London 4th Public Talk 7th April 1953
I think if one can understand the power that creates superstition, then there is a possibility of understanding what is true religion. But without understanding or going deeply into the matter of this problem of illusion, what it is that breeds illusion, without deeply and fully comprehending that, it is almost impossible to find what reality is. Most of us have got so many illusions, so many superstitions. We have not only the economic superstition of the perfect State, the illusion of creating a perfect man, but also the superstition of what reality is, or what God is. And is it possible to free the mind from creating, from breeding, throwing up, any kind of illusion, so that we can find out what truth is without any barrier, without any interpretation, see it simply and directly with a clear mind, a mind that does not have premeditated ideas, theories, speculations?
It seems to me it is very important, if we are at all earnest, to find out how this sense of illusion arises, this feeling that one is caught in a trap of one's own making. So perhaps we can really go into it and dissolve it, not bit by bit, slowly, gradually, but completely, because I do not think there is such a thing as the gradual dissolution of any particular idea, superstition, or desire; either one dissolves it completely, or not at all.
Is it possible to dissolve the power that creates illusion? Most of our religions throughout the world are ritualistic, dogmatic; they condition our thinking. We have been brought up in a particular pattern of thought or action, and our mind clings to it. And it seems almost impossible, being born in a particular pattern of philosophy, organized thought, to free the mind from its symbols, from the words which we have learned since childhood.
To find out what is reality, surely mind must be extraordinarily free, without any symbol, without any re- action to a particular word, without projecting ideas or experiences that it has had, so that the mind is very clear, very simple and direct, without any illusion or the power to create illusion.
Now, what is it that makes for illusion? Is it not the desire, the wish, to seek comfort, to seek gratification, salvation, this desire for fundamental security, this deep demand for some kind of hope, for some escape from deep frustration? Does not the power to create illusion arise when the mind puts out a hand in supplication, in petition, wanting to know? Because, behind that desire there is the whole unconscious background of our conditioning, of the innumerable impulses, fears, anxieties, the conditionings of a particular race, of a particular philosophy. And with that background we demand a salvation, comfort, a hope. Because we cannot find in this world happiness, a sense of freedom, a complete fulfilment without any fear or frustration, so we turn to the other world. We know we cannot be perfect in this world; man cannot make himself perfect; because he, can only make himself perfect through his own mind, and mind can never make itself perfect. Mind can never be free from thought: and thought conditions the mind. So we look to various forms of salvation, trying to find out what is reality, what God, what is happiness what is immortality, something beyond and above the transient. So the mind already, in its demands, through its desire, is creating further illusion. Can such a mind, which is wanting desiring to find, discover what is the real? I think it is very important to into this matter. Because as long as we are seeking, without understanding the background we shall find what we seek, but it will be an illusion.
So, can I free myself from my background without going through the process of analysis? Because I can see that by analyzing the background I have not resolved it. I can strip, I can explain, I can see the various implications involved in it; but I am not free of it, the mind is still unconsciously held by it. Because, there is still the analyzer observing, and therefore the analyzer always translating what he observes, according to his conditioning.
So, can I be entirely free from the background, not in some distant future but now, so as to be able to stop creating any form of desire for truth, for happiness, for some unknown thing? Because, desire is the root cause, is it not?, of this creating of illusions to which the mind clings. And can I be free from psychological desire, not through any compulsion, not through any discipline, resistance, but by seeing the significance of this feeling, of this demand for more and more and more? I want more knowledge, more virtue, more freedom, more happiness; I want to understand more. Surely it is the demand for the `more' that creates the illusion - which does not mean I must be content with what I have. If I am content with what I have, that is also another form of illusion, because I can never be content with what I am, with what I have accumulated.
So, can the mind free itself from this demand for the `more'? This means really: can the mind recognize `what is', without trying to alter, without trying to transform `what is' into `something that should be'? Can one psychologically, deeply, inwardly, understand this thing, that the demand for the `more' creates the illusion? Because, mind then invents the process of time: `ultimately, through perfection, through perfecting the mind, by cultivating virtue, I will attain that happiness'. So the mind is everlastingly struggling, experiencing gathering, in order to be free, in order to recognize what is true.
So, can I completely strip myself of this desire for more, completely put it away from myself? I think one can, if one understands the whole impli- cation, if one really listens to the inward nature of it, the unconscious urges of the moment. I think then there is a possibility of breaking down the power that creates illusion. After all, that is what we all want. We want more and more comfort, more and more happiness, more and more assurance, certainty. And being caught in that, the mind creates the pattern of action which will give the `more'.
Surely we have had enough explanations, descriptions. And if we are at all serious, if we really, earnestly are intending to find out what is true, surely we have put aside all explanations, words, and we are concerned directly with trying to find out. But our mind is incapable of finding out so long as we want more.
So it seems to me that the important thing is for the mind to be in a state when it can allow itself not to ask, not to demand - which does not mean acquiescence, acceptance, but that the mind is really silent. The mind being thought - thought as the verbalization of certain experiences, thought as memory, thought that is seeking, investigating - cannot such thinking come to an end, so that the mind is no longer projecting, is really still? For then only is it possible for the mind to be free from all illusion. Then only shall we find out what is reality - not the description of reality, not the explanations, not the speculations, not the reality of someone else who has experienced it; those things are utterly valueless, they have no meaning. But when the mind is really in that state when thought as we know it has come to an end - thought which is always strengthening the background of the conditioned mind - then we shall find out what that nameless thing is.
But it is very difficult for the mind to be quiet, for it not to project, seek, try to find out. That stillness can only come, not through any form of well-thought-out pattern of action, but when we understand this whole problem of the power of the mind to create anything it desires - the Master, the Saviour, the various forms of innumerable superstitions in which we are caught. So, can the mind, my mind and your mind, not through any sense of compulsion, come to that extraordinary stillness, that peace of mind, which is not of its own creation? It is only possible when I understand the necessity of it, when having wandered through all this labyrinth of illusions I have finished with it. Then only is there a possibility of reality coming into being.
Question: Looking at my fellow creatures in bus or tube I find everyone, myself included, mediocre and commonplace. How can I tolerate this ugliness of everyday life?
Krishnamurti: We ourselves are mediocre; we ourselves are ugly. We do not have to look at our neighbours, we do not have to look at the woman or the man sitting across in the other seat in the tube or the bus. We have lost all vitality, all zest, all true appreciation of beauty. Our life is a routine, a boredom, a thing really that has no great significance. So being ourselves ugly, mediocre, what is our reaction? When I recognize that I am ugly, mediocre, that my whole life has very little significance, being merely the routine that I have to carry on with, on recognizing that, what is my immediate reaction? I condemn it, do I not? I condemn mediocrity; I want to be more beautiful, I want to have a different quality, I want to have joy, a sense of freedom. So I cling to beauty, do I not? I want to have beauty. So I cultivate beauty and condemn the mediocre, the ugly. That is our normal reaction, is it not?
And when I condemn, have I understood, have I changed in any way, has there been some new thing taking place? All that I am concerned with is the cultivation of beauty.. I want that; I want to be sensitive to beauty, and I want to put away the ugly. But the putting away of the ugly, and holding on to beauty, makes me insensitive, does it not? Please see this. When I deny the ugly, condemn it, try to put it away from me, am I not becoming less sensitive to beauty? It is like cutting away my own arm which is ugly, and trying to cultivate beauty in other directions.
Is it not important to be totally sensitive, not merely sensitive to one thing? And does sensitivity arise through condemnation of that which I think is ugly? If I condemn envy, saying it is ugly, am I sensitive to that state in which there is envy? Have I not to be totally sensitive both to envy and to that state which is not envious? So, the important thing is sensitivity, is it not?, not how to be more beautiful or more virtuous, not how to avoid the ugly, the everyday hideousness of life, but to be sensitive to both. I cannot be sensitive if I condemn and hold on to one particular thought, idea or picture which I think is beautiful. If I see all that, then I do not, condemn, I do not say `It is ugly, mediocre'. Then I see that the very word has a neurological significance; it acts upon me, as the word `beauty' acts upon me.
So it is important, is it not?, to be sensitive both to the ugly and to the beautiful. Then there is a possibility of observation, of looking across at the ugly without condemning it. And out of that sensitivity, something new may arise, a quality of love. But love is not something to be cultivated; it comes only if we can understand this whole background of our condemnation. Every society, every religion, every culture, condemns: we are brought up to condemn, to judge, to weigh, to say `this is right, this is wrong' - not that there is not right and wrong. Our instinctual response is to condemn, which is a form of resistance; and through resistance there can be no sensitivity either to beauty or to ugliness.
But if we do not condemn, perhaps there may be a new breath, a new vitality, a feeling of love which will transform, which will give a different outlook to our ugly daily life.
Question: I feel very lonely, and long for some intimate human relationship. Since I can find no such companion, what am I to do?
Krishnamurti: One of our difficulties is, surely, that we want to be happy through something, through a person, through a symbol, through an idea, through virtue, through action, through companionship. We think happiness, or reality, or what you like to call it, can be found through something. Therefore we feel that through action, through companionship, through certain ideas, we will find happiness.
So being lonely, I want to find someone or some idea, through which I can be happy. But loneliness always remains; it is ever there, under cover. But as it frightens me, and as I do not know what the inward nature of this loneliness is, therefore I want to find something to which to cling. So I think that through something, through a person, I will be happy. So, our mind is always concerned with finding something. Through furniture, through a house, through books, through people, through ideas, through rituals, through symbols, we hope to get something, to find happiness. And so the things, the people, the ideas, become extraordinarily important; because through them we hope we shall find. So we begin to be dependent on them.
But with it all there is still this thing, not understood, not resolved; the anxiety, the fear, is still there. And even when I see that it is still there, then I want to use it, to go through, to find what is beyond. So my mind uses everything as a means to go beyond, and so makes everything trivial. If I use you for my ful- filment for my happiness, you become very unimportant, because it is my happiness I am concerned with. So, when the mind is concerned with the idea that it can have happiness through somebody, through a thing or through an idea, do I not make all these means transitory? Because, my concern is then something else, to go further, to catch something beyond.
So, is it not very important that I should understand this loneliness, this ache, this pain of extraordinary emptiness? Because if I understand that, perhaps I shall not use anything to find happiness, I shall not use God as a means to acquire peace, or a ritual in order to have more sensations, exaltations, inspirations. The thing which is eating my heart out is this sense of fear, my loneliness, my emptiness. Can I understand that? Can I resolve that? Most of us are lonely, are we not? Do what we will, radio, books, politics, religion, none of these can really cover that loneliness. I may be socially active, I may identify myself with certain organized philosophies; but whatever I do it is still there, deep down in my unconscious, or in the deeper depths of my being.
So, how am I to deal with it? How am I to bring it out and completely resolve it? Again, my whole tendency is to condemn, is it not? The thing which I do not know, I am afraid of; and the fear is the outcome of condemnation. After all, I do not know the quality of loneliness, what it actually is. But my mind has judged it by saying it is fearful. It has opinions about the fact; it has ideas about loneliness. And it is these ideas, opinions, that create the fear and prevent me from really looking at that loneliness.
I hope I am making myself clear? I am lonely; and I am afraid of it. What causes the fear? Is it not because I do not know the implications involved in loneliness? If I knew the content of loneliness, then I would not be afraid of it. But because I have an idea of what it might be, I run away from it. The very running away creates the fear, not the looking at it. To look at it, to be with it, I cannot condemn. And when I am capable of facing it, then I am capable of loving it, of looking into it.
Then, is that loneliness of which I am afraid merely a word? Is it not actually a state which is essential, the door may be through which I shall find out? Because, that door may lead me further, so that the mind comprehends that state in which it must be alone, uncontaminated. Because all other processes away from that loneliness are deviations, escapes, distractions. If the mind can live with it, without condemning it, then perhaps through that the mind will find that state which is alone, a mind that is not lonely but completely alone, not dependent, not seeking through something to find.
It is not necessary to be alone, to know that aloneness which is not induced by circumstances, that aloneness which is not isolation, that aloneness which is creativeness, when the mind is no longer seeking either happiness, virtue, or creating resistance. It is the mind which is alone that can find - not the mind which has been contaminated, made corrupt, by its own experiences. So perhaps loneliness, of which we are all aware, if we know how to look at it, may open the door to reality.
Question: I am dependent, primarily psychologically, on others. I want to be free from this dependence. Please show me the way to be free.
Krishnamurti: Psychologically, inwardly, we are dependent, are we not?, on rituals, on ideas, people, things, property. We are dependent. And, we want to be free from that dependence, because it gives us pain. As long as that dependence is satisfactory, as long as I find happiness in it, I do not want to be free. But when the dependence hurts me, when it gives pain, when the thing on which I have depended runs away from me dies, withers away, looks at somebody else, then I want to be free.
But do I want to be free totally from all psychological dependence, or only from those dependences which give me pain? Obviously, from those dependences and memories which give me pain. I do not want to be free totally from all dependences; I only want to be free from the particular dependence. So, I seek ways and means to free myself; and I ask others, someone else, to help me to free myself from a particular dependence which causes pain. I do not want to be free from the total process of dependence.
And, can another help me to be free from dependence, the partial dependence or the total dependence? Can I show you the way - the way being the explanation, the word, the technique? By showing you the way, the technique, giving you an explanation, will you be free? You have still the problem, have you not; you have still the pain of it. No amount of my showing you how to deal with it, your discussing it with me, will free you from that dependence. So, what is one to do?
Please see the importance of this. You are asking for a method which will free you from a particular dependence or from total dependence. The method is an explanation, is it not?, which you are going to practice and live, in order to free yourself. So, the method becomes another dependence. In trying to free yourself from a particular dependence, you have introduced another form of dependence.
But if you are concerned with the total freedom from all psychological dependences, if you are really concerned with that, then you will not ask for a method, the way. Then you ask quite a different question, do you not? You ask if you can have the capacity to deal with it, the possibility of dealing with that dependence. So the question is: not how to free myself from a dependence, but can I have the capacity to deal with the whole problem? If I have the capacity, then I do not depend on anybody. It is only when I say I have not the capacity, that I ask `please help me, show me a way.' But if I have the capacity to deal with a problem of dependence, then, I do not ask anyone to help me to dissolve it.
I hope I am making myself clear. Because I think it is very important not to ask `how?', but `can I have the capacity to deal with the problem?' Because, if I know how to deal with it, then I am free of the problem. So, I am no longer asking for a method, the way. But, can I have the capacity to deal with the problem of dependence?
Now, psychologically, when you put that question to yourself, what happens? When you consciously put the question `Can I have the capacity to free myself from that dependence?', what has psychologically happened? Are you not already free from that dependence? Psychologically you have depended; and now you say: `Have I the capacity to free myself?' Obviously, the moment you put that question earnestly to yourself, there is already freedom from that dependence.
Please, I hope you are following not merely verbally, but actually experiencing what we are discussing. Because, that is the art of listening, is it not? Not to merely listen to my words, but to listen to what is actually taking place in your own mind.
When I know that I can have that capacity, then the problem ceases to be. But because I have not the capacity, I want to be shown. So I create the Master, the guru, the Saviour, someone who is going to save me, who is going to help me. So I become dependent on them. Whereas if I can have that capacity of resolving, understanding, the question, then it is very simple, then I am no longer dependent. This does not mean I am full of self-confidence. The confidence which comes into being through the self, the `me', does not lead anywhere; because that confidence is self-enclosing. But the very question `Can I have the capacity to discover reality?' gives one an extraordinary insight and strength. The question is: not that I have capacity - I have not the capacity - but `can I have it'? Then I shall know how to open the door which the mind is everlastingly closing, by its own doubts, by its own anxieties, fears, by its experiences, knowledge.
So when the whole process is seen, the capacity is there. But that capacity is not to be found through any particular pattern of action. I cannot comprehend the whole through the particular. Through a particular analysis of a special problem I shall not comprehend the whole. So, can I have the capacity to see the whole, not to understand one particular incident, one particular happening, but to see the whole total process of my life, with its sorrows, pains, joys, the everlasting search for comfort? If I can put that question in earnestness, then the capacity is there.
And with that capacity I can deal with all the problems that arise. There will always be problems, always incidents, reactions; that is life. Because I do not know how to deal with them, I go to others to find out, to ask for the way to deal with it. But when I put the question `Can I have the capacity?', it is already the beginning of that confidence which is not the confidence of the `me', of the self, not the confidence which comes into being through accumulation, but that confidence which is renewing itself constantly, not through any particular experience or any incident, but which comes through understanding, through freedom, so that the mind can find that which is real.
April 7, 1953.
London 4th Public Talk 7th April 1953
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