Five Conversations 1st Conversation
Meditation is the way of total transformation of man's mania. Man is caught in principles and ideologies which prevent him from putting an end to the conflict between himself and another. The ideology of nationality and religion and the obstinacy of his own vanity is destroying man. This destructive process goes on throughout the world. Man has tried to end it through tolerance, conciliation, through the exchange of words, and face-saving devices - but he remains entrenched in his own conditioning.
Goodness does not lie in dogma, nor in the vanity of principle and formula. These deny love, and meditation is the flowering of that love.
The valley was very still that early morning. Even the owl had stopped calling his mate; his deep hoot had ceased an hour earlier. The sun wasn't up yet and the stars were still brilliant. One star was just setting over the western hills and the light from the east was slowly spreading. As the sun rose, the rocks, with dew on them, were shining, and the cactus and the leaves became silver, highly polished. And the beauty of the land began to awaken.
The monkeys were on the veranda now, two of them, red-faced, with brown coats, and tails not too long. One was scratching the other looking for insects, and when he found them he picked them out carefully and swallowed them. They were restless, and they jumped off the veranda on to the branch of a large rain tree and wandered off into the gully.
Even though the village had awakened there was still the stillness of the night. It was a peculiar stillness. It was not the absence of noise. It was not that the mind brought about the stillness or conceived it out of its own endless chattering. It was a stillness that came without asking, without any cause. And the hills, the trees, the people, the monkeys, the crows which were calling, were all in it. And it would go on until the evening. Only man was not aware of it. It would be there again when the night came, and the rocks would know it, and the newly planted banyan tree, and the lizard between the rocks. There were four or five people in the room. Some were students, others college graduates with jobs. One of the students said:
"I listened to you last year, and again this year. I know we are all conditioned. I am aware of society's brutalities, and of my own envy and anger. I know also the history of the church and its wars and its unprincipled activities. I have studied history and the endless wars of the entrenched beliefs and ideologies which are creating so much conflict in the world. This mania of man - which is me also - seems to hold us and we seem to be doomed forever, unless, of course, we can bring about a change in ourselves. It's the small minority that really matters, that really having changed itself can do something in this murderous world. And a few of us have come, representing others, to discuss this matter with you. I think some of us are serious, and I don't know how far this seriousness will carry us. So, first of all, taking us as we are, half-serious, somewhat hysterical, unreasonable, carried away by our assumptions and vanities - taking us as we are, can we really change? If not, we're going to destroy each other; our own species will disappear. There may be a reconciliation in all this terror but there is always the danger of some maniacal group letting loose the atom bomb, and then we shall all be engulfed in it. So seeing all this, which is fairly obvious, which is being described endlessly by authors, professors, sociologists, politicians and so on - is it possible to change radically?"
Some of us are not quite sure that we want to change, for we enjoy this violence. For some of us it is even profitable. And for others, all they desire is to remain in their entrenched positions. There are still others who through change seek some form of super excitement, over-rated emotional expression. Most of us want power in some form or another. The power over oneself, the power over another, the power which comes with new and brilliant ideas, the power of leadership, fame, and so on. Political power is as evil as religious power. The power of the world and the power of an ideology do not change man. Nor does the volition to change, the will to transform oneself, bring about this change.
"l can understand that," said the student."Then what is the way of change if will, if principles and ideologies are not the way? Then what is the motive power? And change - to what?"
The older people in the room listened to this rather seriously. They were all attentive, and not one of them looked out of the window to see the green-yellow bird sitting on a branch sunning himself that early morning, preening himself, grooming his feathers and looking at the world from the height of that tall tree.
One of the older men said:I am not at all sure that I want any change at all. It might be for the worse. It's better, this orderly disorder, than an order which may mean uncertainty, total insecurity and chaos. So when you talk of how to change, and the necessity of change, I am not at all sure I agree with you, my friend. As a speculative idea I enjoy it. but a revolution which will deprive me of my job, my house, my family and so on, is a most unpleasant idea and I don't think I want it. You're young, and you can play with these ideas. All the same, I will listen and see what the outcome of this discussion will be."
The students looked at him with that superiority of freedom, with that sense of not being committed to a family, to a group, or to a political or religious party. They had said they were neither capitalist not communists; they were not concerned with political activity at all. They smiled with tolerance and a certain feeling of awkwardness. There is that gap which exists between the older and the younger generations, and they were not going to try to bridge it.
"We are the uncommitted," the student went on, "and therefore we are not hypocrites. Of course we don't know what we want to do, but we know what is not right. We don't want social, racial differences, we're not concerned with all these silly religious beliefs and superstitions, nor do we want political leaders - though there must be a totally different kind of politics which will prevent wars. So we are really concerned, and we want to be involved in the possibilities of man's total transformation. So, to put the question again: firstly, what is this thing that is going to make us change? And secondly - change to what?"
Surely, the second question is involved in the first, isn't it? If you already know what you are changing to, is that change at all? If one knows what one will be tomorrow, then `what will be' is already in the present. The future is the present; the known future is the known present. The future is the projection, modified, of what is known now.
"Yes, I see that very clearly. So there is only, then, the question of change, not the verbal definition of what we change to. So we'll limit ourselves to the first question. How do we change? What is the drive, the motive, the force that will make us break down all barriers?"
Only complete inaction, only the complete negation of `what is'. We do not see the great force that is in negation. If you reject the whole structure of principle and formula, and hence the power derived from it, the authority, that very rejection gives you the force necessary to reject all other structures of thought - and so you have the energy to change! The rejection is that energy.
"Is this what you call 'dying' to the historical accumulation which is the present?"
Yes. That very dying is to be born anew. There you have the whole movement of change - the dying to the known.
"Is this rejection a positive, definite act?"
When the students revolt it is a positive, definite act, but such action is only very partial and fragmentary. It is not a total rejection. When you ask: "Is it a positive act, this dying, this rejection?" - it is and it isn't. When you positively leave a house and enter into another house your positive action ceases to be positive action at all because you have abandoned one power structure for another, which you will again have to leave. So this constant repetition which appears to be a positive action, is really inaction. But if you reject the desire and the search for all inward security, then it is a total negation which is a most positive action. It is this action only which transforms man. If you reject hate and envy, in every form, you are rejecting the whole structure of what man has created in himself and outside himself. It is very simple. One problem is related to every other problem.
"So, is this what you call `seeing the problem'?"
This seeing reveals the whole structure and nature of the problem. The "seeing" is not the analyzing of the problem; it is not the revealing of the cause and the effect. It is all there, laid out, as it were, on a map. It is there for you to see, and you can see it only if you have no stand from which to look, and this is our difficulty. We are committed, and inwardly it gives us great pleasure to "belong". When we belong, then it is not possible to see; when we belong, we become irrational, violent, and then we want to end violence by belonging to something else. And so we are caught in a vicious circle. And this is what man has done for millions of years and he vaguely calls this "evolution." Love is not at the end of time. Either it is now, or it isn't. And hell is when it is not, and the reformation of hell is the decoration of the same hell.
Five Conversations 1st Conversation
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