London 6th Public Dialogue 9th May 1965
Our lives are so superficial; we have most of the things we want physically?', and most of us are easily satisfied with little pleasures or with intellectual concepts, theories and arguments. If we have read a great deal, it gives us a certain sharpness of mind, a disputatious mind, and we are able to quote and give an impression that we are very deep and very vital. Is it possible for a very clever mind, or a mind that has a great deal of knowledge and information, to go very deep? Most of us live for intellectual or sensual pleasure, and we seek its prolongation. When it wanes, we seek other forms of pleasure, but there is little joy in our lives, in our relationships, in our activities. I don't think we will be able to find joy through pleasure; the two things are entirely different. The difference is not in words, in actions, or in having a great deal of knowledge. It is a matter of understanding pleasure and going beyond it. Then only is it possible to have joy or bliss or whatever word you like to use.
The world being what it is, most of us seem to find it very difficult to go very deep within ourselves; and I don't see how one can find this joy, or be iii that state of mind, unless one goes profoundly within oneself. As we were saying the other day, the understanding of pleasure ends all illusion. Because if one has illusions of any kind about oneself, and identifies oneself with a joy, an image, a pleasure, a vision, an idea, a theory, it gives a certain satisfaction, a certain quality of pleasure. But this self-identification with something is still the pursuit of pleasure. How is one to go within oneself so profoundly, so deeply, without effort, without the time-binding nature of time? Is it a matter of time, of constant awareness, constant examination, constant watchfulness, of making a continuous effort to put away the things that one knows are rather stupid, to go into oneself and so perhaps discover? Do time and pleasure make the mind non-religious? Religion, for most of us, is authority, ritual, repetition and acceptance. When one has brushed all that aside, as most so-called intellectual, modern people have done, does one find something much more significant? To me the religious quality of the mind is very important. I mean by the term "religious mind" a mind that has understood the nature of pleasure, that has freed itself from fear, and therefore has no illusions, does not create illusions for itself, and so is capable of living with facts, with what is, and of going beyond. Such a mind, it seems to me, is a religious mind - a mind that fundamentally has understood the nature of pleasure, of time and of fear.
As we were saying the other day, fear in any form, conscious or unconscious, breeds darkness, breeds illusion. One seeks an escape from the network that man has developed in his effort to be free of fear. To be aware of the network, and so to be free, demands an awareness in which there is no effort, but merely observation. Most of us, I'm afraid, are not serious enough to pursue to the very end. We are so easily put off, we are so easily satisfied with a little experience, with a little knowledge, with a little understanding.
What is a human being to do who is in agony, who is in sorrow, fearful, striving after position and prestige, in order to cut through all this, so that fear doesn't ever arise again? How is one to be instantly free of fear - not merely physical fear, which does affect psychological fear, but the psychological fear which breeds physical fears? We are using the word "how" not as a question, not as a means or as a system through which to be rid of fear, because, as we said the other day, the "how" is disorder; for the "how" implies time, and time does breed disorder.
If one knows that one is afraid of so many things inwardly, how can one step out of it? It seems to me that this is one of the major problems of our life. Time will never resolve fear. Time is used by the mind to create tomorrow as a means of getting rid of something through a gradual process of examination and analysis. This utilization of time does not free the mind from fear. So what is one to do? One must understand the whole problem of pleasure - not fear; because pleasure is the central factor, the guiding principle of our life.
Please do not merely listen to words, but be aware of the nature of pleasure, actually, factually; and be aware of how all our thoughts and all our activities are based on this extraordinary, intricate desire for pleasure. When there is an understanding of this, fear comes to an end. Because it is pleasure that breeds illusion - not the ultimate, deep psychological pleasure but the everyday pleasure to which thought gives continuity.
In order to understand pleasure, one has to examine and be aware of the whole process of thinking. We give such extraordinary significance to thought, to ideas, to concepts, to formulas. There are physical formulas which are necessary, but are psychological formulas at all necessary?
I am not saying that we should be stupid, uninformed, dull; but why do we give such extraordinary importance to the mind, to thinking, to the intellect? If one doesn't give importance to the intellect, one gives importance either to sensate values or to the emotions. But as most people are ashamed of emotions and sensate values, they worship the intellect. Why? Please, when I ask a question, let's all of us find the answer together. Books, theories and the whole intellectual field are considered so important in our life. Why? If you are clever, you may get a better job. If you are highly trained technologically, that may have certain advantages, but why do we give importance to ideas? Isn't it because we cannot live without action? All relationship is a movement, and that movement is action. Ideas become important when separated from action. To most of us action is not important, relationship is not important, ideas are much more important than all these other factors.
Our relationships, which comprise our life, are based on organized memory as idea. Idea dominates action; and hence relationship is a concept, not actual action. We think relationship should be this or that, but we don't actually know what relationship is. Not knowing what relationship is, actually, factually, ideas become all important to us. The intellect becomes all important, with its beliefs, ideas and theories as to what should be and what should not be. Action is of a time-binding nature; that is, action involves time, because idea is of time. Action is never immediate, never spontaneous; it is never related to what is, but to what should be, to an idea, and hence there is a conflict between idea and action. We make life such an extraordinarily complicated thing. There is idea, followed by action based on pleasure, duty or responsibility. The pleasure breeds illusion, which is incapable of meeting the fact, what is; and hence we have fear.
It is not a matter of your agreeing or disagreeing with what is being said. If one observes, one sees that it is so. The intellect is not a total thing; it is a fragment of our life. Yet that fragment takes on tremendous importance. Since a fragment has such tremendous importance, our life, our living is fragmentary; it is never a complete thing a whole.
Probably most of us are aware of all this, and know or feel that there is constant conflict going on between idea and action. We are conscious of the fact that the separation between idea and action involves time; and that when there is the question of time, there is disorder. We know all this. Perhaps some of us know this directly, watch and see it as a fact. But apparently we don't seem to be able to go beyond this. We know very well that it's no good being too clever, being able to quote, with all the cerebration that goes on. We know very well that it does not have tremendous importance; yet we play with it. We also are aware of the nature of pleasure as habits, sexual and otherwise. Also, we are inwardly, deeply anxious. There is a deep sense of guilt, and a desperate loneliness. We know there is fear, and yet we don't seem to be able to go beyond all this.
How is it possible for a human being to step out of this circle, this everlasting, vicious circle? That's the major question, not investigating and analysing needless words and definitions of words. Is there a different approach to this problem? It seems to me that we are always approaching life from the periphery, from the outside to the inner, making things complex, hard, intricate. Let's approach it differently.
Pleasure is not love; it is the continuation of memory, which feeds and sustains it. If there is what we call love, it is surrounded by jealousy, anxiety, loneliness and the fear of losing. Beauty, for us, is again pleasure. Beauty is the result, for most of us, of stimulation: a beautiful baby, a beautiful sunset, a cloud in the sky. We call them beautiful, because they act as stimulants. Is there beauty which is unrelated to pleasure, which is not the result of a stimulant? Our life is without love, and most of the time we are secondhand human beings. There is nothing original, nothing actual, and therefore we never know what it is to be creative. We all want to express ourselves in different ways, as artists, as technicians, and this expression is what we generally call creativeness. How can there be creation when there is fear, pleasure, and the involvement of time? Surely creation means ending, not the continuation of something I have known, however pleasurable, however significant it may have been. It is only when there is a complete ending that there is something new. We are afraid to end; we are afraid to die - die to all pleasures, memories, experiences. So we continue, never ending; therefore we are never creative.
It seems to me that beauty, love, death and creation all go together. But they obviously cannot exist when there is fear in any form. Having heard this statement, you may approve, agree or disagree; it doesn't matter which. The facts are obvious; one can observe them.
Is it possible for you and me to step completely out of this system of time and pleasure? Is it possible to look out of silence at fear, without thought and without feeling, and not look upon it as something that one must find the cause of analyse and eliminate ? It is fairly simple to look at a flower non-botanically, because the flower is not of great importance in one's life; it doesn't interfere, it doesn't mess up our life. But to look at our activities, at our problems as they arise, without thought or feeling, and therefore to observe without time, is not so easy.
We look at things from a centre which creates space around itself. I look at you from my centre of memory; that centre creates a space around itself, and through that space I look. I never look at you directly; I only observe you through my space, which has been created by my centre, which is experience, knowledge, memory. I can really look at you, as I can look at the flower, only when there is no centre, but I never observe without that centre which is time-binding in nature, which is the result of pleasure. That centre is always creating illusion, and I never come face to face with fact.
I can look at a flower, a cloud or a bird on the wing without a centre, without a word, the word which creates thought. Can I look without the word at every problem - the problem of fear, the problem of pleasure? Because the word creates, breeds thought; and thought is memory, experience, pleasure, and therefore a distorting factor.
This is really quite astonishingly simple. Because it is simple, we mistrust it. We want everything to be very complicated, very cunning; and all cunning is covered with a perfume of words. If I can look at a flower non-verbally - and I can; anyone can do it, if one gives sufficient attention - can't I look with that same objective, non-verbal attention at the problems which I have? Can't I look out of silence, which is non-verbal, without the thinking machinery of pleasure and time being in operation? Can't I just look? I think that's the crux of the whole matter, not to approach from the periphery, which only complicates life tremendously, but to look at life, with all its complex problems of livelihood, sex, death, misery, sorrow, the agony of being tremendously alone - to look at all that without association, out of silence, which means without a centre, without the word which creates the reaction of thought, which is memory and hence time. I think that is the real problem, the real issue: whether the mind can look at life where there is immediate action, not an idea and then action and eliminate conflict altogether.
Questioner: Do you mean that you can look at something the same way you look at a flower, without using it, without making use of it? Is that what you had in mind?
Krishnamurti: Sir, you look at a flower, actually look at it. There is no thought behind it. You are looking at it non-botanically, non-speculatively; you don't classify it, you just look. Have you never done this?
Questioner: Doesn't the mind enter in?
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait, no, don't talk about the mind. That's a little more complicated. Begin with the flower. When you look at a flower do not let thought interfere; then see if you can look at your wife or husband, or neighbour, or country in the same way. If one cannot, one says, "Is there a method, a system by which I can train my mind to look without the interference of thought? It becomes too absurd. The fact is that we do look at a flower without the interference of thought as memory or as pleasure. Can there be observation in the same way as every thing that arises in us and outside us - the words we use, the gestures, the ideas the concepts, the self-identifying memories, the images that we have of ourselves and of others? To be so widely aware is only possible when there is an observation of things external when one can look at a cloud, a tree without the interference of words.
Questioner:It is not just the interference of words or associations;it is the swiftness of associations.
Krishnamurti; Yes,Sir, the swiftness of association; therefore you are not looking. If I want to see you, or see the cloud, see my wife or husband , I look and not let the association interfere; but the word, the association interferes instantly because behind it there is pleasure. Do see this, Sirs; it's so simple. Once we understand this thing clearly, then we will be able to look.
Questioner: You said that we should look at the flower without thought and without feeling, and if one is able to do that, one gets tremendous energy.This energy, as we use the word, is thinking and feeling. I wonder if you would clarify this.
Krishnamurti: Ah, you see sir, I purposely said thought is feeling. There is no feeling without thought;and behind thought is pleasure; so those things go together: pleasure, the word the thought, the feeling; they are not separated. Observation without thought, without feeling, without word is energy. Energy is dissipated by word, association, thought, pleasure and time; therefore there is no energy to look.
Questioner:If you see that, then thought is not a distraction.
Krishnamurti: Then thought doesn't enter into it, sir. It is not a question of distraction. I want to understand it. Why should thought interfere? Why should all my prejudices interfere with my looking, my understanding? It interferes because I'm afraid of you, you might get my job - ten different things. That's why one must first look at a flower, a cloud. If I can look at a cloud without a word, without any of the associations that come in swiftly then I can look at myself, at the whole of my life, with all its problems. You may say, "Is that all? Haven't you oversimplified it?", I don't think so, because facts never create problems. The fact that I am afraid doesn't create a problem; but the thought that says "I must not be afraid" brings in time and creates illusion - that creates a problem, not the fact.
Look, sir. There is a problem, the question of death. We all know it. We may prolong life for another 150 years, but still at the end of it there is that thing, waiting. Now, look at it as a fact; do not rationalize it, nor escape from it through belief or through the various other escapes that one has, but just be in contact with the fact. You cannot, if you don't know what ending is - ending to all pleasures, not certain pleasures. Then the mind can look at the issue in a totally way.
Take the question of affection, love. How can there be love when there is competition, ambition, fear,jealousy? Obviously there cannot be. Yet without it our life is extraordinarily shallow and empty. Can I look at my jealousy without the word, without thought, without association; can I live with it and just look at it as a fact? This demands energy; so dissipation of energy as thought, as an avoidance, association or word must not come in. I see that to observe a fact demands tremendous energy. Because I understand it, all dissipation of energy ceases;I don't have to struggle against it.
Questioner: When a real,genuine quality in relationship arises, I notice in myself that there is immediately a strong rush of emotions which involves thought and brings me right into the whole thing. What you are saying is that this process arises because I don't bring enough energy to the observation.
Krishnamurti: You cannot bring enough energy to the observation because you are dissipating it through thought, through words, through emotions, through feeling, Sir, just look at a flower. Apparently it seems to be a most difficult thing just to observe it. We never look from silence; we look out through a lot of noise and disturbance. If one can look at a flower out of silence, therefore without thought and all the rest of it, one can look at oneself and at all the problems which exist within.
Questioner: Does that dissipate the problems,sir?
Krishnamurti: How you look at it is of the highest importance. Do you look at it as an experiencer observing that thing? Is the observer different from the thing observed? I am jealous, I am envious, I hate somebody. Now, in that there is the hater and the hated, the experiencer and the thing experienced. Are the two separate?Is the observer separate from the thing observed? I observe the microphone; it is separate, because I know the nature of the microphone, what it is; it is something different from me. I am jealous; the feeling of jealousy is different from me. That is true for most of us. I am jealous. That is, the observer is separate from the thing observed, which is jealousy. But is it separate? Is not the observer himself jealousy? Is he really separate from jealousy?
Questioner:Then you are not looking at the thing you hate, you are looking at your hate.
Krishnamurti:No,no. Look at it a little more, please. Consider it a bit more. Lets go back. Look at a tree. You observe the tree with your experience, and there is the tree. The tree is different from you. Now, can you look at that tree not as an observer? You don't know what that means?
Questioner:Yes, you can. Yes.
Krishnamurti:Wait,wait. Do go slowly; don't be so quick. What does it mean to look at a tree without you as the observer? Have you ever done it?
Questioner: I did it with a flower this morning. I was rather taken by surprise, but I couldn't describe any reaction at all.
Krishnamurti: Sir, we are not talking about reaction. Please, just keep to one thing. Look at a tree, not from a centre, not as an observer. Look at your wife, your friend, your husband, not as an observer, not as the husband, or the friend, or the wife, with all your memories; just observe. This is one of the most difficult things to do; you can't just use words, you have to look.
Questioner: Well, when I look at a tree, it gives me a feeling of pleasure, so that shows that I am looking as an observer.
Krishnamurti: Therefore,to look at a tree, or at a person, without being the observer, is to commune with that person, or with that tree - commune. I generally look at my wife, husband, at a person, with all my prejudices and memories. Through those memories I look; that is the centre from which I look. Therefore the observer is different from the thing observed. In that process thought is constantly interfering, through association, and with the rapidity of the association. Now, when I realize the whole implication of that instantly, there is an observation without the observer. It is very simple to do this with trees, with nature; but with human beings, what takes place? If I can look at my wife or my husband non-verbally, not as an observer, it is rather frightening, isn't it? Because my relationship with her or with him is quite different. It is not in any sense personal; it is not a matter of pleasure, and I am afraid of it. I can look at a tree without fear, because it is fairly easy to commune with nature, but to commune with human beings is much more dangerous and frightening; my relationship undergoes a tremendous revolution. Before, I possessed my wife, and she possessed me; we liked being possessed. We were living in our own isolated, self-identifying space. In observing, I removed that space; I am now directly in contact. I look without the observer, and therefore without a centre. Unless one understands this whole problem, merely to develop a technique of looking becomes frightful. Then one becomes cynical, and all the rest of it.
Questioner: It is more difficult to look at one's boss in that way.
Krishnamurti: Do it.
Questioner: Sir, if I look at a thing, look at a tree, and know that I am looking, am I not the observer?
Krishnamurti: You can t help that, can you, sir? Visual looking you can't help, unless you are blind. You see that tree. But why must all the past come into your looking? If I listen, why should all my past come when I am listening? When I am listening, I am learning. Learning is entirely different from accumulating knowledge. In accumulating knowledge, the centre is established; but if I am learning, which is listening, there is not the listener.` Try; do it; be completely attentive. Be attentive to the speaker, to what lie is saying; be attentive to the way you are listening; be attentive to that noise outside, the bus or the cars going by; be attentive to some one coughing - totally attentive. Then is there a centre? Is there an observer who is attentive? There is only a state of attention.
Questioner: There is the observer if one thinks one might miss something.
Krishnamurti: No, you're not doing it! Sir, for two seconds do this: be attentive to the colours, to the walls, to the noise; attentive to your thoughts, to your feelings, the way you're sitting, standing, listening. Be totally attentive, not fragmentarily attentive - completely, with all your being: your nerves, your` body, your eyes, everything attentive. Then is there a centre from which you are being attentive? But if you say, "I must be attentive", and then, "How am I to be attentive?", you begin the whole circle.
Questioner: Within that awareness, complete awareness, is communion, as far as I understand.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir.
Questioner: But this complete awareness also includes the complete awareness of everything, not only outside, but inside as well.
Krishnamurti: Ah, no, sir. When you are attentive there is neither outside nor inside. You listen to that car going by, to that cough; you are attentive to the colour, to what you're thinking, feeling just be attentive, not say that I like or dislike, just be attentive.
Questioner: That is always so, isn't it, sir?
Krishnamurti: It is not always, sir. Sir, do it!
Questioner: And you will also be attentive to the apparent impossibility of being totally attentive. Is that right?
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir. Be attentive to inattention; do not try to become attentive.
May 9, 1965
London 6th Public Dialogue 9th May 1965
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