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Madras 1965

Madras 6th Public Talk 3rd January 1965

I would like this evening, if I may, to talk about something about which you may have heard, or which you may have practised or gone into deeply - the question of meditation. I would like, if I may, to cover a great deal of a great territory, the full significance of that extraordinary word. But before we go into it or rather into the nature and the significance of it, we have to understand not only "beauty" but also that generic word called "love". In most of our lives, there is so little beauty and so little love. We see things like the trees, the squalor, the poverty, the hunger; we see our own sordid, narrow, petty life, and battle within a small area of our mind. And we do not know actually the depth and width of love. We know sympathy; we are aware occasionally of great affection, without any motive, for another; we also know generosity, kindliness, gentleness: but these words do not really cover the full meaning of that word "love". All the practices which we shall go into, all the virtues that we try to cultivate and practise endlessly and the social reforms and the opinions and characteristics of those people who are supposed to be saints - all these, it seems to me, lack this essential thing, love. And without it life has no meaning at all, has hardly any significance.

So, we shall this evening, go into "love" and "meditation". We are not indulging in words. Words are only useful to communicate. Words have a certain definite meaning, when we use words which both you and I understand - not the whole argumentative and dialectical and logical meaning of each particular word; but we more or less grasp the meaning of each word. And if I may suggest, while we are talking this thing over - which is actually sharing together - , this whole extraordinary problem of love and meditation, we should also learn the art of listening. We hear a great many things, like that crow; we hear what the speaker says, the words he uses. But hearing is not listening. To listen, there must be not only the verbal communication, but also neither agreement or disagreement; there must be just the act of listening - not translating what you hear into your own peculiar vocabulary, or translating what you hear according to some tradition or what some one has said; those prevent the act of listening.

The act of listening is always in the present. It is a movement always in the present. And the moment you translate what you hear in terms of your own understanding, of your own tradition, of your own culture - if you have a culture - you merely prevent listening. If one is listening, then one can go on in an extraordinary movement endlessly, not only listening to the speaker, but listening to everything: to those crows, to that bus, listening to the movement of the breeze among the leaves, seeing the sunset. It is a total act, it is not a partial act. And if we could listen that way all our life, not just for a few minutes but right through our life, listening to every sound, not only to the sound of a voice with which one is familiar but also to every movement of thought and word, then life would become an endless action of learning and listening.

And as we are going to talk over together, share together, this love and meditation, one has to listen not only to the words, but to much more than the words; not only on the surface, but beyond the surface. The quality of love is co-operation. We only know one kind of co-operation - co-operation through reward or punishment, or through necessity. That is the only co-operation we know. Co-operation, that is working together to produce a thing, is either through gain or through loss or through conformity to authority - authority being an ideal, or tyranny of a person, an example and so on. That is the only co-operation which we know. If you observe yourself, you will see, when you go to office, in everything, when you have to do things together, there is this co-operation through reward or punishment, or with necessity. Such co-operation is really primitive; it is not co-operation at all.

We must co-operate; otherwise we cannot exist. There is no society, no relationship, when there is no co-operation. And that is what is happening in this country: there is no co-operation; each group, each part of the country, is thinking of itself: And this way of fragmentation - with which one is so familiar, which is so tribal, which is so nationalistic - is obviously a state of non co-operation, and therefore disintegration, a destruction, a deterioration. And we can only live when there is co-operation, working together.

Is it possible to work together without punishment, without reward, without compulsion? It seems to me, by the very nature of that word and the meaning of that word, co-operation can only exist when there is affection, when there is love. And that ceases the moment there is a vested interest, there is a tribal activity of a petty little mind, conditioned by a particular language, by a particular country, by a particular section. And so, most of us, who talk of co-operation are very primitive people, because our co-operation is based on fear, necessity, gain and pain. And, it seems to me, really to co-operate, to work together demands a great deal of affection, a great deal of this generic word which we are shy in using: "love".

So, we are going, this evening, to find out, to discover, for ourselves, the state of the mind that knows the meaning and the nature of that word. For it is this one act that will liberate man, that will completely bring about a mutation. This sense of affection, this love, this quality cannot be cultivated, cannot be practised, cannot be brought about; but it must happen as naturally as breathing, as fully with great joy and delight as the sunset.

And to explore that, one must enquire into this question of space and the object within the space. When we are using the word "space", we mean, don't we?, a continuous state, looked at with or without object, in reference to that thing round the object, or without the object. I will go into it a little bit. What we are going into is real meditation and we have to understand this thing. We know space only because of the object that lives within the space. I know space only because of the four walls of the room. There is space because of the object which you call the tree; the tree creates the space round it. There is space, an interval, distance, between you and the speaker. There is space as a time interval; there is space between two points - the point as the observer and the thing observed which creates space. That most of us know.

This is a serious thing - what we are talking about. This is not for children; and if you have children, please take them away; let them enjoy themselves playing in the garden. You have to give your total attention; otherwise you will not be able to understand what we are going into.

Space is also that interval between two thoughts. Space is also that state of mind when there is the thinker and the thought. So we only know space because of the object within that. There is space because of the speaker as an object - the space round him. And that is all we know. Always the object, the observer; and because of the object and the observer, there is space. And within that space is all communication and desiring. And as long as space is brought about by the object, the human mind will always be a slave; it will never be free, because it is only the object that creates the space, and to live within that space created by the object or by the thinker will never bring about freedom.

It is only when there is space without the object, without the thinker, that there is freedom. This requires a great deal of enquiry, and this is important to understand. You must have space - space in the mind, space in the heart. Otherwise you are closed; otherwise there is no freedom. And if the space in the heart and the mind is only created by the thinker or by the object which creates space, then the mind remains petty, narrow, however erudite, however clever, however logical.

I do not know if you have noticed, observed, a chair in a room. It is the chair in the room that creates the space, and it is the four walls of the room that create the space. And within that we live. And living there in the space created by thought or by the object, we struggle endlessly; we move the furniture from place to place; we expand the room; we extend, through various forms of drugs and so on, our sensitivity, we heighten our sensitivity. But it is still living within the space created by thought. And living in that way, as most of us do, the movement is always from the object towards another object, within the space which those objects make. And, therefore, we have never that sense of freedom; and without freedom there is no love.

So the whole enquiry, which is meditation, is to find out, is to come upon that space, which the thought or the thinker or the object does not create. I hope I am making this somewhat clear. For this, there has to be love. When we use that word, we wonder if it awakens in you a sense of vast expanse, without the entity who looks at that space. We are going to go into it. That is, space can only exist when there is silence. And there is silence only when there is love.

So what we are going to enquire into, is this whole process of silence. First of all, a man who sits deliberately to meditate, who takes a posture deliberately and sets about to meditate, will never be free to come upon this strange thing of silence. We will explain why. You only know that you are breathing when your lungs are clogged and are heavy, when you have a heavy cold; otherwise you are totally unaware that you are breathing. Deliberately to sit down to meditate is to force the mind to function along a pattern, established either by yourself or by another, in order to achieve a silence, to have some peace in the mind which is called the "peace of mind" - as most of you call it - which is just a "piece of mind", nothing else; just a sound, a word. A deliberate act of meditation is an act of noise, the noise being controlled according to the characteristic or idiosyncrasy or tendency of the hypnotic process of that noise.

So the following of any particular method of meditation is deadly, destroying - whether you invent it for yourself or whether the ancients have invented it or thought it out for you to meditate so as to arrive at that particular state called "silence: which is non-silence, which is the result of a deliberate act to silence your mind in order to arrive at a particular space called silence. Because that only makes the mind more and more narrow.

And if you watch, this process of so-called meditation is a form of escape from reality - the reality being the everyday living, not the escape into some form of mysticism which you think you will get or find by forcing, by control, by the repetition of words, by concentration on a picture or an image or a symbol. After all, a method only trains the mind to function along a certain line. And that practice brings about self-hypnosis: you have visions, you have all kinds of things in that state, and therefore it gradually helps you to run away from life. So there is a distance between living and the pursuit of meditation. Living is real - the battle, the jealousies, the anxieties, the hopeless despairs, the monstrous competition, the brutality, everything; these are real. The other is a fanciful escape through hypnosis, through verbalization, through some state which has no reality whatever. And the more you conform to the pattern, the more you think you are achieving. Obviously you are achieving - which is to bring about an imbalance, a contradiction between living, the reality, and fiction.

So one has to understand this process and put away completely this whole idea of practising meditation. I know it goes against your grain completely, because that is what you have learnt. Look at what is implied in that. When you practise meditation, you are trying to concentrate on an object, on an idea, on some vision, on some image; and therefore you push away every other intrusion. So your concentration is a form of resistance, and you spend your energy - which is required to find out this extraordinary thing called "silence" - you waste it in trying to concentrate, your mind wanders off, and you spend endless years trying to bring your mind to concentrate on something in which it is not interested. You observe it yourselves, sirs.

So concentration, which is brought about through practice, makes the mind more and more dull, more and more insensitive. Because it creates endless conflict; and a mind in conflict is obviously insensitive. And you need the highest form of sensitivity, which is intelligence, to discover, to come upon, this thing called "silence".

And for most people meditation is self-absorption. I do not know if you have watched a child or a boy playing with a toy. The child is completely absorbed in that toy, he is completely concentrated, he is altogether with it. There is no mischief. He does not do anything mischievous; he is not naughty; he sits quietly; he sits endlessly playing with that toy, till he breaks it - then he wants a new toy. And most of us are like that, we want to be absorbed by something, absorbed by the image which we have created - the image of our tradition, of our eccentricity, of our tendency, our devotion; and we are absorbed by that and we call that meditation! Surely, it is not meditation; it is the projection of your mind which absorbs your thinking. You are not interested whether that image, that symbol, that vision, is projected by you; you think that is real.

So meditation is neither concentration nor absorption by the image or the symbol, nor prayer. You know what prayer is: the endless repetition of words; the quicker the word, the better it is! You hear that; or, sitting in front of a picture or an image - an image graven by the mind or by the hand - you endlessly repeat words, words, words; naturally that repetition quietens the mind. This quietening of the mind is to make the mind dull, to hypnotize it by words, whether those words have any meaning or not; it has no reality; you just repeat "coco-cola" endlessly - that has as much significance as your Mantram, as your Latin repetition. And this goes on - this prayer, being absorbed by an image which you have created, the vision, or concentration. This is generally called meditation! There are various schools which say, "Be aware of the movement of your toe, watch it and follow the distractions; and go back to the toe". There are various forms of methods, systems, ideas - how to meditate!

And as we said, a man who deliberately sits down or practises meditation is as far away from reality as a man who has no idea of living. We are concerned with living - that is, our everyday activity, our everyday life, our sorrows, our despairs, our agonies, the brutality of life, the ruthlessness of it all. Unless that is changed, do what you will, you can never find out what is the real. So it must begin there; there one must find the beauty of existence, the extraordinary delicacy of existence. And the so-called meditation is a way of distraction, is a way of escape from reality.

And to bring about a total mutation, a total revolution in daily life, is the way of meditation. Not to sit down and meditate and then act; but living, understanding, being aware of everything that you do, your words, your gesture, the way you talk, the whole existence of every day - that is meditation. That is to be aware of the spider, the web it creates, the efficiency of it, the colour of it, the beauty of it, the delicacy of it; to be just watching. And as you are watching, your mind wanders off, pursue that wandering do not deny, do not call it distraction and force yourself to look at the spider. Go after that distraction. Then you will find there is no distraction at all; there is only a state of continuous awareness about everything.

Then you will find, in that awareness, there is always the observer, the entity who is aware; the entity that says, "I must practise awareness; I must look; I am learning; I am feeling more; I am becoming more sensitive". That is, in that awareness there is choice. That is, "I" choose to look at that spider, "I" choose to say, "This is good and this is bad; this is right and this is wrong".

So with most of us awareness is of choice. And if you penetrate still further, you will find you can look, you can observe, you can be aware, without any choice. You can look at that tree, at that sunset, completely, without word, without thought - it does not mean that you are asleep. You are completely watching - not you are watching, but there is complete watchfulness of that sunset. As we said, you are only aware that you are breathing, when there is some impediment; you are only aware that you are breathing heavily, when you have got a cold; otherwise you are not aware of it. As you are sitting there, you are not aware that you, as an entity, are breathing. It is a natural process. So is meditation a natural process - not a deliberate act. When it becomes a deliberate act, there is the chooser, the censor; and then that entity remains. But in watching that censor, watching that tree, that face, watching your thought, it is only when you choose or deny or suppress or alter that thought, that the entity comes into being as the watcher. But if you merely watch, without any interference, there is no watcher at all. So, immediately you have space.

You are following all this, I hope! Not verbally, but actually doing it, because we are sharing together, at this moment, meditation, understanding it, moving with it. As long as there is a censor, an entity that translates what he sees in terms of his own conditioning which is the past, as long as there is interpretation of what you observe, of what you see, of what you listen to, there must be the centre, the object, which creates space round it, and therefore a duality. And once you have established duality, then there is conflict. But if you merely observe, then you will find that there is space without the object. It is as simple as that. But we do not like simplicity, we want to complicate all this. It is extraordinarily simple. And it is only a very simple mind that can see clearly, that can listen completely, that is aware without choice.

And simplicity is not mere outward show. The conformity of simplicity is exhibitionism; it becomes respectable by putting on a loincloth. Becoming a sannyasi is a form of bourgeois respectability! But the saint will never know simplicity, because he is not simple; he is in perpetual battle within himself. And to find what is truth, to discover it, to come upon it, is to understand the nature of observation, to observe without thought, without the interference of thought, without time.

And one has to understand this space of silence. One has to understand also the whole question of experience. We all want experience; the more, the better. Because we are fed up with the daily experience of life. We do not see in it any beauty, any loveliness; we see only the routine habit, dreariness, the boredom of life. We are used to that, so we say, "We must have more experience: going to the moon, living under the sea; more and more experience. And the mind that seeks experience or is saturated with experience has no space, and therefore no silence.

We mean by experience, don't we?, a response to a challenge. I see the sunset as an experience. I walk along the road and I tread on some filth - that is an experience. I get into the bus, and the bus conductor is rude - that is an experience. I talk to my wife - that is an experience. Life is a process of challenge and response, endlessly. And you get used to that challenge and response - as most of us do. Going to an office for forty years just think of it! Every day of your life being bored, or being excited because you are doing a little better than somebody else, getting a little more pay, having a little more drink or a better car, a better house! That is all part of experience. And when at the end of it all, when you - your brains, and your heart and your mind - are burnt out by routine, then you want a little more; then you seek God: whatever that thing you call - God".

So you want more and more and more! You get that "more" through drugs, which give you an astonishing sensitivity. And in that heightened sensitivity you have an experience which you have never had before, according to your temperament, according to your idiosyncrasies, according to your conditioning. If you are a priest, you get an extraordinary experience; and that little experience alters your whole life. But it is still living in the search for experience; and that is what most of us do. When you deliberately sit down to meditate, that is what you want. And a mind that is groping after more experience, more excitement, more sensation - such a mind is not silent; and, therefore, it experiences only within the borders of its own conditioning and within its own knowledge.

So one has to understand this whole process of experience; and only then is the mind no longer seeking experience - not because it has become stupid, not because there are no more experiences, not because it is satisfied with the one experience which is so supreme that it says, "No more". The search for experience is another form of greed. And wisdom is not come by through experience. There is wisdom only when there is response out of silence.

So it is none of these things. Yet, for most of us, space exists only because of the object - the "me", the "I", the "watcher", the "experiencer". And naturally, according to his little mind, according to his pettiness - whether it is poetic pettiness, or artistic pettiness, or the pettiness of a housewife everlastingly occupied with cooking, breeding children and so on - such a petty mind has experience. However much it may experience, however much it may control, however much it may practise endlessly, such a mind is still petty.

The mind - we mean by mind, not only the brain, but the whole organism, the totality of one's being - has space only when this thing called the "object" ceases. And you cannot make it come to an end by any form of trickery. It comes to an end only when you watch endlessly every movement of its activity, every thought, every feeling just watch it; do not interpret it, do not say, "It is right, it is wrong; this must be, this must not be". Out of that watchfulness comes choiceless awareness - not as step by step; it happens naturally. When the water of a river goes by the bridge, through a dirty town cleansing itself, it moves, moves, moves endlessly; it does not go step by step, it is a movement. From that choiceless awareness comes attention - not about anything, but just to be attentive; to be in a state of attention; there is no desire for experience, you are completely attentive. There is no desire to change, to become something noble or ignoble. You are completely attentive. And you see, when there is such complete attention, there is no object; therefore there is space. And because of that space, there is complete silence.

Silence is not only of thought, but also of the brain. I will not go into all that, there is no time to go into all that. The brain, which is the nerves, the cells, everything, is quiet, but terribly awake, attentive - it must be. Then because of this silence, there is space; and because there is space, there is love. You cannot come to it by practice, by saying, "I will first attempt to be aware, then choicelessly aware, then attentive, then silence". Minds are so petty! You want it all on a blueprint, and all that you have to do is just to follow. It does not work like that. Either you see the whole thing, the whole beauty of the sunset, of the tree, and the whole beauty of this meditation, completely and at once, and therefore flow with it, or you do not see at all.

Then you will see that love does alter immediately every action of life. That is the only catalyst, the only thing - nothing else - that will bring about a total mutation of the mind. And we need such a mutation. Because man has lived so long in his misery, with the everyday torture of existence, the uncertainty, the confusion, the conflict, and the supposed meaninglessness of life. But there is an extraordinary meaning to living. Living - going to an office, talking to your wife, doing everything that you do - has tremendous meaning, if you know how to look at it, how to come upon it. And to come upon it, to know it, to see the beauty of it - that can only take place when there is silence, when there is space and love. And that is truth; and that is the only thing that matters in life. Then all the heavens and all the hells are open. Then you do not have to seek God. Then you do not have to go to any temple or any church; you do not have to be a slave of any priest or of any book or of any authority. Then there is only light, and that light is love and silence.

January 3, 1965


Madras 1965

Madras 6th Public Talk 3rd January 1965

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