Bombay 2nd Public Talk 12th February 1964
The problem of communication is always a difficult matter. To commune with one another about serious subjects requires, I should think, a certain quality of attention. Because most of us, when we are trying to communicate something to another, are not clear ourselves; and the other is not actually paying attention or listening - he is burdened with his own problems, with his own anxieties, with his own fears. And so communication becomes extremely strenuous, extremely difficult.
To partake in a talk like this we must both be - the speaker as well as you who are listening - in a state of communion. We must be able to commune with each other. That is, we must both be in a state of intense attention, at the same time and at the same level. If the speaker wishes to say something, as he is going to do, which demands an insight, - not a mere verbal acceptance or denial, but an insight - a deep, intimate insight into the whole problem, you and the speaker must meet, commune with each other at the same level, with the same intensity, at the same time. Otherwise there is no communion, there is no communication. You may hear the words and interpret the words according to your fancy, according to your comprehension of a particular language; but really to be in a state of communion requires that you and the speaker, both feel intensely at the same time, be in communion with an intensity, at a level that demands your complete attention, otherwise there is no communication.
I do not know if you have ever communed with yourself - not meditate, but just be in communion, in communication, in contact, in touch, with yourself. If you have ever been in touch, in contact, in communion, with your own mind, with your own heart, you will know that to be in communion requires a certain quality of attention. You must be able to follow swiftly, you must be able to see rapidly the meaning of the word, as well as the significance that lies beyond the word. Communion or communication is only possible when we both understand the nature and the meaning of the word and the significance of the word.
It seems to me, especially when we are dealing with matters that require a great deal of insight, a subtlety of thought, a rapidity of pursuit, you require not only to be in communion with yourself, but also to be in communion with the speaker. So your task as a person who is hearing is doubly difficult, because you have not only to understand and be in communion with yourself, but also at the same time hear the words and not give a particular importance to, and halt at, the words. You have also to listen with care, with an intensity which does not pervert, which does not translate, which does not compare; you have actually to be in a state of acute communication with yourself as well as with the speaker. That demands a great task, that is a tremendous task. Because we are not just speaking casually about something that does not matter - political or some social reform. But we are talking about something that touches the human being right to the very core of his existence.
We said, in the last talk that we had here, that we are going to the very root of things, to question, to enquire into the very substance of our being. And that requires not only that you be aware of your own states of mind and heart, but also at the same time and at the same level, with the same intensity, listen to what is being said. So, if I may point out, your task is much more strenuous. You are not just casually listening, agreeing or disagreeing. We are really exploring into the whole structure of our mind and of our being. And you are doing it in co-operation with the speaker, and therefore you must be in communion with the speaker as well as with yourself. Otherwise all communication between the speaker and yourself ceases immediately; you are off at a certain point, and the speaker is off at another point or pursuing his line.
So I hope you see the task set before you for yourself. I am not setting it for you, you are setting it for yourself. And that is the only way to be in communion with another - whether it be with nature, with a cloud, with the beauty of a sunset, or with your wife and children, with your neighbour, with your boss. You must be in that state of attention where we both have a direct relationship about which we are thinking, talking or listening. Please see the importance of this; otherwise, you and the speaker have no relationship.
When that is clear, not only inwardly but also outwardly, when your mind is not wandering or tired or thinking about something, when you are listening, - not interpreting, not comparing, not evaluating, but actually listening - then you will find that we are both taking a journey together into the very depth of our being and, there, are discovering all the tortures, all the difficulties, all the problems that live in our minds and hearts.
I want to talk this evening about the nature of conflict, and whether it is at all possible to be free totally of all conflict. By conflict I mean the struggle, the perpetual worry, anxiety, despair, the misery, the fears, the conflicts, the struggle that exists within and without, the sense of insecurity, being insecure and seeking an undisturbed state, a permanent state. There is also the conflict that exists between the conscious and the unconscious, the conflict of various desires, the conflict of ambition, the conflict of fulfilment, the conflict of frustration, the conflict of wanting to find out what is truth, and thereby increasing the conflict more. Because we are living in this world and trying to adjust ourselves to this world and to the idea which we have established as a pattern, as an ideal, we are thereby increasing our conflict.
The speaker is going to go into all that and you are going to listen. But you are not merely listening, accepting or denying to a talk by somebody outside of you, sitting on the platform. You are listening to yourself with a mental ear, an ear that is completely capable of listening to every movement of your own thought and feeling, with clarity, with precision, with reason and sanity.
Most of us seek security of some kind, because our life is an endless conflict, from the moment we are born to the moment we die. The boredom of life and the anxiety of life; the despair of existence; the feeling that you want to be loved, and you are not loved; the shallowness, the pettiness, the travail of everyday existence - that is our life. In that life there is danger, there is apprehension; nothing is certain; there is always the uncertainty of tomorrow. So you are all the time pursuing security, consciously or unconsciously; you want to find a permanent state, psychologically first and outwardly afterwards - it is always psychological first, not outward. You want a permanent state where you will not be disturbed by anything, by any fear, by any anxiety, by any sense of uncertainty, by any sense of guilt. That is what most of us want. That is what most of us seek outwardly as well as inwardly.
Outwardly we want very good jobs; we are educated, technologically, to function mechanically in a certain bureaucratic way, or whatever it is. And inwardly we want peace, a sense of certainty, a sense of permanency. In all our relationships, in all our actions, whether we are doing right or wrong, we want to be secure. We want to be told - this is right, this is wrong, don't do this, do that. We want to follow a pattern because that is the safest way to live - either the pattern set by you or by another, by society, by the guru, or by your own ideals and impressions. So there is this constant demand for outward security as well as for inward security. The inward security is made much more complicated when there is the authority of an idea.
We mean by an idea the ideal, the pattern, the example, the formula, the hero. That is permanent, and towards that we are striving. And therefore there is always a distance between what is and what should be; and therefore there is a conflict. When the mind is seeking security, you must have authority - whether it is the authority of society, of law, or whether it is the authority set by society as an ideal, as a person who will tell you what to do. and what not to do. And ultimately the perfect security that we seek is in God. That is the pattern according to which we have lived for centuries upon centuries.
Man has existed as man, as has been discovered, for nearly two million years. And there are paintings and all kinds of things to indicate that man has always been in this constant anxiety, constant fear, constant state of apprehension - it is a stream on which man has floated all the time seeking, seeking, and in the very search establishing the authority of a book, of a person, of an idea. And consciously he is doing this.
Observe, please, as I said, your own mind, your own life. That is what you are really interested in mostly - outwardly, security, money, position, power, comfort; and inwardly, an undisturbed state free from all anxiety, free from all problems, free from all sense of danger, imminent or in the distance. That is our life. And we have accepted this pattern of existence, we have never questioned it. When we are very disturbed, we try to run away from it through temples, through various other forms of escape. We have never questioned and never enquired into ourselves, whether there is such a thing as security, consciously or unconsciously. And we are going to question now. You may not like it, you may resist it, because we are not used to facing things at all, we are not used to looking at ourselves as we are. We would rather see things that are not there, or imagine things that should be there. Now we are going to look into 'what is' actually.
First of all, is there such a thing as inward security, in relationship, in our affections, in the ways of our thinking? Is there the ultimate reality which every man wants, hopes, pins his faith to? Because the moment you want security, you will invent a god, an idea, an ideal, which will give you the feeling of security; but it may not be real at all, it may be merely an idea, a reaction, a resistance to the obvious fact of uncertainty. So one has to enquire into this question of whether there is security at all at any level of our lives. First, inwardly: because if there is no security inwardly, then our relationship with the world will be entirely different; then we shall not identify ourselves with any group, with any nation, or even with any family.
Therefore, we must first enquire into the question whether there is a permanency, whether there is such a thing as `being secure'. This means that you and I are willing happily, easily, without hesitancy, to look into ourselves. Because we are bound by authority - again outer and inner; the authority of society, or the authority which we have established for ourselves through experience, or the authority given to us by tradition. We are trained to obey, because in obedience there is security. And to find out if there is such a thing as security, one must be completely free from all authority. This is very important to understand, because all religions have maintained that there is a spiritual, permanent entity - call it by different names, the soul, the atman, or whatever you like to call it. And we have accepted it because of propaganda, conditioning, our own fears, our own demands for security. We have accepted that as a comforting, actual thing, as reality. And there is the whole world which says: there is no such thing, it is just a matter of belief, it has no validity. That is the communist world whom you call the atheist, the ungodly - as though you are very godly, because you have a belief.
So, a man who would enquire into this question of security must be completely, totally free of every form of authority - not the authority of the law, not the authority of the State, but the authority that the mind seeks or establishes in a book, in an idea, in an experience, in life. Please follow all this, consciously or unconsciously. Only such a mind that is free from authority can begin to enquire into this immense problem of security. Otherwise, you and I would have no communion, because I say there is no such thing as security, psychologically.
If you try to find security in God, it is your invention. You are projecting your desire in a symbol which you call God, but that has no validity at all. So you have to be free of authority in that sense. The mind seeks authority, establishes authority, in an ideal, in a formula, in a person, in a church, in a particular belief, and conforms, obeys. It has to be free of that, not only consciously but unconsciously - which is much more difficult. Most of us, the so-called educated people, do not believe in God, because it is not very important, because they either have a very good job, or they have a fair bit of money, and belief in God is just an old-fashioned idea; and so they throw it out of the window and carry on. But to enquire into the unconscious and be free of the unconscious urge to find authority is much more strenuous.
I am not going into the unconscious very deeply, I am touching it briefly. The unconscious is the past of many thousand years. The unconscious is the residue of the race, of the family, the collected knowledge. The unconscious is the whole tradition which you may deny consciously; but it is there. And that becomes our authority in moments when there is trouble. Then the unconscious says: go to church, do this and do that, do puja - whatever you do. The prompting, the hinting of the unconscious with all the past becomes the authority - which becomes our conscience, the inner voice and all the rest of it. So one has to be aware of all that, understand it and be free of it, in order to find out if there is security, and to live in the truth which you discover for yourself whether there is security or not.
Also we find a great deal of security, psychologically, emotionally, in identifying ourselves with an idea, with a race, with a community, with a particular action. That is, we commit ourselves to a certain cause, to a certain political party, to a certain way of thinking, to certain customs, habits, rituals, as the Hindu, the Parsi, the Christian, the Mussulman and all the rest of it. We commit ourselves to a particular form of existence, a particular way of thinking; we identify ourselves with a group, with a community, with a particular class, or with a particular idea. This identification with the nation, with the family, with a group, with a community gives you also a certain sense of security. You feel much more safe, when you say I am an Indian, or I am an Englishman, or I am a German, whatever it is. This identification gives you security. One must be aware of that too.
So, when you put to yourself the question whether there is security or not, the problem becomes extremely complex, if you don't understand directly the question, not all the side issues. Because it is the desire to be secure, when there is probably no security at all, that breeds conflict. If psychologically you see the truth that there is no security of any kind, of any type, at any level, there is no conflict. Then, you rule with life; you are active, creative, volcanic in your action, explosive in your ideas; you are not tethered to anything. Then you are living. And a mind that is in conflict, obviously cannot live clearly with clarity, with an immense sense of affection and sympathy. To love you must have a mind that is extraordinarily sensitive. But you cannot be sensitive, if you are perpetually afraid, perpetually anxious, perpetually worried, insecure, and therefore seeking security. And a mind in conflict obviously, like any machine that is in friction, is wearing itself out; it becomes dull, stupid, bored.
So, first then, is there such a thing as security? You have to find it out, not me. I say there is no security of any kind, psychologically, at any level, at any depth. It is not a reality to you. If you repeat it, you will be telling a lie, because it is not true to you. So you have to find it out, because it is an urgent problem, because the world is in a chaos, the world is in a dreadful condition of despair, violence, brutality. By `the world' I mean the world you live in - not Russia, China or England - but the world round you, the family, the people you come in contact with. That is your world. In that world, if you look deeply and not just casually pass by, you will find this immense sense of despair, anxiety, degeneration, a constant imitation. And to understand this life with all its vastness and the extraordinary beauty and the depth of life - not imaginary depth, not imaginary beauty; but the actual, palpitating, vital, strong beauty of life, of existence, of living - your mind must be completely in a state where not a scratch of conflict has remained.
So you have to find out for yourself, and you are finding out for yourself. If you feel that there is security inwardly, then you will be living in a perpetual state of conflict. You will be living in a perpetual state of imitation, obedience, conformity, and therefore you will never be free. And your mind must be free completely; otherwise it cannot see, otherwise it cannot understand. If it is not free, it cannot see the beauty of a tree or the loveliness of the cloud, or the exquisite smile on a face.
is there security? Is there permanency which man is seeking all the time? As you notice for yourself, your body changes, the cells of the body change so often. As you see for yourself in your relationship with your wife, with your children, with your neighbour, with your State, with your community, is there anything permanent? You would like to make it permanent. The relationship with your wife - you call it marriage, and legally hold it tightly. But is there permanency in that relationship? Because if you have invested permanency in your wife or husband, when she turns away, or looks at another, or dies, or some illness takes place, you are completely lost, you become jealous, you are afraid, you run to the temple, you do puja, you invite all kinds of nonsense.
Please observe your own mind, observe your own life. Because if you do not understand your life, the misery, the unhappiness, the constant battle of your life, of your everyday existence, you cannot go very far. You may talk about God, you may talk about love, you may talk about beauty - they have no validity at all. To go very far you must begin very close. And the closest thing to you is yourself; there you must begin.
So you have to enquire and find out for yourself, if there is such a thing as security, permanency, an undisturbed state. Not what other people have said, Sankara or somebody else - wipe them out for the moment, they have no truth in your life; they have as much truth as a good detective story. What is truth is your life - the battle, the misery, the conflict, the problems. Unless you understand that field completely, you cannot possibly go any farther; if you do, you will be going into an illusion, a fancy, a myth that has no validity at all.
Now, when you begin to enquire, you enquire to find out what is true, what is factual - factual in the sense of psychologically what is actual; not what you would like it to be, not what you think it ought to be. The actual state of every human being is uncertainly. Those who realize the actual state of uncertainty, either see the fact and live with it there; or they go off, become neurotic, because they cannot face that uncertainty. They cannot live with something that demands an astonishing swiftness of mind and heart, and so they become neurotic, they become monks, they adopt every kind of fanciful escapes. So you have to see the actual, and not escape in good works, good action going to the temple, talking. The fact is something that demands your complete attention. The fact is that all of us are insecure, there is nothing secure.
The fact is that there is nothing certain, nothing. My son may die, my wife may run away, I may fall ill - nothing is certain. Now why don't we accept it, and live with that? Do you know what it means: to live with it? Have you ever tried to live with something and not get used to it? You know, one can get very easily used to a tree, to the beauty of a sunset - that is very easy. But to live with a tree, to see the sunset every day anew, to see the leaf as though you are seeing it for the first time, with clarity, with an intensity, with a sense of extraordinary beauty of that leaf - that requires not memory; that requires that you should look at it anew, each day, afresh, with an intensity.
So one has to live with uncertainty. Because it is only the mind that is uncertain that is creative - not the mind that has continuity; not the mind what is completely secure and then creates, writes a poem; that is too immature, too juvenile. When you live in that state of complete inward uncertainty, then you will see that you meet every problem of life at any level, any crisis, any challenge, with clarity, with swiftness. Because, for most of us, the inadequacy of response to a challenge is the beginning of conflict. Life is constantly giving us - each one in different ways according to one's temperament and taste - challenges, conscious or unconscious, all the time, twenty-four hours of the day. How do you respond completely, each time, so that there is no conflict at all? Your response has to be completely adequate, and you cannot keep this up all the time when there is inadequacy of response, it creates a problem; then one has to meet that problem immediately and resolve it immediately. And that can only happen when your mind is completely in a state of movement, untethered, living, vital. And you can only be vital, moving, tremendously active, in inaction, only when the mind is completely free from all the fear of security.
But you see, for most of us, our everyday life - going to the office, the family, the sex, the many pleasures - brutalizes us. I do not know if you have considered a man who has spent thirty or forty years of his life going every day to the office! Look at his mind! He cannot function in any other way except in that. Like a doctor who specializes in a particular disease - his heaven will be that disease. And after spending thirty or forty years, your mind is worn out, it is not fresh, it is not young, it is not innocent; it is being brutalized, specialized, beaten, shaped; and so it keeps to itself tight in a corner, and life goes by. That is what you all want your children to be - to have a good job for the next thirty or forty years, so that they will be dull, stupid, not capable of facing life. That is all what you are concerned with.
There are wars; man is destroying man; there is terrible cruelty; everyone is out for himself, in the name of God, in the name of society, doing good, going and helping people and all the rest of it, using everybody to profit oneself, or for the idea with which one has identified oneself. That is the state of man. I am not using the word `individual', because `individual' is something entirely different. There is real individuality only when you are alone, when you are completely free from all social, environmental control and shaping. You are a man, a human being tortured, caught in this terrible world of misery; and you cannot escape from it. It is a fact. You have got to grapple with it; you have to put your teeth into it. And that requires energy; and that requires passion. And that passion and that energy, you cannot possibly have, if you waste your life in conflict.
So from the beginning to the end, a mind has to understand this immense problem of struggle, trying to become something endlessly, everlastingly - and that we consider evolution. When one struggles everlastingly to become, fight, fight, there is never a moment of actual peace - not imagined peace, not the peace of the stagnation of the mind that says: I have found God, I have found some reality and I am happy with it. If a man has not understood conflict, if he has not understood his being, if he has not gone into himself deeply, widely, with clarity, then he has no peace, do what he will. He may pretend to others; then he is a hypocrite. But to find that reality, one must completely understand this question of security, be free and live in that state of uncertainty.
For most of us life is empty. Being empty we try to fill it with all kinds of things. But if you understand this question of security and insecurity, you will find, as you go into it deeper and deeper, - I am using the word `deeper' in the sense of non-comparatively - that it is not a question of time. Then you understand completely this problem of security and conflict. Then you will find - find, not believe - for yourself a state where there is complete existence, complete being, in which there is no sense of fear, no anxiety, no sense of obedience, compulsion; a complete state of being; a light that does not seek, that has no movement beyond itself.
February 12, 1964
Bombay 2nd Public Talk 12th February 1964
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