Saanen 10th Public Talk 1st August 1965
I would like this morning, if I may, to go into something which I consider very important. We have so far dealt with many sides, aspects, or fragments of a total life. But it is very important - at least I think so - to come to the essence of that totality rather than to deal with peripheral activities. We have been considering up to now the activities that lie on the boundaries of our thinking, of our feeling, and the various activities that go on in our daily life. But it seems to me essential to find out the essence of life, and to function from there. However, to go into that one must first clear away a great deal of verbal confusion. Many words and symbols are heavy with superstition, with tradition, and one has to use certain words that are loaded, unfortunately, with Christian or Hindu symbolism, and so on. The word is never the thing, the symbol is never the essence, the truth. It would be very unfortunate if we were to be caught in symbolism, in words, because the symbol or the word is never the real. When the word or the symbol becomes important, the real thing has disappeared, it has ceased to have any substance, any validity.
This morning we are going to discover for ourselves the essence, the truth, and not be caught in the symbol or the word. To come to that reality, which cannot be grasped through words or through symbols, we must obviously put away from our minds the traditional meaning, the religious implications of certain words. Man throughout the centuries has sought something beyond himself, something that he could use as a means of escape from this ugly, tyrannical,.sorrowful world, or something to compensate for his aching, miserable, confused existence. In order to live in this world somewhat sanely, if we can, you and I have created - out of our vanity, out of our fear, out of our anguish - an image, a personal God, a superhuman power which is supposed to act as a guiding principle and make us behave. That image is somewhat different in the Orient from what it is the Occident, but it is everywhere a creation of the human mind. There is nothing sacred about it. There is nothing sacred in the rituals of the West or of the East, for they have all been put together by man in his despair, in his torture, in his fear, in his anxiety; and what is born of fear, of anxiety, can never lead man to truth. His rituals, his symbols, his prayers may be amusing, they may be exciting, they may give him a certain inspiration, a certain sense of well-being; but they have no truth behind them at all, because they are put together by human beings in utter agony.
Man has always sought, and apparently found; so we are now going to examine those two words, `seeking' and `finding'. We seek because of our own confusion. We seek something permanent because we see that everything about us is impermanent. We seek a spiritual love, a heavenly comfort, divine providence, because in ourselves there is so much confusion, so much sorrow, so much agony. In other words, we seek out of chaos, and what we find is born of this chaos. So one must understand this fact: that to seek and to find is not only a waste of energy, but it is an actual hindrance, an actual detriment.
Please, you may not agree with what is being said, but this is not something with which you can agree or disagree. We are inquiring into something that demands a great deal of energy, a great sensitivity, an intense awareness and attention. This means that we have to put aside everything to find out: every assertion, every dogma, every sanction. All the religions throughout the world have established certain formulas, certain methods and traditions which they insist must be practised in order to find out. Man has always sought, hoping to find something original, something beyond his own imagination, beyond his own vanity: God, a Supreme Being, a Divine Essence that will guide, help, comfort him. But behind his urge to find some comfort, there is this vast reservoir of man's ignorance of himself, of the cause of his despairs and of his everlasting demand to find something permanent.
If one is somewhat intelligent or aware, and if one is dissatisfied with this transient world, one wants something permanent, and therefore one is constantly seeking - joining this movement, committing oneself to that party or activity, and so on. One is always active in this search. But this search invariably leads to a predestined end. What one wants is comfort, permanency, a state of mind that will never be disturbed, which one calls peace; and one will find what one is seeking, but it will not be the real, it will not be truth.
So a mind that would discover what is the real, what is truth, must totally end this seeking, this demand to find. Being confused, anxious, miserable, laden with sorrow, we seek reassurance outside of ourselves in books, in teachers, in gurus, in saviours, in organized religions; and once having found some comfort, some reassurance, we cling to it desperately. But this seeking and this finding invariably bring about the deterioration of the mind; because the mind needs to be intensely active, supremely sensitive, aware, vitally energetic. So to put an end to seeking and finding is to put an end to sorrow, because then the mind is unfolding and understanding itself, which is the very essence of religious activity.
Without knowing oneself, mere search only breeds illusion. Human beings want more and more experience. We all want more experience - not only the experience which is to be derived from going to Mars, or discovering new galaxies, but we also want more experience inwardly, because the experience of everyday living has no meaning any more. We have had sex, and that pleasure, repeated day after day, has become slightly monotonous, boring, so we want some other form of experience, some new social activity, We want the praise of the community,. we want to become world famous, we want to have prestige by deriving status from function. And it is because we want more experience that we take drugs like L.S.D., which make the mind much more sensitive, much more active, and thereby give us wider, deeper, more intense experience.
Please, as I said the other day, the speaker is not important; but what he says is important, because what he says is the voice of your own self talking aloud. Through the words which the speaker is using you are listening to yourself, not to the speaker, and therefore listening becomes extraordinarily important. To listen is to learn, and not to accumulate. If you accumulate knowledge and listen from that accumulation, from your background of knowledge, then you are not listening. It is only when you listen that you learn. You are learning about yourself, and therefore you have to listen with care, with extraordinary attention; and attention is denied when you justify, condemn, or otherwise evaluate what you hear. Then you are not listening, you are not perceiving, seeing.
If you sit on the bank of a river after a storm, you see the stream going by carrying a great deal of debris. Similarly, you have to watch the movement of yourself, following every thought, every feeling, every intention, every motive, just watch it. That watching is also listening. It is being aware with your eyes, with your ears, with your insight, of all the values that human beings have created, and by which you are conditioned; and it is only this state of total awareness that will end all seeking.
As I said, seeking and finding is a waste of energy. When the mind itself is unclear, confused, frightened, miserable, anxious, what is the good of its seeking? Out of this chaos, what can you find except more chaos? But when there is inward clarity, when the mind is not frightened, not demanding reassurance, then there is no seeking and therefore no finding. To see God, truth, is not a religious act. The only religious act is to come upon this inward clarity through self-knowing, that is, through being aware of all one's intimate, secret desires and allowing them to unfold, never correcting, controlling, or indulging, but always watching them. Out of that constant watching there comes extraordinary clarity, sensitivity, and a tremendous conservation of energy; and one must have immense energy, because all action is energy, life itself is energy. When we are miserable, anxious, quarrelling, jealous, when we are frightened, when we feel insulted or flattered - all that is a dissipation of energy. It is also a dissipation of energy to be ill, physically or inwardly. Everything that we do, think and feel, is an outpouring of energy. Now, either we understand the dissipation of energy and therefore, out of that under standing, there is a natural coming together of all energy; or we spend our lives struggling to bring together various contradictory expressions of energy, hoping from the peripheral to come to the essence.
The essence of religion is sacredness - which has nothing to do with religious organizations, nor with the mind that is caught and conditioned by a belief, a dogma. To such a mind nothing is sacred except the God it has created, or the ritual it has put together, or the various sensations it derives from prayer, from worship, from devotion. But these things are not sacred at all. There is nothing sacred about dogmatism, about ritualism, about sentimentality or emotionalism. Sacredness is the very essence of a mind that is religious - and that is what we are going to discover this morning. We are not concerned with what is supposed to be sacred - the symbol, the word, the person, the picture, a particular experience, which are all juvenile - but with the essence; and that demands on the part of each one of us an understanding that comes through watching or being aware, first, of outward things. The mind cannot ride the tide of inward awareness without first being aware of outward behaviour, outward gestures, costumes, shapes, the size and colour of a tree, the appearance of a person, of a house. It is the same tide that goes out and comes in, and unless you know the outward tide, you will never know what the inward tide is.
Please do listen to this. Most of us think that awareness is a mysterious something to be practised, and that we should get together day after day to talk about awareness. Now, you don't come to awareness that way at all. But if you are aware of outward things - the curve of a road, the shape of a tree, the colour of another's dress, the outline of the mountains against a blue sky, the delicacy of a flower, the pain on the face of a passer-by, the ignorance, the envy, the jealousy of others, the beauty of the earth - then, seeing all these outward things without condemnation, without choice, you can ride on the tide of inner awareness. Then you will become aware of your own reactions, of your own pettiness, of your own jealousies. From the outward awareness, you come to the inward; but if you are not aware of the outer, you cannot possibly come to the inner.
When there is inward awareness of every activity of your mind and your body; when you are aware of your thoughts, of your feelings, both secret and open, conscious and unconscious, then out of this awareness there comes a clarity that is not induced, not put together by the mind. And without that clarity, you may do what you will, you may search the heavens, and the earth, and the deeps, but you will never find out what is true.
So a man who would discover what is true must have the sensitivity of awareness - which is not to practise awareness. The practice of awareness only leads to habit, and habit is destructive of all sensitivity. Any habit - whether it is the habit of sex, the habit of drink, the habit of smoking, or what you will - makes the mind insensitive; and a mind that is insensitive, besides dissipating energy, becomes dull. A dull, shallow, conditioned, petty mind may take a drug, and for a second it may have an astonishing experience; but it is still a petty mind. And what we are not doing is finding out how to put an end to the pettiness of the mind.
Pettiness is not ended by gathering more information, more knowledge, by listening to great music, by seeing the beauty spots of the world, and so on - it has nothing to do with that at all. What brings about the ending of pettiness is the clarity of self-knowing, the movement of the mind that has no restrictions; and it is only such a mind that is religious. The essence of religion is sacredness. But sacredness is not in any church, in any temple, in any mosque, in any image. I am talking about the essence, and not about the things which we call sacred. And when one understands this essence of religion, which is sacredness, then life has a different meaning altogether; then everything has beauty, and beauty is sacredness. Beauty is not that which stimulates. When you see a mountain, a building, a river, a valley, a flower, or a face, you may say it is beautiful because you are stimulated by it. But the beauty about which I am talking offers no stimulation whatsoever. It is a beauty not to be found in any picture, in any symbol, in any word, in any music. That beauty is sacredness, it is the essence of a religious mind, of a mind that is clear in its self-knowing. One comes upon that beauty, not by desiring, wanting, longing for the experience, but only when all desire for experience has come to an end - and that is one of the most difficult things to understand.
As I pointed out earlier, a mind that is seeking experience is still moving on the periphery, and the translation of each experience will depend on your particular conditioning. Whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, a Moslem, a Hindu, or a communist - whatever it is you are - your experiences will obviously be translated and conditioned according to your background; and the more you demand experience, the more you are strengthening that background. This process is not an undoing of, nor a putting an end to, sorrow, it is only an escape from sorrow. A mind that is clear in its self-knowing, a mind that is the very essence of clarity and light, has no need of experience. It is what it is.
So clarity comes through self-knowing, and not through the instruction of another, whether he be a clever writer, a psychologist, a philosopher, or a so-called religious teacher.
As I said the other day, there is no sacredness without love and the understanding of death. You know, it is one of the most marvellous things in life to discover something unexpectedly, spontaneously - to come upon something without premeditation, and instantly to see the beauty, the sacredness, the reality of it. But a mind that is seeking and wanting to find, is never in that position at all. Love is not a thing to be cultivated. Love, like humility, cannot be put together by the mind. It is only the vain man who attempts to be humble; it is only the proud man who seeks to put away his pride through practising humility. The practice of humility is still an act of vanity. To listen and therefore to learn, there must be a spontaneous quality of humility; and a mind that has understood the nature of humility never follows, never obeys. For how can that which is completely negative, empty, obey or follow anyone?
A mind that out of its own clarity of self-knowing has discovered what love is, will also be aware of the nature and the structure of death. If we don't die to the past, to everything of yesterday, then the mind is still caught in its longings, in the shadows of memory, in its conditioning, and so there is no clarity. To die to yesterday easily, voluntarily, without argument or justification, demands energy. Argument, justification and choice are a waste of energy, and therefore one never dies to the many yesterdays so that the mind can be made fresh and new. When once there is the clarity of self-knowing, then love with its gentleness follows; there comes a spontaneous quality of humility, and also this freedom from the past through death. And out of all this comes creation. Creation is not self-expression, it is not a matter of putting paint on a piece of canvas, or writing a few or many words in the form of a book, or making bread in the kitchen, or conceiving a child. None of that is creation. There is creation only when there is love and death. Creation can come only when there is a dying every day to everything, so that there is no accumulation as memory. Obviously you must have a little accumulation in the way of your clothing, a house and personal property - I am not talking about that. It is the mind's inward sense of accumulation and possession - from which arise domination, authority, conformity, obedience - that prevents creation, because such a mind is never free. Only a free mind knows what death is, and what love is; and for that mind alone there is creation. In this state, the mind is religious; in this state there is sacredness.
To me, the word `sacredness' has an extraordinary meaning. please, I am not doing propaganda for that word, I am not seeking to convince you of anything, and I am not trying to make you feel or experience reality through that word. You can't. You have to go through all this for yourself, not verbally, but actually. You actually have to die to everything you know - to your memories, to your miseries, to your pleasures. And when there is no jealousy, no envy, no greed, no torture of despair, then you will know what love is, and you will come upon that which may be called sacred. Therefore sacredness is the essence of religion. You know, a great river may become polluted as it flows past a town, but if the pollution isn't too great the river cleanses itself as it goes along, and within a few miles it is again clean, fresh, pure. Similarly, when once the mind comes upon this sacredness, then every act is a cleansing act. Through its very movement the mind is making itself innocent, and therefore it is not accumulating. A mind which has discovered this sacredness is in constant revolution - not economic or social revolution, but an inner revolution through which it is endlessly purifying itself. Its action is not based on some idea or formula. As the river, with a tremendous volume of water behind it, cleanses itself as it flows, so does the mind cleanse itself when once it has come upon this religious sacredness.
In a few days we are going to have discussions, and we can start those discussions this morning. But if you assert and I assert, if you stick to your opinion, to your dogma, to your experience, to your knowledge, and I stick to mine, then there can be no real discussion, because neither of us is free to inquire. To discuss is not to share our experiences with each other. There is no sharing at all; there is only the beauty of truth, which neither you nor I can possess. It is simply there.
To discuss intelligently there must also be a quality, not only of affection, but of hesitation. You know, unless you hesitate you can't inquire. Inquiry means hesitating, finding out for yourself, discovering step by step; and when you do that, then you need not follow anybody, you need not ask for correction or for confirmation of your discovery. But all this demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity.
By saying that, I hope I have not stopped you from asking questions! You know, this is like talking things over together as two friends. We are neither asserting nor seeking to dominate each other, but each is talking easily, affably, in an atmosphere of friendly companionship, trying to discover. And in that state of mind we do discover; but I assure you, what we discover has very little importance. The important thing is to discover, and after discovering, to keep going. It is detrimental to stay with what you have discovered, for then your mind is closed, finished. But if you die to what you have discovered the moment you have discovered it, then you can flow like the stream, like a river that has an abundance of water.
Questioner: You are advocating that we liquidate the environment within us. Why do you advocate that? What is the use of it?
Krishnamurti: I am not advocating anything. But you know, the cup is useful only when it is empty. With most of us, the mind is clouded, cluttered up with so many things - pleasant and unpleasant experiences, knowledge, patterns or formulas of behaviour, and so on. It is never empty. And creation can take place only in the mind that is totally empty. Creation is always new, and therefore the mind is made constantly fresh, young, innocent; it doesn't repeat, and therefore doesn't create habits.
I don't know if you have ever noticed what sometimes happens when you have a problem, either mathematical or psychological. You think about it a great deal, you worry over it like a dog chewing on a bone, but you can't find an answer. Then you let it alone, you go away from it, you take a walk; and suddenly, out of that emptiness, comes the answer. This must have happened to many of us. Now, how does this take place? Your mind has been very active within its own limitations about that problem, but you have not found the answer, so you have put the problem aside. Then your mind becomes somewhat quiet, somewhat still, empty; and in that stillness, that emptiness, the problem is resolved. Similarly, when one dies each minute to the inward environment, to the inward commitments, to the inward memories, to the inward secrecies and agonies, there is then an emptiness in which alone a new thing can take place. I am not advocating it, I am not doing propaganda for that emptiness - good God! I am only saying that unless that emptiness comes into being we shall continue with our sorrow, with our anxiety, with our despair, and our activities will bring more and more confusion.
To bring about a different human being, and therefore a different society, a different world, there must be the ending of sorrow; for it is only with the ending of sorrow that there is a new life.
August 1, 1965
Saanen 10th Public Talk 1st August 1965
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