Saanen 10th Public Talk 12th August 1962
I think all of us are aware of the extraordinary outward changes that are taking place in the world, but very few of us change inwardly, deeply. Either J we follow a certain pattern of thought established by another, or we create our own ideational frame within which we function, and most of us seem to find it extremely difficult to break out of this conceptual pattern. We live from concept to concept, from idea to idea, and we think that this movement is a change; but, as one can see if one observes it rather closely, it is really no change at all. Thought does not bring about deep changes. Thought can be the cause of certain superficial adjustments, it can create and conform to a new pattern, but inwardly there is no significant change: we are what we have always been and will probably continue to be. These outward adjustments and conformities always correspond to our inward instability, our inward uncertainty, our inward sense of fear and the urge to escape from the dark, unexplored corners of our own minds.
If I may, I would most earnestly request that those who are taking notes cease to take them. You are not here to collect a lot of ideas. We are not dealing with ideas; on the contrary, we are breaking them down. We are shattering the pattern which the petty little mind has established for its own security. So, may I most respectfully suggest that you do not take notes, but actually experience or live that which is being said; and to do this you have to listen easily, pleasantly, crisply, without effort. Not that you must agree - we have been through all that, and I won t repeat what has already been said about it.
This morning I would like to go into something which I feel is very important, but first I think we have to realize that the outward movement and the inward movement of life are essentially the same. It is important not to divide this movement as the outward world and the inward world. It is like a tide that is out very far and comes in very deeply. It is when we divide this movement of life as the outer and the inner, the material and the spiritual, that all the contradictions and conflicts arise. But if we actually experience this movement as a unitary process which includes both the outer and the inner, then there is no conflict. The inward movement is no longer a reaction to the outer, it is no longer an escape from the world, so one does not withdraw into a monastery or into some ivory tower of isolation. When one has understood the significance of the outer, then the inward movement ceases to be the opposite of the outer; then it is not a reaction, and can therefore penetrate much more deeply. So I think this is the first thing to understand: that one cannot divide the outer from the inner. It is a unitary process, and there is great beauty in perceiving its non-divisibility. But to go into this unitary process more extensively, one must understand the nature of humility.
You know, most of us actually do not know what it is to be humble, to have the sense of complete humility. Humility is not a virtue to be cultivated. The moment you cultivate humility, there is no humility. Either you are humble, or you are not. To have the sense of complete humility, you must perceive this outward and inward movement as a unitary process. You have to understand the meaning of life as a whole - the life of sorrow, of pleasure, of pain, the life which is everlastingly seeking a resting place, searching for something which it calls God or by some other name. You have to understand all this, and not reject one part of it and accept another. To understand is to be in a state of choiceless awareness. It means listening choicelessly to your wife, to your husband, to the wind among the tree; to that water rushing by; it means seeing the mountains, being negatively aware of everything. In this state of negative awareness there is an understanding of the outer and the inner as a total, unitary movement, and with that understanding there comes a great sense of humility. And humility is important, because a mind that has no humility can never learn. It can accumulate knowledge, gather more and more information, but knowledge and information are superficial. I do not quite see why we take such pride in knowing. It is all in the encyclopedia, and it is silly to accumulate knowledge when it is used for personal pride and arrogance.
So humility is not something to be achieved, but you will come to it naturally, easily, gracefully when this movement of the outer and the inner is perceived to be one total process; and then you will begin to learn. Learning is the state of a mind which never accumulates experience as memory, however pleasant the experience may be; it is the state of a mind which never avoids a sorrow, a frustration. Such a mind is always in a state of learning, such a mind has humility. And you will find that out of humility comes discipline. Most of us are not disciplined. We conform, adjust, imitate, suppress, sublimate, but none of this is discipline. Conformity is not discipline, it is merely the outcome of fear, and therefore it makes the mind narrow, stupid, dull. I am talking of a discipline which comes into being spontaneously when there is this extraordinary sense of humility and the mind is therefore in a state of learning. Then you don't have to impose a discipline on the mind, because the state of learning is a discipline in itself.
I hope I am making this very clear. I am not talking about the mechanical discipline of the soldier who is trained to kill or be killed, nor of the discipline of technique. Offices, shops, factories, laboratories and the various functions of skilled labour all demand efficiency, and in order to function efficiently in a particular job one disciplines oneself to conform to the required pattern. I don't mean any of that. I am talking of a discipline which is entirely different, a discipline which comes by itself when one understands this extraordinary process of life, not in fragments, but as an undivided whole. When you understand yourself, not departmentalized as a musician, an artist, a speaker, a yogi, and all the rest of it, but as a total human being, then out of your own understanding there is a state of learning, and this very state of learning is itself a discipline in which there is no conformity, no imitation. The mind is not being shaped to fit into a particular pattern, and therefore it is free; and in this freedom there is a spontaneous sense of discipline. I think it is very important to understand this, because for most of us freedom implies doing whatever we desire to do, or obeying our instincts, or following what we unfortunately call our intuition. But none of that is freedom.
Freedom implies totally emptying the mind of the known. I do not know if you have ever tried this for yourself. What matters is to free the mind from the known, or rather for the free itself from the known. This does not mean that the mind must free itself from factual knowledge. In one degree or another you must have such knowledge. You obviously cannot free yourself from the knowledge of where you live, and so on. But the mind can free itself from the background of tradition, of accumulated experiences, and from the various conscious and unconscious urges which are the reactions of that background; and to be completely free from that background is to deny, to put aside, to die to the known. If you do this you will discover for yourself what a really significant thing freedom is.
What I am talking about is a total inward freedom in which there is no psychological dependence, no attachment of any kind. As long as there is attachment there is no freedom, because attachment implies a sense of inward loneliness, inward vacuity, which demands an outward relationship upon which to depend. A free mind is not attached, though it may have relationships. But freedom cannot come into being if there is not this state of learning which brings with it a deep inward discipline not based on ideation or on any conceptual pattern. When the mind is constantly freeing itself by dying to the known from moment to moment, out of that there comes a spontaneous discipline, an austerity born of comprehension. Real austerity is a marvellous thing, it is not the dry, wretched discipline of destructive self-denial that most of us imagine it to be.
I do not know if you have ever felt this extraordinary sense of being completely austere - which has nothing whatsoever to do with the discipline of control, adjustment, conformity. And there must be this austerity, because in this austerity there is great beauty and intense love. It is this austerity that is passionate; and this austerity comes only when there is an inward aloneness.
Now, I think one must see very clearly the difference between loneliness and aloneness. Most of us are lonely, as we well know if we are at all aware of ourselves. Perhaps you have had the experience of suddenly feeling cut off from everything, of having no relationship with anything. You may be in a crowd, or with your family, or at a party, or you may he walking by yourself beside a river, and suddenly you have a sense of complete isolation. That sense of isolation is essentially a state of fear, and it is always there, lurking in the background of the mind. From this fear we constantly escape by doing all kinds of things: we pick up a book, listen to the radio, watch television, drink, chase after women, turn to the pursuit of God, and all the rest of it. It is out of our loneliness and fear of loneliness that every action and reaction takes place. This loneliness is entirely different from aloneness.
The lonely, fearful mind is swayed by innumerable influences; like a piece of clay, it is malleable, it can be shaped, forced into any mould. But aloneness is complete freedom of the mind from all influence: the influence of your wife, of your husband, of tradition, of the church, of the State. It is freedom from the influence of what you read, and from the influence of your own unconscious demands. In other words, aloneness is complete freedom from the known. It is the state of learning which comes when the mind understands the total process of life; and it brings with it a discipline which is not the discipline of the church, or of the army, or of the specialist, or of the athlete, or of the man who is pursuing knowledge. It is discipline born of a deep sense of humility; and there cannot be humility if the mind is not completely alone.
What has been said up to this point is reasonable, logical, sane, healthy, and if we have understood the words and also gone behind the words, I think we will have had no difficulty in understanding what the speaker is trying to convey. But something else is demanded, something much more is required. What has been described so far is like laying the foundation of a house, and it is only a foundation, nothing more. But that foundation has to be laid, and it must be laid with passion, with intensity, with beauty, and therefore with love. That foundation cannot be laid out of despair, out of conflict, or out of a desire to achieve some stupid result, because then the mind is not in a state of freedom from the known.
I wonder if you have ever been aware of how you gather, of how the mind holds on to innumerable little experiences. The mind provides the soil in which passing experiences take root and further shape the mind. Almost every experience leaves its mark, and therefore experience only perpetuates the mind's limitation. But when, having laid the right foundation by seeing and understanding its own limitation through this process, the mind - easily, without any conflict - frees itself from the known, then there is the coming into being of a movement which is creation.
Most of us are seeking God, and our God is merely a matter of belief. That word spelt the other way round is `dog', which would do just as well for what we call God. But we have been trained from childhood to accept that word; and organized religion, with its two thousand or ten thousand years of propaganda, has conditioned the mind to believe in what that word is supposed to represent. And we accept that belief so easily, just as in the communist world they accept the belief that there is no God because they have been brought up in it. That is another kind of propaganda. The believer and the non-believer are the same because they are both slaves to propaganda.
Now, to find out if there is or there is not God, you must destroy everything in yourself which is the outcome of propaganda. What we now call religion has been put together, built up through the centuries by man in his fear, in his greed, in his ambition, in his hope and despair. And to find out if there is or there is not God, the mind must totally destroy, without a motive, all the accumulations of the past; it must wholly erase all belief and disbelief, and completely cease to search. The mind must be empty of the known, empty of the Saviour, empty of all the gods that have been manufactured by thought and carved in wood or in stone. It is only when the mind is free from the known that it can be in a state of complete quietness which is not induced by breathing, by exercise, by tricks, by drugs. And one has to go that far - but it is really not `far', there is no distance. But to abolish distance, time must cease; and time ceases only when there is the knowing of oneself as one actually is from fact to fact. In this extraordinary freedom, which begins with self-knowing, there is a movement - a movement which is immeasurable, beyond all concepts. This movement is creation; and when the mind has come to this movement, it will discover for. itself that love, death and creation are the same.
Questioner: Is not freedom like the air, and have we not built for ourselves a tent like this one, which prevents the air from coming in? We have only to pierce the tent, and then the air will come pouring in.
Krishnamurti: You know, similes and verbal pictures are most dangerous, because they give us the feeling that we have understood when we are not actually in that state. It is merely a theory. But here we are not talking theoretically; we are not imagining something. As I explained at the very beginning of these talks, we are dealing with psychological facts. If you do not face the psychological facts of your own mind, then the tent, the air, the soul and all these similes and theories come tumbling in and you are destroyed.
Sir, when a man is desperately hungry, what is the good of describing to him a tasty dish or a delicate savour? He wants food. Theories and descriptions are meaningless to a man who is hungry to find out for himself what is true. But unfortunately most of us are not hungry in that sense. We are psychologically well fed because we are full of our experiences, and we have found shelter in dogma, in belief. We feel secure in belonging to this group or that group, to this church or that. And when we do have a feeling of discontent, which is a very rare thing, we promptly smother it by seeking something which will give us immediate satisfaction. What matters is to be tremendously hungry psychologically, and to remain in that state of hunger without going insane or becoming neurotic. The question is not how to feed that hunger, because the moment you feed it, you are lost. You can feed it very easily with words, with theories, with books, with churches, with - oh - anything. But if you remain in that state of deep psychological hunger without despair, it is like a burning flame that will destroy every false thing until nothing is left but ashes, and out of that emptiness something real can take place.
Questioner: Does the change of which you are speaking come about through will? Is there a motive behind it?
Krishnamurti: Now, what is will? Please don't theorize; don't quote what somebody has said. Let us find out what that word means. To have the will to do something means that you want to do it. So will is desire, is it not? Many desires, many urges, many resistances, many demands put together give one this sharpened instrument, this extraordinary sense of volition which is the will to do something and to go through with it.
We all know that through will we can force ourselves to do certain things. If I say, "I am not going to be angry tomorrow" and I exercise my will very strongly in that direction, I can prevent myself from being angry tomorrow. But that is not change; as I pointed out earlier, that is merely conforming to a desired pattern. Surely, any change brought about through will is no change at all; it is merely the continuation, in a different framework, of what has been. If I change through a motive - because my mother likes it, or because society wants me to do it, or because there is some profit in it, and so on - , that change is the result of persuasion, influence, reward; therefore it is not really a change, but only a modified perpetuation of the past. Now, if I understand the whole process of both the change through will and the change through motive so that these two processes die and are effortlessly put aside, out of that understanding there comes a change which is not premeditated, which is not brought about through influence or through various urges, compulsions; and this change is really a total destruction of the known.
Questioner: This change you are talking about seems to be a bit of a trick. If I say to myself, "I want to change", I have a motive; so I must change without wanting to change. It's the same problem with ambition: one can't get rid of ambition by wanting to get rid of it. So the whole thing can only be a trick.
Krishnamurti: Sir, you mentioned the word `ambition'. Most of us are ambitious in one degree or another, and we all know the implications of ambition: competition, ruthlessness, an utter lack of love, and all the rest of it. Now, if I am ambitious - ambitious for position, power, ambitious to be somebody in this world or in the so-called spiritual world, and so on - , and I have begun to see for myself that it is stupid to be ambitious, how am I to be entirely free of ambition? How is this radical change to be brought about? You may not agree, but just listen to me quietly.
Our education from childhood is built round this idea of becoming somebody, achieving success, and very few of us have ever learnt to love what we are doing. You know, when you love what you are doing you work without motive, without the urge to be a success. When you love somebody, you don't think about what you are going to get out of that person. You don't love that person because he or she gives you money, or position, or some other form of satisfaction. You must love - if such a love exists. Now, if I really love what I am doing, there is no ambition. Then I never compare myself with another, I never say that somebody else is doing better or worse than I am. I love my work, therefore my mind, my heart, my whole being is in it. But we are not educated in that way. Society demands so many scientists, so many engineers, so many technicians, or what you will, and we are shoved through the mill of what is called college so that we can fit into the required pattern.
To love what you are doing implies the total absence of ambition. You do not suppress ambition through will, or try to get rid of it through a motive, a purpose. Ambition falls away from you as a dead leaf falls from the tree. It happens when you love.
Have I answered your question, sir?
Questioner: How can one prevent the conditioning of children?
Krishnamurti: First of all, if you are the parent or the educator, you have to be aware of your own conditioning, obviously. But even then, can you prevent the conditioning of the child? Society insists on conditioning the child. Governments with their propaganda, organized religions with their dogmas, beliefs and codes of morality, the psychological structure of what we call society - the whole of this is constantly impinging, not only on the mind of the child, but on the minds of us all. Modern society being what it is, you can't keep your child away from school; and the school is not interested in leaving the child's mind unconditioned; on the contrary, it wants his mind to be conditioned according to a certain pattern. So there is a battle going on between the desire of the intelligent parent not to condition the child's mind, and the determination of society to condition it. The church wants to train the child to believe certain things; the Protestants, the Catholics, the Hindus and all the rest of the organized, propagandistic religions are out to condition his mind. And the child wants to conform, he doesn't want to be different, because it's much more fun to join the boy scouts, or whatever it is, and be just like the rest of the crowd. You know all this well enough. And what are you to do?
At home one can begin to point out to the child the stupidity of merely conforming; one can discuss, argue, constantly explain to him how important it is not to accept everything that society demands, but rather to question, to break through the values that are obviously false and not become a mere delinquent. To be delinquent is to revolt within the pattern, and that is very easy to do. Real revolt is to understand and not be carried away by the innumerable influences which are constantly impinging upon the mind. You can explain these influences to the child so that when he reads a comic book, or listens to the radio, or watches television, he is aware of them and does not let them destroy his mind. This demands awareness on your own part; it means that you yourself must work at breaking down your own conditioning, for only then can you help the child.
Questioner: Is what you are talking, about the beginning of a new man? If it is, will that new man go forward, and will his problems be entirely different?
Krishnamurti: I'm going to answer your question, but I must hesitate before I do so. You see, I am working, but unfortunately many of you are apparently just listening. If you also were working intensely, furiously, with delight, as I am doing, then your brain would be rather weary too, and you would not be so eager to ask another question.
What do you mean when you talk about going forward? Do you mean making progress? I think there is progress only in the material world. From the bullock cart to the jet plane, to the rocket that will go to the moon - this is progress in technology. But is there progress inwardly? Is there `spiritual' progress, which implies the idea that through time one will become something psychologically? Surely, this very idea of becoming, progressing, arriving, creates a problem. You want to arrive, and you may not; so there is always the shadow of frustration. A mind that is free, a mind that has understood the urge to progress through time, has no problem any more. If there are problems, it meets each problem as it arises, but it does not create or project problems for itself. But most of us are burdened with problems of our own making.
Let me put it differently.
When the mind is free from the known, it is a new mind, an innocent mind. It is in a state of creation which is immeasurable, nameless, beyond time. And we have been discussing at these meetings what it is that prevents us from coming naturally, easily, gracefully to that state. It cannot be invited, because a petty mind cannot invite the immense. All pettiness has to come to an end, and then the other is. The mind cannot imagine that state of immensity. From its pettiness, from its shallowness it can project something which it thinks is beautiful; but that which it projects is still part of its own ugliness. The psychological structure of society is what we are. When that structure is understood and there is freedom from it, then the nameless, that in which there is no time, no progress, comes into being.
Questioner: How can a conditioned mind understand what is true?
Krishnamurti: It cannot. Let us make it very simple. Suppose I am nationalistic, bound to my country, to my sovereign, caught up in my petty little identification with a particular race. How can such a mind understand a state which is completely beyond all this? It cannot. So the mind has to understand its own nationalism, break it down, destroy it, completely put it aside; and for most of us that is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. Nationalism is merely an expansion of our own little selves. You identify yourself with your country because you are small and the country is big. The tribal entity likes to be identified with something bigger - and that is what we are all doing. You may not identify yourself with your country, but you want to commit yourself to some supreme purpose or action; you want to be identified with an idea, or with God. Whether you commit yourself to your country, or to your family, or become a monk and commit yourself to God, it is exactly the same, it is all conditioning. And to break down this conditioning requires, as we have seen, a choiceless awareness, watching every movement of thought - just playing with it, watching it.
August 12, 1962
Saanen 10th Public Talk 12th August 1962
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.