Ojai 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 7th May 1981
It is such a lovely morning it seems rather a pity to sit here and hear each other groan!
There are several questions that have been put and I don't think it is possible to answer all of them; it would take probably a couple of months, and I am sure you wouldn't like to be sitting here for the next two months. Out of those questions we have chosen some, not according to our pleasure, or a question that is convenient for us, and easily answerable, but rather questions that cover a greater field.
Are the answers to the question different from the question itself? Or the question contains the answer? The answer is not separate from the question. Most of us put a question either to ourselves or to somebody trying to find an answer: a problem and a solution of that problem. We never seem to investigate the problem itself but rather be concerned with the solution of the problem, the resolution of that problem. So our approach to a problem is searching out for an answer, convenient, suitable, agreeable, necessary and so on. But one feels, if I may point out, that in the question itself is the answer. So it is important, it seems to me, how we approach the question, any question, any problem, whether it is a personal problem, a problem of relationship, a universal, global problem, how do we come to it, how do we receive it, how do we look at it. I think in that lies the solution of a problem, not seeking an answer to the problem, but the understanding of the content of the problem itself.
I hope we are together thinking about this. We are sharing together the question, not the speaker is answering the question but rather together we are looking at the question, investigating the question, and out of that perception, sympathetic awareness, sensitive awareness of the question, the answers itself is in it.
1st QUESTION: I realize I act neurotically and I have had psychotherapy, but the neurosis is still basically there, what can I do?
I wonder how many of us are sane, rational, clear headed, objective, not always moving in our own self-centred interest. How many of us are free to look at ourselves. If I am neurotic, that is, odd behaviour, violent, which is neuroticism, always depending on my lawyers, insurance, doctors, government, always relying on others, which are all parts of that neurotic sense of incompleteness - would we admit to that even, would we be aware of ourselves how extraordinarily we are dependent on everybody? And we are not talking of the dependence on a postman, on the man who helps with the petrol - gas - or the policeman and so on, but this feeling that one must depend, one must have identity, independence, the search for identity, which is fulfilment, to have roots in something or other. I wonder - one wonders how deeply we are aware of all this. All that is part of neurosis, part of our peculiar abnormal behaviour, which has become very normal.
Could we look at ourselves as if in a mirror, which doesn't distort, which shows exactly what you are looking at. Could we do that? Not depend on psychotherapy, or any other form of system, belief, or escape, but actually look at ourselves, not withdraw ourselves in order to look, but look at ourselves in our relationship, in our behaviour, the way we speak, the way we walk, the way we look at the beauty of a hill. Is that at all possible, never distorting what we see?
Isn't it far more important to observe 'what is', rather than 'what should be'? We are all so idealistically inclined that we never see actually what is going on, our eyes are towards the horizon but never very close. And why has the whole world become like this? Please ask these questions. Why do we go to somebody if we are in trouble? Why can't we face that trouble, look at it, not analytically, not find the cause of it. That appears to be a waste of time. But just to look at it. And in that perception the cause, the consequences, the whole movement is revealed. Please do this as we are talking together.
And if one is neurotic - I don't know in what sense one uses the word, perhaps the whole world is neurotic, because they are all preparing for war, conflict, tremendous ambition, competition, trying to deceive somebody, corrupt. The whole world has become like this. Corruption, it seems to me, is not only in the high places, but in the ordinarily daily corruption seems to have become the norm of life. And perhaps that may be the source of this neuroticism. And what can one do, what can I do if I perceive for myself actually that I am neurotic. Not somebody tells me that I am neurotic, but if I find my behaviour is peculiar, utterly self-centred, utterly selfish, but I am very emotional, there is no balance, I perceive all that helping to bring about a quality of mind which is contradictory, which is in conflict, which is never straight. What shall I do? That is what the questioner asked.
Certainly if I had that kind of problem, that kind of neurosis, I would certainly not go to an analyst, psychotherapy, because the analyst needs also to be analyzed. So what shall I do? That is the question put before all of us.
What is the crisis that makes me aware that I am neurotic? Something must make me aware of it. Either somebody tells me, my wife, my husband, my friend, or I observe what I am doing. I observe whether it is natural - again that word is very difficult, a complex word 'natural' - whether I am a little bit odd in the head. The modern world with all its problems is making people very strange, superficial, wanting to be entertained endlessly. Can I acknowledge my neuroticism and observe it, not try to change it, not try to say, 'I must become sane, I must become normal, I must be something else', but to observe it as it is, which means giving attention. But a neurotic person may not be able to give attention. I may not be capable of giving my whole mind, my whole heart, to look at myself, because one of my neurotic behaviours is that I can't look at myself, I don't like what I see, I get depressed at what I see, or terribly elated. But without elation, and without depression, without any kind of distortion, can I, as a neurotic person, look at myself? Because I am neurotic I can't look at myself so clearly, so I depend on somebody to tell me what to do. You see the problem? I am incapable of looking at myself rationally, sanely, intelligently, with sensitive awareness, and so I have to go to somebody to tell me what to do. I think asking another to tell me what to do is the essence of neuroticism. I know you will probably disagree, but specially in this country - and it is spreading all over the world - we are looking to specialists, to the authority, to tell us what to do.
So I remain neurotic when I am always depending on somebody. So can I look at myself, though I am neurotic, watch myself, watch everything alertly, not in a self-centred way which is full of neuroticism, but just watch. Watch what I am saying. This demands quite a different kind of education. The education that encourages self-education. Right? Am I making myself clear? Are we together sharing all this? Self-education, not the education according to somebody, but observing all the things I am doing, thinking, feeling, and knowing their limitation, and find out whether the mind can ever be free from its limitation.
2nd QUESTION: Why is human behaviour in this country degenerating so rapidly, and what can one do to change it? What can this country give to the rest of the world?
What has this country given to the rest of the world now? The atom bomb, food, Americans are terribly generous, all the materials of war, medicine, hygiene, and the extraordinary accumulation of knowledge about the cosmos, the expanding and contracting universe, how to have refrigerators, television. This is what it has given so far to the world, the 'know-how'. But the world is learning the 'know-how' also, perhaps even better than they are learning here, like Japan. So what are we giving to the world? Actually, apart from all this: we are giving grain, a sense of continuous constant demand for entertainment, football, the whole process of what one sees on the television, day after day. We are spreading a thin layer of knowledge and entertainment. How to destroy each other. Also America is giving grain and all the good things they have done.
So what is culture? Is this part of culture only the American gives? And all the evangelists, you have heard them, I am quite sure, I listen to them, the speaker listens to them quite often, the utter nonsense that goes on, thousands and thousands listen, giving money, money. And the gurus come over to this country from India with all kinds of ridiculous nonsense, and Americans being rather gullible, if I may point out, accept all that, play with it for a while and drop it. And the gurus get rich and powerful. So what actually, apart from all this, what is it that America can give?
It is a beautiful country, really one of the most beautiful countries in the world. You have hills, mountains, rivers, vast land, deserts, and extraordinary capacity. Religion, not according to the old tradition, which is not religion at all, vast meaningless repetition, religion is the only source from which a new culture can be born. The question then arises: can America - I don't know why you say America - can the world, because America is part of the world - can the world bring about a new religion, totally different from all the superstition, belief, tradition, hierarchical acceptance, saviours, the old beliefs and faiths, brushing all that aside, which is actually not religion at all, can the world bring about a new religion? Not merely America or Europe or India, but the whole world. Because from that alone can a new culture come.
Then the question of what America can give to the world has very little meaning. The world demands a new religion - that word again has been spoilt by the priests. A religion that is not faith, or belief, of authority, but a religion of that which is the utmost sacred. In this country there is no such thing, or the respect of sacredness. You will spit on it. So to find out that which is sacred, nameless, eternal, the truth that has no path to it, to find that out as a group of people, which means to live a life of great integrity, without any corruption, without being self-centred. Perhaps out of that a religious mind, a new culture can come about. And that is part of our crisis.
3rd QUESTION: You have said that when one is attached there is no love. I understand this, but there are moment of love in which there is no separation, no desire, no thought, and yet these moments often come in connection with a person to whom one is attached. Attachment seems to create a form, a boundary within which there are moments of love. Though attachment is not love, in some mysterious way the two are linked. They seem self-contradictory. Please go into this apparent paradox.
What do you say? You have listened to that question, paid attention to it, what is our response to that? What is attachment? There are various forms of attachment, not only to a person, but to a belief, to this thing called faith, to a piece of furniture, to a small ground, with a property, your house on it, what is the cause of this holding on? Holding on to one's ideas, ideals, conclusions, opinions, prejudices; holding on to some hope, the future, or to some remembrance of things past, clinging to them desperately; what is the cause of this? Without analysis, just to find the reason of this. You understand what I mean?
That is, our brains are trained to analyze. There is a problem, let's analyze it and find a solution. Analysis takes time, but who is the analyzer who is going to analyze? The analyzer is the analyzed - I won't go into that, perhaps you will see that as we go along.
So why is the human mind attached to something or other? To one's body, or to some experience that you have had, and that kind of holds you, encourages you, guides you, and you depend more and more on something that has happened, gone, dead. Or to some future concept, which gives us so much hope. Why this clinging, this desperate hanging on to something? Please ask yourself. You are not listening to the speaker, that's not important. What is important is through the speaker to watch yourself, to see yourself, if you are attached to something, and is it out of loneliness, which is so deep in most human beings, almost in all human beings, this sense of total isolation. Or is it that clinging, holding on, being attached to something, gives one a great sense of security? When you say, I am an American, British, Indian, you have your roots in that. Roots in an idea, in a concept. America is a concept. And in that attachment there is a tremendous feeing of belonging, and that gives one not only financial security but psychological security. If I am in Italy where Catholicism is very strong and if I say, it is all rubbish, I find myself in a difficult position, I wouldn't get a job, I would be excommunicated, you know all that nonsense that goes on. So is it out of loneliness we are attached, out of demanding, searching, longing for security? Being uncertain, confused, if I cling to something that gives one a feeling of clarity. Don't you know all that?
And if I love my wife or friend or whatever, a girl, or a boy, I am attached, immediately the whole process of remembrances, incidents, words that have been said between us, all that is stored up and one is attached to that, not only physically but psychologically, inwardly, to the memory of sex, pleasure, entertainment, companionship, somebody on whom you can lean, talk to, all that goes on and on and on. Is that why we are attached? And in this attachment to a person, to a belief, to a concept, to a country, you bring conflict inevitably. If I am saying persistently that I am an America, that I am a Hindu, that I am a Muslim, you worship this symbol and I worship another symbol, we are perpetually in conflict. And if I am attached to a person, I want to possess them, hold it. Don't you know all this? And out of that comes jealousy, anxiety, fear. And in that there is tenderness, love - I don't know if there is love - we will call it for the moment love, a sense of being together. And in that too there is conflict because one goes off to the office - all that goes on, one hasn't to go into all that, it's obvious.
So this questioner asks, sometimes in this attachment there is love, in this attachment not only to a person - the questioner is probably concerned with a person - there is a sense of form, boundary in which there are moments of love. So one must be very clear what that word means, the content of that word, the feeling behind that word, which is a very strong feeling. You are attached to your house, you have built the garden, you have worked, kept it clean, and worked and it gives you a sense of ownership, feeling that you are there. And if you have lived with a woman or a man, as a wife, or a husband, this whole process of being together, the quarrels, the irritations, you know, the conflicts, in spite of that, if that is not broken, you are holding on to each other.
So one has to understand very clearly what it means to be attached, the feeling of being attached. And when one is attached see what happens. Attachment breeds corruption. You may not accept it, don't be shocked by that word, just look at it. If I am attached to my job, to my ideal, to my concept of what truth is, god is, or whatever it is, attached to it, part of my belief, my blood, my conditioning, if I am so attached corruption is inevitable because I am against everybody else who doesn't belong to that group, sect. I may have tolerance - that is one of our clever tricks. But there is no actual relationship between one who is Catholic, who is a Muslim, a Hindu, or a Buddhist. They may talk about god is love but there is actually no relationship at all. In attachment there is fear of loss.
So I don't quite see where the paradox lies. I may be wrong, the speaker may be wrong, subject to correction. Where there is love there is no attachment. Love is not jealousy, anxiety, fear; love is that quality, the beauty of it, the fullness of it, the enormous vitality, passion behind it, not lust, passion. And one can be together, man, woman, in freedom - not the freedom to do what you like, that is not freedom. This is what is happening in this country: I have been married, I get fed up with my wife and I change her and get a divorce. You know what is happening. So if one has love, which is really an enormous secret gift, not to be cultivated but to see what is not. You understand? Through negation come to the positive. That which is not, to deny not merely verbally but inwardly, actually to deny that which is not, that which is false, and to see actually the false, the illusion, the acceptance. So through negation naturally one comes to the positive. That is, to begin with uncertainty and then you come to absolute certainty. But we generally want to be certain, be assured, secure. Haven't you noticed some of the great writers, literary people, people who are so-called famous in the world, begin with denying everything, and then ultimately end up as a Catholic, Buddhist, or some kind of sectarian person, because they are frightened of death. You know this.
So the question is: not that there are not moments of love, whatever that word may mean, for the moment, but to see all the implications of attachment, the totality of it, not to persons only but to be attached to anything - to your face, to your body, to your beliefs, to your experience, to your - you follow - that is freedom. And when there is that freedom there is love. When there is love you can do what you will.
4th QUESTION: One cannot live outside of relationship, and yet in all forms of it there is conflict. Why is this so?
Oh lord! I am not appealing to the lord, you understand! Why have we made life into a problem, the living? We are supposed to be highly sophisticated, have evolved through measureless time, have had so many wars, five thousand wars practically in five thousand years, we are educated, we are supposed to be highly developed human beings. And yet this problem hasn't been solved at all, why human beings live perpetually in conflict. Not only in personal relationship but conflict with nature, with animals, everything has become a conflict, a problem, why?
Please let's enquire together, I am not enquiring and you are listening, together we are enquiring. Why as a human being, why are you in conflict? Conflict being contradiction, imitation, conformity, the desire to become something all the time. This tremendous dissatisfaction, the search for the more, more and more and more. Why? Please enquire, sirs. And so the monks all over the world have said, 'The world is a tragedy, is a mess, is a misery, we are going to withdraw from it, and isolate ourselves in the worship of some image, some symbol and so on'. There too they have conflict. They deny sex, take vows of chastity and burn for the rest of their life with desire. And you go to the moon and stick up a piece of flag, paper, cloth. This is what is happening all over the world. Why? Why is man, you, as a human being - please, you as a human being who are the rest of the world, you are not separate from other human beings because you suffer, are anxious, uncertain, confused, frightened, with occasional beauty and so on, every human being goes through this, so you are the rest of mankind, psychologically. You may have blond hair, white skin, pale skin, dark, black and so on. So you are actually the rest of mankind. So if you ask this question you are not asking it as a selfish question, as a self-centred question wanting to be free of a particular conflict, but you are asking this question as a human being who is the rest of mankind. So this conflict is global, not my conflict. Let's be clear on this point. We are so identified with ourselves, separate from everything else, which is part of our neurosis, part of our illusion, but the actual psychological fact is that we are the rest of mankind. Because mankind goes through every kind of torture, travail, deception, dishonesty, tears, laughter, the rest of the world is going through that and you are part of all that. You are the rest of humanity; you are humanity, not Mr Smith separate in a little corner.
And when you are asking this question, why human beings are in conflict, you are asking a tremendous question. Not why I am in conflict, you are asking why human beings who have lived over five, ten - I don't know - million years and one or two human beings have solved it, the rest of mankind is caught in this travail.
And it is important to understand this, and to ask also whether it is at all possible to be utterly, totally, absolutely free of conflict. Not occasionally, not when you are looking at the mountain, and the beauty of the hills, the shadows and the heavens, but in daily life, why.
Where there is contradiction there must be conflict. Where there is division there must be conflict. Physical division as one nation opposed to another nation, one set of dogmas against another set of dogmas, one superstition opposed to another superstition, one conclusion opposed to another conclusion, one experience greater than the other experience - this constant division, contradiction, opposition, must invariably create conflict. That's a law. Not my law, it is the law. And we all know this. In the United Nations, you see what is happening in Russia, and Afghanistan, all the horrors that are going on, one ideology opposed to other ideologies. And we have never solved this problem. Is it that we like to live in conflict? You say, well nature is in conflict. That is one of our favourite excuses. You see the bigger animal kill the smaller animal, you see one plant searching for light and the bigger tree shadowing it, there is constant struggle in nature - which the speaker questions. We call it conflict, with our own minds which are full of conflict, misery, we say that nature is in conflict. But nature is not in conflict if you let it alone. You know all that.
I have to stop now - just a minute - because they are changing the tape, we will go on after. Right? I am sorry to keep you waiting.
We are asking why human beings who have lived for millions and millions of years have tolerated, put up with, conflict. Is it habit? We have got used to this conflict, wars, the chicanery that is going on among the governments. Is it that we are so dull that we never challenge ourselves? And if you are in conflict we invent a thousand escapes from conflict, we have a marvellous network of escapes, from god to football - both are the same when you are escaping, one is not more noble than the other.
And can we find out now, this morning, talking as two friends, friends who are concerned with this issue, resolve it, which means not take time? See our conflict. That is, we are each one of us so self-centred, each one of us is so concerned about himself: his happiness, his fulfilment, his sorrow, his escape, his belief, all this he is clinging to. That is, where there is attachment there must be conflict. It's a fact. If I am attached to my Hinduism, or whatever it is, I am frightened to let go because I don't know what will happen, I want to be certain. And also being uncertain, being self-centred, I want to become something: become nobler, be successful in this world, more money, more pleasure, more insurance, go from one concept of god, a saviour, to another. And being self-centred, and my wife is also self-centred, naturally there must be conflict. This is inevitable. Right? I am seeking my fulfilment through sex, through so many things, and she is also doing the same. So they are two separate entities - at least they think they are separate - with their tremendous urges, reactions, prejudices, brutalities, ambition, be something at any price. How can these two opposing contradictory human beings be free from this toil, from this conflict? They can never be. Never, either in heaven or in other places. How can they? You understand? This is so obvious. But the obvious we generally deny because it is simple, we want something complex, something we can study, analyze, discuss, play around. We can never see something obvious, simple, and say, 'Look, let's deal with it. Let's find out if one can be really, deeply not self-centred.' All our education, all our religious aspirations, all that encourages this self-centredness. You are going to be saved - you know the whole monstrous religious attitude, organized religious attitude, encourages this. The Indians have it in their particular way, and the Christians and the Buddhists, you know the whole world.
So the fact is: where there is division there must be conflict. If one sees the truth of it, the actuality of it, that is, I want to fulfil my desire, and she does too, so my desire is opposed to her desire. We don't tackle desire. You understand what I am saying. We try to fulfil my desire as opposed to her desire. Whereas the understanding of desire is important, not my fulfilment of my desire. You understand? Have we communicated with to each other? We are concerned with desire, not my desire. Is this all right. So this identity with my particular experience, my particular desire, my particular fear, fear of my particular death, so this identity is with an idea - you understand - or identity with some actual fact, like I have pain, I have a toothache. All right, I have a toothache, get on with it. But not everlasting concern about oneself.
You see the truth of this, that where there is separation there must be conflict - Arab and Jew, what is happening. The earth is ours to live upon, to share, it is our earth, not the Arab world and, you know, for god's sake. And apparently we don't see that. So can we perceive the truth of it, truth, the actual fact, not the theory that separations will bring conflict, the actual feeling, the truth of it. Can you feel it, see it? Not the intellectual concept of seeing, the intellectual comprehension that division must inevitably create conflict, but the actual fact of it?
If a group of people see it, they are still part of humanity, I mean it is like a tremendous movement in a totally different direction. But apparently we cannot do this. And out of this comes misery, conflict, confusion, problems, endlessly.
You know the speaker has been saying for the last sixty years that truth is a pathless land, which is a fact. There is no path to it, no saviour to it, no leader, no system, nothing but the understanding of the fact that truth has no path. If you see that, and if you see also very clearly for yourself that any form of division must inevitably create conflict, from this questions arises, we live in a society whose laws, governments, religions are all struggling against each other in the world, wanting to be more powerful than anybody else. This is our cycle, this is our culture, and this culture has been like this for a million years. In ancient Egypt, five thousand years they were trying to be supreme over everybody else, and we are carrying that same pattern through life.
So what shall we do? What will you, as a human being, who is actually the rest of mankind, what will you do? You hear something true, which is a fact, a physical fact, the Arab and the Jew, you opposed to somebody else, you with your belief, with your experience, with your knowledge, opposed to somebody else with their knowledge, you follow - conflict. What will you do? If one sees, or when you see the truth that division in any form is destructive, and the world is caught in this destructiveness, what's your relationship with the world? And somebody comes along, takes your property, or this or that, and so creates conflict, what is your action? Do you understand all this? Are we together in understanding verbally even what we are talking about?
So can you, when you leave this grove be free of conflict? And it is only a person that is free from conflict that can meet conflict. Not the person who is in conflict, he merely perpetuates more conflict, but a human being who is free from conflict he can meet it, deal with it, in any way because he himself is free from this torture.
5th QUESTION: You have said that when one gives complete attention to a problem then the problem flowers and withers away. Can you explain this further?
You aren't tired? You are quite sure? This is not an entertainment. You don't get tired with entertainments. Sorry!
Now there is this problem of conflict, can you watch your conflict and give it complete attention? Please just listen to it for a few minutes. Listen. You have a problem, which is conflict. Can you look at it, not only listen to the problem, the tones, the content, the subtleties of the problem, can you look at it without trying to resolve it, without trying to give it any direction, without any motive? When you have a motive it gives it a direction and therefore you are distorting the problem. So can you sensitively be aware of conflict? Not act upon it because you are part of that conflict. You are conflict. So if you act upon it you further create more conflict. So look at that conflict - the little one and the whole human conflict, the personal and the global, look at it. Listen to its story, don't you tell what the story is, let it tell you the story. Like a child who is sitting on your lap whom you love, is telling you a story. You don't interrupt the child. You are not rude to it, you want him to tell you all about it. In the same way let this conflict tell you all about it, only you have to have ears to listen to it, not only with hearing of the ear but also hear inwardly the nature of it. Can you so listen to it, giving your whole attention to it, without any effort? When you are with a child who is telling you a story, you are not making an effort and saying, 'I must control myself, I must be more patient'. You are listening because you love that child. In the same way listen, and then you will see the problem flowers, grows, shows its whole content. And when it has shown all its content it passes away, it is finished. You understand? That is, the flowering and the withering of a problem, which doesn't take time. It is only the impatient mind that has time, that says, I must solve this. But a mind that is listening very carefully, sensitively, alert to all its tiny movements, and its very, very subtle movements, when you listen to it, when you give your complete attention to it, and you cannot give complete attention if you have a motive, if you hae a direction, if you say, I must do this - then nothing will happen. But if you give your total attention the problem shows itself fully and so dissolves, like a flower, in the morning the bud is there, in the evening it is withered.
I think that is enough for this morning, isn't it? Is it enough?
Ojai 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 7th May 1981
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