Brockwood Park 1980
Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd September 1980
We have been looking over all the questions that have been handed in. There are perhaps a hundred or more, or less, and I am afraid we cannot answer all those questions. We could if we all stayed here for a couple of months but I don't think what would be possible.
When one asks a question, in that is implied that someone is going to answer the question. The meaning of that word 'question' means to seek. So together we are going to seek the answer; not that the speaker is going to answer the question but together we are going to seek, find, discover the right answer. So please this is not a Delphic Oracle. Together we are going to find out the meaning and the significance, not only of the question but also together seek the answer.
A lot of questions have been asked which could be answered if one thought it over carefully for oneself, and other questions with regard to yoga - should one do it, should one not do it, why are you vegetarian, why don't you grow your hair longer, and all that kind of thing! So out of all those questions that have been handed in, the speaker has carefully chosen what seems to be representative of all the questions. So I hope you will not mind if your particular question is not answered. Perhaps it will be answered when we go through all the questions that we have typed out. Is that all right?
1st QUESTION: You have spoken so much against organizations, so why do you have schools and Foundations? And why do you speak?
Need I answer this question? Yes? I think a group of us saw the necessity of having a school. The meaning of that word 'school' means leisure, leisure in which to learn; and a place where students and the teachers can flower, and a place where a future generation can be prepared, because schools are meant for that, not just merely to turn out human beings as mechanical, technological instruments, merely jobs and careers and so on - which is necessary - but also flower as human beings, without fear, without confusion, with great integrity. And to bring about such a good human being - I am using the word good in its proper sense, not in the respectable sense, good in the sense of a whole human being, not fragmented, not broken up, not confused. And it is very difficult to find teachers who are also inclined that way. And as one is aware the teachers are the lowest paid, without the least respect from society and so on. So we are trying both in India where there are nearly six schools, in California and in Canada and one here, to see that they are really centres of understanding, of comprehension of life, not books only, and we thought such a place is necessary and that is why we have these schools. They may not always succeed but perhaps one or two, after ten years, might come out of it as total human beings.
And the Foundations in America, in India, here and other places, Canada, exist not as centres of enlightenment and all that business, but merely to publish books, to organize these Gatherings, to help the schools and so on. And nobody is making a profit out of it - right?
And why do I speak? This has been often asked. "Why do you waste your energy after sixty years and nobody seems to change. Why do you bother about it?" Is it a form of self-fulfilment? You understand my question? Is it a form of whether you get energy talking about things, so you depend on the audience? We have been through all that several times.
First of all I don't depend on you as a group who come to listen to the speaker. I have been silent, so you can rest assured the speaker is not exploiting you, he is not attached to a particular group or is it necessary for him to have a Gathering. But then why do you speak, what is your motive? Right? There is no motive. I think when one sees something beautiful, true one wants to tell people about it, out of affection, out of compassion, out of love. And if those who are not interested in it, that is all right, those who are interested perhaps can gather together. And also can you ask the flower why it grows? Why it has perfume? And it is for the same reason the speaker talks.
2nd QUESTION: Is it always wrong or misguided to work with an enlightened man and be a sannyasi?
Sannyasi is a Sanskrit word. It is a very old tradition in India where the monks who take this vow, they really renounce the world outwardly. They only stay one night in each place, they beg, they are celibate, they have nothing except they have one or two cloths - you understand? The modern sannyasi is none of those - you understand what I am saying? He has been called a sannyasi by somebody in India and they think it is marvellous. Put on a robe, yellow robe or pink robe or whatever the robe you put on and beads and they think they are sannyasis. They are not. It is misguided, and not ethical to call them sannyasis.
Is it always wrong and misguided to work with an enlightened man? How do you know he is enlightened? How do you know? Would you kindly answer. How do you know? By his looks? Because people call him enlightened? Or he himself calls himself that he is enlightened? If he calls himself enlightened then you may be assured that he is not enlightened! There are a great many gurus who are doing this, playing this game, calling themselves lords, giving themselves titles, a new lot of mischief. And before you find out who is enlightened why don't you find out what is enlightenment? You understand my question?
I may consider you as enlightened. What is my criterion which makes me judge that you are enlightened? Is it because of some tricks, a great many people come round me, put garlands round me? Or enlightenment is something that cannot possibly be talked about? The man who says, "I know", does not know - right? Please be serious about this because lots of people are doing this in India, mostly Americans and Europeans, who gather there and - you know - do all the circus. So shouldn't we doubt, question these people? And if you question them will they answer you? Or they have put themselves up on a platform, you know, on a level, which forbids you to question them.
So to work with an enlightened human being is totally unimportant. What is important is to work upon oneself, not with somebody - right? We are seeking this together. Please, I am not advising, counselling, etc. etc., but together to find out what is the truth about all these matters. Because truth is something that has no path - right? There is no way to it, nobody can point it out to you, it is not something fixed and you can go towards it by a system, by a meditation, by a method and so on. A living thing has no path to it, and if one is seriously inclined to find out what is truth one has to lay the foundation first, to have a great sensitivity, to be without fear completely, to have great integrity.
And to be free from all knowledge, psychological knowledge, and therefore the ending of suffering. From that arises love and compassion. If that is not there as the well laid deep foundation, one is merely caught in illusions - illusions that man has fabricated, thought has invented, visions that are the projection of one's own conditioning. So all that has to be put aside to find that which is beyond time.
3rd QUESTION: You say that fundamentally my mind works in exactly the same way as everyone else. Why does this make me responsible for the whole world?
I am afraid I did not say that. I said, the speaker said, that wherever you go throughout the world human beings suffer, they are in conflict, they are in anxiety, uncertainty. Both psychologically and physically there is very little security. There is fear, there is loneliness, despair, depression. This is the common lot of all human beings whether they live in China, or Japan, India or here, in America or Russia, everybody goes through this. It is their life. And as a human being you are the whole world psychologically. You are not separate from the man who is suffering, anxious, lonely in India, or in America. So you are the world, and the world is you. This is a fact which very few people realize, not an intellectual fact, a philosophical concept, an ideal, something to be longed for, but it is a fact as you have a headache. And when one realizes that profoundly, inside not intellectually, verbally, or ideologically, then the question arises: what is my responsibility? We are asking each other this question, please. When you realize that, not verbally but in your blood, that you are no longer an individual, which is a great shock for most people, they don't accept that. We think our minds, our problems, our anxieties are ours, mine, not yours.
And if one sees the truth of this matter, then what is our responsibility? Not only one has a family, wife and children, one has to be responsible for them naturally, but what is your responsibility globally? You understand my question? For the whole of mankind, because you are the mankind, you have your illusions, your images of god, your images of heaven and so on and so on. You have your rituals, you know, the whole business, exactly like the rest of the world, only in different names, they don't call themselves Christians they call themselves Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists, but the pattern is the same. Right?
So when you realize that, what is our responsibility? That is, how do you respond to the challenge? You understand my question? How do you answer? What is your reaction when you feel that you are humanity? This is a challenge - you understand? How do you meet a challenge? If you meet it from your old individual conditioning, your response will naturally be totally inadequate - right? It will be fragmentary, it will be rather shoddy. So one has to find out what is our response to this great challenge? Does your mind meet it greatly, or with your fears, with your anxieties? You follow? The little concern about yourself?
So the responsibility depends, if I may point out, upon the response to the challenge. If one says this is your responsibility, join - not the League of Nations but some other nations, form a group, do this and do that, that is not an adequate challenge. How do you respond to this challenge psychologically? Inwardly? Is it just a flutter, a romantic appeal? Or something profound that will transform your whole way of looking at life? Then you are no longer British, American, French - you follow? Will you give up all that? Or merely play with the idea that it is a marvellous Utopian concept? Right?
So the responsibility to this challenge depends on you, whether your mind is capable of meeting this enormous human wholeness, this human current.
4th QUESTION: When I listen to you there is an urgency to change. When I return home it fades. What am I to do?
What are we to do? Is the urgency to change influenced or pointed out by the speaker and therefore while you are here you are driven into a corner, and when you leave naturally you are no longer in the corner. That means you are being influenced, challenged, driven, persuaded, and when all that is gone you are where you were. Right?
Now, what is one to do? Please let's think it out, the right answer to this. What is one to do? I come to this Gathering from a distant place. It is a lovely day. I put up a tent, I am really interested. I have read not only what the speaker has said and written, but I have read a great deal. I have followed the Christian concepts, the Buddhist investigation, the Hindu mythology, I have also done different forms of meditation, the TM, the Tibetan, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Zen. And I am dissatisfied with all those. And I come here and I listen. And am I prepared to listen completely? I cannot listen completely if I bring all my knowledge here. I cannot listen or learn, or comprehend completely if I belong to some sect, if I am attached to one particular concept and I want to add what has been said here to that also - right? I must come, if I am serious, with a free mind, with a mind that says let's find out for god's sake. Not I want to add what you are saying to what I already know. You are following all this?
So what is one's attitude about all this? The speaker has been saying constantly: freedom is absolutely necessary. Psychological freedom first, not physical freedom - that you have in these countries except in the totalitarian countries. So without inward freedom, which can only come about when one understands one's conditioning, the conditioning which is both cultural, religious, economic, social, physical, and can one be free of that? Free primarily of the psychological conditioning? One fact which is: that you are no longer an individual. The very word 'individual' means undivided, not broken up, and we are. We are not individuals. So will you move away from that conditioning? Me first everybody else second!
So what is difficult in all this is that we cling to something so deeply that we are unwilling to let go. Perhaps one has studied various things and one is attracted to a particular thing - a particular psychological, you know, something or other. And one goes into it, studies it and finds out that by jove there is a great deal in it and sticks to it. And then comes here and listens and adds what he has heard to that. Then he becomes a melange, a mixture of everything - right? Aren't we doing that? So our minds become very confused. And for the time being when you are in the tent that confusion is somewhat pushed away or less, and when you leave it is back there again.
So can one be aware of this confusion, not only while you are here but when you are at home, which is much more important than being clear here. Nobody cares if you are or you are not. But when you go back home to face all that business, going to the office every day for the rest of your life - you understand what it all means? Day after day, day after day, coming home, children, the worry - all that goes on.
So what does it all indicate? We have the intelligence to solve technological problems. The problem-solving mind. We all have it. And that is not intelligence. The capacity to think clearly, objectively, and know the limitation of thinking. To know, to be aware of the limitation of thinking is the beginning of intelligence. I wonder if you follow all this. We worship thinking, the more cleverly we can think, the greater we seem to be. All the philosophers who spin a lot of theories. But whereas if we could observe our own confusion, our own individual narrow way of looking at life, at home, not here, to be aware of all that, and to see how thought is perpetually creating problems. Thought creates the image and that image divides. To see that is intelligence. To see danger is intelligence. To see psychological dangers is intelligence. But apparently we don't see those things. That means somebody has to goad you all the time, persuade you, push you, drive you, ask you, beg you, do something or other all the time to make one aware of oneself. And move from there, not just stay there. And I am afraid nobody is going to do that, even the most enlightened human being. Then you become his slave - you understand?
So if one has the vitality, physical vitality, the psychological energy which is now being dissipated in conflict, in worrying, in chattering, in endless gossip - you know, not only with others but with oneself. This endless chattering. All that dissipates energy, the psychological energy. And that energy is needed to observe. To observe ourselves in the mirror of relationship, and we are all related to somebody or other, and to observe there and to discover the illusions, the images, the absurdities, the idiocies, then out of that freedom comes intelligence which will show the way of our life. Right? Are we moving together?
5th QUESTION: Is suffering necessary to make us face the necessity to change?
This is one of our traditions that says you must suffer in order to be good. In the Christian world, and in the Hindu world, they try to put different words for it, karma and so on and so on, and everywhere they say you must go through suffering, which is not only physical suffering but also psychologically. That is, you must strive, you must make an effort, you must sacrifice, you must give up, you must abandon, you must suppress, you know. That is our tradition, both in the East and in the West. And suffering, being common to all mankind, one says you must go through that particular door. Someone comes along, like the speaker, and says, suffering must end, not go through it, it must end. You understand what I am saying? Suffering is not necessary. It is the most destructive element in life. Like pleasure suffering is made personal, secretive, mine, not yours. There is not only global suffering, mankind has been through enormous sorrows, wars, starvations, violence - you follow? He has faced suffering in different forms and so he accepts it as inevitable and uses that as a means to become noble, or change himself.
We are saying on the contrary, you may reject it, question it, doubt it, but let's find out. That, is let us seek the right answer to this, together, not because the speaker says so. Can sorrow end? Sorrow being our grief, so many ways we suffer, an insult, a look, a gesture, a wound that we have received from childhood, a wound that is very deep of which we may be conscious, or unconscious, the suffering of another, the loss of another. And if you examine it closely, taking one fact, which is, that we are wounded from childhood, by the parents, by the teachers, by other boys, girls, it is happening all the time. And this wound is deep, covered up, and one builds a wall round oneself not to be hurt, and so that very wall creates fear. I don't know if you are following all this? And one asks: can this hurt, can it be wiped away completely so that it leaves no scar? Please we are going over this together - you understand? I am sure you have been hurt, haven't you, all of you, in some way or another. It is there. And we carry it throughout our life. The consequences of that are that we become more and more isolated, more and more apprehensive. We don't want to be hurt anymore so we build a wall round ourselves and gradually withdraw. Isolation takes place. You know all this. So one asks: is it possible not to be hurt? Not only not to be hurt in the future, today, but also to wipe out the hurt that one has had from childhood. You understand? We are thinking this together, please. Is it possible to wipe away the wound, the hurt that one carries about all the time?
If one is serious one should discover for oneself the cause of the hurt and what is hurt, and who is hurt - you are following all this? Please. Which means: is it possible not to register the insult, the flattery, the gesture that cuts you down, the look of annoyance, anger, the impatience? Not to register any of that. Do you want to go into it deeply? Shall we go into it deeply?
The brain is the instrument of registration - right? Like a computer it registers. It registers because in that registration it finds security, safety, it is a form of protecting itself - right? You are following this? Right sirs? And when one is called an idiot, or some other insult takes place, the immediate reaction is to register it, verbally, the word has its significance, wanting to hurt and it is registered. Like flattery is also registered. Right? Now can this registering process come to an end? Bearing in mind that the mind, the brain must register, otherwise you wouldn't know where your house is, you wouldn't be able to drive your car, or use any language. But not to register any psychological reactions. You understand? You are following all this?
Then one will ask: how? How will I prevent registration of an insult, or a flattery? Flattery is more pleasant and therefore I like to register, but the insult or the hurt I want to get rid of. But both factors, insult, flattery, are registered. Now is it possible not to register psychologically? Right? Can we go on with this?
What is it that gets hurt? You say, "I am hurt", what is that entity that gets hurt? Is it an actuality? You understand what I mean? Something concrete, something tactile, something that you can talk aboutyou know? Or is it something that you have created for yourself about yourself? Are you following all this?
All right. I have an image about myself, most of us have. That image has been created from childhood - you must be like your brother who is so clever, you must be better, you must be good - you follow? This image is gradually being built, through education, through relationships and so on and so on. That image is me. I wonder if you accept that? That image which is me gets hurt. Right? Are you following? So as long as I have an image it is going to be trodden on by everybody, not only by the top intellectuals but by anybody. So is it possible to prevent the formation of images? Go into it sir. Come with me, will you? You understand, the image-making machinery. What is this machinery that makes the images? You understand? The images about my country, about the politicians, about the priests, about god - you follow? - the whole fabrication of images. Who makes these images? And why are images made? You understand? Who makes them and why are they made? We can see very easily why they are made - for security, for reasons of self protection, because if I call myself a Communist in a non Communist world I have a rather difficult time. Or in a Communist world, if I am not a Communist, terrible things might happen. So identifying myself with an image gives one a great security. That is the cause, that is the reason, why all of us, in some form or another, have images. And who creates this image? What is the machinery? You understand? What is the process of it? Please think it out with me, don't wait for me to tell you.
Will there be - please listen to it - will the machinery come to an end when there is complete attention? Or, the machinery is set going when there is no attention? Do you follow the question? Do you follow this sir? Where am I to look? When there is complete attention when you call me an idiot - you understand - you call me an idiot and the verbal stone has an impact and the response is "You are also"! Now can I receive that word, the meaning of that word, the insult that you want me to feel by using that word, can I be attentive of all that instantly? You understand what I am saying? Are we following each other? Can I be aware or attentive completely when you use that word? And you are using that word to hurt me. And to be completely attentive at that moment. It is not a shield. It is not something that you put up in order to avoid. In that attention there is no reception. I wonder if you see it. Whereas when you call me an idiot and I am inattentive, not paying attention, then registration takes place. You can experiment with this, do it now for god's sake.
So that not only the past wounds, past hurts, but also your mind then is so sensitive, vulnerable, it is so moving, living, acting, it has no moment of static moment where you can hurt. I wonder if you follow all this? No. All right?
6th QUESTION: My problem is I have a ten foot wall around me. It is no use trying to overcome it, so I ignore it. It is still there. What do I do?
What's the height of the wall you have around you? Is it possible to be vulnerable, to be so sensitive, to be alive in fact that you need never build a wall? There are walls round a property - listen carefully. There are walls round a property, and you treat yourself as a property and so build a wall round yourselves. You understand what I am saying? Again sirs, why do we do all these kind of things? Why do we build a wall and then try to tear it down, and not being able to break it down we avoid it, we run away from it, we hide behind it. Why do we do all these things? Why do we create problems for ourselves? Why can't we be so sane, normal, healthy - not normal, sorry!
This is a problem to the questioner. What is a problem? You have a problem, right, haven't you? No? Oh my god! What is the problem? Something that you have not been able to resolve - right? You have analysed it, you have been to a psychiatrist, you have been to a confession, or you have analysed yourself and the problem remains, the cause remains. And you have examined the effects, analysed the effects - right? And the peculiarity of a cause is the cause becomes the effect - you follow what I am saying? And the effect becomes the cause. I wonder if you understand all this? Is this too intellectual? All right.
So what is a problem for all of us? What is our problem? And why do we have problems? Let's take a common problem: does god exist? I am taking that as a silly example. Because we say, "If god exists how can he create this monstrous world?" Right? So it becomes more and more and more of a problem. First of all I assume god has created it, this world, and then I get involved in it. Or I have a certain ideal, I want to live up to that ideal, that becomes a problem. I don't see why I should have ideals at all. First I create an ideal, then I try to live up to it, then all the problem arises. I am not good, I must be good, tell me what to do to achieve and so on and so on. You follow how we create a problem, create something illusory first, like non-violence is illusory. The fact is violence; and then my problem arises: how am I to be non-violent? You follow? Whereas I am violent, let me deal with that, not with non-violence. I wonder if you get this?
So is this what we are doing, at one level? Or I cannot get on with my wife. I am rather nervous about this! I cannot get on with somebody or other. You follow what I am trying to say? We make problems out of everything. The question is, much more important than the resolution of the problem is not to have problems at all so that your mind is free from this everlasting struggle to resolve something or other. What is the core of all problems? Not technological problems, not mathematical problems, but the human, deep, inward psychological problems - what is the root of it? Come on sirs. Is there a root that can be pulled out, or withered away so that the mind has no problems whatsoever? Go on sirs.
What is a problem? Something to be dissolved in the present, or in the future - right? A problem only exists in time. You understand what I am saying? Someone please tell me. You understand this, my question? A problem exists as long as we are thinking in terms of time, not only chronological time but inward psychological time. As long as I have not understood the nature of psychological time I must have problems. You understand? Are you meeting me? We are moving together. That is, I want to be successful in the worldly sense, and also I want to be spiritually successful - they are both the same. Now wanting to be successful is a movement in time - right, you are following this? And that creates the problem. That is, wanting to be something is time and that wanting to be is the problem. Do you understand or not? Right? So I am saying, what is the root of this that creates problems, problems, problems. Not only time, but go on sirs investigate with me.
Is it thought? Or is there the centre which is always moving within its own radius - do you understand what I am saying? Won't problems exist as long as I am concerned about myself? As long as I am wanting to be good, wanting to be this, wanting to be that and so and so on, I must create problems. Which means can I live without a single image about myself? You understand? As long as I have an image to be successful, I must achieve enlightenment, I must reach god, I must be good, I must be more loving, I mustn't be greedy, I mustn't hurt, I must live peacefully, I must have a quiet mind, I must know what meditation is - you follow? Is it possible to live so freely and so on. You follow? That is, as long as there is a centre there must be problems. Now that centre is the essence of inattention. Are you getting it? Oh come on with me. When there is attention there is no centre. I wonder if you meet this - right?
Now look: when you listen, if you are listening, when you listen to what is being said and attending, not trying to understand what he says, attending, in that attention there is no you. The moment there is no attention the 'you' creeps up. And that centre creates the problems. Got it? No, sir, this is very, very serious if you go into it: to have a mind that has no problems, and therefore no experience. The moment you have an experience and you hold on to it, then it becomes memory and you want more of it. So a mind that has no problem has no experience. Oh, you don't see the beauty of it.
7th QUESTION: I derive strength from concentrating on a symbol. I belong to a group that encourages this. Is this an illusion?
May I respectfully point out: don't belong to anything - right? But you can't help it, you do.
Sir, see the reason of this: we cannot stand alone, we want support, we want the strength of others, we want to be identified with a group, with an organization. The Foundation is not such an organization, it merely exists to publish books and so on, you can't belong to it because you can't publish books, you can't run schools. But the idea that we must be part of something or other - right? And belonging to something gives one strength - right? I am an Englishman - there is a flare up - or a Frenchman. Once I was talking in India and I said, "I am not a Hindu", and a man came up to me afterwards and said, "You mean you are not a Hindu? You must feel terribly lonely" (Laughter).
Now the questioner asks: he derives strength from concentrating on a symbol. We have all had symbols. The Christian world is filled with symbols - right? The whole Christian world of religious movement is symbols; symbols, images, concepts, beliefs, ideals, dogmas, rituals - the same in India, only they don't call themselves Christians but it is exactly the same thing, or in the Far East, and so on. Now when one belongs to a large group which adores the same symbol, you derive enormous strength out of it, it is natural - or rather unnatural. It keeps you excited, it creates a feeling that at last you are understanding something beyond the symbol and so on.
First, you invent the symbol - see how our mind works - first we invent the symbol, the image in the church or in the temple, or the letters in the mosque - they are beautiful letters if you have been in a mosque - and we create those and after creating those we worship those, and in worshipping that which we have created out of our thought, we derive strength. See what is happening - you follow? Now the symbol is not the actual - right? The actual may never exist, but the symbol satisfies and the symbol gives us vitality, energy, by looking, thinking, observing, being with it. Surely that which has been created by thought, psychologically, must be illusion - no? You create me, I hope you won't, you create me into your guru. I refuse to be a guru, it is too absurd because I see how the followers destroy the guru and the guru destroys the followers. You understand this? I see that. To me the whole thing is an abomination - I am sorry to use strong language. But you create an image about me, about the speaker, and the whole business begins.
So first, if I may point out, thought is the mischief maker in this. All the things in the churches, in the temples, in the mosques, are not truth, are not actual. They have been invented by the priests, by thought, by us out of our fear, out of our anxiety, uncertainty of the future - you follow - all that. We have created a symbol and we are caught in that. So first to realize that thought will always create the things which give it satisfaction, psychologically. Pleasure - you follow? - gives it comfort, therefore the reassuring image is a great comfort. It may be a total illusion - and it is - but it gives me comfort therefore I will never look beyond the illusion. Right?
I have talked an hour and twenty five minutes. We will continue with the rest of the questions on Thursday. Is that all right?
Brockwood Park 1980
Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 2nd September 1980
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