Amsterdam, talks in Europe 1967
Talks in Europe 1967 5th Public Talk Amsterdam 30th May 1967
THIS IS THE last talk. We have been considering many problems of life and I think we should also enquire into the problem of what is a religious mind. We have talked about fear, death, and also we went into the question of what love is. I think we should this evening consider the state of mind that is able to perceive what is truth. Because man, not only in the West but also in the East has been searching, groping endlessly to find out what truth is, and what God is: if there is a God, if there is such a thing as truth. Every culture, every civilization, every human being throughout the world has been asking this question. And it seems to me that we should not only ask the question seriously, but also find out for ourselves, not theoretically, not as a vague belief in a concept, in an idea, but find out the fact whether there is God or not. There is a whole group of people who deny the very idea of God, because to them it smells too much, it stinks. They throw it out, because in the name of religion so many crimes have been committed; there have been so many wars - in the name of God, in the name of peace there has been such torture - as the Inquisition. And there are those who firmly assert that there is. And to belong to either camp, to the believer or non-believer, seems to me so utterly immature; because both are conditioned to believe. From childhood one is brought up to believe that there is God, that there is a truth, that it must be attained, that only a certain saviour can show the way, or help one. And there is the whole Communist world which doesn't believe it at all, from childhood they are conditioned not to believe.
So there isn't much difference between the believer and the non-believer, because both are conditioned, to believe or not to believe. And it seems to me, to find out if there is such a reality, if there is something beyond the measure of man's mind, one must set aside totally all belief and non-belief - and that requires a great deal of energy; because one can deny, or one can accept, but we believe because we are afraid; our life is so uncertain, our life has very little meaning, it has no significance, no lasting, enduring meaning. So we want to find something that will give us abiding significance, abiding comfort, a depth to our life. So out of this deep loneliness, misery, uncertainty, we create, or put together, an idea called God or truth. And there are those people who say there is no such thing at all; that there is only this present life, which must be lived bitterly, without any hope, without any significance; making the best of it an living as decently, as peacefully as possible.
So, to find out, not intellectually, because the intellect cannot answer this question - it can argue, it can dialectically tear opinion down, or invent a theory - but intellect, with all its cunning capacity can never find out. The more the intellect enquiries the more it is inclined to believe, because one observes throughout the world that intellectual people are believers. Or they join the other group, they don't believe. But if one seriously, with full intention, demands of oneself that it is absolutely imperative to find out - not so as to give meaning to life, not as a thing of security, as something that can give comfort - but if one has the intention to find out, then one has to end all belief. Because belief gives hope, and one needs hope; because in the life we lead, the everyday miserable, conflicting, anxious life, in which there is no answer, such a life demands a hope, needs a hope and therefore it invents according to its culture, according to its climate, according to its temperament and inclination whether it be artistic, material, and so on - such a mind invents, and in what it has invented, in that lies its hope.
But a man who would enquire and come upon this reality, if there is one, must obviously not only deny totally all forms of belief - which doesn't mean he becomes atheistic, a nonbeliever - but also he must deny every form of hope, because hope is born of belief. Again, this doesn't mean that one becomes cynical, bitter, materialistic, callous, indifferent. This is an immense question; it isn't just a matter of belief, a matter of words, a matter of concepts. Man has lived for so long with words, with concepts, with belief, with hope, but has never actually come upon that state of mind which actually perceives what is. And in enquiring into this question there is the danger of falling into the trap of becoming completely superficial; that is, when there is no hope, no belief - which demands tremendous understanding, not merely a denial - but when one does put it aside, then there is the danger of becoming materialistic in the sense, not of not having possessions, houses and so on, but materialistic in the sense of worshipping something in the nature of the State. You know what is happening in the world, you deny God on the one hand and create another kind of God, which is the Communist ideology. You can deny the ideologies of the religions and yet be extremely alert - not be caught in the ideologies of the State, as all important - or in working for the State, or working for man, helping man, and getting lost in that activity, which is obviously very materialistic - which doesn't mean that one mustn't help man. But to find out if there is a dimension, a totally different dimension, not invented by thought, one must be extremely alert not to create illusion, a fancy, a myth. Illusion exists only when there is a capacity to measure; that is to compare. And when there is no comparison at all there is no possibility of illusion. And this is important to understand, when the mind is enquiring into this extraordinary problem. Also there is another thing one must be aware of, which is, in denying in negating, there is the positive: in the very negation is the positive. That is, to deny war (not merely on the battlefield, but to deny war inwardly, conflict in any form) to totally deny it - in the very process of denying there is the energy which is not contaminated by the negative. That is, most of us are yes-sayers; we say `yes'. We accept, we never say `no'. And when we do say no (if it is not a revolt which is rather immature, like a child saying no to its parents, which has no meaning at all) when we deny, the very saying `no' is the outcome of understanding. In that saying `no' is the positive, and that positive, which is total energy, has no conflict of duality.
Conflict exists only when are two opposed things, when there is fear, and the state of non-fear; when there is violence and its opposite, which is non-violence. When these two exist within oneself then there is conflict; that is, all conflict comes into being through self-contradiction: `I want this' and `I don't want that'. But when one denies the actual, the actual being violence (not the non-violence, which has no reality at all, it has no meaning, it is just an idea) but to deny violence in oneself, in the very denial is the energy, which is uncontaminated by its opposite.
Look Sirs, I'll put it round the other way. If you deny hate, envy (deny it, not build resistance against it, not escape from it, nor accept it) when you deny hate or violence, which breeds so much animosity, - and you can only deny it when you understand the nature of it, see what is implied in it, not intellectually, but actually - then when you deny that, in that very denial is the positive which is love in which there is no hate. Love is not the opposite of hate. So, when we deny every form of belief, belief in God, belief in saying `there is no God', when you deny both - which is to understand why human beings want to believe (because in that there is a hope, and one projects hope because one is frightened, one is insecure, anxious, in despair) then when you deny all that, negate it, in that very negation is a positive in which there is no conflict whatsoever.
So has one understood that in the total denial of man's structure with regard to what he calls God, or no God, in that negation is a state of mind which is utterly positive, in which there is no contradiction? Such a mind is necessary in order to find out if there is, or if there is not, a God, a truth. Which means a mind that is neither afraid, nor that merely accepts the world as it is. The world as it is needs tremendous revolution, not economic or social, but psychological revolution, deeply, a revolution that is not born of ideas, a revolution not born according to Marx, Freud or Jung, or any of these opposite camps; but a revolution deep in the psyche, and it is only such a revolution that can bring about a different world altogether.
So we are going to enquire together. You know when a man is hungry he is not satisfied with a description of food: he wants it. In the same way you and the speaker are going to explore this question, but as we said, to explore there must be freedom from every form of belief; otherwise you are tied. It's like an animal tied to a post, it can wander within the limits of the length of the rope, but it is not free. Therefore, to enquire the first imperative necessity is to be totally free of belief - without becoming bitter, cynical, superficial, or merely intellectually inventing theories and living in those theories.
That is, to enquire, search must come to an end. You know, man throughout the ages has been seeking, seeking this immeasurable something. Some people have had, they say, the experience of that, and communicate it to others. And the others want it again, they want it too. So they go after it, they search for it, they seek it out. But that thing cannot be experienced. When you experience that, it is not that. When you say you know what it is, then you don't know. Therefore one must understand this constant seeking, because that is the outcome of discontent. Most human beings are discontented with superficial things, and also at a deeper level there is discontent which can easily be satisfied, and being discontented we want to find something which will give a total contentment. And so we go after it, we ask, we beg, we pray, we demand, we seek. Man has done this throughout the ages. He says, what is truth, what is God, I must find out, I must seek it out. And when you seek, obviously you will find what you have projected. Please do understand this. If one seeks God, or truth, to find it you must already have known it; that is, you must be able to recognize it. And you are able to recognize it you have already known it. It a vicious trap, and most of us are caught in it, because we are all seeking, seeking, seeking. And that probably is what most of you are here - without understanding the nature searching. So, to enquire is not to seek, when you see t nature of seeking.
When you are not seeking, searching, groping, then there is no authority: the authority of the priest, the authority the saint, the authority of the saviour, the authority of a teacher, including that of the speaker. There is no authority that is necessary to understand and that means complete freedom to find out, not according to somebody. So a mind that is enquiring - rather a mind that is in a state of enquiry which is very different from enquiring - a mind that is in a state of enquiry is entirely different from a mind that is seeking; because in seeking is implied effort, conformity authority and therefore conflict. When the mind is utterly free from every form of authority - whether it is the authority outwardly of the church, or the priest, or doctrine, belief dogmas, rituals, or the authority of one's own experience. then the mind is in a state of constant enquiry, and therefore it is free from illusion. That is, when the mind is free from belief, and is not caught in the trap of its opposite; when the mind is free from fear, and hence at the end of seeking, and therefore free from all authority, then it is in a state of enquiry. Such a mind is not an open mind, like a sieve; on the contrary! It is extraordinarily active, because (as we explained) it is only when there is a total denial of that which is not - total denial of organized religion which is not truth, then in that denial the positive - which is not touched by conflict, and is therefore completely free from all sense of compulsion and imitation, is capable of perceiving what is.
There are two things which it is absolutely necessary to find out about: the understanding of space, and the nature of silence. It is a most interesting thing to find out what space means. We are talking not of the distance between the earth and the moon, but psychological space, the space within. A mind that has no space is a shoddy, little mind, a petty mind; it is caught in a trap and the movement in the trap it calls living. But to find out what space is, inwardly, one must observe outwardly what is space. I do not know if you have ever thought about this. There is space only when there is a centre from which there is observation taking place. You see me, and I see you, because there is a space. You are in space and I am in space. You are the observer and the observed. So this space, psychological space, can only be understood if there is an understanding of the observer, the centre from which there is observation. This hall contains space, because there are four walls and a roof and a floor. Outside this hall there is also space. And within us there is the space which is created by the observer, by the censor: the space in which he lives.
Sirs, I'm afraid we're not conveying this very clearly. As long as there is a centre, that centre must create a limited space within the boundaries of its observation; that is fairly simple. There is this microphone, it exists within space; and it creates space round itself. In us psychologically there is the centre which creates the space between itself and the periphery. Without the centre, space is entirely different; then there is no boundary. When you look at the stars of evening you see the distance between yourself and the star And when you look at yourself, when the centre is aware, itself, it creates a space round itself. So long as there is centre from which there is observation taking place, it may observe extensively, but it will always be limited. Therefore the space that we know is always limited. And the freedom from that limitation only comes when there is no observer when there is no centre; it is only then there is freedom. That freedom must exist, and that is space. In that space the mind as thought, with its memories, experiences, which the very centre of the me, the I, the ego - that me, that (as the centre) creates round itself a space, which is consciousness. Therefore all consciousness is always limited. So a mind that is limited by its own centre is not capable of discovering what is true. It is always looking at something according its own limitation. If you are interested in this you can into it for yourself; you need nobody's help. You can observe how little space you have inwardly; we are overcrowded with noise, chattering, endless memories, images, symbols opinions, knowledge, crammed full of secondhand things. There is no space there at all; therefore there is no freedom. And without this space, in which there is no boundary, the mind is incapable of finding out, of coming upon that immeasurable reality.
Then also one must understand what silence is. You know we are never silent; either we are having a dialogue with our selves, or with somebody else. The machinery of thought incessantly active, projecting itself, what it should do, it must not do, how it has been - endlessly chattering, chattering, chattering; or conforming, accepting, comparing judging, condemning, imitating, obeying. Knowing this, the are various forms of meditation which tell you how to control thought. But controlling thought is not meditation at all anybody can concentrate, from the schoolboy to the higher general preparing for war. And it is only a silent mind that can perceive, that can actually see; not a chattering mind, not a controlled mind, not a mind that is tortured, suppressed - nor yielding, indulging. It is only a very silent mind that can actually see. You only see a cloud, with its full light and beauty, or a leaf, when your mind is completely silent. Then you actually see it. Then in that silence the space between you and the leaf disappears, which doesn't mean you identify yourself with the leaf (which is idiotic). It is when the mind is completely silent, not made silent - you can make the mind very silent by taking a tranquillizer, a drug, or by controlling, forcing it; but such a mind is a stagnant mind, a dull mind. But when one understands the nature of chattering, comparing, the endless gossip that goes on within oneself, the dialogue - when you understand that - and to understand it is not an intellectual process, but actually to be aware of it, as it is taking place - out of that alertness, out of that watchfulness, the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. Which doesn't mean the mind goes to sleep, or becomes blank. That is, when one has totally denied the world, the psychological world which man has created for himself and has denied the society in which he lives, that is, the psychological structure of society of which we are: the greed, the envy, the brutality, the violence, the jealousies, the hatred; then when you totally deny, you have space and silence. And it is only such a mind that is the religious mind, not belonging to any organized, propagandist religion - it is only such a mind that can see what is the immeasurable. And such a mind cannot, does not experience, because it is a light to itself.
But all this requires tremendous energy. One can derive energy through friction, through conflict. One can derive energy by committing oneself to a certain form of activity. One can gather energy by identifying oneself with something which one calls greater. Or one can have energy by following certain ideologies and so on and so on. In that energy there is always conflict. Therefore there is a deterioration of energy But what we are talking about is a state of energy in which there is no conflict whatsoever. Therefore that energy is the highest form of intelligence. And it is only such a mind that is - perhaps - the immeasurable.
If you are so inclined, perhaps we can discuss, talk over together by asking questions. You know, you cannot ask question about what is truth, what is God, what is the purpose of life. Such questions have no meaning whatever. Man who sees light doesn't ask, what is light.
Question: Could you define what is contemplation and what is meditation?
Krishnamurti: The definitions are in the dictionary, but we are not concerned with definition or explanation. We a concerned with the understanding of what actually is. So, what is meditation, and what is contemplation? If you have listened this whole hour attentively, that is meditation. And that is also contemplation. But if you have listened and merely heard words, and gathered a few ideas to carry home t think about, then you have not meditated. You are mere carrying home empty ashes without any meaning. Meditation not according to various groups that exist throughout the world, but actual meditation is a state of mind which look; regards, observes everything with complete attention; total not just parts of it. Attention is not fragmentary, it is a total thing. And no one can teach you how to be attentive. If an system teaches you how to be attentive, then you are being attentive about that system and that is not attention; nor attention concentration. Concentration is exclusion. You can concentrate - it is an effort: excluding, building a wall around yourself. But attention has no wall, and such is meditation. That is what meditation is, when the mind is completely silent Questioner: (interrupting)
Krishnamurti: Madam, I haven't finished. Wait a minute Sir! Because meditation is one of the greatest arts of life - perhaps the greatest arts. Because in the understanding of meditation there is love, and love is not the product of systems, of habits, of following a method. Love cannot be cultivated by thought. Love can perhaps come in to being when there is complete silence. And the mind can only be silent when it understands the nature of its own movement, as thought and feeling. And to understanding that, there can be no condemnation in observing thought and feeling. To so observe is discipline. Hence that kind of discipline is fluid, free, not the discipline of conformity. So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a `bus, or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, of listening to the singing birds, or looking at the face of your wife or husband'. Meditation is not something apart; it is the understanding of the totality of life in which every form of fragmentation of life has ceased. And also there is contemplation, to contemplate life, not from a centre, not from your particular idiosyncrasy, tendency, or inclination, but to contemplate the whole movement of life: the misery, the conflict, the confusion, the sorrow, the endless travail of man - to watch that as a total movement. You cannot watch it if there is any form condemnation. Such contemplation is meditation. And you cannot contemplate or meditate if there is no silence.
Questioner: It is not possible totally to observe one's own irrational thoughts..?
Krishnamurti: When you say it is not possible you have answered the question. Questioner: Could it be possible?
Krishnamurti: No Madame. When you say it is not possible you have already blocked yourself. It is like a man saying It is possible. He has also blocked himself, prevented himself from observing. Surely one can observe one's thoughts. Have you ever observed your own anger? Not after it is over, but actually in the state of anger. Have you observed it? - in the state of annoyance, in the state of violence. That means, to observe that, you must be extraordinarily attentive. But most of us are inattentive, because that is the easiest way t live, and the dullest way to live, to be inattentive. And that has become a habit. Then we ask, how am I to break out of that habit. By observing the whole machinery of habit, because all of us live in habits. The mind lives in habit, because it is the easiest way. just to be aware of it - not to condemn it, not to say, it is right or wrong, but just to watch it! and you can watch it only when you care and you have affection. Love is not habit.
Questioner: If you have to be quiet, how can..?
Krishnamurti: You don't have to be quiet, Madame.
Questioner: If you are quiet, you have no thoughts. Ho can you then with that same mind watch your thoughts..
Krishnamurti: Have you ever observed out of silence Please, just listen. Have you ever observed anything out (silence? Please don't answer me, I'm just asking you. You have listened for an hour to the speaker. Have you listen out of silence, or with the noise of opinion, judgement, evaluation, accepting or denying? Have you listened out of silence. Then if you have listened out of silence you have understand the totality of life. If you have not, then you will always be asking, how am I to do this, or to do that. just watch please - once. Just watch out of silence a bird, a tree, a movement of clouds. And when you have watched the movement of clouds out of silence, then watch your husband or wife out of silence and you will see how immeasurably, how extraordinarily difficult it is to watch - specially your husband or your wife, because you have images about them. It is only in silence that there is relationship, because in silence and out of silence there is love.
Questioner: What does it mean to stand alone.
Krishnamurti: First of all, are we ever alone? Do you ever walk by yourself in the woods? And if you do, are you alone? You may be alone physically, but you are not alone because you are carrying all the memories, all the conflicts, all the worries - you know, you are the past. You are alone only when all that is gone, when there is no family, no Gods made by thought, when you are no longer pursued by memories; only then are you alone. And it is only that aloneness that can see. Because it is that aloneness that is completely innocent. It is only the innocent that can see the full beauty of life.
Questioner: We are experiencing and recognizing all the time - implying that action is therefore divided.
Krishnamurti: Alright sir. What is action? When do you act? There are two kinds of action, aren't there? When you do something instantly, because you understand completely and do it instantly. That is when you are confronted by a danger of any kind, there is instant action. And we are not confronted always with danger, but we are acting all the time. That action is derived from idea. There is the ideology first, the belief, and action according to that belief. Therefore there is contradiction between the idea and the action: a di- vision. Look sir, when you say I should be non-violent, I should be happy, I should be this or that, it is an idea; it is a formula, a concept. And according to that, you act. That is, action is always an approximation to that idea. So there i a division between the idea and action. And that is how we live. I want to fulfil, I want to be the greatest man (or whatever silly stuff one wants) and one projects that idea and according to that idea there is action. Therefore action always breeds conflict. Now is there (one has to go into this and there is not the time) is there an action, conscious action without idea? Don't say yes or no, find out! And find out also why ideas, formulas, patterns, have become so extraordinarily important in our lives. Don't you see why these have become important? Because without ideas, without patterns, without formulas and ideologies, the mind has to be tremendously active, alive, watchful. And as we do not want to be alive, watchful, we invent these ideas, because the soften our lives.
Questioner: When I observe my thoughts there is great tension -
Krishnamurti: When one observes one's thoughts, the questioner says, there is greater strain, greater conflict. Why does this take place? When you observe your thought why should there be strain? There is strain, tension, conflict, because you look at your thought with the eyes of condemnation?, comparison, judgement, you don't look at it. When I look at that microphone, I can look at it and not make it a strain. But if I say, `I don't like it', immediately it becomes a strain. We compare and judge because we are conditioned to look at every thing in our life with condemnation, comparison, or justification; never to look at things as they are without any of this. Then you will find, Sirs, life becomes very simple: you can look.
30th May 1967
Amsterdam, talks in Europe 1967
Talks in Europe 1967 5th Public Talk Amsterdam 30th May 1967
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