Washington DC 1985
Washington D.c. Talks 1985 2nd Public Talk 21st April 1985
May we continue where we left off yesterday? We were talking about fear and the ending of fear. And also we were talking about the responsibility of each one of us facing what is happening in the world, the appalling, frightening mess we are in. We are all responsible, individually, collectively, nationally, religiously, for all we have made of the world. After millennia upon millennia we have remained barbarians, hurting each other, killing each other, destroying each other. We have had freedom to do exactly what we liked and that has created havoc in the world. Freedom is not to do what one likes, but rather it is to be free from all the travail of life, from our problems, from our anxieties, from our fear, from our psychological wounds, from all the conflict that we have put up with for so many millennia.
And also we said that this meeting is not a lecture on any particular subject, to inform, to instruct. Rather it is about our responsibility, together, to investigate, to explore into all the problems of our daily life not some speculative concepts or philosophies, but to understand the daily pain, the boredom, the loneliness, the despair, the depression, and the endless conflict with which man has lived.
This morning we have to cover a great deal of ground. We pointed out yesterday that this is not a meeting in which the speaker stimulates you intellectually, emotionally, or in any other way. We depend a great deal on stimulation; it's a form of commercialism: drugs, alcohol, and all the various means of sensation. And we want not only sensation but excitement. But this is not that kind of meeting. We are here together to investigate our life, our daily life; that is, to understand oneself, what one is actually, not theoretically, not according to some philosopher or some psychiatrist. If we can put aside all that and observe, look at ourselves, actually as we are, and not get depressed or elated, we will understand the whole psychological structure of our being, of our existence.
We said yesterday that one of the things human beings go through all their life is a form of fear. We went into it very carefully: that time and thought are the root of fear. And we went into what time and thought are. Time is not only the past, the present and the future, but in the now. In the present all time is contained because what we are now we will be tomorrow unless there is a great, fundamental mutation in the very psyche itself, in the very brain cells themselves.
If one may point out, you and the speaker are taking a journey together, a long, complicated journey. To take that journey one mustn't be attached to any particular form of belief for then that journey is not possible nor to any faith, nor to some conclusion or ideology or concept. It's like climbing Everest or some of the other great, marvellous mountains of the world; one has to leave a great deal behind, not carry all one's burdens up the steep hills. So in taking the journey together and the speaker means together, not that he is talking and you are agreeing or disagreeing if we could put those two words aside completely, then we can take the journey together. Some may want to walk very rapidly and others may lag behind, but it is a journey together.
We also ought to talk over together why human beings have always pursued pleasure. We've never investigated what pleasure is, why we want everlasting pleasure in different ways: sexual, sensory, intellectual, the pleasure of possession, the pleasure of acquiring a great skill, the pleasure one derives from having a great deal of information, knowledge, and the ultimate gratification of what we call god. Please don't get angry or irritated or want to throw something at the speaker. This is a violent world. If you don't agree they kill you. This is what is happening. And here we're not trying to kill each other, we're not doing any kind of propaganda or trying to convince you of anything.
But we are going to face the truth of things, not live in delusions. With delusions it's very difficult to observe. If you are deluding yourself and not facing actualities, then it becomes impossible to look at oneself as one is. But we like delusions, illusions, every form of deception, because we are frightened to look at ourselves. To look at ourselves very clearly, accurately, precisely, is only possible in a mirror of relationship; that's the only mirror we have. When you look at yourself combing your hair or shaving or doing whatever you are doing to your face that mirror reflects exactly how you look.
Psychologically is there such a mirror in which you can see exactly, precisely, actually what you are? As we said, there is such a mirror which is one's relationship, however intimate it be, whether it's with a man, or a woman; in that relationship you see what you are if you allow yourself to see what you are. You see how you get angry, your possessiveness, all the rest of it.
Man has pursued pleasure endlessly, in the name of god, in the name of peace, in the name of ideology, and then there is the pleasure of power having power over others, political power. Have you noticed that power is an ugly thing, when one dominates another in any form? Power is one of the evil things in life. And pleasure is the other side of the coin of fear. When one understands deeply, profoundly, seriously the nature of fear we went into that yesterday, so we won't go into it again then pleasure is delight: seeing something beauti- ful, seeing the sunset or the morning light, the dawn, the marvellous colours, the reflection of the sun on the waters; that's delight. But we cultivate that memory as pleasure.
And also, I don't know if you have gone into the question of action. What is action? We are all so active from morning till night, not only physically but psychologically, the brain everlastingly chattering, going from one thing to another endlessly. During the day and during the night in dreams the brain is never at rest, it is perpetually in motion. What is action, the doing? The very word 'doing' is in the present, it's not having done or 'I will do'. Action means the doing now, accurately, completely, holistically if I can use that word action that is whole, complete, not partial. When action is based on some ideology, it's not action, is it? It's conformity to a certain pattern which you have established and therefore it's incomplete action, according to some memory, some conclusion. If you act according to a certain ideology, pattern or conclusion, it is still incomplete; there is a contradiction in it. So one has to enquire into this very complex problem of action.
Is action related to disorder or to order? You understand? We live in disorder, our life is disorderly, confused, contradictory: saying one thing, doing another; thinking one thing and doing quite the opposite. So what is order and disorder? Perhaps you have not thought about all these matters, so let us think together about this, and please don't let me talk to myself. It's still early in the morning and you have a whole day in front of you; so let us be aware together of this question: what is order and what is disorder and what is the relationship of action to order and disorder?
What is disorder? Look at the world if you will; the world is in disorder. Terrible things are happening. Very few of us know actually what is happening in the scientific world, in the world of the art of war, all the terrible things that are going on in other countries; and the poverty in all countries, the rich and the terribly poor, always the threat of war, one political group against another political group. So there is this tremendous disorder. That's an actuality, it's not an invention or an illusion. We have created this disorder, because our very living is disorderly. And we are trying to bring about order through all the social reforms and so on. Without understanding and bringing about the end of disorder, we try to find order. It's like a confused mind trying to find clarity. A confused mind is a confused mind, it can never find clarity. So can there be an end to disorder in our life, our daily life? Not order in heaven or in another place, but in our daily life can there be order? Can there be the end of disorder? When there is the end of disorder there is naturally order. That order is living, it's not according to a certain pattern or mould.
So we are investigating, looking at ourselves and learning about ourselves. Learning is different from acquiring knowledge. Please, if you will kindly give your attention to this a little bit that learning is an infinite process, limitless process, whereas knowledge is always limited. And learning implies not only observing visually, optically, but also observing without any distortion, seeing things exactly as they are.
That requires the discipline of one who is learning, not the terrible discipline of orthodoxy, tradition, or following certain rules, dictates, and so on. It is learning, learning through clear observation, hearing exactly what the other fellow is saying without any distortion. And learning is not accumulative because you're moving. You understand all this? So in learning what disorder is in ourselves, order comes about very naturally, easily, unexpectedly. And when there is order, order is virtue. There is no other virtue except complete order, that is complete morality, not some imposed or dictated morality.
Then we ought also to talk over together this whole question of sorrow. You don't mind? Because men and women and children throughout the world, whether they live behind the Iron Curtain, which is most unfortunate for them, or whether they live in Asia, Europe or here every human being, whether rich or poor, intellectual or just ordinary laymen like us, goes through every form of suffering. Have you ever looked at people that have cried through centuries? Through thousands of wars? There is immense sorrow in the world. Not that there is not also pleasure, joy, and so on, but in understanding and perhaps ending sorrow we'll find something much greater.
So we must go into this complex question of sorrow, whether it can ever end or whether man is doomed forever to suffer - suffer not only physically but psychologically. Inwardly we have suffered enormously without perhaps saying a word about it, or crying our heart out. During all this long evolution of man from the beginning of time until now, every human being on this earth has suffered. Suffering is not merely the loss of someone you think you like or love, but also the suffering of the very poor, the illiterate. If you go to India or other parts of the world, you see people walking miles and miles to go to a school, little girls and little boys. They will never be rich, they will never ride in a car, probably never have a hot bath. They have one sari or one dress whatever they wear and that's all. And that is sorrow. And the man who goes by in a car, who looks at this, is in sorrow if he's at all sensitive, aware. And, there is the sorrow of ignorance; not ignorance of writing and literature and all the rest of it, but the sorrow of a man who doesn't know himself. There are multiple ways of sorrow.
We are asking, can this sorrow end for each one? There is the sorrow in oneself and the sorrow of the world. Thousands of wars, people maimed, appalling cruelty. Every nation on earth has committed cruelties. It is appalling and we're still perpetuating that cruelty. Cruelty brings enormous sorrow. Seeing all this not from a book, not from a traveller who goes abroad to have a good time but travelling as a human being, just observing, being aware sensitively of all this, sorrow is a terrible thing. And can that sorrow end?
Please, ask yourself that question. The speaker is not stimulating you to feel sorrow, the speaker is not telling you what sorrow is; it is right in front of us, right inside you. Nobody needs to point it out if you keep your eyes open, if you are sensitive, aware of what is happening in this monstrous world. So please ask yourself this question: whether sorrow can ever end? Because like hatred, when there is sorrow there is no love. When you are suffering, concerned with your own suffering, how can there be love? So one must ask this question, however difficult it is to find not the answer, but the ending of sorrow.
What is sorrow? Not only the physical pain and the enduring pain, a person who is paralysed or maimed or diseased, but also the sorrow of losing someone: death. We'll talk about death presently. Is sorrow self-pity? Please, investigate. We're not saying it is or it is not, we're asking, is sorrow brought about by self-pity, is that one of the factors? Sorrow brought about by loneliness, feeling desperately alone? Not alone the word 'alone' means 'all one' but feeling isolated, having in that isolation no relationship with anything.
Is sorrow merely an intellectual affair to be rationalized, explained away? Or can one live with it without any desire for comfort? You understand? To live with sorrow, not escape from it, not rationalize it, not find some illusive or exclusive comfort some religious or illusory romantic escape but live with something that has tremendous significance. Sorrow is not only a physical shock, when one loses one's son or husband, wife or girl, whatever it is; that is a tremendous biological shock; one is almost paralysed with it. Don't you know all this?
There is also the sense of desperate loneliness. Can we look at sorrow as it actually is in us, and remain with it, hold it, and not move away from it? Sorrow is not different from the one who suffers. The person who suffers wants to run away, escape, do all kinds of things. But to look at it as you look at a child, a beautiful child, to hold it, never escape from it then you will see for yourself, if you really look deeply, that there is an end to sorrow. And when there is an end to sorrow there is passion; not lust, not sensory stimulation, but passion.
Very few have this passion, because we are so consumed with our own griefs, with our own pains, with our own pity and vanity. We have a great deal of energy look what is happening in the world tremendous energy to invent new things, new gadgets, new ways of killing others. To go to the moon needs tremendous energy and concentration, both intellectual and actual. We have tremendous energy, but we dissipate it by conflict, through fear, through endless chattering about nothing. And passion has tremendous energy. That passion is not stimulated, it doesn't seek stimulation, it is there, like a burning fire. It only comes when there is the end of sorrow.
When you have the ending of this sorrow, it is not personal, because you are the rest of humanity, as we said yesterday afternoon. We all suffer; we all go through loneliness; every human being on this earth, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, goes through tremendous anxieties, conscious or unconscious. Your consciousness is not yours, it is human consciousness. In the content of that consciousness is all your beliefs, your sorrows, your pities, your vanities, your arrogance, your search for power, position. All that is your consciousness, which is shared by all human beings. Therefore it's not your particular consciousness. And when you really realize that, not verbally or intellectually or theoretically or as a concept, but as an actuality, then you'll not kill another, hurt another, but you'll have some other thing which is totally different, of a different dimension altogether.
We ought to talk over together too, this great question of what is love. We use the word 'love' so loosely, it has become merely sensuous, sexual; love is identified with pleasure. And to find that perfume one must go into the question of what is not love. Through negation you come to the positive, not the other way round. Am I making myself clear? Through negation of what is not love, you come to that which is immensely true, which is love.
So love is not hate: that's obvious. Love is not vanity, arrogance. Love is not in the hand of power. The people who are in power, wanting power it doesn't matter if it's over a small child or over a whole group of people or a nation that surely is not love. Love is not pleasure, love is not desire. Love is certainly not thought. So can you put aside all that: your vanity, the sense of power however little it is, it's like a worm? And the more power you have, the more ugly and therefore in that there is no love. When you are ambitious, aggressive, as you are all brought up to be to be successful, to be famous, to be known, which is all so utterly childish, from the speaker's point of view how can there be love?
So love is something that cannot be invited or cultivated. It comes about naturally, easily, when the other things are not. And in learning about oneself one comes upon this: where there is love, there is compassion; and compassion has its own intelligence. That is the supreme form of intelligence, not the intelligence of thought, intelligence of cunning, deceptions and all the rest of it. It's only when there is complete love and compassion that there is that excellence of intelligence which is not mechanical. Then we ought to talk about death. Shall we? Are you interested in finding out what death is? What is the meaning of that word death the dying, the ending? Not only the ending but what happens after death? Does one carry the memories of one's own life? The whole Asiatic world believes in reincarnation. That is I die, I have led a miserable life, perhaps done a little good here and there, and next life I'll be better, I'll do more good. It's based on reward and punishment, like everything else in life. And in Christianity there is resurrection and so on.
So if we can put aside for the moment all that, really put it aside, not cling to one thing or the other, then what is death? What does it mean to die? Not only biologically, physically, but also psychologically: all the accumulation of memories, one's tendencies, the skills, the idiosyncrasies, the things that one has gathered, whether it be money, knowledge, friendship, whatever you will; all you have acquired. And death comes and says, 'Sorry, you can't take anything with you.'
So what does it mean to die? Can we go into this question? Or are you frightened? What is death? How do we enquire into it? You understand my question? I am living, I go along every day, it is routine, mechanical, miserable, happy, unhappy, you know the whole business. And death comes, through accident, through disease, through old age, senility what is senility? Is it only for the old? Is not senility when we're just repeating, repeating, repeating when we act mechanically, thoughtlessly? Isn't that also a form of senility?
Because we are frightened of death, we never see the greatness of this extraordinary thing. A child is born a new human being comes into being. That's an extraordinary event, and that child grows and becomes whatever you have all become, and then dies. Death is also something most extraordinary; it must be. And you won't see the depth and the greatness of it if you are frightened.
So what is death? I want to find out what it means to die while I am living. I'm not senile, I've all my wits about me, I'm capable of thinking very clearly, perhaps I occasionally go off the beam but I'm active, clear. So I'm asking myself I'm not asking you I'm only observing; and will you observe also what is death? Death means surely the ending of everything: the ending of my relationships, the ending of all the things I've put together in my life, all the knowledge, all the experience, the idiotic life I've led, a meaningless life, or trying to find intellectually a meaning to life. Then death comes and says,' That's the end.' But I am frightened, it can't be the end. I've got so much, I've collected so much, not only furniture or pictures. When I identify myself with the furniture or the pictures or the bank account, I am the bank account, I am the pictures, I am the furniture. Right? When you identify with something so completely, you are that. Perhaps you don't like all this, but please, kindly listen. So I've established roots, I've established a great many things round me, and death comes and makes a clean sweep of all that. So I ask myself, is it possible to live with death all the time? Not at the end of ninety or a hundred years the speaker is ninety sorry. Not at the end of my life but with all my energy, vitality, and all the things that go on, can I live with death all the time? Not commit suicide,I don't mean that that's too silly but live with death, which means the ending every day of every thing I've collected; the ending.
I do not know if you have gone into the question of what is continuity and what is ending. That which continues can never renew itself, be reborn. It can revive itself. The word 'revive' means something that has withered, is dying and you revive it. There is the religious revival they are shouting about. I don't know if you have noticed but organized religions and the gurus and all the rest of them are tremendously rich people with great property. There is a temple in the south of India: every third day they collect one million dollars. You understand? God is very profitable. This is not cynicism, this is actuality. We are facing actuality, and you can't be cynical or despairing, it is so; be neither optimistic nor pessimistic. You have to look at these things.
So can I live with death, which means that everything that I have done and collected ends? Ending is more important than continuity. The ending means the beginning of something new. If you merely continue, it is the same pattern being repeated in a different mould. Have you noticed another strange thing? We have made a tremendous mess in the world, and we organize to clear up that mess, politically, religiously, socially and economically. And when that organization or institution doesn't work, we invent another organization, never clearing up the mess but bringing about new organizations, new institutions and this is called progress. I don't know if you have noticed all this. This is what we are doing making thousands of institutions.
The other day we talked at the United Nations. War is going on, they've never stopped it, but they are reorganizing it. You are doing exactly the same thing in this country. We never clear up the mess. We depend on organizations to clear it up; or new leaders, new gurus, new priests, new faiths, and all that rubbish. So can I live with death? That means freedom, complete, total, holistic freedom. And in that freedom there is great love and compassion, and that intelligence which has not an end, which is immense.
And we ought also to talk over together what is religion. May we go on? You are not too tired? The speaker is not trying to convince you of anything, please believe me: nothing! He's not trying to force you, through stimulation, through some other means. We are both looking at the world, your personal world and the world about you. You are the world, the world is not different from you. You have created this world and you are responsible for it, completely, totally, whether you are a politician or an ordinary man in the street.
So to talk over together what is religion. Man has always sought something beyond all this pain, anxiety and sorrow. Is there something that is sacred, eternal, that is beyond all the reaches of thought? This has been a question from the most ancient of times. What is sacred? What is that which has no time, that which is incorruptible, that which is nameless, that which has no quality, no limitation the timeless, the eternal? Is there such a thing? Man has asked this for thousands and thousands of years. So he has worshipped the sun, the earth, nature, the trees, the birds; everything that's living on this earth man has worshipped since ancient times. The Vedas and the Upanishads never mention god. That which is supreme, they said, is not manifested.
So are you asking that question too? Are you asking, is there something sacred? Is there something that is not put together by thought, as all organized religions are, whether Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other? In Buddhism there is no god. Among the Hindus, as I said, there are about three hundred gods. It's great fun to have so many. You can play with them all. And there are the gods of books, the god according to the Bible, the god according to the Koran. I don't know if you have noticed that when religions are based on books, like the Bible or the Koran, you have people who are bigoted, narrow, intolerant, because the book says so. Haven't you noticed all this? This country is having the Fundamentalists who go back to the book. Don't get angry, please, just look at it.
So we are asking, what is religion? Not only what is religion, but what is the religious brain, religious mind? To enquire into that deeply, not superficially, there must be total freedom. Not freedom from one thing or the other, but freedom as a whole, per se. So we are asking, when there is that freedom, is it possible, living in this ugly world, to be free from pain, sorrow, anxiety, loneliness?
Then you have also to find out what is meditation: contemplation in the Christian sense, and meditation in the Asiatic sense? Probably meditation has been brought to this country by the yogis, gurus and all those superstitious, traditional people, and therefore it's mechanical. So we'll have to find out what is meditation. Do you want to go into it? Does it just amuse you or do you want really to go into it? Is meditation a form of entertainment? First let me learn meditation, and then I'll act properly. You understand the game one plays? But if there is order in one's life, real order, as we explained, then what is meditation? Is it following certain systems, methods: the Zen method, the Buddhist meditation, the Hindu meditation, and the latest gurus with their medi- tation? They are always bearded, full of money, you know all the rest of that.
So what is meditation? If it is determined, if it is following a system, a method, practised day after day, what happens to the human brain? It becomes more and more dull. Haven't you noticed this? You repeat, repeat, repeat it may be the wrong note, but you'll repeat it. So is meditation something entirely different? It has nothing whatever to do with method, system, practices, therefore it can never be mechanical. It can never be conscious meditation. Do please understand this. It's like a man consciously wanting money and pursuing money. Consciously you meditate, wanting to achieve peace, silence, and all that. Therefore they are both the same: the man who pursues money, success, power, and the man who pursues so-called spirituality.
So is there a meditation which is not determined, practised? There is, but that requires enormous attention. That attention is a flame and that attention is not something that you come to much later; it is attention now to everything, every word, every gesture, every thought: to pay complete attention, not partial. If you are listening partially now, you are not giving complete attention. When you are completely attentive there is no self, there is no limitation.
The brain now is full of information, cluttered up, there is no space in it, and one must have space. Space means energy; when there is no space your energy is very, very limited. The brain is now so heavily laden with knowledge, with theories, with power, position, so everlastingly in conflict and cluttered up, that it has no space. And freedom, complete freedom, is to have that limitless space. The brain is extraordinarily capable, has infinite capacity, but we have made it so small and petty.
So when there is that space and emptiness and therefore immense energy - energy is passion, love and compassion and intelligence - then there is that truth which is most holy, most sacred; that which man has sought from time immemorial. That truth doesn't lie in any temple, in any mosque, in any church. And it has no path to it except through one's own understanding of oneself, enquiring, studying, learning. Then there is that which is eternal.
Washington DC 1985
Washington D.c. Talks 1985 2nd Public Talk 21st April 1985
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