Wholeness of Life
Longer, Unedited Versions
Saanen 7th Public Talk 24th July 1977.
It is really a lovely morning - I don't know why you are sitting in this hot tent!
There are several things that we ought to talk over together, though we have discussed many things, many human problems, and to go beyond all those problems, to be free. I would like this morning, if I may, to go into rather perhaps complex problems, complex issues, and I think they should be talked over together. Perhaps some of you are here for the first time, so if I may point out this is not a lecture where you listen, agreeing or disagreeing, or are put to sleep by the words, however eloquent they may be. But we are travelling together on a journey of a serious character, and unless one partakes in that journey, shares and walks in that journey seriously, what we are saying will have very little importance and very little effect - not that one wants to make an effect.
We have talked about authority; we have talked about fear, pleasure, love, sorrow and the very deep issue of death. And also we said during these talks - and I believe this is the last talk - we said man has developed through centuries a great deal of skill, and that skill gives him certain importance, prestige and money. But without clarity, which comes through compassion, that skill becomes merely a destructive factor in life. We have talked a great deal about that too.
Now if we may, let us talk over together the question of decision, whether it is necessary to decide at all, and the place of will; and also we are going to discuss or talk over together the question of time and space. And perhaps if we have time we can go into the question of meditation too. So we are going to talk over together the machinery that makes one decide, the action that is born of will, and what is the nature and the structure of time, and the importance of space. And from there move, if we can, into the question of what is meditation.
Meditation is not something separate from all that we have talked about. It is not at the end of the parcel. When we talked about authority, that is part of meditation, the nature of fear and whether man can ever be free of fear both outwardly and inwardly, and the structure and the pursuit of pleasure. All that is part of meditation. And we also talked about the nature of love. And to investigate together you need a certain quality of mind that is meditative, that is not jumping to conclusions, that is not affirming or rejecting, but investigating - investigating without any prejudice, without any conclusion, without any end. After all that is a good scientist - not the scientist that is employed by governments, but the scientist who really wants to find truth, at whatever level. And also we talked about relationship, the importance of human relationship without conflict. That was also the deeper meaning of meditation.
So we would like this morning, if we may, to talk over together - and we mean talk over together, though the speaker is sitting on a platform using words, we are taking the journey together, walking together, exploring together because we have created this monstrous world, the world that is becoming mad with violence, division, wars, sorrow and all the rest of it. So as we have created the society in which we live, we are responsible to bring about a transformation in that immoral society. So it is our responsibility as a human being. And each human being is the representative of total humanity - we talked about that. So we are taking a journey, exploration, an investigation together into why human beings decide - decide to do this and decide not to do that, to become this or not that, to follow somebody or not to follow somebody. All our life is a process of decision. And we are asking if you are aware that your life is based on various forms of deciding. We should also ask why we decide at all. Is it necessary - both physiologically in the world of technology, and also psychologically, inwardly, what is the necessity of any form of decision? This is very important because when we are going to go into the question of meditation one must know the nature of decision, because meditation is not something you decide, it is not something that is set down by some guru, or some neurotic person. So it is very important to understand why human beings throughout the world for millenia upon millenia have always exercised this faculty of decision.
What is decision made of, what is the cause of decision? Would you decide if you are very clear? Is there any decision necessary when you see something very, very dangerous? Is there any necessity for decision? That is to act in a certain manner, or not to act in another way. Is the mind capable of observing the totality of the movement of thought, the totality, the wholeness of thought, the holistic - the meaning of the word 'holistic' is the same as the other - whole. Whole means, the root meaning of that word is health, sanity, and holy - H-O-L-Y. That means the whole totality of life, not just departmentalized life.
Now we are asking: when there is decision there is always resistance. Right? One decides to do something and then there is always the uncertainty whether it is the right thing to do, there is always anxiety that your decision should be made upon something reasoned out, clarity, which has deep significance. So we are questioning that: whether there is a way of living in daily life, in which there is no decision at all? It is like a tremendous river with a volume of water with great depth, it moves, if there is any obstruction it goes round it, but it is always moving. It is only when there is no total movement of that nature, holistic movement, then there comes decision. Please see this for yourself. We are taking the journey together. I am not talking to myself and you agreeing or disagreeing, we are thinking this out together very deeply. So please be serious.
We are going to find out in our examination whether it is possible to live a life where there is a holistic movement, a movement that is whole, non-fragmented. And when there is a movement of such nature there is no necessity for decision at all. And that implies an action of will. What is will? Why do we depend so much on will? I will do this, and I will not do that. This is good, that is bad, that I'll follow - the capacity to exercise will. And we think will is part of freedom - free will and all the rest of it. We are going to question all that together, because we have questioned everything here. Right? We have questioned all the religious attitudes. We have questioned authority. We have questioned whether human beings can be utterly, totally and completely free of fear. And also we are questioning what is love and so on because when one accepts, obeys and follows, you end up in uncertainty. But if you begin with uncertainty, that is, you are questioning, doubting, then you end up in certainty. But we unfortunately start the other way.
And we are asking what is the nature of will and why is it that human beings depend on that capacity, and give such importance to the man who has strong will? So we are going to ask together what is the nature and the structure of will? Will is desire, heightened, strengthened by constant exercise of desire. It is the essence of desire - will. And where there is desire there must be illusion. We went into it the other day. And so we are asking whether will in action does not lead to not only illusion but to every form of resistance and therefore exclusion, therefore isolation? And is it possible to live a daily life without any kind of will?
We are educated from childhood to the exercise of will. You must when you are children concentrate, you must obey, you must do this, you cannot do that. And our whole way of life is based on that. And will implies choice. Right? I hope we are carefully reasoning together, logically, sanely, going into this question. We are not asserting anything. We are reasonable people, I hope, serious people, therefore we are capable of examining without any prejudice, conclusion, belief. So we are saying where there is will there is choice. Right? And choice comes about when there is no clarity, both objectively and inwardly. When there is no clarity then the choice begins and I choose to do that, which is the exercise of will, which is the essence of desire. We went also into the question of what is desire? We said desire is the movement of seeing, perception, contact, sensation. And thought makes that sensation into desire, and the image that goes with the desire. I won't go into all that - there is no time for all that now. We have explained enough, about what is the nature and the structure of desire.
So we are questioning what is the necessity of choice, and from choice the exercise of will, and will is the essence of desire. I hope you are following all this. When there is clarity, to see things exactly as they are, not romantically, emotionally, with prejudice, with what you would like it to be, but to see things absolutely as they are in daily life, brings about an extraordinary quality of clarity. Right? And when there is clarity there is no need for the exercise of will or choice. You see this? See the beauty of it. So one can live in daily life without any kind of will, choice or resistance. If there is something that is an impediment, you go round it, move like water. So there is - this is rather interesting, I am just discovering it - there is a movement which is likened to water. A river cleanses itself as it moves, but if there is too much pollution dropped in it, it can never clean itself. That is what is happening to us. Society, education, authority - except the authority of the surgeon, doctor, and so on, we have discussed that very clearly - so the stream is constantly being polluted, our human life, which is really a marvellous stream if there is no pollution. And one of the deep causes of this pollution is this lack of clarity. When there is lack of clarity there is choice, will and action, confined to a very narrow field. If you see that, not theoretically, intellectually or merely through words, but actually have an insight into the nature of this activity of will then that very insight clears away the pollution which is called the will. Right?
We have also talked about when there is clarity, that clarity must go with compassion. You can be very clear intellectually - most thoughtful, intellectual people are very, very clear, but their clarity is limited because there is no compassion with it. We went into the nature of compassion. We said compassion comes through the understanding of pleasure - please follow this. Compassion is like a flower that is born, you cannot be compassionate, you cannot cultivate compassion, you cannot cultivate love, but when you understand the nature and the structure of pleasure, whether it is sexual, or the pleasure of a position, a status and so on - the pleasure, the pursuit of pleasure. That pursuit of pleasure is the movement of thought in time. And without understanding pleasure, love becomes a very shoddy little affair. And we went also into where there is suffering, various forms of suffering which we talked over together the other day, out of that suffering with the understanding of what love is, compassion is born. That compassion is not mine, nor yours. Out of that compassion comes intelligence.
So intelligence cannot operate when there is the activity of will. I wonder if you see this? Will is desire. Desire is not compassion. We went through this very deeply the other day. So we are asking - taking the journey together, exploring together - whether it is possible to live a life in which the action of will doesn't exist at all, which means effort, the constant effort brought about through the action of will? To have an insight into this is to be free of it completely. And we said to have an insight the mind must be empty - empty of your conclusions, your prejudices, your experiences, your hopes - must be empty to have an insight from which arises intelligence. We talked about this the other day. Right? So to have an insight into the whole nature and the structure of will and decision, out of which comes this enormous trouble. So there is an ending to effort, struggle, and all the forms of resistance, and escapes and neuroticism, when you understand the nature and the structure of will, which is born of choice and effort. Right.
From there we can move to the question of time. We are going into this because it is necessary to understand the whole movement of meditation. Because that word has been ruined, polluted by all the systems, the various forms of assertions, by the gurus - you know, they have recently invaded this country, Europe, with this word meditation. And one must understand together the nature of time because for us time is very important, both chronologically as well as psychologically. We are talking over together the psychological movement of time, not the time by the watch. The time by the watch is absolutely necessary otherwise you and I wouldn't be here at 10.30. Or if you want to catch a bus, and so on and so on, such time, chronological time is necessary. But we are going to investigate together - and we mean together - what is psychological time upon which we depend so enormously?
Surely time is movement. That is very simple. From here to there, both chronologically as well as psychologically. A distance to be covered, a distance between 'what is' and 'what should be'. The distance to arrive at a goal, at a purpose requires time. If one wants to learn a language that requires time. So perhaps we have brought over from the learning of something which requires time, into the field of the psyche. Do you follow? You understand what I am saying? You need time to learn a new technique, to drive a car, to learn a language, to understand and work the electronics and so on, you need a great deal of time to fly an aeroplane. That same attitude has brought over into the psychological field: we need time to be perfect. We need time to get over something. We need time to be free of our anxieties, to be free of our sorrow, to be free of our fears and so on. See what we have done. Where time is necessary, which is in the field of technology, that need has been introduced into the psychological world and we have accepted it. For all nations to wipe away their nationalities needs time. To become brotherly we need time and so on and so on. Now we are questioning that together. We are questioning whether there is any psychological time at all. Because psychological time implies hope - the world is mad, let's hope in the future there will be a sane world. So we are questioning together whether there is an action which is not involved in time at all. We are meeting together? Action brought about by a cause, by a motive needs time. Right? Action which has a pattern of memory, and to put that pattern into action needs time. If you have an ideal, however noble, however beautiful, romantic and all the rest of it, however nonsensical even, it needs time to arrive at that idealistic state. So to arrive at that, destroy the present. It doesn't matter what happens to you but what is important is the future. For the sake of the marvellous future sacrifice yourself! And that future is established by the ideologists - Marx, Engles, you know, all the rest of it, all the religious teachers and so on, throughout the world. So we are questioning that: whether there is any psychological time at all, and therefore - please go into this very carefully - no hope? Dante in his Inferno, said, those who enter here have no hope. You know, all that. We are questioning this. This is a very serious thing. Please don't come to any conclusion yet - "What shall I do if I have no hope?" Hope is so important because it gives you satisfaction, energy, drive, to achieve something.
Now when you look closely, non-sentimentally, logically, is there psychological time at all? There is psychological time only when you move away from 'what is'. Right? You are getting this? That is, there is psychological time when one realizes one is violent, and one proceeds to enquire how to be free of it, that movement away from 'what is' is time. But after investigation and so on, if one is totally completely aware of 'what is', then there is no time. I wonder if you see this. Do you?
Look: most of us are violent. Violence is not only hitting somebody physically - anger, jealousy, acceptance of authority, conformity, imitation, accepting the edicts of another - all those are forms of violence. And human beings are violent. That is the fact, violence. The very word condemns it. I don't know if you see it. The very usage of the word 'violence', by that usage you have already condemned violence. Right? See the intricacies of this. So being violent and not being capable, or negligent, or lazy, we move away from it and invent ideological non-violence. That is time. The movement from 'what is' to 'what should be'. Right? Now that time comes to an end completely when there is only 'what is', which is non verbal identification with 'what is'. Get it sirs? I am just finding it out. Come on!
There is anger, which is a form of violence, or hatred, jealousy. The word 'anger', the word 'jealousy', 'hate', in themselves are condemnatory. When one sees one is angry and says, "I have been angry", that verbalization of a reaction strengthens the reaction. I wonder if you see that? Do you? I am angry. When I say, "I am angry", it is I have recognized from the past angers the present anger, so I am using the word 'anger' which is the past, and identifying with that word the present. So the word becomes extraordinarily important. But if there is no usage of that word but only the fact, the reaction - are you following this? - then there is no strengthening of that feeling.
So we are saying that it is possible to live psychologically without tomorrow. You understand? "I love you, I will meet you tomorrow." Which is the remembrance of that affection, or whatever it is, in memory and projected tomorrow. See the importance of all this sirs. So that there is an activity without time at all. Love is not time. Right? Love is not a remembrance. If it is, it is not love, obviously. "I love you because you gave me sex, or you gave me food, or flattered me, or you said you needed a companion, I am lonely therefore I need you" - all that is not love surely? When you are jealous, when there is anxiety, hatred, that is not love. So then what is love? Love is obviously a state of mind in which there is no verbalization, no remembrance, but an immediate fact.
So it is possible through very careful examination, observing, which is totally different from analysis - we went into that, and there is no time now. My goodness there is so much to talk about! So there is a way of living in daily life where time as movement from this to that, has gone. Do you know what that means? What happens when you do that? You have an extraordinary vitality, an extraordinary sense of clarity. You are then only dealing with facts, not with ideas. But as most of us are imprisoned in ideas and we have accepted that as a way of life, it is very difficult to break away from that. But to have an insight into it, then it is finished. Right?
Then there is the question of space. I think, if one may point out, it is very important to understand this. When we talk about space, we conceive space, or look at space from an object. Right? But to look, to observe space, or to be aware of space without the object, and therefore without the subject. You understand this? Please look at it, let's go slowly into this. Because our minds are so cluttered up - with knowledge, with worries, with problems, with money, with position, prestige, you know, so burdened, there is no space at all. Right? And without space there is no order. Right? And we are asking: what is space? Look, we are sitting here and we know the space from this tent. From a centre observe: or observe without a centre. Which means to observe without the centre implies non-verbalization. This becomes too difficult for you. May I go on? You are sure?
Space implies no direction. Right? When I look at this valley from a height, if there is a direction because I want to see where I live, then I lose the vast space. Just see the sanity of it. So where there is direction there is no space. Where there is a purpose, a goal, something to be achieved, there is no space. Right? Look at it sirs, don't agree. Look at yourself. If I have a purpose in life and for which I am living, concentrating, where is the space? I have very little space. Whereas if there is no direction, there is vast space. Look at it. Go into it. You will see it for yourself.
So where there is an object, a centre and from that centre we look, then space is very, very limited. When there is no centre, no object, no structure of the 'me' put together by thought, there is vast space. And without space there is no order, there is no clarity, there is no compassion. Because our lives are very limited, enclosed and to break that enclosure we do all kinds of things.
So where there is resistance there is no space. Right? Where there is a centre from which you are acting, there is no space. Where there is direction, a motive, an end in view, there is no space. But space is necessary. Space is necessary because - the word 'because' implies cause, remove it! - it is necessary to have space. When there is space you can observe very clearly. From the top of a mountain on a clear day you see everything, the beauty of the whole valley, the mountains, the clarity. But our minds are so heavily conditioned, so heavily burdened, there is no space. Now to have an insight into it. Right? To see how important it is to have space.
From there we can go into the question of meditation. But without understanding all that - that is, the freedom from all authority, from all psychological authority, to be completely free psychologically of any imposition by another. Right? There is no guru, no teacher and therefore you have to be completely and totally a light to yourself. And we said every human being is the representative of all humanity. Then when he is a light to himself - you understand? - he lights the world, lights the rest of humanity. You understand this?
And we said there is no possibility of meditation, and the depth of it, and the beauty of it, the greatness of it, when there is any form of fear - obviously. Fear distorts, fear clouds the mind. And also we said if we do not understand the nature and the structure of pleasure then you turn meditation into an act of pleasure, and pursue that pleasure through various practices - the Zen, the various systems, methods, and all the rest of it. That is still the pursuit of pleasure, to be gained at the end. And we said the pursuit of pleasure is the movement of thought. Thought is memory, stored up in the brain as knowledge and experience. And the response of memory is thought. Thought is time, not the chronological time only but the whole nature of time psychologically.
So there must be compassion, clarity, skill. After that we can examine, go into the question of meditation, knowing or living where there is no effort, where there is no action of will, where there is tremendous space. Then what is meditation? We said from the beginning of these talks until now, all that is part of meditation. If you have not taken the journey deeply together you cannot go into this very deeply, you may superficially talk about it, but you cannot really understand or live the greatness of meditation. Which is not that you must meditate. The idea to determine to meditate is the most absurd action. "I will meditate, spend twenty minutes in the morning, twenty minutes in the afternoon, twenty minutes in the evening" - that is a siesta! It is nothing else but absurd nonsense.
But understanding the nature of all this, and in that understanding comes great beauty, not only the observation of the beauty of the mountains, of the hills, the rivers and nature, but also the beauty of a person, whether it be a man or a woman, the beauty. Beauty exists only when there is no me. Not the beauty of a picture painted by a well known artist, painter, or by Michelangelo etc., etc. You may look at it, go to a museum and observe it, see the lines, the colours, the shapes, how it is grouped together, all the rest of it, but when there is no me there is beauty and you need not go to any museum. And that is part of meditation, to see the enormous greatness of beauty.
So what then is meditation? We have only dealt with the waves - authority, fear - the waves on the surface of an ocean. Now if you have gone so far we are going into the depth of the ocean. You understand? We have only dealt with the superficiality of it - of course you must understand it, be free of it, know how to dive deeply - not you dive - it comes about.
First of all there is a difference between concentration, choiceless awareness and attention. (Please, are you all tired? I am afraid there is no other talk so please pay attention to this. There will be a discussion on Wednesday - five dialogues between us. But if you are tired it doesn't matter, don't listen. Don't make an effort to listen because that is a waste.) There are these three things which we must understand: concentration, choiceless awareness and attention. Concentration implies resistance - concentration on a particular thing, on the page you are reading, or on the phrase you are trying to understand: to concentrate, to put all your energy in a particular direction. That is one thing. I needn't enlarge on that, need I? In that concentration there is resistance and therefore there is effort and division. I want to concentrate, thought goes off on something else, I bring it back. The fight. And if you love something you concentrate very easily. All that is implied in the word to concentrate, to put your mind on a particular object, or a particular picture, a particular action. That is one thing.
Choiceless awareness implies to be aware both objectively, outside, and inwardly, without any choice. Just to be aware of the colours, of the tent, of the trees, the mountains, nature - just to be aware. Not choose, say, "I like this", "I don't like that" or "I want this", "I don't want that". Right? To observe without the observer. The observer is the past, which is conditioned, therefore he is always looking from that conditioned point of view, therefore there is like and dislike, my race, your race, my god, your god, and all the rest of it. We are saying to be aware implies to observe the whole environment around you, the mountains, the trees, the ugly wars, the towns, aware, look at it. And in that observation there is no decision, no will, no choice. Get it? You understand it?
And attention - concentration, choiceless awareness and attention. In attending there is no centre. Right? You are completely attentive. Are you now - if I may ask - attending to what is being said? If you are completely, totally attending there is no you who is attending - is there? You understand? If you are listening completely with your heart and with your blood, everything, there is no me attending. Right? There is no me that limits that attention. Then attention is limitless. Right? Therefore attention then has complete space. Attention then is not directed. Whereas concentration is, therefore it limits space.
So we have to go into this very deeply and see if you have it. After understanding all the waves on the surface - fear, authority, all those petty little affairs compared to what we are going into. So the mind then - because insight implies emptiness - emptying the whole of the consciousness of its content. Empty it. Which is not through action of will, which is not through desire, which is not through choice, but seeing the nature of consciousness, your consciousness, not mine, your consciousness, with its content - fear, anxiety, my country, your country, I must be good - the content of it, sorrow, longing, loneliness, the ache of that loneliness, separation, conflict, all that is the content of your consciousness. Right? And the content makes consciousness. Without the content there is no consciousness. You understand? Now we are saying when you have an insight into all this naturally there comes about the emptying of the content. Therefore consciousness is totally different, is of a totally different dimension.
And meditation then is: because there is space, because there is emptiness there is total silence - not induced silence, not practised silence, which are all just the movement of thought and therefore absolutely worthless - but when you have gone through all this - and there is great delight in going through all this, it is like playing a tremendous game - then in that total silence there is a movement which is timeless, which is not measured by thought because thought has no place in it whatsoever. And therefore there is something totally sacred, timeless. May I go?
Wholeness of Life
Longer, Unedited Versions
Saanen 7th Public Talk 24th July 1977.
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