London 5th Public Talk 23rd April 1952
Perhaps this evening we could go into the problem of effort. It seems to me that it is very important to understand the approach we make to any conflict, to any problem with which we are faced. We are concerned, are we not?, most of us, with the action of will. And to us, effort is most essential in every form; to us, to live without effort seems incredible leading to stagnation and to deterioration. And if we can go into that problem of effort, I think perhaps it will be profitable; because we may then be able to understand what is truth without exercising will, without making an effort, by being capable of perceiving directly what is. But to do that, we must understand this question of effort; and I hope we can go into it without any opposition, any resistance.
For most of us, our whole life is based on effort, some kind of volition. And we cannot conceive of an action without volition, without effort; our life is based on it. Our social, economic, and so-called spiritual life is a series of efforts, always culminating in a certain result. And we think effort is essential, necessary. So we are now going to find out if it is possible to live differently, without this constant battle.
Why do we make effort? Is it not, put simply, in order to achieve a result to become something, to reach a goal? And if we do not make an effort, we think we shall stagnate. We have an idea about the goal towards which we are constantly striving; and this striving has become part of our life. If we want to alter ourselves, if we want to bring about a radical change in ourselves, we make a tremendous effort to eliminate the old habits, to resist the habitual environmental influences, and so on. So we are used to this series of efforts in order to find or achieve something, in order to live at all. And is not all such effort the activity of the self? Is not effort self-centred activity? And, if we make an effort from the centre of the self, it must inevitably produce more conflict, more confusion, more misery. Yet we keep on making effort after effort. And very few of us realize that the self-centred activity of effort does not clear up any of our problems. On the contrary, it increases our confusion and our misery and our sorrow. We know this. And yet we continue hoping somehow to break through this self-centred activity of effort, the action of the will.
That is our problem, - is it possible to understand anything without effort? Is it possible to see what is real, what is true, without introducing the action of will? - which is essentially based on the self, the me. And if we do not make an effort, is there not a danger of deterioration, of going to sleep, of stagnation? Perhaps this evening, as I am talking, we can experiment with this individually, and see how far we can go through this question. For I feel the thing that brings happiness, quietness, tranquillity of the mind, does not come through any effort. A truth is not perceived through any volition, through any action of will. And if we can go into it very carefully and diligently, perhaps we shall find the answer. How do we react when a truth is presented? Take, for example, what we were discussing the other day, - the problem of fear. We realize that our activity and our being and our whole existence would be fundamentally altered if there were no fear of any kind in us. We may see that, we may see the truth of it; and thereby there is a freedom from fear. But for most of us, when a fact, a truth, is put before us, what is our immediate response? Please, experiment with what I am saying; please do not merely listen. Watch your own reactions; and find out what happens when a truth, a fact, is put before you, - such as, "Any dependency in relationship destroys relationship". Now, when a statement of that kind is made, what is your response? Do you see, are you aware of the truth of it, and thereby dependency ceases? Or, have you an idea about the fact? Here is a statement of truth. Do we experience the truth of it, or, do we create an idea about it?
If we can understand the process of this creation of idea, then we shall perhaps understand the whole process of effort. Because, when once we have created the idea, then effort comes into being. Then the problem arises, what to do, how to act? That is, we see that psychological dependency on another is a form of self-fulfilment; it is not love; in it there is conflict, in it there is fear, in it there is dependency, which corrodes; in it there is the desire to fulfil oneself through another, jealousy, and so on. We see that psychological dependency on another embraces all these facts. Then, we proceed to create the idea, do we not? We do not directly experience the fact, the truth of it; but, we look at it, and then create an idea of how to be free from dependency. We see the implications of psychological dependence, and then we create the idea of how to be free from it. We do not directly experience the truth, which is the liberating factor. But, out of the experience of looking at that fact we create an idea. We are incapable of looking at it directly, without ideation. Then, having created the idea, we proceed to put that idea into action. Then we try to bridge the gap between idea and action, - in which effort is involved.
So, can we not look at the truth without creating ideas? It is almost instinctive with most of us, when something true is put before us, to create immediately an idea about it. And I think if we can understand why we do this so instinctively, almost unconsciously, then perhaps we shall understand if it is possible to be free from effort. So, why do we create ideas about truth? Surely that is important to find out, is it not? Either we see the truth nakedly, as it is, or we do not. But why do we have a picture about it, a symbol, a word, an image? - which necessitates a postponement, the hope of an eventual result. So, can we hesitantly and guardedly go into this process of why the mind creates the image, the idea? - that I must be this or that, I must be free from dependence, and so on. We know very well that when we see something very clearly, experience it directly, there is a freedom from it. It is that immediacy that is vital, not, the picture or the symbol of the truth, - on which all systems and philosophies and deteriorating organizations are built. So, is it not important to find out why the mind, instead of seeing the thing directly, simply, and experiencing the truth of it immediately, creates the idea about it?
I do not know if you have thought about this? It may perhaps be something new. And to find the truth of it, please do not merely resist. Do not say, "What would happen if the mind did not create the idea? It is its function to create ideas, to verbalize, to recall memories, to recognize, to calculate". We know that. But the mind is not free; and it is only when the mind is capable of looking at the truth fully, totally, completely, without any barrier, that there is a freedom.
So, our problem is, is it not? - why does the mind, instead of seeing the thing immediately and experiencing it directly, indulge in all these ideas? Is this not one of the habits of the mind? Something is presented to us; and immediately there is the old habit of creating an idea, a theory, about it. And the mind likes to live in habit. Because, without habit the mind is lost. If there is not a routine, a habitual response to which it has become accustomed, it feels confused, uncertain.
That is one aspect. Also, does not the mind seek a result? Because, in the result is permanency. And the mind hates to be uncertain. It is always seeking security in different forms, - through beliefs, through knowledge, through experience. And when that is questioned there is a disturbance, there is anxiety. And so the mind, avoiding uncertainty, seeks security for itself by making efforts to achieve a result.
I hope you are following all this, - not merely listening to me, but actually observing your own minds in operation. If you are only listening to me and not really following what I am talking about, then you will not experience, then it will remain on the verbal level. But if you can, if I may suggest it, observe your own mind in operation, and watch how it thinks, how it reacts, when a truth is put before it, then you will experience step by step what I am talking about. Then there will be an extraordinary experience. And it is this direct approach, direct experience of what truth is, that is so essential in bringing about a creative life.
So, why does the mind create these ideas, instead of directly experiencing? That is what we are trying to find out. Why does the mind intervene? We said, it is habit. Also, the mind wants to achieve a result. We all want to achieve a result. In listening to me, are you looking for a result? You are, are you not? So, the mind is seeking a result; it sees that dependency is destructive, and therefore it wants to be free of it. But the very desire to be free creates the idea. The mind is not free; but the desire to be free creates the idea of freedom as the goal to wards which it must work. And thereby effort comes into being. And that effort is self-centred; it does not bring freedom. Instead of depending on a person, you depend on an idea or on an image. So, your effort is only self-enclosing; it is not liberating. So, can the mind realizing that it is caught in habit, be free from habit? - not, have an idea that it should achieve freedom as an eventual goal, but, see the truth that the mind is caught in habit, directly experience it. And similarly, can the mind see that it is pursuing incessantly a permanency for itself, a goal which it must achieve, a god, a truth, a virtue, a being, a state, - what you will, - and is thereby bringing about this action of will, with all its complications? And when we see that, is it not possible to directly experience the truth of something without all the paraphernalia of verbalization? You may objectively see the fact; in that there is no ideation, no creation of idea, symbol, desire. But subjectively, inwardly, it is entirely different. Because there we want a result; there is the craving to be something, to achieve, to become, - in which all effort is born.
And I feel that to see what is true, from moment to moment, without any effort, but directly to experience it, is the only creative existence. Because it is only in moments of complete tranquillity that you discover something, - not, when you are making an effort, whether it is under the microscope or inwardly. It is only when the mind is not agitated, caught in habit, trying to achieve a result, trying to become something, - it is only when it is not doing that, when it is really tranquil, when there is no effort, no movement, that there is a possibility of discovering something new.
Surely, that is freedom from the self, that is the abnegation of the me, - and not the outward symbols, whether you possess this or that virtue or not. But freedom only comes into being when you understand your own processes, conscious as well as unconscious. And it is possible only when we go fully into the different processes of the mind. And as most of us live in a state of tension, in constant effort, it is essential to understand the complexity of effort, to see the truth that effort does not bring virtue, that effort is not love that effort does not bring about the freedom which truth alone can give, - which is a direct experiencing. For that, one has to understand the mind, one's own mind, - not somebody else's mind, not what somebody else says about it. Though you may read all the volumes they will be utterly useless. For you must observe your own mind, and penetrate into it deeper and deeper, and experience the thing directly as you go along. Because, there is the living quality, and not in the things of the mind. Therefore the mind, to find its own processes, must not be enclosed by its own habits, must occasionally be free to look. Therefore it is important to understand this whole process of effort. For effort does not bring about freedom. Effort is only more and more self-enclosing, more and more destructive, outwardly as well as inwardly, in relationship with one or with many.
Question: I find a regular group that meets to discuss your teachings tends to become confusing and boring. Is it better to think over these things alone, or with others?
Krishnamurti: What is important? To find out, is it not?, to discover for yourself the things about yourself. If that is your urgent, immediate instinctive necessity, then you can do it with one or with many, by yourself or with two or three. But when that is lacking, then groups become boring things. Then people who come to the groups are dominated by one or two in the group, who know everything, who are in immediate contact with the person who has already said these things. So, the one becomes the authority, and gradually exploits the many. We know this too familiar game. But people submit to it, be- cause they like being together. They like to talk, to have the latest gossip or the latest news. And so, the thing soon deteriorates. You start with a serious intention, and it becomes something ugly.
But if we are really, insistently needing to discover for ourselves what is true, then all relationship becomes important; but such people are rare. Because, we are not really serious; and so we eventually make of groups and organizations something to be avoided. So it surely depends, does it not?, on whether you are really earnest to discover these things for yourself. And this discovery can come at any moment, - not only in a group, or only when you are by yourself, but at any moment when you are aware, sensitive to the intimations of your own being. To watch yourself, - the way you talk at table, the way you talk to your neighbour, your servant, your boss, - surely all these, if one is aware, indicate the state of your own being. And it is that discovery which is important. Because it is that discovery which liberates.
Question: What, would you say, is the most creative way of meeting great grief and loss?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by "meeting"? You mean, how to approach it, what we should do about it, how to conquer it, how to be free of it, how to derive benefit from it, how to learn from it so as to avoid more suffering? Surely that is what we mean, do we not, by, how to "meet" grief?
Now, what do we mean by "grief"? Is it something apart from you? Is it something outside of you, inwardly or outwardly, which you are observing, which you are experiencing? Are you merely the observer experiencing? Or, is it something different? Surely that is an important point, is it not? When I say "I suffer", what do I mean by it? Am I different from the suffering? Surely that is the question, is it not? Let us find out.
There is sorrow, - I am not loved, my son dies, - what you will. There is one part of me that is demanding why, demanding the explanation, the reasons, the causes. The other part of me is in agony, for various reasons. And there is also another part of me which wants to be free from the sorrow, which wants to go beyond it. We are all these things, are we not? So, if one part of me is rejecting, resisting sorrow, another part of me is seeking an explanation, is caught up in theories, and another part of me is escaping from the fact, how then can I understand it totally? It is only when I am capable of integrated understanding that there is a possibility of freedom from sorrow. But if I am torn in different directions, then I do not see the truth of it.
So, it is very important to find out, is it not?, whether I am merely the observer experiencing sorrow. Please follow this question slowly and carefully. If I am merely the observer experiencing sorrow, then there are two states in my being, - the one who observes, who thinks, who experiences, and the other who is observed, - which is, the experience, the thought. So as long as there is a division there is no immediate freedom from sorrow.
Now, please listen carefully; and you will see that when there is a fact, a truth, there is understanding of it only when I can experience the whole thing without division, - and not, when there is the separation of the me observing suffering. That is the truth. Now, what is your immediate reaction to that? Is not your immediate reaction, response, - how am I to bridge the gap between the two? I recognize that there are different entities in me, - the thinker and the thought, the experiencer and the experience, the one who suffers and the one who observes the suffering. And, as long as there is a division, a separation, there is conflict. And it is only when there is integration that there is freedom from sorrow. That is the truth, that is the fact. Now, how do you respond to it? Do you see the thing immediately, and experience it directly, or do you ask the question, "How am I to bridge the division between the two entities? How am I to bring about integration?" Is that not your instinctive response? If that is so, then you are not seeing the truth. Then, your question of how to bring about integration has no value. For it is only when I can see the thing completely, wholly, without this division in myself, that there is a possibility of freedom from the thing which I call sorrow.
So, one has to find out how one looks at sorrow. Not, what the books or what anybody else says, not according to any teacher or authority, but how you regard it, how you instinctively approach it. Then you will surely find out, will you not?, if there really is this division in your mind. So long as there is that division, there must be sorrow. So long as there is the desire to be free from sorrow, to resist sorrow, to seek explanations, to avoid, then sorrow becomes the shadow, everlastingly pursuing.
So, what is very important in this question is, is it not?, how each one of us responds to psychological pain, - when we are bereaved, when we are hurt, and so on. We need not go into the causes of sorrow. But we know them very well, - the ache of loneliness, the fear of losing, not being loved, being frustrated, the loss of someone. We know all this very well; we are only too familiar with this thing called sorrow. And we have many explanations, very convenient and satisfying. But there is no freedom from sorrow. Explanations do not give freedom. They may cover up; but the thing continues. And we are trying to find out how to be free from sorrow, not, which explanations are more satisfactory. There can be freedom from sorrow only if there is an integration. And we cannot understand what integration is unless we are first aware of how we look at sorrow.
Question: For one who is caught in habit it seems impossible to see the truth of a thing instantaneously. Surely time is needed? - time to break away from one's immediate activity and really seek to go into what has been happening.
Krishnamurti: Now what do we mean by "time"? Please, - again let us experiment. What do we mean by "time"? - ,obviously not time by the clock. When you say "I need time", what does it mean? That you need leisure, - an hour to yourself, or a few minutes to yourself? Surely you do not mean that? You mean, "I need time to achieve a result". That is, "I need time to break away from the habits which I have created.".
Now, time is obviously the product of the mind; mind is the result of time. What we think, feel, our memories, are basically the result of time. And you say that time is necessary to break away from certain habits. That is, this inward psychological habit is the outcome of desire and fear, is it not? I see the mind is caught in it, and I say, "I need time to break it down. I realize it is this habit that is preventing me from seeing things immediately, experiencing them directly, and so I must have time to break down this habit.".
First, how does habit come into being? Through education, through environmental influences, through our own memories. And also, it is comfortable to have a mechanism that functions habitually, so that it is never uncertain, quivering, inquiring, doubtful, anxious. So, the mind creates the pattern which you call the habit, the routine. And in that it functions. And the questioner wants to know how to break down that habit, so that experience can be direct. You see what has happened? The moment he says "how?", he has already introduced the idea of time.
But if we can see that the mind creates habits and functions in habit, and that a mind which is enclosed by its own self-created memories, desires, fears, cannot see or experience any thing directly, - when we can see the truth of that, then there is a possibility of experiencing directly. The perception of the truth is not a matter of time, obviously. That is one of the conveniences of the mind, - eventually, next life, I shall reach perfection, whatever I want. So, being caught, then it proceeds to say, "how am I to be free?" It can never be free. It can only be free when it sees the truth of how it creates habit, - that is, by tradition, by cultivating virtues in order to be something, by seeking to have permanency, to have security. All these things are barriers. In that state, how can the mind see or experience anything directly? If we see that it cannot, then there is a freedom, immediate freedom. But the difficulty is, is it not?, that most of us like to continue in our habits of thought and feeling, in our traditions, in our beliefs, in our hopes. Surely all those compose our mind? The mind is made up of all those things. How can such a mind experience something which is not its own projection? Obviously it cannot. So, it can only understand its own mechanism and see the truth of its own activities. And when there is freedom from that, then there is a direct experience.
Question: You have said that neither meditation nor discipline will create a still mind, but only the annihilation of the "I" consciousness. How can the "I" annihilate the "I"?
Krishnamurti: Surely any movement of the I, however lofty, however noble, is still within the field of self-consciousness, is it not? You may divide the I into the higher self and the lower self, - the higher dominating, controlling, directing the lower; but it is still within the field of thought, is it not?
The question is, how can the I, the me, destroy itself? I am saying that the I is a series of movements, a series of activities, responses, a series of thoughts. And thought may divide itself into the higher and lower; but it is still the process of thinking, it is still within its own field. And, can one part of thought destroy another part? That is, can one part of me put aside, resist, conceal, drive away, the other part which it does not like? Obviously it does; it covers it up. But it is still there in the unconscious. So, any movement of thought, any movement of the me, is still within the field of its own consciousness. It cannot destroy itself. All that it can do is to make no movement in any direction. Because, any movement in any direction is to perpetuate itself, - under a different name, under a different cloak.
Please, experiment with what I am talking about. One part of me can say, I will subjugate anger, jealousy, control my irritability, envy, and so on. One part that controls is desirous of dominating some other part. But it is caught, is it not?, within the field of time, and whatever it does is of its own projection. That is fairly clear, surely? If it says: "I must, through belief, understand God, or attain God", it is caught in its own projection, is it not? And so long as the mind, the me, is active in projecting, in demanding, in craving, the I cannot destroy itself. It only perpetuates itself.
If you see the truth of that, then the mind is still. Because, it cannot do anything. Any movement, negatively or positively, is its own projection; therefore there is no freedom from it. Seeing the truth of that brings about a quietness of the mind, - which obviously cannot come through any form of self-discipline, through any form of spiritual exercise; because they are all indications of self-perpetuation, ideation. Tranquillity of the mind is not a result; it is not something put together, which can be undone again. It is not the result of the mind seeking an escape from ideation. It comes into being only when the mind is no longer manufacturing or projecting. And that can only happen when you understand the process of thinking, your own reactions and responses to everything, - not only the conscious, but the unconscious as well, the hidden responses, the motives, the urges that are concealed. And this does not demand time. Time exists only when you want to achieve a result, when you say, I must have tranquillity within a couple of years, or tomorrow. Then come all the spiritual exercises, in order to achieve a result. Such a mind is a stagnant mind, it can have no experience of what is real; it is only seeking a result, a reward. And how can such a mind experience something which is immeasurable, which cannot be grasped by any word? The mind is only still when it sees the truth of that, immediately. And the urgency is what is necessary.
April 23, 1952.
London 5th Public Talk 23rd April 1952
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