Saanen 10th Public Talk 28th July 1963
Perhaps this morning we can inquire together into something which man has been seeking for centuries upon centuries, and which very few, apparently, have found. Through his turmoil and sorrow, through his passing happiness, through all his confusion and misery, man has put together innumerable dogmas and beliefs concerning that something, to which, in the West and in the East, he has given different names. Call it God, reality, or what you will, each one of us is seeking it; and if we are to explore and find out for ourselves whether there is or is not something beyond the things put together by the mind, we are going to need a certain skill - the skill that comes in the very movement of exploration itself. It is not that you must first have the skill and then explore; but in the very process of exploring, uncovering, penetrating, there comes the skill, the expertness, the clarity with which to look. But for that you must obviously have a deep scepticism, a certain element of doubt. There must be doubt not only of the organized religions, but also of everything that you discover within yourself in the movement of exploration. You cannot accept a thing. You cannot accept what society and the organized religions have imposed on the mind, nor can you accept any of the reactions which occur while exploring - the reactions you have because you want something permanent, stable, certain. If through your craving for security, for permanency, you have certain experiences, and with those experiences you are satisfied, contented, inevitably you remain in a state of stagnation. But if from the beginning there is an attitude of questioning, of doubt, of scepticism in all that you see, in all that you feel, then that very scepticism brings about a skill in observation which is absolutely necessary for a mind that would explore or inquire into something which cannot possibly be conceived or formulated.
Organized religions throughout the world have maintained that there is something which is not man-made, something which is not merely mechanical, and they have given a great many attributes to it. For centuries these organized religions, through ceaseless propaganda, have imposed certain concepts on the mind, and each one of us is, consciously or unconsciously, conditioned by this long-continued and subtle propaganda. To put away all that conditioning requires a great deal of energy; and to explore, to inquire into yourself, you need, I assure you, tremendous doubt - doubt of everything you discover.
The organized religions probably had at the beginning a certain usefulness in making man somewhat civilized; but now they no longer have any meaning at all, because man has lost all sense of civility. He is prepared to kill thousands and wipe out a whole city in a moment. So you and I have to find out for ourselves - and I am sure this is the intention of most intelligent and even intellectual people - whether there actually is something beyond the creations of the mind. To find out is not to accept or merely to have knowledge of what has been said about it by the various religions; and to find out is also different from wanting to experience that something. The moment you desire to experience it, you cease to doubt, you no longer have any scepticism, and then you are a slave to your experiences.
Please observe your own explorative process as the speaker is talking. Do not just be satisfied with his words, his explanations, because then he alone will be doing the exploring, and you will merely be hearing words which will have very little meaning. But if as you listen you also take part in the exploration, you will discover in yourself the skill of a mind that is aware, sharp, clear, incisive, and then there is no question of accepting any authority.
But you see, we are bred on authority. Our whole life is based on the authority of the past - the authority of what the various religious teachers have said, and the authority of the priests who have a vested interest in both the teacher and the teaching. We have been brought up, conditioned, shaped by this religious authority, and merely to question it outwardly has very little value. Even in the communist world, where organized religion was once taboo, the priests are now allowed to function, because organized religion throughout the world has become politically more or less harmless. You can practise your own particular idiosyncrasies of religious belief, and as long as it is no threat to the political powers that be, they will let you do what you like about religion. It is only when you refuse to be nationalistic, when you refuse to go to war, to kill in the name of the country, and so on, that you become a danger. Organized religion in the western world has never stood strongly against nationalism, against the butchery of war; on the contrary, it has encouraged war. So now we are tamed human beings, conditioned by fear, by the authority of the church, of the temple, of the priest, and religion has become a dead thing with which we play on Sundays. We turn to it when we are in deep sorrow and want to be comforted. But religion, the real thing, does not give comfort. It is not a tame thing which you can carry about with you. It is drastic, ruthless. It destroys you. And that is what we are now going to explore, to inquire into.
To explore, you cannot look at what you see from the point of view of any particular individual or philosophy. To inquire, to find out, you have to strip yourself completely of the past. To explore there must be virtue, not custom. Morality has become custom, habit, a superficial thing conditioned by the psychological structure of society - which most of us are. We live in the habitual, in customary morality; and the virtue of which I am talking is something quite different.
Virtue is not authority in action; but in the very process of understanding authority - understanding it intelligently, skilfully, clearly, deeply - virtue comes into being. As you cannot cultivate love, so virtue cannot be cultivated; but if you understand the enormous significance, the depth and brutality of authority, out of that understanding comes the beauty of virtue.
In the beginning man was inquiring, searching, groping, but that original inquiry, that search has become traditional; it is a thing of the past, which is now our custom. The continuation of tradition, the authority of the past, creates the values which society has imposed on the mind, and which we have built into ourselves as character. That character becomes the background of authority from which we see, observe, and experience. So, if we would really inquire, explore, there must be freedom from this background of authority. Please follow this. If we can seriously explore or inquire into this question together, then perhaps, when you leave here and go back to your homes, you will be able to confront your innumerable problems and miseries with a different mind, with a different heart, with a different feeling altogether. After all, that is what we are trying to do here: to bring about a complete revolution, a mutation in consciousness. And that is very important, because mere change is degeneration. Change implies only a modification of what has been. It is not a revolution. And we are talking about a revolution, a total mutation in our way of thinking, feeling, being. Such a mutation cannot possibly take place if we remain merely at the verbal or intellectual level. That is why, if you are in earnest about all this, you must explore to the very depths of your being. Out of that exploration you will discover for yourself whether there is or is not something beyond the measure of man.
Psychological authority as memory, as the background that guides you, that shapes your thought and controls your action, must be understood totally and completely. In that understanding, real virtue is born. Virtue is spontaneous; it is not the artificial thing that you have built up as a wall of resistance to help you to remain safely enclosed within your self-centred activity. Exploration implies skill in observation, and for that you must be free of all authority-psychologically, not legalistically. Do you understand the difference? If you disobey the authority of the law, of the policeman in the street, you will be arrested and sent to prison. We are not talking of that. We are talking of freedom from psychological authority - the authority which you have built up through knowledge, through memory, through the experiences which you have had. As long as you are caught in psychological authority, or in any belief that gives comfort, your mind is not swift and subtle enough for real exploration. The mind that is exploring, questioning inquiring, does not remain at a fixed point, it does not take up a position from which it tries to explore. It is constantly moving, and in that very movement is the exploration.
So, when you begin to explore, you are not exploring something beyond yourself. You are exploring the whole process of your own consciousness, because that is the basis from which you think, from which you feel. You have to begin by examining the very instrument which is going to explore. Do you understand? I hope I am making myself clear.
After all, we have only one instrument, the mind, which is the seat of thought. And if the mind, with its reactions, is not completely questioned, explored and understood, one has no means of inquiry.
Please follow all this very closely, because it is going to be rather difficult. When the mind begins to look at its own reactions, motives, demands, urges, and the experiences it has stored up as memory, there arises a division between the observer and the thing observed, does there not? That is what actually takes place. Now, as long as there is this division between the observer and the thing observed, which creates conflict, there can be no skill in observation, and therefore no real exploration. And it demands a keen awareness, a certain tension of observation if this division between the observer and the thing observed is not to arise. This division only creates conflict - and skill in observation does not come out of conflict. It comes out of your full attention - which means that the observer and the thing observed are one, and not separate. In observing yourself you will notice that the instrument of thought, of feeling, is overshadowed by the vast experience of centuries which, as instinctual knowledge, has become the authority which tells you what to do and what not to do, and which projects into the future certain pictures or images based on the conditioned reactions of the past. And one has to be free of that whole background if one is to find out whether there is or is not something beyond the measure of man.
When you begin to inquire into yourself, you will find that your mind is divided as the conscious and the unconscious; and to understand right exploration, the whole of your consciousness must be harmoniously one, not separated as two different things. To bring about that harmonious whole, you cannot artificially integrate or bring together the two different things. That harmony, that unity comes into being only when there is an understanding of the process of consciousness, which means that the mind is able to observe itself negatively rather than positively - that is, when the mind can look at its own reactions without guiding, shaping, or otherwise trying to alter what it sees. In other words, your mind must be choicelessly aware of itself. Then you will find that your mind becomes astonishingly quiet, still; and in that stillness it can observe far more profoundly its own thought.
If you would really look at something - a stream, a mountain, a tree - your mind must be steady, quiet, unperturbed. Similarly, to explore the whole range of consciousness, your mind must be completely quiet - but not disciplined into quietness. A mind that is made quiet through discipline is a shallow mind, a dead mind, and inevitably it degenerates. But when the mind explores and understands all its own reactions, when it is aware of every movement of thought and feeling, out of that awareness there comes a spontaneous stillness, an extraordinary sensitivity which is its own discipline.
Most of us are disciplined. The opinion of society, of the neighbour, the newspapers, books and magazines we read - all these influences shape our thought and feeling, our behaviour. As a reaction to all that, we discipline ourselves to conform to some idea or ideal, or to what the Teacher, the Saviour, the Master has sanctioned. All such discipline is mere conformity, repression, it does not bring freedom. But when the mind is totally aware of all the movements of its own thought and feeling, out of that simple, deep awareness there comes a discipline which never conforms. That discipline is skill in observation. You cannot possibly have that skill if there is dependence on authority in any form - the authority of the hero, the example, the priest, or the authority of what you already know - because authority shapes and conditions your mind and therefore limits your inquiry, your subtlety, your skill in observation.
You will find it is only when the mind is completely quiet, empty, that anything can be fully perceived. You need space, you need emptiness to observe. I cannot observe you if there is no space between you and me. Similarly, a mind that is crippled with sorrow, burdened with problems, a mind that is full of its own vanities, its frustrations, its urge to fulfil, a mind that is caught in nationalism and all the other petty things of life - such a mind is not empty, it has no space, and therefore it is utterly incapable of observing. When such a mind says, "I must explore to find out if there is something beyond the mind", it has no meaning. The mind must first explore itself.
When the mind is completely quiet, empty - and that demands astonishing awareness, effortless attention - then, as I have said, there is the beginning of meditation. Then it can see, observe, listen to find out directly for itself if there is something beyond the measures devised by man to discover reality. To the speaker, there is a reality beyond the things which man has put together. But the speaker has no authority for anybody. Each one has to find out for himself. The individual has to be in a state of tremendous revolution, and out of that mutation there is action. In the very process of uncovering yourself, of discovering the whole content of consciousness, there is action; and such a mind in action is explosive. It inevitably affects society; but it is unconcerned with whether it has an effect or not.
Most of us want to change, to reform society; but every reform needs further reform, and every change breeds disintegration because it is a denial of complete mutation. I am talking of psychological revolution; and when there is that revolution, there is total action, not partial action from different levels of our consciousness. It is only the total action from one's whole being, that has a tremendous effect on the world.
So, a mind that is seeking reality must be in a state of constant observation - which means that there is no accumulation and no authority. It must also be in a state of questioning, of doubt. There must be a healthy scepticism with regard to everything that it thinks or feels, everything that it considers important or unimportant, so that it strips itself of all its comforting supports and stands completely alone. Only such a mind is innocent, and only such a mind can find out whether or not there is reality.
Do you want to question this, any of you?
Questioner: May I ask who is it that is aware, and if there is a difference between awareness and the watching of the watcher?
Krishnamurti: When you listen totally to music, or to someone speaking is there a listener? When you watch something with complete attention, is there a watcher? It is only when our attention is divided, incomplete, that there is a watcher apart from the watching; and then we ask, "Who is the watcher."
How do you listen to anything? You listen partially, don't you? You do not give your whole attention. You are not deeply interested in what the other fellow is saying, and you pay very little attention; you listen casually, so there is a division between listening and the listener. But if you listen to something with complete attention, there is no such division. You know what we mean by complete attention: to attend without effort. Do not say, "I am distracted, and how am I to attend without effort"? If you pay attention to what you call distraction, then that distraction ceases to be a distraction, does it not?
Generally we do not pay attention, so we are trained in concentration. If in your job you did not concentrate on what you were doing, you would lose your job; so you are trained, conditioned, disciplined to concentrate. Such concentration implies exclusion. In requiring yourself to concentrate on one thing, you are bound to exclude something else. When your thought wanders away from what you want to concentrate on, to that which you are trying to exclude, you call it distraction; so, for you, concentration is a form of conflict, and that is all most of us know.
Now, what I am talking about is something entirely different. It is to attend without conflict. It is to listen without strain, without disturbance, which is to listen with complete attention; and you can listen with complete attention only when in listening there is no profit, no personal motive, no demand, no interpretation. You are simply listening. In that state of total listening there is no entity who listens, no listener separate from the listening. It is a unitary process which takes place when you are interested in something completely.
Have you ever observed a child with a new toy? Until it becomes familiar and he gets bored with it, the toy absorbs him. He is so strongly attracted by the toy that he is temporarily one with it, there is no distraction because the toy has absorbed him completely. We too want to be completely absorbed by something - God, sex, love, a hundred things. We want to be so committed to something that it will completely take us over; but this absorption is not attention. Most of us have something outside or inside the skin to which we are committed and in which we can lose ourselves - a belief, a hope, a relationship, a particular form of work or amusement - , and any such commitment is always neurotic. And whatever society you live in, the communist or any other, demands that you be committed to something - to a party, to an ideology, to the defence of the State - , because otherwise you are a dangerous human being. But when neither the outer nor the inner absorbs you, and you have understood the whole process of concentration and conclusion, then from that understanding there comes a state of simple awareness, of effortless attention in which your body, your mind, your whole being is alert, completely attentive.
Sir, listen to that train as it is passing by. If you listen to the noise, to the roar of it without resistance, without any sense or building a wall against it, if you listen to it completely, then you will find that there is no listener.
Questioner: You speak of the tremendous energy that is required for complete attention. How is one to have such energy?
Krishnamurti: How do we have energy? For one thing, by eating the right kind of food, or whatever kind of food one needs, and by taking sufficient exercise and getting the right amount of sleep. And most of us also derive energy from competition, struggle, conflict, do we not? That is all the energy we know. Being caught in that limited energy and wanting therefore to expand our consciousness, we resort to drugs. There are various drugs that help to expand consciousness; and at the moment of that expansion, induced by a drug, we feel tremendously aware, sensitive. It gives us a different quality, a keen sense of otherness. This effect has been described by various people who have actually taken the drugs.
Now, how do we awaken in ourselves an energy that has its own momentum, that is its own cause and effect, an energy that has no resistance and does not deteriorate? How does one come by it? The organized religions have advocated various methods, and by practising a particular method one is supposed to get this energy. But methods do not give this energy. The practice of a method implies conformity, resistance, denial, acceptance, adjustment, so that whatever energy one has is merely wearing itself out. If you see the truth of this, you will never practise any method. That is one thing. Secondly, if energy has a motive, an end towards which it is going, that energy is self-destructive. And for most of us, energy does have a motive, does it not? We are moved by a desire to achieve, to become this or that, and therefore our energy defeats itself. Thirdly, energy is made feeble, petty, when it is conforming to the past - and this is perhaps our greatest difficulty. The past is not only the many yesterdays, but also every minute that is being accumulated, the memory of the thing that was over a second before. This accumulation in the mind is also destructive of energy.
So, to awaken this energy, the mind must have no resistance, no motive, no end in view, and it must not be caught in time as yesterday, today and tomorrow. Then energy is constantly renewing itself, and therefore not degenerating. Such a mind is not committed, it is completely free; and it is. only such a mind that can find the unnameable, that extraordinary something which is beyond words. The mind must free itself from the known to enter into the unknown.
July 28, 1963
Saanen 10th Public Talk 28th July 1963
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