Ojai 5th Public Talk 12th November 1966
I should think one of our greatest: problems in life must be, surely, knowing that our minds deteriorate, decline as one grows older, or deteriorate even when one is quite young; being a specialist along a certain line, and being unaware totally of the whole complex area of life, it must be a great problem to find out whether it is at all possible to stop this deterioration, so that the mind is always fresh, young, clear, decisive. Is it at all possible to end this decline?
This evening, if I may, I would like to go into that. Because to me, meditation is freeing the mind from the known; and to inquire into this question, which is really very, very important, one must, it seems to me, know or be aware of the whole machinery of the formation of the image which each one has about himself, or about another; and not only be aware of the machinery that makes these images, but also how we add to those images that we have about ourselves. Because it is these images that gradually begin to crystallize, become hard. The whole of life is a constant movement, a constant flow, and this crystallization, this process of the hardening of the image, is the central fact of deterioration.
One notices, obviously, as one grows older, that one is burdened with innumerable experiences, hurts, many strains, conflicts, despair, the competitive process of life. All these and other factors bring about a lack of sensitivity in the brain cells themselves. That one sees as one grows older. And one sees also, when one is quite young, that a mind trained along a special line, completely concentrated on that line and avoiding the whole area of this extraordinary life, makes its brain cells also very narrow, very small; being unaware of the whole total movement of life - which is modern education, which is the modern way of living. Not only with the young, but also, as one grows or advances in years, one notices this: the sharpness, the clarity, the precision, the capacity to think impersonally, to look at life not only from one center, declines. Whether that center is noble or ignoble is irrelevant; it is a self appointed center, and from that gradually comes the crystallization of all the brain cells. The whole mental process declines, and one is then ready for the grave.
The question then arises: is it at all possible to end this decaying process of the brain, as well as of the mind, the whole, total entity? And also, is it possible to keep the physique, the body, extraordinarily alive, alert, energetic, and so on? That seems to me to be a great issue, and therefore a great challenge to find out.
Now, the inquiry into this - not only verbally, but non-verbally - the inquiry, the examination into this is meditation. That word itself is so misused; there are so many methods of meditation, especially coming out of Asia: the Zen form of meditation, the Hindu, and the dozens of ways of meditation. If we understand one, we shall understand the total of the systems and the ways of meditation. But the central issue that we are going to talk over together this evening is whether the mind can ever rejuvenate itself, whether it can become fresh, young, unafraid. And if one asserts that it is not possible, one is then actually blocking oneself. All examination ceases when you say it is not possible, or when you say it is possible. Either the positive denial of saying that it is not possible, or saying, "Well, it is possible" - both, it seems to me, are irrelevant and they block all examination. But the fact remains that as one grows older, the mind does decline. It declines because one sees that the whole process of thinking, the structure of the brain, and the totality of the whole process which is the mind is a way of conflict, struggle and constant strain, a self-contradictory process.
If I may point out here, I think it would be well to find out how you are listening to what is being said, because we are not concerned with ideas. One can go on with innumerable ideas, adding them, writing about them, reading about them. There are volumes upon volumes about thought and what the process is, and so on and so on; and there are all these psychologists who have theories about all this, or statistical facts, and so on. Are we listening to a series of words, or phrases, or ideas? Or are we listening, observing the actual state of our own mind? I think that's very important, especially when we are talking about something which is beyond argumentation, opinions, personal inclinations, or personal outlook. The fact is that there is deterioration; and if one looks at it and translates that deterioration, or tries to transcend it, or go beyond it in terms of personal inclination, temperament, and so on, it becomes a very shoddy affair. But if one observes it as you would a tree, a sunset, the light on the water, the outlines of a blue hill, just observes it; just observes the process of what is actually taking place in each one of us, then we will go on together. If you cannot do this, there will be gaps, and we'll not be able to take the road together.
Also this requires a sustained attention, not for two minutes or three minutes, but for this whole hour. If one can be so alert, attentive, not only to what is being said, but also to relate what is being said to your own activity inside of yourself, then such listening has an extraordinary action. But if you merely listen to ideas, or words, then you can have this idea or that idea; you can accept this opinion or that opinion. We're not dealing with opinions. That only leads to dialectical approach. But what we are talking about is something entirely different. We are concerned with the whole total process of living; and this total process of living, as one observes, is always creating an image about ourselves, about others - image through experience, image through conflict. This image is added to or taken away from, but the central factor of that energy which creates that image is always constant. Is it at all possible to go beyond it? And are we aware that there is an image in each one of us about ourselves, conscious or unconscious? I mean that one might have an image about oneself as superior, or as not having capacity, or as aggressive, prideful - all kinds of nuances, subtleties which build up this image. Surely, each one has this image about oneself. And, as one grows older - it might be that age really has nothing to do with it; one has an image when one is very, very young, and that image begins to be more and more strong, and more and more crystallised, and then there is the end to it all.
Is one aware of it? And if one is aware of it, who is the entity that is aware of the image? You understand the issue? Is the image different from the image-maker? Or are the image-making and the image the same? Because unless one understands this factor very clearly, what we are going into will not be clear.
You understand? I can see that I have an image about myself: I am this and that; I am a great man or a little man; or my name is known, not known, you know, all the verbal structure about oneself, and the non-verbal structure about oneself, conscious or hidden. I realize that image exists, if I become at all aware, watchful. I know this image is being formed all the time. And the observer who is aware of that image feels himself different from the image. Isn't that what is taking place? Right? I hope we are making this clear. And the observer then begins to say to himself that this image is the factor that brings about a deterioration; therefore he must destroy the image in order to achieve a greater result, to make the mind young, fresh, and all the rest of it, because he realizes that this image is the central factor of deterioration; and therefore he makes an effort to get rid of that image. Right? Are we going along together? He struggles, he explains, he justifies, or adds; strives to alter it to a better image; moves it to a different dimension, or to a different part of that field which he calls life. The observer then is concerned either with the destruction of that image, or adding to that image, or going beyond that image. This is what we are doing all the time. And one has never stopped to inquire whether the observer is not the image-maker, and therefore the observer is the image. Right? Therefore, when this factor is very clearly understood, which is non-verbal but actual, that the observer is the maker of the image, and whatever the observer does, he not only destroys the present image he has about himself, but also creates another image, and so keeps this making of images all the time going; struggling, compelling, controlling, suppressing, altering, adjusting; when one sees this observer is the observed, then all effort ceases to change the image, or go beyond the image.
This demands a great deal of penetration and attention; it isn't just that you accept an explanation. Because the explanation, the word, is not the fact. And to realize this, to realize the central fact, eliminates all effort. This is very important to understand. Effort, struggle in different ways, either physically or psychologically, as competition, as ambition, aggression, violence, pride, accumulated resentments, and so on, is one of the factors of deterioration. So when one realizes that the observer is the image-maker, then our whole process of thinking undergoes a tremendous change. And so the image is the known, isn't it? You may not be aware of it; you may not be aware of the content of the image, the shape of it, the peculiar nuances, the subtleties of that image; but that image, whether one is conscious of it or not, is in the field of the known. Right?
Perhaps we can discuss, and answer this question afterwards. For the moment we'll go on with what we are talking about. As long as the whole mind - which is the mind, the brain and the body - functions within the field of the image, which is the known, of which one may be conscious or not, in that field is the factor of deterioration. Right? Please, don't accept it as an idea which you'll think about when you go home. You won't, anyhow. But here we are doing it, taking the thing together; therefore you must do it now, not when you go home and say, "Well, I've taken notes, and I've understood it; I'll think about it". Don't take notes because that doesn't help at all.
The problem then is, whether the mind - which is the result of time, psychological and chronological, which is the result of a thousand experiences, which is the result of so many stresses and strains, of technological knowledge, of hope, of despair, all that a human being goes through, the innumerable forms of fear - whether that mind functions always within that field, which is the field of the known. I am using that word, the "known", to include what may be there, but which you have not looked at; still, it is the known.
That is the field in which the mind functions, always within the field of the known; and the known is the image, whether created by the intellect, or by lots of sentimental, emotional or romantic thought. As long as its activity, its thoughts, its movements, are within the field of the known, which is the making of the image, there must be deterioration, do what you will. So the question arises: is it possible to empty the mind of the known? You understand? Am I making myself clear? It doesn't matter!
One must have asked this question, whether it's possible to go beyond, vaguely, or with a purpose, because one suffers, one has anxieties, or one has vague hints of it. Now we are asking it as a question which must be answered, as a challenge which must be responded to; and this challenge is not an outward challenge, but a psychological, inward challenge. And we are going to find out whether it is possible to empty the mind of the known. I've explained what we mean by the known.
Now as to this process of emptying the mind - this emptying of the mind is meditation; and one must go into this question of meditation, explain it a little bit. All the Asiatic people are conditioned by this word; the so-called religious, serious people are conditioned by this word, because through meditation they hope to find something which is not, something which is beyond mere daily existence. And to find it they have various systems, very, very subtle, or very crude, like the Zen: the discipline, the forcing, the beating; or watching, being tremendously aware of the toe, and then to see how it moves, to be conscious of it all, and so on and on and on in different ways. Also in that so-called meditative system is concentration, fixing the mind on one idea, or one thought, or one symbol, and so on. Every schoolboy does this when he reads a book, when he is forced to read; and there's not much difference between the student in the school and the very deep thinker who tries tremendously to concentrate on one idea or one image, and who tries to discover some reality out of that.
Also there are various forms of stimulation, forcing oneself, stimulating oneself to reach a point from which one sees life totally differently; and that means to expand consciousness more and more through will, through effort, through concentration, through determination to force, force, force; and by extending this consciousness one hopes to arrive at a different state, or a different dimension, or reach a point which the conscious mind cannot. Or one takes many, many drugs, including the latest, LSD, and so on and so on. That gives for the moment tremendous stimulation to the whole system, and in that state one experiences extraordinary things - extraordinary things through stimulation, through concentration, through discipline, through starvation, through fasting. If one fasts for some days, one has peculiar - obviously peculiar - things happening. And one takes drugs, and that for the moment makes the body extraordinarily sensitive; you see colours which are most extraordinary, which you have never seen before. You see everything so clearly; there is no space between you and that thing which you see. And this goes on in various forms throughout the world; the repetition of words, like in the Catholic church, or in those prayers, which all make the mind a little calm, quiet, obviously, which is a trick. If you keep on repeating, repeating, repeating, you get so dull, obviously, that you go to sleep, and you think that's a very quiet mind. (Laughter.) Please!
There are very many systems, both in Asia, which includes India, and in Europe, to quieten the mind. One goes through extraordinary tortures to still the mind. But the mind can be stilled very simply by taking a tranquillizer, a pill that will make you seemingly awake but quiet. But that's not meditation. One can brush all that aside; even though one is committed to it; we can throw all of that out of the window; and as you are listening I hope you will throw it out, because we are going into something much deeper than these inventions of a very clever mind which has had a peculiar experience, the other experience, and so on and so on. Having examined, not in too much detail, but sufficiently, one can really put all that aside. Because the more one practises a discipline, the more the mind becomes dull, mechanized; and that mechanizing, routine process makes the mind somewhat quiet, but it is not the quietness of tremendous energy, understanding.
Having brushed those aside as immature, utterly nonsensical, though they produce extraordinary results, then we can proceed to inquire whether it is at all possible to free the mind from the known - not only the known of a thousand years, but also of yesterday, which is memory; which doesn't mean that I forget the road, the way to the house I live in, or technology. That obviously one must have. That's essential; otherwise we can't live. But we are talking of something at a much deeper level - the deeper level where the image is always active; where the image, which is the known, is functioning all the time; and whether that image, and the maker of the image, which is the observer - whether it is possible to empty the mind of that. And the emptying of that, of the known, is meditation. We are going to go into that a little bit. I don't know if you have the energy or the sustained attention to go into it so far.
One sees very clearly that there is an understanding there, an action, only when the mind is completely quiet. Right? That is, I say I understand something, or I see something very clearly, when thc mind is totally silent. Right? You tell me something; and you're telling me something which I don't like, or like. If I like, I pay a little attention; if I don't like, I don't pay any attention at all. Or I listen to what you're saying and translate it according to my idiosyncrasy, to my inclination and so on and so on and so on, justifying, and so on and so on. I don't listen at all. Or I oppose what you're saying, because I have an image about myself, and that image reacts. Please, I hope you are doing all this!
And so I don't listen; I don't hear. I object; I dissent; I'm aggressive. But all that obviously prevents me from understanding. I want to understand you. I can only understand you when I have no image about you. And if you're a total stranger, I don't care; I don't even want to understand you, because you are totally outside the field of my image, and I have no relationship with you. But if you are a friend, a relation, and so on, husband, wife, and all the rest of it, I have an image; and the image which you have about me and I have about you, those images have a relationship. All our relationship is based on that. One sees very clearly that only when the image doesn't interfere - image as knowledge, thought, emotion, all the rest of it - only then can I look, can I hear, can I understand. It has happened to all of us. When suddenly, after you discuss, argue, point out, and so on, suddenly your mind becomes quiet and you see that, and you say, "By Jove, I've understood." That understanding is an action, not an idea. Right?
So there is understanding, action in a different sense than the action that we know, which is the action of the image, of the known. We are talking of an understanding which is an action when the mind is completely quiet, in which understanding as action takes place. Right? There is understanding and action only when the mind is completely quiet; and that quiet, still mind is not induced by any discipline, by any effort. Obviously if there is an effort, it is the effort of the image to go beyond itself and create another image. You know all the tricks of that. One sees that there is an understanding action only when the mind is quiet; and that quietness is not induced, is not projected, is not brought about by careful, cunning thought. And meditation - which one can do when one is sitting in a bus, walking the street, or washing dishes and God knows what else - meditation has nothing whatsoever to do with breathing and all that, or taking postures. We've brushed all that aside long ago, all that childish stuff.
When the observer is the image, and therefore there is no effort to change the image, or to accept the image, but only the fact of what is, the observation of that fact of what is brings about a radical change in the fact itself. And that can only take place when the observer is the observed. There is nothing mysterious about it. The mystery of life is beyond all this - beyond the image, beyond effort, beyond the centralized, egotistic, subjective, self centered activity. There is a vast field of something which can never be found through the known. And the emptying of the mind can only take place non-verbally, only when there is no observer and the observed. All this demands tremendous attention and awareness - an awareness which is not concentration.
You know, concentration is effort: focusing upon a particular page, an idea, image, symbol, and so on and so on. Concentration is a process of exclusion. You tell a student, "Don't look out of the window; pay attention to the book." He wants to look out, but he forces himself to look, look at the page; so there is a conflict. This constant effort to concentrate is a process of exclusion, which has nothing to do with awareness. Awareness takes place when one observes - you can do it; everybody can do it - observes not only what is the outer, the tree, what people say, what one thinks, and so on, outwardly, but also inwardly to be aware without choice; just to observe without choosing. For when you choose, when choice takes place, only then is there confusion, not when there is clarity.
Awareness takes place only when there is no choice; or when you are aware of all the conflicting choices, conflicting desires, the strain - when you just observe all this movement of contradiction. Knowing that the observer is the observed, in that process there is no choice at all, but only watching what is, and that's entirely different from concentration. That awareness brings a quality of attention in which there is neither the observer nor the observed. When you really attend, if you have ever done it - we all do sometimes - when you completely attend, like you are doing now, if you are really listening, there is neither the listener nor the speaker. In that state of attention is silence; and that state of attention brings about an extraordinary freshness, youth - not "youth", in America they use that word terribly - an extraordinary sense of freshness, a quality of newness, to the mind. This emptying of the mind of all the experiences it has had is meditation. Though one has had a thousand experiences - and we are the result of millions of experiences - all the experiences can be emptied only when one becomes aware of each experience, sees the whole content of it without choice; therefore it goes, it passes by; there is no mark of that experience as a wound, as something to remember, to recognize and keep.
Meditation is a very strenuous process; it's not just a thing to do, for old ladies or men who have nothing to do. This demands tremendous attention right through. Then you will find for yourself no, there is no question of experience, there is no finding. When the mind is completely quiet, without any form of suggestion, hypnotism or following a method, when the mind is completely quiet, then there is a quality and a different dimension which thought can never possibly imagine or experience. Then it's beyond all search; there is then no seeking. A mind that is full of light does not seek. It is only the dull, confused mind that's always seeking and hoping to find. What it finds is the result of its own confusion.
Is it worthwhile talking about all this, questioning, asking?
Audience: Yes, yes.
KRISHNAMURTI: All right; go ahead.
Questioner: Has not deterioration two factors: not only the image-making factor, but also the wrong way of living, wrong food and so on?
KRISHNAMURTI: Obviously. It's clear isn't it? All this demands such extraordinary sensitivity, both of the body and of the mind, not that the two are separate. There is a separateness which one cannot possibly understand unless one goes into this question of the observer and the observed. Obviously it matters how one lives, what one thinks, what one's daily activities are, anger, and all the rest of it.
Questioner: Krishnaji, the image is the known, as you say. Would it be fitting for us to examine together here now the non-image, or the unknown, or the unconscious?
KRISHNAMURTI: As we said the other day, actually there is no such state as the unconscious. Sorry! (Laughter.) I mean, one has dreams. One never asks oneself: why does one have dreams at all? One has dreams if one has overeaten, all that. That's all right. That's clear. But all those dreams which need interpretation, all the fuss they make about dreams! Why do you dream at all? Is it possible not to dream, so that when you wake up the mind is fresh, clear, innocent? One dreams because during the day you have not paid attention, you have not watched what you have said, what you have thought, what you have felt, how you have talked to another. You have not watched the beauty of the sky, the trees. And so, all this field which has not been examined, watched, looked at, naturally projects, in that state of the mind when it is half asleep, an image, or an idea, or a scene, and that becomes the dream, which has to be interpreted, and so on and so on and so on.
When one is aware, watching all things, choicelessly; looking, not interpreting, then you will find for yourself that you don't dream at all, because you have understood everything as you are going along.
Wait; I have not finished, madam. Look, please. If you understand one question, you have understood all the questions. This question which we are taking, which has been asked, is whether the conscious mind can examine the unconscious, can look into something which is hidden; whether it can analyse; and it can, obviously. It can see the motives, the reactions in relationship, and so on. It obviously can analyse, and the process is analysing part of the whole field. That part is a corner of that field, which is called the unconscious, which we make so much ado about; that can be examined very quietly without analysis, by just watching the whole field. And the whole field is the conscious. The whole field is limited, the whole area is limited, because there is always the center, the observer, the censor, the watcher, the thinker. You can observe the whole field, what is called the unconscious and the conscious, which are on that field, only when there is no observer at all, when there is no attempt to change what is, when you are totally attentive, completely attentive of the whole field. Then you will find out for yourself that there is no such thing as the unconscious, and there is nothing to be examined. It is there to be looked at, only we don't know how to look; and we don't want to look. When we do look, we want to change it to our pleasure, to our idiosyncrasies, to our inclinations, which becomes terribly personal, and that's what interests most of us: to be personal.
Questioner: What is the state of the quiet mind that makes discoveries? Are these discoveries to be treated any differently from the rest of the field?
KRISHNAMURTI: Obviously not sir. A quiet mind, a still mind, never experiences. It is only the observer that experiences. Therefore it is not a still mind.
Questioner: To see the false as the false, and to realize that this is not true is very difficult.
KRISHNAMURTI: Yes, sir. As long you you have concepts, you never see what is true.
Questioner: My main trouble is that I can't stay aware for a long enough period of time, may be a, few seconds, a few minutes, and I fall asleep; and this has been going on for years.
KRISHNAMURTI: To be attentive at the moment of awareness, attentive at that moment when you are aware, is enough. But when you say, "I must extend it, keep it going", then the trouble begins. Then you want it as a pleasure. Behind this question lies the desire to have something permanent - a permanent awareness, a permanent state of attention. What is important is to be aware, to be completely attentive at that moment. It may last one second; you are completely aware for one second, and the next second you may be inattentive. But know also you are inattentive. Don't say, "Inattention must become attention"; thereby you introduce conflict and in that conflict awareness and attention completely end.
Questioner: Sir, if there is no such thing as the unconscious mind, unconscious thinking, how do you explain phenomena as posthypnotic suggestion?
KRISHNAMURTI: When I said there is no such thing as the unconscious, I have been saying, "Don't accept what is being said". Look into this, neither accepting nor denying. Your question, sir, what happens after hypnosis, and so on, through hypnosis, is very explainable, all still within the field of the known, the conscious.
What is important to understand in all this, in asking questions and getting answers, or explanations, is that the explanation has no value at all. What has value is how you ask the question, and what you're expecting out of that question. If you are attentive to what you are asking, you will see that the question is answered without any difficulty. Therefore there is no teacher. You are everything yourself, both the teacher and the pupil, everything. That gives you tremendous freedom to inquire. Right, sirs?
November 12, 1966
Ojai 5th Public Talk 12th November 1966
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