Bombay 3rd Public Talk 17th February 1965
I do not think you have tried to understand the meaning of the word "share". Sharing does not imply any credit; nor is there, in the act of sharing, you or I. There is no consciousness of giving or taking; there is only the act of sharing in which there is no credit for the giver or the taker. And to share - that is to partake - implies a great deal: that both of us, the speaker as well as you, the listener, are in a state of mind where there is only the sense, or the feeling, or the affection, or that love that, unknowingly or without any identification with any personality, shares. It is not that, in that sharing, there is no instruction. There is neither the teacher nor the pupil, neither the giver nor the taker, but only an act of complete communion in that sharing. I do not know if you ever have had that feeling of complete union, complete communion in the act of sharing, which is really an act of great affection, compassion.
And we are going to go into something that demands not a merely verbal, dialectical explanation, or the exchange of opinions, or one idea opposed to another idea - when these are there, this act of sharing becomes very poor. We are talking this evening about the question of action. But to understand it, not merely verbally, not merely intellectually, but with a totality of one's whole being, one has to go beyond words. It is only then there is communion, there is sharing, there is partaking together, of something vital. And this question of action needs, not only a verbal explanation but, rather and much more, a moving together feeling our way hesitantly together into this question of what is action.
So to commune with one another there must be, surely, not only a verbal comprehension but also an intensity, an intensity at the same time and at the same level; otherwise no communion, no sharing is possible. There must be an intensity, at the same time, at the same depth, at the same level - which is, after all, love; which is compassion. And to understand this problem of action one needs not only an objective mind, an objective examination, but also a great deal of subtlety, a sensitivity - not the mere acceptance or denial of a certain definition of what it is to act, but rather the discovery for oneself of this extraordinary thing called "life", which is action. Existence is action. There are two states - at least it seems to me - in existence. There is that state which is static - which is to exist. There is that movement which is dynamic, which is existence.
Life is existence, is a movement; and this movement is action. Life - the totality of life, not parts of it; the whole state of existence - is action. But when we merely exist, as most of us do, then the problem of action becomes complex. Existence has no division; it is not a fragmentary state of mind or being; in that a totality of action is possible. But when we divide existence into different segments, fragments, then action becomes contradictory.
We have divided life as business, religious, worldly, psychological, artistic, literary and so on. It is broken up into various fragments: the tribal division, which is glorified into nationalism; the tribal leaders; the tribal religions; the various fragments of our life, such as going to an office, and there acting, thinking and feeling differently from the acts when you come home; the act when you get into a bus; the act when you are walkinp; the act when you try to do some social work; and the worship, religious pursuit. The various fragments of our life, because they are fragmentary, are, and must inevitably be, in conflict with each other; therefore, our actions inevitably contradict each other. This is our life. This is your everyday life. Your behaviour at home is different from the behaviour in the office or at your Club or when you are meeting some friends; or the behaviour, the idea of action-which is behaviour is different when you are by yourself, alone in your room.
So our life, as one observes, is fragmentary, broken up. And we try to integrate all these different parts together. But one can never integrate. To integrate is to bring together. When you do integrate the different parts, it breaks apart again. So, what we are going to discover is, not how to integrate the parts, but rather what is total action - whether in the office, or when you go to the church or temple, or when you are at home, or when you are by yourself, or when you are looking at the sea or when you are communing with nature; the totality of it. We are going to find out if there is such an action, and therefore, if we can live in a state of constant action which is existence, which is a movement, which is life, and which is not fragmentary. That is our issue for this evening.
Most of us want to live, if we can, a fairly peaceful, intelligent, harmonious life, with a certain integrity, not being controlled by environment, not everlastingly being in battle with another or with oneself. One wants to live a fairly intelligent, integrated life. And that is not possible because all our activities are in a state of contradiction, not only consciously but also unconsciously. If one observes oneself - which is, after all, what we are doing at these meetings - one will find that one is not merely listening to the speaker, but rather using the words of the speaker as a mirror to examine the ways of one's own mind and then to discover for oneself what is true and what is false - not because somebody else points it out - and, in that state, to see for oneself the contradictory nature of one's activities.
Now why is life so contradictory? Why is there such contradiction in ourselves, in our outlook, in our feeling, in our behaviour, in our ideas? And why is there this fragmenting of life - in the office, at the home, the religious and the non-religious, the mundane and so on - , each activity contradicting the other.
We were discussing the other day "desire". Desire is there when there is a feeling of missing something, wanting something. That is, when you desire something, it is an indication - is it not? - that you are missing something. But desire, in itself, is not contradictory. But there is contradiction when the objects of desire are contradictory or different or opposed. Desire is constant, but the objects of desire change, vary, or are opposed; and hence every activity of desire breeds contradiction. That is, every act of desire is a state of wanting, missing, in relation to the object; then one feels desire is contradictory. I want peace; and also at the same time I am full of competition. I want to be good; and at the same time I have a great feeling of antagonism. The ideas, the objects of desire, are contradictory; not desire itself. I think this is important to understand. Most people believe that desire, in itself, is contradictory; hence they try to suppress, sublimate or control, or do all kinds of things with desire.
So the sense of missing, the sense of insufficiency, makes us compare; and out of this comparison, arises the urge, the desire, the longing for that which will fill that emptiness, that sense of missing. It is very simple. I am not trying to complicate it. Because the whole thing is very complicated, one has to look at it very simply.
We said, the other night, that desire is the outcome of perception - seeing, sensation, contact and then desire. This is what happens: there is a beautiful car; seeing it; touching it; the sensation; the desire. And that desire is strengthened and perpetuated by thought, and hence the conflict to achieve or to have that car. That car gives fulfilling, filling that emptiness, that sense of missing - if I had that car, I would do this and that; I would have more power, more money. The sense of missing is the state of desire. So, then, there is the conflict. That is most of us are insufficient in ourselves - at least, we think we are - and we try to fill that insufficiency, which is a form of desire; and that insufficiency breeds this contradiction, and hence contradictory activities arise.
Please, as I said, you are not listening merely to the words of the speaker. You are listening to your own mind, observing your own state of being. Then you will see, for yourself, how contradiction arises. I think the car will give me happiness, power, position, status. And also, deep down within me, there is the feeling of affection, sympathy, kindliness; and also there is the feeling that I must achieve, I must be somebody - which is contradictory. And this contradiction arises out of the enormous sense of insufficiency, the sense of emptiness, the sense of loneliness. So we make constant effort - effort being, struggling, striving. That is our life: constantly striving to become, to achieve, to be good, to fulfil, to have status, position, power, to dominate, to become clever. This is our life: a constant struggle, an endless struggle till we die; and to escape from this struggle, we invent gods, temples, a way of life away from this. Till you understand the struggle, do what you will, you will have no peace. You may have superficial peace - superficially, taking a pill tranquilizes - but that will not solve your problem. The problem is much deeper.
So, to understand what is action - not right action or wrong action - one has to understand this vast process of desire; and also one has to understand this division between idea and action. And also one has to understand the contradictory nature of the thinker and the thought, or the observer and the thing observed.
So, first we are going to examine this contradictory nature of idea and action. That is, we have a formula of what is right action, the ideal, the pattern, the image, the symbol. the what should be, the what must be; and there is the fact, what is. That is clear, isn't it? There is the ideal, the hero, the example, the what should be; and there is the what is. What is is entirely different from what should be. And we are always approximating what is with what should be. We are violent; that is a fact. That is, we are actually violent; the ideal is non-violence; and so we are always trying to approximate what is with what should be, and hence there arises a contradiction.
And so, the idealist is always in conflict, is always battling with "I must not" and "I must" - suppressing, driving, struggling to transform "what is" into what should be. The whole of our life is this battle, as the life of most of us is. I have been, I am, and what I should be - the "what I should be" is the ideal, the pattern, the formula; the "I am" is the result of "what I have been; and so, there is this constant battle maintained. Please observe yourself. We use the ideal as a means of changing what is, as an incentive. Please do follow this, because we are going to go into something that demands your attention. We use the ideal as an incentive to transform or change or modify what is; hence the conflict, and hence the struggle.
So, we never know what is but only in relation to or with what should be. So we never observe what is. We never come into direct contact with what is; but we come into contact with what is through what should be or what should not be. Therefore, there is no complete communion with what is, and hence the conflict. Because we are trying to change what is into something which we imagine will give us greater pleasure or avoidance of pain, there arises the battle, the conflict, the struggle, the everlasting brutality of trying to do something with an ideal.
So there is this division: the fact, the what is, and the pattern or the formula or the ideal, the what should be. But yet, the what is must change. We have used the ideal, the example, as the means or as an incentive to alter the fact, the what is; and hence we live in conflict. And a mind that lives in conflict is a dead mind, is an insensitive mind, is a brutalized mind. A mind that has suppressed, suffers infinitely. And a mind that is a tortured mind, cannot possibly see what is true, cannot possibly discover something beyond time - if there is such a thing. So it is only a mind that is fresh, innocent, young, vital, that can face the fact, that can see what is true - not a tortured mind. All the saints, all these Mahatmas, gurus, have tortured minds; and, therefore, they never see what is true.
A mind is meant to be fresh young, innocent, not to be tortured, bullied, twisted. And yet the what is must be changed; that is important, obviously. Suppose one is greedy; the ideal is to be non-greedy. Or, take a much more religious problem with which we are acquainted: to find God you must be a saint. So there is the ideal and there is the fact; and then there is the battle: which is to suppress, control, everlastingly be in battle with what is called "sex; and therefore the escape from that fact. One does all kinds of absurd social reforms, runs away to the Himalayas, shuts oneself up, brutalizes everything, to escape from the fact. And yet, the fact must be understood and transformed without conflict. Am I making myself clear? The fact - which is the what is as violence, as lust, as greed and so on - must be changed without effort; the moment you make effort, the moment you strive or struggle, you have twisted the mind; you have made the mind dull, insensitive.
To live, you must be extraordinarily sensitive - sensitive to beauty, sensitive to ugliness, to the squalor, to the brutalities, to the dirt, to the filth of the street in this town, to the clouds full of an evening with the light of the sun, to the reflection on the water, to a lovely face, to a beautiful smile. To be sensitive to everything is the very nature, the very existence of life. But when a mind is brutalized by effort, by constant battle, through suppression or sublimation or an escape, such a mind becomes a dull, weary, stupid mind, without any sensitivity. So, to bring about a mutation in the fact, in the what is without effort - that is the issue. Is it possible to look at that fact, the what is, without the desire to transform it, without the desire to change it, without identifying yourself with it?
You know, I was told that an electron, measured by an instrument, behaves in one way - which can be measured on the graph. But when that same electron is observed by the human eye through a microscope, that very observation by the human mind, through the microscope, alters the behaviour of that electron. That is, the human watching the electron brings about in the electron itself a different behaviour, and that behaviour is different from the behaviour when the human mind is not observing it.
We have been talking for many years about seeing, observing, looking. Is it possible to look at a flower, a tree, or a face, without naming it, without identifying yourself with it through condemnation, or justification, or explaining? That is, is it possible to look at it without thought? This does not mean that you go blank; but you look at it. And it is only possible to look, when there is no sense of the "me" interfering with the look. You understand? That is, there is the fact that I am violent. And I have pushed away from me the silly idea of not being violent, as that is too juvenile, too absurd, and has no meaning. What is is the fact - that I am violent. And also I see that to struggle to get rid of it, to bring about a change in it, needs effort, and that the very effort which is exercised is a part of violence. And yet, I realize that violence must be completely changed, transformed; there must be a mutation in that.
Now, how is it to be done? If you just push it aside, because this subject is, very difficult, you will miss an extraordinary state of life: existence without effort, and therefore, a life of the highest sensitivity which is the highest intelligence. And it is only this extraordinarily heightened intelligence that can discover the limits and the measure of time, and can go beyond that. Do you understand the question, the problem? So far, we have used the ideal as a means or as an incentive to get rid of what is; and that breeds contradiction, hypocrisy, hardness, brutality. And if we push that ideal aside, then we are left with the fact. Then we see that the fact must be altered, and that it must be altered without the least friction. Any friction, any struggle, any effort destroys the sensitivity of the mind and the heart.
So what is one to do? What one comes to do is to observe the fact - to observe the fact without any translation, interpretation, identification, condemnation, evaluation - just to observe. It is fairly easy to observe a flower without naming it, without saying "I like" or "I don't like". Just to observe - one can do that with outward things which do not interfere psychologically, emotionally. But it is difficult to observe violence in that manner - which is, not to name that feeling of violence, not to condemn it, not to judge it, not to evaluate it, not to identify it, but just to observe it. When you just observe the fact, then you will see that there is a different behaviour, as there is when the electron is observed. When you look at the fact without any pressure, then that fact undergoes a complete mutation, a complete change, without effort.
We dissipate energy by denying the fact, by suppressing it, by wishing to escape from it or dominate it or control it or suppress it. We are exercising energy in doing this. And when we stop doing that, naturally, without effort, then we have all that energy to observe; and that very energy of observation, with the fact - which is also energy - becomes a total energy, and therefore, there is no contradiction.
Then there is the fact: the thinker and the thought. You observe this in yourself as the experiencer and the experienced. Again, there is the division, a contradiction, a duality and, therefore, a conflict. What we are trying to do is rather to share together - which is really a sense of real affection, a great sense of love in which there is no sense of conflict at any time, when you are in an office, when you are at home, in your family, with your wife, with your husband, doing anything, any action, without effort. And it is possible only when every contradiction is understood, is observed.
And one of the major contradictions in our life is this: the division between the thinker and the thought. The thinker for most so-called religious people is the Atman and all that stuff; something that is first, and thought afterwards. But if you observe, there is no first, there is only thinking; thinking invents the thinker and the thinker assumes a permanency in time, as the Supreme, the higher self the Atman; but it is invented by thought. Without thought, there is no thinker, so we have this contradiction not only at the conscious level, but at the unconscious level. There is this division, mine and not mine; having experience and to experience more; to change the thought by the thinker. So there is this duality, a battle that is going on consciously or unconsciously, all the time. And as long as we maintain the thinker as the centre, as the observer, there must be conflict; and hence action breeding further conflict. So one has to observe thought without the thinker - that is, not to condemn thought; not to change it; not to suppress it; not to say this thought is good, that thought is right, this thought is noble, that thought is ignoble; but just to observe thought.
Then, you will say, "Who is the observer who observes thought?" The observer, the thinker, exists only when there is the idea to transform the thought, to suppress the thought, to change the thought, to dominate the thought, to control the thought. Only when there is the activity of doing something about the thought, is there the thinker. But when that whole activity stops, there is thinking, and not the observer thinking. And when you so observe, you will see that, in the observation, the thought undergoes a fundamental revolution; and, therefore, life, existence is such that there is no contradiction in action. This is not an ideal; this is not something for you to achieve. Do not think in that way any more. This is a natural process, if you understand this extraordinary phenomenon of observation: to observe oneself without any desire, without any sense of wanting to change, to mutate, to suppress just to observe.
You know, we observe or we have the habit of observing, looking, seeing and hearing at the level of dimension which is time. We look at everything through time - not only chronological time, but the time which the mind has invented as tomorrow. Actually, there is no tomorrow. We have invented it psychologically. There is only tomorrow, in the sense of chronological time. We look at thought, at greed, at envy, at ambition, at our stupidity, at our brutality, at violence, at pleasure and love, through this dimension of time, and we use time as a means to transform the thing that we observe. Hence the contradiction between the fact which is living, and time which is fixed.
So one has really to look at life, this vast field - not the tribal life of an Indian, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a German, or a Russian, or a Communist, which are all tribal with their witch doctors; but the life which is enormous, palpitating, vital, immense - with eyes that are merely observing, and therefore act totally, act with all one's being, at every minute. Then there is no contradiction, because one has understood the whole nature of duality or contradiction.
We explained the feeling of insufficiency, emptiness, missing; as desire - desire to which thought gives continuity - and escaping from it as a form of action; or filling that emptiness as another form of action. We also explained the contradiction between the thinker and the thought, and the contradiction between the fact, the what is, and the ideal. When you have understood this whole process by observing - not intellectualizing, not getting emotionalized; but just by observing - then you will see that life is action; not different actions at different levels contradicting each other, but a total activity as existence, as a movement, then you can go to the office, you can do everything totally, not contradictingly.
Only a mind that has observed all its activities, all its behaviour - it is only such a mind that can live without effort; and therefore its action is not contradictory; and therefore it is not in bondage to time.
February 17, 1965
Bombay 3rd Public Talk 17th February 1965
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