Madras 5th Public Talk 30th December 1964
It seems to me that one of our great difficulties is not merely that caused by words alone. Words are necessary to communicate, but communication does not merely depend on words. And however much one may be intellectual and precise in the usage of words, we cannot live by words, because we have also feelings, strong emotions, violent passions, hatred, sympathy, tenderness, affection. And we seem to live at different levels of our being. If we are so-called intellectuals, we live with words, ideas, and are able to argue cleverly, eruditely. If we are emotional, we are almost on the verge of tears about everything. And the intellectual as well as the emotional are burning inside with various problems - self-created, imposed by environmental conditioning and so on.
Our life is a torture; we try to cover it up by words, by feelings, by escapes, by every form of so-called religious as well as intellectual acts. But these do not cover our inward battle, our inward frustration, our loneliness, deep sorrows, and the sense of being completely isolated. We want to be secure, not only physically but emotionally; we want companionship; we want somebody on whom we can rely completely, in whom we have complete trust and faith, a sense of intimate, endless contact with another human being. Not only do we seek security in another human being through relationship, but also we want security in our ideas, in our beliefs, in the way of our life. We do not want to be wrong, we want to tread the right path, whatever that may mean. We look to someone to tell us what to do. We have authority and an infinite love of tradition.
And we have to live with all this - at the intellectual level, at the emotional level, at the physical level, and at the psychological level; with loneliness, emptiness, a sense of despair. We have to live with ill health and infinite boredom with life: going to office every day of our life, for the next forty or fifty years. Or one has been in office for forty years doing the same thing over and over again, and at the end of one's life there is nothing left, one is burnt out. Or one begins life with certain convictions, certain formulas, and one has great intentions; but the life about one gradually squeezes out all the energy, the vitality, the clarity, the clear perception, and one is left with oneself empty, lonely, in despair and in sorrow.
This is our actual everyday life. And realizing that, we try to find something transcendental, beyond, faraway, which has nothing whatever to do with our daily life. We can quote the Upanishads, the Gita, the Bible, seers, saints and so on, away from this daily misery, horror, brutality. The wider the gap, the greater is the neurosis. And most religious people are neurotic, because their life is here, and they try to have ideals, incense sticks, they go to churches, temples, rituals - anything to escape from this daily torture, daily travail of life. This is a fact. Perhaps I am not describing it too clearly, but that is our life. And we have to change here, in our daily life, in our outlook, in our activities, in our ways of thought, feeling; for this is reality, not the other. The other is merely the idea of some one who said something or other, many centuries ago; and it is no good repeating what they say, or what they said, or the modern philosophers say, or trying to conform to modern philosophy or to go back ten thousand years and revive the dead past which we call, unfortunately, culture.
Culture is something that grows, nourishes, moves; a thing that is nourished, functions, grows; then it becomes a dead thing. But apparently, in this country, we are very fond of this dying culture; we try to revive it through dance, through song, through music, through the temples, through various creeds; but it does not work. When it does not work, we do not abandon it, we do not come to reality and see if we cannot transform the reality that is the living, and bring about a simplicity which is the essence of harmony. We are incapable; so we look, we search, we want to find somebody to tell us what to do, and we put our faith in those people. Faith and trust have no value. You may trust a doctor, because he has experience. But a theory based on another man's experience in matters of the psyche or of an inward life, has no meaning at all; and apparently we cannot let that go. We have to let it go completely, because we have to stand alone. And that is one of the greatest fears we have - fear being the feeling of uncertainty, the feeling of danger, the apprehension of something we do not know.
So, fear begins with the savage and with the so-called educated man, highly intellectual, verbal, capable of great efficiency and capacity. Fear is there. And, apparently, man who has lived for two million years cannot get rid of this fear. And I think that is one of the major problems of our existence: whether it is possible to be free of fear. Now somebody says you must be free of fear, and gives you a system how to be free of fear. But one has actually to come to the realization of one's own fear, be aware of one's own fear and go into it, come into direct contact with it, be in intimate communion with it, understand it, and thereby be free of it. If the mind is afraid, it is a dead mind. You know this, you have seen this in your own life. You must have seen this: if you are afraid of something, it haunts you; you think about it; you build resistances against it; you are always watching, noticing, aggressively giving importance to the intellect or to the emotions, trying to run away with those, but never coming into contact with fear.
If you have fear of physical pain, you do something about it. Or if the pain is not too great, you put up with it. You do not make a lot of dance or song about it; you put up with it. And putting up with it is to see that it does not distort your thinking, your psyche, your affection, your forward movement - which is also very difficult because we live on our nerves, and there is the impact of pain. We want to be healthy, and perhaps we cannot be healthy. If we can, so much the better. If we cannot, there is the dread of that pain, that it might return, that it might continue. So we live in the dark corner of that fear which distorts our thinking.
There is the fear of not being secure, emotionally, psychologically, inwardly; there is the fear of not having somebody to talk to, to open your heart to, with whom to commune as though with yourself, to whom to talk whenever you want, to rely on that person, to feel that he will never misunderstand anything you say, that he will know when you are angry, when you are flattering, when you do not mean what you say, so that you feel that he and you are really one with great affection, with great sensitivity. And if you find that person, you hold on to him in a deadly grip. You know very well that one day that person may turn away, may die, may lose himself in other fancies, in other people, in other illusions; so you hold when you can. And that also breeds fear, because in that person you put all your faith, all your affection, and that person is like you and me, he moves away from you, he looks at somebody else, and then begins the jealousy, the hate, the venom of relationship.
So we build a society in which marriage becomes most sacred; you cannot break it, you hold it tight by law; but modern pressures are breaking that law. We want permanency in that relationship, and we never realize that there is no permanency in anything. So fear darkens our days. Please I am not describing something fantastic, you do not have to conjure this up, imagining this - which is our actual daily life.
So, we seek security, physically - having a house, property, the name, the position, the status; and we push anybody that comes near to it, legally, morally, religiously. And also we want security in relationship, knowing full well, deep down, that there is no permanency in relationship. We can get used to a relationship. I can get used to my wife, to her insults, to her praise, to her nagging, to sleeping with her. I can get used to it, and that usage, that habit becomes my security, and nothing must happen to that habit. So that again breeds fear. And from fear there is sorrow. There is fear not only physically, inwardly, emotionally, but there is the fear of wanting to fulfil, wanting to do something great, to be famous, to meet a great challenge and react fully to that challenge, knowing inwardly that you are a very petty, little human being with a small mind, with an egocentric activity, and wanting to cover all that up. That also breeds fear - the desire to fulfil: sitting on a platform, talking to a big audience, getting a kick out of it; and when the audience does not come, one feels lost.
We also want to be happy. Some, where deep down, somewhere in some heaven, we want to be happy, rested, quiet, serene, undisturbed. So we invent a heaven. Wherever we go, whatever we do, fear and sorrow pursue us, and there seems to be no end to this. We don't seem to be able to meet it with energy, capacity, efficiency, to move beyond that. And, of course, there is the final fear and sorrow of death.
Death, the end of life, physical existence coming to an end - that is all we are concerned with that is what we call death. There are so many other forms of death. A person who lives thirty or forty years, endlessly in conflict with himself and society - that is also death. To live for some years in a particular state - that is also death. There is that death of living a monotonous, stupid existence without much meaning. And that not having much meaning, we invent a purpose in life, a goal a spiritual beauty, perception; and again there is this battle going on with sorrow, never reaching that goal, because we cannot.
There are many forms of death, not merely of the physical form. A mind that lives in a narrow groove, never moving out of it, being a prisoner to ideas, to opinions, to what people will say, living according to a narrow code - which is really an unethical code of relationship with the world - that is also death. And also there is the sorrow of this extraordinary sense of loneliness. I do not know if you have ever felt this deep, apparently unending loneliness of life of one's being.
We are going to talk, this evening, about all this and whether it is possible for you and me, for anybody, to face fear and to be rid of it. If you are not free of fear, however clever, however sympathetic you are, you are living in darkness. You watch yourself some day. When fear comes upon you unexpectedly, you are paralysed; the greater the fear the greater is the tension, the greater is the suffocation. And you do not know how to meet it. You never come directly in communion with it, in contact with it - as you come in contact with your food, with your sexual desires, when there is an action, an intimate activity going on. Apparently we never come into contact with this fear.
Fear does not exist by itself. It is in relation to things - to darkness; to what the neighbour says; to doing something wrong; to losing your job; the wife or the husband looking away to another; the fear of frustration; a woman who has never had a child; or a woman who has not married and does not know all that side of life; and the man, bitter, aggressive, vain, arrogant, because he is very clever with his mind, with his logic.
The man who is afraid lives in darkness. It is very simple to find the cause of fear. I am afraid of my neighbour, because I depend upon his good word, he might say something against me, and I might lose my job, or I cannot marry off my daughter; so I am afraid. So, I depend; I know the cause very well.
It is not so very difficult to find out the cause of fear - conscious or unconscious fear. That is very simple; if one has a fairly attentive mind, one can go into it immediately. But the discovery of the cause does not free the mind of fear; the fear is still there. Please listen to this a little bit. The mere analysis of the cause of fear does not seem to wash away fear. This is a fact, you can watch it. One knows the cause, but one is still fearful. So the mere analysis of the cause, however deep, however intricate, however deeply analytical the discovery of that cause - the mere understanding of the cause does not free the mind, or the being, from fear. The mere uncovering of the fact does not get rid of fear. You have to come into contact with that fear. And that is the greatest difficulty, - to come directly into contact with it.
And we have never come into contact, directly, with almost anything, except with food and perhaps with sex. We never see the tree as tree - pure perception. We have ideas, thoughts, images - about the biological structure, the nature of that tree and so on. And to come directly into contact is not to knock your head against the tree, but to be alive to nature, to beauty, to the touch, to the smell, to the fine limb, to the leaf and the flower and the breeze among the leaves - then you are in contact. But we are never in contact with fear and we do not know what it actually means. We have never touched it, we have never directly come into contact, because we are already afraid to come into contact with fear. Please listen.
We have never come into contact with fear, because there is already the fear of what it might lead to, of what might happen. If I do not really care what my neighbour says about me, I may lose my job or I may not. But my thought says, "Be careful. Don't say anything. Be dishonest, be clever, be cunning. But don't say anything against the neighbour, because he is going to hurt you". So thought precedes fear, thought protects fear; and, therefore, there is never a direct contact with it. That is the first thing.
The word "fear" means apprehension, warning of danger, calamity, the loss of the good and the happening of evil. The word is not the fear itself, surely. But to us the word - the symbol, the idea - has become very important, and that word prevents us from coming into contact with the thing itself. That is fairly simple. We live by words; for us, what is important is the word, the analysis of the word, the clever usage of the word; see all the fuss we make about words. After all, what are the Upanishads, the Gita? They are just words; you don't throw them out! We use words and hope through the word to get into contact with the thing. But the word will never put us into contact with anything. We have lived not only by the word, but through feeling, through temperament, through affection, through beauty, through perception: seeing the cloud, seeing the sunset. The word "sunset" is not that thing, that light, that colour, that shape of the cloud, the light in the cloud. So one has to understand that the word prevents the contact. When you say, "I love somebody", you hold a hand, you kiss, you do all kinds of things. The word is not the fact.
So the word "fear" engenders fear. One has to find out whether the word has created fear, and whether the mind can be free of the word and come into contact with fear. I do not know if you have observed a bird, a spider, or an animal which does not think that you are watching it. Then you see every movement, you see all the design on the skin, you see every movement of the leg, you see everything. But if you have ideas about that animal or that insect, you have already lost perception, you are not seeing. So one has to come directly into contact with fear, and that is one of the most difficult things to do - that is, to look at fear non-verbally, without thought. Because thought creates fear: "my neighbour is going to make mischief", this thought has already bred fear in me. And thought which discovers the cause will not get rid of the fear. What brings an end to fear is coming directly into contact with it; and you cannot come into contact with it if you are running away. You must live with it. You must know all about it, you must watch it endlessly - watching, watching, watching, never running away, never putting up defences against it, never trying to become courageous. A man who is trying to be courageous when he is frightened - he is still frightened! Fear is there! So you have to watch it as you watch a spider on the window of an evening - how it builds the web, so efficiently, so beautifully, so symmetrically. In the same way, just watch your fear: that means a mind that can look without distortion - not trying to get out of it, which is a distortion, but just to look with clarity. And there is no clarity, if you are trying to run away from fear, if you are trying to use the word to cover it, if you are trying to go beyond it. You have just to watch it, to observe, to perceive every movement throughout the day, how fear expresses itself. Then the next time fear arises for various reasons, you can meet it; there is no verbal camouflage, you meet it. Therefore you are beginning to learn to meet fear. And when you have realized that thought has created fear, you put aside the thought which creates fear, and therefore you put aside also the time interval between now and tomorrow when the neighbour will say something; so you meet fear.
Fear also shows itself as the desire to be secure. One must be secure physically - must have bread, clothes and shelter: that is obvious. Otherwise you cannot think or feel promptly. You must have physical security. The vast majority in the East have not that physical security. But it is the function of the educated, cultured man to solve this problem. Not the repetitive man who goes back ten thousand years and repeats some silly stuff, but the educated man, the man who is aware of the world situation, who is sensitive, who wants to solve it, who is eager to solve this dreadful problem of poverty - it is only that man that can solve this: it is only that man that is not afraid, and knows how to meet the situation.
There is the desire for security. And one can understand this desire to be secure when you meet a wild animal, a snake; or you watch when you cross the road. But there is no other form of security. Really if you look at it, there is no other form. You would like to have security with your wife, children, neighbour, your relations, if you have relations; but you don't have it. You may have your mother, you may have your father: but you are not related, you are completely isolated - we will go into that. There is no security, psychological security at any time, at any level, with anybody - this is the most difficult thing to realize. There is no psychological security with another, because he is a human being, and so are you; he is free, and so are you. But we want security in our relationships, through marriage, through vows - you know the tricks we play upon ourselves and upon others. This is an obvious fact; it does not need great analysis.
We never come into contact with this insecurity. We are afraid of being completely insecure. It requires a great deal of intelligence to understand that insecurity. When one feels completely insecure, one runs away. Or not finding security in anything, one becomes unbalanced, ready to commit suicide, to go to a mental hospital; or, one becomes a most devout religious person - which are all the same, forms of imbalance. To realize - not intellectually, not verbally, not as a determined, willed attitude - the fact that there is no security, requires an extraordinarily simple, clear, harmonious living.
And this - not finding security - produces sorrow. You know, man has lived with sorrow for so long. You know what sorrow is - the loss of some one whom you love; the loss of prestige, position, never having a position, a status in the world, and everybody else having it; never being beautiful in face, or in gesture, or in word; never seeing the beauty of the sunset, the cloud; never feeling the wind, the night-air on your face. We are not sensitive, and so we live with this, pursuing sorrow. And we never come into contact with it. We have ideas that it is past karma, that it is the result of this and the result of that. You know a man who talks about karma is a most ignorant man. Because every cause can be changed immediately; every cause and the effect of that cause can be shattered. To keep on saying, "This is my misfortune; I did this in the past, therefore I am this" - that is too childish! Because cause and effect are closely related together, what was the cause becomes the effect, and what was the effect becomes the cause; and that can be broken. And to break with it you must come into contact with it, and not just live in words.
The ending of sorrow is possible. Don't say, "Have you finished with sorrow?" That is not important. It does not matter who has, or who has, not. What matters is that you are in sorrow. For whatever reason, for whatever cause, the misery, misfortune, anxiety, despair you are in - you are that. To find out whether you can end it is more important than to find out whether somebody else has ended it. If I say "yes", it is not important; if I say "no", it has no importance. What has importance is your life, how you live. And there is also the sorrow deep down - not of the race only, of the family, but of man who has lived two million years of endless sorrow and agony and despair.
And there is the sorrow of loneliness. I do not know if you have ever been lonely: when you suddenly realize that you have no relationship with anybody - not an intellectual realization but a factual realization, a thing that is as concrete as this microphone - and you are completely isolated. Every form of thought and emotion is blocked; you cannot turn anywhere; there is nobody to turn to; the gods, the angels, have all gone beyond the clouds and, as the clouds vanish, they have also vanished; you are completely lonely - I will not use the word "alone".
"Alone" has quite a different meaning; alone has beauty. To be alone means something entirely different. And you must be alone. When man frees himself from the social structure of greed, envy, ambition, arrogance, achievement, status - when he frees himself from those, then he is completely alone. That is quite a different thing. Then there is great beauty, the feeling of great energy.
But loneliness is not that. Loneliness is this complete sense of being isolated from everything. I do not know if you have felt it. The more you are awake, the more you are questioning, looking, asking, demanding, the more you are aware of it: deep down in your consciousness, at all the levels, you feel completely cut off. And that is one of the great sorrows: not being able to go beyond it, and being caught in that tremendous feeling of loneliness with its great energy. It has got vitality, a drive, an insistence, an ugliness; and we escape from it in every form. Either we are terribly clever, write books about that loneliness, and push aside that loneliness; or we run away, amuse ourselves, and never touch it. And it remains there, hidden; but like a cancerous wound, it is there, waiting. One has to come into contact with it, not verbally but actually.
And this loneliness is a form of death. As we said, there is dying not only when life comes to an end, but when there is no answer, there is no way out. That is also a form of death: being in the prison of your own self-centred activity endlessly. When you are caught in your own thoughts, in your own agony, in your own superstitions, in your deadly, daily routine of habit and thoughtlessness, that is also death - not just the ending of the body.
And how to end it also one must find out. Not that there is reincarnation: I shall be born next life. Who cares, my fiend, whether you are born next life or not? Don't you know what life is, this life? The misery, the despair, the anxiety, the little pleasures, the little affection, the sexual appetites, the confusion, the endless battle, the conflict - that is your daily life. And you say, "I will take that life and carry it over to the next life", and you are waiting to die. You believe all that; so you invent the psychological evolution of the soul: slowly, endlessly, gradually, you will get rid of sorrow, pain, travail, anxiety. You invent time to get rid of sorrow, or you worship sorrow in a church! And one realizes you have to meet death, you have to come into contact with it, as you come into contact with that tree, the sunset, the beauty of a face, with squalor and the tawdriness and the shoddiness of the human mind. You have to come into contact with death - not the ending of the body only, the mechanism wearing itself out; that can be understood. The organism can be prolonged; the scientists are investigating into whether it cannot be prolonged for another fifty years. We will prolong it for another fifty years or more - the same self-centred, brutal activities; ambition; competition; seeking status, position, power, greed, envy. But we have never come into contact with death.
Do you know what it means to come into contact with death, to die without argument? Because death, when it comes, does not argue with you. To meet it, you have to die every day, to everything, to your agony, to your loneliness, to the relationship you cling to; you have to die to your thought, to die to your habit, to die to your wife so that you can look at your wife anew, you have to die to your society so that you, as a human being, are new, fresh, young, and you can look at it. But you cannot meet death, if you don't die every day. It is only when you die, that there is love. A mind that is frightened has no love - it has habits, it has sympathy, it can force itself to be kind and superficially considerate. But fear breeds sorrow, and sorrow is time as thought.
So to end sorrow is to come into contact with death while living, by dying to your name, to your house, to your property, to your cause, so that you are fresh, young, clear, and you can see things as they are without any distortion. That is what is going to take place when you die. But we have a limited death to the physical. We know very well logically, sanely, that the organism is going to come to an end. So we invent a life which we have lived of daily agony, daily insensitivity, the increase of problems, and its stupidity; that life we want to carry over, which we call the "soul" - which we say is the most sacred thing, a part of the divine; but it is still part of your thought and therefore it has nothing to do with divinity. It is your life!
So one has to live every day dying - dying because you are then in contact with life. You have to come into contact with your everyday life - not some sublime life, which is all nonsense - , with every movement of thought, with every word, every, feeling, the agony, the despair, the loneliness, the fears, the sorrows, so that your mind is highly sensitive. But the mind cannot be sensitive when it is burdened with the past.
Only when the mind knows how to die to itself, is there love. And love is very simple. That is the only thing that brings harmony in life - not all your intellectual arguments, not all the philosophies, not the sacred books or the unholy books. A mind that has understood all this, that has gone through it and meets it every minute of the day - it is only such a mind that can know what love is. And when there is love, do what you will, there is virtue, goodness, beauty.
December 30, 1964
Madras 5th Public Talk 30th December 1964
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