Madras 1964 (1)
Madras 6th Public Talk 29th January 1964
I would like this evening, if I may, to talk about meditation. I would like to talk about it because I feel it is the most important thing in life.
To understand `meditation', to go into it very deeply, one must, first of all, understand the word and the fact. For most of us are slaves to words. The word `meditation' itself arouses in most people a certain state, a certain sensitivity, a certain quietness, a desire to achieve something or the other. But the word is not the thing. Because the word, the symbol, the name - if it is not totally understood - is a terrible thing. It acts as a barrier, it makes the mind slavish. And the reaction to the word, to the symbol, makes most of us act, because we are unaware or unconscious of the fact itself. We come to the fact, to `what is' with our opinions judgments, evaluations, our memories. And we never see the fact - the `what is'. I think that must be clearly understood.
To comprehend every experience, every state of mind, the `what is`, the actual fact, the actuality, one must not be a slave to words - and that is one of the most difficult things. The naming of it, the word, arouses various memories; and these memories impinge on the fact, control, shape, offer guidance to the fact, to the `what is'. So, one must be extraordinarily aware of this confusion and not bring about a conflict between the word and the actuality, the `what is'. And that is a very arduous task for a mind; that demands precision, clarity.
Without clarity, one cannot see things as they are. There is an extraordinary beauty in seeing things as they are - not in your opinions, your judgments, your memories. One has to see the tree as it is, without any confusion; similarly one has to see the sky on the water, of an evening - just to see, without verbalization, without that arousing symbols, ideas and memories. in that there is extraordinary beauty. And beauty is essential. Beauty is the appreciation, the sensitivity to things about one - to nature, to people, to idea; And if there is no sensitivity, there will be no clarity; the two are together, synonymous. This clarity is essential if we would understand what meditation is.
A mind that is confused, a mind caught up in ideas, in experiences, in all the urges of desire, only breeds conflict. And a mind that would really be in a state of meditation, has to be aware not only of the word, but also of the instinctive response of naming the experience or the state. And the very naming of that state or experience - whatever the experience be, however cruel, however real, however false - only strengthens memory with which we proceed to further experience.
Please, if I may point out, it is very important to understand what we are talking about, because, if you do not understand this, you will not be able to take a journey with the speaker into this whole problem of meditation.
As said, meditation is one of the most important things in life - or, perhaps, the most important thing in. life. If there is no meditation, there is no possibility of going beyond the limits of thought and mind and brain. And to go into this problem of meditation, from the very beginning one must lay the foundation of virtue. I do not mean the virtue imposed by society, a morality through fear, through greed, through envy, through certain punishment and reward.
I am talking of virtue which comes about naturally, spontaneously, easily, without any conflict or resistance, when there is self-knowing. Without knowing yourself, do what you will, there cannot possibly be the state of meditation. I mean by `self-knowing' knowing every thought, every mood, every word, every feeling; knowing the activity of your mind - not knowing the Supreme Self, the big Self; there is no such thing; the Higher Self, the Atman, is still within the field of thought. Thought is the result of your conditioning thought is the response of your memory - ancestral or immediate. And merely to try to meditate without first establishing deeply, irrevocably that virtue which comes about through self-knowing, is utterly deceptive and absolutely useless.
Please, it is very important for those who are serious, to understand this. Because if you cannot do that, your meditation and actual living are divorced, are apart - so wide apart that though you may meditate, taking postures indefinitely, for the rest of your life, you will not see beyond your nose; any posture you take, anything that you do, will have no meaning whatsoever.
So, the mind that would enquire - I am using the word `enquire' purposely - into what meditation is, must lay this foundation, which comes about naturally, spontaneously, with an ease of effortlessness, when there is self-knowing. And also, it is important to understand what this self-knowing is, just to be aware, without any choice, of the `me' which has its source in a bundle of memories - I will go presently into what we mean by awareness - , just to be conscious of it without interpretation, merely to observe the movement of the mind. But that observation is prevented when you are merely accumulating through observation - what to do, what not to do, what to achieve, what not to achieve; if you do that, you put an end to the living process of the movement of the mind as the self. That is, I have to observe and see the fact, the actual, the `what is'. If I approach it with an idea, with an opinion - such as `I must not' or `I must', which are the responses of memory - then the movement of `what is' is hindered, is blocked; and therefore, there is no learning.
To observe the movement of the breeze in the tree, you cannot do anything about it. It moves either with violence or with grace, with beauty. You, the observer, cannot control it. You cannot shape it, you cannot say, "I will keep it in my mind". It is there. You may remember it. But if you remember it and recollect that breeze in the tree the next time you look at it, you are not looking at the natural movement of the breeze in the tree, but only remembering the movement of the past. Therefore you are not learning, but you are merely adding to what you already know. So, knowledge becomes, at a certain level, an impediment to a further level.
I hope this is very clear. Because what we are going into presently demands a mind that is completely clear, capable of looking, seeing, listening, without any movement of recognition.
So, one must first be very clear, not confused. Clarity is essential. I mean by `clarity', seeing things as they are; seeing the `what is', without any opinion; seeing the movement of your mind, observing it very closely, minutely, diligently, without any purpose, without any directive. just to observe demands astonishing clarity; otherwise, you cannot observe. If you would observe an ant moving about, doing all the activities it does - if you come to it with various biological facts about the ant, that knowledge prevents you from looking. So you begin to see immediately where knowledge is necessary and where knowledge becomes an impediment. So there is no confusion.
Where the mind is clear, precise, capable of deep, fundamental reasoning, it is in a state of negation. Most of us accept things so easily, we are so gullible, because we want comfort, we want security, we want a sense of hope, we want somebody to save us - Masters, saviours, gurus, Rishis; you know the whole mess of it! We accept readily, easily; and equally easily we deny, according to the climate of our mind. So, 'clarity' is in the sense of seeing things as they are within oneself. Because oneself is a part of the world. Oneself is the movement of the world. Oneself is the outer expression which is the movement that goes inwardly - it is like the tide that goes out and comes in. Merely to concentrate on, or observe, yourself apart from the world leads you to isolation and to all forms of idiosyncrasy, neurosis, isolating fears and so on. But if you observe the world and follow the movement of the world, and ride that movement as it comes within, then there is no division between you and the world; then you are not an individual opposed to the collective.
And there must be this sense of observation, which is both explorative - which is exploring - and observing, listening and being aware. I am using the word `observing' in that sense. The very act of observation is the act of exploration. You cannot explore if you are not free. Therefore, to explore, to observe, there must be clarity; to explore within yourself deeply, you must come to it each time afresh. That is, in that exploration you have never achieved a result, you have never climbed a ladder, and you never say, "Now I know". There is no ladder. If you do climb, you must come down immediately, so that your mind is tremendously sensitive to observe, to watch, to listen.
And out of this observing, listening, seeing, watching, comes that extraordinary beauty of virtue. There is no other virtue except that which comes from self-knowing. Then that virtue is vital, vigorous, active - not a dead thing that you cultivate. And that must be the foundation. That is, the foundation for meditation is observation, clarity and virtue, in the sense we mean - not in the sense you have made virtue a thing to be cultivated day after day, which is mere resistance.
Then, we can see from there the implications of the so-called prayers, the so-called repetition of words, mantras, sitting in a corner, and trying to fix your mind on a particular object, or a word, or a symbol - which is to meditate deliberately. Please listen carefully. Taking a deliberate posture or doing certain things to meditate, deliberately, consciously, only implies that you are playing in the field of your own desires and your own conditioning; and, therefore, it is not meditation. One can see very well if one observes, that those people who meditate have all kinds of images; they see Krishna, Christ, Buddha, and they think they have got something - like a Christian seeing the Christ; that phenomenon is very simple, very clear; it is a projection of his own conditioning, his own fears, his own hopes, his desire for security. The Christian sees the Christ as you would see Rama or whatever your particular pet god is.
And there is nothing remarkable about these visions. They are the product of your unconscious, which has been so conditioned, so trained in fear. When you become slightly quiet, up it pops with its images, symbols, ideas. So, visions, trances, pictures and ideas have no value whatsoever. It is like a man repeating some mantram or some phrase or a name over and over and over again. When you repeat a name over and over and over again, what happens obviously is: you make the mind dull, stupid; and in that stupidity it becomes quiet. You can just as well take a drug to make the mind quiet - and there are such drugs - and in that state of quietness, in that drugged state you have visions. Those are obviously the product of your own society, of your own culture, of your own hopes and fears; they have nothing whatsoever to do with Reality.
Prayers are equally so. The man who prays is like a man who has his hand in another man's pocket. The businessman, the politician and the whole competitive society are praying for peace; but they are doing everything to bring about war, hatred and antagonism - it has no meaning, it has no rationality. Your prayer is a supplication, asking for something which you have no right to ask - because you are not living, you are not virtuous. And you want something peaceful, great, to enrich your lives; but you are doing everything opposite to destroy: becoming mean, petty, stupid.
So, prayers, visions, sitting in a corner upright, breathing rightly, doing things with your mind, are so immature, juvenile; they have no meaning for a man who really wants to understand the full significance of what meditation is. So a man who would understand what meditation is, puts all this aside completely, even though he may lose his job; he does not immediately turn to a petty god in order to get a job - that is the game you all play. When there is some kind of sorrow, disturbance, you turn to a temple, and you call yourself religious! All these must be completely, totally set aside, so that they do not touch you. If you have done this, then we can proceed into this whole question of what is meditation.
You must have observation, clarity, self-knowing and, because of that, virtue. Virtue is a thing that is flowering in goodness all the time; you might make a mistake, do things ugly, but they are finished; you are moving, are flowering in goodness, because you are knowing yourself. Having laid that foundation, then you can put aside the prayers, the muttering of words and taking postures. Then you can begin to enquire into what is experience.
It is very important to understand what is experience, because we all want experience. We have ever day experiences - going to the office, quarrelling, being jealous, envious, brutal, competitive, sexual. In life, we go through every kind of experience, day after day, consciously or unconsciously. And we are living on the surface of our life, without beauty, without any depth, with nothing of our own which is original, pristine, clear; we are all secondhand human beings, quoting others, following others, empty as a shell. And naturally we want more experience other than everyday experience. So, we search for this experience either through meditation, or through taking some of the latest drugs. L.S.D.25 is one of these latest drugs; the moment you have taken it, you feel you have `instant mysticism' - not that I have taken it. (Laughter).
We are talking seriously. You merely laugh at the least provocation; therefore you are not serious; you are not going step by step into it, watching into yourself; you are just listening to words, going along riding on words - which I warned you against at the beginning of the talk.
So, there are these drugs which give you an expansion of consciousness, make you highly sensitive for the time being. And in that state of heightened sensitivity you see things: the tree becomes most astonishingly alive, bright and clear and with an immensity. Or, if you are religiously-minded, you, in that heightened state of sensitivity, have an extraordinary sense of peace and light; there is no difference between you and the thing observed, you are it; and the whole universe is part of you. And you crave for these drugs because you want more experience, a wider and deeper experience, hoping that experience will give you significance to life; so you begin to depend. Yet, when you have these experiences, you are still within the field of thought, within the field of the known.
So you have to understand experience - that is, the response to a challenge, which becomes a reaction; and that reaction shapes your thought, your feeling, your being. And you add more and more experiences, you think of having more and more experiences. The more clear the memories of those experiences are, the more you think you know. But, if you observe, you will find that the more you know, the more shallow you become, the more empty. Becoming more empty, you want more experience and wider. So you have to understand not only all that I have said previously, but also this extraordinary demand for experience. Now we can proceed.
A mind that is seeking experience of any kind is still within the field of time, within the field of the known, within the field of self-projected desires. As I said at the beginning of the talk, deliberate meditation only leads to illusion. But yet, there must be meditation. To meditate deliberately only leads you to various forms of self-hypnosis, to various forms of experience projected by your own desires, by your own conditioning; and those conditionings, those desires shape your mind, control your thought. So a man who would really understand the deep significance of meditation must understand the significance of experience; and also his mind must be free from seeking. That is very difficult. I am going to go into that presently.
Having laid all this as a basic thing naturally, spontaneously, easily, then we must find out what it means to control thought. Because that is what you are after; the more you can control thought, the more you think you have advanced in meditation. For me, every form of control - physically, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally - is detrimental. Please listen carefully. Do not say, "Then, I will do what I like". I am not saying that. Control implies subjugation, suppression, adaptation, shaping the thought to a particular pattern - which implies that the pattern is more important than the discovery of what is true. So control, in any form - which is resistance, suppression or sublimation, in any form - shapes the mind more and more according to the past, according to the conditioning in which you have been brought up, according to the conditioning of a particular community, and so on and on.
It is necessary to understand what is meditation. Now please listen carefully. I do not know if you have ever done this kind of meditation; probably you have not. But you are going to do it now with me. We are going to take the journey together, not verbally, but actually, to go through it right up to the end where verbal communication exists. That is, it is like going together up to the door; then either you go through the door, or you stop on this side of the door. You will stop on this side of the door if you have not actually, factually, done everything that is being pointed out - not because the speaker says so, but because that is sane, healthy, reasonable and it will stand every test, every examination.
So now, together, we are going to meditate - not deliberately meditate, because that does not exist. It is like leaving the window open and the air comes when it will - whatever the air brings, whatever the breeze is. But if you expect, wait for the breezes to come because you have opened the window, they will never come. So, it must be opened out of love, out of affection, out of freedom - not because you want something. And that is the state of beauty, that is the state of mind that sees and does not demand.
To be aware is an extraordinary state of mind - to be aware of your surroundings, of the trees, the bird that is singing, the sunset behind you; to be aware of the faces, of the smiles; to be aware of the dirt on the road; to be aware of the beauty of the land, of a palm-tree against the red sunset, the ripple of the water - just to be aware, choicelessly. Please do this as you are going along. Listen to these birds; do not name them, do not recognize the species, but just listen, to the sound. Listen to the movement of your own thoughts; do not control them, do not shape them, do not say, "This is right, that is wrong; just move with them. That is awareness in which there is no choice, no condemnation, no judgment, no comparison or interpretation, but mere observation. That makes your mind highly sensitive. The moment you name, you have gone back, your mind becomes dull, because that is what you are used to.
In that state of awareness there is attention - not control, not concentration. There is attention - that is, you are listening to the birds, you are seeing the sunset, you are seeing the stillness of the trees, you are hearing the cars go by, you are hearing the speaker and you are attentive to the meaning of the words, you are attentive to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the movement in that attention. You are attentive comprehensively, without a border, not only consciously but also unconsciously. The unconscious is more important; therefore, you have to enquire into the unconscious.
I am not using the word `unconscious' as a technological term or a technique. I am not using it in the sense in which the psychologists use it, but as that of which you are not conscious. Because most of us are living on the surface of the mind: going to the office, acquiring knowledge or a technique, quarrelling, and so on. We never pay attention to the depth of our being, which is the result of our community, of the racial residue, of all the past - not only of you as a human being but also of man, the anxieties of man. When you sleep, all these project themselves as dreams, and then there is the interpretation of those dreams. Dreams become totally unnecessary for a man who is awake, alert, watching, listening, aware, attentive.
Now, this attention demands tremendous energy: not the energy which you have gathered through practice, being a bachelor and all the rest of that stuff - that is all the energy of g-reed. I am talking of the energy of self-knowing. Because you have laid the right foundation, out of that comes the energy to be attentive, in which there is no sense of concentration.
Concentration is exclusion - you want to listen to that music and you want also to hear what the speaker is saying; so you resist that music and try to listen to the speaker; so you are really not paying complete attention. A part of your energy has gone to resist that music and a part of it is trying to listen; therefore you are not listening totally; therefore you are not being attentive. So if you concentrate, you merely resist, exclude. But a mind that is attentive can concentrate and not be exclusive.
So out of this attention comes a brain that is quiet, the brain cells themselves are quiet - not made quiet, not disciplined, not enforced, not brutally conditioned. But because this whole attention has come into being, naturally, spontaneously, without effort, easily, the brain cells are not perverted, not hardened, not coarsened, not brutalized. I hope you are following all this. Unless the brain cells themselves are astonishingly sensitive, alert, vital, not hardened, not beaten, not overworked, not specialized in a particular department of knowledge, unless they are extraordinarily sensitive, they cannot be quiet. So the brain must be quiet but yet be sensitive to every reaction, be aware of all the music, the noises, the birds, hearing these words, watching the sunset without any pressure, without any strain, without any influence. The brain must be very quiet, because without quietness - uninduced, not brought about artificially - there can be. no clarity.
And clarity can only come when there is space. And you have space the moment the brain is absolutely quiet but yet highly sensitive, not deadened. And that is why it is very important what you do all day. The brain is brutalized by circumstances, by society, by your jobs and by specialization, by your thirty or forty years in an office, grinding away brutally - all that destroys the extraordinary sensitivity of the brain. And the brain must be quiet. Then from there, the whole mind, in which is included the brain, is capable of being completely still. That still mind is no longer seeking, it is not waiting for experience; it is not experiencing anything at all.
I hope you are understanding all this. Perhaps you aren't - it doesn't matter! Just listen. Do not be mesmerized by me, but listen to the truth of this. And perhaps then, when you are walking in the street, sitting in a bus, watching a stream or a rice field, rich and green, this will come unknowingly, like a breath from a distant land.
So the mind then becomes completely still, without any form of pressure, compulsion. This stillness is not a thing produced by thought, because thought has ended, the whole machinery of thought has come to an end. Thought must end; otherwise, thought will produce more images, more ideas, more illusions - more and more and more. Therefore, you have to understand this whole machinery of thought - not how to stop thinking. If you understand the whole machinery of thought, which is the response of memory, association and recognition, naming, comparing, judging - if you understand it, naturally it comes to an end. When the mind is completely still, then out of that stillness, in that stillness, there is quite a different movement.
That movement is not a movement created by thought, by society, by what you have read or not read. That movement is not of time, of experience, because that movement has no experience. To a still mind there is no experience. A light which is burning brightly, which is strong, does not demand anything more; it is a light to itself. That movement is not a movement in any direction because direction implies time. That movement has no cause, because anything that has a cause produces an effect and that effect becomes the cause and so on - an endless chain of causation and effect, the effect becoming the cause. So there is no effect, no cause, no motive, no sense of experiencing at all. So, because the mind is completely still, naturally still, because you have laid the foundation, it is directly related to life, it is not divorced from everyday living.
Then, if the mind has gone that far, that movement is creation. Then there is no anxiety to express, because a mind that is in a state of creation may express or may not express. That state of mind which is in that complete silence - it will move, it has its own movement into the Unknown, into that which is Unnameable.
So the meditation which you do, is not the meditation of which we are talking. This meditation is from the everlasting to the everlasting, because you have laid the foundation, not on time but on Reality.
January 29, 1964
Madras 1964 (1)
Madras 6th Public Talk 29th January 1964
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