Five Conversations 2nd Conversation
In Europe spring was slipping into summer. It began in the warm south with mimosa, and then came the flowering fruit trees and the lilac, and the blue sky deepened; and you followed it north where spring was late. The chestnuts were just putting out their leaves and there were no blossoms on them yet. And the lilac was still in bud. And as you watched, the chestnut leaves became bigger, thicker, and covered the road and the view across the meadow. They were now in full bloom along the avenues in the woods, and the lilac, which had already faded in the south, was in bloom. There was a white lilac in a little yard; there were few leaves, but the white bloom seemed to cover the horizon. And as you went up north, spring was just beginning. The tulips, whole fields of them, were in bloom, and the ducks had their yellow little chicks who paddled rapidly after the mother in the still water of the canal. The lilac was still in bloom and the trees were still bare, and as the days went by spring was ripening. And the flat earth, with its vast horizon and clouds so low you felt you could touch them, stretched from side to side.
Spring was in full glory here; there was no separateness. The tree and you and those ducks with their little chicks, the tulips and the vast expanse of the sky - there was no separation. The intensity of it made the colour of the tulip, the lily and the tender green leaf, so vivid, so close, that the senses were the flowers, the man and the woman who went by on their bicycles, and the crow high up in the air. There is really no separateness between the new grass, the child and yourself: we do not know how to look, and the looking is the meditation.
He was a young man, bright, clear-eyed and urgent. He said he was thirty-five or so, and had a good job. He was not bothered by nationalism, racial disturbances or the conflicts of religious beliefs. He said he had a problem and hoped he could discuss it without being vulgar, without slipping into crude expressions. He said he was married and had a child, and the child was lovely, and he hoped she would grow up into a different world. His problem was, he said, sex. It was not the adjustment to his wife, nor was there another woman in his life. He said it was becoming a problem because he seemed to be consumed by it. His job, which he did fairly well, was wrapped up with his sexual thoughts. He wanted more and more of it - the pleasure and the enjoyment, the beauty and the tenderness of it. He didn't want to make it into a problem, as it was with most people who were either frigid or made the whole of life a sexual issue. He loved his wife and he felt he was beginning to use her for his own personal pleasure; and now his appetite was growing and not lessening with the years, and it was becoming a great burden.
Before we go into this problem I think we should understand what love and chastity are. The vow of chastity is not chastity at all, for below the words the craving goes on, and trying to suppress it in different ways, religious and otherwise, is a form of ugliness which, in its very essence, is unchaste. The chastity of the monk, with his vows and denials, is essentially worldliness, which is unchaste. All forms of resistance build a wall of separateness which turns life into a battlefield; and so life becomes not chaste at all. Therefore one has to understand the nature of resistance. Why do we resist at all? Is it the outcome of tradition, fear - fear of going wrong, of stepping out of line?
Society has imprinted its respectability so deeply on us that we want to conform. If we had no resistance at all, would we become unbalanced? Would our appetites increase? Or, is this very resistance breeding the conflict and the neurosis?
To walk through life without resistance is to be free, and freedom, whatever it does, will always be chaste. The word "chastity" and the word "sex" are brutal words; they do not represent reality. Words are false, and love is not a word. When love is pleasure, there is pain and fear in it, and so love goes out of the window, and life becomes a problem. Why is it that we have made sex into such an enormous issue - not only in our personal lives but also in the magazines, the films, the pictures, the religious which have condemned it? Why has man given such extraordinary importance to this fact of life, and not to the other facts of life, like power and cruelty?
To deny sex is another form of brutality; it is there, it is a fact. When we are intellectual slaves, endlessly repeating what others have said, when we are following, obeying, imitating, then a whole avenue of life is closed; when action is merely a mechanical repetition and not a free movement, then there is no release; when there is this incessant urge to fulfil, to be, then we are emotionally thwarted, there is a blockage. So sex becomes the one issue which is our very own, which is not second-hand. And in the act of sex there is a forgetting of oneself, one's problems and one's fears. In that act there is no self at all. This self-forgetfulness is not only in sex, but comes also with drink, or drugs, or in watching some game. It is this self-forgetfulness that we are seeking, identifying ourselves with certain acts or with certain ideologies and images, and so sex becomes a problem. Then chastity becomes a thing of great importance, or the enjoyment of sex, the chewing over it, the endless images, become equally important.
When we see this whole thing, what we make of love, of sex, of self-indulgence, of taking vows against it - when we see this whole picture, not as an idea but as an actual fact, then love, sex and chastity are one. They are not separate. It is the separation in relationship that corrupts. Sex can be as chaste as the blue sky without a cloud; but the cloud comes and darkens, with thought. Thought says: "This is chaste, and this is indulgence", "This must be controlled," and "In this I will let myself go". So thought is the poison, not love, not chastity, not sex.
That which is innocent, whatever it does, is always chaste; but innocence is not the product of thought.
Five Conversations 2nd Conversation
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