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London 1952

Ojai 4th Public Talk 10th August 1952

In talking about the necessity of fundamental and radical change, should we not consider the problem of method, of the "how"? For most of us, the means, the method, the system becomes very important. We see that a change is essential, and so our minds immediately turn to the problem of how to change, how to bring about the radical transformation which is so obviously necessary. Let us for a moment consider whether the "how", the technique, is important. What happens when we are concerned with the technique, the "how"? The cultivation of the "how", the practice of a particular method with the intention of success, does that not induce inertia? Is that not one of the primary causes of inertia in ourselves? The moment I have found the "how", the system, I begin to practise it, which implies a conformity brought about by the desire to succeed, to achieve a certain result. So, for most of us, the "how" becomes very important: how am I to change, what system am I to follow, how am I to meditate, what discipline should I practise? Don't we ask this question all the time? Are we not constantly seeking the "how"?

Now, is that important - the "how", the method? And is it not far more important to be aware that the mind is demanding the "how", and to see why it is seeking a method? If you want a method, a technique, you will find it, for every religious teacher offers a certain form of discipline, control, or a system of meditation. What happens in this process of self control, in the process of trying to follow a particular discipline? I do not know if you have practised any disciplines. If you have, are you not aware that the mind is conforming to a pattern of thought? And in doing so, does not the mind produce its own limitations? Surely, though it is able to live and function within a certain field of thought and action, such a mind is bound by conformity, in which there is no freedom to experience anything anew. So, by practising a discipline with an end in view, by gradually conforming in the hope of success, the mind induces inertia, does it not? Obviously, that is one of our greatest problems: the laziness, the extraordinary inertia of the mind; and the more we want to break down this inertia, the more the mind inquires how". That is why the "how" becomes so extra ordinarily important for most of us.

If we do not seek the "how", the method, the technique, what are we to do? Suppose I see the falseness of this pursuit of the "how; I see that to find and practise a method is mere repetition, which essentially dulls the mind. If I see that, see the falseness of it, then what happens? Then the mind is really watchful, is it rot? To see the implications of practising any particular method, to be aware of the significance of it, not only at the superficial level, but fundamentally, deeply - does that not quicken the mind, is there not greater alertness? And is that not one of our problems when we are considering the question of fundamental change? Be cause, it seems to me that the desire for a method, the search for a technique which will bring about a radical change in ourselves, induces a slowing down, a deadening of the mind. A method, a technique may produce certain experiences; but are not those experiences merely the result of a very careful training, are they not the projections of a mind which has constantly followed a particular pattern of thought and action? And is reality, God, or what you will, to be experienced through any pattern? Surely, it can come only when the mind is free of desire, the invitation to further experience.

So, when we are discussing the question of change, should we not inquire into this complex problem of technique, effort? If you watch your mind, you will see how quickly it falls into a particular habit of thought; because it has once experienced a pleasant sensation, a feeling of joy, there is a desire for its repetition, and so the mind cultivates it, practises a discipline, hoping to recapture that pleasure. And is not this repetition, with its desire, one of the primary causes of inertia? Through technique, through discipline, through a method, can there be a fundamental change? Is not this fundamental change brought about, not through any manipulation of thought, but only when the mind understands its own activities, its self-centred movements, and so comes to an end? For that, one needs constant watch fullness, not a discipline, a technique.

Perhaps some of you practise various forms of discipline, and so you may be listening rather guardedly, you may be resisting. You will say, "What shall I do without a discipline? My mind will be all over the place". But if you want to under stand something which I am trying to convey, will you resist what I am saying? Or, will you try to find out the truth of the matter for yourself? Not that you should accept what I am saying; but do you not want to find out what is true in this affair? And to find out, your mind must not be in a state of resistance, in a state of fear. Because you have practised a discipline for a number of years doesn't mean that it's right; there may be the fear that, if you remove the fence which you have so care fully built around yourself, the mind will overflow and get lost. And to find out what is true, one must obviously listen, not according to one's desires, prompting's and wishes, but with an inquiring mind, a mind that is in a state of discovery. I think that brings about its own discipline, which is not the discipline imposed by the mind in order to achieve a certain result.

Take, for example, the problem of integration. We are in a state of contradiction at different levels. Each level is in conflict within itself and with the other levels of our being; there is conflict at both the conscious and the unconscious levels. Please follow this, do not try to feel integrated, or inquire how you are to arrive at the state of integration. If you will listen and not try to achieve a result, then perhaps the thing will come without your asking.

We are aware of contradiction at different levels within ourselves, and there are various methods of bringing about the so-called unification of these contradictions: analysis, hypnosis, constant introspection and so on, all of which entail a struggle to establish the integration of our whole being. I recognize that a sense of unity, a sense of inner completeness is necessary; and I also see that this integration cannot be brought about by avoiding contradiction, by enclosing the mind in a particular pat tern of thought and action. A state of integration is obviously necessary, because only in that state is there freedom from conflict, which enables the mind to discover, to experience, to feel things out anew. If, seeing the importance of integration, of that state of inner unification, that state of completeness, I do not inquire how I am to get at it, am I not then aware of all the contradictions? And does not that awareness allow the unconscious, the deep layers of myself in which there are contradictions, to come out? There is no resistance. I simply want to find out, and so I watch my dreams, my waking consciousness, every hint of conflict, every incident that awakens a contradiction. My concern is not integration, but to be aware of these contradictions in different layers, at different levels. So, what happens? Since I am not seeking a particular state, but am just being aware of the different contradictions in myself, observing them from moment to moment, does not this watchfulness bring about an integration which is not that of desire, not that of a mind which has sought integration? What have I done? I have understood conflict, not run away from it; I have let it come out from the very bottom of my being; and then, perhaps, one has a flash of this integration which is not induced, but which comes of itself. When there is a flash of integration, the mind proceeds to live in the memory of that experience and thereby sets going the machinery of imitation, conformity. That memory is not integration: it is merely a memory. So, one has again to be aware of how the mind, having experienced a sense of integration, instead of being integrated, now lives in memory. And so the question arises how to maintain, through memory, a living quality, which then becomes our problem.

So, when we consider the problem of change, we have to go into this question of memory, the cultivation of a particular habit or pattern of action. The mind can never be free when it is seeking or cultivating the "how". To listen to my own contradictions, to see that my mind is pursuing memories, cultivating habits in order to be secure, and is thereby held in the self-centred activity of the "me" - to be really aware of all that, without going with it or battling against it, is much more important, requires far greater energy, greater alertness, than to cultivate a particular pattern of discipline. Conformity obviously leads to inertia; and as most of us worship success, in others and in ourselves, we naturally want to conform. Is it not one of our traditions to live in a state of conformity, in a state of discipline? Please do not think I am against discipline: that is not the problem. We are considering the question of change, revolution within ourselves; and can that revolution, that fundamental transformation be brought about through discipline? Obviously it cannot - at least for me, it cannot. Discipline can only make me more conforming, and conformity does not bring about a change. I have to understand why the mind seeks conformity; and can the mind ever be free from this pressure of tradition, not only the external, but the constant, self-created tradition which is memory? As we have seen, what ever the mind does, however erudite, however extensive, however cunning, however speculative it may be, it cannot produce a fundamental change; and a fundamental change is necessary, is it not? No reason, no logic, no discipline can bring about this lasting, radical transformation. It is only when the mind is quiet that there is a possibility of something else coming and transforming us. But we cannot seek it - it must come; and it can come only when the mind is capable of receiving it, which is when the mind is no longer thinking in terms of time. For all thinking is a process of time, is it not? We cannot put an end to thinking, but we can understand the movement of thought; and as long as there is a "me", a thinker apart from the thought, obviously we are thinking in terms of time. When the mind seeks to go beyond time through discipline, it only creates barriers, strengthens time.

So, when you listen to all this, is it not important to find out how you are listening? Is it not important to see your own reactions, to study your own mind and begin to know your self? After all, what I am saying is what each one of us is thinking, more or less; but we cannot go beyond the verbal level if we do not see the truth of this, and with patience and watchfulness become aware of the movement of our own thought. If we do that, then, perhaps, some other element, some other quality which is not of the mind, will come in; but it can come in only when there is no desire for it, when the mind is not caught in the process of recognition.

Question: Of all the spiritual teachers, you are the only one I know of who does not offer a system of meditation for the attainment of inner peace. We all agree that inner peace is necessary, but how can we attain it without practising a technique, whether of eastern yoga or western psychology?

Krishnamurti: Isn't it too bad that there are teachers, spiritual teachers and followers? The moment you have a teacher and you become the follower, have you not destroyed that flame which must constantly be kept alive if you are to find out, to discover? When you look to a teacher to help you, does not the teacher become more important than the truth you are seeking? So, let us put aside the teacher-and-follower attitude, let us get it out of our systems completely, and regard the problem itself as it is affecting each one of us. No teacher can help you to find truth, obviously; one has to find it within oneself, one has to go through the pain, the suffering, the inquiry, one has to discover and understand things for oneself. But in becoming the follower of a particular teacher, have you not cultivated inertia, laziness, is there not a darkening of the mind? And, of course, the various teachers with their various groups are in contradiction, competing with each other, doing propaganda - you know all the nonsense round it.

So, the whole question of followers and teachers is ridiculous and childish. What is important in the question is this: is there a method, whether eastern or western, to attain peace? If peace is attained through practising a certain method, that which you have attained and which you call peace, is no longer a living quality, it is a dead thing. You know by formulation what peace should be, and you have laid down a path which you follow towards it. Surely, that peace is a projection of your own desire, is it not? Therefore, it is no longer peace. It is what you want, a thing opposite to that which you are. I am in a state of conflict, of misery, of contradiction, I am unhappy, violent; and I want a refuge, a state in which I shall not be disturbed. So I go to various teachers, guides, I read books practise disciplines which promise what I want; I suppress, control, conform in order to gain peace. And is that peace? Surely, peace is not a thing to be sought after: it comes. It is a byproduct, not an end in itself. It comes when I am beginning to understand the whole process of myself, my contradictions, desires, ambitions, pride. But if I make of peace an end in itself, then I live in a state of stagnation. And is that peace?

So, as long as I am seeking peace through a system, a method, a technique, I shall have peace, but it will be the peace of conformity, the peace of death. And that is what most of us want. I have had a glimmer of something, an experience which can not be put into words, and I want to live in that state, I want it to continue, I want an absolute reality. There may be an absolute reality, or there may be experiences of greater and greater significance; but if I cling to one or the other, am I not cultivating slow death? And death is not peace. So, I cannot possibly imagine what peace is in this state of confusion, in this state of conflict. What I can imagine is the opposite; and that which is opposite to what I am is not peace. So, a technique merely helps me to obtain something which is the opposite of what I am; and without understanding what I am, going into it completely, not only at the conscious but also at the unconscious levels - without understanding the whole process of myself, merely to seek peace has very little significance.

You see, most of us are lazy; we are so inert, we want teachers, monasteries to help us; we do not want to find out for ourselves through our own enquiry, through our own constant awareness, through our own experience, however vague, however subtle, elusive. So we join churches, groups, we become followers of this or that - which means there is a struggle on one side, and the cultivation of inertia on the other. But if one really wishes to find out, experience directly - and we can discuss what that experiencing is at another time - , then surely it is imperative that one put aside all these things and understand oneself. Self knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and that alone can bring peace.

Question: Can the mind ever be still, and should it be still?

Krishnamurti: Let us find out. Why should the mind be still? And can I make the mind still? Is the "me" who is trying to still the mind an entity apart from the mind? Who is the "me" that is trying to control the mind? And who is the "me" that asks if the mind should be still? Is not the thinker, the questioner, part of the mind? Why is there this division in the mind as the thinker and the thought, the "me" and the "not me"? Why is there this division? Please, that is the problem, is it not? I do not know whether the mind can be still, or whether it should be still, but I want to find out; and I shall find out only when I have inquired into who the entity is that is asking this question. Is he different from the mind? For most of us, he is, is he not? There is the discipliner, the thinker, the controller, the experiencer, the observer apart from the observed, apart from the experience, apart from the thought. Having brought about this division, we then ask how the thinker is to control his thoughts; and from that arises the question of technique.

Now, is the questioner, the thinker an entity apart from thought? Please let us go into this, not for the sake of argument, not so that you can oppose my ideas by your ideas, but let us find out together what is the truth of this matter. First of all, we do not know whether the mind should be still, or even whether it is capable of being still; but before it can experience stillness, or find out if it is possible to be still, must not the mind bridge this gulf between the thinker and the thought? Who is this entity that is always trying to control, the censor, the judge that says this is right, that is wrong? Is he different from the thing which he is observing in himself? For most of us, he is different; he is an entity quite apart who is watching, guiding, shaping, control ling, suppressing thought. Now, why is this entity different, apart? But first of all, are you not aware that there is a different entity, the higher self controlling the lower? - you know, the whole business of it. There is in each one of us a thing apart which is guiding, shaping, watching every thought. We know that, do we not? Now, how has that separate entity come into being? Is it not the result of the mind, the result of thought? Obviously it is; it is not different from thought. If I had not thought about it, it could not exist' so it is a product of thought, is it not? And can that which is a product of thought be a spiritual entity, apart from thought? Can it be a timeless entity, something eternal, beyond the thought process? If it is a timeless entity, I cannot think about it be cause I can only think in terms of time. But I do think about it, for it is I who have set it apart; I am related to it, therefore it is a projection of my own memory, a product of thought. It is not something apart from me, yet I have set it apart. Why? I see that my thoughts are transient, that everything around me is impermanent, that there is death, decay; everything is in movement, in a state of flux. So I say there must be some thing in me which is permanent, and I want that permanency; therefore I create the entity, the thinker, the judge who is apart from me. That is, thought separates and establishes part of itself as a permanent entity who is watching, guiding, shaping; and then the problem arises of how this entity, the thinker, is to bridge the gap and integrate himself with his thoughts. Till I really understand and solve this problem, it is not possible to have a still mind, or to find out if the mind can ever be still.

So, please just listen to what I am saying, and try to find out if it is possible for the observer and the observed to be one, for the thinker and his thought to be integrated. As long as they are separate, the mind cannot be still. As long as I am apart from my thought, as long as I am away from the experience and observing it, as long as I am conscious that I am still, there cannot be peace, there cannot be stillness. Until I understand and resolve this fundamental problem, to search for peace, or to ask whether the mind should or should not be still, has very little meaning.

So, I am broken up into various fragmentary states; and how is all that to become one? Can I do any thing about it? That is, the thinker, the actor, the maker of patterns of action - can he do anything about it? And if he does, is there not then another fragment to be brought into focus and absorbed? As long as there is the maker of patterns, the thinker, can he bring about integration? Surely, it is impossible, is it not? So, I have to find out how this separate entity as the thinker comes into being, I have to see how it accumulates memory, wealth, knowledge, property, flattery, insult - I have to be aware of the whole thing. It is when I am more and more aware of its reactions, its implications, that I begin to find out whether it is possible for this extraordinary integration to take place, this stillness which is not of the mind, which is not the product of discipline, of control, of conformity to a particular pattern of thought or action. What is that state? When the mind is no longer separating itself as the thinker and the thought, can it be called "still"? Is there not then a different kind of movement which is not of time, a different kind of be coming which is not of the "me" and the "mine"? We know stillness only as a reaction within the activity of the "me; but is there not a stillness which is not of the "me"? But that state cannot possibly be conceived as long as there is a division between the thinker and the thought, as long as the thinker is trying to experience stillness. It comes only when the thinker is the thought.

August 10, 1952


London 1952

Ojai 4th Public Talk 10th August 1952

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