Saanen 3rd Public Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1982
This is the last Question and Answer Meeting. A lot of questions have been asked, written down, and it's impossible to answer all of them. If we were to answer all of them, probably we'd be sitting to the end of next month. And I'm sure you wouldn't like that.
I wonder why we ask questions. Why is it that we cannot find the answers in ourselves? Why do we depend on others, whether it be a psychologist, a person who is called a guru, a teacher, or on the speaker? Why? Is it that all of us are so accustomed to be guided, we seek help from others, we want guidelines, we want to be told what to do, we want to be helped? The world as it is now growing more and more confused, more and more horrible, and we want somebody to tell us or help us to understand ourselves and the world.
And we're asking, is there any help at all from another. Then you might ask, why do we sit here and listen to you. If there is no help from another, why do we gather at all? As far as one understands, we gather, not to be helped in the ordinary sense of that word, nor depend or look to the speaker. We gather together, not in any spirit of authority, or seeking some kind of solution to our problems, but rather meeting together to converse, to go into matters that are essential in our lives. It's a conversation between two people, between two friends.
And in that conversation, each one is beginning to see clearly his own problems, each one is observing during this conversation, this investigation together, one is beginning to see clearly for oneself, what we are, what has happened to us, what are the causes that have brought us to this present condition. And in investigating together we find, not only the answer, which is not very important, but the unravelling of this whole life, the opening up, if one may use that word, into the very complex problem of humanity. If we look at it very carefully, it begins to flower, it begins to expand, it begins to explode. Whatever then is perceived, understood and lived, that brings about one's own intelligence. But to depend on others, which has become, not only the fashion but also that has been the state of man for many centuries, the priest, the soothsayer, the clairvoyant, the guru, the psychologist, you follow - the whole world which says, we'll help you.
Those who help us are like ourselves: confused, rather unhappy, they are like you and me. And when we do not depend on anybody, literally inwardly not depend on a soul, that means, to be a light to oneself. One may make a mistake, we often do, do the things that are not correct, regrets. And if we do not carry over day after day, those regrets, those incidents that have not been correct, precise, those activities that have brought about confusion, if we see them clearly, and end them immediately, then you need to ask help of nobody. Right? Do we do this? Or just carry on: I'm confused, I'm unhappy, I've followed this and I've followed that, listened to that person or to that individual, and at the end of it all I'm still lost, I'm still confused, unhappy. If we once see the truth that following anybody is most destructive because it denies freedom. And if there is no freedom there is no love.
So in answering these questions, we are together going into these matters, not that the speaker is helping you, the speaker is not guiding you - for God's sake, everyone must realize this, not verbally or casually but very, very seriously, psychologically not to depend on anybody. We do depend outwardly, the surgeon, the doctor and so on, in the technological world, one must naturally follow somebody. But even there, if you are merely copying, imitating, conforming, then you become another machine. Whereas if we could really put away from our hearts and minds the reality of the truth that there is no help from outside.
Don't be unhappy about it. One sees one's own conditioning then, one's own trivial, very narrow desire for help. One of the factors which we'll go into is, the world outside and the world within, are they two different states, or like a tide that goes in and out, the world is out there and we are here, there is an interrelationship between the two, there is constantly flowing back and forth, there is not this clear, definite division between the outer and the inner, it's a movement. That is, the outer, we have created the outer, the misery, the wars, the destruction, the brutality, the hatreds and antagonisms, we have created it, that is the society in which we live. And that society begins to shape us, tell us what to do. We are caught in this, so there is no division but it's an interrelationship. Right? Is this very clear, that there is no division, that is, like a tide, with tremendous rapidity, that flows in and goes out.
From that question arises, these questions, it's not put here, a very fundamental question. This movement from the outer to the inner, and the inner to the outer, inner being psychological movement, which effects the outer, and the outer effects the psychological state, as long as this movement exists, we'll be caught in this cycle of misery. Right? The cycle of confusion, because the outside is pushing us, a great deal of pressure upon us, and we respond to it. You're following? So we're asking a very serious question, which is, can this movement of the inner to the outer, and the outer to the psychological state end? Or must this everlastingly go on? You understand my question? Please, think, look at it. Consider it as two friends talking over together.
Then what is the state of mind, the brain that is not caught in this movement? Is that at all possible? Is it at all possible not to respond hatred by hatred, which is what's happening inwardly? Can you see, having created confusion, seeking clarity, and that clarity is partial, and then caught again by the outer world and so on. Back and forth. This is clear. This is what we are doing, this is what is actually taking place in all of us, responding to the outer, which we have created, and then the outer is challenging us, and we respond to it. Right? See this tremendous mechanical process of our life.
And is there a cessation of this movement, is there a freedom at all from this movement? Then if there is, what is the quality of the brain which is not caught in this repetitive reaction? You're following? We have to find out. It's no good the speaker telling you what it is, we have to work, find out, work at it. Then if one understands this process, this way of living, and if you enquire very, very deeply, then there is a freedom in which there is this quality of affection, love and so on. As long as this reaction goes on between the outer and the inner, there cannot be love. Right? Go into it. If I depend on you, as my guru, and you naturally depend on me, because you can't be a guru without me, so you tell me and I respond to you, which is out, you follow? - the same phenomena going on. How can there be this sense of great love which is intelligence, when I depend on you, and you depend on me? You understand?
So if that is clear, what is the state of the brain that is no longer demanding experience? The reaction to the outer, and the outer challenge to oneself is a constant movement in time and experience. Right? And we depend on experience, to awaken us - experience is a challenge. Right? And can the brain be free of all experience and therefore all challenge, so that it is all the time awake? You understand? So that it is totally a light to itself, without any challenge. Right? Is this clear? You have to work, you have to go into it yourself, if you're interested.
That is, is there a quality of the brain which is not a slave to time, slave to the process of evolution, which is time, the gradual approach? And can the brain be so extraordinarily alive, not caught in various forms of memories, so that it is wholly awake? This is a very serious question which you have to think over, go into.
1st QUESTION: In the seeing and listening of which you speak..
You see, of which I speak, it is not 'we' speak. Therefore the speaker is becoming gradually the authority, which is an abomination, because you have leaders of every kind, political, religious, psychological and so on, and we are where we are at the end of all this millenia. So please, it's not what the speaker is saying, the speaker is only putting into words our problems. He is the mirror into which you yourself are observing, he, you are the mirror, and he's merely putting into words clearly, that's all. If he is the mirror, destroy it. Break it to pieces, because the mind must be free so it begins to live anew, afresh, and not always, depend, depend, like a child. We're all grown-up people.
2nd QUESTION: Is the seeing and listening - I'm cutting out, 'of which you speak' - the same seeing and listening we all know? Or does it imply the awakening of a new perception? And how can we be sure that thought has not crept in more subtly?
Now let's look at it, not K. says it therefore you must listen to it. Let's look at it. Do we ever listen? Or listen very partially? When do we listen completely to anything? Have you asked, do I ever listen completely to, say for instance, Beethoven? Absorb what he's saying, the beauty of it, the vitality of it, the enormity of that music, the strength of it. Or our reactions to that music come immediately? You understand? I listen to Beethoven's Leonara and he is telling me about the prison, I used to know the story, I won't go into it. And I'm emotionally disturbed, and I enjoy this emotion, feel I'm really appreciating that music. Whereas if there is no response emotionally, I am actually absorbing all that he wants to tell me. Right?
So do we ever listen that way, not only to music, to my wife, to your friend, do we ever listen so completely, to catch the intonation, to feel the subtlety of what she wants to tell? Or you say, "Well, the old girl I know, she's been telling me this for 20 years." You understand? To listen so as to catch the subtlety of the voice, the intonation, the feeling behind the word, which means you must actually give attention to what is happening.
When you give such attention - please will you go with me a little bit? - when you give such attention, there is no recording. Right? You see, it's only when we are not completely attending that there is recording, recording an insult, or her encouragement, or all the rest of it. The brain is recording - this is an important question, I'll go into it, it's rather fun. The brain is recording, that's its function, to survive. Right? The language, the skill, the understanding of the environment, seeking security, it has to record. If you want to drive a car, you have to learn, which is recording. And when one's friend or wife says this or that, it's being recorded. And the record is the image, is the noise. And that recording, which is the noise of the tape, prevents my understanding or listening to the person. I don't know whether you follow all this. So one asks - it is necessary to record to live outwardly - is it necessary to record anything psychologically? You understand my question? She says some word that hurts me. Need that word be recorded and the feeling behind that word? If it is, there is a division, there is conflict and all the rest of the ugliness follows. You understand this question - it requires a very clear perception of what is actually going on. I listen to my wife or girl-friend or whatever it is, or to a friend, I listen and find out if that listening is so clear, precise and wholly attentive, and in that attention is there a recording? You understand?
So what do we mean by attention? Are we working together or am I just talking? You don't catch onto this quickly. Attention means, doesn't it, to give, to focus all your energy without limitation. Right? Whereas concentration is the limitation of energy on a certain point. Clear? I concentrate on a book, which is to focus my attention on a certain phrase, on a page, and not let other thoughts pour in. There is a resistance in concentration. Right? Whereas when you give complete attention, there is no resistance. Right? Where there is resistance there is a barrier. So when another person insults or flatters - much more difficult to be flattered - to listen to both with such attention there is no building up, piling up of resentment or acceptance. Right?
Are we doing this now, otherwise it's no fun. So the questioner asks: is it possible to listen so clearly without the interference of thought? Which is, thought being the past memories about one's friend, wife and so on, to listen without that past with its thoughts so that there is no recording whatever, psychologically to whatever ugly things one says about each other. Right?
Now, the questioner asks: is there in that attention a new perception? I'm putting it for the questioner. I attend to what you're saying, without any interpretation, without any reaction, without any resistance. I listen to what you're saying. Such a listening is obviously something totally new, something that's not limited. So there is a perception which is not the activity of thought, but it is perception of total observation, attention, and let the thing that is observed fly, move.
We are always telling stories about what should be done. Right? That's our lot, we never listen to the story, the story being the history of mankind. All the history books in the world are the story of mankind. Mankind is me, it is telling me, the books, about myself. That's the story of myself. Now can I listen to the story without your help? You understand? Without your saying, read it this way, look at it carefully, guide me. Then I become your slave. Whereas I am reading this whole history of mankind, that mankind is me, I am mankind. So can I look at that story, listen to it without a single motive, without a single saying, this is correct, this is wrong, this is right, which is, I'm not listening to the story but I'm telling what the story should be? Right? So when you are so attentive, listen, then there is a totally new perception.
3rd QUESTION: You speak about bringing about a new generation - I speak about it! It is necessary to bring about a new generation, not 'you speak about it'. It is said, that it is necessary to bring about a new generation, will this happen by individuals transforming themselves, which seems almost impossible, or can the change of only a few affect the total human consciousness. Right? You've understood the question?
If the questioner, in our conversation one of you bring up this point, a new generation is necessary, obviously, depending on education and so on. And it seems almost impossible to rely on every human being changing, to bring about a new society, new culture, new this. And as that seems almost impossible, will the transformation of a few people, that's you and I, few people - not the elite - I don't know why you are afraid of using that word 'elite' - the few are the elite, always - will those few affect the whole consciousness of mankind? Right?
I believe the scientists, the biologists and so on, are investigating the problem of one group of animals, if there is a change in one, in that group of one rat, or one wolf, it affects the whole group consciousness. Right? They are experimenting with that. We were talking about it the other day to certain scientists. That is, a group of certain species, like the wolf, like various other animal groups, if in that group one has certain experience, it affects the whole of the others. I don't know if you have not watched the Japanese monkeys. One monkey by chance washed a potato or whatever it was he was going to eat, and it affected then the whole, other groups are doing the same. It's very important to understand this. If you as a human being who are the representative of the whole of humanity - right? - because your consciousness is the consciousness of every human being with their struggles, pain and anxiety, loneliness, unhappiness, suffering. That's your consciousness, it's not yours, it's the human consciousness. That is, you as a human being are the representative of all humanity,. which is marvellous truth.
Now, if you are really transformed, naturally you'll affect the whole of human consciousness. All the great killers of the world, so-called warriors - like - I don't have to explain all this. The war leaders, who tried to conquer the world, from Genghis Khan to present day, they have affected the consciousness of man. Right? Obviously. You and I have not fought a war, but war has been in the consciousness of mankind, killing, killing, not only the whales and the baby seals, but killing each other. That is part of our consciousness. Now if you see that killing is an abomination, I mean it's something unholy, and you then take part in killing. Don't say, do I not kill a cauliflower when I eat? - we're not talking about cauliflower or tomatoes - we are talking about human beings killing each other. If when you as a human being who are the entire humanity, you change radically, change, not new hair, but change at depth, then naturally you affect the mankind.
So from that question arises, are you, as a human being, going to do it, or just carry on, day after day, day after day, the same old pattern being repeated? And say, will the wars ever end? You know, that's our problem, the wars will end if you end war. So a group of people, and I hope there is a group of people, with all one's heart, that there are such people in the world. And if they are transformed it affects the whole of the human consciousness.
4th QUESTION: I have been following a spiritual leader and it has helped me. But after listening to you I felt what you say is right and I have left the poor old guru I was following. (He doesn't say that.) (Laughter) Sorry!. (Laughter) But after listening to you I felt what you say is right and I have left the guru I was following. Now I feel lost without guidance. What do you say?
You know in the Western world faith has become very important. Right? In the Western religious structure, faith, belief have been the central factor of religion. Right? And scepticism, doubt, has been an anathema, a curse. If I doubted in Christianity, belonging to a particular sect, it would collapse. Right? Whereas in the Eastern world, doubt, question, has been one of the requirements of a disciple who is seeking truth, of any man who is seeking truth. That doubt, question, enquire, has been stressed.
Now most of us are rather gullible. Right? I set myself up, putting on a certain robe, and I say, I'll teach you, I'll help you, and you flock around me. You don't question me, you don't say, what right have you to say this, who are you to tell me? You follow? There is no enquiry, questioning, challenging. We're all so gullible. And you hear somebody come along and say, "Look, don't follow, look at yourself, learn about yourself, it's all there." You don't have to go to India or to Jamaica, or wherever it is - perhaps Barbados might be nicer, it's warmer! You go there and there is all this circus going on. And you fall into that trap. And then after spending years, you say, "My God, this may be wrong," somebody tells you it's not right and you're caught. You understand? You never begin by questioning, by doubting, doubting the authority of another. And for years you have followed what he has said, or she has said. And then you come and tell me, "Look, that's all wrong." It's all there, if you look, if you know how to read that book, which is yourself, you don't have to leave your town, go far away - it's there, it's in your heart and mind. And you say, "I can't read. Tell me how to read." Then you're had. Right?
So from the beginning, from the very beginning, psychologically, in matters of the spirit, there is no authority. And one is lost - right? - confused. Now when you're lost, look at your loss, what you have, you understand? - look at it. Don't go away saying, "I am confused, help me." But be confused, enquire into confusion. Why you are confused, because you are confused you accepted somebody outside you, who is trying to guide you. Right? But if you don't rely on anybody, then you're looking at that extraordinary rich device of oneself. Right?
So one begins to ask, what is confusion? Is confusion - please just listen - the opposite of clarity? Right? Is clarity is the opposite of confusion, then the opposite, which you call clarity, is also confused - any confusion, right? There is clarity. But we don't know how to end confusion because we don't look at it, we run away from it, we don't investigate, see why. I'm attached, I'm dependent, I'm that, I'm this, therefore that is bringing about confusion. Right?
5th QUESTION: Is there something sacred in life? Is it possible for all of us to come to that? Is this God?'
First of all, we don't know what is sacred. Right? We don't know, actually. We worship something called sacred, in a church, in a mosque, in a temple, we worship something, a symbol, calling that symbol sacred. We pray for it, we genuflect for it and so on.
What is sacred? Is thought, which has put together all this, the symbols which we worship, the figure which we worship, the various categories of saints and so on, which thought has invented. Right? The rituals, the dogmas, the beliefs, the faith. Now, to enquire if there is anything sacred, one has to enquire is thought itself which creates all this, sacred? Right? Is thought sacred? Answer it. The thought that has created wars, divided people into races, groups - right? - thought which has created this division, hoping for security, thought which has brought about the enormous destruction in the world, thought which is creating the bomb, the thought which divides you from your wife, from your friend, the thought that says, 'I am important' not you.' I must get on.' All those are the activities of thought. Right?
Are all those activities sacred? Obvious, I mean it's so obvious they are not. Right? And thought has created god. You won't accept this. Thought has given to that idea of god all kinds of attributes, omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving father, you know, all that business. If god existed, which must be without cause, then if he created us, right? - you've answered that question, he must be most extraordinary entity, to create us, to make us miserable.
So there nothing that thought has created is sacred. Right? If that is clear, it is so logical, so absolute, then, is there in our life, in living, anything sacred? Not to achieve or come near that which is sacred. Right? This is important to understand. To achieve or perceive or come near that which is sacred implies the sacred is there and I have to come to it, I have to achieve, through good behaviour, through this and through that, through sacrifice - you know, all the rest of it. You see what tricks thought plays? It has projected something out there and says that is sacred and I'll work for it. Right? So what is important is not if there is something sacred, but to see the tremendous subtlety of thought, how thought is always projecting something better, better, more noble, more and more - a form of achievement. That is, in this world I am a general manager, ultimately I become the executive. Right? This is the same mentality carried over.
So can thought realize its own limitation? Not say to thought that you are limited, which would be another thought saying - to realize the very activity of thought is limited. Then is there something sacred which is not put together by thought. You understand? Till we understand very deeply the nature of thought, which has its place - right? - I must use thought to use my English, I must use thought to go from here to over there. So to realize thought is a broken up fragment, and that fragment may conceive the eternal, that which is nameless - that is just a concept, projected by thought itself. Whereas if you go into it, very carefully, attentively, to see that thought has its place but has no other place. That is, there is no recording of psychological accumulation, the recording of accumulation, which is the me.
So, one has to enquire into this very deeply and find out for yourself. If the speaker tells you that there is something sacred, it becomes so silly. But if you yourself, as a human being, who are the rest of mankind, if you go into it, seriously, then there is that which is what is.
6th QUESTION: What preparation can I give my children for today's world, what should be the meaning and focus of education?
Sir, what are we all being educated for? Answer it - you're all very educated people, you've probably gone to colleges, universities, gathered a lot of information, knowledge, about various subjects, and you probably have specialized in a particular subject, and if as an engineer, psychologist, and so on, you earn a good living, a good bit of money. And for the rest of your life, there you are: married, children, with all the problems of children, and the wife and so on. That is what is happening in the world. Right? Those who are educated and those who are not educated. Go to India or Far East, not to Japan, there thy are very well educated, go to India, and other eastern countries, there's overpopulation, every year in India, 15 to 30 million people are added, which is the population of Holland. And poverty, the degradation of poverty. And they are not educated. Most of them will never know how to read a book. Right?
So modern education as it is now is making the human mind, brain, more and more mechanical. Right? So this is a very serious question. Is knowledge making the human brain more and more mechanical? You understand my question? I specialize in engineering. From college to university I've learnt a great deal about mathematics and so on, and I become an engineer, how to build bridges, or construction of various kinds. That's my life till I die, or retire and die. Right? Is that education? That's necessary, apparently. And psychologically, inwardly, I don't know, I'm not educated. Right? I am what I've been for a million years, slightly transformed. Right? But I am brutal, violent, cruel, wanting to hurt others, and so on.
So what do we mean by education? Answer it, sir. Is it merely to live in a world of technology, science, knowledge - you follow? And that is creating such havoc in the world. And we totally neglect the other, because the other is much more difficult, requires a great deal of enquiry, exercising your brain so that you're looking at life totally differently.
So, from all this which we can't go into in great detail, from all this, education is to bring about a good human being. Right? Good in the old sense of that word - that word is not fashionable. Good. That is, a human being who is highly intelligent in the sense we've used that word, who has the capacity to understand the technological world and live there and also the other, to feel, to have great affection, love, compassion, not belong to any sect, any group, any country. You understand?
There are no such schools in the world. Perhaps one or two exist where we are concerned, but it is very difficult to bring about such quality of mind, because the parents don't want it, the outward conditions are so appalling, so frightening, and so on. So can you, you as a human being, educate yourself, so that you have this enormous depth of love and all the rest?
The last question.
7th QUESTION: What is the future of mankind?'
It's a very good question. What is the future of you? What is you who are mankind, what is your future? As we now are living, which has been the continuity of the past - right? - continuity of wars, hatreds, divisions, the ugliness that is going on, the brutality, everything, if humanity continues that way, and it is you, continue that way, there is very little chance of survival. Right? Obviously. If every country in the world is preparing for war - right - they are - the unenlightened countries are buying armaments from the enlightened countries, those who are highly civilized like Britain, France, America and so on, they are supplying armaments right and left, to everybody, because in industry it is becoming necessary to supply arms. Right? So their economy depends on it. So the continuity of war, destruction, is guaranteed. And what is the future of all of us? Not only of us, of the coming generation, your children? It's really a very frightening world. You may talk about all the rest of the things we've talked about, gurus and followers and all that silly stuff, but this is a tremendous problem. If we go on as we are going on, we are bound to end up in a catastrophe of some kind or other.
And if you accept that, it's all right. If that's what you want, it's perfectly all right. But if you say, that's totally wrong, it's totally unholy to kill another, for whatever cause, for whatever reason, for your honour, for whatever reason, to kill another is the denial of the most holy. (Dog barks) That dog agrees! (Laughter)
So what is one to do? It is really a very serious question. What are you going to do? Because whatever we do is going to supply, help armaments. And the politicians know all this. And the politicians' function is to keep isolation going, my country first. They have no global relationship, they have no idea of that. Right? That we can only exist on this earth when we treat the earth as ours, all of ours, not British, French, German and all the rest of it.
Now, you perhaps and we realize this. Then will it affect the whole consciousness of mankind if I really, if you and I really, deeply do not belong to any group, to any nation, to any sect? Will that affect the whole of the world? Of course, if all of us in this hall, in this tent, really felt this, naturally it would affect the whole of consciousness, even of the politicians. Right?
Saanen 3rd Public Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1982
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