of the mountains and the shallowness of the mind. It is as important as earning a livelihood. If you do not know how to meditate rightly you have missed a great deal - the enriching, completely beautiful and splendid awakening of life. So, I beg of you, do listen.
Meditation is an extraordinary state that demands no effort. Most of us are conditioned to make effort. We struggle to achieve a result, or to sustain a particular experience, or to gather knowledge, all of which implies various forms of conflict; and without understanding conflict, it is not possible for the mind to be in that effortless state which is meditation.
So, as most of us do not know what right meditation is, it is important that we find out for ourselves. I am not going to teach you a method, because any method or system of meditation merely cultivates habit; and a mind that is caught in habit is dull, insensitive, unintelligent. We must understand and be totally free of this idea of conforming to a pattern, regardless of who is supposed to have established that pattern. One has to understand the significance of all patterns, all systems. There are systems which offer a result in meditation, and when you regularly and earnestly practise such a system, it does bring about a certain experience or state; but the system has moulded the mind, shaped it according to that particular pattern, and therefore the mind is not free. So, to find out what is real meditation, there must be freedom from this imitative process.
This is such an enormous subject, with such extraordinary nuances and subtleties, that it is really quite difficult to know where to begin.
For most of us, life is turmoil, a constant travail. It is misery, fleeting joy, an everchanging pattern of shadows and light. Nothing endures, therefore we consciously or unconsciously seek some form of permanency, and that permanency we variously call peace, happiness, God, enlightenment. Being in conflict, in an unending condition of flux, we want a permanent state; and there is no permanent state. If you achieve a permanent state, your mind is dead.
So meditation is not the achievement of any form of permanency; and it is not prayer. Prayer implies supplication, begging, looking to another for comfort, for psychological security. Meditation is not contemplation. Contemplation implies putting the mind on something and expecting, watching. There is a duality, the watcher and the thing that is watched; so meditation is not contemplation, nor is it the awakening of visions. Visions are merely the reaction, the response of your background. If you are a devout Christian you may see the Christ, and you will regard that as a great spiritual experience; but it is nothing of the sort. It is a conditioned experience, the projection of a most immature, unthoughtful mind. just as you see the Christ, so the Buddhist will see the Buddha, and the Hindu his own particular deity. They are all projections of the mind's conditioning, and one must be free from that conditioning; and the freeing of the mind from its conditioning is part of meditation.
I have been discussing for the last two or three weeks, among other things, the question of fear and sorrow. When the mind is afraid, or when it is burdened with sorrow, it cannot possibly be in a state of meditation.For a mind that would really understand the depth and the beauty of meditation, fear must cease, and there must be no sorrow of any kind. And when the mind is free from fear, from sorrow, from the whole psychological structure of society which is made up of ambition, greed, envy, the desire for success, the demand for power, position, prestige - when all that has been broken down and understood, then the brain becomes very quiet. But you can understand and be free of all this turmoil only when you are aware of it without effort. If you struggle to change fear into courage, you cannot understand the whole significance of fear. As I have explained, the human brain is the result of centuries of conditioned, animalistic existence. That brain has to be completely quiet, and it cannot be made quiet through discipline, through enforcement. But it is quiet of its own accord, naturally, easily, gracefully, when there is an understanding of all these things that I have been talking about.
So it is now fairly clear that, for the mind to be in a state of meditation, there must be a total elimination of all conflict. Conflict exists as long as there is a division between the thinker and the thought. For most of us the thinker is separate from thought, the experiencer is different from that which is experienced. As long as this division exists, conflict is inevitable, because this division is the origin of conflict. That is why it is absolutely necessary to bring about a complete cessation of this division. The thinker is the censor, the conditioned outcome of centuries of egocentric activity; he is the centre of fear, of conflict, of sorrow.
I am going step by step into what is meditation. Please don't wait till the end, hoping to have a complete description of how, to meditate. What we are doing now is part of meditation.
Now, what one has to do is to be aware of the thinker, and not try to resolve the contradiction and bring about an integration between thought and the thinker. The thinker is the psychological entity who has accumulated experience as knowledge; he is the time-bound centre which is the result of everchanging environmental influence, and from this centre he looks, he listens, he experiences. As long as one does not understand the structure I and the anatomy of this centre, there must always be conflict; and a mind in conflict cannot possibly understand the depth and the beauty of meditation.
In meditation there can be no thinker, which means that thought must come to an end - the thought which is urged forward by the desire to achieve a result. Meditation has nothing to do with achieving a result. It is not a matter of breathing in a particular way, or looking at your nose, or awakening the power to perform certain tricks, or any of the rest of that immature nonsense. But if you have been listening to these talks with total attention and have more or less grasped the significance of what is being said, I think you will find there is a state of mind which is always meditative. Meditation is not something apart from life. When you are driving a car or sitting in a bus, when you are chatting aimlessly, when you are walking by yourself in a wood or watching a butterfly being carried along by the wind - to be choicelessly aware of all that is part of meditation.
There is another thing I would like to point out, and that is the difference between concentration and attention. When a child is given a new toy, his concentration is complete; he is quiet, he ceases to be mischievous because he becomes wholly absorbed in that toy and loses all interest in everything else. Now, most of us want toys which will absorb us. Whether it is the acquisition of knowledge, or the symbol of the Saviour, or a beautiful picture, or the stimulation of the Mass, or the practice of a certain form of discipline such as the control of respiration, and so on - all these are toys which absorb the mind; and being absorbed, limited, taken over by the toy, the mind becomes concentrated. And even when you reject these toys, as most intelligent people do, there is still the urge to be absorbed in your own thought, in your own experience and knowledge. This absorption also brings about a certain concentration; but if you observe it you will see that such concentration is a process of exclusion.
There is still another form of concentration, which is that of the schoolboy who wants to look out of the window but is told by his teacher that he must read a certain book. The boy knows that if he is to pass the examination he must not continually gaze out of the window, so he trains himself to study. This does bring about a form of concentration but, like the concentration of absorption, it is based on exclusion, and also on resistance. For a mind that has thus learnt to be concentrated, there is always distraction, and therefore the mind is always fighting that distraction. That is what most of us do when we concentrate, is it not? We resist all so-called distractions in order to concentrate on something to which we think we ought to give our attention.
Now, there is a vast difference between concentration and attention. When you are in the state of attention you can listen to that stream, hear the train go by, be alive of the rustle of the wind among the leaves and the movements of the people about you, see the various colours people are wearing, notice the shape of this tent, and still be completely attentive to what the speaker is saying. The mind is then without a border, and such a-mind can concentrate without exclusion; but a mind that has merely. learnt to concentrate, cannot be attentive. This state of attention without resistance, without conflict, without forcing the mind into a predetermined groove, is absolutely necessary. And when you have gone that far, you will see for yourself how easily and gently the silence of the mind comes into being.
The silence that most of us are seeking is the silence of decay and death. The so-called peace which is achieved by monks and other people who withdraw from the world is generally a condition of complete insensitivity, a state of dullness. They do experience a certain silence of the mind, but it is the dead silence of exclusion. Whereas, the silence I am speaking of is a state of attention in which every sound, every movement, every nuance of thought and feeling is perceived.
If there is an experiencer or an observer of silence, it is not silence but something projected by the mind. In complete silence there is no experiencer of that silence, and then there is a state of attention in which you hear the airplane flying overhead, the train going by, and yet the mind is completely attentive to what is being said; it is observing, listening to everything. Out of this immense silence and quietude, in which the mind is no longer seeking, expecting, wanting, demanding, there comes a movement which is creation beyond time, beyond all expression. It is not the creation of the writer, of the painter, of the musician - it is something which far transcends all that. This creation is energy - energy as death, energy as love - and in it there is no beginning and no end. It comes about only through self-knowing, and this whole process is meditation.
I hope you are not being mesmerized by my words. If you really go into yourself, ruthlessly putting aside all the pettiness, the envy, the greed, the desire for fame, dying to whatever form of technique or talent you have gathered, so that you are nobody at all - then you will know for yourself what this creation is. But if you are merely influenced by another, that is not meditation.
Questioner: Is the innocency you have described different from meditation?
Krishnamurti: At some of the meetings we have had here, I have talked about the state of innocency. I have said that an innocent mind is one that is not caught in the psychological structure of society, and is therefore free of conflict; it is not weighed down by remembrances of things past - which is not a state of amnesia; it is no longer held in technique, though technique is necessary. And the questioner wants to know if there is a difference between this state of innocency and the meditation which I have been talking about this morning.
One of our difficulties, it seems to me, is that we get hold of a word like innocency, or immensity, or `creation', and then try to relate everything to that particular word. As I have said, the word is not the thing. The word `meditation' is not the state of meditation; the word `innocency' is not the state of innocency. But when there is the state of innocency. it is also the state of meditation. You cannot come to that state of innocency as long as you are ambitious, as long as your mind is petty, as long as you are caught in the psychological structure of society and are nothing but an embodied technique - which is what most of us are. We have a job because we have got to earn a livelihood and we are little better than machines, however clever, cunning, or subtle we may be. A machine-like mind is not an innocent mind. The computers, the electronic brains are probably very innocent, hut they are fashioned out of metals, they are not living beings as we are. Eventually a machine may be invented that will have a kind of life of its own, and perhaps they are very close to it already. But to reduce ourselves to the point where we function like machines in our technological efforts, in our acquisition of knowledge, in our piling up of experience, does not bring about innocency. Innocency is that state in which the mind is always young and fresh. An innocent mind has no fear of death, no fear of any kind, and it is therefore free of time.
Questioner: Perhaps we can be in this state of attention or meditation while we are awake during the day, but what happens when we go to sleep?
Krishnamurti: Are we awake during the day? We assume that we are. Are we awake when we are caught in habits of thought, in routine activities and behaviour? When you constantly condemn, compare, judge, evaluate, or when you think of yourself as belonging to a particular race, nationality, culture or religion, are you awake? If you are caught in habit and are therefore not awake during the day, then sleep is merely a continuation of that same state of mind. Then it really makes very little difference whether you are physically asleep or awake. You may go to church regularly and repeat a prayer, or you may chant a mantram as they do in India, or you may do any of the other things that so-called religious people do; or you may repeat slogans like the politicians, or look at life from the artist's point of view; but is any of that a state of awakened intelligence? To be in a state of awakened intelligence is to be a light unto oneself. Then one has no nationality, no church, no god; one doesn't depend on music or painting, on the beauty of the mountains; nor does one depend on family, on husband, wife, children. And if one is inwardly so completely awake, what then is sleep? What is the significance of sleep when both the conscious and the unconscious are totally awake?
It is the dull mind, the mind caught in conflict, that dreams. Dreams are merely hints from the unconscious. A mind that is totally awake during the day, observing everything within and around itself, but not from a centre of judgment or condemnation - when such a mind sleeps it does not dream at all. If while you are awake - getting on a bus,listening to a concert, walking alone, talking with friends - you are instantly aware without reaction of every hint or intimation from the unconscious, if afl the things that are going on inwardly as well as outwardly are immediately observed, recognized and understood, then, when you go to sleep, the mind is quiet; and because it is quiet, it reaches into great depths. And you will find that that state of deep silence while you are asleep brings a freshness, an innocency, so that the next day is different, there is a newness about it. But all this demands an astonishing, inward awareness.
Questioner: Are there unconditioned visions?
Krishnamurti: Are not those two words contradictory? Are the implications of the word `visions' and the word `conditioned' essentially different? As I have explained, sir, our minds are conditioned, and we can't help being conditioned. From childhood our minds are shaped by our education at home as well as at school and college, and later they are further conditioned by society. We are Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, and God knows what else. Whatever visions we may have will be in terms of our religious conditioning, and the more refined that conditioning is, the more refined will be our visions. We have already discussed what it means for the mind to be unconditioned, so I won't go into that now. A mind that is unconditioned has no visions. God is not a vision.
Questioner: I do not see the relationship between death and sorrow and the state of meditation.
Krishnamurti: To see the whole significance of sorrow, not just verbally or intellectually, but to go into it very deeply and be free of its corroding action within oneself, the mind must be in a state of meditation. All real inquiry is a state of meditation. To understand the meaning of death - which is to die every day to one's talents, to one's qualities, to one's work, to one's memories - one has to be choicelessly attentive, fully aware; and this state of choiceless attention is meditation. There is no difference between meditation and the understanding of sorrow, for the understanding of sorrow is the beginning of meditation. To go very far in meditation, the mind must be free of all its psychological entanglements. In this state of freedom there is a movement which is not of distance or of time, and that movement is creation. All this is part of meditation.
Questioner: Is the creativeness of great artists different from the movement of creation which you are talking about?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid it is, but this is a question I don't want to go into this morning. The movement of creation does not demand any expression; it does not depend on any technique, on any gift or talent. On the contrary, every gift, every talent must come to an end for the mind to find this immense creation. You will ask, "If the movement of creation you are talking about cannot be put on a canvas, if it cannot be expressed in a poem, in architecture, or in music, then what is the value of it?" It has no value whatsoever. It is not marketable. You cannot get any benefit from it. It is something absolute. The mind may dream of translating the movement of creation into action, it may want to express it in words, put it in a frame, but that it can never do. The artist may at rare moments have a feeling of something beyond his own petty little self, but this is not the movement of creation. That immensity can come into being only when the `me' is completely absent and the mind is therefore truly religious.
August 9, 1962
Saanen 9th Public Talk 9th August 1962
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