New Delhi 1961
New Delhi 7th Public Talk 22nd January 1961
This is the last talk. The day before yesterday, when we met, we were considering the question of fear and the compulsive urge to seek power in different forms. And it seems to me that it is quite important to understand how to meet fear. For most of us fear is constant, unconsciously or consciously.
As most of us have this fear, it is quite important, I think, to meet that fear, without engendering other problems. We were saying that we are afraid of death, we are afraid of insecurity, we are afraid of losing jobs, we are afraid of not advancing, we are afraid of not being loved, we are afraid of so many things. And how is it possible to meet fear openly, easily, and not let fear breed other problems, which consciously or unconsciously build up our lives? I think we could approach that issue by understanding what is sleep and what is meditation. You may think it is far-fetched, but I do not think it is, if we go a little along.
For most of us, effort seems to be the very nature of existence; every form of effort is our daily bread, effort to go to the office, effort to work, effort to get up, effort to achieve a certain result; we live by effort. And it has become part of us. And we fear that if there is no effort, we shall stagnate; and so we are constantly battling with ourselves to be alive by pressure, by discipline, and not only by pursuing ambition as a means of stirring us up, but also by making effort to think rightly, to feel rightly, to resist. That is our very existence. And I wonder if any of us has really seriously considered why we make effort at all and if effort is necessary. Or, does effort prevent understanding? Understanding, it seems to me, is the state of mind which is capable not only of listening to everything that is being said explicitly, but also of directly perceiving things very simply. And a mind that is merely interpretative, is not capable of understanding. A mind that merely compares, is incapable of clear perception.
We will discuss this as we go along, but I am just laying the foundation, as it were, for our discussion. We do see things very clearly and sharply and precisely when we give our complete attention, not only verbally, intellectually, emotionally, but with our whole being. Then we are in a state of real perception, real comprehension. And that state, obviously, is not the result of effort. Because, if we are making an effort to comprehend, that effort implies struggle, resistance, a denial, and all our energy is taken away by that effort to resist, to try to understand, to try to resist.
So, I think, we have to understand that effort does prevent perception. You know when you try to hear something and you are making an effort to hear, you really don't hear; all your energy is gone in making the effort. And if we could merely see this issue, not how not to make effort, just see it, then we can go to something which is important in discussing effort and fear - namely, consciousness which is broken up for most of us into the unconscious and the conscious. The conscious is the superficial layer which is often dull, which has been educated, which has acquired a certain technique and functions at the superficial level.
Please, Sirs, you are not merely listening to a certain series of words or ideas, but actually in the very listening you are experiencing what is being said; then only such a listening would be worthwhile. But if you are merely listening to the words, to the ideas, then such a hearing has no value at all. If it is self-applicable then your listening has real depth. So I hope you will so listen.
We function superficially, and our daily life is very superficial. But there is a great depth, hidden away in the vast recesses of the mind, which is the hidden, the unconscious. That is the racial, the traditional, the accumulated knowledge, experience of the race, of the human being, of the individual. So, there is a contradiction between the conscious mind which has acquired knowledge and technique and which is capable of adjusting itself to any environment, and that vast storehouse of hidden aspirations, compulsions, urges, motives, which is not so easily educated. And that contradiction shows itself in dreams during sleep, through symbols, through hints, intimations. And just before going to sleep you have perhaps various forms of ideas, pictures, images, and as you dream you have the interpretation of those dreams at the same time as you are asleep. So, the mind, the conscious as well as the unconscious, when it is asleep, is in a constant turmoil, is constantly in a state of enquiring, searching, answering, responding, creating visions, symbols, which live call dreams. So, the mind is never at rest even though it is asleep. You must have noticed all this. There is nothing mysterious about it. These are obvious psychological facts which you can discover for yourself without reading any book. And I think one must investigate all that, because that is part of self-knowledge, surely, of knowing the whole process of one's own mind.
So, without really understanding this process of contradiction within the mind, and the breeding of illusion which comes from this self-contradiction, meditation has very little meaning, because meditation is an action and we have been discussing action. I do not know what that word "meditation" means to you. Surely, meditation is, is it not?, a process through exploration into the depths of the mind, and that exploration is the awakening of experience. This is not the experience according to a pattern, or a way, or a system, but the uncovering of the processes of conditioning, so that the mind is actually experiencing those conditionings and going beyond. So, it seems to me, merely to have a desire to achieve a certain result in meditation does lead to various forms of illusion. You understand, Sirs? Without knowing the process of thinking, without being aware of the contents, of the nature of thinking, meditation has very little value. But yet we must meditate, because that is part of life. As you go to your office, as you read, as you think, as you talk, as you quarrel, as you do this and that, so also meditation is a part of this extraordinary thing called living. And if you do not know how to meditate, you are missing a vast field of life, perhaps the most important part of life.
I was told a lovely story of a disciple going to a master and the disciple taking a posture of meditation and closing his eyes; and the master asks the disciple, "I say, what are you doing, sitting in that way?" And the disciple says, "I am trying to reach the highest consciousness", and the disciple shuts his eyes and continues. So, the master picks up two pieces of rock and rubs and keeps on rubbing them together, and the noise awakens the disciple. And the disciple looks at it and says, "Master, what are you doing?" And the master says, "By rubbing, I hope to produce in one of the pieces of stone a mirror". And the disciple smiles and says, "You can continue like that for ten thousand years, master, but you will never produce a mirror". And the master says, "You can sit like that for the next million years and you will never find". You see, it reveals a great deal if you think about that story. We want to meditate according to a pattern, or we want a system of meditation, we want to know how to meditate. But meditation is a process of living, meditation is the awareness of what you are doing, of what you are thinking, of the motives, of the inner secrets of the mind, because we do have secrets. We never tell everything to another. There are hidden motives, hidden wants, hidden desires, jealousies, aspirations. Without knowing all these secrets, hidden urges and compulsions, mere meditation leads to self-hypnosis. You can put yourself quietly to sleep through following a certain pattern, and that is what most of us are doing, not only in meditation but in daily life. Great parts of us are asleep and blindly some parts of us are active - the part that is earning a livelihood, quarrelling, successful; the part that is aspiring, hoping, achieving, breeding innumerable fears. So, we have to understand the totality of the mind. And the very understanding is meditation. Do you know how you talk to another, how you look at another, how you look at a tree, the evening sunset, the capacities that you have? Do you understand your vanity, the urge for power in which there is pride of achievement? Without understanding all this, there is no meditation. And the very understanding of this complex process of existence is meditation. And as one goes into this question very deeply, one begins to discover that the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet, not induced, not hypnotized by that word into a state of silence. Because most of us lead very contradictory lives, our lives are in a state of conflict all the time; whether we are awake or asleep, there is a burning conflict, misery, travail; and to try to escape from them through meditation only produces fear and illusion. So, it is very important to understand fear. And the very understanding of fear is the process of meditation.
If I may, let us go deeply into this question of fear, because for most of us fear is very near, very close to us. And without understanding that which is very close, we cannot go very far. So, let us spend a little time in understanding the extraordinary thing called fear. If we could understand that, then sleep has a totally different meaning. I will come to that presently. How to - I mustn't use the word "how", because that only awakens in your mind the pattern of meeting fear. We are aware that we are afraid. I am sure you are aware of it. Now, before we enquire into fear, what do we mean by "being aware"? Let us examine that word and the feeling behind that word.
How do we see things actually, visually? And do we see anything, or do we merely interpret things? I hope you are following. Do I see you and you see me, or do you interpret what you see and I interpret what I see? Interpretation is not seeing. Is it? Please do spend a little time on this matter. Don't be too anxious to find out what meditation is. This is part of meditation. Can I see without interpretation? Can you see me without giving all kinds of tributes, without evaluation, without judgment - just see me, in which is employed no name? The moment you name, you have blocked yourself from seeing. I do not know if you have ever experimented with this thing. Sir, please give your attention to this, because we are going to enquire into what it is to be aware of fear. We are examining what it means to be aware. What does it mean? It means, obviously to be aware not only of the outward movement of thought and perception but also of the inward movement of thought and perception. Isn't it? I see the trees and I respond; I see the people and I respond; I see beauty and there is a response to beauty; similarly there is a response to ugliness, to all this squalor, the pomp, the sense of power. There is an observation externally, outwardly, which is interpreted, which is judged, criticized; and that very movement which goes outward, also comes in - it is like a tide going in and out. By observing the outward movement, the mind also observes the inward movement of that same act with all its reactions. So awareness is this total process of the outward and inward movement of thought, of judgment, of evaluation, of acceptance, denial. Am I making it clear or not? Because unless we are clear on this point, we cannot go into the question of fear.
Sir, do we understand anything by naming it? You understand? Do I understand you, when I say you are all Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, this or that? Do I understand you by giving you a label? Or do I understand you when there is no naming, when there is no interference of the label? You follow, Sirs? So, the process of labelling, giving a name is really a hindrance to comprehension. And it is extremely subtle, extremely arduous, to observe something without giving a name, without giving a quality, because the very process of our thinking is verbalizing. Isn't it? What I am trying to convey is that awareness is a total process, not merely a state of mind which criticizes, evaluates, condemns or compares. To understand why it compares, why it criticizes, why it evaluates, what is the process of this evaluation, what lies behind this judgment - the whole process of that is awareness, which is really the mind being aware of the whole process of its activities.
If one has grasped a little bit of that, we can then go into the question of fear, envy and what jealousy means. Can you look at that feeling without giving it a name? Because, the naming process is the process of the thinker, who merely observes thought as though it was something apart from the thinker. We know the division between the thinker and the thought, the experiencer and the experienced. The thinker gives words to the thing that is being experienced, as pleasure and pain. When the thinker observes and does not give words to the things that it observes, then there is no difference between the thinker and the thing which is being observed, then it is one. Please do comprehend this thing, because it is quite difficult. This is an extraordinary experience, because the moment there is no division between the observed and the observer, there is no conflict. Do please understand this. This is really very essential, because most of us live in a state of contradiction. And the problem is whether a mind can be so completely, totally whole that there is no observer and the thing observed, and thereby be free of contradiction. And so one must understand how this contradiction arises.
Sir, take a very simple example of envy, jealousy, anger. In all these things, in the moment of experiencing there is no contradiction. But the second after that experiencing, there is contradiction, as the thinker, the observer, looks at the thing and says, "It is good, or it is bad; it is anger, or it is envy". At the moment of experience, there is no contradiction - which is an extraordinary thing. Only when the experiencing is over, the second after, begins the contradiction. And this contradiction arises when the thinker is in the process of judging, evaluating what he has observed, either accepting or denying it - which is essentially a process of verbalizing or reaction according to his conditioning. So, to wipe away this contradiction, can the thinker observe without giving words to that thing which is being observed?
Have you ever gone into the question of words, how the mind is a slave to words - the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Mohammedan, the Communist, the Capitalist, the Democrat, the Congress, the wife, husband, the word God, or no God? Our mind is a slave to words. And to free the thought from the word - is that possible? Don't accept anything that I am saying. Is it possible to free a thought from the word? And if it is possible, then can the thinker, the observer, look at the thing without the label, without the term, without the symbol? And when it can so directly look, without the interference of the label, the word, the symbol, then there is no thinker observing the thing. Now this is meditation. You understand, Sirs? And that requires enormous attention, which is not concentration at all. Attention implies a totality, an extension of a totality, whereas concentration is a limitation. So, the mind enquiring into the problem of fear, which is essentially a problem of contradiction, must understand this process of looking at a thing without the verbalization which is essentially the memory interfering with the observer.
Question: That totalisation of the mind is an abstraction, withdrawing from the world.
Krishnamurti: It is not an abstraction, Sir. You see the difficulty! You give one meaning to a set of words and I give another meaning; and you come for the first time with your meaning, and though we have gone already into this, we have to begin all over again. So, I am sorry I will not go into all that again. We are not talking in terms of abstraction. We are talking of the actual fact. We are not abstracting, we are looking into the process of the mind. The mind is looking at itself, which is not an abstraction. It is not deriving a conclusion from something. It observes, it is in a state of observation, and therefore, there is no abstraction from which it judges, there is no deduction, there is no conclusion. The mind that is observing is never in a state of conclusion, and that is the beauty of a mind which is alive. A mind that functions from conclusion is no mind at all.
Look, Sirs, let us begin again. Most of us have various forms of fear, which distort our thinking, our way of life - we tell lies, we get angry, we are ambitious because we are afraid. A man who is not afraid, who has no fear, has no ambition. He does not want to say he lives, he is in a state of complete being. And from there you can begin to enquire into something that is not measurable. But a mind that is afraid, that tries to find that which is unnameable, not measurable - such a mind can never discover what is true. It can create illusions and it does, and lives in illusions. So, we have really to meet fear as it arises, and in the meeting of the fear, not bring about other series of reactions. How is one to meet it without reacting to it? Surely, the reaction arises only when you use the word "fear", doesn't it?
Sir, look: you don't mind using the word `love; when you use that word, you feel elated. But when you have a feeling, if you use the word anger, it has a condemnatory value already. So, to look at fear totally so that the observer is not separate from that feeling, there has to be no word or label which makes them separate. How do you look at, observe, fear? How do you know you are afraid?
Question: If I find a cobra, I try to go back or do something and that tells me afterwards that I was afraid of that cobra.
Krishnamurti: Yes sir. What do you mean by fear, what is the nature of fear - not what makes you afraid? A cobra makes you afraid, what public opinion says makes you afraid, death makes you afraid, your not achieving your marvellous height in the social ladder makes you afraid - they are the things that make you afraid. But do you know the nature of fear, not the things that make you afraid? Surely, there is a difference between the two, isn't there?
Have you ever really felt fear, lived with fear? Have you? Or, have you always avoided fear? Obviously we have always avoided fear. When I am afraid, I turn on the radio, take a drink, go to the temple, go for a walk, or do a number of things, but I never live with fear. Do I live with fear as I have lived, or want to live, with pleasure? Both require a certain energy. Don't they? Sirs, to live with pleasure is something that gives you great pleasure; for that, you must have great energy; otherwise, it destroys you. Now, to live with beauty and to live with ugliness demand energy. And this energy is destroyed when the word, the label, the symbol comes in and thereby creates a division in living with the thing. Do you understand?
Look, Sir, I say you are dull. Can you look at yourself, without reacting? You may not like to be told by somebody that you are dull; but when you look, when you observe, you realize that you are dull. Sir, aren't you dull, when you don't see the beauty of the skies, the heavens, the earth, the trees, the squalor, the misery, the pomp, the power, when you don't observe all this, when you are blind, don't you realize that you are dull? Has somebody to tell you that you are dull? Is your dullness to be indicated by another or do you realize yourself that you are dull? Sir, you see the difference between the two? When someone says you are dull, you accept it and merely react to it, or you say, "I am not dull. Who are you to tell me that I am dull?" The word dull has a condemnatory meaning, and you think you are so very clever, so very superior, though the fact is you are dull.
Take insensitivity. Insensitivity comes into being when the mind functions in habit, when it doesn't see, when it doesn't feel, when it is not alive to everything in life. I realize I am insensitive, I realize I am dull. What is my reaction? I immediately try to become clever, try to make an effort not to be dull. How can a dull mind make effort and be clever, be superior and free from dullness? It must realize that state fully. Now, to realize that state fully, completely, wholly, there must be no reaction. I must observe it. The mind must see it. And it may not observe, if it merely says, "Oh, I am dull, I must become clever, I must do this or I must do that". To observe, the mind must live with the fact. Every form of condemnation is an escape from the fact, and to live with the fact requires tremendous energy.
Sir, look: you see a tree there, don't you? You see over it the blue sky and the evening star, Venus; but you don't observe, you don't feel. Now to feel all this, the mind must be in a state of astonishing aliveness, with a sense of vibrant energy. And you cannot have energy if there is a contradiction between the observer and the observed. And the contradiction arises through reactions, through the employment of words or symbols, when the memory interferes, between the observer and the observed. So, to look at fear, to live with fear, to meet fear without creating a contradiction between the fear and the observer is the problem. You understand, Sirs? I may, through some trick, avoid one set of fears; but as I move in life, there is another fear and so on. Fear is like a shadow that suddenly comes, and it constantly comes. It is there. A mind that wants to understand fear and to be totally free of fear - not of just one form of fear - must have energy so that the mind is capable of being something else than being a slave to fear. For the mind to go into that, to live with it - it means being in this state of energy.
Now, the whole process of what we have been discussing is meditation. Meditation is not sitting in a room or a corner, cross-legged and all the rest of it, breathing and all that - which is self-hypnosis. But one has to go into this, so that the mind during the day - as it walks, as it works, as it plays, as it observes - is aware without reacting, is aware, watching choicelessly, so that when it does go to sleep, there is some other process of action which is not the mere action of the conscious mind or the unconscious mind. When the mind has been very alert during the day watching, observing, unearthing every motive, every thought, every movement of thought, then, when it does sleep it is in a state of quietness, then it can experience other things which are not merely experienced by the conscious mind. So meditation is a process not only during the waking period but also during the sleeping period. And then you will find that the mind has emptied itself of everything it has known, emptied itself of all its yesterdays - not that there are no yesterdays; there are the yesterdays, but the mind empties itself of all the responses of the yesterdays which condition the mind. You know, Sirs, a thing that is completely empty is totally full. And it is only such a mind that can receive or comprehend that which is not measurable by a mind which is the outcome of time.
Question: Is not fear an instinct born with the child?
Krishnamurti: So, you say fear is instinctive, is natural. Sir, as you are walking, you come across a cobra, a snake, and you instinctively jump back. Now, is that fear, and is it not natural? If you have no such instinctual reaction, you will be committing suicide. So, we have to draw a line between the sense of preservation, and the insensitivity which interferes with the psychological demand for security.
Let me put it round the other way. Sirs, we need food, clothes and shelter. We need a certain cleanliness, a certain comfort, and that is essential. In probably fifty years or a hundred years the world will have an over-flow of food, because science is so advanced. Now, when do food, clothes, shelter interfere, or when does the mind use those things to be secure inwardly, psychologically? You are following what I am saying, Sir? I need those things, you and I need food, clothes and shelter. But we use this need for psychological purposes a bigger house, bigger position; we use the need for power, position, prestige - and thereby create the whole picture of fear.
There is seeing a snake and the nervous reaction: that is one thing. The other thing is, sitting in a room and imagining, thinking - thinking that this house might catch fire, that my wife might run away, that the snake might come in. This thinking process may engender or breed fear. There are two sets of neurological fears, one is with the meeting of a snake and the other is the fear which thought awakens through the nerves, through imagination, through supposition.
Question: This means that the instinctive response is not fear at all.
Krishnamurti: Right. Fear is only there when thought is in operation. Don't say `no' but examine it. There is the ordinary instinctual neurological response which, you say, is not fear. Perhaps it may be. The second is that thought awakens certain responses neurologically and thereby creates fear. Now these two are totally different. Is it possible to observe all neurological fears, including those awakened by thought, without the thought awakening fear?
Question: There are certain neurological responses which are awakened by thought which we call fear. How is it possible to observe the neurological responses of fear without the word `fear', without the name?
Krishnamurti: We have to understand the ways of thinking, the ways of thought, when we meet these neurological fears which are awakened through the word. I sit in a room, and my thought imagines and says, "I am going to lose my job, based on facts such as I am inefficient; or, my wife is going to run away, which may be or may not be factual; or there is death; and this creates fear. Thought is creating fear through the future. In all fear, future is involved. That is tomorrow. I am living, I am functioning, but death may be there tomorrow. So, thought through time as the future creates fear. So, thought is time - thought based on the reactions and the responses of knowledge of many yesterdays through the present to the future.
We are talking of thought which is the content, which is the nature of time. I think I am going to become a big man; and I also think that I may not become a big man, and so there is fear. Thought creates fear. That is important. So, the question is: can thought look at fear - that is, can thought look at neurological responses which are natural? Can thought which creates fear, look at fear? Do you look at anything with thought? Is thought in operation when you observe? You observe a rose, a flower; the very observation is verbalizing; it is the recognition that it is a rose - the word. Is there a looking at something without recognition? Can I look at fear without recognition?
When I use the word "fear", there is inherent in it differentiation. The very employment of that word "fear" is a differentiation. The differentiation exists because there is the observer with his words, symbols, ideologies and reactions - with these, he looks and thereby creates in the very observation a differentiation. Because he so observes through differentiation, he runs away from it or acts upon it. Is there observation of fear without differentiation? Fear can be met without differentiation only when there is no thinker with all the responsive reactions to the thing that he is observing. Can the observer look without differentiation of the thing which he calls fear? He can only do that when he has understood the whole significance of living with that something entirely, totally. And he is not capable of living with that something totally, when he is avoiding or accepting. And he avoids or accepts according to pain and pleasure - physical as well as psychological - , which means that the word has assumed importance.
Sirs, you are all believers in God, aren't you?, or in something else. You are believers in something and that believing is conditioning your mind to certain responses. Now, we are asking whether the mind can look without the differentiation which the word makes? And to go into all that - which is the very essence, which is the process of self-knowledge - is meditation. And if you so meditate, then you will begin to discover for yourself that you can observe the feelings, the fears without this differentiation which the word creates, and you can therefore live with them so completely, totally that the entire body of fear ceases. And such a mind is the creative mind, such a mind is the good mind; only such a mind can receive that which is Immeasurable; only such a mind can receive the blessing of the Eternal.
January 22, 1961
New Delhi 1961
New Delhi 7th Public Talk 22nd January 1961
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