New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 6th Public Talk 8th November 1964
We would like this evening to talk about something that is as important to understand, as time, death and love which we were talking about the other day. It is necessary to understand it, because in the understanding of what meditation is, we shall also be able to understand the very complex problem of living. Meditation is not something away from living. To understand the content, the significance, the beauty and the great depth of living - with its sorrows, with its anxieties and fears - one must understand equally the very complex problem or question of what is meditation.
To go into it rather deeply, if one can, in this hour, one must first of all be very clear that we are not laying down any system, any method, any practice, but the very act of exploring, of understanding meditation is meditation. Therefore, one must first be very clear for oneself as to what is not meditation and what is meditation. The two things are distinctly apart: what is and what is not. First we would like to go into what is not meditation; and by the very denial of what is not meditation, we will begin to discover what is meditation.
Now, when we use the phrase "to deny", we mean by that phrase not an intellectual denial of words, but rather the denial of what, one thinks, is the right way of meditation, the denial of all the systems, methods, the petty little things that the mind invents in the hope of capturing that which is something mysterious. And to deny, you require not only reason, analysis, sanity, but above all intelligence - and all this requires energy. You cannot deny anything merely verbally; then it has no meaning in life. It does not touch the depth of one's being, if you casually, sporadically, deny now and then. But if you see the significance of something totally and then, in the understanding of that totality, deny that, then it is out of your system, so that you can turn your energy, your face, in a totally different direction. That is what we are going to do this evening.
We are together going to meditate, we are together going to explore what this extraordinary living is - which has very little significance, and therefore man seeks a goal, a purpose for living. We are together trying to find out for ourselves what is the true significance, what is the depth and the beauty and the glory of living. And to do that, one must go into it with a clear mind.
So, first of all we must be very critical, not accept a thing, even one,s own experience. Because we are so gullible, we want to believe, we want to accept, we want to be led; and because our own life is so uncertain, so confused, so petty, we hope that some guru, some method - however ancient it be - will help us somehow to get beyond this conflict, this sorrow and this misery. And so we accept very easily, especially the religious person, the sannyasi, the guru, who gives some kind of method to meditate upon - and that very religious person must be doubted. You cannot, if you are intelligent, awake, sane, accept any religious person including myself. Because we are so afraid of everything in life - our job, death, the uncertainties, not to do the right thing, not to reach whatever we call God and that mysterious thing that man has sought through the centuries to discover - because our lives are very small, very petty, shallow, and because our minds are also shallow, petty, infantile, we rather accept somebody who says, "I know, you do not; follow me". We do not use our reason, our commonsense; and so we remain petty, we remain shallow.
But if you begin to question, doubt, demand, be ruthless with yourself and with the person who gives you a method, if you question that very method, then you are in a position of real enquiry. Unless you enquire very deeply within yourself, you cannot possibly find what is true. Nobody can lead you to it - nobody and therefore no system. Truth is not something that is static, that waits for you through a regular system, through a method which you practise day after day, till you polish your mind, your heart, to arrive at a certain state which you call truth. Truth does not wait for you.
So, one has to see that any method - by whomsoever it is established; by Sankara, Buddha, it does not matter who it is - makes the mind only more petty. Because it practises, day after day, a certain system, the mind becomes mechanical. When it practises something over and over again, it is like those people who do puja every day, endlessly repeating words, words, words, without much meaning: and their puja, their meditation has nothing whatsoever to do with living. They cheat, they are ambitious, they are greedy, they are full of hate, envy; but they go to their corner in their house and meditate and carry on their daily life of deception. So, such a mind which is already petty, which is already shallow, which is already cheating itself and its neighbour - such a mind, however much it may practise a method hoping to realize its petty gods, will never discover what is true; and therefore they remain everlastingly, day after day, in misery, in sorrow, in a state of utter confusion. So, one has to see very clearly for oneself the utter futility of the mechanical habit, of following a method.
Please, we are investigating this thing together. You are not accepting my word. You are not substituting the speaker for another guru - that would be disastrous. But we are together in communion, to discover what is true, to discover for ourselves the quality of the mind that is in a state of meditation - the quality of the mind, not how to meditate.
As we said, a method, however well-established and seasoned in tradition, cannot possibly lead man to anything but to a mechanical result. You can see, you can practise something daily; but it will not free the mind from the ache and the loneliness and the agony of life. We have to understand that, not some spurious god invented by man. All gods are the inventions of man, because truth is not to be described; the unknown cannot be put into words; the nameless cannot be named - the mind must come to it unknowingly, innocently, fresh, uncontaminated.
So a method, the repetition of words endlessly repeated, cannot lead one to truth. Nor can prayers, which are merely supplication. You pray because you want happiness, you want pleasure, you want something. Peace on earth you want, and so you pray. You cannot have peace on earth, if you pray. What brings peace on earth is that you be peaceful. God is not going to give you peace; you have to be peaceful - that means: no competition, no hate, no violence, no divisions of nationalities, not a Muslim and a Hindu and a Sikh and a Parsi and a Chinese, a Russian and an American. You have to be peaceful; then you will have peace on earth.
When in your heart, in your mind, you are peaceful, then you do not pray, then you do not want the help of anybody. So, the prayers of churches and of the leaders and of the saints, which are merely exploiting the people, have no meaning at all, have no validity. Prayer may bring about a certain result, a mechanical result. There are people who pray, not for God or for peace, but for things they want. They want refrigerators, they want houses, prosperity, they want money, they want to pass examinations. And what is the difference between these people and those people who pray for heaven, for peace? There is no difference.
So, one must understand the whole significance of prayer. The man who prays for a refrigerator gets it, because he has put all his mind, all his energy on something he wants, something outside of himself. But peace is not outside of yourself. You have to create it, you have to bring it about; you have to cease to be a national. Please, we are communicating with each other; you are not just listening to me. If you want peace, you have to cease to be a Sikh, a Muslim, a Parsi; you have to work for peace. And prayer is an escape.
So methods - the repetition of words, prayers - do not lead man to truth, because they are all self-centred processes serving self-interest. And a petty mind praying, asking, soliciting, repeating words cannot possibly find that which is beyond words. You and I this evening are talking about this; we are putting all that aside, not verbally, not intellectually, but actually, because this is the truth - not because the speaker says so, but because it is a fact. And when you see something clearly as a fact, you push it aside, it has no meaning anymore.
The various postures that one takes in so-called meditation, breathing rightly, sitting correctly and all the rest of those superficial phenomena somewhat help to quieten the body. Naturally, if you breathe regularly, quietly, the physical organism becomes quiet; but the mind is still shallow. You cannot make the mind extensive, wide, deep, healthy, sane, vital, clear, through breathing. You can do it for ten thousand years and you will still have a petty mind. So, one has to push that also aside.
Then there are all the new drugs that are being tried in America and in Europe: Mescaline, L.S.D. 25 and so on. People take them in order to have an extraordinary experience of the real; they think that, by taking a pill, they can go to nirvana. What these drugs actually do, - not that we have tried them - is: they make the whole system very sensitive, highly acute for the moment; then the mind is very alert, very sensitive, sharp, clear; it sees things much more vitally; a flower then becomes much more beautiful. But it depends on the person who takes them. If he is already slightly artistic, slightly philosophical, slightly superstitiously religious, he will have his own experience; and that of course gives him an extraordinary sense that he has realized something mysterious. You know, if you take an alcoholic drink, it helps you to break down your inhibitions, and you feel for the moment extraordinarily free to talk easily, cleverly. But the drinker, the person who takes drugs of any kind, is no nearer. Perhaps the sinner, the man who does not take drugs, does not follow gurus, does not sit in a posture thinking, meditating, mesmerizing himself - the man whom you call a sinner is probably much nearer, because he does not pretend, he knows what he is.
So, none of these systems, prayers, the repetition of words, images, breathing, drugs - none of these will help, because your mind is still shallow. So that is the first thing to realize: that a petty mind, a shallow mind, a confused mind - do what it will, trying to escape from itself - will never find the unnameable. So realizing that, one comes back to oneself.
Now, that is what we are going to do, you and I, this evening - not theoretically but actually. You and I are going to face each other, look at ourselves, ruthlessly; and out of this looking at the fact of ourselves - which requires a certain awareness, into which we are going presently - into discovering for ourselves, actually what we are, the fact, the "what is", not what we "should be" - which is just imagination. Then from there we can proceed. And we must do this together.
You are not just listening to me, but we are learning together. To learn, you cannot be confused with systems, methods, prayers, beliefs and all the rest of it. You must put all those aside; and that is going to be very difficult for most people, because they want to believe. The believing mind is the most shoddy mind, is the most stupid mind. You will believe, and what you believe you will experience; naturally.
So, we must understand this whole process of experiencing, into which we are going now. For most of us, daily living is unexciting, there is very little meaning. Going to the office daily, the routine of it, the boredom of it, the little sex that one has, the innumerable problems of anxiety, of fear, of misery of occasional joy - all that becomes our routine, our life. We want to escape from that; because that is so small, we want different sensations, different experiences, different visions. So we look for something else. So we want greater experiences. Please follow the psychology of this, the reason for this, the sanity of what is being said. So we want wider, deeper, fuller experiences; and we experience according to our background, to our conditioning.
When we talk about experience, we mean the reaction to a challenge, the response to a challenge of society, of a social economy and all the rest of it: the response to a challenge. And that response to a challenge is experience; and that response is the result of your conditioning as a Hindu, as a Buddhist" as a communist, as a technician, as this or that. That is your background, your temperament, your state of mind; and from that you react, you respond to whatever the challenge is; and that is experience. So, according to your background, according to your conditioning, according to your temperament, according to your emotions, you project; and the projection becomes your experience. And so we are caught in endless experiences, the experiences which are the result of one's own projections, depending upon the challenges which one receives. We will not go into it, in very great detail; but you can grasp it quickly, if you are at all listening, if you are at all learning.
So, a mind that seeks experiences - follow this, please - is merely escaping from the fact of what it is. So, one has to be tremendously awake not to demand any experience at all. You see what we are doing? We are stripping the mind of everything that is false, we are stripping the mind of beliefs in gods, in priests, in puja, in repetition of prayers and even of the demand for super-experiences - experiences beyond the senses. We are saying this not illogically, but logically, sanely. There is reason behind what is being said; it is not a fancy, a whim. So, if you are following what is being said non-authoritatively, then you will see that your own mind is now swept of all the burdens which society, which religions have put upon it; then you are confronted with yourself.
Now, to understand oneself is absolutely necessary. Meditation is the emptying of the mind, and in that emptiness there is explosion into the unknown. A mind that is full, a mind that is burdened with problems, a mind in conflict, a mind that has not explored into the depths of itself, cannot empty itself. And meditation is the emptying of the mind, not eventually, but immediately, out of time.
Now we are going to enquire into the state of the mind that learns about itself. Because if you do not learn about yourself, you have no basis for any enquiry or for any further exploration; if you do not learn about yourself, you are merely deceiving yourself, hypnotizing yourself into all kinds of beliefs, dogmas, prayers, meditative visions. So you must learn about yourself: that is absolutely the foundation. You can learn about yourself on the instant, completely; and that is the only way to learn about yourself, not through a process of analysis or of introspective enquiry - all that takes time. And as we said the other day, there is no tomorrow, there is no next instant; there is only the present, only the now which is tremendously active: and to understand that, you have to put away from your mind this whole question of gradual understanding.
Now, to learn about oneself, there must be a certain awareness. We are not giving any mystical significance to awareness. It is just common, daily awareness: to be aware of the colours, the trees, the dirt, the squalor; to be aware of your wife and your children; to be aware is to watch, to look, to observe what they are, what clothes they have put on, how they talk. Just to be aware - do you know what I mean by that word? When you enter the tent, to be aware of the colours. Please just listen to this. It is a very simple thing: to be aware of the colours, to be aware of the various people sitting, how they are sitting, whether they are yawning, sleepy, tired, forcing themselves to listen hoping thereby they will get something, the nervous twitches they are going through.
To be aware, not condemning, not judging, just to observe choicelessly, to look without any condemnation, interpretation, comparison - there is great beauty in that, there is great clarity in observation. If you observe yourself in that way, choicelessly, then in that awareness there is attention, there is no entity as the observer and the observed. There is no watcher, looking at the thing which he is watching.
Now, one has to differentiate between concentration and attention. Concentration is a process of effort, exclusion, suppression, forcing all your thought, all your energy in one particular channel, for a given moment, excluding every other thought, every other so-called distraction. This concentration most of you practise in your office and when you try so-called meditation. You are brought up from your college-days, to concentrate, to give or focus your attention on a particular thing: the work you are doing, the page that you are reading. But all the time, other thoughts arise, other impressions come in which you are trying to resist. So concentration is a process of exclusion and attention is not.
To be attentive implies that there is no distraction. When you are attentive, you take in the whole, not the part; you see all the people, the colour, the light, the shape of their heads. You are aware and therefore attentive. In that attention, there is neither the observer nor the observed, because there your whole being, your mind, your body, your nerves, your ears, your eyes - everything is attentive; therefore, there is no division. In that state of attention there is an observation of oneself. Therefore, there is no condemnation of oneself. Therefore you are learning. You cannot learn if you condemn. You cannot learn if you compare. You cannot learn if you say, "I will be that tomorrow". So, a mind that is attentive is in a state of non-contradiction and therefore in a state of no effort at all. And that is absolutely necessary; otherwise, if that is not possible, the mind cannot be emptied - you will see why it is necessary. Most minds are noisy. They are everlastingly chattering. They are everlastingly soliloquizing, or repeating, what it will do, what it has done, what it must do, and so on. It is never quiet. And you think that, to produce this quietness in the mind, you must practise some method - which again becomes mechanical.
But if you are aware of every thought as it arises, not judging, not condemning, not accepting - but just being attentive - then you will see that the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet; you have not disciplined it to be quiet - which is a deadly thing. Because if you discipline the mind, the mind becomes shallow, empty, dead. The mind must be free, alive, full, vital.
If you are attentive, out of that attention there comes its own unsolicited, non-repressive discipline. It is only the mind that is so disciplined through attention, not through compulsion and conformity - it is only such a mind that is clear. Then the mind which is attentive, has learnt, through attention about itself, its conscious and unconscious motives, fancies, illusions, fears, ambitions, greed, jealousy, competition and all the rest of the things which we are; when the mind through awareness has learnt about itself, then the mind becomes quiet, not disciplined, not drugged, not mesmerizing itself. Such a quiet mind is a still mind. It must be still, because otherwise it is not empty.
The mind in all of us is the result of two million years of time. It is conditioned, it is shaped; it is under the compulsion of many impressions, under great strain, conscious as well as unconscious; it is driven by circumstances. So, such a mind, if it is not completely still - still, not demanding, not seeking - it is not empty.
You know, anything new can only take place in emptiness. A new child is conceived in the emptiness of the womb. So, the mind has to be empty, not made empty by restraining thought, controlling thought, suppressing thought - that is not emptiness; that is merely another form of escape from reality. And the reality is yourself, actually what you are, not the Super-Atman which is an invention of your grandmothers and fathers and Sankaras and Buddhas. All that must go for the mind to be completely empty and still.
Then, in that emptiness, there is a movement which is creation. In that emptiness, there is the energy which the mind needs to go to the ultimate. And this whole process from the beginning of denial to the very end - which is not an escape from life but the very understanding of that life - is meditation. And then you will find that you are meditating all day long, not just one minute of the day; you are meditating wherever you are, in your office, in the bus. Then you are directly in contact with life. You are meditating while you are talking, because you are aware, you are attentive to what you are saying, how you are saying it, how you talk to your servant - if you have a servant. You are aware, you are attentive, therefore, the mind which is limited, narrow, petty, shackled by time, breaks through. And it is only such a mind that can find the everlasting.
And that is the beauty of meditation. In that, there is no compulsion of any kind, no effort. And a man who can meditate, a man who has understood what meditation is - he alone can help, and none other.
November 8, 1964
New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 6th Public Talk 8th November 1964
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.