Awakening of Intelligence
Part 5, Public Talks Madras 1968
The Awakening of Intelligence Part V Chapter 1 1st Public Talk Madras 3rd January 1968 'The Art of Seeing'
WE WERE SAYING the other day how very important it is to observe. It is quite an art to which one must give a great deal of attention. We only see very partially, we never see anything completely, with the totality of our mind, or with the fullness of our heart. And unless we learn this extraordinary art, it seems to me that we shall be functioning, living, through a very small part of our mind, through a small segment of the brain. We never see anything completely, for various reasons, because we are so concerned with our own problems, or we are so conditioned, so heavily burdened with belief, with tradition, with the past, that this actually prevents us from seeing or listening. We never see a tree, we see the tree through the image that we have of it, the concept of that tree; but the concept, the knowledge, the experience, is entirely different from the actual tree. Here one is surrounded by a great many trees, fortunately, and if you look around you, as the speaker is going on with the subject of seeing, if you actually look at it, you will find how extraordinary difficult it is to see it all, so that no image, no screen, comes between the seeing and the actual fact. Please do this, don't watch me - look at the tree, find out whether you can see it completely. By completely I mean with the totality of your mind and heart, not a fragment of it, because what we are going to go into this evening demands such observation, such seeing. Unless you actually do this (not theorize, intellectualise or bring up various issues which are irrelevant) I am afraid you will not be able to follow closely what we are going to go over together. We never see, or actually hear, what another is saying; we are either emotional, sentimental or very intellectual - which, obviously prevents us from actually seeing the colour, the beauty of the light, the trees, the birds, and from listening to those crows; we never are in direct relationship with any of this. And I doubt very much if we are in relationship with anything, even with our own ideas, thoughts, motives, impressions; there is always the image which is observing, even when we observe ourselves.
So it is very important to understand that the act of seeing is the only truth; there is nothing else. If I know how to see a tree, or a bird, or a lovely face, or the smile of a child - there it is, I don't have to do anything more. But that seeing of the bird, of the leaf, listening to the noise of birds, becomes almost impossible because of the image that one has built, not only about nature but also about others. And these images actually prevent us from seeing and feeling; feeling being entirely different from sentimentality and emotion.
And, as we said, we see everything fragmentarily and we are trained from childhood to look, to observe, to learn, to live in a fragment. And there is the vast expanse of the mind which we never touch or know; that mind is vast, immeasurable, but we never touch it, we don't know the quality of it because we have never looked at anything completely, with the totality of our mind, of our heart, of our nerves, of our eyes, of our ears. To us the word, the concept is extraordinarily important, not the acts of seeing and doing. But having the concept, which is a belief, an idea - having this - conceptual living, prevents us from actually seeing, doing; and therefore we say we have problems of action, of what to do or not to do, and the conflict that arises between the act and the concept.
Do please observe what I am talking about, not merely hear the words of the speaker, but observe yourselves, using the speaker as a mirror in which you can see yourself. What the speaker has to say is of very little importance, and the speaker himself is of no importance whatsoever, but what you gather out of observing yourself is important. It is so because there must be a total revolution, a complete mutation in our minds, in our way of living, in our feeling, in the activities of our daily life. And to bring about such fundamental, deep revolution is only possible when we know how to look; because when you do look, you are not only looking with your eyes but you are also looking with your mind. I do not know if you have ever driven a car; if you have, you are not only visually aware of the approaching car, but your mind is far ahead watching the bend of the road, the side road, other cars coming and going. And this seeing is not only seeing through your eyes and nerves, but seeing with your heart, with your mind, and you cannot see completely in this way if you are living, functioning, thinking, acting within a fragment of the total mind.
Look what is happening in the world - we are being conditioned by society, by the culture in which we live, and that culture is the product of man - there is nothing holy, or divine, or eternal about culture. Culture, society, books, radios, all that we listen to and see, the many influences of which we are either conscious or unconscious, all these encourage us to live within a very small fragment of the vast field of the mind. You go through school, college, and learn a technique to earn a living; for the next forty or fifty years you spend your life, your time, your energy, your thought, in that specialized little field. And there is the vast field of the mind. Unless we bring about a radical change in this fragmentation there can be no revolution at all; there will be modifications, economic, social and so-called cultural but man will go on suffering, will go on in conflict, in war, in misery, in sorrow and in despair.
I do not know if you read some time ago how one of the Marshals of the Russian army reporting to the Polit Bureau, said that in the army they were training soldiers under hypnosis - you know what that means? You are put under hypnosis and taught how to kill, how to obey completely, function with complete independence, but within a pattern, under the authority of a superior. Now culture and society are doing exactly the same thing to each one of us. Culture and society have hypnotized you. Do please listen to this very carefully, it is not only being done in the army in Russia, but it is being done all over the world. When you read the Gita endlessly, or the Koran, or repeat some mantram, some endlessly repeated words, you are doing exactly the same thing. When you say, "I am a Hindu", "I am a Buddhist", "I am a Muslim", "I am a Catholic", the same pattern is being repeated, you have been mesmerized, hypnotized; and technology is doing exactly the same thing. You can be a clever lawyer, a first-class engineer, or an artist, or a great scientist, but always within a fragment of the whole. I do not know if you see this, not because I describe it, but actually see what is taking place. The Communists are doing it, the Capitalists are doing it, everybody, parents, schools, education, they are all shaping the mind to function within a certain pattern, a certain fragment. And we are always concerned with bringing about a change within the pattern, within the fragment.
So, how is one to realize this, not theoretically, not as a mere idea, but see the actuality of it - you understand, see the actual? The actual being what is everyday taking place and is spoken of in newspapers, by politicians, through culture and tradition, in the family, making you call yourselves Indians, or whatever you think you are. Then when you see, you must question yourself (I am sure you would if you saw it), and that is why it is very important to understand how you see. If you really saw it, then the question would be, "How can the total mind act?" (I do not mean the fragment, not the conditioned mind, nor the educated, sophisticated mind, the mind that is afraid, the mind that says, "there is God" or "there is no God", "there is my family, your family, my nation, your nation".) Then you will ask, "How can this totality of the mind be, how can it function completely, even while learning a technique?" Though it has to learn a technique and to live in relationship with others, in our present disordered society - bearing that in mind, one must ask this question, which is a fundamental one: "How can this totality of the mind be made completely sensitive, so that even the fragment becomes sensitive?" I don't know if you have understood my question, we shall come to it in another way.
At present we are not sensitive; there are spots in this field that are sensitive, sensitive when our particular personality, our particular idiosyncracy, or our particular pleasures are denied - then there is a battle. We are sensitive in fragments, in spots, but we are not sensitive completely; so the question is, "How can the fragment, which is part of the total, which is being made dull every day by repetition, how can that part also be made sensitive as well as the total?" Is this question fairly clear? Do tell me.
Perhaps this is a new question to you, probably you have never asked yourself about it. Because we are all satisfied to live with as little trouble and conflict as possible, in that little part of that field which is our life, appraising the marvellous culture of that little part as opposed to other cultures, Western, ancient or any other. We are not even aware what the implications of this are - of living in a tiny fragment, a corner of a very vast field. We don't see for ourselves how deeply we are concerned with the little part, and we are trying to find answers to the problem within that fragment, within that little corner of this vast life. We ask ourselves, how can the mind (which is now half asleep in this vast field, because we are only concerned with the little part), how can we become totally aware of this whole thing, become completely sensitive?
Now, first of all there is no method. Because any method, system, repetition or habit, is essentially part of the corner of that field. (Are we travelling together, taking a journey together, or are you falling behind?) The first thing is to see the actual fact of the little corner and what its demands are. Then we can put the question, "How can we make the whole field completely sensitive?", because in that lies the only true revolution. When there is total sensitivity of the whole of the mind, then we will act differently; our thinking, feeling, will be wholly of a different dimension. But there is no method. Don't say, "How am I to arrive, achieve, become sensitive?" - you can't go to college to become sensitive, you can't read books or be told what to do to become sensitive. This is what you have been doing within that corner of the field, and it has made you more and more insensitive, which can be seen in your daily life, with its callousness, brutality, and violence. (I do not know if you have seen the pictures in magazines of the American and Vietnamese soldiers being wounded. You may see it and say, "I am so sorry", but it has not happened to you, not to your family, not to your son.) So we become callous because we are functioning, living, acting, within the small petty little corner of a distorted field.
There is no method. Please do realize this, because when you realize it, you are free of the enormous weight of all authority, and so free of the past. I don't know if you see this. The past is implicit in our culture, which we think is so wonderful (the tradition, the beliefs, the memories, the obedience to it), and all that is put aside completely, forever, when you realize there is no method of any kind to bring freedom from the "little corner". But you have to learn all about the little corner. Then you are free of the burden which makes you insensitive. Soldiers are trained to kill, practise day after day, day after day, ruthlessly, so that they have no human feeling left at all. And that is the type of thing which is being done to each one of us every day, all the time, by newspapers, by political leaders, by the gurus, by the Pope, by the bishops, everywhere, all over the world.
Now, as there is no method, what is one to do? Method implies practice, dependence, your method, my method, his path and another's path, my guru who knows a little better, this guru who is phoney, that guru who is not (but all gurus are phoney, you can take that for granted right from the beginning, whether they are Tibetan Lamas or Catholics, or Hindus) - all of them are phoney because they are still functioning in a very small part of a field that has been spat on and trodden upon and destroyed.
What is one to do? You understand my question now? The problem is this: we don't know the depth and the immensity of the mind. You can read about it, you can read the modern psychologists, or the ancient teachers who have talked about it - distrust them because it is you yourself who have to find out, not according to somebody else. We don't know it - the mind - you don't know it, so you cannot have any concept about it. You understand what we are saying? You can't have any ideas, any opinions, any knowledge about it. So you are free from any supposition, from any theology.
So once again, what is one to do? All that one has to do is to see. See the corner, the little house that one has built in a corner of a vast, an immeasurable field; and living there, fighting, quarrelling, improving (you know all that is going on there), see it. And that is why it is very important to understand what it means to see, because the moment there is conflict you belong to that isolated corner. Where there is seeing there is no conflict. That is why one has to learn from the very beginning - no, not the beginning, but now - to see. Not tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow - it is only search for pleasure, or fear, or pain that invents "tomorrow". Actually there is no tomorrow psychologically, but the brain, the mind, has invented time; but we shall go into this later.
So what one has to do is to see. You cannot see, if you are not sensitive, and you are not sensitive if you have an image between you and the thing seen. Do you understand? So seeing is the act of love. You know what makes the total mind sensitive? - only love. You can learn a technique and yet love; but if you have technique and no love you are going to destroy the world. Do watch it in yourselves, Sirs, do go into it in your own minds and hearts and you will see it for yourselves. Seeing, observing, listening, these are the greatest acts, because you cannot see if you are looking out from that little corner, you cannot see what is happening in the world, the despair, the anxiety, the aching loneliness, the tears of the mothers, wives, lovers, of those people who have been killed. But you have to see all this, not emotionally, nor sentimentally, not saying, "Well! I am against war" or, "I am for war", as that sentimentality and emotionalism are the most destructive things - they avoid facts and so avoid what is. So, the seeing is all important. The seeing is the understanding; you cannot understand through the mind, through the intellect, or understand through a fragment. There is understanding only when the mind is completely quiet, which means when there is no image.
Seeing destroys all barriers. Look, Sirs, as long as there is separation between you and the tree, between you and me, and between you and your neighbour (that "neighbour" being a thousand miles away or next door), there must be conflict. Separation means conflict, that is very simple. And we have lived in conflict, we are used to conflict and to separation. You see India as a unit - geographical, political, economical, social, cultural, and the same goes for Europe, and America, and Russia: separate units, each against the other, and all this separation is bound to breed war. This doesn't mean that we must all agree, or if we disagree that I am doing battle with you; there is no disagreement whatsoever, or agreement, when you see something as it is. It is only when you have opinions about what you see, that there is disagreement and that there is separation. When you and I see that it is the moon, then there is no disagreement, it is the moon. But if you think it is something, and I think it is something else, then there must be division and hence conflict. So in seeing a tree, when you actually see it, there is no division between you and the tree, there is no observer seeing the tree.
We were talking one day to a very learned doctor, who had taken a drug called L.S.D., a minute dosage, and there were two doctors beside him with a tape recorder registering what he was saying. After a few seconds he saw the flowers on the table in front of him, and between those flowers and himself there was no space. It doesn't mean he identified himself with those flowers, but there was no space, which means that there was no observer. We are not advocating that you should take L.S.D., because it has its own deleterious effects; and also when you take such things you become a slave to them. But there is a much simpler, more direct, more natural way, which is to observe for yourself a tree, a flower, the face of a person; to look at any one of them, and so look that the space between you and them is non-existent. And you can only look that way when there is love - that word which has been so misused.
We will not go into the question of love for the time being, but when you have this sense of real observation, real seeing, then that seeing brings with it this extraordinary elimination of time and space which comes about when there is love. And you cannot have love without recognising beauty. You may talk about beauty, write, design, but if you have no love nothing is beautiful. Being without love means that you are not totally sensitive. And because you are not totally sensitive you are degenerating. This country is degenerating. Don't say, "Aren't other countries degenerating too?" - of course they are, but you are degenerating, though technically you may be an extraordinarily good engineer, a marvellous lawyer, technician, know how to run computers; but you are degenerating because you are not sensitive to the whole process of living.
Our fundamental problem then is - not how to stop wars, not which god is better than another god, not which political system or economic system is better, not which party is worth voting for (they are all crooked anyhow), but the most fundamental problem for the human being, whether he is in America, India, Russia, or anywhere else, is this question of freedom from "the little corner". And that little corner is ourselves, that little corner is your shoddy little mind. We have made that little corner, because our own little minds are fragmented and therefore incapable of being sensitive to the whole; we want that little part to be made safe, peaceful, quiet, satisfying, pleasurable, thereby avoiding all pain, because, fundamentally, we are seeking pleasure. And if you have examined pleasure, your own pleasure, have observed it, watched it, gone into it, you will see that where there is pleasure, there is pain. You cannot have one without the other; and we are always demanding more pleasure and therefore inviting more pain. And on that we have built this part, which we call human life. Seeing is to be intimately in contact with it and you cannot be intimately, actually in contact with it if you have concepts, beliefs, dogmas, or opinions.
So what is important is not to learn but to see and to listen. Listen to the birds, listen to your wife's voice, however imtating, beautiful or ugly, listen to it and listen to your own voice however beautiful, ugly, or impatient it may be. Then out of this listening you will find that all separation between the observer and the observed comes to an end. Therefore no conflict exists and you observe so carefully that the very observation is discipline; you don't have to impose discipline. And that is the beauty, Sirs (if you only realize it), that is the beauty of seeing. If you can see, you have nothing else to do, because in that seeing there is all discipline, all virtue, which is attention. And in that seeing there is all beauty, and with beauty there is love. Then when there is love you have nothing more to do. Then where you are, you have heaven; then all seeking comes to an end.
Awakening of Intelligence
Part 5, Public Talks Madras 1968
The Awakening of Intelligence Part V Chapter 1 1st Public Talk Madras 3rd January 1968 'The Art of Seeing'
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