Saanen 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 24th July 1984
Again there have been probably a hundred and fifty questions, or more. You can't answer them all. Probably it would take a couple of months and I am sure you wouldn't like to sit here for another month.
I wonder - one wonders if there is a final question at all, one question that will answer all questions. We haven't thought about it, I have just thought about it, just now. Is there a question, or an enquiry, not an experience, because experiences are always limited, and experiences are conditioned by one's own desires, intentions and limitations. So one cannot possibly rely on experiences, they are the most doubtful things in the world, even this so-called spiritual experience. I am sure most of you want that kind of experience that will sustain one, give one energy and so on. But every experience, however deep, however wide or intricate, such experiences are limited because there is always an experiencer who is experiencing - right? And the experiencer is the past, past memories, his background, and according to that background the experiencer recognizes the experience and lives with it, hoping he will have a greater experience. But the greater experience, or the wider, deeper, is still always limited because there is the experiencer.
Now the question arises, which I am putting to you, whether there is anything to experience at all? Except biological, sexual experiences, and so on, apart from those physical reactions and so on, is there any experience at all? Why do we want experiences? Please, as we said, we are enquiring into this together, not the speaker is saying something and you either reject or accept, or pass it by. But if we could examine this very interesting question: is there, apart from the ordinary biological experiences and so on, is there any necessity of experience at all? Experiences apparently keep one awake. Experiences, or problems are something thrown at you, especially the meaning of that word 'problem' is something projected at you. That is a problem, the meaning, the root meaning of that word. And experience also means to go through, not hold on to what you have gone through.
So does the brain need problems to keep it awake, challenges, crises, shocks, does it need these things to keep it awake? Because we live such a superficial life, and we are satisfied by it, most of us at least. And by all the education and so on we become rather mechanical and lazy, indolent. And to keep us awake we feel problems, pressures and so on are needed to keep the brain alert - right? Can the brain be alert, extremely watchful, without any drugs, problems, challenges, shocks? Have we ever enquired into this at all? Or we are so eager to have something more, something better, measuring always, which makes the mind still more dull. It is a dull mind asking for more - right? We are not being cynical please, but if we could enquire into something and find out whether the brain, which has been conditioned for millenia upon millenia, conditioned through various accidents, incidents, pressures, propaganda, programmed, can that brain be naturally, without any effort, fully awake? To find that out one must reject totally all experiences, except the experiences, physical experiences, psychological experiences must be totally rejected. And so not depend, not depend on pressures, impressions, stimulations. You are being now, by the speaker, stimulated, unfortunately. He will act as a drug, like coffee, tea or stronger drugs, alcohol and so on. If one depends on these things as a stimulant to keep the brain alert, then you are merely sustaining the mechanical process. And the brain has become for most of us mechanical, repetitive.
So to live a life without a single challenge, which doesn't mean it goes to sleep, without a single demand, both outwardly or inwardly so that the brain is extraordinarily active. Action is not movement. I wonder if you see this? May I go into it a little bit? Interested in it?
Action is not movement. Movement implies time - right? To go from here to there and so on. Any kind of movement is in the realm of time and thought - right? All movement, both physical and psychological, all thought is contained in the field of time. Right? And action is not of time. Action is not having done and the remembrance of the things that have been done, or experience or problems solved, which is all the background which is time, or the future is also time. Therefore action is instant, the very living of it immediate, instant. Are we conveying something?
So we are talking over together the question of a brain that has been so spoilt, so shocked, so wounded. Any shock is a wound, or any hurt. To have such a brain which is not capable of being hurt, psychologically, you may receive a shock when you fall down the staircase, that is a different matter, I hope you won't fall down the staircase. But the shock that one receives over bad news, or suddenly the doctor says, "Old chap you have got cancer". Or the shock of someone leaving you. All those kinds of shocks, wounding naturally the brain so that it is constantly in a strain. But to have a mind which is untouchable by circumstances - you understand? Such a brain is something extraordinary. That's part of meditation, not all the silly stuff that is going on.
So we have asked: is there a question which would answer all questions, only one question. We have answered it. Right?
1st QUESTION: Your statement that art is merely the product of thought and therefore not creation has troubled many artists, poets, musicians, including us who are here, and who think that they are creators. Cannot creation include the activity of thought? Right? The question is clear.
The speaker has said that thought, with all the nature of thought, can never be creative. And thought which is the expression also of an artist, poet, musicians and all of us included, thought is always limited. Right? So first we must enquire into what is thought, why it is limited, whether it is expressed by the greatest poet in the world, or the greatest artist, or the artist who is just beginning. I hope the artist is always beginning, not achieving. I think it was Goya, or Valesquez, I have forgotten who, one of those, said, "I am always learning" - Goya? Bene! He was ninety two when he said that, and still learning.
So we have to enquire into several things: first of all what is creation? Creation, how the world has come into being, that is part of creation. And we ought also to enquire into thought, and the art of living, which is far the greatest art, the supreme art, and the art of painting, the art of music, the art of speech. And why do we give such extraordinary importance to artists? The other day a picture was sold for ten million dollars - it was probably a very good investment! So we have to enquire into all this, not just condemn, or say why do you say that?
So first let's enquire what is the art of living? Why do you say that is the greatest art, greater than any other art in the world, from the marvellous carpenter who puts a cabinet together, and the great artists, Leonardo de Vinci and so on, great classical artists, and the great poets; and those of us who are not so-called artists, but we may have the sensitivity to look at the mountains, sensitivity to someone suffering, sensitivity to nature, to look at a tree. There is a marvellous tree on the road, single, whole, one great trunk, with many, many branches, full of foliage, fluttering in the wind. When you look at that beauty, or the beauty of a cloud, with sunlight on it, we have to also enquire then what is beauty - right?
So this question implies a great many things, not just one thing. What is beauty, apart from the physical form, clean cut face, healthy, full of sparkling eyes and smile and sense of dignity? There is the beauty of a mountain, of a tree, or the running waters. When does one see such great beauty? You may go to all the museums of the world, and the speaker has visited many, many museums and everybody says "What a marvellous picture that is, how beautifully proportioned, the colours, the shape, the grouping," and all the rest of it. So we use the word 'beauty' in so many ways. Beauty salon! And so on. What is, if you really enquire into it, what is beauty? Does beauty lie in the eye, in the heart, or in the mind? Or there is beauty when the self, the ego is not? You understand? The ego with all its problems, with all its travails, all its confusion, uncertainty, misery, happiness, you know, that is the self. And when that self, says, "How beautiful it is" it has very little meaning. Perhaps you have heard of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the most extraordinary Canyon it is, miles of it, a river cutting through it. It is really a most extraordinary sight. And somebody has said in a book, in the hotel book, "I have seen this glorious sight and I am glad I am going to have tea."
So is it possible to look at something, the tree, the mountain, the valley, your wife or your husband, or something without the self, without you coming between that and your perception? You understand? Is it possible to appreciate that sense of great beauty? And that beauty cannot possibly exist when the self is there. You may be a great artist, in the modern sense of that word too, and be tremendously egocentric, tremendously ambitious, grabbing money - right? And painting the extraordinary picture. And we call that a great artist.
So we have to ask what is the art of living? - which is the greatest art on earth because we have never - the great poets, the great sculptures, Michelangelo, and all the rest of them, have they understood - I am not belittling them, or being disrespectful to them, or to you who are here as artists, poets, musicians. Can one discover first the art of living and then everything you do is art. And what is the art of living?
I believe the word 'art' means giving the right proportions to life, giving, placing all the things in life in their order, not exaggerating any one thing. And to find out the art of living requires tremendous, not only intellectual capacity but also great sensitivity. The art of living can only come when there is total freedom, freedom from all our petty little worries, all our intentions, all our problems, fears and when there is this extraordinary sense of wholeness. That is, when you are nothing. Nothingness is wholeness. I wonder if you understand all this. Because we are always wanting to be something. If you are a clerk you want to become the manager, or if you are a scientist you want to explore more and more and more, and fame, publicity, you know all the rest of it, research. Research into biology, not research into your own mind, your own being. That doesn't count in the world. That is of no importance. But to be a scientist exploring into the atom is given tremendous importance.
So can we find out for ourselves the art of living? To go into that we must find out the nature of thought. Thought is born of knowledge - right? - as memory. Thought is memory, knowledge, experience. If there is no experience, no knowledge, no memory, there is no thinking. You may have a feeling but it is not active thinking. And our thinking in any direction, horizontal or vertical, linear or whole, is still limited because knowledge is always limited whether now or in the future. Is that clear? That is so, it is not what the speaker is saying, asserting, it is a fact because all our experiences are limited. When it is limited there is a demand for the more, more knowledge. And we see that knowledge, though some of the biologists and scientists say through knowledge man ascends - you must have heard them. Man ascends through knowledge, probably physically - you understand? They are building greater houses, better houses, better heating, better roads, better communication, better ways of killing man and so on and so on. So thought being limited has created this world, this society in which we live. Obviously. Thought has created all the rituals and all the religious organizations. Thought has created the gods out of fear, out of the desire for comfort, security. Thought is a material process because - you understand - it is contained in the brain. The brain - the speaker is not an expert on brains, but he has watched how one's own brain works, its reactions, its rhythm, and so on, I won't go into all that. So thought whatever it does is limited. And being limited it can invent, invent new ways of building a cycle, better ways, invent new combustion, internal combustion machinery and so on - you know, the jet and so on. It can invent everything but invention is not creation - right? One may write a beautiful poem, and feel that is my creation but it is still within the area of thought - right? Bound to be. If one writes a poem however magnificent, however beautiful, however the depth and the rhythm of the words and all that, it is still, the feeling may be different, but the expression of it, is still within the field of thought.
And so whatever thought does is limited. And inventions are limited. One invents something and somebody comes along and invents the same thing much better and so on and so on and so on. So what is creation? This has been a question that has been asked by the ancient Hindus, the later Greeks, and we say "God has created all this" - that is a very convenient way out of things. But if one asks for oneself, putting all these assertions aside, what is creation? Can it be born out of knowledge, and therefore creation is limited? Or creation is something beyond all knowledge, it has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge. You understand? If you go into this very seriously to find out, not I find out and tell you, but find out for oneself, as it has nothing whatsoever to do with thought, with memory, with knowledge, with experience. We will put all that, use one word to convey all that, knowledge. As we said knowledge is always limited, now or in the future. And creation must be something limitless. Not I create a poem, that is a misuse of that word, if one may point out. We are not belittling the artist, or the painter, or the etc. but we are enquiring very, very deeply into this question to find out that which is not created by thought, the immensity of the universe. One can look at the universe through a telescope, see the various gases and so on, but the enormity of creation, the thing that is not measurable by words, we measure everything by words, to be free of knowledge - you understand? - and yet have knowledge in its place. To find that out. whether the brain can ever be free from knowledge and the word, but yet keep knowledge in its place - you understand? Driving, talking, writing a letter, various forms of skills and disciplines, there knowledge is absolutely necessary, otherwise you and I, the speaker wouldn't be sitting here. But the sense of immensity, the sense of that creation which is not measurable by thought, and therefore creation is something that has no relationship with knowledge.
2nd QUESTION: I would like to cry out for help but how can one be helped, in quotes, to freedom.
Sir, there are moments and days, periods, when we want to be helped. We want to be helped when we go to a doctor, we want to be helped when we have a disease, when we have been troubled by asking, by talking over with somebody. We are always in the world whether here or in Asia, or different parts of the world, we are always wanting to be helped - right? And there are those who give you help, the priest, the vicar in the local village, the pope, those gurus who say, "I'll help you". There are all those people in the world who are trying to help others because people are wanting help. This is apparently a natural response to all their travail and to their misery, unhappiness. Probably most of you, if one may most respectfully point out, you are all perhaps wanting to be helped - perhaps. Some may not. And why do you want to be helped? Who is to help one? This is really quite a serious problem. We have been helped by leaders - quotes leaders - helped by priests, by psychologists, by therapeutists, by various literature - right? The craving, the human craving, this crying to be helped. Why? This has been going on, not only during our life time, this has been going on from the beginning of man, wanting to be helped. Or wanting, not only from another, helped by another, but also praying to God, to some symbol, to something, crying out to be helped. And this we have been doing for thousands and thousands of years - political leaders, social leaders and so on, gurus with their absurdity. All this has been going on. And we have not been helped - right? To be helped means to become strong, not depend on anybody, to see things objectively, very clearly, not personally. And because we are rather indolent we are so easily satisfied. For most of us are discontent. Discontentment is like a flame, we want to smother it. We don't keep that flame alive, because it is too troublesome, it might bring about destruction - not destruction, revolutionary physical destruction, but the destruction of one's own pettiness, one's own uncertainties and so on. So we want to be helped. And there are people who are helping us, therefore they are keeping us permanently in a state of not being able to help ourselves - right? Is it possible not to look to another? Not to look to books, to nothing because what you are is the result of being helped? If you say to yourself, "I am going to understand myself, I am going to watch myself, see exactly what I am." - not get depressed seeing what you are, or elated, but just to observe. And this observation is very simple, if you really want it. You are not seeking help from anybody, therefore you have to rely entirely on yourself, which means tremendous responsibility. And we don't want to be responsible. This is one of the things that is happening in the world, you are becoming less and less responsible because we say the politicians will see to it, the economists will see to it, if we are troubled the psychologists, the therapeutists and all the rest of it.
But to have the ever flowing living, the depth and the understanding of this movement called the self, which can be perceived very clearly in the mirror of relationship - right? You are following? You can see yourself very clearly with your wife and in that relationship. Everyday action, every thought, every feeling, not letting one thought escape, watch it, then you have immense strength, then you don't rely on anybody because you are totally responsible for yourself, for your actions. And that demands a great deal of energy, not wasting energy, chattering, chattering, chattering. You follow? All that. And very few will do all this, unfortunately, because we are all rather slack. Forgive the speaker if he uses that word 'slack'.
And so the responsibility is on others, not for oneself. And if you ask for help you are making yourself more and more feeble. If you have a headache - and I am afraid most people have some kind of neuralgia and so on - you take immediately a pill. But one doesn't go into why it comes, what is the nature of it, why - find out, work for it. You understand? See that it doesn't happen. You may be eating wrongly, etc. etc. We never go to the cause of things. Where there is a cause there is an end to it. You understand me? One drinks a tremendous lot, and next morning you have a hang-over, headache, and to overcome that headache you take a pill, and the next day you carry on - you follow? This is the way we live. A highly sophisticated world we live in and therefore to ask for help is to make oneself more feeble, more irresponsible, more dependent. Whereas if you are totally responsible for yourself, for everything that you do, or that you have promised to do, never find an excuse, you understand? So that you stand on your own feet and dignity and responsibility.
3rd QUESTION: How can we educate our children to be intelligent and both free and responsible human beings in today's world?
Do you want to go into all this? Apparently this is a question that is asked by every parent in the world. Children, and how can we help them to be intelligent and free and responsible human beings in today's world? Are the parents intelligent and free? Are the teachers intelligent and free and responsible? Is the society, the educational system helping them to be free and responsible and intelligent? So we have to enquire, if you will, why are we being educated in mathematics, and biology, science, chemistry, history, all the things that one has to learn? And go through university, college, with a degree and get a good job - at least one hopes so, not in this world where there is an immense increase of population, unemployment. So if one had a son or a daughter - if the speaker had a son and a daughter, what is going to happen to them? School, where they have to learn how to write and read and mug up all the subjects, which then becomes a tremendous problem - you understand? You must go through mathematics - one doesn't like it but you must, if you want to be a good engineer. And so that becomes a problem. And the society says, "Become an engineer and we will pay you more" - you understand?
So we have to find out what do we mean by the word 'education'. And is it merely to learn the technique of living, acquiring a skill in a particular discipline? You understand? To become a doctor you have to work, study for ten or fifteen years. To become an excellent surgeon - you follow? - it takes time. And so on and so on. Is this what we are educating our children for? - though it is necessary, you understand? And education also, does it not mean educating the human being - you understand? - not acquiring mere techniques, a skill, but educating a human being to live with great art? That means not only technological knowledge - right? - but also the immense limitless field of the psyche, going beyond it, that is a holistic education - you understand?
So all this implies the educator needs education. The parents need education, not just the children. And if the parents love their children - love, not hold them as toys and you know, all that kind of stuff, if they really loved them would they allow their children to be killed, or to kill? You understand sirs? Governments demand - perhaps not in America or in England, but in this country, in France, in Europe, you have to go into the army for two years, how to carry a gun, how to shoot, how to kill another human being. And this, the mothers, the fathers, accept it, and they say, "We can't do anything, the governments demand this" - please, I am not advocating that you revolt against the government, it's up to you.
So education means a holistic approach to life, cultivating the brain technologically - you understand? - and also cultivating the brain to be free of its own petty little self. That requires teachers who understand this, who are committed, who are responsible. And the parents, they must love their children. Now what happens they cuddle them, they hold them on their lap, they kiss them till they are two, five and after that they throw them to the winds - right? And this is called education. How can there be intelligence when your brain is being conditioned - you understand? Conditioned by knowledge on one side, conditioned by your own fears, anxieties, loneliness, despair, all the rest of the ugliness of human beings. And then on top of that there are the temples, churches, mosques. So religion is something entirely different, away, which has nothing to do with your life, and committed entirely to earning a livelihood - you understand? This is becoming more and more serious, this dichotomy, this separation. And education is something where there must be respect, love, affection in all this.
So will the parents, the teachers, and the students agree to all this? You are responsible for this. You are responsible, if you are a parent, what your children are going to be. One heard a parent saying, "Must I sacrifice my life - which is drinking, taking drugs, sleeping with women and so on - for my stupid little children?" You understand what I am saying? And so the world goes on this way and it has been going on for millenia, because we as parents, as human beings, do not want to live a holistic, a complete life. We are fragmented, therefore we accept that fragmentation. In that fragmentation there is no intelligence, there is no compassion, there is no freedom.
The last question.
4th QUESTION: What is your relationship to us? (Laughter)
Will you answer that question? What is your relationship with the speaker? If you have put that question, and the speaker is putting you that question: what is your relationship with the speaker, not what is my relationship with you - you understand? I am reversing the question. I will answer the question after: what is the speaker's relationship with you - it will be answered a little later, but you have to ask first what is your relationship with the speaker? That means, why are you here? What is your intention? What is it you want? Are you here to be stimulated? To identify with a large group? To find out the truth of what the speaker is saying? Or just accept it, casually for an hour or so, and then go on in your ways as before? Or you are attracted, physically to the speaker? And the speaker has been saying this is not a personality cult at all, the person doesn't matter. What matters is what he is saying: doubt, question, ask.
So what is your relationship with the speaker?
To put the question differently: what is the relationship between light and darkness? What is the relationship between conflict and no conflict? What is the relationship between peace and war? You understand this question? That means, what is the relationship between the good and the bad? Is the good the outcome of the bad? Please we are working together. Is the good the outcome of the bad? Or is the good totally divorced from the bad? If the bad is related to the good then it is not good - right? If it is related, if good has its roots in the bad then it's partially good, therefore it is not good - right? So one has to discover for oneself the good is totally free from the bad, totally divorced, nothing to do with each other. Violence and to be free of violence. Human beings are violent, unfortunately. One can biologically trace it to the origin of violence, derived from the animals and so on - we won't go into all that. That is, human beings are violent and they have thought out not to be violent - right? So they are violent, they have created the opposite which they call non-violence, so the non-violence is related to violence, therefore it is not free from violence - you understand? Are we working together? So the good is totally unrelated to the bad. Love and hate, if one knows hates, antagonism, like, dislike, jealousy - right? - and then says, "I love" - right? - then that love is still related to hate - right? - still related to like and dislike, and antagonism and all the rest of it.
So we are asking ourselves what is our relationship with each other. What is the relationship of a man who is free and the man who lives in a prison? You understand? We live in prison - not actual prisons with guards and you know, all that, but we have our own prisons, we make our own prisons and we live in them - right? And someone who is outside that - what is the man who lives in the prison to the man who is outside it? You understand my question? Has he any relationship to you, to the man in prison? Or the man in prison - you understand what the speaker means by prison, our fears, our anxieties, our thought, our loneliness, all the things that human beings have, that is our prison, our gods, our faith, our dogmatic or superficial opinions and so on, that is our prison. And the man is not in that prison, what is the relationship with the man in that prison and the man who is outside the prison? Has the man in the prison any relationship with the man outside it? Naturally not. But the man outside it has a relationship with the man in prison. Have you understood?
I am in prison, suppose. And you are outside the prison. I have no relationship to you. I would like to have a relationship but I am still encaged. But you have a relationship to me - right? Because you are intelligent and all the rest of it. You love, compassion, you are intelligent, you are utterly responsible out there.
So, you understand? First we create god by thought, omnipotent, all merciful, all powerful, all seeing, all bla bla bla. And we say there is that and I will pray to be part of it. You understand? The same business. I am in prison, there you are free. And I pray to you. See the tricks I am playing. I am praying to something I have created - I have put together, not created, sorry. Put together by thought, the image, the structure, the symbol, the saviour, the guru, all the rest of it. You understand? And so on. We always want relationship with something totally outside of us - right? Something immense. And the immensity has relation to us but we have no relationship to that. If we recognize that, see the truth of it, then we will break the prison at any cost. If we see that, our brain becomes subtle, quick, we are really caught in a prison. And a man in prison is suffocating, crying, hoping, trying to get at that to be free. And he prays to that, being in prison. What value has it? You understand? It is like those people, monks and nuns the world over, praying for peace - right? And the other side, the world is preparing, gathering armaments. Yes sir, you understand the absurdity of all this?
So there is a relationship with another only when both of us are free - right? But one is in prison and the other is not, then we are in trouble. Then we waste our energy trying to be related to that. Either one is free or one is not. And to recognize the depth of that freedom, the beauty of it, to see the immensity of that freedom there must be no self, no ego hiding in different spaces, different parts of the recesses of one's brain. Right?
We have finished for this morning. May we get up please?
Saanen 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 24th July 1984
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